Month: May 2011

SMM Logo

First of all I want to thank all of you for reading the blog.  I want to especially thank those of you that have recently subscribed to the blog and podcast.  We just saw a big bump in “membership”.  That’s great and thanks.  It does not pay more, but it does push good Scouting stuff up in the rankings.. and for me, well, that’s pay enough.
I love Scouting and want to see it in the fore front of this new media.
I have recently received a hand full of email regarding the header for the blog.  Specifically the picture and why it’s not more “Scout like”?  It’s a long story, but I will give you the short version.
Last year the BSA notified PTCMedia (of which I am a part) that we needed to remove all Scouting logos, words, names, etc from our Podcasts.  Since this blog, which is not really a part of PTCMedia but closely associated as part of the podcast, carried at the time those elements, I had to change the name from “the Scoutmaster  Minute Blog” to the SMMBlog.  It was not a choice I wanted to make, but I was not going to stop blogging about my love for Scouting and my quest to help deliver the promise just because of a logo and name.  The same went for the podcast.  We decided that we were not going to stop podcasting just because the BSA did not like our names.
Having said all of that… All of us that blog and podcast do so because we believe in the program and would not intentionally hurt the brand.  We were offered an opportunity to become BSA licensees.  Unfortunately for this blogger it is cost prohibitive and so a name change is easier that writing a big check.
I understand the need to protect the brand.  As stated, I would never do anything to harm the BSA or present the BSA in a negative light.  What I don’t understand is why the BSA moves so slow in the new media, further, I don’t get why the BSA would not latch on to those of us that are out here making Scouting better.
So back to the header and logo.  The current header is a picture I took while out on a camp out with my troop.  It is the peak of Mt. Hood.  Because I lack the skills and talent to make a real cool logo or header… that is what I put up there for the blog.  It’s that simple I suppose, I just lack skills and talent in that area.
So here’s the deal.  I want a cool header/logo.  If you can come up with something I can use on the blog/podcast I will send you a copy of the book “Working the Patrol Method”.
Email your entry to if I use yours, the book will be on the way!
We all love the BSA and the programs if offers the youth of our communities.  It should not be that hard to promote it and help others deliver the promise of Scouting.. and that is why we do it!
#100daysStrong – GET OUT AND HIKE!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day has always been a day that our family observed beyond the BBQ and long weekend event.  My Dad was a career soldier and served in Vietnam, and having lost many of his friends there, Memorial Day had special meaning.  My Grandfather served in World War II and honored that generation of American Warrior that gave so much for the cause of freedom.
But Memorial Day took on a new or at least a special meaning to me once I returned from Iraq… and more so once I retired from the Army.
It was a hot early morning 18 miles south of Baghdad, I was returning with a Patrol from B CO.  We had been patrolling a sector looking for insurgents that had been placing IED’s along MSR Tampa, the main supply route in and out of Baghdad.
We had turned the corner and were on the side road that led into our camp when all of a sudden the whole world came unglued.  An RPG hit the HUMMV in the lead of the convoy flipping it over.  The young soldier in the turret’s name is SPC Wright.  He was severely wounded.  The driver and co driver were shaken up pretty bad.  The patrol dismounted and returned fire, in what seemed like an hour (it was actually about 2 minutes) it was all over.  The insurgents fled.
Now this was not the first time we had engaged the enemy in and around our sector, but this day was the day that we really did not want to make contact.. we were heading home in a few days.  Specialist Wright lay on the ground surrounded by medics covered in blood and transmission fluid from the HUMMV.  I was looking down at the young man, he was only 20 at the time.  His eyes stared at me and he asked me if he was ok.  “You’ll be fine” I told him.  The medic handed me an IV bag and I held it up as they opened it up to a full drip.  “Am I going to die Sergeant Major?” he asked.  “Not today” I told him.  The Blackhawk with the big red cross on it arrived and we loaded him in.  As he flew away I thought that this day would be one I never forget.  I had seen death, destruction, and what the worst in human nature could do to other humans, but this was close.  When we got back to the states I saw Wright, he is alive a well.  He told me that all he could remember of that day was me standing over him telling him he would be ok.
Today we remember all of the men and women that paid in full for our Freedom.  I lost a dear friend, SSG Brad Lindsey in the fight against Global Terrorism.  He was a soldier in my company when I was a First Sergeant.  He was my radio operator.  On his second tour in the Global War on Terror he was killed in Action in Afghanistan.  It was a hurt that I will never forget.
We have all been touched by the loss of a service member.  So today, unfortunately is the one day that we all choose to remember.
So enjoy the BBQ, have a great day off… but some time today, look to the heavens (cause that’s where they are) and say thanks to those that paid the price for our freedom.

Last Thursday, the Scouts of my Troop, and the Scouts of the entire Thunderbird District placed a Flag on every head stone at the Willamette National Cemetery.  A few hours of our Scouts showing that they really care and an opportunity to reinforce in this next generation the idea that freedom has a price and someone has to pay it.
I hope to God that none of the Scouts of my Troop ever have to go off to war.  But I never want them to forget the men and women that did.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Lots of Catching up to do…

Well, its been a few days since the last post, and not for a lack of trying or ‘want to’ rather the National Meetings of the BSA had my attention.
Over the next few posts I will be discussing some of the things I picked up, but for now I just want to say thanks to all the great Scoutmasters out there.  I hope you understand the impact.. the lasting impact you are making in the lives of our young men.  As Rex Tillerson, the National President of the BSA said this morning “You [Scoutmasters] are the tip of the spear”.  Leaving a lasting legacy in our units, councils, but more importantly in the young men we serve.
He [Rex Tillerson] talked about “Aha moments” that he gleans from these events.. well my “Aha Moment” was seeing all the dedicated Scouters that really put their collective money where there mouth is.
I really don’t want to get into the dollars that are moving around the BSA, but lets just say that all things being relative, none of should complain about what we give in Scouting.
We all give a lot of time, talent, and treasure to make Scouting great… but there are folks out there that are making huge waves with the rocks they are pitching in the pond.
I will never be in their tax bracket.. but let me tell you that beyond the money.. the “aha moment” was the total life dedication to Scouting that comes with these great people.
Each of us know Scouters in our District that are “That Scout guy or gal”.. what I saw was above and beyond anything that we at the unit and district level could imagine as dedication to Scouting.  I will talk about that more later.
It left me feeling, in a non monetary way, that I was not doing enough.  I will never be able to lay 25,000,000 on Scoutings table, but I will dedicate time, energy, and when I can financial support to the greatest youth organization in the world.   A quick glance at the work that these dedicated individuals have accomplished leaving a direct impact on the Scouts of America, yes a Direct impact, amazed me at the Silver Buffalo ceremony.  I was impressed and encouraged that Scouting is alive, well, and moving forward.
I will post more later.
#100daysStrong – instead of a tip this time I am throwing this out there for you:
The Physical Fitness Award is part of a BSA program of emphasis for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Leaders. Details of the program are on-line, on the official BSA web site, and can be seen by clicking here.
Complete a cardiovascular fitness evaluation/consultation with your personal health care provider.
Using the BSA references listed after the seven major components, give a presentation to a BSA or other community youth group (at least eight youth participants) on cardiovascular fitness, diet, the health benefits of regular aerobic exercise, exercise recommendation for the Scout-age group, and healthy lifestyles.
Review the BSA guidelines for the Athletics and other physical activity or personal fitness-oriented merit badge and explain steps you have taken to follow each of the guidelines for the fitness goals. Explain precautions to be taken for a physical fitness activity in each of the following: woods, fields, facilities, and waterfront.
Explain to your mentor the symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia. Explain the special considerations for preventing dehydration and hypothermia.
Properly outfit for physical activities with proper equipment, clothing, and footwear. Know your own capabilities and limitations. Illustrate how you would prepare for the physical fitness goals included in the award program.
With supervision from your mentor or other qualified persons, set up a fitness goal-oriented plan using the seven major components of fitness.
Demonstrate your ability to improve your strength, posture, endurance, agility, speed, accuracy, and balance with your own goal-oriented fitness plan.
If you have completed the Physical Fitness Award requirements, you can download the application here.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

To Keep myself Morally Straight

The symbolism is great in the Boy Scouts of America, great tools for reminding us to do what is right.
When describing the Scout Badge a Scout needs to explain the major components of it.
The top of the Scout Badge for example symbolizes the Point of a compass.
The compass always pointing North is our True reference point. As long as know that North will always be there, we can navigate with a compass and map.
So it is with Scouting. Our Moral compass is the Scout Law. It is the map that leads us in life. As long as we know that our Compass is true and always pointing in the right direction, we can not go wrong.
We know what is right by living the Scout Oath and Law. Those simple words are always right.
Trustworth, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thifty, Brave, Clean, and of course Reverent. Which one of those can lead you in the wrong direction?
When we recite the Scout Oath we make three promises, or remind ourselves of the three duties we have; Duty to God and Country, Duty to others [to help other people at all times], and Duty to ourselves [to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight].
The arrow of the compass always is steadfast and true, so is the Scout oath and law.
Keep yourself pointed in the right direction and you will never go wrong.
Your Day 4 & 5 Health Tips #100daysStrong
Start your day with breakfast.
Breakfast fills your “empty tank” to get you going after a long night without food. And it can help you do better in school. Easy to prepare breakfasts include cold cereal with fruit and low-fat milk, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit, whole-grain waffles or even last night’s pizza!
Get Moving!
It’s easy to fit physical activities into your daily routine. Walk, bike or jog to see friends. Take a 10-minute activity break every hour while you read, do homework or watch TV. Climb stairs instead of taking an escalator or elevator. Try to do these things for a total of 30 minutes every day.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

The First Scoutmaster Conference

A young man sits across from you at a table, he is new to the Troop and seeking that first badge.. the Scout Badge.  He sheepishly asked for a Scoutmaster conference, and now he is stepping off on the Trail to Eagle.  The first Scoutmaster conference as a Boy Scout can be an intimidating one.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Here are three easy steps to making a great first Scoutmaster Conference.. for you and the Scout.
First.  Relax.. both of you.  This is a great opportunity Mr. Scoutmaster NOT to be the stoic figure looming in the back of the room, this is a great chance to make a first impression to the Scout that you really care about him and the Troop.  So relax, smile, and have fun with it.
Second.  Help.  It’s ok to coach a bit when the Scout stumbles on the Scout Oath or Law.. its ok to talk him through the Outdoor code.  He will get it.  If its not tonight.. well then there are 6 more opportunities for him to master it.  This is the Scout badge.. Not Eagle.  Set the tone of learning and perfection will come.
Third.  Encourage..  The Scout is new, he’s nervous, and he is looking to you for something that prior to this meeting his Den leader or Mom and Dad have given him.  He is looking for praise and accomplishment, and for maybe the first time he is doing it on his own.  Encourage him to think about his answers and assist him when needed, he will get it.  Encourage him at this first meeting to be an active part of his Patrol and Troop and to take advantage of everything Scouting has to offer.
Over simplify the process for a Scout to earn that Joining badge.  That’s what it is.  Don’t add to it, don’t take away from it.  Just keep it simple and have fun with it.  Its Scouts after all.. just Scouts.
Your Day 3 Health tip:
Get fit with friends or family.
Being active is much more fun with friends or family. Encourage others to join you and plan one special physical activity event, like a bike ride or hiking, with a group each week.  This is a great one to try with your Patrols or Troop.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

To Help other People…

Yesterday was a great day.  The world did not come to end and I had a great time with a great group of kids.  Yesterday I was shown just how special the kids of today are.  My youngest son is on a Relay for Life team.  They fund raise for a great cause, a cure for Cancer.  There is no one out there reading this blog that has not been touched by cancer, and I am thankful that organizations like Relay for Life are out there working to fund that opportunity to turn cancer into a curable affliction. 
So yesterday started out at a Pancake breakfast at Applebee’s.  A great fund raiser that the kids really enjoyed.  Then it was off to the High School, where they joined 200 of their fellow students in a Relay for Life.  The student government of the High School planned, prepared, and executed yesterdays event and I am impressed with their dedication and caring nature to take on such a task.  They could have easily just had a dance, a car wash, or bake sale.  But these young people put together a first class event.  They had games, food, and music (live music).  They invited cancer survivors to speak and share their thanks, which was moving.  But I think the one single thing that impressed me the most was that all of the teams at the event were made up of students from the High School.  The band had a team, student government had a team, various clubs and groups of friends all showed up to support this great cause.  They arrived with team t-shirts and set up their “camps”.   The administrative staff of the High School pitched in and cooked burgers, hot dogs, and breakfast this morning.. all out of their own pockets.
It moved me that these kids cared enough to spend their entire weekend dedicated to this cause.  Early this morning, about 2 AM or so, they stopped the relay and everyone walked into a dark gym.  Around the gym floor were bags with candles in them, on the bags were messages written by the students to loved ones that have been effected by cancer.  We sat silently on the floor surrounded by these luminaries as a few students stood and shared their connection with cancer.  A set of sisters that lost their father to cancer, one that lost a grandpa and the stories touched each and everyone in the gym.  They asked for people to stand if they had been touched by a Mother or Father with cancer… people stood, a Grandfather or Grandmother.. more stood, a spouse, friend, brother, sister.. even more took to their feet, still in silence.  Nephews?  Nieces?.. still more stood.  By the time they had asked these questions all but a small hand full of the participants were standing.  I could hear the muffled tears and heart felt rubbing of backs as the students looked around and truly saw the impact on just their group that cancer has brought.  And when the emotional roller coaster was about to let me off.. we were invited to quietly walk around the Luminaries, reading the bags and seeing the painful messages.. “Hang in there Mom”, ” I miss you Dad”, “In loving memory of my Grandma”.. touched.
We went back into the commons to continue the relay, as I sat with a few other parents we looked around the room and these great kids.  We shared how special they are, not just to us, but that how these kids act today will make our world such a better place tomorrow.  The current generation often gets a bad rap.. they are slackers that need to pull their pants up and take out the ear buds… but you know what.. I think those are too broad of paint strokes… these kids are socially aware and care.  They have hearts of gold and want to help.  They are growing up in a time of super media and up to the second information.  They are smarter than we often give them credit for and they are moving in a world where things are changing faster than they can learn it.  The jobs that they will have after graduation have not even been invented yet.  The language they speak evolves and the technology that they use is out dated the minute they walk out of the store.
I look at these kids and their friendships, the way they treat each other, their caring nature and  I see a great future.
We have great kids.  I am proud of them.
Part of the Relay for Life obviously is the relay itself.  Team Kellogg (the team my son is on) walked in one hour shifts.  I took a few of those hours with them.  As I walked I listened to music, podcasts, and chatted with some of the kids.  After the last shift I walked I could not help but feel great about the walking and what we were doing there.. which of course brought it all back to Scouting.  “To help other People at all times”  Team Kellogg raised close to $900 dollars for Relay for Life.  I do not think they understand the impact that money will make.  They were awarded the “Gold Team” distinction for raising the most in this Relay for Life event.  While it is great to be the winners, it is better to know that what they won is going to help.
#100daysStrong is doing that in each of us too.. committment to a goal and achieving it will show that we are serious about fitness and healthy choices.  How we live will be reflected back in the Scouts, and in this case, the friends of my son, our sons and daughters and how they live.  If we truly care about it.. we need to share it.
I read about American kids being obese and unhealthy.  Well, we can help change that, just like Team Kellogg is helping to find a cure for cancer.
Day 2 Health tip:
Make healthy eating and physical activities fun!
Take advantage of physical activities you and your friends enjoy doing together and eat the foods you like. Be adventurous – try new sports, games and other activities as well as new foods. You’ll grow stronger, play longer, and look and feel better! Set realistic goals – don’t try changing too much at once.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Its the end of the world as we know it…

And I feel fine…
I can’t seem to get that REM song out of my head today… I wonder why?
In the wake of all the hubbub surrounding today being the end of the world I thought it interesting when my youngest son asked the question about whats going to happen.  I told him that we really don’t have anything to worry about.  If its the end, its the end and you just have to justify your life to yourself and your God.  Now not to get into the whole “End times” thing… but really.. I’m certainly not going to worry about something that I have little or no control over.
OK.. here comes the point…
Live your life to the fullest and never let a day go by that you regret.
In 1987 I lost my little brother to a tragic accident.  I had the opportunity go through the entire process of dealing with that loss.  And knowing what I know now and looking back on the decisions that I made then.. no regrets to live my life every day like it was my last.  Now I can honestly say that I have not been able to daily.. but the older I get.. the more important this simple philosophy becomes.
Today I am helping with my sons Relay for Life team.   We are heading off to a fundraiser breakfast and then an all night relay at the High School.  There has been way too much cancer in my family.. and if this event does something to help, well, I’m in!  A lot of people would only read it passing in the paper.  But this is important.. to me and my son… and so we participate.
Just like Scouting, its important to all those young men and women that come and go through the program.  We teach them life skills and attitudes that will last them a life time.  The things that we teach will eventually result in citizens that make ethical choices throughout their life times.  This will leave a lasting impact on what they do in life and how they live it.  I hope that they will live ev every day like it is their last too.  With no regrets.
So if it all ends today… I will see all you great Scouters on Gilwell.. the Happy Land.  You will find me there!
I take all this “end of the world” stuff with a grain of salt… so I am not giving up my quest for better health…
Here is todays healthy tip:  #100daysStrong
Balance your food choices – don’t eat too much of any one thing.
You don’t have to give up foods like hamburgers, french fries and ice cream to eat healthy. You just have to be smart about how often and how much of them you eat. Your body needs nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fat and many different vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and A, iron and calcium from a variety of foods. Balancing food choices from the Food Guide Pyramid and checking out the Nutrition Facts Panel on food labels will help you get all these nutrients.

Have a Great Scouting Day!