Month: August 2011

Open wide the doors.. they will come

An 11 year boy walks into the meeting hall with his mother.  He see’s a big group of boys joking and laughing, telling stories about summer camp and some of them are frantically getting items signed off in their handbooks.
His mom approaches and asks if I am Jerry.  Yes I am I reply and we exchange handshakes.
Welcome to Troop 664!
And this is….?  Tristan, she says, he wants to be a Boy Scout.
You have come to the right place I tell her and invite her to sit down.  In moments she is filling out an application and Tristan is off with his new Patrol mates.  Playing a gathering game and getting to know his new friends.
He is a new kid in town, just moved from out of State.  He is excited and ready for an adventure.
Fitting right in with the other 11 year olds, this place is meant for him.. I can tell.
I had been playing phone tag with his parents for a few weeks now trying to get him in… it seems that the council is doing a fine job of recruiting for me.  Tristan’s parents said they called the council and the Troop they recommended was us. 
Got a call yesterday from another parent looking for a Scout Troop.  They also got a high recommendation from the downtown office.  They will be joining right after Labor day.
I guess what my Scoutmaster mentor Tim said years ago was absolutely right… “Build a great program and they will come.”
Its all about the program.  Fun, Adventure, and Life lessons.  It gets them in the door and keeps them there.
Welcome to the Troop Tristan!… It’s great to have you!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Talking with my SPL

Troop 664 after the Polar Bear Swim

Last week at Summer camp, my SPL and I had the chance to sit in a row-boat together for 1 hour and 12 minutes.  During that time we talked about the week, leadership, attitudes, and his future.  It was one of the best hours I have ever spent in my life.  During that hour I met a new young man.. up until then, he was just another Scout that stepped up to meet the leadership challenge.  He has always been active and one of those guys that you can always count on.. some would call his type the core of the Troop.
I appreciated the fact that he was very open with the discussion and his sense of humor really came out.
I recorded our conversation and invite you to listen in.  SMMPodcast #93 is all us and a few guys swimming their mile swim.
I hope you enjoy the time spent with James, my SPL, as much as I did.
LISTEN HERE

Have a Great Scouting Day!

You have got to be kidding me???

Ok.. so fair warning.. I am going to rant in this post.  I know that I try to keep this blog positive.. but this is something that I must get off my chest.  Why you may be asking?  Well its because what I am about rant about is a fundamental part of Scoutmastership.   And when I hear what I heard while at Summer camp, well it flat out worries me that there are Scoutmasters out there that are failing their Scouts.
Let me explain…
BEGIN RANT
While at Summer Camp last week all of the Scoutmasters met daily at the program cabin.  Each day the staff would give the Scoutmasters a run down of the days events and take any questions or concerns that we may have.  On Tuesday night the Scouts would have to cook dinner in camp, so on Monday night, the commissioners gave the SPLs a meal order form.  This form had all the basics on it, the SPL was to scratch off the items that they would not need, sign the form, have the Scoutmaster initial it, and then turn it in on Tuesday morning.  Pretty simple.
So on Tuesday at the Scoutmaster meeting, the staff reminded us that the SPLs would be turning these forms in.  As soon as the staff made the comment three Scoutmasters (well we will call them Scoutmasters.. after all they have the patch on their uniforms) began to laugh.  The program director asked what was funny.  The Scoutmaster in question stated “Not sure you can trust an SPL to get it done..hahaha”  One of the other Scoutmasters suggested that he never saw the form and that the staff should had given the form to the Scoutmaster.. after all, he would be the one doing the cooking.
My jaw hit the deck and smoke began to appear from my ears.  I told myself to just shut up and let it go.  And then the following statement came ooozing out of this Scoutmasters mouth.  “You can’t trust a boy to this stuff”.  WHAT?
I looked at this dude and asked him if he ever heard of Youth Leadership?  He looked at me and said.. uh yeah.
I asked him if he was embarrased?  He said what for?  I asked him if he ever trained the SPL.. I mean after all.. it is the Scoutmasters job to train the Senior Patrol Leader.. right?  He replied its hopeless.. he’s just a kid.  I asked again if he was embarrassed.  Again he said what for?  I shared with him that I would be embarrassed if I would have said something like that, especially on a deck full of Scoutmasters.  He told me that I would not understand.  I asked him to help me understand why he would not train a Scout to lead, I asked him to explain to me why he had no faith in the Scout.   I asked him to share with me what he thought his responsibility was as a Scoutmaster when it came to training, coaching, and teaching the SPL.  He looked at me with a puzzled look.. that was all could take.  The staff at that point stepped in and said they would take care of it.
So there it is… This saddened me.  I was dumbfounded at the lack of training this Adult offered his Scouts.  I am saddened that the Scouts of his unit will not get opportunities or the trust of an adult allowing them to be successful.  It is tragic that the Scouts of his unit are getting the benefit of the full Scouting program.  I can only imagine how the rest of the program in that Troop is lacking.  At the end of the day, it’s the Scouts that will suffer.. but then again.. what they don’t know.. well, yes it will hurt them in the long run.
They do not have a leader willing to Train them, Trust them, and let them lead.
An hour in the middle of the lake in a row-boat made me feel much better.
END OF RANT.

I apologize for the negative post.  I try not to do this, but this one has been on my mind since Monday of last week and I could not let it go another day.
Please everyone.. Be a good Scoutmaster!  Train them, Trust them, and Let the Boys lead!

Have a Great Scouting day!

Shared Experience

Break is over, Summer camp was an awesome experience and I need to share more with you once I collect me thoughts.
I will share this with you today however.  Shared Experience!
One of Scoutings treasures is the shared experience of your Scouts and you.  Summer camp is one of the best times to have the shared experience and make memories that will last forever.
On the last night in camp, we sat around the camp fire.  Our SPL was talking with some of the guys about how great camp was and then I spoke up about the memories that were forged this week.
We went around the fire circle and talked about merit badges, mile swims, catching fish, hanging out with friends, and being part of a great troop.
This year is Camp Pioneer’s 75th Anniversary.  The guys of the Troop pledged to come back in 25 years for the 100th.  We all decided that we would come back to Camp Pioneer to celebrate together.  I’m in!
I had a great time with the Scouts this week at camp.  They are all a part of a wonderful shared experience I will never forget!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

BREAK TIME… BREAK TIME…

Break Time… Break Time…  Those few words used to be music to my ears when I worked in the hub at UPS..  Today, they mean something a little different.
Remember a few weeks back when we talked about everyone needs to take a break.. well folks.. this is my break!
Its been crazy around the SMJerry Compound.. summer camp prep, the young one getting ready for 2 a days, and band camp is just around the corner.  The older one is still staffing at camp and the Troop has still been busy despite the summer and economy.
Last night I spent the better part of two hours getting my dutch ovens cleaned up and ready for summer camp, got the family camping gear down, and started signing blue cards.  132 to be exact.
Tomorrow we are heading out to Detroit Lake State Park for some family camping.  Sunday I will head up to Camp Pioneer for a week of summer camp.. so this is my break.
There will be no Podcasts till I return in a week and the blog is going to be silent as well.
While I am not taking a break from Scouting, and I certainly will have the recorder with me at camp.. just taking this little piece of my daily schedule out for a week is going to be a much needed break.
So.. doing unsubscribe, don’t think I have pod-faded… I shall return in about 10 days, refreshed and will have lots to talk about. 
While I am off the net.. this would be a great time to keep your photos coming for the contest.. send in your show ideas for Show #100.. and drop some feedback on the blog!
Thanks for reading, listening, and being the Scouter you are!
Now.. it’s family time till Sunday.. no computers.. limited cell coverage… and a lot of fun!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

I got that Scouting Spirit up in my…

I spent the better part of the weekend at Camp Pioneer.  This weekend, among other things, the camp celebrated its 75th Anniversary.  I received an invitation along with other Scoutmasters and folks throughout the Council, so I RSVP’d and attended.  It was extra special as my oldest son is on Staff at Camp Pioneer this year, so it was an opportunity to see him.  My Troop is heading up to Pioneer in a week, so it was also a real good chance to pick up some Blue cards, look at the program areas and just hang out in my favorite camp our Council has.
Friday night was the celebration for the Anniversary.  They had a special dinner and then a program in the Dinning Hall.  A slide show of the history of the camp and some “Then and Now” pictures.  The 1974 Aquatics staff was there.. all of them.  It was neat to hear their stories and meet them.  They have all gone on to do good things with their lives and to hear them speak about the camp with such fondness really hit me.
Their collective love for this camp brought them back, not only as youth, (many had staffed at the camp for up to 7 years), but now to be a part of the 75th Anniversary.  What really touched me was the strong tradition that they embodied.  This was particularly special to see and as I watched today’s staff interact with them I saw light bulbs flash on.  I saw the passing of the torch. 
I brought our son home for the night and as we drove the 128 miles we talked about this tradition at Camp Pioneer.  He said that up until he talked and heard the 1974 staff share their stories he did not understand where some of the stuff they did came from.  Songs that are sung, ways that programs are introduced, skits, and camp traditions.  It made the camp come alive for all us that love Camp Pioneer.
I have always loved Camp Pioneer and this weekend really increased that love.  Yesterday before I left camp I sat and looked over the spectacular view.  The lake and the over looking Mt. Jefferson called me.  As I sat in the Chapel bowl I could hear the staff wrapping up the end of the week’s session with the Camp Song.
Camp Pioneer we’re loyal to your code, Together we will hike the eagle road, We love your lofty pines and lake so blue, Camp Pioneer our memories always turn to you, In love and friendship we will work and play, A helping hand to each upon his way, And may our faces shine, And spirits intertwine, Camp Pioneer, that’s why we’re here, Camp Pioneer.
Hip Hip Hooray, Hip Hip Hooray, Hooray, Hip Hip!!
It brought a smile to my face remembering the 1974 staff singing the song on Friday night along side the current staff.
Then as we walked out to the parking lot after dropping John off to head home the sound of Pioneer Vespers rang in my head.  I could not help but feel that Scouting traditions are alive and well and summer camp is that place that really brings it out in all of us.
When this land was untamed and free, A few brave men built a great country, Fighting for freedom, Despite their fears, We know these men as Pioneers,
High in the mountains where the green meets blue, Camp Pioneer’s calling you.
Here in the Cascades, the spirit lives on, A brotherhood of love, our voices in song, Learning to be leaders, For Future years, We shall be known as the new Pioneers,
High in the mountains where the green meets blue, Camp Pioneer’s calling you. Camp Pioneer is calling you.”

Have a Great Scouting Day!