Month: December 2011

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Saying Goodbye to a Great year of Scouting

2010 ended on the heals of one of the most exciting things I had ever done in Scouting having gone to the National Jamboree.  Making that super special was that I got to go with both of my sons.
2011 ends with some challenges, but looking back, it was a fantastic year of Scouting.
Our Troop won the Troop of the year award.  That really put an exclamation point on our program and launched the Scouts to be better and looking for new and exciting adventures.  It helped in the growth of our Troop, and while we did end the year by dropping some Scouts, our net gain was great than it ever has been.
In the last 4 months of the year 9 new boys joined the adventure of our Troop.
Personally my Scouting life grew stronger this year and I enjoyed being on the Wood Badge Staff.  It had been a while since I went to Wood Badge and participating as a Staffer reinforced the program within me and I feel in love with it again.
The bonds and experiences of Wood Badge were solidified in my Scouting life and new friendships were forged and old friendship rekindled.
2011 hosted some great outings with the Troop.  Kicking the year off up on Mt Hood in snow and ending at the base of Mt. Adams in the snow.  Every outing in between seemed to lead us to fun and adventure.
Our Troop was featured on the Outdoor Channel this year.  It was a great opportunity to show the world that Scouting was meant to happen in Oregon.  The Scouts and families of our Troop really thought this was a big feather in the 664 hat.  I think it was one of the greatest things that can happen for a Troop.  To be selected and then show cased because of your reputation within the Council for doing Scouting the right way really meant a lot to me and the other leaders of our unit.
Finally, it was a fantastic year for our family in Scouting.  John completed and earned his Eagle Award.  A great personal achievement for him, a great source of pride for us.
And so we say goodbye to a great year of Scouting!  We welcome the new adventures that lay ahead in 2012.
Philmont, new adventures with a bunch of new Scouts, a cool Summer camp, and lots of time spent in the woods!
I hope your 2012 is a blessed one.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Advancement Changes

The more things change the more they stay the same… I am referring to the new Advancement guide of the BSA.  You can download now at the or here is a direct link GUIDE TO ADVANCEMENT 2011.  In it you will find much of the same policies and practices that have governed the advancement process for years.  You will also find new merit badges and some new twists to some of the requirements.  I encourage everyone to download a copy and become familiar with the changes and renew your understanding of how advancement is supposed to work within the Boy Scouts of America.
The reason that I am bringing this up now is because of a discussion that I have been participating in on another “Outdoors” type forum.
I try not to get into debates on forums, I really do not think that forums provide an atmosphere that allows both parties to articulate their sides, concerns, and evidence on any given subject.  And keeping with that, I refused to get into a debate about advancement policies and changes on the forum.  I did however, give an opinion and yes try to explain how I understand the policy or changes.
Here is specifically what I am referring to, the comment made by a poster to the forum:
It has lots of changes.  It looks like BSA is adopting a “No Scout left behind” attitude.
For example:
Scouts can’t fail Scoutmaster conferences.
The Scoutmaster Conference is not the last thing done before a BOR.

“ Unit Leader (Scoutmaster) Conference The unit leader (Scoutmaster) conference, regardless of the rank or program, is conducted according to the guidelines in the Scoutmaster Handbook, No. 33009.
Note that a Scout must participate or take part in one; it is not a “test.” Requirements do not say he must “pass” a
conference. While it makes sense to hold one after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that it
be the last step before the board of review. This is an important consideration for Scouts on a tight schedule to meet the requirements before age 18. Last-minute work can sometimes make it impossible to fi t the conference in before then, so scheduling it earlier can avoid unnecessary extension requests. “

Ok.  The writer starts by stating that the BSA is “Adopting a ‘No Scout left behind’ attitude”.  I did not see that in the advancement guide.  There is no policy that states that No Scout shall be left behind or not advanced.  This perception that the BSA wants to hand out Eagle Scout badges is false and comes from Scout leaders that see this PRACTICE going on in units around them.  They want to swing it so hard the other way, that they feel the BSA does not support them in its policy changes.  I see this in our area too.  The best course of action would be to look at the policy and do what the BSA actually says.
The statement ( states that “a Scout must participate or take part in one; it is not a “test.” Requirements do not say he must “pass” a conference.”  This is nothing new.  The Scoutmaster Conference has not been a retest in a long time.  Further more the language has also said “participate” for some time also.
There was a lot of grief given to the statement “While it makes sense to hold one after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that itbe the last step before the board of review.”  That also is true and has been for some time.  It does not make sense to hold the Scoutmaster Conference prior to completion of the requirements, but I can see circumstances in which the Scout may ask for a Conference prior to completion of all the requirements.  Circumstances like participating at Summer Camp where the remainder of the requirements will be completed before the end of the week, or in the case of a young man who needs to have his Scoutmaster Conference before his 18th birthday in order to earn that rank.  Yes folks.  As long as the Scoutmaster Conference has been completed before the 18th birthday, a Scout can have his Eagle BOR after the birthday.
Still, I think the advancement guide is clear in its policies and still I do not see how the BSA is trying to make it any more easier or a hand out.
Most of the issues in the discussion could be dealt with if Scoutmasters just did their jobs.  Scoutmaster Conferences should never be a retest.. why would it need to be?  The Scout should be tested along the way as he completes each requirement.  A Scout is Trustworthy and if signatures are delegated, the Scoutmaster should trust that the task, skill, or other requirement was completed.  If the Scout is having maturity issues, leadership challenges, skill development failures.. then these should all be worked with as they happen.. waiting for the Scoutmaster Conference is doing a disservice to the Scout and the process.
And yet again, I bring it all back to Adult leaders that do the wrong thing.  The right thing is not to make things up, rather do the program as the Boy Scouts of America outlines.  Doing this insures and the advancement process is fair for everyone.
Get a copy of the advancement guide and remember to do what is right.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

The Pulk Project continued

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, along with spending some great time with family and friends, I did get some upgrades to my gear.  I will be shooting some reviews on the new stuff in the near future.
I did take advantage of some good weather and time off to finish my Pulk Sled also.  Here is a short video of the Pulk.  Its ready to go and I will be taking it out on the 13th for a “Test Camp out”.
More on the Pulk and other gear later!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you that share this blog with me.  2011 has been another great year and our Scout world has grown smaller as we have learned from one another and you have shared emails, comments, voicemail,  your thoughts with me. From my family to you and yours… A heart filled Merry Christmas and the very best in the coming year!


There once was two young Indian braves that were best of friends.  They grew together, hunting, playing, and learning to be men in the tribe.  Over time, both of these men caught the eye of a young women in the tribe, and they both began to try to win her heart.
As time went on, the young women favored one over the other and they began to court.  This angered the other friend and he began to speak of his friend in ways that ultimately destroyed their friendship and the honor of young man preparing to be married.  He said vicious things about his family, he talked about this character in ways that ruined the reputation of the brave.
One day as the two former friends passed, he noticed that he had truly hurt him, a tear was in his eye.  The brave that slandered his fellow tribesman ran to the Wiseman of the tribe.
He asked the Wiseman if there was any way to repair the damage that had been done.
The Wiseman instructed him to go and climb to the highest peak, there he would find the nest of an Eagle.  In that nest would be feathers, he was to gather up all of the feathers and bring them back to the village.
The young brave set off of the journey to the highest peak.  Days upon days, he walked, always thinking about the things that he had done.  He reached the mountain and began to climb until he finally found the nest on the peak.  He gathered the feathers and started his journey back to the village.
He was greeted at the village gate by the Wiseman.  “I have done as you instructed” he declared showing the feathers.
“Good, now return to the peak and let the feathers go.. let them fly to the North and the South, the East and West” said the Wiseman. 
And so the brave turned and started his second journey to the peak.  He arrived at the mountain top and let loose the feathers.  They blew in every direction.
Upon returning to the village, the brave once again was greeted by the Wiseman.  “I have let loose all the feathered and they have blown across the land” said the brave.  “Good, my son, now go and pick up all of the feathers that you have scattered” the Wiseman replied.  “That is impossible, I can never find, nor pick up all of the feathers that I have spread across the country side.  There are to many, and I do not know where they have gone.”
“Such are your words” the Wiseman began, “Once you loose your words, like the ringing of a bell or the letting go of the feathers, you can never take them back or collect them again.  They are gone, in the wind, and where they land you will never know.  Hurtful words and words that bring pain and disrepute can never be taken back, so if you are to spread your words, make sure they are good and helpful.  Words that heal and are friendly.” 
The words of the Wiseman are so true.  Words mean nothing, until they touch the ears of the listener.  Make them count.
Think before you talk and be watchful of how you speak.
All of us can learn from this message, I have.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

SMMPodcast #99

Welcome Back, In this show we talk about a new Charter, My Son’s Eagle Award, and Christmas.
The music at the end of the show is provided by the Reynolds High School Symphony and Winds Ensemble playing “What Child is this”.  It is recorded live from their Winter concert.  My daughter plays Clarinet in the band and they are very good. 
Enjoy the Show and the music.
Please leave feedback, drop us an email or shoot a tweet.. let us know what you think and how we are doing.
This show is sponsored by Badge Magic, without their help.. merit badges would not have been on John’s sash for the BOR.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Great Scouting Day