Monthly Archives: June 2011

This Weeks Poll.. What do YOU do at Summer Camp?

Summer camp is a fantastic experience for the Scouts of your Troop.  But that does not mean it can’t be fun the adults that go too.  Each year we take our Scouts to camp.  We limit the amount of Adults, after all, this is a program for the Scouts, but the three or four adults that do go get to have a wonderful time in camp also.
But what do you do when you are at camp.  This weeks poll gives you a few choices that came off the top of my head after many years hanging out at camp.
Here is typically what I do.
First.. always take a good book. 
Second… Stay out of the Scouts way.  Be there to sign books and blue cards.  Cheer them on when they play games, and have a smile on my face every day.  But camp is for them.. leave them alone to hang out.  We always make it a point to take the tents the furthest away from the patrols and in lots of cases use the back doors if they face into the camp.  We want them to work the patrol method at camp and part of that is the interaction that takes place when they are playing and yeah I’ll say it.. screwing around.
And finally, I like to participate in adult programs that are offered.  One of our camps takes all the Scoutmasters on a Horse back ride.  A few of the camps offer adult swims and lunches.
By and large my week at camp is to provide support when needed and a great week to relax and take a break.  Most days you will find me at the water front with a good book just taking in the sun.
So what do you do at camp?  Let me know, leave a comment.  Better yet.. use the SMMVoice mail line and tell me, it may end up in the next podcast!  503-308-8297.  Lets hear about your week in camp!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Camping, Just fun, podcast, Summer Camp | 7 Comments

Troop Elections.. Poll follow up

The results of the “Elections” poll are in.. 75% responded that they hold elections every 6 months while the other 25% hold annual elections.  There was a lot of email and comments on this one.  Thank you!
As promised I told you that I would weigh in on this after the poll.
My unit holds elections every 6 months, BUT here is how our PLC decided to conduct elections.
They only elect the Assistants.  Let me explain.
After struggling to maintain any consistency in leadership, meaning… after the out going SPL or Patrol leader left office the incoming SPL had to learn the ropes.. well this was taking about 6 months.. just when he had the job down, he was out.  So they decided to elect Assistants.. the Assistant would spend the 6 months learning, being coached and mentored.. and at the end of the 6 month period, he would automatically step up to the position of SPL or Patrol leader, which ever the case may be.  This way he had a year to practice and then work in the position.  The Troop has been doing this for 4 years now and it works out fantastic.  The same amount of Scouts have the opportunity to lead and when they become the actual leader, they know what they are doing. 
Our Troop holds elections after Summer Camp and then again in February right before our annual Red and Green Dinner.  This makes for great transition periods.  We hold Troop Junior leader Training each Fall and every one is invited.
This program has been very successful and I don’t see our PLC changing it any time soon.
Thanks again for all your emails and comments on this topic.  There were some really great ideas and I was glad to see many of you participate.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, blog, Leadership | Leave a comment

Patches… We don’t need… errr

Ahh… yes we do need patches.. we love patches… are you kidding me?
I have been in Scouting since I was 7 years old.  I have always “collected” patches from my Scouting experiences, places I have been, camps, councils etc.  But it was not until last years Jamboree that I traded patches.  All that time and I never traded a patch.  Then I got the bug.  Collecting and trading patches took on a whole new meaning for me at Jambo.
First, it is a terrific way of making new Scouting friends.  What I loved about trading at Jambo was the conversations over the patches and the handshake at the end of the trading session. 
Second, the patches themselves all tell a story.  As I look back at the patches from my youth and the patches that I have received recently, they all tell of an adventure, a personal connection, or a great place that I saw.  Not to mention the friendships that were made along the way.
And Finally, the fun I have with the collection.  People collect many different things.  Stamps, cars, baseball cards, Scouting literature.  But Patches to me are a great Scouting tradition.  They have been around for years and are a part of Scouting that connect us with the past and future.
Recently a bunch of us Scouters on Twitter started a Twitter Patch trade-o-ree…  A patch is sent and another returned.  So far my collection has grown with some really cool patches.  Now so far the Twitter Trade-o-ree has been all CSP’s, but I can see more stuff happening in the future. 
And why?  Because these little pieces of embroidered cloth mean friendship, Scouting, and they all tell our story from the many corners of Scouting in which we live.
So many thanks to those of you that have already traded.  If you would like to get in on the Twitter Trade-o-ree..
I am @smjerry.. shoot me a DM and we will trade.  It’s been lots of fun so far.. and I have lots of room in my collection for more!
Join the fun of our Twitter Trade-o-ree!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Just fun, Scoutmaster minute, stories | Leave a comment

Fathers Day 2011

Father’s Day Poems

Walk a Little Slower Daddy
“Walk a Little slower, Daddy.” said a little child so small.
I’m following in your footsteps and I don’t want to fall.
Sometimes your steps are very fast, sometimes they’re hard to see.
So walk a little slower Daddy, for you are leading me.
Someday when I’m all grown up, You’re what I want to be.
Then I will have a little child who’ll want to follow me.
And I would want to lead just right, and know that I was true.
So, walk a little slower, Daddy, for I must follow you!!” – Author Unknown

Yesterday was Fathers day, a day that we honor our Fathers and thank them for (insert thanks here).  Yesterday I spent my Fathers day delivering my daughter to Girls State.  Oregon Girls State, a premiere leadership, volunteer and citizenship training program unlike any other.  Oregon Girls State is a program sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Oregon.   Each summer they host a one-week session for young women to come and learn about our governmental and public systems and how to become actively involved in the community as leaders.  This program gives young women an opportunity to experience state government in a hands-on, interactive environment.  This will be a stretch for my daughter and I am sure she will find herself having a wonderful time.   When we departed Willamette University yesterday, she had already met a group of young ladies that grabbed her and made her feel welcome.  This will be a life changing event for her.
At the same time, my wife took our oldest son to the University of Oregon to Boy’s State for the week.  Then after Boy’s State, he is off to Camp Pioneer for the rest of the summer as a Staffer. 
Our youngest son was along for the rideyesterday, but at least got to see the Football stadium at UofO.  It was an interesting  Fathers day capped off with a great dinner with my Dad.. so what am I thankful for as a Father.  Great kids.
What am I thankful about my Father.  He has been a great role model, a mentor and someone I have always looked up to.  Yesterday was Father’s day.. and like most Dad’s I am helped my kids take a step closer to finding their dream.  And that suites me just fine.
Hope you had  a Great Father’s day.. and a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Leadership | Leave a comment

This Weeks Poll

This weeks poll asks the question about Unit elections.  Do you hold them annually, Bi-annually?  Do you hold them when ever the need arises?  How do you do unit elections in your unit?
Well….  Lets hear it.
Leave your answer in the comments section so we all can get a feel for how unit elections are conducted around our Scouting World.
I’ll give you my thoughts later.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Advancement, blog, Citizenship, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Scoutmaster minute | 4 Comments

SMMPodcast Show # 88 Stoves and other Stuff

SMMPodcast show # 88 is out and ready for your ear buds.  I need to apologize for the audio quality of the first part of this show.. The F150 studio was louder than usual. In this show we talk about Stoves and other Stuff including a great Ordeal Weekend with our Lodge.
Let me know what you think.  Leave Feedback, drop an email,
and Have a Great Scouting Day!|

You can listen to the show here SMMPodcast # 88
This Show is sponsored by Badge Magic

Categories: podcast | Leave a comment

Electronics and Scouting

There are many out there that feel that there is no place for electronics in Scouting.. no phones, ipods, or gps units.  Well I tend to disagree with those folks, but with this caveat, training, skills, and appropriate time and place.
Training.  IF you are going to use a gps unit you need to know how to read a map and compass.  Goecaching has made gps very popular and has taken away some of the map and compass skills that we use in the field.  The game of geocaching on the other hand has gotten lots of folks out in the woods and hiking from point to point.  I love this idea, but… add the map and compass skill to your list when hunting for your next treasure.  Total reliance on the gps may leave you stranded when the batteries die.  the compass and map will never fail you.  So map and compass training is a must.
Training in basic camping (outdoor) skills are a must.  Knot tying, First aid, and setting camp, cooking, and the principles of leave no trace are all must have skills.  Your iPhone can help in those endeavors.  There are great apps out there that teach skills.  The Boy Scout handbook is a nice tool on the iPhone to take Scouting where the Scout is… on his phone.
In my troop we do not discourage the use of electronics.  Game units, gps, iPhones, etc are all welcome.  We do not have a written policy or a guidebook on how and when to use these items, it is understood however that there is an appropriate time and place.  Once a Scout understands the when and where and the fact that we welcome technology the instances of abuse are rare.  It is a matter of teaching, trusting, and letting them lead in the use of their electronics.
I think that there is a place for electronics in Scouting… and Scouting thinks so too.  If you trust your Scouts to do the right thing, train them in the proper use, and then establish the appropriate time and place that it all can be used, it will naturally find its place in your unit.
There recently was a good article in Backpacker magazine about skills and the iPhone.. check it out here.
Let me know what you think.  Leave a comment or drop me an email.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, gear, Scoutmaster minute, technology | 3 Comments

First Follower..

Here is a great lesson on leadership…  Enjoy.. and think about it.
Have a Great Scouting Day!


Categories: Leadership | 2 Comments

Somewhere between a Rock and Hard Place

That’s where you will find adventure and success.  Life is hard enough for an 11 year old with out standing on the edge of a cliff.  But that is where the Scouts of Troop 664 find themselves every year when we climb at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon.
Here is what happens.  A young man gets ready, harness and helmet on.. he is looking for adventure and sees the older guys doing it.. it looks fun, but that is a long way down.  He’s been through the training, knows all the knots, the commands, and how he is going to lean out, get into a good “L” shape position, and start his decent.  He knows that he has all the skills necessary to go over the edge.  But then his brain asks him the question; “ARE YOU NUTS?” 
This is when it happens.. It?  What “it”?  This is where the Scout learns about himself and how far he is willing to go, but then when he reaches that point.. he takes just one one step.  He tests his courage, his inner strength, and his will to trust.
On this face of rock he will be tested by himself and come out victorious.  Every small step is huge victories.  The tears that run down a dirty cheek soon give way to smiles and high fives!  He has conquered a small part of his mind and now is more confident.  He walks just a bit taller on the way back to the truck even though he is tired and hungry.  He has an adventurous story to share.  Him and his patrol mates did something that their class mates won’t do.  Monday at school he will show pictures and tell of his great adventure.
So here is what I know for sure.  The old Scoutmaster handbooks talk about what makes a boy… Paraphrasing… He likes to be with his friends, he likes to feel important, he wants to share work and play hard, he wants to make decisions and but likes to know he is supported by his friends and adults.  He wants action and fun!  He wants to run, play, fight, and generally be on the move.  HE craves adventures and changes in his surroundings.  He wants to experience new things, feel the wind in his hair, the sun in his eyes, and is looking for that great escape for the everyday things in his life.  He wants to learn and see new things and have new experiences.  He looks up to somebody and has a vision of what he wants to be.
I paraphrased that from the 1965 Scoutmaster Handbook.  Everything applies today.  100%!  Get them outside and provide adventures that will test them, push them, make them think and grow and you will have done what the boy wants.  That is Scouting my friends.
This weekend my Troop spent 12 hours climbing, rappelling, and practicing rescue techniques at Smith Rock.  We camped on a ranch in Madras and had a ball.  I got to see a lot of growth this weekend.  And when the parents came to pick up the guys on Sunday, I wish you could have seen the young men, smiles from ear to ear anxious to tell the story to mom and dad.
The moral of the story… boys are boys.  From 1910 to 2011 the only thing that really has changed in their Scout uniform, what is inside is just as healthy and wanting as ever before.  Seek those adventures and somewhere between a rock and hard place they will  find themselves.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Backpacking, blog, camp skills, Camping, Character, Climbing, High Adventure, Ideals, Just fun, Leadership, Patrol Method, Risk Management, Scoutmaster minute, Scouts, Skills, teamwork, training | Leave a comment

Grandma always told me…

“You are either part of the problem or part of the solution…”  a great approach to being a part of an organization.  You truly are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  When we teach our Scouts how to lead, being part of the solution is the driving force that they need to quickly embrace and practice.  Never is it ok for a leader to be a part of the problem.  We and the youth leaders of our units are problem solvers.. never problem makers.
I never allow a youth leader to make excuses.. there are none, ever.  We are accountable for our actions, decisions, and the outcomes of our leadership.  It’s never the committees fault, the districts fault, or the council’s fault.  We are unit leaders, us and the youth, and we run our units.  If something is broke, we fix it.
Last year during our recharter, a couple of our Scouts were inadvertently dropped in Scout Net.  Now I could have raised hell and blamed everyone and their brother.. but what good does it do?  Rather, we took our copy of the application down to the Scout office and got it fixed.  Real simple.  What shocked me though was when the gal at the Council service desk informed me that usually this issue is met with irate leaders that want satisfaction.  Satisfaction at what expense?  Tearing into someones hide?  Very Scout like don’t you think?  Lets assume that all of our units do a good job at record keeping.  Well then there is no issue, right.. we just take down our copy and done.
We are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  It is easy to point fingers and assume that things will be messed up.  Patrol leaders try this all the time.  They try to pass the buck or play the blame game.  This is always a great teaching opportunity. 
In my Troop we use the Happy Hand approach to rules. 
1.  Hold up your Thumb.. Everything is OK.. working together we will get through it.
2. Your Pointer Finger is not to be used to point at anyone.. remember there are 3 fingers pointing back.
3.  Your Middle finger is never to be used by itself.
4.  The Ring finger represents committment.  We are committed to each other all the time.
5.  The pinky finger is fragile…  A reminder to be safe.
Everything there keeps us in the problem solving game and not the blame game.  Teach the Scouts to solve problems and seek areas to improve.  Never allow finger pointing and backing out of events because they think it will not be worth their time.  So many times Scouts with great attitudes can swing a sub standard event.  I have seen it many times.
If they want to complain, they need to offer a solution.
NOW.. that goes for you adults to… How you act is how your Scouts will act.  You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  PICK ONE.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Methods, Patrol Method, planning, Scout Law, Scouting | Leave a comment

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