Month: April 2010


When we teach the Scouts about task organization and what right looks like, it is important to teach initiative.
What I have seen and learned over the last few years is that most of our Scouts, or young men in general lack initiative.  You can give them a list of things to do or ask that they complete a certain task and that is where it stops.  They do task A.. they do task B… but won’t look for “C”.
So how do we develop in our Scouts, our young men initiative?
Well first of all you need to let them know that in no uncertain terms that they have the power to make decisions.   They also need to know and understand that the decisions that they make need to be owned and the consequences that come with them are permanent.  They can be fixed, but need to be learned from if they result in the wrong out come.
They need to know and understand that there are more tasks beyond what they know up front.  You can help them with this by coaching and asking the “What now” questions.  Guide them to the answer without giving them the answer.
For example, when it comes to what we expect of our Junior leaders or “older Scouts”.  Now I know that all Scoutmasters expect the older Scouts to help the younger Scouts, to teach the younger Scouts basic skills and to set a good example… but how many times on a camp out have we seen the older Scouts get their gear set up and then just sit around or goof off?
Initiative would call for them to “see the need” to help the younger Scouts, but it is often over looked.
So as Scoutmasters we need to inspect what we expect.  Here is were coaching comes in.  During the PLC meeting prior to the camp out how about having the Patrol leaders come up with a basic list of tasks that typically need to be done in camp.  After the camp set up, ask the SPL if he sees the list as complete?  He will no doubt take action if he sees holes in the result.
Make sure that your reflections or Start, Stop, and Continue processes are meaningful and targeted toward the learning goal.  You can direct that without stepping on the leadership of the Senior Patrol Leader.
Teaching initiative in our young men has got to be a priority, if you do not teach it, expect it, and inspect that it is being used then it will not happen.
Initiative is necessary for leadership, seizing it takes practice, but once it is recognized and made a habit your youth leaders will find it rewarding.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

SMM 54-What do you Expect?

The Scoutmaster Minute Podcast Show 54
A listen in on Scoutmaster Jerry and his Assistant Scoutmasters as well as a few of the new Dads talking about what their expectations are in Scouting and of course.. no good camp discussion would be complete without a few great camp stories… Enjoy!

Listen Here – SMM54

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Hey folks there are some new and exciting things happening with the Scoutmaster Minute Podcast.. tune in to show #55 in two weeks and see whats new and improved.  I am excited, I am sure you will enjoy it too.
– Scoutmaster Jerry

Youth Protection Month

Ok, it’s Youth protection month and everyone should be checking their training cards to make sure they are current in their training.  The online version is actually pretty good and while it is a bit long, it sure is better than dedicating a Saturday Morning listening to a less than dynamic trainer ramble on about “this one time at Scout camp”…
But seriously, I want to address youth protection simply because I care a lot about the Scouts in my care.  These Scouts and their parents have a certain level of trust in our program and us as leaders and we owe it to them to protect their sons, and that extends way beyond the Pack or Troop.
It is well known that the Scouts of my unit are encouraged to have a level of comfort in me in trust that I will never harm them.. when I say that I mean they can call me and talk about what ever is on their minds, not the least of which if they are being abused, sexually, mentally, emotionally, or physically.  They know that I do genuinely care enough for them that I will take action.
I have had Scouts that were bullied at School and I was the person they were comfortable telling, I went to the School and addressed the concern with the Principle, had a lengthy talk with the parents and resolved the issue.
Now I would suggest that if you are not comfortable taking this type of action, don’t, but it is your responsibility as a leader to at least report it… yeah, even if it is not on “Scout time”.
OK… having said all of that.. I want to talk just a little bit about the current scandal that rocked our corner of the world this week.
I am not going to pull punches with my comments.. so if you are easily offended than leave now… just click away.. if this shocks you, I recommend you elevate your feet and treat for shock.
Back in the early ’80’s an Assistant Scoutmaster (a perverted sick individual) named Timur Dykes of a Troop Chartered by the LDS Church sexually molested a young man.. the victim will remain nameless in my blog.. if you are that interested you can read about it at this link and others.  Well as it appears he molested more than just this young man.. he did about 17 boys in all over the course of his tenure as an ASM.  That is bad in and of itself.. but here is what really gets me about the whole thing.  In the vain of Youth Protection… it came out in the trial that it was known that he did all this.  He was dismissed from the LDS Church by the Church.. BUT.. the dumb ass’s failed to remove him from the Scout unit.. nor did they report the incident to the Scout Executive which as per BSA policy is required.  Dykes continued to be an Assistant Scoutmaster even though everyone knew what had happened.
And why wait till now to report and sue?  Early 80’s all this happens, now the BSA is on the hook for 60% of the damage here?  What about the bone heads at the LDS church that failed to report and remove this sick bastard from his position?
The Boy Scouts of America has to pay $840,000, the Cascade Pacific Council is on the hook for $210,000, while the LDS church only has to pay $350,000 (which they have already scratched their check for their “portion”)
OK folks. before you start emailing about how I am railing on the Mormons.. I’m not.. I just think that they should be shouldering more of the blame here.

It’s Youth Protection month.. what does that mean to those of us that really do care for the Scouts that pass through our program?  It means we PROTECT them.
If you are not current.. Get that way.  If you are not trained.. Get that way.  If you are a perverted thug that preys on boys.. GET OUT.
You can get to the Boy Scouts Youth protection training by clicking here.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Character hurts

Sunday I had a discussion with a Scout in my Jamboree Troop, he was conflicted because of his commitments to both his High School band in which he is a leader, first chair and peer leader etc. and his opportunities to be a leader within our Jamboree troop.
You see, we have a camp out that is our final dress rehearsal before departing for Jamboree.  The camp out will be for the entire contingent from our Council, 13 troops geared up and ready for a great time at the National Jamboree.
That same weekend the High School band is traveling to Disneyland, a reward for outstanding performance and winning a bunch of awards.  This particular Scout has been instrumental (no pun intended) in getting the band where they are today.
The readers digest version of the story is that he is paid in full for both the National Jamboree, and the Band Trip to Disneyland.  He has dedicated as much time to Scouts as he has to band and therefore is reaping the benefits of being an Eagle Scout and a leader in the band.
Enter the conflict.
He must attend the All contingent camp out.. and he is torn as a leader for the Disney Trip.  What does he do?  His character is telling him that either way is a lose lose situation.  He is damned if he does, he is damned if he doesn’t.
The great part of this story is that the conflict is there.  This tells me that he is extremely conscientious and does not want to let either down.  He has an understanding of commitment and has the courage to make a decision that will lead him to letting one or the other down.  Now, neither is life or death, but what it demonstrates to me is that he has the Character to stand tall and do what is right.
He asked me what I thought he should do?  Not to use it as a cop out.. but my answer was to do what he thought was right.  And that either way he had my support.
He has made a good choice, and in this case, while it is lose lose to a certain degree… he is a winner and I think it has a lot to do with the development that he underwent on his way to becoming an Eagle.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

the Scoutmaster Minute Show #53

The Scoutmaster Minute Podcast- 53 The PLC fixing the Train Wreck – April 13, 2010
Welcome back to the Scoutmaster Minute, in this show we will talk about fixing your troop with the PLC.
Inspired from an email I received from a loyal listener, we talk about the success of a Troop and that it starts with the PLC.
Leave feedback in the forums at or on iTunes… or you can drop me an email at 
This show is sponsored by 

Have a Great Scouting Day!

 Standard Podcast [23:29m]

One Little Patch.. One Huge Movement

Prompted from discussion from my podcast with Mike Walton, the World Scout Crest Emblem raised more than an eye brow.
Let me give you some background (I am not going to rehash the discussion from the podcast, you can listen to it using the link on the left).
When I became a Boy Scout, I joined Troop 100 in Brunssum, Holland.  A terrific Troop in the Transatlantic Council.  The Troop was like every other Boy Scout Troop except for the fact that we lived in Holland and at our meetings every Thursday there were Scouts from Holland, Germany, Belgium, England, and Canada in attendance.  They all met with their respective leadership, but we shared the same building and we met on the same night…. and we did many activities together.  Most camp outs had an international flavor, although at 12 years old.. it all just seemed like a normal part of Scouting to me.
After a Scout completed an international event, camp out etc, he was presented with this little purple patch. Everyone in the troop was wearing it as were our “foreign” counterparts.  I remember my Scoutmaster making a big deal about us “getting to wear” this patch, “The kids in the states” he would say don’t get to wear one of these.
You see, from 1956 to 1991 the Boy Scouts of America used the World Scout Crest emblem as an award, presented to those Scouts and Scouters that participated in international events, councils were allowed to come up with their own requirements for the award, but by and large those Scouts that lived within the Transatlantic Council and Far East Council got the nod to wear it.  In 1991 the Boy Scouts of America made it a part of the Uniform and the International Activity Patch replaced it as an award.
Scouts from all over the world have been wearing this little patch for years.  In England the World Scout Emblem is the “joining” badge.  I think this is fitting as once a Scout joins he is in fact joining the World Brotherhood of Scouting.
It’s just a little patch, but from it’s beginning it has been a symbol of a great movement, a movement of peace, adventure, life skills, citizenship, and the spirit of what can happen to this world if we all lived the Scout Oath and Law.
Part of our discussion since the show came out was the fact that we sometimes don’t really do a great job of instructing our Scouts on why we wear the patches we wear.  To most this little purple patch is just a part of the uniform, as much as the American Flag that is proudly worn on the sleeve.  It is just there, we take it for granted that our moms sewed it on when we got our first blue shirt and it just has always been there.
That little purple patch ties us to the founder and to one another in the Brotherhood of Scouting.  I for one will be taking a closer look at how I instruct my Scouts on important things like this.. I suppose since I have been wearing the World Scout Crest Emblem since 1978 I too have taken it for granted.. not any more.
Have a Great Scouting Day!