Month: July 2009

I get it.

My last two podcast on gear have been a hit.  And the emails are pouring in about the shows.  So I will get more backpacking information, tips, and reviews out here on the Scoutmaster minute.   One request that has been popping up is a permeant link to the podcasts on gear.  So, I am going to keep a link up to my “Whats in your Backpack” series on this blog.

Thanks for all the feedback, comments, and suggestions.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

How much are you worth?

“Try not be become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein.
Your worth is not measured in cars, houses, and money.  Your worth is measured by the time that you give.  The time that you give selflessly to others.
At the end of your days, when you calculate the amount of time you gave, you will determine your worth.
This is a tough concept in a world that glorifies money and possessions.  MTV cribs recently ran a Teen age Crib edition.  Basically it told any teenager that this is your measure.  Unfortunately it did not discuss character, service, or how mom and dad came to their riches.  It did not detail the labor that went into earning a college degree and the work that had to be to achieve such status.  It completely failed to talk about the value of giving back.
I am not suggesting that these kids or their parent owe anyone any of their valuables… what I am suggesting is that valuables without values is worthless.
And so we are measured.  By what we do for others.  The time we give in selfless service.
Give time and become wealthier than you will ever imagine.
The real measure of wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money”- Unknown.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Nothing Ventured… Nothing Gained


Nothing Ventured… Nothing Gained.. 

That is pretty much how the advancement program in Boy Scouts works.  If you don’t do the work..you don’t get the rank.  It’s that simple.  Unlike advancing in Cub Scouts where the Group works together to achieve, Boy Scouts is different in that it challenges the Scout to do the work, not necessarily on his own, but with out the out stretched hand of the Den leader planning advancement activities and working toward a rank by the end of the year.
In a Scout Troop opportunities are given for Scouts to succeed by participating and taking advantage of those opportunities.  The requirements ask the Scout to participate, learn, take an active role in leadership, skills development, and living the Scout Oath and Law.  It is up to the Scout to decide what that level of activity looks like and it is up to the Scout to decide when and where he wants to do the work.
The other night, we did something in our Troop that we rarely do.  We dedicated an entire meeting to advancement.  To provide an opportunity for Scouts to get over the hump to the next rank if they were struggling a bit.  To provide a forum for the Scouts to work on a skill together and have an Assistant Scoutmaster on hand to sign off.  Once again, the determination of many Scouts proved to make the night a success.. in fact every Scout, and it was the majority, that participated moved many steps closer to the next rank.  And with the exception of a couple Boards of Review, are ready to advance.
We thought this was important entering Summer camp.  Summer Camp always offers great opportunities to work toward advancement, but we never push the Scouts to crank out Merit badges, we want them to have a great week of fun and adventure.  So by front loading many of the “Trail to First Class” skills and requirements, we assisted in moving our Scouts just that much closer to a rank that they can achieve over the summer.
I was satisfied in the way it turned out, and it reinforced how the advancement process works in Boy Scouts.  We will support a Scout and do our best to help, but we will not do the work for them.  I think they understand.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Shifty Powers

This is totally a non Scouting post.. but it speaks volumes about Character.

I got this in my inbox today and it asked to forward it and keep it going.  Well… I hate doing that.. so I thought I would use my blog to fufill the promise of “Fowarding it”.
Being a Combat Veteran myself and having served 21 years in the Army.. I certainly appreciate the following article.  You do not have to be a war hero, service member or veteran to appreciate what Shifty Powers and the men he served with did.  They truly are the greatest generation.
Enjoy this Tribute.

 Darrell “Shifty” Powers. 

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.
I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn’t know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the “Screaming Eagle”, the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.
Making conversation, I asked him if he’d been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.
Quietly and humbly, he said “Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . ” at which point my heart skipped. 
At that point, again, very humbly, he said “I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?” At this point my heart stopped.
I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said “I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem.” I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day. 
I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France, and he said “Yes. And it’s real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can’t make the trip.” My heart was in my throat and I didn’t know what to say.
I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I’d take his in coach.
He said “No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy.” His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.
There was no parade.
No big event in Staples Center.
No wall to wall back to back 24×7 news coverage.
No weeping fans on television.
Let’s give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. 
Rest in peace, Shifty.

“A nation without heroes is nothing.”
Roberto Clemente

Have a Great Scouting Day!

What’s in your Backpack?


My latest podcast is all about gear and what’s in your Backpack.

A good discussion with the Assistant Scoutmaster’s of Troop 664 and me.  We had a blast recording it and think that there is some good information in the show for you.  
This is the first of a two part series, there was so much information that we had to break it up.
Check it out and listen to the show here.
Have a Great Scouting Day!