Month: May 2011

Getting the Hammock Ready

Here is a quick video on me getting the Hammock ready for my week up in the Oregon Coast Range for the 2nd session of Wood Badge.
I removed the stock Hennessy suspension from the hammock and replaced them with Whoopie Slings.  This has reduced the weight and the packed room for the entire hammock, I am really happy with this modification.
Check out the video, its just me hanging in the garage.  Took a great nap out there too… ahhh… I love the hammock.

Have a Great Scouting Day!
#100daysofscouting
Reviewed Tickets for the Patrol I am Troop Guide for.
Got gear together for Wood Badge
Did some last minute prep for Camporee this weekend.

The Mom’s pin

When I was a young Scout there was no better moment at Courts of Honor than being able to pin the “Mom’s” pin on my Mom.  Having earned a rank and being able to share that with Mom was a special thing.  Today the “Mom’s Pin” is called the Parent Pin, and I suppose that is a relection on the times that we live in.  Everyone must be included and in many cases Mom or Dad may not be in the picture.  When I was a Cub Scout we lived in an apartment building.  My Den was made up from the boys that lived on the 8th and 9th floors pretty much and we met in someones apartment (ours).  My Mom was our Den Mother and she had a few ladies that helped out.  It was always fun to wear our uniforms to school and then come home for Scouts, and the gang I hung out with were all great friends.  We were close as you can get and Scouting was not really a once a week activity.  We lived with each other, played, ran, and went to School with one another.  And our Parents were all friends too.
I never knew what divorce was until I got into High School, and even then it was rare.  My best friends parents divorced, but were remarried, so he still had a mom and a dad, so it all seemed “Normal” to me.  When I became a Cubmaster, I noticed at parent meetings that there was always drama about sharing time with the kids or who’s dropping off little Timmy, or “It’s my Dad’s weekend to have me, so I can’t go on the outing”.  Moving up to Boy Scouts was much the same, but at least the Scouts were older so they could just be dropped off and picked up.  But it really hits me at Courts of Honor.  When I see our Scouts that are torn between sitting with Mom or Dad, and who gets the pin?  the struggle that is forced on the 10 and half year old boy as he stands in front of the crowd and is asked to place the parent pin on …  I see the confusion in their faces and the angst of their little bodies as they turn to one parent or the other.  9 times out of 10 though.. the pin goes on Mom.
There is still something special about that pin going on Mom.  Sure Dads help and guide that young man, but at the end of the day we all just want to be able to pin that pin on Mom.
I am a product of a set of parents that celebrated their 46 wedding anniversary on Friday.  I know nothing else.  My kids know that my wife and I have been married for 19 years and that their Grandparents (all 4 of them) have been together since the beginning of time.  I enjoy the fact that I never have to see that worry, confusion, or troubled look on my two sons as they turn to pin on the “Mom’s Pin”.
To all the Mom’s out there… HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Taking over the Internet!

Recently I got into a discussion with another blogger about numbers, subscriptions, readership etc.  He is all wrapped up in the “numbers thing” and extremely passionate about boosting his ratings, getting more readers, and taking over the internet, ok so I made the last one up, but needless to say he does in fact have a lot of passion for his blog and the numbers it generates.
I on the other hand don’t really monitor the numbers, I just want folks to read the blog and get something out of it.  Entertainment, skills, motivation, whatever it is that I can do to help deliver the promise of Scouting using this wonderful tool called a blog.

Anyway, our little chat prompted me to look at some numbers, in particular the number of subscribers.  Now I am not sure what the accurate numbers are.  Since I moved the blog over to WordPress in March, the amount of readers per post has gone way up and 18 people subscribed to the blog.  The reason I say that I am not sure what the accurate numbers are is because according to Feedburner that has kept stats for me since basically I started is telling me that I have 94 subscribers.  That is to say that 94 (plus 18) folks are getting notified when there is a new post to the blog.
Now I subscribe to a hand full of blogs, mostly Scouting blogs and I enjoy getting an email on the iPhone telling me that a new post is on such and such blog.. I then can quickly preview the post and visit the blog later for the full version (pictures and whatnot).  I really like this feature.
My friend told me he has over 800 subscribers to his blog, hardly what I would call “taking over the Internet”.. but none the less, a great number of people that read his babbling.  So I had to ask myself why great Scouting blogs don’t get that many subscribers.  I know we are getting looked at… after all, we have ways of seeing how many visits, reads, downloads etc.  And oh by the way, since I looked at the numbers.. yeah, we are doing pretty darn good.  I mean just since I moved over to WordPress there have been 5,065 views… not to shabby considering.  And I am not sure who to believe, but since I got a Feedburner account in 2008 we have had 58,947.  I’ll go with that. 
Now, that really does not mean anything to me, because numbers are just numbers.  It is the comments, feedback, and the emails that I receive that really matter, that really means people are reading and either liking or disliking what I write here on the blog.
HAVING SAID ALL OF THAT….
Subscribing to the blog is super easy, and if you are like me you like to get a quick notification of whats new and improved.  So i encourage you to subscribe to the blog.  Simply click the “Sign me up” button over there on the right and you are in.
OK.. here is the real reason… I WANT TO TAKE OVER THE INTERNET!!!! and 94 subscribers are not going to make that happen!!! LOL!  So help us push Scouting to the front page of WordPress!!!  Subscribe to ALL of the Scouting blogs.  There are great blogs out there that I really enjoy.  Many are listed in my Blog roll over there on the right column.  So start with mine.. subscribe.. then move over to the rest and do the same.
Oh, and I don’t want to beg.. but c’mon folks.. leave a comment or two.  I have not developed the skill of reading minds over the Internet.. I got a good handle on Tenderfoot Scouts, but knowing what you all like, dislike, and are thinking is way beyond my skill level.  Leave feedback, comments,voicemail, or drop me an email… all of those options are available right here on the blog.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

PS. #100daysofscouting
Today- Reviewing Tickets for the Buffalo Patrol, attending the Parent/ Staff meeting for the Summer Camp staffers, hanging out with my family.  TADA!

Buffalo Patrol meeting

Tonight I was invited by the Patrol that I am the Troop Guide for in W1-492-11 for their Patrol meeting between sessions.
They held their meeting at one of the Patrol members place of employment, Coffee Bean International.  It was a neat meeting as they embodied the Scouting Spirit of learning something new.  They acted like Tiger Cubs on a “Go See it”.  It was a lot of fun and informative to learn how coffee goes from raw beans to a wonderful cup of Joe.
They held their meeting in the companies Coffee bar and the coffee was fantastic.
The Buffalo Patrol worked on their menu’s and Patrol presentation and then we held a short “Ticket Work shop” working out some of the kinks in their tickets and getting them focused in the right direction.
I am real happy with the progress the Patrol is making.  They are quickly moving in the direction of a high performance team.
This is a great model for them to take back to their units.  They are seeing first hand (assuming they have not before) what right looks like and how they can make their units better.  I am certain that no matter what level they are coming from, this Wood Badge experience will make them better in their units and as a result they will all leave a lasting impact on Scouting.  It makes me proud to be a part of this legacy building.
I can’t wait for their upcoming second session and assisting in the working of their tickets as a faithful Troop Guide.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

The American Boy [Scout]

The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.
– Henry Kissinger

Boys join Scouting for a variety of reasons, mostly because their parents think it is a great idea, but then they come to the realization that Scouting is fun and that hanging out with their buddies on a camp out is an opportunity for fun and adventure.  And then there is the leadership part 0f Scouting.  Young men start leading.  When they are in the new Scout patrol, they are being guided and have much of their skills explained to them in the early going.  It is a Troop Guide or Assistant Scoutmaster then that is teaching and coaching them along so they get the spirit of Scouting and start to push themselves to greater adventure.  It is early on that they will grasp the passion of Scouting or not.  It is in those first couple months that the Scout will embrace the culture of the Troop and develop his attitude toward camping and the out doors.  It is during those early months that the Scout will explore new hobbies and career opportunities.  He will be introduced to new cultures and see the world, and his nation as he may have not seen them before.  He will be given challenge after challenge that will test his ability to follow and lead.  The Scout will test him self and push himself in directions that he may not be totally comfortable in, but in the end will learn and grow from the experience.  That is where the leader comes in.  The Troop Guide or the Scoutmasters need to be aware and watch for the opportunities that will challenge todays Scouts.  This is the Scouting program and why the Scout continues to come back.  I honestly believe that when we take the adventure out of Scouting, we will stop being Scouts.  I have seen to many Scouts leave the program because they feel they are not getting the most out of it.  Now, having said that, it does take the Scout to apply themself also.  I mean, you can lead a horse to water…
My son and I had this talk last night on the way home from the Lodge meeting.  We discussed the fact that there are so many Scouts out there that really “Max the Minimum”.  In other words, they set their sights on being an Eagle Scout and will do the minimum to get there.  They are not looking for adventure and are just as happy having their parents earn their Eagle for them.  they have floated through the program and got out of it exactly what they put into it.  Which is not saying a whole lot.  On the other hand, there are many Scouts that apply themselves, get involved, seek adventure.  You can see those guys.  They take advantage of the program and everything it has to offer.  They go to Philmont, Jamboree, and talk about their adventures on the last 50 miler or as a Camp Staffer.  They are the Scouts that are motivated to do more, see more, and be more.  They are not from the rich families, but know what they want and go get it!  These are the Scouts that I really love to have in the program.  There is room for everyone, that’s true, but like my son says, he would rather backpack with 5 guys that want to be there than 36 that don’t.

I recently stumbled on this article written by Theodore Roosevelt.  I am going to share it here in it’s entirety.  I wish we had a political figure, President or some one else that had the guts to write this today.  I can honestly say that I agree with the article and wish we had this attitude in America today.

 The American Boy
Published in St. Nicholas, May 1900

Of course, what we have a right to expect of the American boy is that he shall turn out to be a good American man. Now, the chances are strong that he won’t be much of a man unless he is a good deal of a boy. He must not be a coward or a weakling, a bully, a shirk, or a prig. He must work hard and play hard. He must be clean-minded and clean-lived, and able to hold his own under all circumstances and against all comers. It is only on these conditions that he will grow into the kind of American man of whom America can be really proud. There are always in life countless tendencies for good and for evil, and each succeeding generation sees some of these tendencies strengthened and some weakened; nor is it by any means always, alas! that the tendencies for evil are weakened and those for good strengthened. But during the last few decades there certainly have been some notable changes for good in boy life. The great growth in the love of athletic sports, for instance, while fraught with danger if it becomes one-sided and unhealthy, has beyond all question had an excellent effect in increased manliness. Forty or fifty years ago the writer on American morals was sure to deplore the effeminacy and luxury of young Americans who were born of rich parents. The boy who was well off then, especially in the big Eastern cities, lived too luxuriously, took to billiards as his chief innocent recreation, and felt small shame in his inability to take part in rough pastimes and field-sports. Nowadays, whatever other faults the son of rich parents may tend to develop, he is at least forced by the opinion of all his associates of his own age to bear himself well in manly exercises and to develop his body—and therefore, to a certain extent, his character—in the rough sports which call for pluck, endurance, and physical address. Of course boys who live under such fortunate conditions that they have to do either a good deal of outdoor work or a good deal of what might be called natural outdoor play do not need this athletic development.

In the Civil War the soldiers who came from the prairie and the backwoods and the rugged farms where stumps still dotted the clearings, and who had learned to ride in their infancy, to shoot as soon as they could handle a rifle, and to camp out whenever they got the chance, were better fitted for military work than any set of mere school or college athletes could possibly be. Moreover, to mis-estimate athletics is equally bad whether their importance is magnified or minimized. The Greeks were famous athletes, and as long as their athletic training had a normal place in their lives, it was a good thing. But it was a very bad thing when they kept up their athletic games while letting the stern qualities of soldiership and statesmanship sink into disuse. Some of the younger readers of this book will certainly sometime read the famous letters of the younger Pliny, a Roman who wrote, with what seems to us a curiously modern touch, in the first century of the present era. His correspondence with the Emperor Trajan is particularly interesting; and not the least noteworthy thing in it is the tone of contempt with which he speaks of the Greek athletic sports, treating them as the diversions of an unwarlike people which it was safe to encourage in order to keep the Greeks from turning into anything formidable.

So at one time the Persian kings had to forbid polo, because soldiers neglected their proper duties for the fascinations of the game. We cannot expect the best work from soldiers who have carried to an unhealthy extreme the sports and pastimes which would be healthy if indulged in with moderation, and have neglected to learn as they should the business of their profession. A soldier needs to know how to shoot and take cover and shift for himself—not to box or play foot-ball. There is, of course, always the risk of thus mistaking means for ends. Fox-hunting is a first-class sport; but one of the most absurd things in real life is to note the bated breath with which certain excellent fox-hunters, otherwise of quite healthy minds, speak of this admirable but not over-important pastime. They tend to make it almost as much of a fetish as, in the last century, the French and German nobles made the chase of the stag, when they carried hunting and game-preserving to a point which was ruinous to the national life. Fox-hunting is very good as a pastime, but it is about as poor a business as can be followed by any man of intelligence. Certain writers about it are fond of quoting the anecdote of a fox-hunter who, in the days of the English civil war, was discovered pursuing his favorite sport just before a great battle between the Cavaliers and the Puritans, and right between their lines as they came together.

These writers apparently consider it a merit in this man that when his country was in a death-grapple, instead of taking arms and hurrying to the defense of the cause he believed right, he should placidly have gone about his usual sports. Of course, in reality the chief serious use of fox-hunting is to encourage manliness and vigor, and to keep men hardy, so that at need they can show themselves fit to take part in work or strife for their native land. When a man so far confuses ends and means as to think that fox-hunting, or polo, or foot-ball, or whatever else the sport may be, is to be itself taken as the end, instead of as the mere means of preparation to do work that counts when the time arises, when the occasion calls—why, that man had better abandon sport altogether. No boy can afford to neglect his work, and with a boy work, as a rule, means study. Of course there are occasionally brilliant successes in life where the man has been worthless as a student when a boy. To take these exceptions as examples would be as unsafe as it would be to advocate blindness because some blind men have won undying honor by triumphing over their physical infirmity and accomplishing great results in the world. I am no advocate of senseless and excessive cramming in studies, but a boy should work, and should work hard, at his lessons—in the first place, for the sake of what he will learn, and in the next place, for the sake of the effect upon his own character of resolutely settling down to learn it.

Shiftlessness, slackness, indifference in studying, are almost certain to mean inability to get on in other walks of life. Of course, as a boy grows older it is a good thing if he can shape his studies in the direction toward which he has a natural bent; but whether he can do this or not, he must put his whole heart into them. I do not believe in mischief-doing in school hours, or in the kind of animal spirits that results in making bad scholars; and I believe that those boys who take part in rough, hard play outside of school will not find any need for horse-play in school. While they study they should study just as hard as they play foot-ball in a match game. It is wise to obey the homely old adage, “Work while you work; play while you play.” A boy needs both physical and moral courage. Neither can take the place of the other. When boys become men they will find out that there are some soldiers very brave in the field who have proved timid and worthless as politicians, and some politicians who show an entire readiness to take chances and assume responsibilities in civil affairs, but who lack the fighting edge when opposed to physical danger. In each case, with soldiers and politicians alike, there is but half a virtue. The possession of the courage of the soldier does not excuse the lack of courage in the statesman and, even less does the possession of the courage of the statesman excuse shrinking on the field of battle. Now, this is all just as true of boys.

A coward who will take a blow without returning it is a contemptible creature; but, after all, he is hardly as contemptible as the boy who dares not stand up for what he deems right against the sneers of his companions who are themselves wrong. Ridicule is one of the favorite weapons of wickedness, and it is sometimes incomprehensible how good and brave boys will be influenced for evil by the jeers of associates who have no one quality that calls for respect, but who affect to laugh at the very traits which ought to be peculiarly the cause for pride. There is no need to be a prig. There is no need for a boy to preach about his own good conduct and virtue. If he does he will make himself offensive and ridiculous. But there is urgent need that he should practise decency; that he should be clean and straight, honest and truthful, gentle and tender, as well as brave. If he can once get to a proper understanding of things, he will have a far more hearty contempt for the boy who has begun a course of feeble dissipation, or who is untruthful, or mean, or dishonest, or cruel, than this boy and his fellows can possibly, in return, feel for him. The very fact that the boy should be manly and able to hold his own, that he should be ashamed to submit to bullying without instant retaliation, should, in return, make him abhor any form of bullying, cruelty, or brutality. There are two delightful books, Thomas Hughes’s “Tom Brown at Rugby,” and Aldrich’s “Story of a Bad Boy,” which I hope every boy still reads; and I think American boys will always feel more in sympathy with Aldrich’s story, because there is in it none of the fagging, and the bullying which goes with fagging, the account of which, and the acceptance of which, always puzzle an American admirer of Tom Brown. There is the same contrast between two stories of Kipling’s. One, called “Captains Courageous,” describes in the liveliest way just what a boy should be and do. The hero is painted in the beginning as the spoiled, over-indulged child of wealthy parents, of a type which we do sometimes unfortunately see, and than which there exist few things more objectionable on the face of the broad earth. This boy is afterward thrown on his own resources, amid wholesome surroundings, and is forced to work hard among boys and men who are real boys and real men doing real work. The effect is invaluable. On the other hand, if one wishes to find types of boys to be avoided with utter dislike, one will find them in another story by Kipling, called “Stalky & Co.,” a story which ought never to have been written, for there is hardly a single form of meanness which it does not seem to extol, or of school mismanagement which it does not seem to applaud. Bullies do not make brave men; and boys or men of foul life cannot become good citizens, good Americans, until they change; and even after the change scars will be left on their souls. The boy can best become a good man by being a good boy—not a goody-goody boy, but just a plain good boy. I do not mean that he must love only the negative virtues; I mean he must love the positive virtues also. “Good,” in the largest sense, should include whatever is fine, straightforward, clean, brave, and manly. The best boys I know—the best men I know—are good at their studies or their business, fearless and stalwart, hated and feared by all that is wicked and depraved, incapable of submitting to wrong-doing, and equally incapable of being aught but tender to the weak and helpless. A healthy-minded boy should feel hearty contempt for the coward, and even more hearty indignation for the boy who bullies girls or small boys, or tortures animals. One prime reason for abhorring cowards is because every good boy should have it in him to thrash the objectionable boy as the need arises. Of course the effect that a thoroughly manly, thoroughly straight and upright boy can have upon the companions of his own age, and upon those who are younger, is incalculable. If he is not thoroughly manly, then they will not respect him, and his good qualities will count for but little; while, of course, if he is mean, cruel, or wicked, then his physical strength and force of mind merely make him so much the more objectionable a member of society. He cannot do good work if he is not strong and does not try with his whole heart and soul to count in any contest; and his strength will be a curse to himself and to every one else if he does not have thorough command over himself and over his own evil passions, and if he does not use his strength on the side of decency, justice, and fair dealing. In short, in life, as in a foot-ball game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!

GO TEDDY!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

SMMPodcast #84 – Chattin’ with Adam

Many of you that follow the Scouter gang on Twitter and at PTCMedia know my good buddy Scouter Adam.  Well, Adam got stuck in the F150 recording studio with me on our way home from Wood Badge.  This is our chat on the way home.  We were tired and loopy.. and opened up the curtain for a peak in on us.
The sound quality is not the greatest, but I think you will enjoy a sitting in on our conversation.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

 Chattin’ with Adam [76:18m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download

A game with a purpose

You can not escape the Wood Badge experience without hearing “Game with a purpose” at least 100 times and the reason is that all of it is a Game with a purpose.  Scouting is a Game with a purpose and so when you do Scouting you should always play the game.
Young men learn better when they are engaged in play.  The develop teamwork, practice fairness, express a healthy competitive spirit, get physically fit, and above all have fun.
Every game we play in Scouting can be a learn adventure.  A simple game of Sharks and Minos can be a lesson in team work, fair play, and fitness.
Games that require skills and provide a mental challenge are great ways to build the team, test leadership, and communication.
In short, this game that we play has meaning, a purpose.  To support the Aims of Scouting.
Tonight our SPL and JASM had a great game for the troop during their interpatrol competition time.  Straw rockets.  A simple game that required the Patrol leaders to communicate, assign tasks, follow through with the project.  Each Patrol was given a brown paper bag and told to use the contents to move their rocket down a line that was suspended between two chairs.
In the bags were 2 straws, 2 balloons, some tape, and 2 paper clips.
The Patrols went at it.  They had 14 minutes to build their rockets and have them ready to launch.
The Patrols that worked together and stayed focused on the task did well, the patrols that made the choice to mess around did not.  One of the Patrols had a real cool looking rocket and it won.  They worked well together, assigned tasks and proved that working together they could accomplish anything.
The SPL conducted a short reflection of the activity before I did the Scoutmaster Minute on Team work.
I love it when we see the game being played and played well.
Play the game!

By the way, in the picture above are the three of the Scouts in the New Scout Patrol being guided by their SPL in the making of their rocket.

Have a Great Scouting Day!