Get fit.. or get left out…

So says the BSA… Now before I get hate mail.. Raise your right hand in the Scout sign and repeat after me..
“To keep myself physically Strong, Mentally Awake, and Morally Straight.”
In a minute I want you to watch this video.  This is Tico Perez, our National Commissioner talking about Jamboree 2013.  He discusses the challenges it will provide and the need to be physically strong as out lined in the standards that all of us should be using on the new medical form.  I would suggest that if you have not got on board with this yet, well then you should.
Comments please, but don’t shoot the messenger.
So here is my take before I pop in the video.
Do I want to exclude anyone, NO.. BUT.  I don’t want anyone getting hurt either.  AND.. I do not want to take away the adventure.  Everyone in our government talks about child obesity in America, but they are not willing to do anything about it really.  Statistics show that we are fat.  So let’s get skinny.  You can do it, if you want to.
Eat right, exercise, and get fit, or the BSA is going to leave you out of certain activities.
I had a dear friend that was extremely heavy.  Along with his weight came a lot of medical issues I am not going to dive into, but by and large you all know what those can be.  He applied to go on staff for Arrow Corps 5 a few years back.  He was declined because of his weight, or should I say BMI.  He was very upset about it, but in the end understood the liability that he would create in this high adventure activity.
My Troop is sending 2 crews to Philmont in 2012.  We will all be fit before we go.  One of the committment markers to signing up was that you would be fit and meet all the standards before you would be allowed to go.  Is this harsh?  No, it’s the real world and we need to help these Scouts stay fit.  Now you may say, Well I know Scouts that are heavy that out pack, out hike, and out last any of the skinny kids in the Troop.  Well good for them, but what is the harm in shaving a few pounds for the future.  That heavy kid is going to grow into a heavier adult and the problems on the horizon are many for him.  Don’t get upset, just know that this is a fact and we all can help by enforcing the BSA standard and helping our Scouts get fit.
OK.. so here’s the video.. let me know what you think.  Leave a comment, shoot me a voice mail or drop an email into my in box.  I love to hear what you think.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

JTE.. More

The balanced Score care approach is nothing new, it has been floating around organizations for some time now and provides a balanced view for organizational performance.  Who looks at this?  Well really you do.  As much as some would like t0 think that Councils and District level leadership are actively engaged in what goes on at the unit level (and I am talking Pro staff here, not volunteer) the fact of the matter is that where the rubber hits the road, the unit leadership are really the only leaders dedicated 100% to their units.  That is not to say that District, Council, and even National leadership could care less.  It is just that they have different fish to fry.  They are concerned at the “Big” organizational level in areas of membership, fundraising, and policy.  And that is fair.  Hey, I don’t want to think about that stuff, I want to go camping.  So the Journey to Excellence program is a tool that ensures our units are meeting the mark as we can measure our programs.  I think this is important to make sure that we all are delivering the promise of Scouting in a uniform manner.
Last month I attended the National meetings of the BSA in San Diego.  The Assistant Chief Scout Executive for Council Operations Gary Butler gave a great talk at the Scoutmaster dinner.  In his talk he gave the analogy of Starbucks coffee.  He said that when you order a coffee at Starbucks in Seattle it tastes like the same cup in New York City, or Atlanta, or Boston.. the message is that the coffee is the same where ever you go and that is part of business model of Starbucks.  The Promise of Scouting is just like that cup of coffee.  It needs to be the same consistent program, delivered in many ways, but the same program throughout the Boy Scouts of America.  We have great outline, but Scouters choose not to use it.  The Journey to Excellence program attempts to bring some of that back in line.
Now, I know that many of you, myself included, do not like to view the BSA as a business.  Certainly not at the unit level.  But just like every organization if certain measures are not in place, lets say for growth, for financial stability, for improvements in the program, the organization will fail.
Remember a couple posts ago, I shared that I knew a unit that was a Quality unit every year, but then it just folded?  It is because they did not have a plan to grow and stay fit.  They took it year to year and hoped that the Cub Scout pack would just continue to “Feed them”.  They did not have a stable financial plan, they did not have a plan to assist the youth leadership… and yet they were “always a quality unit”.
None of us want to see our units fail.  JTE is a week to week, month to month, year to year tool that sets on a Journey to Excellence.
OK.. 500 words in and not a word about camping.. so lets talk just a little about Short term and Long term camping as it applies to the JTE.
You all understand that Short term equates to weekend camp outs and long term camping refers to those week long (or longer) camping opportunities such as Summer camp, Jamboree’s, High Adventure base participation.  Now I think the BSA set the bar low on this one, and so many if not all of us will automatically qualify at the Gold level when it comes to short term camping.  Bronze = 4 camp outs throughout the year.  Yeah, that is not a typo.. I wrote 4.  Silver requires a unit to camp 8 times and to achieve the Gold standard you need to camp at least 10 times.  Like I said.. I think we all have this one in the bag.   And for the Gold level you get 200 points for just doing what we all do, and that’s camp.
Now I think it is interesting how the JTE handles long term camping.  You will qualify for the bronze level if your unit attends a long term camp.. lets call it summer camp.  You will achieve Silver level status if 60% of your Scouts attend Summer camp (or another long term opportunity).  And it only takes 70% of your unit attending camp to achieve Gold level status.  I recently had a small discussion on Camp staff with some Scouters that I consider “In the know”.  We debated on whether a Scout that serves on camp staff is counted in that percentage.  And the answer according the definitions of JTE is this; ” Boy Scouts attending any in council or out of council long term summer camp (of at least three days and nights), high adventure experience, jamboree, or serve on camp staff within the past year”.  The part that really weirds me out on this is the three days and nights.  But not to worry, most if not all summer camps run a week.  No problems there.
The bottom line is that camping is where Scouting happens.  It is where the Patrol method is executed, it is where teaching happens, it is where the boys can be boys and learn, practice, and teach skills.  Camping, I am sure you will agree is what most think about when we talk Scouting.
Next time we will dive into the Patrol Method.
Thanks for the emails, you can email me anytime.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Health and Safety

As we are beginning the process of the 2010 National Jamboree, I am learning a lot about more about just how much the BSA is concerned about Health and Safety. For obvious reasons, it is a good thing to be concerned about.
But here is what I find almost shocking. The restrictions and “Suggestions” of the BSA regarding the participants at National Jamboree.
Now before I go any further… I have to say that I agree in total with the decisions made by the BSA. While I never want to exclude a Scout or Scouter from any activity, I think it is right to protect those folks that have medical conditions or are not physically fit to function in a certain environment.
Just like the standard for participating at one of the BSA’s High adventure Bases, like Philmont. The Boy Scouts of America has outlined what participants at the National Jamboree should maintain as their health and safety guidelines.
Starting with weight, when we interviewed for the Scoutmaster positions, the panel clearly outlined the weight requirements. Scouts and Scouters that exceed the maximum weight for their height will not be permitted to attend. I can see this. Being overweight may bring with it many other conditions. Most folks that I know that are what would be considered “Obese” also have diabetes problems, trouble breathing, asthma, and other conditions that would not be conducive to warm Virgina Summers.
Heart trouble and other physical issues can also lead to a very troublesome Jambo experience.
After the 2005 National Jamboree, I think the BSA had an eye opener when Adult leaders had medical issues and the heat ran rough shot throughout the encampment.
The BSA program teaches us to be “physically strong”. This is subjective at best as the BSA also just wants us to “Do our Best” but! When you are at a National Program I believe that the BSA wants a bit more. We set our Scouts up for success, and we need to remember that keeping them safe and providing a healthy environment is part of our obligation to the Scouts.
Setting guidelines and rules regarding Health and safety are good things for the BSA.
Those that would like to participate should seek the necessary help in meeting the standard. If they can not achieve that, they should understand that it is in their best interest to obtain from the activity. The last thing anyone wants to see is a Scout or Scouter get hurt, extremely sick, or even killed due to a lack of fitness or health issue.
You can learn more about the National Jamboree standard and guidelines by checking out this site.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Time for Scouting

When you break it down the 2010 National Jamboree is right around the corner. And like most Councils, the Cascade Pacific Council is in the process of selecting its Adult leaders and applications for youth positions are now available.

As I worked on the online applications for my two sons, I found it interesting that, one, the application was rather lengthy and two, it asked about information outside of Scouting.
I suppose neither one of those are surprising, but it struck me as odd that an event two years away would need that kind of information now.

But here is why, I think. There is always a great debate about Scouting and the time it consumes. We constantly hear about the struggles of parents trying to get from Soccer to Scouts, from Football practice to meetings on Mondays, from School work to Camp outs.
I had this discussion a couple nights ago with my own sons. While we all lead busy lives and our children have Palm Pilots and planners, Moms and Dads need to have Sync meetings on Sundays nights to coordinate the week, it seems that there is always time for Scouting.

There is time after School before a meeting to do homework and study. There is time to work on advancement and merit badges, the Scout has till he is 18. I think what is missing in most peoples lives is perspective. Putting all of the daily routine in perspective will give a clear picture of what you are really doing. Are busy to be busy? Are you active to be seen? Are you really getting the most out of your life?
I think, and of course I have a biased opinion, that Scouting is that activity that rounds it all out. Scouting is the activity that is values based that focuses on the good things in life and preparing young men to be their best and do their best. Their best in the class room, in Church, at home, and in life.

So as I filled out the applications and got to the questions about out of Scouting activities, we answered that we are busy with Football, Band, School, Church, Family and Friends like most families. But in my planner I wrote, “there is always time for Scouting”. In fact there is never a time that Scouting should not be a part of our lives. It is not always when we wear our uniforms, we are Scouts and Scouters daily. Living the motto and practicing the Slogan. Taking the Oath and Law to heart and keeping it a part of our daily lives.

The 2010 National Jamboree is going to be spectacular. It is our 100th Anniversary and sure to be a once in a life time experience. What a blessing it is to live in this time.

Happy Scouting!