Month: October 2010

High Tech Good Turn

Have you done your Good Turn today?
Let me introduce you to a high tech way of doing a very old and traditional Scouting practice.  Doing a Good turn has always been a part of Scouting, in fact is was a Good turn that brought Scouting to America.  We all know the story of the unknown Scout in the London fog that met William D. Boyce giving him directions and refusing a tip.  Well if that unknown Scout had an iPhone, not only would he have given directions, but he would have shown a map, called BP and informed him of the visitor, and maybe even used it as a flashlight to assist in getting through the fog.
So here is the Good turn app for Scouts and Scouters in the 21st century!  GOOD TURN, by Stephen Houser. 
The Good Turn iPhone application is a simple yet hi-tech replacement for the age-old good turn coin carried by many boy scouts to remind them to “Do a good turn daily.” It is quick and easy to use; just swipe or double-tap to flip the coin on the screen each day when your good turn has been done. The application shows you have done your good turn for the day, and records the date, time, and location for later reference.
To encourage you to do your good turn each day, the history feature keeps track of your good turns. Each turn can later be recalled. With Location Services (GPS) capable devices your location can also be recorded and displayed on a map and shared with others.
Your good turns can be sent to the Good Turn Website where anyone on the Internet can see that a good turn has been done, including the date, time, and location. You can also see these good turns directly from the application on your phone, overlaid on an interactive world map.

So check out the Good Turn site and iPhone App.. I have it on my phone already, its a great reminder to Do my Good Turn daily!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

The Podcast Gods

Maybe it was a sign, maybe it was a curse, maybe…. ahhh… its just technical Internet stuff… darn you Al Gore…
You may.. or may not have noticed that the SMM Podcast disappeared this week from iTunes.  Yeah.. POOF!! It just vanished into the bites and bits of the electronic world.. Gone, without notice or warning just gone.
I am not sure what happened, but on the eve of Show #66 being posted, the show was removed from iTunes.
But its fixed and back on the net, so sleep well tonight knowing that Scoutmaster Jerry is still out here on the left coast talking away into the mic and acting like he knows a few things about Scouting.
I hope this did not inconvenience anyone, and on behalf of iTunes and Al Gore, inventor of the Internet.. I humbly apologize.
So the show will go on… look for show #66, a discussion on backpacking meals and cooking gear this weekend.
Thanks for hanging in there.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Success for life, another Key

As Scoutmasters we are always trying to find creative ways to get the points of the Scout Oath and Law through to our Scouts.  We find ourselves being life coaches teaching our young men what it means to be a man, to make those ethical choices and always do the right thing.
When I was a Sergeant Major I was in a similar position trying to find ways to develop leaders, motivate soldiers, and make my Battalion a stronger high performance team.
Ultimately it came down to team work and three words:  Passion, Knowledge, and Accountability.  These three words I share with my Scouts now.
Passion.  Be passionate about your life.  Find what drives you and go for it.  Whether it is achieving the Eagle Award or being an Astronaut, you find your passion and drive your life in that direction.
As an adult my passion is my family and doing whatever it takes to make them happy, take care of them, and see them grow to be successful adults.  My Scout troop is one of my passions (along with Scouting in general).  It drives me to be a better Scoutmaster and give the attention needed to the unit and its Scouts.
Knowledge.  Once you know what your passion is, so whatever it takes to learn more about it, how to do it, and study that which will make you successful in it.  Know everything about your passion and you will be great at it.
Accountable.  No matter who you are, where you are, or what organization you are in, you will always be accountable to someone.  This should drive you to doing your very best and achieving the greatest results.
As a father I am accountable to my kids, as an employee I am accountable to my boss, who is accountable to his and so on.  Even the President is accountable to the people of America, and CEOs accountable to the share holders of the company.  There is no escaping accountability.. so do you very best and remember that others are counting on you to make the team a success.
A Quarterback can not get the play off till the Center snaps the ball to him, if the snap goes high the whole play is compromised.  If a member of a Patrol fails to bring his share of the food or a piece of gear to cook, the whole patrol suffers.  Accountability is a key to success in life.
I share this with our Scouts to aid them in growing into good men, men that live the Oath and Law and strive for success in life.
Have a Great Scouting Day!


It is always a good idea to stop and reflect on what just happened while its fresh in the mind.  This last weekend our Troop participated in our Districts Webelos Woods Camp out.  Cause for much reflection.
I know that I say it a lot, and its not to sound like I have the best and brightest, but I am so proud of my Troop and the way our program is running.  After 6 years it is well on the path to everything that I think is important in Scouting.  First and foremost the Scouts do the leading, the planning, and much of the decision making.
That was evident this weekend when our Troop arrived at Webelos Woods and jumped right into preparation for the event they would be hosting.  They picked an event called “Good Camp, Bad Camp” a demonstration of Leave No Trace and camping as a “Backpacking” style troop.
In the course of planning it was decided that the “older” Scouts wanted no part of Webelos Woods in general and would rather take a short Backpacking trip instead.  This left left the First Year Scouts to test their backpacking set up skills and knowledge of Leave No Trace at the Webelos Woods event.  With about a half a month to prepare they did a fantastic job.  I was impressed with the way they showed leadership, teamwork, and excitement as the Webelos Scouts from around the district paid a visit to our camp.  Everything a Scoutmaster could want as I sat in a camp chair by the fire and watched as they taught the Outdoor code and leave no trace to the soon to be Boy Scouts.  In six hours those young Scouts did more to promote what Boy Scouting is all about and what our Troops flavor is than all the recruiting efforts I have done in the last three years.
All the while the “older” guys were on an adventure of their own.  Literally putting their finger on the map and going there.  They ended up hiking to the top of a bluff over looking Butte Creek Scout ranch, making camp and then just hanging out.  It was reported to me by the group that it was the most amazing sun set they ever seen, and that the fog that filled the valley below them looked amazing.  They wandered back to the Troop some time after breakfast Sunday morning and helped some of the younger guys pack up.
Sunday morning after we took down the flag and as I was finishing up my cup of coffee the guys formed a circle and began to talk about the weekend.  I joined the circle along with the ASMs and we went around and everyone shared one thing they liked about the weekend.  It was to my surprise to hear praise for each other and how impressed everyone in the troop was for the first year scouts.  I was happy to hear that the young fellas were excited to teach the Webelos and they had a good experience.  It was nice to hear that they all learned something about camping and themselves this weekend.
In the life of a Scoutmaster, we all hope that we reach the Scouts in our Troops, we all hope that what we teach is being practiced, we all hope that the Scout Oath and Law are truly the guide that our Scouts embrace and live daily.  We see snap shots of these young men during our weekend camp outs and our weekly meetings and it is our hope that we see growth and that they are developing into fine young men.  This past weekend gave me that snap shot.  From First year Scouts coming into their own to “Older” Scouts venturing off to test their skills away from it all.  We saw just how effective the Patrol method is and when used right it produces great results.  Confidence, self reliance, and Leadership tested before our eyes.
I am proud of the Scouts of our Troop, they learn and grow and what more can we ask of them?

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Doing your Good Turn Daily

When I was a Scout the tradition of placing the Scout Badge on upside down until you did you first Good Turn was alive and well.  Once you turned your badge our Scoutmaster would then give you a Good turn coin that you placed in your pocket and moved it to the opposite pocket once you did your good turn for the day.. and move it back after another good turn.. and so on.
It was a symbol, a reminder to live the ideals of Scouting in doing your good turn daily, which is synonymous with Scouting.  It is what the general public expects of Scouts if nothing else.
The ideals of Scouting embodied in doing that good turn are the qualities that make a successful man, they are promises that you make to yourself and live out in your daily life.
Finding the opportunities to do a good deed is easy, they are everywhere, you need only be watchful.  Keep your eyes open and your mind alert.
We now have 87 days in which to demonstrate in the spirit celebration our commitment to Scouting and living those ideals.
So what are you going to do today?
Yesterday, I found a few opportunities.  Giving directions to a couple that had become very lost was the first “Good turn”.  Then the one that I felt made the most difference, a family of Geese were trying to get across a busy street, so I moved my truck to block traffic allowing them to cross safely.  It was a neat sight and no one behind got upset as they too saw the geese and thought it (I imagine) a good thing to do.
The opportunities are all around you… seek them out.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

The Home Stretch with a Good turn

We are in the closing 100 days of 2010!  It has been an amazing year of celebration, but it’s not over till it’s over as they say.
So what are you doing in the closing days of the Boy Scouts of America’s Centennial year?
Recruiting a new member?
Having a final celebration party or gathering?
A public display of some kind, maybe a Scout fair?
Wrapping up one of the Historic Merit Badges with the Scouts?
Completing the requirements for the Year of Celebration segments?
or just living the Scout Slogan.. Doing a Good Turn Daily?
That is a great place to start and end the year.  Doing a good turn daily has been the hallmark of the BSA for 100 years.  Seeking opportunities to be helpful and kind to those around us, those in need, those that just can not do it for themselves.
So here is the challenge Scouts and Scouters… we only have 88 days left in 2010..
Do at least 88 Good Turns to wrap up the 100th Anniversary of Scouting in America!
Let me know what you do, I am curious as to how you find the opportunities to live out Scouting in your daily life.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

SMM Podcast #64 – Talking Boy Scout Stuff!

Welcome Back to the SMM Podcast. In this show I had the privilege of chatting with a great group of Scouters.

We have decided to hold a monthly “BOY SCOUT” topic chat session here at PTCMedia. This was the first, and of course as the host, I hit the record button once the chat room moved into Skype. What happened was Scouting Podcast magic.. well… maybe not magic.. but a great discussion none the less. I look forward to doing the future, stay tuned for more details on that.
In this show you are going to hear some discussion on the Roles and Responsibilities of Scout leaders, Scoutmasters and Assistants in particular, Parent involvement, the Scout led Troop and how they plan, and more. Joining me for the first chat was; Clarke Green, Miss Emily, Miss Liberty, Scoutmaster Shawn, Steve O’Conner, Kenny Jenkins, Kevin Montano, and Adam Cox. The result.. good Scout talk… kinda like hanging out at the meeting in the parking lot after Roundtable.

Hope you like the show, it is a bit long.. but when you get that many Scouters talking.. well, you know how it goes.

Drop me a note at, leave feedback on itunes (we need the numbers to get Scouting at the top of the page) and of course leave a comment at!

You can listen to the show or download it here!

Have a Great Scouting Day!