Month: December 2012

SMMPodcast #107 – Merry Christmas

Welcome back to the SMMPodcast.  In this show we ask the question; “Is this the last show?”
You tell me.
We also discuss the tragic events in Connecticut and wonder what we can do to help.
And of course… a Very Merry Christmas to one and all.
Leave us some feedback, drop us a note, shoot us a tweet… send us a smoke signal.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Sunday Mornin’ Coffee 12-23

Well it’s another Sunday and we made it past yet another Apocalypse.. So that means it’s time for Coffee with Scoutmaster Jerry.
This week we take a little trip to a local State Park and brew up a cup of coffee and chat about gear.
This weeks gear review is the SPOT communicator.
I also talk a bit about the future of the SMMPodcast and where I want to take the videos in the next year.
The video this week is a tad bit long, but I hope you bare with me.  Get a cup a joe and sit back and relax and enjoy the video.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Shooting Sports

shootingI got home from work to find an email in my ‘In Box’ from a local Scoutmaster that I had a conversation with at Round table.  We were talking about our annual plans and I told him that our Troop would be Shot Gun Shooting in January at the local Gun Club and camping at a local Scout camp.
He asked in his email if I thought it a good idea to continue with our plan to go shooting in light of the recent events here in Oregon and in Connecticut.  He thinks that maybe we should not encourage our Scouts to shoot guns.
Well, I am going to be totally honest with you and tell you all.. and this Scoutmaster, that I disagree.  I think this is the time that we need to be teaching gun safety and responsibility.  The more I thought about how I should respond, the more I thought about just how important it is for proper instruction and example of how we should handle fire arms.
The Guide to Safe Scouting does a real good job of making it clear that the Boy Scouts of America does not condone the shooting of anything living.  Through its shooting sports activities and the G2SS the Boy Scouts teach responsible fire arm safety and responsibility.  The Guide clearly prohibits any activity that encourages engaging targets other than paper.  This is the reason we can not have Air soft or Paint ball outings.  Those two activities, while I see no direct harm in them when played in an organized field with rules and the proper equipment, are against the BSA rules so Scouts do not get used to engaging human targets.
Not that Paint ball wars are the gateway to a person going on a shooting spree… but I can see why we should maintain this as a good rule.  Especially in light of the conversations currently in the media regarding “First person Shooter video games” etc.
But so far as Scouts doing the Shooting sports and earning the shooting sports merit badges.  They need to have that program available to them.
They teach the Scout to have a healthy respect for fire arms.  They build confidence in the Scout as he develops skills, and the Scout can seek further achievement in the JR Olympic Shooting programs offered.
Shooting sports are fun and should be kept fun by keeping the competition healthy and the bullets on paper targets.
To the matter of “Too Soon”.
No.  It’s not to soon.  It’s the right time to teach.  It’s the right time to reinforce the ideas of responsibility and demonstrate that the gun can not do harm unless the person behind it wants to do harm.  It is time to reinforce the Scout Oath and Law and always doing what is right.  It is time to allow these Scouts to decide for themselves how they want to act and react around fire arms.
I am not going to get into a 2nd Amendment argument here, but we do have the right in America to keep and bear arms.  It is time to teach our Scouts what that means.
It is time to teach our Scouts that we do not allow crime and criminals to dictate how honest, law abiding citizens should live.  On the contrary, it is time to teach them that good citizens get to set the standard and rules to live by.
Just because people choose to drink and drive does not mean that we out law cars and alcohol.  We have rules, laws, and social norms in this country and while the recent events are tragic, they do not, and should not dictate how the rest of us live.  Oh and I refuse to live in fear too… so this is what we teach our Scouts in the Shooting sports activities.
In January when we go shooting as a Troop, these life lessons among the lessons of proper fire arm use is how we will do it.  We will not postpone it, we will not shy away from it, we will teach, coach, train and mentor our Scouts to always do the right thing.  We will play this game with a purpose and we will do it the right way.
I have been around fire arms my entire life.  I own 4 rifles and a pistol.  I do not see the need for a 30 round magazine or what the media calls Assault rifles.  I am friends with many hunters although I have never hunted a day in my life.   I don’t know anyone that hunts with an AK47.  But I understand that people like to fire high powered, rapid firing guns.  I understand the sport, the collecting, and the right to own these fire arms.   Is there a ‘need’?  Maybe not, but we are allowed to have them and I do not, even given the recent tragic events, want to see that right taken from me and my fellow Americans.
I am not a “slippery slope” guy.  I don’t think one right taken will lead to more… but the real question for me is why not just enforce the laws we have?  Why can’t our screening process be revamped to make sure that these fire arms end up in the right hands.  Why can’t there be an education piece added to the rules of ownership?
These are the questions no one seems to be asking.  They just want the guns to go away.  Well they aren’t and they never will.
So we teach our Scouts to be responsible with them and we teach them to respect the fire arm and their fellow man.  We teach them to do the right thing and at least we will have done our part to prevent these tragic events in the future.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Prep.

preppersMonday night at after our Troop meeting a young Scout came to me with a very concerned look on his face.  He asked if I had a minute and of course I said “sure”.
He hummed and hawed for a second and then said “I know this sounds silly, but… what do we do if the world does end on Friday?”
I didn’t really have a great answer for this, I mean, I am not one that believes the world is coming to a crashing halt on Friday, so I told him that he would be fine.
He needed to be prepared.
“What does that mean in this case” he asked.
“Well” I said.. We don’t know what’s going to happen, so we need to do as Baden Powell instructed us to do.. Be prepared for any old thing.
We need to pray and be ready to be received in heaven.. if that’s the case.
We need to make sure that we can take care of each other if we are here in a state of ruin.
We need to look after our families and just ride out what ever may happen.
He looked at me and said “You really don’t think anything is going to happen.. do you?”
Nope, I said.. the only thing I know for sure is that the Troop is having a Lock in on Friday night and we are going to have fun.
I think that the media has done a great job of getting people to “Prep”.  I think that those that can make money off of this have and I think that come Saturday I will be getting ready to wrap Christmas gifts for my family.. yeah.. I’m not done yet.
He thanked me and told me that he would see me on Friday.  I told him that he was right.. no matter what happened.. he would always see me.  Then he made my day.
As he walked away he turned and said, “If we go to heaven I am sure I’ll see you there.. you are a Scoutmaster and they will let you in.”
A smile on my face and a great way to end the night.
What else can you say.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

*picture from National Geographic

Sunday Mornin’ Coffee – Starbucks

This morning took a little walk in a local park on the Sandy River and had a great cup of coffee..
Enjoy this weeks Sunday Morning Coffee as we try our Starbucks Medium Breakfast Blend brewed up using a French Press.
As always, keep your comments and suggestions coming.  I’m still looking for the perfect cup of joe.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Winter Camping Leadership Tool box

***  EDIT NOTE:  This post was scheduled for today (12-14-12).  I contemplated “pulling it” in light of the tragic events that have shaken us in Connecticut.  Our hearts go out to those families.  The reason I did not “pull” this post is simply this..  We must go on.  I am sorry about the devastating events of today, but as our thoughts and prayers flow to those victims, we can not live in fear and can not let the actions of a few dictate how we live our lives.
I am sorry if this is ‘too soon’.. but this coming Monday our Troop will still meet and we will be getting ready for not only Winter Camping, but Troop Junior Leader Training and we will go on.
God Bless. *** 

SAM_0024Winter camping is like no other camping.  It requires skills, smarts, and the right attitude. It also requires strong leadership.  Leaders that accept responsibility and leaders that understand that the group comes before the individual.  In my Troop Training for winter camping is a significant part of the process.  We make certain rules on participation in winter camping events such as; You must participate in the 4 meetings that lead up to the camp out.  This way you get all the necessary training.  This is important as your buddy is counting on you to be there, understand what he is looking for, and is a part of the team when it comes to the in camp routines that are unique to winter camping.
A lack of discipline will also get a Scout “Uninvited” to a winter outing.  There is no room for a lack of discipline when it comes to camping in cold weather and high risk activities.
Part of the training that our Scouts receive are from the older Scouts.  They are given the training and the tools to ensure that proper training is being conducted.  I have given them the following to add to their Leadership Tool box.  The following is directed at the Leader and speaks directly to them so they can properly set the example, train their Patrol’s and have a great winter camping experience.
You are welcome to all of this information, feel free to copy and paste.  If you have questions, please feel free to ask.  You can always send an email or drop a note in the comments section.

Here are some items for a leader to have in his tool box for camping in the winter.

1.  The right attitude.  You must demonstrate a positive attitude in the winter.  The people following you depend on it.  As you go with you attitude, those that follow you will go.

2.  Be an example of right.  The leader must possess the skills and attitudes that make winter camping successful.  The leader must demonstrate those skills and teach others to use them.  The leader can not take short cuts and look the other way.  The leader must set an example by doing the right thing. 

3.  Skills.  There is a list of skills that make up a good winter camper.  Here are some that the leader must use and teach.
Gear– use the right gear and use it properly.  More importantly taking the right gear with you and packing it right.  Every item in the pack or SECURED to the outside and covered with a pack cover.
Staying dry. – Wet kills in the winter.
In camp routines.  Camp set up.
                           Getting in and out the tent without dragging snow in.
                           Storing gear.  Everything stays packed unless needed.
                           Gathering and “Making” water.
                           Gathering fire wood and making the fire.

Setting up camp.  Looking for best placement of tents/shelters.  No widow makers.  Building up snow walls.  Cooking areas.  Designated BIO area.
Anchoring of tents/shelters.
Morning routines.  Get up and cook right away.  Get things cleaned and stored.  Pack un used gear.  Hang anything that is damp to dry.
Cooking.  Have a plan. 
                Store food in bags in order they will be eaten.
                Repackage meals to reduce trash.
                Hot meals always
                3 good hot meals and lots of snacks.
                Hot beverages
                Clean up as you go and never leave dirty dishes lying around.
                Pack it all out.  Do not dump uneaten food in the snow. 
                Just because you can bury it does not mean it is right.
                Monitor water use and stay ahead. 
               Watch fuel consumption. No flame without a pot on it. NO empty pots.
               Don’t be lazy.  Cook and eat well.
Sleeping.  Dry equals warm.  Stay out of wind and wet and you will stay dry and warm.  Open your sleeping bag as soon as your tent is set up.  Get the loft going.  Make sure to have insulation under you.  Closed cell pads work great in the winter.  An extra blanket works too when used with a pad.  If nothing else your jacket should go between you and the pad or under your feet.
Your boots go in the tent and under your sleeping bag (foot end).  Do not wear anything wet to bed.  Change your socks and clothing before you go to bed if you are wet.  ALWAYS change your socks before you get in your sleeping bag.
Avoid condensation in your sleeping bag.  Wear a hat and keep your face out of the bag.  Short guys.  Fold unused portion of sleeping bag under you.
Take a trip to the pee tree before you go to bed.  Relieve yourself and then get comfortable.  You do not want to hold it till morning. You won’t sleep and you won’t stay warm.

4.  Be a Good example.  Yes, we say it twice.  This will get you farther as a leader than anything else in the cold weather.  If you do things right and maintain a positive attitude, those that follow you will to.

IMPORTANT.  Leaders are responsible.  You are the last ones in the sleeping bag after everyone is checked.  You are the last ones to eat or eat before the rest.  This way you can check, assist, monitor the rest as they prepare and eat.
Leaders.  You are the key to success.  You have been given the responsibility to teach and coach.  Use it.

Build your tool box.  Fill it with those things that make you a great leader and you will be.  Collective knowledge and a willingness to learn, practice, and share is the success of all leaders.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Devastated

I am not going to rehash the thoughts of my “Selfish” post as the entire world is aware of the tragedy in Connecticut today.
My prayers are with those families that have been tragically devastated by this horrific event.
My feelings are the same and I have no compassion for those that harm children in any way. 
I blame our overly sensitive and “Caring” world for not dealing with these issues in a more direct way and allowing people like this to roam the streets.
Once again, I find myself with feelings of disgust for the actions of these gunmen.
It is not the guns, it is not access, it is the lack of knowing the difference between right and wrong.  That simple.
I do not care if they are not mentally able to understand that… if that is the case they should not have access to the weapon, the school, or whatever… they simply can not be allowed.  Is that a violation of their civil rights… Ask the parents of the 18 children that took their last breath today in a classroom in Connecticut.
I really don’t care about their civil rights or the rights of those that would do harm to children.  I really don’t.
If that offends you.. I don’t care and I encourage you to unsubscribe to this blog.
I am a very compassionate and caring man.  But enough is enough.
God Damn the souls of these monsters that would do such a thing.
God look over the families of those that lost their children.
God take and keep in your loving arms the innocent little ones that have been robbed of life today.
I am sickened today, my heart hurts, and I am mad at what has happened to our world.