Last weekend I sat down with a rather large group of brand new Scouts. Most of them came from the ranks of Cub Scouts, but some had not and so getting into the habit of saying oaths and pledges for the most part is something to get used to. We pledge to do our best, we say the Scout Oath and Law, and we learn and pledge to be good stewards with the principles of leave no trace and the Outdoor code.
Now, the fellows that had earned their Arrow of light did a real nice job with the Oath and Law, new others picked it up alright, but they all struggled with the Outdoor code.
Some told me that they never heard of it, while others said that they just did not spend time learning it. That’s ok I told them, in Boy Scouts not only will you learn it, but you will live it.
It’s a simple pledge, that I fear to many Scouts and Scouters take either lightly or not at all. I have heard Scoutmasters that say, we have leave no trace, why do we need the Outdoor code.
Well for starters, its simple and easy to learn. IF it is simple and easy to learn, it’s more than likely something the Scouts will use.
I teach the Scouts the 4 C’s. Careful with fire, Clean in my outdoor manners, Considerate of others, and Conservation minded.
OK.. Careful with fire.. we all get that. Clean.. yeah, we know to pick up after ourselves and leave it better than we find it, Considerate of others… that can be a challenge sometimes, but we know when quiet time is, and we know how to camp in smaller groups etc. But Conservation minded? This is a concept that many of the young men did not seem to grab ahold of. They know about the environment, after all, that’s all they hear about in the Schools and on TV. How we are running out of water, there are no more trees, and that we are all going to fry because of global warming.. errr.. climate change.
Well that is a real hard sell here in Oregon.. lots of trees, plenty of water, and it seems that the temps are never going to rise. Anyway… we all know about being Environmentally aware, so what is with this conservation minded thing?
I consider myself a conservationist. I believe that the outdoors is there for us to enjoy… but we need to take care of it. I believe in being a good steward of the land and our resources. Like the loggers here in Oregon and around the US.. for every tree they cut down they plant 11 more. This is good stewardship. Instead of blazing trails, we stay on established trails and we do not create new trails by cutting through switch backs. We stay out of sensitive growth areas, we do not harm the land with fires when we don’t need them, we pack it in and pack it out. We take fewer cars on outings. Yeah, we fill every seatbelt before we add a car to the list, does this mean that some adult do not get to go.. sometimes, but it is all apart of how we can do our share to be conservation minded.
And then there is the service. We repair trails, we clean up our nature area, we learn about the land we camp in and how we impact it. Conserving what we have and not wasting our land, water, and other natural resources is being conservation minded.
It is when I sit with the new Scouts that I have an opportunity to share the BSA’s view point on this and teach them the outdoor code. It is simple and easy to use. I learn alot about them, and they learn alot about why we pledge the things we pledge. Have a Great Scouting Day!
I NEED YOUR HELP!!
I do not want a penny from you for personal use. I have never used this blog as a fundraising tool.. but the time is NOW to help Scouts and help me do something real cool.
Yes.. I will benefit from this in that I get to have an extremely cool adventure.
Let me break this down for you. I am in the Cascade Pacific Council. The CPC sits in the heart of a city (government) that has no values, no support of conservative efforts and, while the CPC is a large council with many youth and adult participants… the city in which it resides is not a big supporter of Scouting. And that is one of the reasons this is so cool!
We are going over the edge of the US Bancorp Tower in downtown Portland.. there is NO WAY that the city will be able to not see this great event that supports Scouting!
I pledged to raise $2,500 ! Your support will help us impact young lives with values like… On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my Country. These words have been the foundation of our organization since 1910 and reflect the values that are critical to the healthy development of our youth. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
You can help me rappel 500 feet down the US Bancorp tower and help Scouting!
Go to my site and see if you can help. I really believe in Scouting and need your help. And yep.. the mic will go with me down the tower.. the first ever Scouting podcast from 500 ft and dropping!
Here is a link to my site where you can make your tax deductible donation.. every penny helps: http://cpcbsa.kintera.org/overtheedge/schleining
I know that most of you are Scouters and support your local council. And I thank you. $2,500 is not that much when we spread it out among the great readers and listeners of the Scoutmaster Minute. Please Help!!!
This is the US Bancorp Tower in Downtown Portland. Its the second tallest building in the city at 536 feet!
I really want to rappel down that 500 ft tower!
Thanks for anything you can do! Have a Great Scouting Day!
Spending time with your Scouts on C.O.P.E courses is a wonderful experience. Scouts are challenged to step away from what they know is comfortable. The team building exercises and challenging tasks push Scouts to push themselves, not only for the sake of pushing themselves, but for the sake of the team. Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience courses test the Scouts to do their best.
The other thing that C.O.P.E teaches is the idea that Scouting is among other things a “Personal Experience”. Now it is wrapped up within Patrols, Troops, and buddy teams, but at the end of the day, it is up to the Scout to demonstrate self-reliance and have an attitude that he is willing to accomplish any task that he gets the personal experience. Our Method of Advancement is one way that is completely a personal experience in Scouting.
The Scout is responsible for his advancement. If he wants to be an Eagle Scout, there is nothing in his way except for himself. The requirements are clearly outlined in his handbook, he has the support of his Adult leadership, and he is driven to complete the task. Advancement is up to him. Not his buddies, his Scoutmaster, or parents.
The merit badge program is much like the advancement method in that it to is a personal experience for the Scout. There are required merit badges, but by and large with the large amount of badges spanning every vocation, hobby, sports, and skills, the Scout can pick and choose what he likes, wants, and needs to move forward with his Scouting experience.
Last night I talked with many of the new parents about Summer camp. They had questions about merit badges and what we expect the Scouts to do… more so… what merit badges I expect the Scouts to earn while at camp. My answer was received better by some parents than others. My answer was that it was up to the Scout on what he earns and how many merit badges he try to earn. My expectation is that they have fun at Summer camp. If that means 6 merit badges or no merit badges I am ok with that. “But we are paying a lot of money for summer camp” a parent said… yes I understand that. What do you think you are paying for? In my opinion we pay for the personal and shared experiences that are found only at Summer camp. Summer camp is a week-long C.O.P.E course. There are challenges, skills, and tests all week. How the Scouts handle those both as individuals and as a team determines the success of the week at camp. Merit badges and how many the Troop can earn is not the measure of success. In the end, not one merit badge will lead to a memory that they share. I can tell you stories all day long about the summer camps that I attended from 1978 to 1984. But I can only tell you 1 story about a merit badge, and it really had little to do with the badge, it had more to do with me falling asleep and getting lost while trying to earn it. My expectation is that the Scouts have fun and build a catalog of memories. I want them to have a great Personal Experience in Scouting. Have a Great Scouting Day!
Man oh man, its been a while since I was on the blog posting. Sorry about that, no excuses, just lots going on especially with all the new scouts that we have in the troop.
This post I want to share a little about the last camp out. It was planned by the PLC as a new Scout “Trail to First Class” camp as well as some shot-gun shooting. Then a few weeks before the camp the C.O.P.E course came available as well as 3 more C.O.P.E certified leaders in the troop. So there was time left, so we threw that in also.
Saturday morning started as planned. There was a select group of older Scouts designated to teach the TFC events. They went well. Flag etiquette, fire building, and Totin’ Chip classes kept the new Scouts moving and learning skills. They also learned how to break down meals, plan menus, and pack their packs. They were walked through a model camp site and told what we expected in them and how they camped.
Then it was time for the groups to rotate and the new guys set off to the Shot gun range and the older guys moved to the C.O.P.E course. It was a fantastic opportunity for the older guys to have some fun without the pressure of having the young guys to watch.
The new Scouts had a great time at the range and got back earlier than expected. So the SPL talked with the C.O.P.E. director (one of the ASMs of the Troop) to see if there was something that the First year guys could do. We were the only Troop on the course, so he said they could all do the zip line which is the final event. The whole troop lined up got on harnesses and did the Zip line. It was a blast.
Here is the important part. We had a couple of the new guys that had never camped without Mom and Dad, fired a shot gun, or climbed 32 feet in the air and flew down a zip line. It was a weekend in which just about every Scout in the Troop stepped out of their comfort zone in one way or another and tested themselves. Whether it was teaching classes. shooting, or going through the C.O.P.E. course.
Saturday night the Scouts put on a great camp fire program. One of the brand new Scouts, the one that climbed up to the platform and could not bring himself to go… he stood up there for 20 minutes mustering the confidence to step off. He finally went and afterward told me that “knowing what I know.. I would have went right away”.. he needed to develop trust. And he did.. trust and confidence. So anyway, Saturday night.. he stepped up in front of the whole Troop led a song at the camp fire. High Fives all around for the boys of the Troop.
It was one of those camp outs when everything comes together and the boys show me that all they need is support and a pat on the back and they will do great things.
Scouting teach self-reliance and to live the Scout Oath and Law. They get it in the class room that Baden Powell set up.
Well, better get busy on the next podcast.. I will get more posts out.. things are now leveling off with the new guys.. Have a Great Scouting Day!
Bare with me as I rant on humanity.
I have been around the world and seen a lot of things… some good, some bad. Today I had a day which caused me to ask What the hell is wrong with people?
Excuse me if the language is strong or the message makes you feel uncomfortable.. but What the hell is wrong with people?
I am going to assume that if you take the time to read this blog, at some level you agree with the Scout Oath and Law. You may not agree in total, but we can again assume that you believe that people should be helpful and that we have an obligation to treat others as we wish to be treated. Right?
Ok.. so lets go from that point then.. we agree at least this much.
Today in the fair city of weirdness (I am glad to say I do not maintain an address within the city limits of Portland) I witnessed to acts that almost got me throwing punches.
The city of Portland has a rather larger transient community.. call them hobo’s, bums, homeless, whatever, the fact is this population has made Portland home. I am not opposed to this. Portland has many outreach organizations, shelters, and government sponsored (paid) opportunities for these people. This has in one way or another made Portland a desirable place to be homeless. Before I go any further.. please know that this post is not in any way shape or form bashing those that find themselves in these dire straights. There are many reasons for one to find themselves on the streets and I have the utmost compassion for those in real need.
The story here is how one of Portland’s finer citizens treated one of these folks out on the street.
I was at an intersection waiting for the light to change. It was a rather long light, so I found myself watching as a BMW pulled up next to me. A pan handler approached the BMW with his sign asking for “Anything helps” .. you know the typical verbage on your average Portland pan handlers sign. The man holding the sign looked like a fellow just down on his luck. He was clean and dressed in modest clothing. With him was two kids, I would guess 10 and 14 years old. They looked embarrassed to be standing on the corner begging.
Then I heard yelling coming from the BMW. The pan handler said “Thanks anyway” and turned around. This is where I lost it. The driver of the BMW then asked, in a loud voice, if the guy wanted a drink. The man turned around just in time to take a large drink thrown at him. It soaked him from about the belly to his knees. The look of shock on the kids faces brought my blood to an immediate boil. I threw my UPS truck into park and jumped out of the driver’s seat. I ran up to the driver of the BMW and asked “What the hell is the matter with you?” He looked at me with a surprised look and then the light turned green and he sped away.
The pan handler had moved back to the curb and told his kids that it was time to go. I jumped back in my truck and pulled over to clear the intersection. I had a couple of oranges and a banana in my truck, so I gave it to them. I told the guy I wished I could do more. He said “I understand”. Looking at those kids my heart drop. I have three at home and would never want to be in that position.
Now to be honest, I probably won’t be down at the shelter tomorrow handing out blankets or serving meals, but I would never treat someone like that guy got treated today. I know that there are lots of “Street People” that have made that their choice. Drugs, addictions to alcohol, run aways, many have made the choice to live off of the generosity of the people who pay taxes, give freely of time, talent, and money. But then there are those, like this guy and his kids that just got a hard knock.
I had to fill my truck up tonight on the way home. Yep, $100 later I thought I may be standing on the corner with a sign, the penalty for driving a F150 I guess, but it holds 21 backpacks and so I will keep on driving it. I’d rather pay the $100 then let the Prius lobby win! Anyway, I pulled into the gas station and braced for impact. As I sat there chatting with the attendant (yeah in Oregon we can’t pump our own gas) A lady pulled up, rolled down her window and started yelling at the attendant. I thought for a minute, what the heck is she yelling about? The attendant said he would be right over and started walking toward her car. Well by now you could hear a pin drop and all attention was on this loud mouth lady. She said she needed her car filled up and she was not about to pay $3.90 a gallon. The attendant politely told her that with her Safeway card she would save 3 cents a gallon. “3 cents!” the lady yelled.. “What the *&$# I am going to do with 3 cents?” This is where I finally had to ask, “What the hell is wrong with people?”.
After the 3 cents tirade she began a barrage of profanity and berating this young man the likes I have not seen since basic training in the early ’80’s. The attendant stood silent and took the verbal beating. Finally, I had enough. I got out of my car and asked if there was something that I could do to help. She snapped her head in my direction and told me to mind my own “F'” ing business. I informed her that she pretty much had made this everyone’s business with her loud attitude. I asked her to take it easy on this kid.. he’s just pumping gas, doing his job, he doesn’t set the price of gas. She then warned me to mind my business. I told the attendant to get his manager and that may he could work something out with this lady. She told him that he needed to start pumping gas and let loose with a bomb shell of profane words. As the manager arrived, I turned to her and asked “What the hell is wrong with you”. The best part of the story is that as she got in her car and drove away.. the back of her car was filled with bumper stickers proclaiming her faith. “God is my copilot” and “WWJD?” I am sure he would not have acted like her.
I got home tonight and thought about this incredible day of humanity. I thought.. naw.. this is just a freak thing… but then I thought, if I saw two of these acts today.. me.. all by myself, how many more are happening everyday all over?
It makes me upset.
What the hell is wrong with people? At the outset, I assumed that if you read my blog, then you believe in at least parts of the Scout Oath and Law.
“To help other people at all times”, “To do my DUTY to God and my Country”, to be “Helpful, Courteous, and Kind.” And at the end of the day something that every major religion on Earth preaches.. “To do unto others as you would have done to you”.
Simple. So what the hell is wrong with people?
I really mean it when I say… Have a Great Scouting Day!
In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher
came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, I need to tell you what I just heard about one of your students!”
“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”
“Test of Three?”
“That’s correct,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a
moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.” “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?” “No, on the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really…” “Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all? The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.
This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.
As Scouts we need to be mindful of who we talk about and why we talk about them. Your words are powerful and unless they meet the test of three, they may be hurtful. Think before you talk, take a minute to engage the test. Have a Great Scouting Day!
In this show I have a lengthy chat with a fellow Scoutmaster and great Friend Bob Pierce. Join us as we talk a little bit about everything. Jamboree, Dutch oven cooking, Troop Guides, JLT, Anuual planning, Parents and Philmont just to cover some of the bases. It’s what happens Scoutmasters get together and shoot the breeze. The show was recorded on location at the Annual rendezvous of the Order of the Arrow at Camp Meriwether, so the crashing of waves and other camp sounds fill the background of this nice talk with my buddy Bob.
Hope you enjoy the show.
Please leave some feedback, drop us an email, or leave a comment in the comments section. Thanks for listening. Have a Great Scouting Day!