Month: February 2011

>Stop and smell the roses (9/100)

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There has been a lot of discussion lately about how much time and the toll Scouting takes on the life of a Scouter.  And while this is true in some cases, I think it is all about priorities and taking the time to stop and smell the roses.
For most of us, we have a family that goes along with our Scouting life.  Kids in the program, wife that is supportive or even a part of it.  But then there are the cases that the spouse does not really understand, or the kids have all grown and gone.  But Scouting remains.
We all do this for one reason or another, mostly because we see the value added to the youth of America.  Simply put.  Scouting does good things.
As you hang around Scouting long enough you develop friendships and parts of the program that you just fall in love with.  Being part of the Training team in your district or council.  Working at Pow Wow or Scouting University that kind of thing.
For others Scouting goes deeper, it is not only an activity but a passion.  Collections, meetings, friendships, and keeping their finger in every piece of the pie.  I used to be that guy, now the passion is still there, so is the collection, and certainly the friendships.. but I learned a few years back that every piece of the pie did not need my finger in it.. I needed to stop and smell the roses.. my family.
My family is the most important thing in my life.  Yes the most important.  I am blessed that they are all in Scouting and understand my passion for the program, but Scouting is made up of wonderful people and it was time to let other wonderful people get their fingers soaked in the flavors of Scouting.  I pulled a few of my fingers out.
Balance is the key and every once in a while it is important to remember to smell those roses.  It makes you a better Scouter.  Am I ever leaving Scouting.  No, I don’t think so.  There is so much added value in this program and I am passionate about it.  I love the people that have become life long friends and I enjoy teaching, coaching, and training Americas young men.  So no.. I don’t have to leave Scouting.. I just need to maintain balance and smell the roses.

Yesterday was another Wood Badge study day.  I went shopping for my food for this weekends Troop camp out and signed Blue cards.  That was it for day 9 of #100daysofscouting.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

>Physical Development Merit Badge

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In an effort to learn something new every day I have been a quest to learn more about some merit badges.  I have a sash that belonged to my Father in Law.  The merit badges are mostly Type D and E merit badges, so they range from 1942 to 1960.  They are interesting merit badges to be sure and fun to compare with the merit badges of today.
Monday night a Scout in my Troop brought in his Dad’s old merit badge sash.  They are all Type C merit badges (1936 to 1946).  He had framed them and on the back identified all the badges except one.  He could not find it.  I told him I would check my collections, literature, and of course the Internet.
My first search was via good ol Google.  Nothing.
Second, I went to eBay and a few other well known websites for Scouting history and historical information.  I saw the badge, but it was never identified.
Then, I went to the place I should have started.  My Boy Scout Handbook collection.  I pulled out my 1942 handbook.. and right there on the XII is the merit badge.  The Personal Development merit badge. 
So here is what I learned about it.
It was a merit badge from 1914 to 1952.  In 1952 it was replaced by the Personal Fitness merit badge.
Here are the requirements for completion of the badge.
1.  Produce satisfactory evidence of habitual good posture.
2.  Have no remediable physical defects uncorrected.
3.  Produce satisfactory evidence of daily practice of hygienic habits and a thorough knowledge of a standard book on hygiene.
4.  Pass three of the tests, according to his weight in the Athletics Merit Badge Schedule.
5.  Demonstrate proper form in running, high jump, hurdle and shot-put.
6.  Make up a daily drill of ten exercises for Scouts, giving proper exercise for the whole body; present evidence of having practiced this daily for six months and having taught the same to two or more boys for a period of three months.
7.  Demonstrate reasonable efficiency in two outdoor games requiring physical development; give evidence of having taught at least ten Scout games to a group of boys, and know ten more.
Habitual good posture?  Well that would be a tough one for a bunch of the guys in my Troop…
Any way it was interesting to learn about a merit badge from the past.
I am a believer in that you can’t move forward without knowing the past.  History is fascinating to me and the history of our Scouting heritage is a subject near and dear to my heart.
So for the rest of the evening…
Do some podcast work.
Study my Wood badge syllabus for a little bit.
Family time.
Well.. I suppose that would be a wrap on day 8 of #100daysofscouting.
Have a Great Scouting day!

>#100daysofscouting – Day 7 Advancement

>Day 7 of the #100daysofscouting project ended at our Troop meeting last night.  Final preparations for this weekends camp out and Scoutmaster minute that left many of the Scouts wondering if they were ever going to be Eagle Scouts.
Ok let me explain…
Advancement is but one of the methods of Scouting.  Just one, an important one… yeah, I guess, I mean being an Eagle Scout will open doors for you down the road and the advancement process is designed to work the Scout through a series of skills and challenges that prepare him for the “real world”.  Sitting on Boards of Review prepares him for interviews and social interactions with other adults.  Service projects prepare him to give back to his community and understand selflessness.
BUT-
If a Scout participates in his unit fully, and never advances is he not going to get some of that?  Is his Scouting experience going to be a total loss?  Will he be considered a failure? 
My point last night was that the advancements number one goal is to teach the Scout responsibility.  It is the Scouts responsibility to get it done.. not the Scoutmasters, not the Committee chair.. it is up to the Scout to become and Eagle Scout… he will get lots of help along the way.. but it is up to him to do the work, seek the help, and then present himself for advancement.
If they are going to wait for me to hold their hand.. well.. then they can count of finishing their Scouting career a Tenderfoot.. (we get them that far).
Harsh?
You see, in life there are winners and losers.  Young men that choose to be in Scouts are winners.  They are setting themselves up with skills, attitudes, and competencies that will help them get through life.  IF they take advantage of Scouting they can do wonderful things.  High Adventure opportunities, service, skills, and a whole lot of fun.  But they need to do it.. it can not be handed to them.. that’s not how it works in real life.
Well.. that was day 7.  I had 11 parents come up to me after the meeting and thank me for saying what I said in the Scoutmaster Minute.
What today will bring… who knows.. it is sure to be another Great Scouting Day!  Have one!

>#100daysofscouting – Day 6 Recap

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Well really nothing much today… spent a great day hanging with the family.  Did a little work on the blog, but really not a Scouting day.
I posted earlier today about the FISH program.  I really encourage you to follow those links and see what they have to offer.  I am not sponsored or get a push from them.. but I love their philosophy.
So check it out.
Now on to your Scouting habit…
Remember that when the family (Wife) is happy.. you can do Scouting!  So don’t forget about Valentines day!
Took my family out for a Valentines dinner tonight… it was nice a relaxing and a great night out with the wife and kids.
OK… lets all make a commitment to have a Great Scouting Week!

>#100DaysofScouting – Days.. 4, 5, and 6

>Days 4, 5, and 6 were eventful and plenty of good Scouting Moments…
Unfortunately I have not taken the time, till now to sit down and jot down the thoughts… well I am going to claim that time and space was the reason.  Friday (day 4) was my Birthday.. and I made a pretty good attempt at not being on the computer.. between a very full day at work and going out to dinner with my family, Friday and posting on the blog just was not going to happen…
But Friday did allow for some pretty good moments in my Scouting life. 
I am going to call days 4, 5, and 6.. Wood Badge days.
Friday, I answered questions via phone from 6 Scouters from our district regarding the upcoming Wood Badge course.  I shared with them what they could expect from the course and how it has impacted my life.  Wood Badge has been one thing that as a Scouter I can point to and say has impacted every part of my adult life.  Camping, teaching scouts, National Jamboree, being a District trainer.. none of that compared to the lasting impact that Wood Badge has had on me as a person, a Dad, an employee, and of course as a Scouter.
So then Saturday was our Wood Badge Staff development training.  I can go on an on about it.. but lets just say that in the context of Wood Badge and Scouting.. the Troop Guides (and Staff in general) moved a step closer to being a “High Performance Team”.
We practiced presentations, got to know one another a bit more.. ate a nice meal.. and watched a video called FISH!… I can honestly say that one video made my day.  FISH is a video that introduces the institutional philosophy of a Fish marker in Seattle, Washington.  Essentially they have 4 principles, and I won’t go into great detail in this post, but these four principles are the driving force in the success of their business.  They are simple and tested to be effective and while I know that I use them in my everyday life currently, I will make an effort to do it more in the future.
The principles are:  Play, Make their Day, Be there, and Choose your attitude.  If your organization (Pack, Troop, Crew, District) wants more information.. and I think you do.. hit that link I put up.. or this one LINK!
Anyway.. the FISH presentation made my day yesterday.. and that is my Scouting moment for Saturday.
Today is Sunday.. and I suppose I will have to recap the goings on of today later.
All I can say for certain is that every time I come out of a Wood Badge event.. my batteries are charged and I am better for it.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

>There’s No Crying In Baseball!!!

>I received a phone call yesterday from one of my Scouts.. the name is not important, neither is his age, he is a Scout and has enough confidence in his Scoutmaster to give him a call when he needs an answer to life’s pressing questions.
He started the call by explaining to me that I was the only one that could answer this question that he knew.  The question, is it ok for a man to cry?
He explained that a coach at school had told him that grown men don’t cry and that if he wanted crying was a sign that he was weak.  He went on to say that he had never seen his Dad cry.. so it must not be ok.
Well, I told him.. grown men do cry and it perfectly ok to cry.  There are moments in your life that you should cry and there are times where if you don’t.. well… I would suggest you have no feelings.
I shared some examples of the toughest guys I know breaking down and crying.  I told him a story of the first time I drove through the town of Safwan Iraq, the most desolate, run down, absolute impoverished place I have I ever seen.  Starving kids standing along a stretch of road begging us to throw them food.  I was a Command Sergeant Major heading North into the interior of Iraq with my Battalion.  The driver of my HUMMV was a tough son of gun… I had seen him in plenty of situations that would make a burly biker flinch.. and he was sobbing.  As was I.
I cried when my kids were born, all of them, and I cry at movies that tear at my heart strings.
Crying is a healthy sign of emotions.  It means you are normal and that your care.  It means that you have empathy and that you can moved to tears.  It releases fear and and pain and anxiety.
It pleases me that he has confidence in me that he can call and ask these kinds of questions.
The Scope of a Scoutmasters job goes way beyond knots and first aid.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

>#100DaysofScouting -3 of 100 Wrap up

>Another Great Scouting Day.
Round Table tonight was fun, I made an announcement for the up coming Wood Badge course, answered some questions regarding Wood Badge.
Promoted the 2013 National Scouting Jamboree.
Assisted in the Boy Scout break out.. we talked about planning and preparing for a 50 miler.  I talked about contingency plans, maps, and information that you leave behind.  I also shared information of the SPOT.
Talked with some of the Scouts from the OA chapter about Rendezvous coming up.
Answered more questions about Wood Badge and even got a Committee Chair from one of the Troops to race home and register.
So all in all.. it was a great Round table and a fantastic Day of Scouting.
Tomorrow I will share a conversation I had earlier today with a Scout.. It really brings to light the full scope of Scoutmastership.
Have a Great Scouting Day!