Month: December 2010

and staying with Green Bar Bill

Ten Essentials of Scoutmastership
By William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt

A belief in boys that will make you want to invest yourself and your time on their behalf.
A zeal focused upon one point—the boy’s happiness through his formative years—”A happy boy is a good boy, a good boy is a good citizen.”
An immense faith in Scouting as the program that will best serve to mold our youth into fine men.
A realization that to the boys Scouting is a game—to you, a game with a purpose: Character building and Citizenship training.
A knowledge that to your boys you are Scouting. “What you are speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say!”
A steadfastness of purpose to carry out a planned program with energy and perseverance, patience and good humor.
A willingness to submerge yourself and make boy leaders lead and grow through an effective application of the Patrol Method.
A desire to advance in Scoutmastership by making use of training offered and material available on the subject.
A readiness to work hand in hand with home, church, sponsoring institution, school, Local Council, National Council for the good of the individual boy and the community as a whole.
A love of the outdoors in all its phases and a vision of the hand that created it.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

The Ideal Boy run Troop

William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt described his ideal boy run as follows:
“Troop No. 3 has its share of Merit Badge Scouts and streamers testifying to its proficiency at Council Rallies and Camporees. Yet, its Scoutmaster is never much in evidence. He keeps himself in the background and offers only such stimulus, guidance and is necessary for the best development of Patrol efficiency and Troop spirit. The meetings of the Troop are planned and executed by the boys themselves through their chosen boy leaders. Always one Patrol or another has a surprise to spring on the others, such as a stunt, a game, a contest. There are never any problems of discipline, because the discipline comes from within each boy and is not stamped upon him from without. Advancement is steady because the boys of their own desire are actually practicing Scoutcraft, not only at Troop meetings and occasional Troop hikes, but at numerous individual Patrol meetings and hikes in which no adults take part. Each Patrol does its own thinking and can be trusted to carry a job through to the end under its own leadership.
 
And he provided an easy test to see if your troop is using the Patrol Method:

An old experienced Scoutmaster said once: “The test of the Patrol Method is in the easy chair!” His audience looked nonplused, so he elaborated his statement: “Get an easy chair and place it in a corner of the Troop meeting room. If you can sink into it just after the opening ceremony and just sit throughout the meeting, without a worry for its success, without lifting a finger or moving a foot until time comes for the closing-well, then your Troop is run on the Patrol Method-your boy leaders are actually leading.”


That, figuratively, is the test-as exemplified by Troop No. 3 above and indicates the condition toward which you should aim for the future of your Troop. For unless a Troop makes use of the Patrol Method it cannot be considered a Scout Troop, since “the Patrol Method is not ONE method in which Scouting can be carried on. It is the ONLY method.”


And the two-fold secret of success is simple:
I. Make the Patrol the unit ALWAYS, in and out through thick and thin, for better and worse in victory and defeat, in games arid on hikes, and in camp.
II. Train your boy leaders for their positions, place the responsibility of leadership on them and let them exercise it.”
Thanks Green Bar Bill!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Who is today’s "Green Bar Bill"?

I have been doing a lot of reading lately in old Scout literature.  Old handbooks, Boy’s Life Magazines from the ’40’s and other material in an attempt to do well.. a couple things.  First learn more about Scouting, second learn more about William Hillcourt aka ‘Green Bar Bill’, and finally to develop some good resources for assisting my Patrol Leaders Council in their development.  Not that the BSA does have some good training material out there (NYLT etc), but the BSA really does not have that much out there for training youth leaders in the Patrol method, at least not as much as they have in the past.  And in my opinion (which is worth 2 cents and a cup of coffee) the new Scoutmasters Handbook is not worth the read compared to Scoutmaster Handbooks of even 30 years ago… the older the handbook it seems the more information.
Anyway to the point.
In doing all this reading I keep asking myself, “Who is the William Hillcourt of today?  Who is the prolific writer, teacher, coach in the Scouting movement today?  Who is that person that has filled the might big shoes of Green Bar Bill?
And the answer is…. NO ONE.
The information, writings, drawings, and stories of Green Bar Bill live on today. His work is still relevant in Scouting today.  The answer NO ONE bothers me though… we need a Green Bar Bill!  Don’t we?  So who is it?  Who is the National Figure of the Boy Scouts of America today?.. please don’t say Pedro.
I don’t have a real answer for this question, but the more I dig and learn the more I long for another William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt.  Don’t you?

Have a Great Scouting Day!

A Christmas Gift

You know the older I get the more reflective I get.. yep.. I glow in the dark..
I find myself taking more and more time to reflect on things, events that have made a mark on my life, both good and bad, times that we share as family and friends, and thoughts and ideas that seem to shape me more and more these days.
Last Monday it was time for the Scoutmaster minute at the closing of the troop meeting.  The SPL called me up.  I had just got to the meeting (long, long day at work) and really had nothing prepared, but as I looked at the parents in the back of the room and the Scouts staring at me waiting for words of wisdom to come flowing gracefully from my mouth, words that would move them and prompt action, a message of such importance that… oh sorry.. got caught in my mind again..
Any way- I had nothing prepared, but I looked around and it all came back to the this;  the greatest gift that our Scouts could give their parents this year.. Living the Scout Oath and Law.
I have sat with many Scouts during Scoutmaster conferences and asked that simple question, “what are you doing to live the Oath and Law every day?”  I get lots answers, “I am nice to my sister”, “I never lie”, I take out the trash.. and never ask to get paid for it”, “Well… I think I am helpful”.  Answers that while they touch on the points of the Law and maintain the theme of the promise can surely be given more thought.
The Scout Oath, a promise we make to our selves and to others moves us to do good. The Law is 12 simple words that if thought about will lead one down the right path in life.  But as a gift to those around them, it could be life changing.
So I asked the Scouts of our Troop to give that gift, the gift of living.. not just words.. but living the Oath and Law.  It tough, I know, but the things in life that are worth it never come easy.
I wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas and the best of wishes in the New Year!
Merry Christmas!

National Outdoor Badges

I know that you all saw this in the latest issue of Scouting Magazine, but they only gave you a link to the requirements… well if your unit is anything like mine this will be a snap and a great incentive to get those younger Scouts to work on the trail to First Class.
I really like this program and think that it challenges the Scout to do more than just show up.
The hiking part is really neat to me.. 100 miles of backpacking or hiking.. YEAHHHH BABY!!
But really.. thats what, only two 50 milers.. easy stuff.. right?  It is a challenge and I am glad that every Scout will have the opportunity to earn it, but not all will.  This is for those that really want to get the most out of Scouting.. so encourage your Scouts to earn the National Outdoor Badges!
Here are the requirements:
National Outdoor Badges for Camping, Hiking, Aquatics, Riding, and Adventure

The five National Outdoor Badges recognize a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who demonstrates both knowledge and experience in camping, hiking, aquatics,riding, or adventure. Scouts earning the National Outdoor badges have demonstrated that they are knowledgeable, safe, and comfortable in the outdoor activity covered by the badge.
National Outdoor badges may be earned in the following areas:

Camping. A Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn the National Outdoor Badge for Camping upon successfully completing the following requirements:
1.Earn the First Class rank.
2.Earn the Camping merit badge.
3.Earn two of the following three merit badges: Cooking, First Aid, Pioneering.
4.Complete 25 days and nights of camping—including six consecutive days (five nights) of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America—including nights camped as part of requirements 1 through 3 above.
A gold device may be earned for each additional 25 nights of camping. A silver device is earned for each additional 100 nights of camping. The Scout may wear any combination of devices totaling his current number of nights camping.
Hiking. A Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn the National Outdoor Badge for Hiking upon successfully completing the following requirements:
1.Earn the First Class rank.
2.Earn the Hiking and Orienteering merit badges.
3.Complete 100 miles of hiking or backpacking under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America, including miles hiked as part of requirement 2.
A gold device may be earned for each additional 50 miles hiked. A silver device is earned for each additional 200 miles of hiking. The Scout may wear any combination of devices totaling his current number of miles hiking.
Aquatics. A Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn the National Outdoor Badge for Aquatics upon successfully completing the following requirements:
1.Earn the First Class rank.
2.Earn the Swimming and Lifesaving merit badges.
3.Earn the Mile Swim BSA Award.
4.Earn at least one of the following merit badges: Canoeing, Rowing, Small Boat Sailing, Whitewater. Complete at least 25 hours of on-the-water time, applying the skills that you learned in the merit badges.
5.Complete at least 50 hours of any combination of swimming, canoeing, rowing, small-boat sailing, or whitewater activity under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America, including time spent in requirements 2 through 4.
A gold device may be earned for each additional 25 hours of aquatic activity. A silver device is earned for each additional 100 hours of aquatic activity. The Scout may wear any combination of devices totaling his current number of hours of aquatic activity.
Riding. A Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn the National Outdoor Badge for Riding upon successfully completing the following requirements:
1.Earn the First Class rank.
2.Complete at least one of the following:
3.Cycling merit badge and 100 miles of cycling; or
4.Horsemanship merit badge and 50 miles of horseback riding.
5.Complete 200 miles of riding activities, either on a non-motorized bike or a stock animal, under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America, including the miles in requirement 2.
A gold device may be earned for each additional 100 miles of riding. A silver device is earned for each additional 400 miles of riding. The Scout may wear any combination of devices totaling his current number of miles of riding.
Adventure. A Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn the National Outdoor Badge for Adventure upon successfully completing the following requirements:
1.Earn the First Class rank.
2.Complete either the Wilderness Survival or the Emergency Preparedness merit badge.
3.Complete 10 of any combination or repetition of the following adventure activities under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America:
4.A backpacking trip lasting three or more days and covering more than 20 miles without food resupply
5.A canoeing, rowing, or sailing trip lasting three or more days and covering more than 50 miles without food resupply
6.A whitewater trip lasting two or more days and covering more than 20 miles without food resupply
7.A climbing activity on open rock, following Climb On Safely principles, that includes camping overnight
8.Earn the National Historic Trails Award
9.Earn the 50-Miler Award
10.Attend any national high-adventure base or any nationally recognized local high-adventure or specialty-adventure program
Items 3a-g may be repeated as desired. A single activity that satisfies multiple items in 3a-g may be counted as separate activities at the discretion of the unit leader. Similarly, a single activity that doubles an item in 3a-d may be counted as two activities at the discretion of the unit leader. A gold device may be earned for each additional five activities. A silver device is earned for each additional 20 activities. The Scout may wear any combination of devices totaling his current number of activities.

Have a Great Scouting Day!