Expect more

It is amazing how themes run together and I think I have said it before on the blog about how a subject seems to maintain a solid thread in life for a time.  This week it seems that the subject of what we expect of our youth in so far as work ethic, values, and skills has taken up much of the conversation I have had electronically and with some friends.
Yesterday I received an email from a reader that challenged the idea that Scouts are not allowed to use liquid fuel, like white gas etc.  He made mention of my recent videos and said that I was irresponsible for encouraging our Scouts to use equipment that is “proven to be dangerous”.
So let me get that out-of-the-way first.  “Proven to be dangerous”… By who?
Reader, do you honestly think that REI and other fine outfitters would have the MSR Whisperlite, the Dragon Fly, the Soto Muka, and the Trangia stoves on their shelves if they were “Proven to be dangerous”?  Do you think for a minute that the Tooth of Time traders at Philmont SCOUT Ranch would sell the Whisperlite and Simmer light stoves as well as make available at the commissary Coleman White Gas.  And finally Reader… Do you own a Guide to Safe Scouting and have looked up the policy found in the Chemical Fuels and Equipment Document published by the Boy Scouts of America?
It seems that our Reader, based on his email, does not feel that Scouts are “Responsible” enough to handle liquid fuels.  He also feels that I act irresponsibly by taking the Scouts camping in the winter.  “I find it hard to believe you would risk injury of your Scouts in camping in temperatures below freezing.” he wrote.
Now, I really don’t want to offend any good Den Leaders out there, but this guy obviously has not moved on the Boy Scouts yet even though he signed his email “Scoutmaster”.
I am not going to address all of the “issues” he has with me and as he called it “My brand of Scouting”, but I do want to discuss this as a matter of course in the conversation of week regarding our youth.
I know exactly where this “Reader” is coming from.  He is of the class that believes that our young men (boys) are not capable of doing anything other than sitting in front of a TV watching Barney.
He is so afraid to let boys be boys that he is killing our young mens ability to function as men.  I am sure that knives are not allowed in his Troop and that the Mom’s do all the cooking.  He is of the mind-set that does not allow Scouts to build a signal tower and climb it.  Him and his fellow non believers in youngsters are the ones that keep a good and sturdy rope bring 18 inches off the ground and find the need to “spot” someone who is literally inches from doom.
He is the reason that Scouts are not supposed to camp with their patrols.. ohhhh… hear that sound.. that’s Green Bar Bill  rolling in his grave.  This reader is why we have Eagle Scouts that can’t tie Clove hitches and max the minimum when it comes to everything in Scouting.
They don’t believe that a Scout is able to do anything that he and his buddies set their minds to.  He has no sense of adventure and won’t let a young man push himself.  He is the reason that we expect less from our youth and as a result get less.
As you may be able to tell… this really chaps my butt.
Our young men can do anything.  They can use an ax, they can climb mountains, they can swim in open water, they can hike miles and miles and still have energy to sing and joke.  They can ride horses and slide down a zip line.  They can build fires and sleep under the stars.  They can ride their bike for a 100 miles and camp along the way.  They can scuba dive in the Florida Keys and canoe the Boundry waters.
But this guy won’t let them.  Why?  Because he does not believe in the power of a boy!
He Expects less and he gets less because he does not believe in them.
Expect more… get more!
Train ’em, Trust ’em, and Let ’em lead!

Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. It seems like some people are too afraid of letting the guys learn. That’s sad. I have run into more skilled and better prepared than I am, in nearly every area I participate in.

    They will surprise you if you take the lid off and let them get out of your box. Scoutmaster or not.


  2. “Risk injury to your scouts in camping in temperatures below freezing” ????? Our best attended (and most fun) Troop 97 camp outs were the January camp outs at Chimney Park outside of Laramie Wyoming. Six feet of snow and 20 degrees below zero!
    I feel a deep sorrow for any scouts that are involved with this person’s scouting program. Green Bar Bill AND B-P are both spinning in their graves!


  3. Hello Jerry

    It is funny that you post this – in this month UK Scouting Magazine they were a mythbusters section and one of the items was about scout using Parafin, meths or similar liquid fuels.

    It would seem that this issue may have come from YP using or being poorly advised about the correct container to carry fuel in and using a plastic bottle which then leaked. However this is not a reason to not use liquid fuels it just an advert for better training.

    As you say it about people expectations of young people almost a year ago I wrote this post http://www.jabbering.co.uk/scouting/rise-to-the-challenge/ about the fact as leaders we need to allow young people to be challenged and sometime fail in order to allow them to grow.

    It is also about challenging the perception of the general public as to was scouting is all about – the UK Scout Association published this video http://youtu.be/cOM1n22XyHA to challenge the public perception of young people. Well worth a watch.

    Great post by the way.



  4. I just got through reading an excellent book, “Free Range Kids”, by Lenore Skenazy, which describes this same attitude, and she describes the attitude as prevailing throughout our culture. People ask her this question: “you let your kids do Whaaaaat????? Are you insane?”; She asks this question back: “When you were a kid, did you do this activity or that? Did your parents never let you out of their sight?”

    I bet this scoutmaster was not a scout himself. If he had survived the horrors of using a liquid fueled stove, or the disaster of camping in the cold, he might have a different attitude. I cooked meals over an open fire, and with the only alternative in those days, Coleman Stove powered by Colman fuel. My horribly irresponsible scoutmaster trained me to do both, and now, my scouts do both as well. On our survival campouts, I do the totally outrageous thing by having the scouts build a brush shelter and (gasp!) sleep in it.

    Carry on, Jerry. But next time let us know how you really feel.


  5. All I can say is wow…”your brand of scouting” is what all Scouters should want. It’s what I wanted for my boys when we started the troop in 2010. For someone to sign their name with “Scoutmaster” in the title, and to rein in those scouts like it seems that he does, is just wrong.

    Understand that *Scoutmaster* shouldn’t be thought of in the sense that we read it. We read it as *Master of Scouts*…we should really look at it as “Servant of Scouts”…we are here to nurture growth, condone fun and encourage independence.

    Scouters like this make me cringe when I read or hear about things like this. I can’t say how many times that I have been at Scouting events to hear Scoutmasters brag about what they do or don’t allow their scouts to do. I usually just nod my head and say “hmm, that’s nice”…to which I will get asked if we do it differently. “Nope, just according to how Green Bar Bill and BP wanted it. And how the Boy Scout Handbook and my Scoutmaster’s Handbook teaches me. I use the Guide to Safe Scouting just to make sure that nobody is in any danger…but that’s about it”

    And I always get the same thing that you have spelled out from that reader. “Boys can’t do that” or “Yea, that doesn’t work”…this tune must sound like a broken record…I know that I heard Jerry say it more than one time.

    Anyways, I have mini-ranted enough and hijacked the comments section enough…

    Thanks for the boost to know that we are doing it right.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s