Month: October 2013

Post Script

Sometimes it would be nice to have a PS at the bottom of each blog entry.. But its tough to know what that Post Script would be until emails, comments, and other pings come in.
Here is a general post script.
Let me start by saying, I love Scouting.
I love the Scouting movement and pretty much everything about it.  I know that there are great leaders out there, I know that there are crappy leaders out there and I know that there are a lot of folks that are well meaning and have the very best of intentions.
Having said that, I also get my share of butt heads that feel that the internet is a great place to hammer some one.  I freely put myself out there by having this blog and accept the responsibility that comes with that.  The responsibilty in that I understand that by having the blog I open myself to be bashed.  And you know.. for the most part.. I don’t care that people feel the need to cowardly remain anonymous and shoot flamming arrows.  In fact I find most of the stupid comments entertaining.
But come on man…
This last week I have been getting emails from some jerk that feels the need to call me out on everything.  Spelling, grammer, ideas, thoughts, and even the idea that I am a backpacker.
Dude.. get a life… move on..
A few responses to you sir…
NO Scouting is not a religious institution.  In fact while we proclaim that we are reverent and the founder thought it was important that a young man have a relationship with his creator.. Scouting does not define what or who that is and certainly does not tell a scout how to practice his faith.  Aside from Scouts own services and services that are hosted by the churches themselves.. the BSA is not a church.  The religious emblems program is not presented by the BSA, it is promoted, but presented, staffed, and executed by the various churches.. not the Boy Scouts.
Backpacking is a style of camping.  If its not your thing.. don’t do it.
The Boy Scout program works best when the Patrol method is the only method.  The founder said that.. not me… I just happen to know that it is a fact.  If your troop is failing in that area.. that is a you problem and don’t get pissed at me for calling you out on it.  Fix it.
The Scoutmaster is not a youth leader and has no business leading the troop.. do I really need to go into that?
No, I do not agree that 12 year old Scouts have earned the Eagle award.  That’s just math.  There is more to earning the Eagle award than just cranking out merit badges and doing a service project.
Leadership, service, and above all a great Scouting experience are more important than a fancy medal.
If that is a new concept for you, you have not read my blog that long and I encourage you.. nay demand that you go back and read from the beginning and see that this is the song I have been singing for a long time.
The Scout Oath and Law are the only rules we need.  They govern our conduct in and out of tan shirts and green socks.
OK.. that’s enough…
To those that are regular readers of the blog.. I am sorry you had to go through this.. But I had to address this or I could not move on.  It’s this kind of stuff that keeps bloggers from writing.
Thanks again for your continued support and readership.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Life’s Not Fair

I have said it before on this blog that stories or themes seem to come in bunches.  And so it seems that the recurring theme as of late at least around me is that Life is not fair.  Well, I keep hearing it, at work, in Scouts, and at my sons school, in particular the football team.
I keep hearing that “it’s not fair that my son does not get playing time”, “I never get a good vacation”, “I don’t understand why some Scouts get a lot of merit badges and some don’t”.  We guess what… Life’s not fair and it’s not meant to be.  Think about it for a minute… do we want it to be fair?  I want folks to have equal opportunities to be successful, but fair?  I’m not so concerned with the idea that everything should be given.
I recently tweeted that the best verb in our language is “EARNED”.  We all have the opportunity to earn.  We have the opportunity to win a spot on the team, we have the opportunity to earn those merit badges, we have the opportunity to earn our way to a better vacation.  That is fair.
Our society has gotten so used to having things given that it has lost it’s will to earn.
To many people have forgotten that fairness only works when we earn.  It’s all about opportunity and having that chance.  That chance equals fair.
Bill Gates, Phil Knight, and Ross Perot all earned what they have, they were not given anything but opportunity.
The difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution was the American’s fought for liberty while the French fought for equality.  I would rather have liberty and have a chance for opportunity than equality and have everything the same.  Our nation proclaims that all men are created equal.  That I believe.. we are equal in the fact that we all were created with the opportunity to be successful… what you do with that is up to you.If you choose to waste it that you will get what you get.  No vacation, No merit badges, and no spot on the team.
Life is not fair?  Nope, Life is fair… you just have to do something with your opportunity.
Scouting provides these life lessons and we need to be reinforcing those values.  A quick look at the Oath and Law will show us that we need to take the opportunity to live those values and in turn be successful.  The Oath and Law will lead you to earning those things in life that are important and they will open doors of opportunity.  They are not given, they are earned.  And that is fair.

Thanks for reading and supporting the blog with your follow.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Finding the Adventure

This weekend our District held its annual Webelos Woods camp out.  The attendance was very bad this year, some blamed it on a date change, while others placed the blame on Homecoming weekend at most of the high Schools in our area.  Well, I should reserve judgement and so I will just say that the Troops that thought it was an important event, and the Packs that know that it is a good way to check out the Boy Scout Program took the time to show up.  They at least put out effort to provide a program for the Webelos Scouts that will soon be crossing over.  So kudos to those units that took the time to participate.
Our Troop had a dozen or more that attended giving a lot of junior leaders an opportunity to step up and lead.  We set up our bi- pod climbing event this year which is always a hit.  With the low attendance, there was plenty of time for everyone to climb as much as they wanted.
This is a big recruiting event for Troops, and in most cases a lost opportunity.  It is a chance to show case your unit and develop relationships with Webelos Dens and Cub Scout Packs.  Throughout the day I helped with Boy Scout Training evey once in a while peaking in on the Troop to make sure all was going smooth.  It was.
After the training sessions and most of the activitues wrapped up a couple of Cub Scouters came to a few of us Scoutmasters to ask those critical questions, you know those questions that every one should ask when looking for a Troop to cross over.  Is the troop Scout led?  What kind of Outdoor program do you have?  Is the Order of Arrow important to you and your Scouts?  Are you a merit badge factory?  You can always tell the folks that are looking for a good troop by the questions that they ask.  So we stood and talked about our programs for about an hour answering any and all questions.  It was a lot of fun.
After the big camp fire program on Saturday night, a Webelos den leader asked if I had a few minutes to talk with her Scouts.  Of course I replied that I had all the time that they needed so we went to the dinning hall were a lot of folks had gathered to escape the chilly evening air.
I found a table and soon a crowd of parents, Cub Scout leaders, and one of my Assistant Scoutmasters had gathered at the table.  The Q & A session picked up where it had left off earlier in the day, but more discussion about details of the progam and thoughts on discipline, expectations, and philosophy of Scouting became the subjects.
I shared my philosphy on Troops being different ice cream flavors and how they represent the different ways in which we deliver the promise of Scouting.  I told the parents that while I would love for their sons to join my Troop, not all of them will like our flavor. I would rather see them join a different Troop were they will find a place that they want to be than join a Troop and not be an active participant and then drop out.
i told the group that the beauty of the Scouting program and allowing Troops to have their own flavor is that the boy can find his adventure.  He can pick and choose that unit that he feels right in, the unit that will meet his scouting needs.  It is how Scouting works for so many young men.  I think that is a great part of this organization.
Then the boys came over… and that is when the fun began.  They had great questions and shared stories with me.  We had a great time.  I hope that some of them come to my Troop.  I would love to have all of them, but know that we just won’t work for some Scouts and their families.  We spent the better part of an hour and half laughing, talking, an answering questions with those young men, it was a great evening.
I think that when we offer our program to young men that we need to make sure that we allow them to seek and find their adventiure.  Scoutmasters should not be so quick to just expect a crossing over Scout to come to their Troop just because they always came from “that pack”.  Scoutmasters should be willing to assist those young boys to find their adventure.  
Based on what I saw this weekend.. they are looking, and I hope they found it with our Troop.

Have a Great Scouting day!