Month: April 2011

The 4 C’s of Leadership

There are many attributes that are common to all that lead.  Business leaders,  Military leaders,Pastors,  Scout Leaders.. you get the point.
Of those attributes there are 4 that all leaders need to have to be effective in their leading toward the High Performance team.  They are competence, Committment, Courage, and Compassion.
Competence because no one wants to follow a knuckle head that does not know what he is doing.  Its that simple, you need to know how to lead and you need to know or at least understand what the task is and how to complete it to get other to follow you.  Now you don’t have to be an expert, but you need to be competent enough to surround yourself with those that do know how and then use their strength to enhance your weakness. 
Committment.  You must be committed to both the task and those that you lead.  If you lack committment, those that follow you will mirror you level and you will never be a high performance team.  You need to be committed enough to get to know how to do the task, that means get educated.  You need to be committed to the needs of those you lead.  You need to be committed to the reason for the task and the desired outcome.  We make commitments daily in leading our families, our Scout units, and working at our jobs.  You know, the jobs that pay for our Scouting hobby.
Courage.  A Scout is Brave.  Sometimes doing the right thing is not the most popular and the leader is always the one that gets either the evil eye or the attitudes when he makes decisions that are not popular.  Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do, so you must be courageous in decision making.  You may not be the most popular, but in the end you will have done the right thing and your team will be better for it.
And Finally, Compassion.  Meeting the needs of those you lead takes a lot of compassion.  You need to know your people and what makes them tick.  To be an effective communicator and leader, you need to be able to dedicate time and energy to getting to know the folks you lead.  This way you can feel what they do and react to why they may be done, up, or somewhere in between.  To be a high performance team you need to understand the needs of the led and they will appreciate you as the leader for it.  Genuine caring leadership is the best way to move to High Performance status.
Well there you go 4 solid attributes of the leader.  Have them and you will be effective, don’t have them and you will have to settle for second best.

Speaking of second best, our Troop worked on Pioneering tonight at the meeting.  They built the Gateway that they are going to assemble at Camporee.  The JASM set a challenge for the patrols, the Patrol that had the best knots would all get an i pad.  The younger guys one and here is their prize!

Yeah, we have a lot of fun in our Troop.  They all had a great laugh and then we closed with Vespers!

Thanks for all the feedback lately.  I really appreciate the comments and emails, keep them coming.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

I Believe

Yesterday I received an email from a fellow named Thom in PA.  I won’t post his email here, but the jest of it was that he challenged the idea that the Boy Scouts of America should be inclusive of all religion.  His argument is that the Boy Scouts started as a Christian organization sighting the writings of Baden Powell on the subject.  He said that what I talked about in Show # 83 about accepting all is not accurate and that Christianity is the only “True” religion.
While I do not want to engage in a debate on religion, I did think it necessary to state where I stand in this issue.. and possibly reinforce the BSA’s stand on religion.
BSA first.
“The Charter and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America maintain that no boy can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God. Scouting is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. The Boy Scouts of America does not define what constitutes belief in God or the practice of religion. Membership in a religious organization is not required.
Scouting respects the convictions of those who exercise their constitutional freedom to practice religion as individuals without formal membership in organized religious groups. In all cases religious instruction is the responsibility of the parents or guardians of the Scout and the religious institution to which a Scout belongs. It is the policy of the Boy Scouts of America that the religious organization or institution with which a Scout is connected shall give definitive attention to his religious life.”
We as Scout leaders are to encourage a Scout to explore their faith and recognize their duty to God.  The Scout pledges a “Duty to God” in the Oath, but does not define who or what that God is.  That is up to the individual Scout and his family.
OK, now here is my take.
First of all.. I believe in One God, I believe in his son Jesus Christ who was born of the virgin Mary.  I believe that he was delivered by the Father to take away the sins of the world.  I believe that he was crucified, he died, he was buried, and that he rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again to judge us.  I believe that a church house is not the only place to find and talk to God.  I believe that God has many names, but he is still God.  You may call him God, or Allah,Yahweh, Brahman, Bhagavan, Waheguru, you can call him Tian Zhu, or Shangdi, I don’t care.. he is still God and will answer (in his time) when you call.
I believe that God gave us free will and what we do with that will determine our final destiny.  I do believe in heaven and hell and that when you do whats right you end up in heaven.  I believe in forgiveness and Karma and that both are healthy and both can hurt.  I believe that the Boy Scouts teach young men (and women) to always do whats right.
I believe that no matter what church you call your own, that they all teach basically the same thing and that is the Golden Rule.   “Do unto others as you would have done to you”.  Treat others with compassion, respect, dignity, and love.  I think that the twelve points of the Scout law lead you to the Golden Rule.  Is it a wonder that Reverent is last then?
I don’t think you need religion to teach you that, but since it is there, why not learn from it.
I believe that there are bad people in the world that do bad things, some of them are preachers, teachers, and youth leaders.  Some are politicians and businessmen, all of them excercise that free will that we have been given and all of them will be introduced to karma and will be judged in the end.
I believe that a mans character is precious and should be safeguarded.  It can be given away and never gotten back, but the way to maintain that character is by doing the right thing.. always.  That is what I believe.
I believe that getting out in the wilderness brings me closer to my God.  I know that I have had better talks with him there than in any church.  I am Catholic, and believe what I have learned in the church, but I know that the Church is governed by man.. and that can be a problem sometimes.  I think the church as an institution try to do good things and bring people closer to God, some times it does not seem that way, but the true test is that she has remained for over 2000 years, so something must be right.
I believe that God is who YOU want him, her, or what ever to be.  It is many trails that lead to the same location.
The bottom line Thom in PA… Who are you to judge?  Who are you to tell a young boy that he can not be a Boy Scout because he calls God Allah?  Who are you to exclude a young man because he does not go to your church or he does not prescribe to Christianity?  Who are you to say that the Bible is the only Holy Book?  The Torah had been around long before the Bible.  And what about that Golden Rule?  They have found documentation referring to it dating 1600 years before Christ in Ancient Egypt.
I guess what I am saying is that we are not the ones that need to be defining who God is and what God is.  We all believe, and it is up to the individual to decide what that is.
The BSA does not define God, nor should they.  We have the Oath and the Law and the free will to practice what we preach in that regard.. and you know what.  It all leads to GOOD, and in God’s eyes.. that’s ok.
He told me so.

Have a Blessed Easter everyone.. and a Great Scouting Day!

Day 73 or 74?

Well I have officially lost count on the #100daysofscouting blog count.  I have been trying to get a good blog post daily, but we all know how that goes.  Life gets in the way and there is always a lot of Scouting to do.
So today I have been putting the final touches on my gear for Wood Badge W1-492-11.  My first shot at being on a Wood Badge Staff.  I must be honest and say that I am excited about the up coming course and hope that I can influence some Scout leaders as much as my Troop guide influenced me.
The printing is done, the supplies gathered, and the knowledge is locked away in the recess’ of my brain.
I worked on the blog today.. you may have noticed a new theme.  I am typically not a fan of the black backgrounds, but for some reason, this theme appealed to me… I still may toy with the background though.. not sure I am stuck on black.  let me know what you think.
Started a page to host the Podcast.. NO I AM NOT LEAVING PTCMedia.. I just wanted to have a place to put the shows that make it easy for those that read the blog to find… Let me know what you think.
So its either day 73 or 74 and the #100daysofscouting is still going strong with many great bloggers.
I was asked today if it was too late to get on the SMMPodcast Blog Roll.. NO!!  Keep them coming!  I want to feature a Blog every week on the podcast.. but I want you to help!  Just call the SMMVoice mail at 503-308-8297 and leave a message.. You will get your blog featured if you call!  We have a great Scouting online community here.. lets share it around.

Well, that’s about enough for now.. I will post more as we get closer to heading out to Wood Badge!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Emergency Preparedness

The BSA has a very good Emergency Preparedness program.  It encourages our Scouts and Adults alike to plan and prepare for an emergency.  You can read more about it at http://www.scouting.org.
One of the important aspects of the Emergency preparedness program that I find valuable is the extension beyond the family and house.  But having your Troop prepared to help the community in such an emergency.  Are you prepared to cook, help in First Aid, and comfort those that are displaced by a natural disaster or emergency?  Having a unit plan for this is a great idea.  Work with other local agencies to provide simple services that will get your Scouts involved and ready to act when the time comes.
But Emergency Preparedness really does start at home.  The company that I work for recently got on board with Emergency Prep plans in the wake of recent hurricanes, tsunamis, acts of terrorism, and the threat of a pandemic influenza.
I found that there were a few good take home drills that go beyond what we have done through Scouting.  I thought I would share a few of those ideas.
First.  Most Scouts and most families for that matter have multiple cell phones.  Our kids have them and we communicate with them either by voice or text.  Now I understand that some emergencies or disasters will knock out cell coverage or emergency agencies will occupy the bulk of cell coverage, but even inJapan, cell communication proved to be reliable and an efficient way of communicating.

So here is a drill that you and your family can do (practice) to aid in your Emergency preparedness.
Texting ‘drill’
Conduct a family drill in which you call all family members and let them know you will be evacuating from work.
Step 1: Input the text messages for HELP and SAFE which you can find at safeamericaprepared.org.
Step 2: Practice returning messages from each family mem­ber and memorize emergency family meeting places.
Step 3: Text a follow-up message. Set a ‘time’ when all should arrive. Explain what should be done if some­one has trouble in traveling to the home/alternative rendezvous site.
Step 4: Complete the drill by having all family members text that they are ‘SAFE’ to return to their routine and review the process later at home–exploring lessons learned.
Another idea in Emergency Prep is the Shelter in Place.  That is to say that you will have to stay in one place, typically your home for an extended period of time.  Are you ready?  Try this.
Shelter in Place
Plan a drill in which you practice how you would remain at home for an extended period of time (without power). Steps that you can consider include the following:
Step 1: Check your family pantry for an inventory of key supplies you’d need to stay at home for one week. These might include potable water, food, medical and sanitation supplies (toilet paper, etc.).
Step 2: Determine how you would cook and/or survive without power for 3-5 days. Make a plan to heat/cool your home–and stay in rooms that are the best insulated as well as best lit.
Step 3: Review procedures to shelter non-family/neighbors that may not have adequate supplies. Discuss how many you can shelter–and any special rules/regulations you might want to enforce.
Step 4: Plan a three-day simple menu to avoid cooking.
Step 5: Consider how you would dispose of waste if you could not take garbage outside your home.
Step 6: Have a communications system (battery radio) tested to make sure it works. Also check flashlights.
Step 7: Pretend that you have to sleep in one room. Have all family members ‘bed down’ and see how to make themselves comfortable.
Step 8: Complete the drill, asking for suggestions of what could make people ‘more comfortable.’ Consider what chores might need to be shared–for adults, teens and children — and explain the value of practice — just like a sport or dance production.
This drill is very much like that which you will find in the Emergency preparedness merit badge.  It is a great idea not just to discuss this plan, but try it.  Not for the full 3 to 5 days.. but at least an hour or two.  Think about how you are going to gather water, wood, and other materials that will add to your comfort and survival.  As Scouts we are prepared, we have stoves, fuel, water purification techniques, and shelter.  We have the knowledge to tie knots, build simple structures that add to the protection of our shelter and of course basic First Aid.  With that knowledge comes confidence that in the event of an emergency, we will be able to react and not panic.
A good plan and solid preparation is your ticket to emergency preparedness.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Meet him where he is…

What do you do when you have Scouts that do want to advance in rank?  What about not wanting to go to Summer camp?  What do you do when they just show up and hang out?
These are age old questions that I hear over and over again at Round table and in discussions with other Scoutmasters.  And the answers are about as clear as the questions.
First you need to ask yourself what is it about the Scout that makes him feel this way about advancement and camp.  I am certain that you are perfectly fine with the idea that he likes hanging out with his friends.
Is the Scout being disruptive?  If not, then what is it that bothers you as a Scoutmaster about his lack of “want to”?
Boys join Scouting for many reasons.  Maybe it’s because they enjoyed Cub Scouts and they are moving up with their buddies.  Maybe it is because their Dads were Scouts, way back when.  Maybe it’s because they are looking for something to do, an adventure, a place to belong and feel a part of a team.  There are as many reasons as there are Scouts and the answers will tell a lot about his motivation once he becomes a part of the Troop.  A lot of the time it has more to do with friends than it has to do with badges, rank, and camping.  Those three things drive the program for us in many ways.  They are a measurement of activity, achievement, and a healthy program in most cases.  But what about that Scout that could really care less?  A Scoutmaster once told me that they were going to drop a kid if he did not advance or go to camp that summer.  I asked him why he would do that?  His explanation got my head spinning.  He said that it was because that kid and kids like him bring down the numbers for the unit.  They hurt the Troop in the long run when it comes to Top Troop or Troop of the Year.
(INSERT RECORD SCRATCH SOUND HERE)
What about the boy?  I asked.  Is he having fun?  Is he learning something?  Is he hanging out with his friends?  Is he showing signs of good character, fitness, and citizenship?  Well?
Citizenship, Character, Fitness.  You can have all of that without a single badge, right?  YES, BUT.
I have a Scout in my Troop that has been in the unit for almost three years.  He attends meetings regularly, goes on a camp out here and there, and likes hanging out with his friends.  He still wears the last rank he earned on his shirt.. Scout.  Ask him if he enjoys Scouting and he will tell you yeah, but he likes it because of the friendships.  He helps with service projects and generally is a good boy, as good as most.  He gets good grades, has a friendly demeanor, and enjoys the company of his patrol.  So should I throw him out because he has not advanced?  Heck no!  He is getting out of Scouting what he wants. 
Now it is a fact that Scouts that attend Summer camp typically stay in Scouting longer and work their way through the ranks.  And it is a fact that those that make it to First Class in the first year have a better chance at earning their Eagle award.  BUT IF we look at the boy and not the score card I think that we can effectively save them all and in the end achieve our goals of creating men that can make ethical decisions throughout their life times.  Men of character that are good citizens.  Men that know how and keep themselves Physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

So what do you do that Scout?  Teach him, coach him, and mentor him to meet the aims of Scouting.  Take him for who and what he is and do your best to encourage him.
That simple.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

A Scout is Reverent SMMPodcast #83

In this show we explore ways that we can encourage our Scouts to find their faith.  A Scout is Reverent, so how do we help them practice it?
In this show we also start our new segment Blog Roll!
This show is sponsored by the Other Scoutmaster Handbook
Enjoy the Show!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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BLOG ROLL!!

I started a new segment on the Podcast this week.. Its called BLOG ROLL!
This weeks featured blog is Scouting in the Great Outdoors By Scouter 945.  You can about it in Show #83 coming out tomorrow.
I am following this blog in particular as I want to see the prep work they do to get to Philmont.  My Troop is heading there next year, so every bit helps!
Great Blog.. Check it out!
Have a Great Scouting Day!