Month: February 2010

Realizing the Full impact of Scouting

The other night I was invited to speak at a local Cub Scout Packs Blue and Gold Dinner.  It was a fantastic event and based on the amount of little Orange and Blue hats running around.. Scouting is and will be healthy for some time.
The Cubmaster asked if I could talk about the impact that Scouting has had on me.
Well, as I prepared I thought to myself that I could talk about the growth and maturity, I could talk about the sense of adventure, I could talk about the place I have been and the people I have met… but then it dawned on me.. I don’t know what the full impact Scouting has had on me… Yet… I’m not done.
So I talked about my Scouting life and let the audience draw a conclusion or two.
I talked about 1976 and marching in the Spirit of ’76 parade in Washington D.C. with my Bear Den.
I spoke of my very first camp out with a Boy Scout Troop at Manassas Bull Run.  Being a Scout in Holland and our trip with a group of Scouts from Holland, Germany, Britain, and Canada to the Baden Powell House in London.  Canoeing down a Bayou river in Louisiana or backpacking in places to numerous to mention in a blog.
Scouting took me places and introduced me to people that I may have never met or seen.
When I joined the Army, I was the only one in my Basic Training platoon that knew how to read a map and use a compass, I could stand in front of a group of strangers and talk without getting sick, I could cook and do basic first aid and I was confident enough to try anything once.
Had it not been for Scouting I may not have ever Scuba dived or Sky Dived, I may not have ever backpacked through the Denali National Park, I may not have ever become a Scoutmaster.
So the full impact?  I don’t know yet.
You know I have been to more summer camps as an adult than I had as a youth?  And I am having just as much fun.  Now I get to teach, coach and mentor young men and hope that they understand one day the impact of Scouting.
The answer is out there… I just can’t see the full impact yet.
Have a Great Scouting day!

Failure, Success, and never stop learning

This morning my Troop and I stood in a snow filled gully.  The crisp mountain air and the smell of pine filled the air as our Chaplains Aide raised his hand in the Scout Sign, the signal for all to prepare for the Scouts own service.
I stood patiently to the side as he read a passage about failure.  To sum it up.. you are only a failure if you fail to learn, to get back up, to try harder next time.. you are only a fail if you make a choice to be a failure. I thought this lesson was both timely and significant to our Troop this weekend.
You see, this weekend was not a failure, in fact it was full of success stories.  There were challenges that presented themselves and were over come.  There were Scouts that from one winter camp out to the next demonstrated significant gains in knowledge, skills, and the attitude toward camping in the snow.  There was one Scout in particular that seemed to put it all together and had what I considered his very best camp out… ever.
Success breads Success.. once Scouts start to see that they can be successful, they strive for more and more.  It is my job as a Scoutmaster to set the conditions for that success.
That is not to say that I do the work or make it easy for them, rather it is to say that I provide an environment that the Scouts are constantly learning.  BORING.. right.. WRONG.. Our class room is a snow drift of Mt. Hood, a walk on the beach, a trek on the PCT.. our class room is adventurous and challenging and it forces young men to discover themselves and each other, it calls for them to be able to make decisions, not for themselves but for the good of their patrols, it asks of each young man to push their limits and have fun where they thought they couldn’t.
Baden Powell summed up this idea of Scouting in three words; Fun, Boy Led, and Simple.
I think we over burden the Scouts when we stray from those three principles that have brought Scouting to where it is today.
90 page Troop policy books on how and when to turn in a Spoon checked out by the Quartermaster, over hyped rules that counter the simple nature of a Scoutmaster Conference, Troop committees that are burdened with rules and policies that do nothing to support Citizenship, Character, and fitness.
It is as simple as a few notes on a 3X5 card pulled out of the pack of a Life Scout on a crisp Sunday morning.
So Success or failure?  You fail when you stop learning.  You fail when you stray from the basics of program, you fail when you stop trying to deliver the promise to all these great young men.  You fail when you do not take the time to listen to a young man deliver a Scouts Own service in the woods surrounded by his buddies.  He gets it… so should we.

I am so fortunate and Proud to be the Scoutmaster of my Troop.  They surprise me, make me think, engage me, and make me see things for what they really are.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

A game…

Baden Powell called Scouting a “Game with a Purpose”.  The idea in that thought is that boys, young men, well heck.. even us older men, like to play games.  There is something about the boy that moves him toward playing, competing, having fun.
We need to remember this as we go through our process’s of Scoutmastership.  The most important question I ask in a Scoutmaster conference is are you having fun?
When we play we play for enjoyment, for a challenge, we play to have fun.  Now everyone’s view of fun will be different, but the bottom line is when we are having fun, we are enjoying were we are.
When we ask a Scout if he is having fun, the next question is why?  Out of the mouths of young men you will get a fair and honest answer.  Then you need to process that answer, if the answer is no.. I am not having fun and he tells you an honest “Why”, and you are hearing it over and over from a good sample of the Scouts in the unit, it may be time for change.
The PLC is your guide to fun.  Provide tools, resources, and the know how, and let them put together a fun plan that will meet both the Aims of Scouting and keep the Scouts engaged.
When we challenge Scouts, allow them to push some of their physical limits, give them the opportunity to lead and make decisions, and have fun with their friends, we have healthy units.
When we play the game, our Scouts are happy and are having fun.

Have a Great Scouting Day!


100 Years!!!  Today we Celebrate the Adventure!!!
It is a great day to be in Scouting, no matter the program, today we celebrate  the Anniversary of the greatest youth movement in the United States and we look to the Journey that will lead us on an expedition to the next 100!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Centennial Badges of Rank

I do not want to kick the horse to death, every blogger out there has made a comment or had an opinion on the new Centennial Badges of Rank.. so here is my take..
Short and sweet.. I thought at first that the BSA could have some up with something “Cooler” for the centennial year if they were going to change the ranks at all…
But now that I have seen the actual badges.. I like them.  I especially like the Eagle Badge.
Looking at the bigger picture, a Scout that does earn this award this year is going to have something special and extremely memorable that will last a life time.  Regardless of what the badge looks like, the accomplishment is there and he can wear it with pride forever.
I have two sons that are nearing completion of the requirements for the Eagle Award, I am proud of them and will be honored to see them earn this life changing award.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

For Y’all Down in the Bayou…

For those of you in the New Orleans area… I got this today.. thought I’d spread the word.

Boy Scouts of America Adventure Base 100 to Visit New Orleans
Take a break from the Mardi Gras festivities and come celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. Created specifically for the 100th Anniversary, Adventure Base 100, a unique, interactive 10,000-square-foot campus, will be in New Orleans on Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday, Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the front entrance of the Audubon Zoo.  The event is free and open to the public.  At Adventure Base 100, families will have the opportunity to try their skill at a ropes course, experience the IMAX-like video in the “Go Scouting! Dome,” and tour the traveling museum, among many other activities.
This is a unique opportunity that will be of interest to local Scouts, families and tourists in the New Orleans area who may be looking for a change of scenery from Mardi Gras.
Adventure Base 100 to Roll into New Orleans
Boy Scouts of America Mark 100th Anniversary Celebration, Engage New Orleans-Area
Residents with Immersive Scouting Experience through Nationwide Tour

New Orleans, (Feb. 2, 2010) — Ropes Course. GoScouting! Dome. Traveling Museum. In celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary, the Boy Scouts of America is bringing a truly unique and interactive experience to New Orleans: Adventure Base 100.
Created specifically for the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th Anniversary Celebration, Adventure Base 100 is traveling the country to rally people of all ages to take part in “Celebrating the Adventure, Continuing the Journey.”
Adventure Base 100 is a unique, interactive 10,000-square-foot campus featuring immersive and exciting Scout-related experiences to provide a hands-on view of the Boy Scouts of America’s 100 year history and the difference Scouting has made in the lives of millions of youth.
Starting in January at the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, Calif., and ending in November in New York City, Adventure Base 100 will be rolling into more than 40 markets across the country. It will be in New Orleans Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Our goal is to engage those interested in the Boy Scouts of America in a new and exciting way,” said Kenneth Pickering, 100th Anniversary of Scouting Chairman for the Southeast Louisiana Council. “We are thrilled to bring this experience to New Orleans to celebrate our rich 100 year heritage, spark fond memories in former Scouts and alumni, and intrigue those who may be interested in learning more about our organization.”
While in New Orleans, Adventure Base 100 will be located at the front entrance of the Audubon Zoo and will   include:
·      A high adventure ropes course for all visitors more than 4 feet tall weighing less than 200 pounds.
·      A multi-sensory experience that will offer visitors the sights, smells and sounds of Scouting via the campus IMAX-like video “GoScouting! Dome.” 
·      A chance to win prizes just by spinning the wheel.
·       An overview about what it takes to become an Eagle Scout, the highest level of Scouting.
·       A chance to speak with members of Local Councils to learn more about Scouting.
·       A traveling Scouting museum featuring an overview of the Boy Scouts of America’s amazing history, including a display of rare artifacts collected by the organization over the last 100 years.
·       Visit Adventure Base 100 and receive a coupon to visit the Audubon Zoo for $4.25
In addition, local New Orleans Councils have provided their own artifacts to be featured in the BSA’s 100th Anniversary National Time Capsule, which includes submissions from local Boy Scouts of America Councils throughout the country.
For nearly a century, the Boy Scouts of America has brought families and communities together to prepare America’s youth to live, work, and play with character and integrity. Adventure Base 100 is one of eight major engagement programs the organization is undertaking as part of its 100th Anniversary Celebration.
About the Boy Scouts of America
Serving nearly 4.1 million youth between the ages of 7 and 20, with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the BSA is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The Scouting movement is composed of 1.2 million volunteers, whose dedication of time and resources has enabled the BSA to remain the nation’s leading youth-service organization. For more information on the BSA, please visit
More information about 100 Years of Scouting can be found at