Monthly Archives: August 2009

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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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Time is ticking

We are half way through the month.. Get your recipes and tips into the Scoutmaster minute for a shot at a fantastic prize.

Remember.. you do not have to be a backpacker to enter.. any camping tip or recipe will be welcome.
Don’t wait till the last minute.. I want try all the recipes and work the tips.
Get your entry in today!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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Summer Camp 2009

Gone to camp… Enjoying the finer parts of Scouting and helping to deliver the promise to a troop of outstanding young men!

I will check in with a full report next week!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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Merit Badges or Fun?

Getting ready for summer we are looking at the merit badges offered at camp.  It has been a long standing rule of mine that Scouts in their first year at camp take at least one Eagle Required merit badge.  Something like Environmental Science or First Aid.  Beyond that, First year Scouts should spend at least a half hour at the Trail to First Class station.  I want those first year Scouts to find a good balance between merit badges/advancement and fun.  

There is always so much to do at summer camp that I want all the Scouts to enjoy their experience.  I am trying to provide that opportunity for our Scouts to go to camp and develop strong bonds with their buddies and memories that last forever.
Spending all their time consumed with merit badges, while it pays in the end for rank, it does little for memories and adventure.  Unless of course they are merit badges like climbing, sailing and the like.
I have learned over the years that about 5 merit badges is about the maximum when we are talking about a good balance between fun and work at camp.  Those Scouts that spend more time working on merit badges than hanging out at the water front collecting lizards or heading out to an out post have a far less summer camp experience.  Those Scouts that work a few good merit badges but have a blast in the program areas come home with countless stories and memories that they take with them forever.
So find a balance at camp.  Yes praise the work of those Scouts that work hard and complete merit badges.  But encourage the experience of Summer camp and build lasting memories… in the end they will be far more important than a badge.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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Backpacking Tip

Hey Scouts and Scouters.. I am always wanting to share what’s in my pack, ideas, tips, and love to suggest good reading.  Here is a must have for every backpacker.. no matter what your skill level is.  If you are an expert… this book can help you teach others.. if you are a beginner, than this easy to follow soft bound book is a must have on your book shelf or in your pack!

Check out Everyday Wisdom by Karen Berger from Backpacker Magazine.  Worth the money and the time to read it.  I am about due for a new copy.. I use it so much.
Enjoy the Book!  And Check out other great books put out by Backpacker Magazine.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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As a Scout leader we teach our Scouts to “Be Prepared”.. then we ask, Be prepared for what.. the reply.. “Anything”  Typically translates to lots of stuff going into the pack which means more weight.  We try to keep the packs of our Scouts down to around 25% of their body weight.  And we all know that sometimes that just is not possible.  But we can work to reducing the weight.  I have said it before.. I don’t pretend to be an Ultra Light Backpacker, but as age creeps up and the knees starting feeling each pound in my pack, I do look at shaving weight where ever I can.

So how can we do that while maintaining an appropriate level of “Preparedness”?
One way is to look at your gear with a critical eye.  Lay out everything that you take and see if there are two of anything (ok.. band aids don’t count).  If you have two of any piece of gear.  Loose one.  There is no need for a back up of any gear when backpacking.  First, you never hike alone, so chances are between at least the two of you.. you will always have a couple of any piece of gear.  So loose the redundancy.
Look at how long you are going to be out.  If it is a weekend.. ramp up your critical eye a notch.  How often do you change clothes?  Socks?  How do you cook?  What’s the weather like?  These are just a few questions to ask yourself when you look at your gear.  Then ask.. What if?  What if this happens or that happens?  Add a piece of gear you may need or can’t live without.  Your water pump for example.  Really look at your meal planning and cook ware.   Again, look at redundancy.  How many spoons do you need?  A fork or a spork?  How many knives do you carry.  A pocket knife really is enough… keep it clean.  Bowl and Plate?  Loose one.
The moral of this story is shave weight by loosing redundant gear.  You have to be willing to trust your skills and the gear you carry.  To be prepared take what you need, leave behind what you don’t and use what you take.  Preparedness starts with planning and knowledge.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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