Competition

Inspiration

The last couple of days have been days that were inspiring for me.  Inspiring in a couple of ways, lets start with Veterans Day.
Our High School held its first ever “Living History Day” on Wednesday.  This was a day in which the entire school honored Veterans from all era’s.  Inspiring because of the hard work and dedication the student body put into the event.  Along with a coordinator, the students of the largest high school in the state put on a class A event.  Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the current campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan were invited and in attendance.  They decorated the school with massive American flags and lined the street leading to the high school with hundreds of flags.  A local military museum had an old WW I tank in display as well as a 1910 Taxi from France.  The National Guard had some displays of current equipment, but it was the student body that really highlighted the experience.
The culinary class put out a nice spread of coffee and baked goods and made a wonderful lunch.  The JROTC cadets provided escorts that lead Veterans into the classrooms for 2 hours to talk with and answer questions from the students.  The student body dressed in shirts and ties and the girls wore nice outfits in honor of the special guests.
I was extremely impressed with the questions asked in the classrooms that I had the pleasure of being invited to.  At the end of the school day they held an assembly.  Because the school is so large they can not get the entire student body in one place at the same time, plus all of the Veterans, so the Freshman met in the small gym and listened to speakers from a number of conflicts.  The sophomores met in the performing arts center with a Holocaust survivor.  This brave man made a great impression on the kids.  His story was that of perseverance and will.
The Juniors and Seniors met in the main gym with the bulk of the Veterans.  One of the Tuskegee Airman gave a speech on making your mark in the world and both challenged and inspired the students.  There were recognitions of the services and some of the individuals that were in the gym that truly left a mark with their service.  I appreciate all the hard work that the students put into this event.  I was told by one of my son’s friends that is on the student council that the student government as well as many clubs and sports teams spent the better part of a week preparing for the event.  The day and night before, they stayed at the school and many slept at the school until the final details were complete.
I am proud of these kids.
The second part of this weeks inspiration came on the Football field last night.  Now, if you follow this blog you know that I love football.  I think that every one should participate in some team sport.  I may into that at another time, but for the sake of this post, lets just say that team sports develop in young people values and ethics that when coupled with Scouting, round them out in their growth and make them better people.  The Reynolds Raider Football team has been a program that has struggled for many years.  They have gone season after season without a winning record, there has been little pride in the program and the student body has been patient, but not very supportive.  Last year the school hired a new head coach that brought not only a new and exciting offense to the team, but a new attitude to the team in which the team meant more than the individual.  It has been a real slow go and last year the team won only one game.  Which given the previous years was an accomplishment.
This year the team has been sparked by an enthusiastic group of underclassmen and a solid core of Seniors.  What they lacked in skills and strength, they made up for in heart and grit.  Game after game, they went out and never gave up.  They won two games in the regular season this year.  Yes, only two games, but they scored a lot of points and in the games they lost, the margin was very tight, loosing one game in overtime.  The Oregon Student Sports Association (OSAA) has a unique playoff system in which the top teams get an automatic bid into the playoffs while the bottom teams are given one chance to “make it” into the playoffs to fill the remaining spots in the bracket.  they call this a “Play in” game.  The Raiders played in one of these games last Friday.  With no time left on the clock and down by 7 points, they scored a touchdown.  The coach decided to test his young men.  It was win or lose and the ball was placed for the point after.  They were going for 2 to win the game or go home.
A quick pass in the corner of the end zone and the Reynolds Raiders entered the Play offs for the first time in seven years!
Last night was that first play off game.  Lined up against the number one team in the State the challenge was great.  This would test the team in more ways than just making plays.
The Lake Oswego Lakers are a great team.  They are undefeated and possess all the skill, team work, and an established program that keeps them at the top of the brackets year after year.  Surely a game that would be easy to give up on, but the Raiders took the field last night and stood toe to toe with the best.  They saw how the number one team could move the ball at will and how a team that is dedicated to winning could impose themselves on anyone that lined up.
But here is the inspiring part, did the Raiders quit?  Give up and allow themselves to be taken out of the game?  NO.  In fact, they came out and fought hard on the field.  They passed the ball with precision and pressured the Lakers and made them earn their points.  Mistakes were made and at the end of the game it was not close, but the Raiders kept their heads up and learned from the experience.  The Lakers knew that playing against a 3 and 7 team should not have been a challenge, but showed a lot of class and respect for our team.  This too was a great lesson for our team.  Winning with class and having respect for your opponent.
Heart and dedication is building a football program at our High School.  Next will be better, and the year after will be better yet because of these young men on the field.
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As you all are also aware, Josh my youngest son, is the Starting Quarterback for the varsity team.  He is only a Sophomore and had a great season.  Last night facing number one, he threw for a touchdown and ran for one.  Those were the Raiders only two scores in the game.  He finished his first Varsity season with many great accomplishments including throwing 22 touchdown passes and well over 2150 yards of passing.  He helped take his team to their first playoff game and is part of the core that will move the team to future success.
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The final inspiration of the week came on Thursday night when our oldest son met with the District Advancement chairman and his team with his Eagle packet.  His application is in, paperwork complete, and now waiting on his Board of Review.
An accomplishment that I never achieved as a kid.  His hard work, dynamic leadership, and will to finish has earned him the right to join the ranks of those we call Eagle Scouts.  I am so proud of him and inspired by his work.  He turns 18 on Tuesday and Monday starts his final season Wrestling for Reynolds High School.  His hard work in Scouting, School, and on the wrestling mat has brought him many success and set him up for success in the future.
This has been an inspirational week for me.  Inspiration from youth!  I am sure we will be in good hands in the future if what I saw this week and what I see almost everyday is any indication.
Be inspired.. take a look at the kids around you.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

When did things change?

I just came home from the High School.  I volunteer to work the concession stand during the JV Football games so the parents of JV players can watch their sons play.  There were a couple other Dads working with me and during the slow periods of the game, we had a chance to watch the game.  The JV player played their collective hearts out, but still came up short when the last tick of the clock passed.
The discussion that I had with the other Dads though was priceless.  The other night at our Troop meeting I talked during my Scoutmaster Minute about having heart… About never giving up and never letting failure get the best of you.
Today, those Dads and I asked each other when things changed.  Not that “when I was a kid” it was harder… but when I was kids giving up was not an option.  And it should never be an option now.  Our Varsity Football team has had a rough couple years, and I can see why there is frustration and bitter feelings, but this year they are 2-2 and have a promising schedule.  So why give up?  They got down in the last game and many of the players just gave up.  Lost cause?  Never.  Going to lose anyway?  Then go down with a fight!
You see failure is something that is easy.  It becomes an attitude and once you fail and do nothing about it.. it is so much easier to allow it again.  The next thing you know it is a habit.  With teenagers this needs to be nipped before it gets out of hand.
Life is hard and the sooner we expect our kids to be winners the better.  Failure is not an option in life.  Winning is everything.
OK…. SEND HATE MAIL NOW.
Or let me explain.
Winning comes in many forms.  The Score is not always the measure of a win.  Follow me here.  The JV team lost the game today 38-34.  They were down with 9 minutes left in the game.  They could have given up.  But they stayed in the game and played until the whistle blew signaling the end of the game.  They had the ball with 14 seconds left and were driving down the field.  One more play and they had a chance to win the game.  They fell short on the score board, but they did not get beat.  They walked into the locker room knowing that they played the game well and in the end… had a chance to win.  This chance will become the building block that will lead them to victories in the future.  The point here is that those players will not go away without learning from a missed tackle, a dropped ball, or a bad throw.  Yes ladies and gentlemen… when you make mistakes you live with the results.  A missed tackle leads to a score for the other team or a much-needed first down that leads to your loss.
That is life.  Not everyone gets a participation ribbon, and not everyone wins every game, but failing to try will lead to failure.
So when did things change?  When did it become ok to quit?  When did it become ok not to give 100%?  When did “Doing your best” not really mean your best?  Think about that… what does BEST mean?  It dies not mean I gave it a shot.. it does not mean I tried, but it got to hard so I quit.  It means BEST.
Here is how Best is defined:
adj. Superlative of good.
1. Surpassing all others in excellence, achievement, or quality; most excellent: the best performer.
2. Most satisfactory, suitable, or useful; most desirable: the best solution; the best time for planting.
3. Greatest; most: He spoke for the best part of an hour.
4. Most highly skilled: the best doctor in town.
adv. Superlative of well2.
1. In a most excellent way; most creditably or advantageously.
2. To the greatest degree or extent; most: “He was certainly the best hated man in the ship” (W. Somerset Maugham).
n.
1. One that surpasses all others.
2. The best part, moment, or value: The best is still to come. Let’s get the best out of life.
3. The optimum condition or quality: look your best. She was at her best in the freestyle competition.
4. One’s nicest or most formal clothing.
5. The supreme effort one can make: doing our best.
6. One’s warmest wishes or regards: Give them my best

I think that it would serve our young people to look at that definition and see if they, when they say they did their best are they at least within the definition?
So I wonder when things changed.  No one would ever dare give up when I played ball in school.  Our team mates were our friends, they were the guys that we knew we could count on, we knew they would never give up.  I don’t see that in all the kids today.  They are more concerned about themselves and not their team mates.  Life lessons missed.  In life they will need to be dependable, they will need to be counted on.  Giving up now will set them up for quitting later.
Maybe it’s just me and those two other Dads in the snack shack today.. but hope was restored watching that JV team.
This is all just as relevant in Scouting.  Quitting on a patrol, giving up when the challenge is to hard, not finishing when you are being counted on.  All of these tests of character beg the question, when did things change?

“I’ll never give up; cause if I do; I give up on the ones beside me; I’ll never give up; cause if I do; I give up on the ones who believe in me; if the person next to me is down; I will pick him up; and he the same; I’ll never give up; I’ll believe in the cause; I’ll fight to the end; and WE WILL WIN!… THIS IS THE RAIDER PROMISE” – 

This is the Raider Promise, they say this before and after ever game, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone made a promise to never give up, to help other people at all times, to live a set of values, to be a good member of a team or patrol.  Wouldn’t it be nice?
And you wonder why I think sports are valuable…

Have a Great Scouting Day!

The SMMPhoto contest!

The winner of the first SMMPhoto contest is Dominic Galloro!

There were many great pictures submitted.. but this one seemed to capture the spirit of summer camp and the adventure of Scouting for me.  Three guys with a common goal.. just blowing their lungs out.. and the fire is still not that big!
You don’t have to be the next Ansle Adams to win at shooting Scouting pictures.
I want to thank everyone for sending in your pictures.  This was a tough decision given the big number of pics I had to look through.  I was glad to see that everyone had a great Summer Camp season and more importantly the Scouts had fun!
And I suppose that is what this winning picture shows me.. these three guys are having fun.  Oh and I know that the big stick over the fire pit.. yeah.. there will be some poking going on with that later.. right guys…
OK.. Dominic send me your contact information and I will get the book in the mail to you!
Congratulations!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

SMMBlog Photo Contest

OK its contest time!!!
Email me your best Summer camp picture.. Scouts honor, it should be from this years summer camp.. and you should have actually gone to summer camp.
This contest is an easy one.. just email me your picture.
Email the picture to tbirdironchef@gmail.com
The winner will receive a copy of the book “Working the Patrol Method”!

The contest will end at the end of August… so you have a few days to get your best summer camp picture in!

I hope you all had a fantastic Summer camp with your Troops!  Show the rest of us how it went!

Have a Great Scouting Day!

A game with a purpose

You can not escape the Wood Badge experience without hearing “Game with a purpose” at least 100 times and the reason is that all of it is a Game with a purpose.  Scouting is a Game with a purpose and so when you do Scouting you should always play the game.
Young men learn better when they are engaged in play.  The develop teamwork, practice fairness, express a healthy competitive spirit, get physically fit, and above all have fun.
Every game we play in Scouting can be a learn adventure.  A simple game of Sharks and Minos can be a lesson in team work, fair play, and fitness.
Games that require skills and provide a mental challenge are great ways to build the team, test leadership, and communication.
In short, this game that we play has meaning, a purpose.  To support the Aims of Scouting.
Tonight our SPL and JASM had a great game for the troop during their interpatrol competition time.  Straw rockets.  A simple game that required the Patrol leaders to communicate, assign tasks, follow through with the project.  Each Patrol was given a brown paper bag and told to use the contents to move their rocket down a line that was suspended between two chairs.
In the bags were 2 straws, 2 balloons, some tape, and 2 paper clips.
The Patrols went at it.  They had 14 minutes to build their rockets and have them ready to launch.
The Patrols that worked together and stayed focused on the task did well, the patrols that made the choice to mess around did not.  One of the Patrols had a real cool looking rocket and it won.  They worked well together, assigned tasks and proved that working together they could accomplish anything.
The SPL conducted a short reflection of the activity before I did the Scoutmaster Minute on Team work.
I love it when we see the game being played and played well.
Play the game!

By the way, in the picture above are the three of the Scouts in the New Scout Patrol being guided by their SPL in the making of their rocket.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Competition…its what we do

Boys have a competitive spirit. We are born with it. We compete in just about anything.
Look at your Scout Troop and see how they compete. You will find that they are in a constant state of competition.

Thinking back at Summer camp. After grace, its a mad dash to see who can be first in line for Dinner. They sign up for more merit badges than their buddy, try to swim farther or faster, shoot more bulls eyes and see who can stay up latest.

The competitive spirit is a part of being a boy. We compete at camporee, we compete in School, we compete at home, just watch a set of siblings go at it.
Without competition we get lazy and lack creativity.
Allowing the Scouts to compete is a good thing. It creates an environment of healthy competition and good sportsmanship. It teaches the Scouts valuable lessons about life as a grown up, where we continue to compete, for jobs, status, and fun.

I have heard some Scout leaders say that competition is bad, they we need to make sure every Scout is a winner. Well I disagree. I think that we create winners through competition. Those that compete and loose win in the end through the valuable lessons learned. They strive to do their best.. and that makes them a winner. Trophy or not.

Let them compete..push themselves.. and become winners through hard work and fun.

Happy Scouting!