Monthly Archives: April 2011

Been a few days

Once again, time has passed me by.. I suppose it is true what they say about time flying when you are having fun.
So here is a quick update, I am not to sure that anything inspirational or motivating will come of this, well maybe.
Let me begin with the weekend.
Wood Badge Staff Development #3 was this past weekend, and I think that while it may have not been the intention of the staff.. it seemed that we completely became a “High Performance Team” on Saturday.  Ironically, a guest presenter practiced the Stages of Team Development presentation immediately after the Troop Guides practiced our Course presentation.  It was all systems go after that, and without a doubt the team is heading to Gilwell ready and peaking.
After the training session we went to dinner at a local German restaurant called Der Rheinlander.  It was a fantastic time.  We relaxed over some nice food and awesome company, sang songs, and invited our spouses to join in the fun.
Sunday was dedicated to final Wood Badge prep for me as well as doing some things around the house.  It was nice to spend the day hanging out with the kids and wife.
Three new Scouts came to the troop Monday night.  One will not cross over to the Troop till October.  He has a few things left to wrap up for his AOL, but then he will join us.  The other two are ready to go and will be with us on the upcoming camp out this weekend.  It was nice to introduce them to their new patrol mates in the New Scout Patrol.  They met their Troop Guide last night and learned how to pitch a tent, get a menu planned, and how to adjust their backpacks.  So its right into it for them.  It’s nice to see the growth.  New guys coming, and older Scouts stepping up and leading…. isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?  Yeah.
Which leads me to I guess the motivational part of it.  I had to have a chat last night with the Patrol leaders.  It seemed that the edge is not there for the up coming camporee.  We talked about the three components of leadership.  That is to say that a Leader provides Purpose, Direction, and Motivation.  They needed to find that in themselves and in their patrols to be successful.  No one in the troop wants to come in second at Camporee.. they at least want to compete, but without the drive or purpose and direction, they will lack the motivation to accomplish the tasks that will lead them to the success they are looking for.
Well, they all agreed they need to get back on the horse and motivate their patrols.  PLC will meet next week and we will see what they come up with.
Like I said, time flys when you are having fun…
Hey tomorrows podcast features a great discussion about Youth Protection and how it effected Recharter this year.  Joining me are the District Commissioner and Program Vice Chair of the Thunderbird District.  I think you will enjoy it.

Let me know what you think.. leave a comment or feedback.. or drop an email.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Camping, Leadership, Webelos to Scout Transition, Wood Badge, Youth Protection | Leave a comment

To be a Man

I had a nice talk the other night with a friend of mine, a long time Scout and Scouter.  I enjoy our talks because they typically get to the heart of what Scouting is all about.  We were talking about the Aims of Scouting, you know… Citizenship, Character, and Fitness.. but the conversation turned to a theme that has flowed throughout Scouting since its inception in 1907, and really before that as Baden Powell put together the frame work of the organization that would become Scouting.
The idea that we as Scout leaders have a job to do, while we teach and coach these young men camping skills, character, and life skills in general, we are also tasked with teaching them to be men.  Yes MEN.  This may seem obvious and some may ask where I would find that in Scouting literature, and you may not find it.  But look at the program, since the beginning.  It has always been about the virtues or manliness.  As I grew up my Dad tought me to be a man.  And that is not to say just a member of the species.  Respect, Honor, Duty, Courtesy.. those types of things.  Standing up for what is right, defending the weak, treating women with respect, treating everyone with dignity and compassion.  Having a strong heart and faith and exercising both your brain and your brawn when the right situation for them came up. 
I was allowed as a boy to be a boy and explore and grow.  To take risk and learn.  This allowed me to become a man.  Scouting was a major part of that.  It tought me the Scout Law and Oath, great rules for all men to live by.  These rules and promises were consistent with my faith and upbringing and as a result I was not conflicted in the direction that I should go to become a man.  I had great role models.  Teachers, Coaches, Scout leaders, and my Dad, who through there collective actions thought me to be a man.
Now it is my turn, as a Dad and a Scoutmaster to teach young men those qualities of being a man.  It is the job of the Scoutmaster as he teaches Character, Citizenship, and Fitness to add to that manliness.  He does this through his actions and example.
I love this poem and have shared it on many occasions with our young men. 
by  Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build them up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds worth of distance run — Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

Bring them up right!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Methods, respect, Scout Law, Service, Skills, Values | Leave a comment

Lesson in Civility

Recently Skynews reported in an article “10 things that we can learn from Japan”  I thought this was interesting, because beyond the obvious it is a look in the mirror, a way to judge ourselves and the culture in which we are raising our kids.  Not so long ago we witnessed the tragedy of Katrina in New Orleans.  As much as the hurricane left a path of destruction, the pain came from seeing how our fellow man treated one another.  The Rodney King riots is another example.  We can debate justice another time, but the actions following the verdict were just a terrible, if not more than the beating of Rodney King.  In our country we burn cars in the street and vandalize after a sports team wins a championship.. my goodness.. what are we?
Look at natural disasters that have devastated parts of our world and see what man does in its aftermath.  Haiti?  New Orleans?  Los Angels?  Japan?  Take a look at a part of the article about the recent devastation in Japan and use it to measure ourselves as a Nation.. as a World.

1. THE  CALM-  Not a single visual of  chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.
2. THE  DIGNITY-  Disciplined queues for water  and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture. Their patience is  admirable and praiseworthy.
3. THE  ABILITY-  The incredible architects, for  instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall. 
4. THE GRACE  (Selflessness)-  People  bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get  something. 
5. THE  ORDER-  No looting in shops. No  honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just  understanding.
6. THE  SACRIFICE-  Fifty workers stayed back to  pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?
 7. THE  TENDERNESS-  Restaurants cut prices. An  unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the  weak.
 8. THE  TRAINING-  The old and the children, everyone  knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.
 9. THE  MEDIA-  They showed magnificent  restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage. Most of  all – NO POLITICIANS TRYING TO GET CHEAP MILEAGE.
10. THE  CONSCIENCE-  When the power went off in a  store, people put things back on the shelves and left  quietly.

Now I am not saying the heroic and wonderful things have not happened in our darkest hours, but by and large, we have a lot to learn about civility and humanity.  Whats this got to do with a Scouting Blog.
Read the Oath and Law and see how well the Japanese measure up to it.
Just an observation from one Scouter that wants to be better.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Good Turn Daily, Ideals, Oath and Law, respect, Scout Law, Values | 1 Comment


In the new Guide to Safe Scouting there has been a rule change on allowing Patrols to camp alone.. without Adult supervision.  This was always a great part of my Scouting experience when I was a youth and it is a bit heart breaking to see that the BSA has changed this.  I know it is because of Lawyer’s and over protective parenting…  Boys are no longer allowed to be boys.

BUT Worry not Scouters that love the real Patrol method.  Your Patrols can still camp alone.. well kinda.. 2 Deep leadership does not mean holding their hand.  They can still camp in their own camp site.. away from adults.  Adult leadership need only be present.. but not on top of them. 

We do this all the time.  The Scouts take off down the trail.. they establish a camp site, we make one a couple hundred yards away.  That is still in range to provide the necessary “Leadership”.. and yes I use that in quotes.. we should not be providing “Leadership” at all.  We provide guidance, mentoring, coaching.. but not “Leadership”.  In fact it is not really leadership at all in the Boy Scout program.. the Safety Sandwich talks about Supervision and Discipline.  We adults provide adequate supervision.  And if you can accomplish that by being a fair distance away than you are well within the G2SS.  I am not saying buck the system.  I am saying allow Boys to be Boys.  Allow them to explore and seek adventure.  Allow them to be alone with their buddies, not having to look over their shoulder to see if an adult is going to jump in.  Never forsake safety or propriety… but let them go.  Supervise and train them to do what is right, and they will.  I have faith in them… just like my Scoutmaster had faith in me.

Anyway.  Let them camp alone.. just be near by.  The results are the same.  Patrol time.
Here is the link to the new Guide to Safe Scouting.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, Character, Just fun, Leadership, Patrol Method, Risk Management, Scouting, Scouts, training, Youth Protection | 6 Comments

SMMPodcast Show #81 – Backpacking w/ Ken

In this show I sit down with District Trainer and avid Backpacker Ken Hall and discuss planning the 50 miler.  Lots of great information for planning your next long trip, or short trip too.
Leave feeback or drop an email.
This show is sponsored by the Boy Scout Store.
Listen to the Show :  SMM81

On next weeks show I have two very special guests and friends.  My District Commissioner and our District Vice Chair for Program.  We sat down and talked about Youth Protection and how it has effected this years recharter.

Have a Great Scouting Day! 

Categories: Backpacking, High Adventure, Leadership, podcast, teamwork, training | Tags: | 1 Comment

Weekend update

This weekend I participated with our District Training team for Scoutmaster Outdoor skills and ITOLS.    We had a great group of students (learners) this weekend, the split was about half and half, Cub Scout leaders to Boy Scout leaders.  I am a big fan of Training.  I think that training makes Scouting better, whether that is Youth Protection or Climb instructor, training is a key element to making a great program for the youth of Scouting.
Boy Scout outdoor skills training is a lot of fun for me.  I love to share ideas, tips, and of course the Scouting way of doing things.
I had a chat with one of the participants this weekend, a guy that I have known for sometime and a guy that is very familiar with the Boy Scout program.  He is a new Assistant Scoutmaster and so he had to be trained.   I asked him if he was learning a lot in the training.  He replied, “not really, but it is always a nice refresher.”  We went on to talk about the training that the BSA offers and that it is, by and large, geared to the lowest common denominator.  We train to the person that is not familiar with the program, camping, what ever the course may be.  I know that I have sat through many classes that I thought I could have done without, but the point is that the BSA wants all of us on the same sheet of music and to accomplish this, training has to be standard and kept to the level of the vast majority of new participants.  I agree with this approach.    There are also plenty of Scouting training courses for the advanced participant.  Powder Horn, Wood Badge, Climb instructor, just to name a few.  Once a Scouter is in the program and expressing interest, there are many opportunities for them to advance their training.  We always encourage the participants of our training to keep getting trained, using the BSA course and out side classes too.  Wilderness First Aid, Advanced Map and Compass, CPR etc.  These are all ways that a Scouter can make a greater contribution to the unit.
So this weekend was all about Training…. and a great night in the Hennessy Hammock.  Yes, I am now fully a Hammock Camper.. I had the greatest nights sleep in it, worked out some bugs, and it is now an item in my pack.
This weekend I also sat down with our District Commissioner, Vice Chair for Program, and Boy Scout Training Chairman for some great conversation.  The next couple weeks worth the podcast will feature those conversations.  So if you are interested in Youth Protection and some of the issues that training has raised lately, and if you are interested in the process of conducting a 50 miler.. well then, listen in to the next two weeks of podcasts, they are sure to inform you and even entertain.
Let me also remind you of a few ways that you can contribute and add to our online Scouting community.  You can email me at  Leave feedback or comments here on the blog, or be the first to leave a voice mail at the SMMVoice mail box 503- 308-8297.  And of course follow me on twitter @smjerry.
Ok.. there’s the Weekend update.  I will have a hammock review video hitting the blog here real soon.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Camping, Skills, training, Wood Badge, Youth Protection | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Hennessy Expedition A-Sym Zip Hammock

Had a great weekend in the Hammock… watch this little review.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, Skills | 2 Comments


I am often asked about how we established the Scout led troop and many questions go start with, “What about the 10 and 11 year olds.. they are not ready to lead”. 
I think that too many Scoutmasters view Scout led as a very fixed leadership model and forget to account for age, experience and skill levels.  The Scouts of our Troop develop leadership as they grow and develop.
The Scoutmaster, parent, committee member, or innocent by standers that expects a 10 year old to have the same leadership skill set, communication skills, and abilities of a 16 year old Scout are doing the Scout and unit a disservice.  You are taking away the opportunities for that Scout to learn the skills necessary.  If you assume that they are just going to “Get it”, and then fail to take the opportunity to teach and mentor them, the Scout will not be as successful.  Now he may pick up some tips and tricks from watching older guys, but there is a prime opportunity to work with a Scout as he struggles with his patrol, makes decisions, and stumbles.
Is he supposed to be perfect?  Certainly not.  That is why we are there to teach them.  Teach them.. not do for them.
“But what about leadership and getting the patrol to follow them?”  Simple.. they are boys and they are friends.  This is Scouting and we are not solving world issues and planning the next nobel peace prize event.  Struggling through menu planning, making sure they have the right gear, dividing up the weight and gear, and having input in the annual plan is something that every Scout can do on the first day.  Don’t forget that is why we are here.  To provide Guided Discovery and coach them through the rough times.  Never doing it for them, but guiding them and allowing them to test the waters.
Never under estimate what a boy can do.  All boys have something inside them that pushes them to do well.  No one likes failure and so the boy will try and try and try until he gets it right.  HAVING SAID THAT… Society today is doing all it can to remove that spirit from our boys.  Failure leads to giving up rather than learning from a mistake and moms and dads are all to quick to ensure success.. even at the expense of teaching the life long skill of learning from a mistake.  I actually had a Dad tell me that they would not be coming to our Troop because he saw Scouts that were wet and had some issues cooking.  He did not appreciate the fact that they were wet because they decided not to put on rain gear.. and they were struggling with the meal because some one forgot something.  What the Dad did not see, was they all eaten, it took a while but they all were fed, and they got into dry clothes before they settled in for the night.  You see, he looked at failure as an opportunity for Dad to step in and save the day.. not an opportunity for a boy to learn to lead, follow, grow, and make a mistake that he won’t make again.
The expectation of a Scoutmaster is to take the Scout where he is.  Some older Scouts will be as developed in leadership as a 10 year old.  Some 10 year olds come out of the gate strong.  They all go through stages of leadership development and find success in their own time.
The expectation of a Scoutmaster should be to allow that process to happen and not push it.  Not to do it for them.. but to let it happen through coaching, teaching, and mentoring.
One of the best ways for a Scoutmaster to demonstrate the expectation is to show what leadership looks like.  Be a good example of what the Scoutmaster expects.  Then take the Scout individually down the path to being and effective leader.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Leadership | Leave a comment

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