Month: March 2011

Who are you waiting for?

Tonight before I left work I popped into the restroom to clean up, wash my hands etc…  I opened the door to find a sink over flowing and about 6 inches of water on the floor.  One of the sinks had been plugged with paper towel and the sink left on.  I thought to myself “who would do this?”  I turned off the water, rolled up my sleeves and started digging out the paper towels that were jammed into the drain.  Another employee walked in and saw me elbow deep in the sink and standing in the water.  He asked “What are you doing?”.. ” You don’t need to do that, some one else will clean that up.”  I looked at him and asked him who?  And why would I leave it alone.  Just because someone else showed a lack of respect, does not mean that we should.
You see this all comes down to respect.  Someone did not have enough respect for our company and thought it would be funny to be disrespectful.  Waste of water, paper towels, and someone elses time cleaning up the mess is a total lack of respect.
We don’t run in camp, why?  Because you can trip on a guy line and break someone else’s tent.. that is a sign of disrespect.  We see trash all over our town.. a lack of respect.. but then again.. some one else will clean it up.. right?
So who are we waiting for?  Who is it that cleans up our mess?  Who is it that turns off the water?  Who is it that repairs the broken tent?  Who is that pays for waste and abuse?
One act of disrespect causes a wave of “Some one else” having to react.  Some one else cleaning a mess.  Some one else… well you get the point.
Scouts and Scouters.  The word Respect is not in the Scout oath or Law.. or is it.  Don’t you think Every word in the Law has an element of Respect in it?  I do.
So who are you waiting for?
One word… RESPECT.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Rainy days and Sundays…

Well not exactly the title to that song.. but its raining here in the great NW and I want to get out and work with my new Hennessy Hammock.  My oldest son and I bought Hennessy Hammocks yesterday.  For those of you that went to Jambo.. you saw them there.  Hennessy Hammocks had a nice display set up all week.  There was even a Troop that used them for the entire Jamboree.  You can read about that here.  A replacement to our conventional tents and a great alternative when trying to leave no trace.  Hammocks leave absolutely no footprint, and with the tree huggers that are provided, there is no damage to the trees.
As with all my gear, I probably over research things and check as many reviews as possible to find just the right brand and type of gear.  We came to the conclusion that breaking into the world of Hammock Camping (a great addition to the Backpack), the Hennessy was the way to go.  We purchased the Hennessy Expedition.  My son bought the standard, velcro bottom entry, while I decided on the A-sym zip.  That is a full zipper entry into the hammock.  I like this style as it is more tent like and easier for my old body to get in and out of.. and it makes a great camp chair for lounging before its time to hit the rack.
Here are things that I really like about the hammock.  Keep in mind I have yet to sleep in it.. but all reviews say it is the best nights sleep you will ever have camping.  And consistent sleep too, the same hang every time, no matter where you are.  Anyway.  I like the no see’um mess bug net.  Totally encloses the hammock for a bug free zone.  I love that when you lay in it.. you are flat.  I was concerned that you would wake up looking like a banana.  I like the rain fly or canopy.  Light weight and plenty big.  I like that when you lay in the hammock there are no pressure points.  You can role and lay on your side, stomach, or back.. I like to kind of ball up when I sleep.  Couple my Big Agnes sleeping bag and the hammock, and I am looking at some great sleeping out in the woods.
My wife asked about what to if there are no trees.  Well up here, we don’t have that problem.  But even in central Oregon when we are Rock climbing, I can using climbing rigging to hang the hammock.. or put in on the ground like a tent, using my trekking poles to elevate the ends.
There is a built in ridge line inside the hammock for storage and it maintains the hammock’s shape as it hangs.  There is no drooping of the bug net or rain fly with the ridge line.
All in I am excited about getting out in the woods with it.  Yesterday we set it up in the backyard, but the rain started and I took it down, I did get to lay in it for a few minutes.  Enough to tease me into wanting more.
So today its raining (again)…  so we are tweeking the hammocks a bit.  The way it comes is good, but a few tweeks here and there make everything better.  For example.  The recommended set up is using the tree huggers and tying a series of knots to hang the hammock.  I modified the huggers using a carabiner and rappel rings.  I saw it online and it works great.  We also bought some 550 cord (paracord) to add an additional ridge line specifically for the rain fly.  This will allow us to hang the rain fly a little higher than designed.  I think this will be advantageous when dealing with condensation.
I will do a full review after I get a night sleep in it.  It will going into the pack for many nights of use stating at the April camp out with my Troop.
Today for #100daysofscouting..
I worked on my camping gear.
Shot out some emails, one to the Troop historian and a few others.
Talked on the phone with a Scouter from the Silver Beaver nominating committee (can’t tell).
Worked on the blog.
Recorded a new ad for PTC (excited about this one).

Have a Great Scouting Day!

The Scoutmasterminute Blog has a new home

If you are reading this.. well then you have properly been directed to the new home of The SMMBlog.
I moved the domain to wordpress for various reasons, but the bottom line is it is working.
Much of the “old stuff” is moved, but please be patient while I play with themes and widgets and work to making this a blog worth reading.  As is this blog.. I too am a work in progress.
Thanks for your continued support of the SMMBlog and podcast.  I hope you like the new format.  Stay tuned for more great content.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

>You can do it!

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I was listening to a podcast the other day, it was pretty political in nature, but the guest on the show said something that I thought was pretty interesting.
Now, I am not going to get into politics here.  This is NOT a political Blog.  I have personal feelings about politics and this is not the forum for it.  And the context of the original comment really has nothing to do with how I took and processed it in my mind.
What he said was that “a person (individual) can either be anything, or they can be nothing”.
Here is how I processed that, and by the way it is pretty much in line with what he was saying (take the politics out of it).
A person that apply’s them self, works hard, and gives 100% can be anything in this country.  I feel that is true no matter what race, creed, or demographic you find yourself in.  There are stories every day about rising from the bottom and making something out of themselves.  We see it in TV shows like the “Biggest Looser” where a person that is motivated to do better will.  They take advantage of a program that will help them, but at the end of the day.. it is their personal drive and will that makes them stay on track and find success.
We can apply that in every part of our lives.  I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth and can honestly say that I have never went without.  Why?  Because my parents and their parents were hard workers.  They believed that they had a responsibility to take care of their families.  My Dad worked multiple jobs and lots of over time so our family could have the things that we wanted.  That work ethic carried from generation to generation and I have it too.  My parents and their parents never took and hand out or asked the government for anything.  They made a comfortable life for themselves by working hard.
I have never not had a job.  When I was a teen ager, I walked dogs, mowed lawns, shoveled snow, house sat, baby sat, raked leaves, and rolled newspapers for delivery.  I joined the Army after High School to see the world and have fun.  That I did.  When I got out of the Army, I sold jeans, worked as a handyman, cut trail, repaired Mountain Bikes, and drive a Truck for UPS.  I have not had a day that I was unemployed.
I see so many young people.. and older folks alike that walk away from work and then complain that unemployment is too high.  Where I work, they hired 22 new full time employees.  All but 2 quit, when asked why they would turn away an $80,000 a year job with full benefits they said the work was to hard.
They do not have what it takes to be successful.
We can be whatever we want, if we apply ourselves.  We see it in the papers every day.. there are private companies all over our area that are screaming for employees.  And yet we have 10% unemployment.
I am compassionate, but have a hard time feeling sorry for someone that will not work.
We can be anything.. or nothing.  It is a choice.  Are there exceptions?  Sure there are.  There are people with real disabilities that can not work.  But then again, there are many people taking advantage of the system.  Fully able to work and make something out of there lives.. but they make a choice.
This has nothing to do with race, religion, or economic back ground.
Did you know that after the civil war there were two “freed slaves” that became Millionaires?  Yes it is true.. how.. they worked hard and made smart choices.  I love a good rags to riches story.. and when you break them down, it was not the lottery or a hand out that made them what they are.  It always comes down to hard work.
Now, it may seem that I am being harsh and insensitive.. and maybe I am.  But when it comes to teaching Scouts to be good men, men of Character, good citizens, and fit.  I think it is important that they all develop a strong will and work ethic.  We have programs in Scouting that can reinforce that.  But we must make it happen.
Youth leadership, the merit badge program, adventure and the list goes on.
We need to believe that our Scouts can be anything, more important.. they need to believe that they can be anything.. or they can be nothing.  Their choice.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

>SMMPodcast show #80

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Show number 80 is out and ready for your ear buds.
In this show we discuss the questions we posted in the Serve to Lead entry.  Join me as we open up the questions and talk about how they make every leader a success.
We also answer a listener email on forming Patrols and wrap up with a great discussion by Baden Powell on how we Scoutmaster need to be mindful of the example we set.
Leave feedback here.. on iTunes, or drop me an email.  You can also use the SMMVoice mail box (find that over there on your left).  I really like to hear what you think.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

You can also listen by clicking right here

>Serve to Lead

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Last Night at our Troop meeting we talked about leadership, among other things.  I shared with the Scouts some questions that they need to ask themselves in the context of leadership.  Now, these questions come from a book called Serve to Lead, by James Strock.  He is an author and speaker on leadership.  I found it interesting, but I guess not to surprising that the questions that Strock asks and answers in the book are essentially principles that I learned early on as a young leader in the Army.
The point is that they set a leader on a path to do the right thing by the ones in his charge.  How does this apply to Boy Scouts?  It all applies as we should be teaching our Scouts the difference between a leader and a boss and that leadership, by design, asks the leader to be a servant to the led.
Here are the questions.  Ask yourself these:
First.  Who are you serving?  It is important for you to know those that you serve.  What are their needs?  How are they motivated?  How do they learn?  What do they like and dislike?
Second.  How can you best serve?  What is your leadership style and how do you use it?  What needs are you are meeting in your leadership?
Third.  Are you making your unique contribution?  What is the legacy you want to leave behind?  What is it about your leadership that people will remember you by?
And finally.  Are you getting better everyday?  This one I think is extremely important.  I do something everyday to better myself.  Learn something new, read, write, or find a better way to teach, coach, train the Scouts of my troop.  You must get better every day or you will not be a better leader.
Now some of that you may be thinking.. you can’t expect an 11 year patrol leader to get.  Hogwash!
They will get it because they are asking it of themselves.  The expectation of an 11 year old will not be that of a 16 year old.  Experience will play a big part in the answers they give themselves.  But planting the seeds and asking the questions will set them all on the path to effective leadership.
The cornerstone of the Scout led, youth led, boy led, whatever you wish to call it is that Scouts lead.  At every level, we need to allow them the opportunity to seek improvement, learn and develop into leaders.  Each one with his own style and way, but all finding ways to lead.
Older Scouts develop their leadership and pass it on to the younger Scouts by becoming the teachers and coaches of the Troop.  They pass on their skills and attitudes and so it goes within the Troop.  That is how the leadership culture in your troop grows.
Its pretty simple.  The leader needs to understand that he is there to serve.. not to be served.  We have no boss’s in the BSA.
So how can you best serve?  Teach them, Trust them, and let them lead!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

>The Community of Dedicated Service

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Unlike the Jamboree experience, which yielded a count down to the event (which everyone seemed to love), putting together a great Troop, heading out to the East Coast for tours and a fantastic week of the greatest single Scouting event I have been to, and memories for a life time.  Wood badge has now become a big(ger) part of my life.  Not to fill a void or find more to do, but since I have been asked to participate on staff and ever since we began our staff development sessions I have learned a couple huge things about Wood Badge and Scouting.
Wood Badge is not just a course.  It is a community.  I went to Wood Badge in 2005.  A proud member of the Beaver Patrol WE1-492-1-05.  It was the first time in my Adult Scouting life that I had really stepped outside of the friendly confines of my District.  Yeah, when I was a Cubbie leader, I attended Pow Wow and had gone to resident camp with the Scouts in the Dens and Pack, but Wood Badge was different.  It was bigger in a sense.  I met Scouters from every district, every program area, and many differing skill levels and various levels of leadership.  The Beaver patrol had a Scoutmaster, an Assistant Scoutmaster, a Sea Scout Skipper, a Committee Chair, a Cubmaster, and Committee member in it.  About as diverse a group as you can get.  We gelled immediately and had a great time.  Many of the staffers of our course became good friends too.
After we finished our course and were eventually “beaded” it seemed that the patrol kept in contact and at many council, OA, and community events we seemed to bump into one another, always with laughter and the shared memories of our time together.  Jamboree became a gathering place for Wood Badgers also and the community grew for me.  Conversations would take us back to Gilwell and the time we had even if we were all courses apart and representative of all the critters that grace Gilwell Field.
Now I am a Staffer and the community continues to grow.  Friendships are rekindled and made, experiences are shared, and as our staff becomes a high performance team I am humbled by the group the I find myself a part of.
In 2010 I was awarded the Silver Beaver, an honor I am still not sure I should have, but none the less, becoming a Silver Beaver recipient launched me into another level of my Scouting life.  Now I am not equating the Silver Beaver to higher honors here, but I was recently watching the HBO series “The Pacific”.  There is a scene in the movie were SGT John Basilone is being counseled by LTC “Chesty” Puller about his notification of being awarded the Medal of Honor. Stay with me here.. I know that the Silver Beaver is NOT the Medal of Honor.. my point is coming up here real quick.  John Basilone was know to be quite the partier and had a knack for not so much getting into trouble.. but making it.  After a night of partying, Chesty Puller notified SGT Basilone that he was being awarded the Medal of Honor, an Honor that put him in the company of very few Marines, an honor that would change his life for ever.  Chesty Puller told him that he needed to start acting like it.  And that is my point.. with the honor of being selected, awarded, or recognized to be a part of such company brings with it some responsibility.. and that is to say, we need to act as if we are worthy of such an honor.  Whether that is an act of heroism that is recognized or dedicated service, the recipient should then continue to demonstrate those values that got him there.  Now this may seem a stretch, but this is my blog and in my mind, well this all works out.  What I am trying to say is this.  When I wear my uniform I have a knot on it that is generally recognized by Scouters as the highest award presented by a Council.  That little knot is symbolic of dedicated service.
When I wear my Wood Badge Beads they too are symbols of dedicated service and a willingness to go beyond “regular training” in order to make Scouting better for the youth we serve.
This community enriches my life by association.  The friends that I have through Wood Badge are some of the best people I know.  We were talking the other about the experience that is in the room when Wood Badgers gather.  It only takes a glance to notice all of the Silver Beaver recipients that gather for Wood Badge functions, this tells me that I am in great company.  This group is, and none will admit it publicly, a higher level of Scouting.  Not all have a Silver beaver around their neck, but they will.  They will because of the dedication they put into Scouting.  I am in awe of the dedicated service we as a group have.  100’s of years of collective Scouting.  Everything from Tiger leaders to Council committee folks.  Thousands of nights camping, skills taught, and miles backpacked.  They arrive at training sessions with their “Scout kits”.  Crates, boxes, too many binders to count.  Trinkets, critters, and bags upon bags of Scouting “Stuff”.  They are never shy to help, to serve, to grab your plate after meals.. and you have to fight them out of the kitchen when it comes time to do dishes.  None are shy with a gift and piece of advice.  They are great family people and they are the person that you want to have on speed dial at 2 AM when you need a hand.  They don’t know how to say farewell and just build the time in the parking lot into the meeting plan.  In short, these are my kind of people.  A fantastic community.
I suppose I have known this for some time, but then when I was invited to be on staff I finally got it.
I look forward to receiving my third bead next month.. another symbol of dedicated service to let others know that I am not ashamed to be a servant.
Expand your community.. go to Wood Badge, its never too late.  Serve on a Staff.. you are needed.
By the way.  Learn more about John Basilone.  He is a real hero and his story should be remembered.  I provided that link above to see a quick video.  It never hurts to learn about guys like that.  Another member of the greatest generation, to whom we owe a great deal.
Have a Great Scouting Day!