Month: April 2011

Leadership, Learning, Camping, and other stuff…

It seems like playing catch up is the norm these days on the blog,  I think once this Wood Badge course is over things may settle down just a bit.  So let me share with you whats been going on since the last post on Thursday.
First.  Growth.  We brought two more Scouts into our Troop last night.  They are gung ho and ready for the adventures that await them.  They jumped right in and started learning lashing last night, a skill they will need next month at Camporee.  We also had a Dad show up at our meeting last night to pick up an application for himself and his son.  They will be transferring into our Troop next month. 
I was talking with one of the ASMs last night after he returned from the cross over ceremony of one of the new Scouts.  He said that the up coming (Current Webelos 1) Webelos Den is excited about coming to our Troop.  That will bring 10 more in next year from that Pack.  So the Growth of our Troop is looking good for the future.  I think the real success comes from 1.  Having a great program, and 2.  Having relationships with many Packs.  This year we received new Scouts from 4 different Packs, last year it was 5 different Packs but one of them had no Second year Webelos this year.  But they will for the Fall recruiting season.
Skills.  Last night I threw out a tweet about our PLC struggling with Camporee prep.  Its not at melt down level, but last night they required a little motivation.  So here is the story there.  We have just undergone some churn in the Troop and the Scouts that are currently leading are real young.  Thats a good thing, BUT…
The Junior Assistant Scoutmaster was our last SPL and he left some pretty big shoes to fill.  As much as a great leader he became, he often made life real easy for the Patrol Leaders in that they never really had to struggle.  He was a good mentor to them and got things done.  Well.. what he did not do is train up his successor very well.  The ASPL under him had the easiest job ever hanging out in the shadows.  And now he has to lead.  It is a small bump in the road, and he did learn a lot under the old SPL, he has proven that, he just needs prompting and coaching.  The good news is that The JASM is still here to help him out.  Last night the SPL learned the hard way that he was in fact in charge of the Troop and I think he got it.  The meeting went very well once he crossed the hurdle and they got the next month planned and assignments out to the Patrols.
Last nights Troop meeting went real well and was a great demonstration of Scout leadership.  I am proud of them and the way they negotiate obstacles.  It tells me that they are learning and practicing what they learn.
Last night the Patrols made new Patrol flags.  They have abandoned their old heavy flags and made “Backpacking” Patrol flags.  I will get pictures up as soon as possible.
On the last camp out.  The camp out was a wet one, but test skills and leadership.
The Scouts built the gateway they are going to have at Camporee and practices Flint and steel fire making.   They played a leadership/communication game called “Get me through the mine field” and really learned the value of effective communication.  It was harder than they thought, but they had fun and learned.
It was two fantastic nights in the Hammock… I am in love with it.
Got show #83 in the can yesterday.  It is a listener suggested show.  It will be out tomorrow I hope you enjoy it.
Well that’s about it for now.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Is someone watching?

Have you ever seen those TV shows where they have hidden cameras, trying to either catch someone doing something stupid or trapping them in a situation they have to explain away?
They are great testaments to how people act and what they will do.  Yesterday while on my route I wondered if I was being placed in one of those situations, and truth be told, they answer is sort of.
I drove up to a stop and noticed that there was a bundle of money laying in the street at the end of a drive way.  I pulled forward, selected the package and began to walk to the house.  In my path were these bills.  I picked them up and carried them to the house.   I set the package down by the door and placed the money on top of the packages, knocked on the door and walked away.
As I approached my truck and man came running from the neighboring house.  He asked me to stop and I did.  Asking him if he had a question, the man replied “What did you do with the money?  Give me the Money!.. there was $43 dollars there and I saw you pick it up.”
I explained to him that the money was sitting on the package that I left at his neighbors door and he would find it all there.  He went to the door and found the money.  Walking back toward me he explained that he had placed the money there and that they have had a rash of theft in the neighborhood and he was trying to catch someone in the act.  He pointed out that several neighbors had installed cameras on their front porches and that they would catch whomever was stealing from them.
I told him that would never be me and he said “I see that”.
Ever since I was a little boy I have been taught that a true test of your character is what you do when others are not looking.  Its is always easy to put on an act in front of people, but what you do when the spot light is not on you really tests your character.
I tell this to our scouts all the time and hope that what they are learning in Scouting will make them good men of character.  Its pretty simple really.  Just do the right thing.. always and you have nothing to worry about.
If you ever find yourself looking over your shoulder.. you are about to do something wrong.  Let Character be your guide.  You can find a great set of rules that guide your character in the Scout Law.
That man that challenged me over $43 learned that that there are still people in our community that have character. 

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Youth Protection and recharter? SMMPodcast 82

This is Show #82 and I am joined by our District Commissioner and our Program Vice Chair in a discussion about Youth Protection and how it effected recharter.  Listen in and then weigh in by leaving a comment, feedback, or a voicemail to the SMMVoice mail 503 308 8297.
This show is sponsored by Class

Standard Podcast [36:56m]:  Play in Popup | Download

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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!

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!

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!


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!