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!


  1. I've been reading your blog for a little while now. I must say I really appreciate what you do. It is great to see scouting working as it should. Your boys are extreley fortunate to have you. I'm a first time scout leader as a Cubmaster and love it. Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us out here.Lance JessupCubmasterPack 4597 West Jordan, UT


  2. Another wonderfully insightful post, each one is like sitting by the campfire with a Scouting sage… As my son is preparing to move to Boy Scouts I can't help feeling I've got so much to learn.


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