Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Scoutmaster Minute Podcast

Breakfast in Camp

Breakfast in Camp

 In this show we wrap up a great discussion on gear.

Join me and the Assistant Scoutmasters as we continue a discussion on gear.

In this show we talk about our camp kitchens, raingear, clothing, and much, much, more.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Standard Podcast MP3 Format [51:55 m]

Listen or Download here

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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 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!
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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!

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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!
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Branding the BSA

Great message from our Marketing folks at the BSA.

Have a Great Scouting Day!
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4th of July Pride

I hope that everyone had a great Independence Day.   Mine was extremely good and let me tell you why.

I went camping with my family, my sisters family, and a family that are close friends of ours, almost family in fact.  We went out to the Oregon coast and had a ball.  We went to a small town parade that truly demonstrated the spirit of America and why we celebrate the 4th of July.  It was refreshing to see when the Coast Guard Color Guard lead the Parade, People stood and covered their hearts as the flag passed.  It was nice to see the local Boy Scouts following the color guard carrying a banner and getting big cheers from the crowd.  Old fashioned cars, dogs dressed in Red, White, and Blue, fire trucks, and horses, but all of them proud to be Americans and happy to be living in the land of the free.
Then back to camp for rest and relaxation, hamburgers and hot dogs and some good potato salad, sitting around the fire and enjoying the sounds of campers having a great weekend.
As it began to get dark, it was time to go see the fire works.  We grabbed our lot of sparklers and other spectacular noise makers and headed to a point on the Columbia river.  Positioned so that we could see the fire works from Astoria to Long beach.  It was fantastic!  We turned up the radio in my truck to get the simulcast from the fire work show in Seaside and began to celebrate.  All at once the Star Spangled Banner began to play over the radio as the fire work show began.  Without a word I noticed that everyone in our group had turned and looked to a nearby flag pole where the flag was still flying.  Not a sound, other than that of a lone voice singing our National Anthem.  Pride filled my heart as I looked to five young men standing in the back of my brother in laws pick up truck.  Standing tall, hands over their hearts, quiet.
These five boys are all Boy Scouts and without a word to pay attention or put your hand over your heart, or be quiet, they knew what to do.  At the last note they turned to see the smiles on all of our faces.  We all were and are proud of them.  They get it. 
It was a perfect way to end the day.. start the celebration.. and call this one of the best Independence days ever.
Character, Citizenship, and Fitness… You gotta love the Boy Scouts of America!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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Happy Independence Day!

Happy Birthday America!

233 years of Freedom!
God Bless You!
Have a Great Scouting Independence Day!
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The power of influence

I have talked about influence a bit here at the Scoutmaster Minute, mainly because I try not to take for granted the influence that I have on the lives of the young men we have in Scouting.

Yesterday I was given some shocking news about a few kids in our neighborhood.  And it got my wife and I in a discussion about influence and how these two kids got to where they are.
First, both of these kids are from good homes, with good, caring parents.  They go to school in a solid middle to upper middle class area and are not lacking at all in attention, love, and care.
Second, both of these kids are seemingly well behaved and polite.  One is an all start athlete, the other is into her own thing, but nothing that you would send red flags flying.
So here is the twist.
The All star athlete was caught smoking dope the other day.. turns out it is not the first time.
And the other kid has been caught hanging out with a gang and dabbling in pornography.
And so the question is why?
What is the influence that drove them to where they are?  It saddens me.
It’s not their parents, they are good people.  People with a strong set of values and structure.  They provide a loving environment for the kids and make sure that all their needs are met.
My guess is that it is from peers.  Which frightens me as a Dad as to how much influence peers have on our young people.  It is obvious that even when all the stars are lined up at home.. peers can sway the decisions of our kids.  It is a power that influences the kids that can be stronger than what mom and dads deem right and wrong.
So what is the answer?
DO YOU BEST.  We raise our kids in a loving, caring environment.  We allow them to learn from mistakes, but they understand that with every decision comes consequences.  Good and Bad.  You teach them in the ways that you would have them brought up and show them what right looks like.
Every thing we do as parents, as Scout leaders, and influential adults in our communities is being watched.  We can’t lock up our kids and shelter them from life.  We have to show them life’s choices and how it will effect them in the long term.  Last night we had the serious talk about drugs.  We have talked about it all before, but it never really hit home.  Our kids do not see it first hand, so we turned this into a teaching moment and it really hit hard.
Our all star athlete.. well he can’t play sports any more.  His life revolved around football and track.  All gone.  For my son, the athlete.. this shocked him and put everything in a certain perspective.  In so far as the other situation, the teaching moment was about Birds of a feather…  You become like the people you associate with.. so pick your friends with caution.  A true friend will share your values and care about you.  And while you may find that in a gang, you need to look at the values and consequences. 
In Scouting we share a set of values and the consequence is success, character, good citizens, and fit young people.  All pluses in my book.
While I am still in shock over the news, it presented a great teaching moment as a Dad.  And while I am not happy that this had to happen to these parents, or the kids for that matter, I hope the kids learn from this and have a change in their lives.  I hope that they can find a way to change their values or learn from the influence of positive role models and people of character.
Life is hard sometimes, but we all have influence… use it wisely.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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I want to extend a Happy Independence Day to the Scoutmaster Minute Family.

This is a celebration of Character, Determination, and Will.  
This nation was born not because of of a piece of land, but because men (and women) were willing to stand for right.  Our founding Fathers were all men of Character, we can debate habits and other social ill’s later, but by and large they were men of principle that were willing to selflessly sacrifice everything to gain independence and to start a free and prosperous country.
They were men that were determined to live free from the rule of a monarch.  They understood the value of a representative form of government and that the people should rule, not be ruled.
I once heard that if our republic (the United States) failed it would be the last Republic on Earth.  And it has remained.  It is the model of the Republican form were our representatives execute the will of the people.  It has been tested that is for sure, but remains the beacon the world looks to see what right looks like.  Some hate it, some wish they could be like it, but the fact remains that our Nation stands as a example for all to see.  We may not always be right to 100% of the people, but that is why we hold free elections.
So have a Great time this Independence Day Weekend.  Be Safe!  Celebrate the Birth of the greatest Nation on Earth and thank God you were born here!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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