So it’s an hour a week they say…
Tell a friend, share, and let me know what you think.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
So it’s an hour a week they say…
As I was driving home from work I was listening to a local Classical Music station.. it sooths me. What I like about the Classical station and most talk radio stations is that they do not play a lot of advertisements. This often goes without notice as you listen and enjoy the station but it is always noticed during those one or two times a year that the stations have their “listener-athon” or whatever they call it. The annual or bi annual plea for funding to keep the station on the air and free of advertising. Now there are many reasons I am sure that these stations try to stay away from endless ads, but it would also seem that the ads could remove some of the stress of “begging” for money every year. Sure these stations receive funds from corporate donors and “friends of” donations, but by and large they rely on the listener, the end user, the person that enjoys what they produce. It is a worthy cause to be sure… for the station and the listener. It is free to produce what they want without being tied to this or that company paying for ad space or promoting their interest. It is one thing to be “brought to you by…” than Company X paying holding stake in your product.. I suppose. But a worthy cause none the less.
I, like many of you have many causes that are near and dear to you and what you do. We get their pleas in the mail, most to only end up in the trash can. They are all worthy causes and are in need of funding, after all it does take money to make most things happen. I get mail from the Pacific Crest Trail Association, The Non Commissioned Officers Association, the Red Cross, the National Infantry Association, various Alumni groups etc. They are all worthy causes and at some point I donated, joined, answered their plea, or took interest in them. I believe in giving to worthy causes. I can not be an active part in all of them, so sometimes my contribution, big or small, is my way of fulfilling a need to support a cause.
Ok, by now you are noticing that I have not mentioned the Boy Scouts of America. Well we will get to that here real soon.
First however I need to rant a bit on what seems to be an overwhelming theme with the “Worthy Cause appeal”. The theme is that someone else will do it.
Someone else will donate. Some “Big Business” will take care of it.. after all.. they can afford it. Someone else should step up and keep this station on the air, or that trail maintained, or that museum staffed, or…
Someone else always seems to take care of your worthy cause. That which you enjoy, take advantage of, or participate in. Membership allows for that right? I pay my dues.. I shouldn’t have to do more. Someone else can afford to do more.
Time, Treasure, Talent. We all have some, we can do more, we need to budget our worthy cause or causes into our lives.
You pick and choose what that cause is, we all do. We decide what is important to us and those around us and make a choice to support it or just take advantage of “Someone else”.
The Boy Scouts of America. My worthy cause.
For over a century it has relied on the stewardship of its members, Alumni, and those that know and understand what its mission is. It takes money to make programs happen. It takes support to ensure that the mission can be sustained and accomplished. A mission that takes the life span of the member and will never stop as long as a 7 year boy comes to a join night. It will forever need support and funding as long as Troops load up the vans, buses, and station wagons and head to summer camp. It will continue to be in need of time, treasure, and talent as long as we wish our young people to learn, live, and share the values and make choices that shape their character. Yes, a worthy cause.
But, Someone else will do it.
Each year the BSA asks of its members to become a Friend of Scouting. To go above and beyond their contribution of time and talent. To do more financially than their annual dues and registration fees. To support the organization where it counts. The worthy cause that is provided at the local Council level. Where the Scout and the Scouts family benefit. It takes more than registration fees and lending a helping hand at a local camp, it takes money, just like you local radio station that asks for support to maintain its programing uninterrupted by ads.
Yes the BSA goes to corporations and asks for their contribution. The BSA targets organization that share our values and support our type of programing. Buts not enough and we can’t rely on someone to do it.
We all know that Scouting is a worthy cause. We all know what the outcomes can be because of Scouting. We all know that Scouting offers programing that no other youth organization can do. But we can not wait for someone else. We all need to do our part.
Budgeting your worthy cause.
I will not tell you how to spend your money. My wife and I are like everyone else, we have a budget and try to stick to it. We know what we have and what we can give. We make a choice each year on what and who we are going to support. For us, the Boy Scouts of America is our worthy cause. We have seen what it does for the young men and their families. We have watched as our sons took advantage of the all of the great programs the BSA offers. From monthly campouts to the National Jamboree. From Summer camp to Philmont our family has always enjoyed what the Boy Scouts of America offers and does. So when we budget our giving we make a choice to give to our worthy cause. We choose to support Scouts. Our sons are grown and no longer actively in the program, even though Scouting will always be a part of their lives. Now we support someone else, we have become that someone else that does it because someone else didn’t do it. Like the radio station, I want Scouting’s programming to stay on the air. I budget how much time I wish to give, how much of my talent I have to give, and how much treasure I have to give. The bottom line is what we decide is our worthy cause. The cause that means the most to us. The cause that we see the most impact for our dollar. And the cause that we know can last forever if we all pitch in.
What is your worthy cause. Just because you are reading this does not mean it is Scouting. I know that. When I make our annual Friends of Scouting appeal to my Troop we ask that everyone help support a Scout. We ask that they all do something to help. A dollar, Two hundred dollars, whatever they can budget to help Scouting. I ask that they take a look at their Scout and Scouting family and see the benefits that come with Scouting. Finally I ask that they believe in what Scouting does and decide if it is important enough to them to keep it going. I ask that they make Scouting a worthy cause.
Each year, we make our goal, last year we exceeded our goal and that is wonderful. The best part for me is the understanding that the families of our unit make Scouting a priority and worthy of their giving. This says a lot about them to me. They share the values of Scouting and do not want to let “someone else” be the reason their son and the sons of families in the future enjoy Scouting.
Yes, it is a worthy cause. Worthy of our time, our treasure, and what little talent I have.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
If you play a game that has a desired outcome or purpose it is important that you first know what that purpose is and then have some way of knowing if you achieved the results you were looking for.
By and large that is the reason we have an Eagle Scout Board of Review. We can assess and determine though the interview with the Scout whether or not the program is delivering the promise of Scouting and achieving its goals of helping make young people of character, good citizens, that are physically fit. Along with all of that, do they make ethical choices and does it look like they will do the same in the future.
Reflection is an important part of every thing that we do in Scouting. It allows us to take a look back and see if we achieved the outcomes we want in playing our game.
Reflection comes in many forms, we can do it as a group or take time in silent reflection. But no activity is complete until the reflection is done.
This last weekend our Troop went camping. First winter camp out of the year and we went caving on Saturday exploring the largest Lava tube cave in the US. It is adventurous and challenging and our Scouts love to test themselves. As with most outings or activities a theme develops throughout the weekend. This weekend the theme quickly became “Rising to the Challenge”. Overcoming hardship, attitudes, and things that make you uncomfortable were some of the behaviors that we noticed in our Scouts as they went through the weekend.
For some of the Scouts it was the first time they would camp in sub freezing temperatures. For some it was their first time in a cave. For others it was a leadership challenge as they learned that as a leader there were Scouts that depended on them to just get through the weekend. Cold weather, challenging experiences, and doing something new and difficult.
These young men learned and practiced great leadership. I was pleased to watch as members of the Patrol Leaders Council made their way through camp checking on the younger Scouts. Instructing them on how to get through the night. Reassuring younger Scouts that they will be ok and that if they do what they are taught, they will be warmer in the morning and will be able to have a better experience in winter camping.
I walked through camp Saturday night around 10:30 and found gear properly stored, tents pitched with all the tie outs in place and the sounds of tired happy Scouts sitting in their tents, the gentle glow of a headlamp lighting the green nylon of a tent fly.
Sunday morning leadership was once again challenged as cold fingers attempted to pack even colder nylon tents and sleeping bags. Our departure time was supposed to be 9:00 AM. We missed it by 20 minutes, but the reason was acceptable to me. The Troop was in Patrol lines taking a few minutes to share a few things they learned over the weekend. Patrol leaders talking with their patrols about the challenges they faced over the weekend and how they all rose to the challenge. Before we loaded up I shared with them my pride in them and how they are great young men. I shared with them the fact that they needed to reflect on the weekend and see just how much they learned about skills, their attitude, and how they grew because of the experience. The final question that I asked them to reflect on was this, Is there any place you would rather be?
When we got back to the hall and parents started arriving to pick up their Scouts, many of the Scouts came to me and shared the answer to that last question. Each and every one of them say “NO WHERE ELSE”.
So reflecting back on this weekend I would say Promise Delivered and Program solid.
It is important to reflect. You may not always get the answer you want, that is your opportunity to learn and grow doing better next time. If things are going well… keep it that way! Don’t let it slip.
Make sure that reflection time is a part of your program. Have the Scouts take time to reflect and have serious reflection on how they are doing in the Scouting program. It is a game with a purpose, without reflection, you will not know if that purpose is being met.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
A Scout Troop is a family.. and it’s either living or dying. It’s either growing or shrinking, viable or withering on the vine. There are many reasons for this, but the point of the matter is that if we are not watching for it we will let units fail. It isn’t always easy to pinpoint one thing or another, but the more you focus the clearer the issues become and the faster a unit can recover when it finds itself dying.
I find that a close examination of the how the unit is using the methods is a great start. Oh and by the way, this is important for units that are living and living well too. You may just find that you are slipping in an area that down the road can lead to a cancer that can not be cured in the unit.
Is the unit using all eight of the methods or just picking and choosing which ones are important to them? I liken that practice to picking and choosing which of the values in the Scout Law are less important and need not apply.
A strong program relies on the methods to achieve the goals of Scouting. Too many units favor advancement over other methods. I have seen those units race their Scouts to Eagle and then die.. they lost the older Scouts and leadership. The families disengage once their son “Eagles Out” [a term that does not have any place in Scouting]. There is no longer a dog in the hunt for the family and the Scout feels as though he has reached the end. NO NO… he has just begun. Now it’s time to give back and be a leader. But with the emphasis on advancement, the Scout and his family see no other needs that the unit can provide.
Some Troops believe that the Patrol Method is all you need. While I agree that the Patrol method is everything to the Patrol and health of the Troop, it is certainly not all you need. Where do you practice the Patrol method? At Troop meetings? Sure, some, but its the Outdoor program that makes the Patrol method come alive.. so no the Patrol method is not all you need. How do you put into practice the Ideals of Scouts, you know those ideals and values found in the Scout Oath and Law? You need a well planned and executed Service program in the life of the Troop. Service opportunities that engage the Scout and teach him to be a selfless servant to others. This is a wonderful leadership trait as well. Being a servant leader will certainly get the young man farther and reinforce the ideals of Scouting.
I once heard a quote, and I want to say it came from Baden Powell, “Show me a poorly uniformed troop and I’ll show you a poorly uniformed leader.” The uniform is an important part of Scouting. I have talked about this before so I won’t beat that horse to death, but the uniform is an essential part of Scouting. It builds the team. It helps with discipline. It is a great equalizer. The uniform connects us in the World Brotherhood of Scouting and is the most visible part of the Scout in public. It should be worn completely and correctly. Many adult leaders make a choice to allow jeans and other parts of the uniform to be exchanged. They claim that it is a money issue. It isn’t. A Scout is thrifty. He can always go mow a lawn, rake some leaves, or even sell popcorn to buy a new uniform or pants for it. Taking the easy way out on the uniform reflects the attitude of the leader to not use the methods of Scouting completely. “Attitude reflects leadership” so says my favorite quote from the movie Remember the Titans. This attitude of pick and choose can do more harm than good in the long run and it has been my observation that it can ultimately lead to a unit dying.
And no.. it’s not about the uniform. It’s about the methods. Those tried and true methods that lead our youth to a better understanding of who they are and what they will become. It teaches Character, Citizenship, and Fitness. And that my friends is why do Scouting. We believe this works and that is proven daily, weekly, monthly in units all across our country. It is proven in the Eagle Scouts that go on to do great things in their lives and in the Scouts that go into the world and become Dads that raise wonderful people. Scouting works, but we need to keep it alive. Using the eight methods will keep it from dying.
The methods need to be visible in your annual plan, in your interactions with the Scout, and in your attitude. That will reflect great leadership.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
This post is not going to sit well with some folks, but be that as it may, it is a message that I feel is an important part of the Character, Citizenship, and Overall fitness of the Scouts that we are trying to develop.
As with most ideas or thoughts that bounce through my mind, I find that themes reoccur or present themselves to me. And so as I go through my daily life I look for those things that can both make me a better person and pass on to our young men.
First, I have been observing a “homeless guy” over the past few months. Now please understand I am not being insensitive to the plight of the homeless here. I am absolutely not passing judgement and understand that there many folks out there with needs. I am also not expressing an opinion or solution about mental health issues that plague our country.. so.. with the caveats out of the way…
I finally had the opportunity to talk with this young man. I bought him a Frosty from Wendy’s and asked if I could ask him some questions. He agreed. I asked him why he was homeless. A simple question and he gave me a simple answer. He said he gave up. He gave up on school, he gave up on his family, he gave up on trying. I didn’t ask why, but I really wanted to know. It would have been too obvious to ask if he liked the results, so I left it alone. I did however ask how long he planned on staying on his current course. He answered by saying that it wasn’t that bad.. people in general are generous. He had no plan or expectation of life getting better.
I asked him if I could ask two more questions.. he agreed. Number one, are drugs involved? And number two, are you going to try to get help? To the first question he answered yes. That is why he is in Portland. Easy to get and cheap. To the second, he said he would like to get help. He added that he had dreams and goals, but giving up was easier. I thanked him and went on my way.
Second, as you know I am a football fan, especially when it comes to watching my youngest sons football team play. He plays for the College of the Redwoods and is a real good Quarterback. The team though has much to be improved. They are up and down and all over the place searching for consistency. The only thing that is consistent about the team is their willingness to give up. They seem to play for themselves and give up on their team mates. Because it is a Junior College, the players are looking at moving to higher Division Schools to continue playing football and advance their education. They are playing selfish to gain better stats without an understanding that if the team does well, they will get their stats. Giving up on plays and letting team mates down when the going gets tough.
So why do I care? I do not think it is acceptable to ever give up. As a young soldier it was always expected that we never give up. Giving up left people’s life in the balance. When people give up they don’t just give up on themselves, but there is always an effect to other people. When parents give up, the kids suffer. When employees give up, the work group suffers, when members of a Patrol give up, the whole Patrol is effected in a negative way. They end up moving in the wrong direction in the stages of team development or stay in a storming mode too long.
Giving up is a choice. It is a condition that while there are certainly circumstances that lend themselves to someone wanting to give up, there is never a reason to follow through.
Jerry, you are too insensitive.. no, I am a tired of seeing the effects of people who just give up. People get hurt when you give up. It’s not fair when people give up. As we talk about leadership with our Scouts we always start with the concept of being a servant leader or leading selflessly. If you can’t do that, you can’t lead. We also remind them that if they can not lead themselves they can not lead others. Having said that, giving up is in my opinion on of the most selfish things one can do.
So why do people give up? I don’t know. I don’t like it and I don’t allow it in my Troop. Scouts in my Troop are not allowed to say “I can’t”. If you believe that you can’t.. you are right. But that is not an option in life and the more we allow young men to give up, it becomes easier and easier to do. Scouts can do amazing things, but they need to have the self-confidence to push themselves. We need to give them permission to do so. When we accept the Scout saying “I can’t”.. we tell them it’s ok to pass or give up. Simply put.. it’s not ok.
So, no I don’t have the answer, but you can rest assured that I am fighting it by using my influence as a Scoutmaster to teach, coach, and mentor our Scouts to never, ever give up. I do not give up, so I expect them to take that attitude and grow into great men.
Can you imagine in our founding fathers gave up? Imagine if they decided it was not in their best interest or it was too hard. What if they did not test the resolve of their fellow countrymen to join the fight. We need not go to those extremes, but the principle is the same. Never give up on yourself or those around you.
Just something to think about.. I know I do.
A note on this post. It has taken me two weeks to put this together. It is a subject that has really been weighing on my heart and mind. I have talked to the Scouts of my Troop about this.. an ongoing discussion we have held over the past couple years. I finally wrapped it up tonight because once again, I talked with the homeless kid today. Still giving up. I don’t judge and make him out to be a bad guy. I see potential that is wasted. I see a young man who never was taught that giving up has long-term and far-reaching effects. He is living it. It saddens me.
Teach our Scouts the right way to become men.
The picture I used in this post is of me and a young man in my Troop. At the time, he was in his first year as a Boy Scout. What you don’t see in the picture are the big tears and the knocking knees this youngster had. What you also don’t see is him at the bottom of the rappel with a huge smile on his face knowing that he conquered fear and accomplished his goal of earning the climbing merit badge. You don’t see me 5 minutes after the picture was taken going over the edge with him and coaching him to stay with it and never give up. I am proud of that Scout and many others like him that make a choice not to quit.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Watching an old episode of Bonanza the other day and as with most of the stories, the guys with the white hats typically come out on top while the bad guys in their black hats seem to have the opportunity to listen to Mr. Cartwright give them a lesson in good livin’.
The lesson this time was about finding your way in life. I don’t remember the particulars of the story, but Old Ben Cartwright shared some wisdom that I immediately felt a need to share. He said “It’s alright to find your way in life, it’s a lot easier if you have a map.” I could not help but think that this is a message that we often share with our Scouts. The map, our Oath and Law. There are many other maps out there also, The 10 Commandments, our laws, the Golden Rule. All pretty much lead you in the same direction and certainly make your life a little easier and worth living.
Baden Powell left us a good road map to a successful life in that first Scout Handbook. He shared with us the Values of Scouting, a good Oath to live by, and skills that help make a young boy a man.
It is important to find a good map to live well. Whether that is through your faith, our laws, or in our Scout Oath and Law it is of value to you and others to live right. I always go back to what BP said about Happiness in that true happiness comes from making others happy. It takes a good map for good living to do this. I think that there are many ways just as there are many maps to do this. I grew up in the Church and it gave me a firm foundation of how to treat other people. As the Golden rule says in essence to treat others as you want to be treated. I thought as a grew up that this was a Christian thing, but as I got older I learned and came to realize that happiness is universal and so too is the Golden Rule. This ethic of one good turn deserving another goes a long way in the happiness of the world. The Golden Rule often called The Ethic of Reciprocity is found in 21 of the Worlds Religions. Knowing that it is a wonder why we fight and how Religions the world over have caused so much pain in the world.
The Roman Pagan Religions taught “The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.” Native America teaching lead us in “Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself.” And hundreds of years before Christ walked our planet, “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow-man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary.” from the Jewish faith.
I think that this last quote speaks more to me in the world that we live in today as it relates to the Golden Rule and Happiness.
So what does all of this have to do with our map? It’s simple. The map does not have to be complicated. It does not have to come with a degree in Social Science. The map needs to be clear and easy to understand. The map needs to have clear markings that lead us in the direction that we wish to go.
Our map in Scouting is the Scout Law. It is simple, clear, and leads us in the right direction. 12 simple words that are the foundation of our happiness and the happiness of others.
So you can have the Bible, The Tora, The Koran, or any other of the sacred text, what matters in the end is that you use them to do find good and happiness… more importantly, you use them to give happiness to others.
If you don’t you are not using them right. The same is the Oath and Law in Scouting. Words are great, Actions are better. Finding your way in life is a good venture… having a map certainly does make it easier.
Find and use your map.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Guilty as charged. The company we keep, tan shirts, dedicated to being good Citizens, men of Character, and Fit.
I have heard this saying all my life. You are judged, as unpopular an opinion as that is these days, by the company that we keep. If you hang out with knuckle heads, you are viewed as a knuckle head. If you hang out with good people, you are judged as one of the good guys. This holds true in every case. I can not think of one example where people who hang out with bad people are viewed as one of the good ones.. or the better of the bad. Huh.. yeah.. I heard that one last week. “He’s a good guy, just hangs out with the wrong crowd.. he’s the better of the bad guys”.. but you know, he’s still among the bad guys. And yes, lets call it like it is. If they are bad, they are bad.
Too many times these day’s we try to give the benefit of the doubt or try to find that silver lining. Sometimes it’s just not there. More times than not there are opportunities for behavior change and it is neglected. I don’t buy the idea that circumstances create a lack of opportunity. It’s there, it just needs to be taken. I have known many people who came from bad circumstances only to find opportunity, take it, and make something good of their lives.
Here is the deal. We have Scouting. Scouting is available everywhere. Now, it certain circles it may not seem “cool”..so explore the alternative. Join our Scouting gang, or join a thug gang. In both circumstances you will find support, belonging, and a set of values. The difference is one leads to good, the other doesn’t. It comes down to choices.
Parents have a lot to do with this. As a young man growing they assist in creating the environment that will lead their son to hanging with the right crowd. Generations of “good guys” typically lead to more good guys. On the other hand the lack of want to.. the fact that the path of least resistance creates the easy road down a path which lacks character puts young men in the bad category.
I don’t mind calling like it is. The people who I associate with are good. I need not worry about their character. I don’t have to worry about the values that they live. I don’t have to worry about the impression that I leave with the friends I keep.
I see our young men.. they look for that easy road. That road will never lead the right way. As a Scoutmaster, it is my job to help the parents in creating that environment which leads to good character and values. Being a role model in that endeavor is part of the program.
Too often we forget as Scouters that we have an obligation to create those conditions for the Scout. We get wrapped up in making Eagle Scouts that we forget what we are really there for. Citizens of Character.
Now Eagle Scouts that hang out with Eagle Scouts is a good group to be associated with.. You will certainly be judged by that standard.
I tell ever Scout of our Troop that attains the rank of Eagle that up till now they had completed and earned the rank of Eagle Scout, from that day forward they must prove that they are worthy of being one.
That is the company that they keep. It is the company we keep. We are judged in that company. I am happy with that.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
During Scoutmaster conferences I often ask the Scout what the Scout Oath and Law mean to them. In their own words what do the values and the promises found in the Oath and Law mean.
It seems that, by and large, there is a lack of knowledge in so far as defining what “Duty” means with our younger Scouts. With our older Scouts too for that matter.
When I was a young Scout, right after we walked up hill both ways in the snow, it seems to me that we were taught in School, home, and Church what Duty meant and what our role was in keeping our promises and understanding what our duty was when it comes to our daily lives. In Scouts we knew what our duty was when it came to being Reverent and Helpful. We had an understanding about our Duty to our Country.
The other night I took the opportunity while talking with a young man during a Scoutmaster Conference to discuss what duty meant and what he needed to know about it. The discussion started because the Scout didn’t understand why he said those words when he recited the Scout Oath.
I started with a basic definition so he could get at least an understanding of duty. I first asked if he felt like he had a responsibility to be helpful. He said yes. I asked if he felt an obligation to be a good citizen. He said yes, but really didn’t know what that really meant at his age. I then asked him if he felt that he should be committed to doing his best, staying healthy, and doing well in school so he could have a better life. All of those he felt that he was committed to.
I told him that duty is just that, a responsibility, a commitment, and an obligation to something. In our case as Scouts those are found in our Scout Oath to God and our Country, to other people, and to ourselves.
Duty to me has always been a solid concept of how we live our lives. As a soldier, I was bound to serving our Country and as a leader my duty was to the soldiers I led.
As a Father, my responsibility has always been to making me children good people. I was told once that it is not my job as a Dad to raise good children, rather it was my duty to raise good adults.
As a Husband my obligation is to my wife. To be her partner through thick and thin and to show her unconditional love.
As a Scout leader I am committed to men of Character. Making Eagle Scouts is not my priority, teaching young men to grow up and be men that have Character, are good citizens, and have an understanding and habit of being fit. That is what is important to me. Why? Because it is my Duty.
I shared these things to my young Scout. It helped him gain a better understanding of why, in the Scout Oath, we use the term “Duty”.
Knowing that it make the Scout Law more important, it focuses the Scouts outlook toward God and Country and helping others. It creates a want to be his best and take care of himself and those around him.
Some may say that I am reading into this, I say no… I am teaching it for what it is. A promise.
If we don’t keep our promises we compromise our character, when we do that, we have nothing. We need to understand that we have a Duty to be good Scouts, Scouts that live the Oath and Law in our daily lives.
It is the foundation of Scouting. Baden Powell understood that when he started this. These concepts have been passed from generation to generation. William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt understood this and made it the hallmark of his writings on Scouting. Scoutmasters for years have held true to these concepts in the teaching their Scouts and for whatever reason there has been a disconnect in our young men today. It is my duty to change that. I will do that one Scout at a time.
Do you feel that same obligation?
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Here is the Scoutmaster Minute that I gave to our Troop the other night… Hope you find it useful.
As you travel on the trail to First Class Scout you find that there are many skills that you develop. You learn them and eventually master them well enough to use them in your daily lives, while on camp outs and even teach them to other people.
Learning to use the Map and Compass is one such skill that takes practice and hands on use. Once you master the use of the Map and Compass you will always know the direction you heading and will be able to find your way.
The Map shows you the terrain. It lets you know where you are and where you are going. It’s colors represent what is on the ground around you and the obstacles that you will face. As you read the map, you see the hills and valleys that you will be trekking on. It shows you where you can find water and other resources. The map can tell you where the trail is easy or hard or give you options for a detour. Using you map, you always know where you are and a clear path to where you want to go.
The Compass is the other tool that when used with your map gives you clear direction. Knowing how to use the compass properly will allow you to set your course in the right direction. It orients your map and gives you an accurate picture of what is ahead. Without the compass, the map is just a picture of the section of earth you are traveling on. Add the compass and you have accurate and steady direction. The compass is always true. It can set you on the path that will get you to your destination.
These two tools are important in your life. Yes, we have GPS now and that is very helpful, but the GPS will never replace a good map and compass.
We have another map and compass that get us headed in the right direction and keep us on track to our destination. The Scout Oath and Law.
The Oath is our map. It gives us a clear picture of the person that we should be. It has features much like the map. Duty, Honor, and being Selfless are some of the marks we see in Oath. If we use it, we will know the landscape of our lives and will be able to stay the course.
The Scout Law is our compass. It is the steady set of values, unchanging, that when used with the Scout Oath will be our guide on the trail of life.
The Law points you in the direction of our values that make you the person that you are. Like the compass it has a steadfast needle that ensures your heading is true.
Using the Oath and Law together, like the map and compass these tools will set your course to being a man of Character, a good Citizen, and promote in yourself and other fitness in your mind, body, and heart.
As we have traveled that trail to First Class, weather is is recent or in the past, or if you are just starting that journey, remember that the skills you develop today are there for you to use for the rest of your life. Focus on these skills they will make a difference not only on a camp out but every day that you wake up and look in the mirror starting your Great Scouting Day!
Set your azimuth to achieve your goals and keep checking your map to stay on course.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
From 1972 to 1989 the Boy Scouts of America had a program called the Troop Leadership Corps. This program was designed for Scouts 14-16 to serve their Troop in leadership roles. They were not a member of a Patrol within the Troop, but held direct leadership within the Troop. They served as guides for new Scout Patrols, they served in traditional leadership roles and they were charged with being skills instructors and role models to the Troop.
In 1989, this program was replaced with the Venture Patrol within traditional Troops. At this point the older Scouts now became a patrol and Troop positions of leadership were created to fill the void. The Instructor and Troop Guide Positions were created and added to the leadership roll of offices.
Since 1989 many Troops however have held on the Troop Leadership Corps (TLC) as a foundation of leadership in the Troop. It is also a great way to maintain older Scouts keeping them active in the Troop and engaged with the younger Scouts.
Our Troop is now among them. We are rebuilding the Troop Leadership Corp, with our own spin on it. during the heyday of the TLC the Scouts that made up the Corps left their patrols and entered the group of leaders to form a patrol. In our situation the Scouts will remain a part of their Patrol. The TLC will be made up of those Scouts that demonstrate leadership and leadership potential. They will be Scouts that buy into our leadership philosophy and are willing to step up and lead.
This is an incentive program. The Scouts that choose to belong to the Troop Leadership Corps will have high adventure opportunities and time set aside for them to be teenagers. We have a group of Scouts that are taking the lead on this. They are motivated and willing to lead. They all believe in our core values and leadership philosophy and want to see the Troop become more successful.
We are doing this to keep the older Scouts engaged and maintain them longer as members of the Troop.
Here are the 5 leadership principles (philosophy) that we maintain in the Troop. It is these 5 principles that the Troop Leadership Corp will center their leadership on. It is these 5 principles that they will use to teach and coach the troop to success.
1. Never Stop Learning, Be a life Long learner.
2. Focus on the Little things. Focusing on the little things make the big things happen.
3. Model Expected Behavior.
4. Communicate Effectively.
5. Be a Servant Leader.
When we do these 5 things the Troop works like a well oiled machine. Leadership is not a chore, and everyone finds success.
So we are bringing back the Troop Leadership Corps. We will report back on how it is going.
Does your Troop use the Troop Leadership Corp model? How is that going for you?
Have a Great Scouting Day!