Month: June 2012

Over the Edge

Ok, so before everyone gets completely tired of hearing about the Over the Edge fund Raiser.. let me do one or two more posts on it and then we will call it good.
Yesterday I went over the edge for Scouting.  So far the Council has about 125,000 in donations for this single event, that’s an unofficial number.. I am just doing the math that 50 of us went over the edge, and to do that you had to raise at least $2500.  That’s a pretty good chunk of change for a quick fund-raising effort.  The nice part, in my opinion, is that we did it without a ton of hype and with the effort of just a few.
That said… it was a good fund-raiser and I am happy that there is a cool incentive for raising the money.
When I ‘landed’ I was interviewed by some one with a camera looking very official.  He asked some questions about the event and what I felt about it.  I thought I might share some thoughts.
First.  As stated above, I think it was cool that relatively a few people raised this much money for our council.  50 people.  There were more people who participated in the fund-raiser, many Scouters made an attempt at getting to the edge, a lot came up short, but every penny counts.  Now just imagine if more people would have made the commitment to go over the edge.. We could have made a lot more for Scouting programs.  Just a thought.  I am taking a “that’s cool” approach to the few because I value their dedication to the effort.  I talked with one Edger.. he never thought that he would get to the Edge.  It was never his intent to go over the edge, he just wanted to raise some money for the council and call it good.  One thing led to another and here he was… getting in the harness to go over the edge.  So when I say 50, I am focusing only on the folks that went over the edge.
Now, for those folks to raise that kind of money a lot of people had to step up.  Each of those 50 people asked for donations.  That amounted to a large amount of participation from within the Scouting community as well as true friends of Scouts and Scouters.
I did a lot of “asking” via Twitter and got a great response.  Georgia, Maine, Canada, England, to name a few areas that responded, and from around my Council too.  Parents from my Jamboree Troop, Wood Badge Friends, Parents from my Troop all stepped up.  Leatherman’s headquarters is here in Portland and as luck would have it a Scout in my Troop has a Dad that works for Leatherman up in the big office.  Conversations leading to the Edge caught the attention of Jake Nichol the President and CEO of Leatherman.  He took interest in this effort and made a major contribution to my fund-raising goal.
Second.  Friends.  Yesterday was like many days at Scouting events.  Filled with laughter and friends.  Adam Cox and I were scheduled for 10:00 Am to go over the edge together.  But from the time I checked in to the time we drove away… it was friends all over the place.  I suppose that is the way it is everywhere in Scouting.  I saw so many Scouters that I had the pleasure of working with at Jamboree, Wood Badge, Order of the Arrow functions, Training classes and other Scouting Events.  The more active you are, the bigger your circle of friends is in Scouting.  I could not turn in any direction without seeing a friend.  And that made the whole event special.
Our Scout Executive went over the Edge right before Adam and I.  It was fun to joke around with him and encourage him all the way down.  He is an enthusiastic leader and sets a great example for not only his staff but Scouters in the Council also.
I was talking with my wife last night about how great it is to have so many great Scouting friends.  They are good people who really dedicate time and energy to Scouting.  And at the end of the day, when you look at the profile created by this great group of people.. it is all about serving others.  They all could have spent yesterday making money for themselves, or enjoying the time with their families or doing something other than being a part of this event.  But time and time again, we see the same folks, these same dedicated people giving of themselves to make Scouting better in our community, to make our council just that much stronger, to be among friends.
And finally, the event itself.  The fact that on Friday in June the Boy Scouts of America would be rappelling down the second tallest building in Portland.  Right in the heart of city.  The fact that all day long, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Scouters took turns going over the edge of the roof of the USBancorp Tower in view of the whole city.  That was cool.  It is no secret that the city of Portland does not maintain traditional values that are consistent with the Scout Oath and Law.  Why that is?  I don’t know.  It’s just the way it is.  But we have a very large Scouting community here.  There have now been two major events in the heart of Portland that I would never have thought I would see.  Hundreds of Scouts and Scouters marching in the Rose festival parade and this Over the Edge event.  I am glad that I have been able to not only see these events, but participate in them.  Maybe the more we put it out there.. the more the city will embrace Scouting and soon will take to our values.  That last one, I will wait for, it’s not going to happen any time soon.
But none of that will dampen the scouting spirit of those of us that love Scouting and are willing to put our bodies over the edge.
The Over the Edge event was very well-organized.  From the time we walked into the “Ready Room” the professionalism and enthusiasm was there.  The Council staff and the OTE staff were friendly and dedicated to making this the safest, funnest event ever.  And they did.  From the fitting of the harness and explanation of the process to the training on the roof and ultimately the hook up and decent from the top, the staff did a fantastic job.  At no time did I feel in danger, frightened, or uncomfortable about what I was doing.
It was great to go down the building with my friend Adam.  He had a bit of a challenge right at the edge, but it was great to see him conquer his fear and take the next step and go over.  We were talking on the roof that we were either Stupid or motivated.. or a bit of both.  But you know this is what it is.. we love Scouting!
Final thought.

If the Over the Edge comes to your council.  DO IT!.   We will be doing it again next year.  It’s a great way to raise some money for your council and a fun way to do it!  Sure beats selling popcorn.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Going All in

Our Scouts like to play card games.  In their tents.. on picnic tables.. when ever we stop for an extended period of time, it seems that a deck of cards come out.  Now, they are not gambling, no money exchanges hands, and for the most part they are simple games.  But as I watched a recent game I realized that had this been a real hand of poker and they were playing with some skin in the game.. it would be a great metaphor for the Scout Oath and Law and more importantly.. a Life of Character.
You see.. we have the Oath on one hand and we have the Law on the other.  They are the cards that we are dealt and they are the cards we must play.  The cards represent our values, the values that are found in the Scout Law.  The chips we play with represent our character.  As we live the Scout Oath, we promise to live the parts of the Scout Law that shape our character.. and so as we go through the poker game of life, we bet that we are going to keep those promises.  When we have a Royal Flush.. that would be a great hand, we bet it all.  We go all in.
The problem is that ‘going all in’ requires us not to lose.  When we lose this hand, we lose our character.
Now I am willing to go all in.  I have to, and so do you.  You should not pick and choose which parts of the Law are important.  You focus on what needs work and highlight the rest.. but the 12 points of the Scout Law are equally important.
I asked a Scout the other night about values.  I asked him to tell me where he gets some of his values.  The response was immediate.  “Treat other people like you want to be treated” he said.  I asked him if that sounded like the Scout Law.  He did not see it at first, but then I asked if he wanted his friends to trust him.. he said yes.. How about Friendly.. yes.. and courteous.. yes.. we went through each part of the law.  The answer was yes.  So you want people to treat you like they were living the Scout law?  Yes, he said.  Then I told him that he should go all in to. 
We all need to go all in.  See the game with a purpose is a good game.. even when playing cards.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Wilderness First Aid

Well, I completed more training today.  Yep… can never have enough training.  But today I completed a Wilderness First Aid course.  Two reasons for the training.  First, it is a requirement for each crew on a Philmont trek to have at least one person in the crew certified in Wilderness First Aid.  You also need to have a current certified CPR/AED member of the crew.
Last week at our Troop meeting we certified everyone in the troop on CPR/AED.  It’s just a good idea.. more training never hurts.  So we have lots of CPR certified folks heading to New Mexico.
Second, Wilderness First Aid is a great idea for a troop like mine.  Being in the back country each month we have to be prepared and part of that preparedness is being trained.
So lets talk about Wilderness First Aid for a second.  Three things:
First.  Depending on your level of competence or skill level in first aid the Wilderness first aid course will either bore you or you will learn a ton.  Having said that, there is never a reason not to take the training to reinforce your skills.  Much of the Wilderness First Aid class is a review on basic first aid.  IF you spend a good amount of time training your Scouts on their trail to first class you will know much of the first aid introduced in the class.
Second.  There is material to learn.  What I took home from the course were two things.  Rapid Body assessment and spinal injury training.  Those two things were a fantastic piece of training and extremely valuable.  Basic First aid rarely discusses spinal and or head trauma.
And finally, it’s about muscle memory.  If you don’t use it.. you lose it.
The course places you in scenarios that allow you to develop and hone your first aid skills.  It places you in situations that require thinking, skills, and working as a team to assess, treat, and stabilize a patient in the wilderness.
Take Home points.
Here is what I learned (aside from the additional skills).  I learned that assessment is critical to negotiate a good treatment and stabilization plan.  I learned that CPR really is [in most cases] a token effort that with a few exceptions will not save a life.  It may sustain life until professional help arrives and ‘calls the time of death’.  Like I said.. there are exceptions and for us Scouters the good news is that it works well on kids, people who have been submerged in freezing water, and lightning strikes.  So the next time you are planning on an injury.  Be a kid struck by lighting on a cold lake.  I am kidding, but I was surprized to hear and see evidence of just how ineffective it is.  Having said that… do it.. it’s better than doing nothing.  But really, once someone goes into cardiac arrest.. there is too much damage to the heart.  So says the Red Cross and most search and rescue folks.
Assessment is critical, I have said that?  Wilderness First Aid has given me tools to use to do accurate and timely assessments.   The other reality that we were introduced to was the fact that (out here in the west) help is not on the way any time soon.  For search and rescue you can expect to sustain a victim for up to 5 hours.  That is a long time to sustain treatment.  It is a challenge and one worth the time, but as a Scout leader in the Northwest, knowing that help is a long ways out.. It equips me with the knowledge that we have work to do when it comes to treatment.
And the last thing that I learned is that I have a good foundation of First Aid skills and am not afraid to use it.  controlling a situation, assessing the victim and the environment and moving to rapid treatment seem to be a strong suit of mine.  And so it goes into the tool box of Scoutmastership and the confidence that taking these Scouts into the wilderness is worth the risk inherent in the activities associated with being a backpacker.
So the wilderness first aid course is complete.  Never stop learning, and I will re certify in two years.
One step closer to Philmont and one more training class that made my Scouts a bit safer or at least prepared.
If you get a change to take the course.. take it.
Here is a link to the BSA site on Wilderness First Aid.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Values drive behavior

Today I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, the Dennis Prager Show.  I was listening to an older show in which he was talking about values, which, if you listen to his show for more than 10 minutes you will find that values is the main subject and the answer to most of our problems.  Anyway, the discussion today was about economics vs. values.  The argument was economics does not drive behavior, values drives behavior.  Now I am not going to turn this into a political post.  I could care less what your political affiliation is or how you view our political process.  I am however going to agree with Dennis Prager in his article “Science demands big government”.  Go ahead and read it for yourself and get back to me.  The point that I want to make is that I agree that economics is not the reason for bad behavior.. a lack of values is the reason for bad behavior.  We can all point to example after example of ‘less fortunate’ people that are good citizens, work hard, have good family lives, and do not engage in crime.  We can also point to example after example of ‘rich’ people that are crooks.  Individuals that have it all that do terrible things.  Just look at Madoff and his gang of financial thugs.  Ok.. you get the point there.
It all comes to values.  What values you were taught as a youngster and the values that you keep to drive your behavior.
OK… Are you ready for this… THE SCOUT LAW!
Yes ladies and Gentlemen.. the Scout Law has no economic boundaries, no financial limits, no ethnic affiliation, no class structure.  The Scout law is a set of values that shape behavior to a positive direction and ultimately ask for good behavior.
Take a look at the 12 points of the Scout Law.  These values should be a part of your life.  Take these twelve words and look at them closely.  Which one is not a good value?  Which one would allow you to do harm or demonstrate bad behavior?
The Scout Law is a great foundation for good behavior.  No matter where you live or how you were raised.  Living the Scout law you can not be a bad person.  I challenge you to prove me wrong.  Now.. be honest… you really have to live the Scout law.. not just say the words and call it good.  Saying words do not constitute “living” the values contained in the Scout law.  As much as knowing the 10 commandments without practicing them would not constitute living them.
So if we want to make the world a better place… lets try the Scout law.
One of Baden Powell’s ideas in starting Scouting was not to raise future soldiers but to grow a world wide peace movement.  The values found within the Scout law are universal and found in one form or another in Scouting organizations around the world.
The original Scout law appeared with the publication of Scouting for Boys in 1908 and is as follows

1. A SCOUT’S HONOUR IS TO BE TRUSTED. If a scout says “On my honour it is so,” that means it is so, just as if he had taken a most solemn oath. Similarly, if a scout officer says to a scout, “I trust you on your honour to do this,” the Scout is bound to carry out the order to the very best of his ability, and to let nothing interfere with his doing so. If a scout were to break his honour by telling a lie, or by not carrying out an order exactly when trusted on his honour to do so, he would cease to be a scout, and must hand over his scout badge and never be allowed to wear it again.
2. A SCOUT IS LOYAL to the King, and to his officers, and to his country, and to his employers. He must stick to them through thick and thin against anyone who is their enemy, or who even talks badly of them.
3. A SCOUT’S DUTY IS TO BE USEFUL AND TO HELP OTHERS. And he is to do his duty before anything else, even though he gives up his own pleasure, or comfort, or safety to do it. When in difficulty to know which of two things to do, he must ask himself, “Which is my duty?” that is, “Which is best for other people?”—and do that one. He must Be Prepared at any time to save life, or to help injured persons. And he must do a good turn to somebody every day.
4. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ALL, AND A BROTHER TO EVERY OTHER SCOUT, NO MATTER TO WHAT SOCIAL CLASS THE OTHER BELONGS. If a scout meets another scout, even though a stranger to him, he must speak to him, and help him in any way that he can, either to carry out the duty he is then doing, or by giving him food, or, as far as possible, anything that he may be in want of. A scout must never be a SNOB. A snob is one who looks down upon another because he is poorer, or who is poor and resents another because he is rich. A scout accepts the other man as he finds him, and makes the best of him — “Kim,” the boy scout, was called by the Indians “Little friend of all the world,” and that is the name which every scout should earn for himself.
5. A SCOUT IS COURTEOUS: That is, he is polite to all—but especially to women and children and old people and invalids, cripples, etc. And he must not take any reward for being helpful or courteous.
6. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ANIMALS. He should save them as far as possible from pain, and should not kill any animal unnecessarily, even if it is only a fly—for it is one of God’s creatures.
7. A SCOUT OBEYS ORDERS of his patrol-leader, or scout master without question. Even if he gets an order he does not like, he must do as soldiers and sailors do, he must carry it out all the same because it is his duty; and after he has done it he can come and state any reasons against it: but he must carry out the order at once. That is discipline.
8. A SCOUT SMILES AND WHISTLES under all circumstances. When he gets an order he should obey it cheerily and readily, not in a slow, hang-dog sort of way. Scouts never grouse at hardships, nor whine at each other, nor swear when put out. When you just miss a train, or some one treads on your favourite corn—not that a scout ought to have such things as corns— or under any annoying circumstances, you should force yourself to smile at once, and then whistle a tune, and you will be all right. A scout goes about with a smile on and whistling. It cheers him and cheers other people, especially in time of danger, for he keeps it up then all the same. The punishment for swearing or bad language is for each offence a mug of cold water to be poured down the offender’s sleeve by the other scouts.
9. A SCOUT IS THRIFTY, that is, he saves every penny he can, and puts it in the bank, so that he may have money to keep himself when out of work, and thus not make himself a burden to others; or that he may have money to give away to others when they need it.

These were written for the Scouts in the whole world, yet of course it focused on Scouting in the United Kingdom. As other groups started up Scouting organizations, each modified the laws, for instance ‘loyal to the King’ would be replaced by the equivalent text appropriate for each country.
Baden Powell later added ‘A Scout is Clean in thought and word and Deed’ in the 1911 edition of Scouting for Boys.
The Law around the world is similar.  In Australia the Scout law reads:
A Scout is trustworthy, A Scout is Loyal, A Scout is helpful, A Scout is friendly, A Scout is cheerful, A Scout is considerate, A Scout is thrifty, A Scout is courageous, A Scout is respectful, A Scout cares for the environment.
In Bangladesh the Law looks like this: A Scout’s honour is to be trusted. A Scout is a friend to all.  A Scout is courteous and obedient.  A Scout is kind to animals.  A Scout is cheerful at all times.  A Scout is thrifty.  A Scout is clean in thought,word and deed.
In Germany the Scouts say the Scout Law in this manner;  As a boy scout …… I meet everybody with respect. All scouts are my brothers and sisters.  … I go through the world confidently.  … I am courteous and helpful wherever this is necessary.  … I shall not do things just by halves and shall not give up, even in difficult situations.  … I shall develop my own opinion and stand by it.  … I shall say what I think and do what I say.  … I shall live modestly and in an environmental conscience manner.  … I shall stand by my origins and my faith.
And finally, in Scout Africa the Scouts understand their values like this; A Scout’s honour is to be trusted.  A Scout is loyal.  A Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.  A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout.  A Scout is courteous.  A Scout is a friend to animals.  A Scout obeys orders.  A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.  A Scout is thrifty.  A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed.
Given the fact that all of these places on our planet where boys and girls learn through the Scouting movement and share a common set of values.. should we not have a better world?  The answer is yes.. BUT… First.  We need more people to be in Scouts and more important… we need the Scouts to not just recite or rattle off the words of the Scout law.  We need them to LIVE IT!
So take a look at the Scout law.. can you handle it?  Can you live it?  Can it change behavior?
I think so.
Have a Great Scouting Day!


Yesterday I blogged about the ‘reasons’ that I have been away from the blog and podcast.  Trending comments and emails would suggest that something is wrong over here in Jerryland.. and while life has its struggles in all of us.  Things are just fine.
It seems though that there is an overwhelming amount of posts these days that suggest that we need a break sometimes, have a need to step away or down.  And while I agree that, yes we need to take a break I don’t believe that stepping away from things is always right.  My Friend Scouter Adam posted recently about going Beyond Gilwell.  In his post he listed his priorities.  And for the most part I concur with his list.
My family comes first and always will.  My Wife and kids are the center of my universe.   Scouting is a big part in our family.  So the two rarely conflict.  Yes, an occassional celebration or anniversary, but by and large Scouting is our way of life.  A family that try to live by the principles outlined in the Oath and Law.
My Troop is part of that family, so I try not to throw them in a separate category.
Obviously living the Law asks me to be loyal to my employer.  Fortunately I have a job that once I am off the clock, I am off the clock.  I can’t bring the big brown truck home with me.  I am a good employee and work hard.  My job allows me the opportunity to do the things with my family that I wish to do.
Unit levels beyond the unit are not a priority to me.  I participate, but make little effort to make things outside of my unit a priority.  I am on the training team, I am on the committee, but everything else takes priority and Scouting above my unit will always get bumped for other things in my life.
This blog is a priority of mine in that it allows me to sit with my thoughts and express myself.  I hope it helps, but at the end of the day, it really is for me to document my Scouting experience, life lessons, and help deliver that promise that is a priority in my life.
So reading all the blogs that suggest we ‘take the summer off’ or step away or down I conclude that it’s not for me.  Our Troop does not take the summer off.  Our families are still there in the summer.  Life goes on during the summer and all year-long.  There is no need to take the summer off.. there is a need to evaluate priorities and remember what is most important to you.
Scouting is important to me.  It is a passion of mine and I can’t step away from it…. as much as I will never step away from my family.
Vacation is coming up and our family will have a great time… then it’s off to Philmont!
Ok.. enough rambling from me.  Bottom line is this…
Have a Great Scouting Day!


Excuses… Excuses..Tweet

June 11th…my twins graduated from High School…
June 12th my oldest son enlisted in the United States Army…
June 13th my daughter takes off on an adventure with girlfriends to LA for a week to celebrate their graduation…
June 14th I secured my last $1500 to qualify to Go Over the Edge…
June 15th the troop heads out on a camp out.. turns out to be one the funnest camp outs of the year…
June 17th we return home from the camp out…
June 19th my oldest son departed for a summer of staffing at Camp Pioneer before he leaves for the Army…
And all points in between I have not been near the lap top.  All communication has been a tweet here and there.  And that seems to be how life has been.. a series of tweets.  My life seems to have been reduced to 140 characters quickly moving from one thing to the next.
Now don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing listed above that I regret or did not want to happen.. well save the Army thing, but I am proud of him and he will be a great soldier.. following in Dad’s footsteps I suppose… but in a couple of weeks I am going to head out on a little vacation with the family.. and I can not wait.
Anyway… here’s the deal.  I am sorry if the blog has taken a back seat to real life.. but as the kids say.. it is what it is.  The podcast is on the back burner for now until I can figure some other things out.. won’t go into that here.  Lets just say we are taking a little break there also.
So I guess those are the excuses..
I’ll tweet some more.
Have a Great Scouting Day!


The rabbit comes out of the hole.. goes around the tree.. and back into the hole.. now pull…
It’s a bowline.
Its that simple. That simple to teach, that simple to do. And it’s a knot that every Scout must know.
BUT… how many Scouts will try 50 other ways to tie it?  How many times will it take for them to get it right doing it “Their way”?  It’s called the work around.
Many times we teach our Scouts, our kids, our co workers, something that is simple and effective.  We teach them a method or a skill that is time tested and works just fine the way it was intended to be worked.  And yet many will do their very best to find a “Quicker way” or a “Cooler way” to do it.
I watched this at our last camporee when Scouts from all over our district struggled to come up with new and unique ways of completing a skill.  Now I am all for thinking outside of the box and I certainly am the kind of guy that believes that there are better mouse traps out there.. but when it comes to things that are already as simple as it gets, time tested or a method that is the way it supposed to be.  Then I suggest the energy is spent doing the skill, task or method correctly the first time.  I was amazed at the energy that Scouts put into to negative results.
Another way to look at this is of course the Scout Law.  The other night I sat with a few Scouts for their Scoutmaster conferences.  I always ask them what they think of the Scout law and what particular parts of it mean to them.  The energy that a Scout will put out to miss the mark is something that I really do not understand.  I guess its the fact that simple can be hard to these kids that gets me.
According to Webster the word Trustworthy means ‘worthy of confidence and Dependable’.  I think this is a great application of the meaning when it comes to the Scout Law.  Can we be confident in that Scout to do the right thing, to be a good man?  Can we depend on him to make sound decisions and have good judgement?  Simply put, the word literally means ‘worthy of trust’ and yet our Scouts will look for meanings that have little to do with it.  I had one Scout talk about being Trustworthy like this.  “Well it’s like not robbing a bank.. you know that I won’t rob a bank because my parents give me money. ”  Ok.. not the greatest example, but when I hear answers like that, it means to me that they either don’t get it, or they are having a hard time articulating the answer.  Either way, it’s always a good time for me to talk about keeping things simple and doing things right the first time.
So take a look at your Scouts.  How much energy is wasted in looking for ‘the better or cooler way’ and never tying the bowline?
I’m just saying.

Have a Great Scouting Day!