Month: August 2009

Height and Weight

By now most of you have read the most recent issue of Scouting Magazine.   Bob Mazzuca started off the theme of fitness in his “From The CSE” article on page 8.    Then on page 45 there is an article called “Fat Chance”.  In the intro of the article it says, ” People who recite the Boy Scout Oath promise to keep themselves ‘physically strong’.  That goes for adult leaders, too.  It’s time for you and your Scout to get fitter and faster- and avoid missing out on Scouting’s greatest adventures.”

I have talked about height and weight before in this blog and stand behind the BSA’s change in focus to rethink the height and weight requirements and standards of those that participate in Scouting.  Does this mean that I am a “Fat basher” NOOOOOO!  All I am saying is that I have concerns for some folks that choose to push their bodies beyond it’s capabilities.  The BSA is not saying that those that are over weight can not participate either.. the BSA is saying if you do not fit within the guidelines you can not participate “FULLY”.  You can not participate in High adventure activities such as Philmont, National Jamboree, or other High Adventure bases.
But here is the bottom line.  The BSA cares about its Scouts and its Volunteers.  That simple.  It cares enough to say.. we want you to be healthy.. after all, we do make that promise.. Right?
What is wrong with that?  I have heard arguments stating that “Everyone is different”, “Just because I am heavy does not mean I can’t do something.”  And you are absolutely right, but any doctor will tell you that you are putting yourself at a higher risk when you are “Heavier than your body should be.”  It is not an issue of weeding out fat people or pushing people away.  It is an issue of safety and health.
I love that this issue of Scouting Magazine added suggestions to “Fighting the Flab” and on page 66 even gives you some examples of staying fit, particularly for the trail.
As stated in Bob Mazzuca’s column, “…the U.S. Surgeon Generals office reports that today, 12.3 million children are overweight in the United States- more than 17 percent.”  Some one has to step up and say this is not ok.. and so I applaud the Boy Scouts of America for say so.  As a mentor of young men, it is my duty to look and act the part.  Along with the 12 points of the Scout Law that I try my best to live daily, keeping myself physically strong, mental awake, and morally straight are my responsibility.
Not every Scout unit packs up and hits the trail, but it is through the Boy Scout program that take these young men into our care, get them away from TV and video games, and provide them with the opportunities to be fit, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Mazzuca continues; “Scouting can help reverse unhealthy trends by making sure ‘no child is left inside’.  On a weekend outing, a Scout may spend 36 to 48 hours in nature, more than balancing any time spent in front of a screen.  the same outing will help keep a Scout active and physically fit, thereby addressing obesity rates.”
Again, I applaud the BSA for taking this stance.  We all could use to be more fit and healthy.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Packing your Tent

I have talked about it before.. but I love to pass on “Expert” advice on backpacking and camping gear.  I always tell the Scouts that if you take care of your gear it will take care of you.  Your tent is more than likely the most expensive or at least in the top three most expensive items you have in your gear collection.  If you take care of it.. it will last a long time.

I carry the MSR Hubba, and have for some time.  It is as good today as the day I purchased it, and has many, many nights under the stars.
Here is an older video on how to pack away your tent, plus some tips on care.  In case you don’t believe what I tell you (speaking to my Scouts)… this is the Editor of Backpacker Magazine.  Enjoy the video.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Backpacking gear

We have been talking a lot lately about gear.  I did a couple podcasts on gear and have received lots of great feedback and comments on what is peoples backpacks and what they prefer to use when out on the trail.  Yesterday I took some time and listened to my good buddy Shawn’s latest podcast.  He talked about “gearing up” his new Troop.  He suggested a few things that him and I have talked about at length regarding outfitting a Scout Troop in the “Backpacking style”.  I am finding that many more Troops are going to this style of camping… weather they actually hit the trail or not.. the “Backpacking style” or “light weight” camping offers many more options for both the Scouts and leaders of a Troop.  Without sacrificing any comfort, nutrition, or skills.  The lighter weight style requires the Scouts to have a few more skills and requires the leaders to do a lot more teaching up front.  But once routines are established camping is more enjoyable for the Scouts and the leaders.  

So far as gear.  I am a big believer that you take better care of what you own.  Having Scouts own their gear is a great way to teach responsibility.  It is also a fantastic way to get the Scouts and their parents thinking long term about the their gear purchases.
Starting up a “Light Camping” unit is not hard, but does take a certain degree of knowledge and training.  That is the fun part.  There are a lot of resources out there to help, I would encourage you to take a look at putting away the green Coleman stoves, the cabin tents, and the patrol boxes.  Give packs and trekking poles a try.  Break down the patrols cook boxes and replace them for buddy team cooking and one pot meals.  Backpacking is a wonderful way to teach an appreciation for the outdoors and a great way to show the wilderness to Scouts that may never have another opportunity to see it.
Try it.. you may just like it.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

An appreciation for the Outdoors.

Developing in our young men an appreciation for the Out doors is part of the job description of the Scoutmaster, well it’s not.. but it should be.

I stumbled on this short video that really captures some of those ideas in an interview with Ken Burns.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


I have received some great tips and recipes.  But I want more… hey, the more I get.. the more I get to try and better yet taste.

There is only about 2 weeks left to get your favorite recipe or tip in to qualify for a great prize from  So fire up that email and send me your tips and recipes. has also given me a second prize.. so the chances of winning has now doubled!!
Click on the Scoutmaster Minute/Trailstop logo on the left for more details.
Good luck and keep them coming!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Summer Camp Wrap Up

I am officially cross eyed and my fingers are numb from signing blue cards and helping get the advancement requirements from summer camp into the Troopmaster program.

So bragging for the boys, here is how it broke down:
59 merit badges earned (complete), 10 partials.
7 Advancements completed, 25 Scouts that completed requirements towards advancement.
1 BSA Life Guard
2 Youth completed the Mile Swim
4 Adults completed the Mile Swim
1 great week at camp… Priceless (Sorry, could not resist that one).
The week at Summer camp put many of the Scouts over some Benchmark levels in nights of Camping.  Our SPL, John hit 169 nights this week, George hit the 155 mark.  Cameron landing right at 100 nights of camping.  Ely and James went over 75, Lucas broke 80 as did Parker.
All in all it was a great week at camp and proved to be both fun and productive for all the Scouts of the Troop.
I am proud of them all.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Summer Camp reflection

Back from a week at summer camp.  The event of the year when everything comes together, a time to practice the patrol method.  To live as a patrol, hanging out with friends, testing skills, learning new ones and just plain having fun.

Our week at Camp Pigott was no exception.  28 Scouts ventured 4 hours north to a great little camp in the Chief Seattle Council.  We have never been there before and so the buzz for the trip was electric.  
The message of the week was to create memories.  Our mantra “Memories.. not merit badges” became our theme for the week and the Scouts of Troop 664 lived up to it.  Our feeling was that the Scouting experience should be all about memories not that merit badges are not important, the memories would lead to advancement and merit badges.  That too proved to be true.
28 Scouts hiked into camp.. 28 Scouts marched out of camp with memories and experiences that they will not soon forget.
For some it was the first time they ever spent a week away from home without their parents.  For some it was the first time they shot a rifle, a bow, or threw a tomahawk.  For some it was the first time they shot a shot gun.  For some of the Scouts it was the first time they cooked over an open fire, swam in a lake, rowed a boat, swamped a canoe, swam a mile, or negotiated a C.O.P.E course.   It was all about memories.
First year Scouts learned tools that will last a life time.  Older Scouts developed leadership and had opportunities to try new skills and adventures.  All in all it was a camp that gave us everything we were looking for.
Tuesday night our troop was invited to a “Friendship Campfire” from another Troop in camp.  They were a troop from the local council.  They were fine hosts.  We sang, told jokes and riddles, and shared in a great Scouting tradition, vespers.  Later in the week the troop showed it’s colors by participating in the camp wide events.  We won the big “Rendezvous Relay” and our reward for winning was watching their Scoutmaster get swamped in a row boat.  A great time was had by all.  The picture above is of the relay team that sent the Scoutmaster (me) into the middle of the lake.  The event demonstrated some great team work and a willingness to push themselves for the good of the Troop.  With a cheerful spirit they ran, paddled, rowed, and swam to victory.
But victory’s, merit badges, awards, and miles swam can be summed up in memories.  Reflecting back on our week at summer camp I can say that if memories were points, we won by a land slide.
The Scouts of Troop 664 made me proud.  
There are so many memories that it would take a blog in and of itself to document them all… and that is what I call a great week at summer camp.
Have a Great Scouting Day!