teamwork

Methods- Patrols

The Patrol is, like the ideals, the foundation of the Troop.  The Patrol is where the Scout learns citizenship, it is where they practice democracy, leadership,  and teamwork.  It is where they find companionship, life long friendships, and a place where they belong.  The Patrol is unit of Scouting.  Whether for work or play, the Patrol is where Scouting happens!
In the Patrol you have democracy on the small-scale.  The boys choose the leader they would like to follow, they plan their own activities and take part in activities planned at the Troop level.  When they plan, they execute those activities together.
In a good Patrol, Scout spirit is steadily at work, prompting the participation of each Scout.  The 1947 Handbook for Scoutmasters says, “The life in the Patrol creates in its Scouts a strong feeling of comradeship, of obedience to a common cause, and the willingness to help and share so necessary in life.”
The Patrol eats together, camps together, cheers together, and pulls together when the going gets tough.  They share the joy of accomplishment, and put their heads together when they fail.  They learn together and assist one another in their Scoutcraft and other skills.
The Patrol elects its own leadership.  This is an important part of Patrol life.  The decisions the Patrol makes in choosing its leadership is up to them and should not be influenced.  The Patrol Leader grows as a leader and the rest of the Patrol develops strong skills at being good followers.  Soon ever Scout gets his turn, and he will reap the benefits of good followers when he steps up to lead.
The Patrol leader is part of the Patrol Leaders Council (PLC).  They run the Troop.  Using the Patrol Method, the Patrol Leaders Council will make decisions that have the best interest in the Troop in mind.  They will push the Patrols in directions of adventure, service, and committment to the Troop.  The PLC along with help from the Scoutmaster is heart of the Patrol Method.  When Baden Powell spoke of the Patrol Leaders Council he said, “… is not so much to save trouble for the Scoutmaster as to give responsibility to the boy- since this is the very best way of all means of developing character.”
I am a firm believer that the Patrol is the heart beat of the Troop.  Patrols that demonstrate spirit and enthusiasm tend to be great Patrols and have a lot of fun getting the most out of Scouting.
A note on the Patrol method.  There are NO ADULTS in Patrols.  Adults do not participate with Patrols and aside from the Scoutmaster have no say in the Patrol Leaders Council.  The Patrol method is not always pretty.  It takes on many shapes and sizes and the level of struggle will vary from Patrol to Patrol.  It is important for the Senior Patrol Leader to tackle as many of those struggles as possible.  He, after all is the leader that Patrol Leaders look to for the answer.
I have a pet peeve about adults calling themselves a Patrol in the Troop setting (outside of Wood Badge of course).  The Patrol method is to be led, practiced, and perfected by young men.
Give them a chance to run their Troop.  This is an important method, with out the Patrol method you do not have Scouting.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

C.O.P.E and Scouting

Spending time with your Scouts on C.O.P.E courses is a wonderful experience.  Scouts are challenged to step away from what they know is comfortable.  The team building exercises and challenging tasks push Scouts to push themselves, not only for the sake of pushing themselves, but for the sake of the team.  Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience courses test the Scouts to do their best.
The other thing that C.O.P.E teaches is the idea that Scouting is among other things a “Personal Experience”.  Now it is wrapped up within Patrols, Troops, and buddy teams, but at the end of the day, it is up to the Scout to demonstrate self-reliance and have an attitude that he is willing to accomplish any task that he gets the personal experience.  Our Method of Advancement is one way that is completely a personal experience in Scouting.
The Scout is responsible for his advancement.  If he wants to be an Eagle Scout, there is nothing in his way except for himself.  The requirements are clearly outlined in his handbook, he has the support of his Adult leadership, and he is driven to complete the task.  Advancement is up to him.  Not his buddies, his Scoutmaster, or parents.
The merit badge program is much like the advancement method in that it to is a personal experience for the Scout.  There are required merit badges, but by and large with the large amount of badges spanning every vocation, hobby, sports, and skills, the Scout can pick and choose what he likes, wants, and needs to move forward with his Scouting experience.
Last night I talked with many of the new parents about Summer camp.  They had questions about merit badges and what we expect the Scouts to do… more so… what merit badges I expect the Scouts to earn while at camp.  My answer was received better by some parents than others.  My answer was that it was up to the Scout on what he earns and how many merit badges he try to earn.  My expectation is that they have fun at Summer camp.  If that means 6 merit badges or no merit badges I am ok with that.  “But we are paying a lot of money for summer camp” a parent said… yes I understand that.  What do you think you are paying for?  In my opinion we pay for the personal and shared experiences that are found only at Summer camp.  Summer camp is a week-long C.O.P.E course.   There are challenges, skills, and tests all week.  How the Scouts handle those both as individuals and as a team determines the success of the week at camp.  Merit badges and how many the Troop can earn is not the measure of success.  In the end, not one merit badge will lead to a memory that they share.  I can tell you stories all day long about the summer camps that I attended from 1978 to 1984.  But I can only tell you 1 story about a merit badge, and it really had little to do with the badge, it had more to do with me falling asleep and getting lost while trying to earn it.  My expectation is that the Scouts have fun and build a catalog of memories.  I want them to have a great Personal Experience in Scouting.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Trust and Confidence

Man oh man, its been a while since I was on the blog posting.  Sorry about that, no excuses, just lots going on especially with all the new scouts that we have in the troop.
This post I want to share a little about the last camp out.  It was planned by the PLC as a new Scout “Trail to First Class” camp as well as some shot-gun shooting.  Then a few weeks before the camp the C.O.P.E course came available as well as 3 more C.O.P.E certified leaders in the troop.  So there was time left, so we threw that in also.
Saturday morning started as planned.  There was a select group of older Scouts designated to teach the TFC events.  They went well.  Flag etiquette, fire building, and Totin’ Chip classes kept the new Scouts moving and learning skills.  They also learned how to break down meals, plan menus, and pack their packs.  They were walked through a model camp site and told what we expected in them and how they camped.
Then it was time for the groups to rotate and the new guys set off to the Shot gun range and the older guys moved to the C.O.P.E course.  It was a fantastic opportunity for the older guys to have some fun without the pressure of having the young guys to watch.
The new Scouts had a great time at the range and got back earlier than expected.  So the SPL talked with the C.O.P.E. director (one of the ASMs of the Troop) to see if there was something that the First year guys could do.  We were the only Troop on the course, so he said they could all do the zip line which is the final event.  The whole troop lined up got on harnesses and did the Zip line.  It was a blast.
Here is the important part.  We had a couple of the new guys that had never camped without Mom and Dad, fired a shot gun, or climbed 32 feet in the air and flew down a zip line.  It was a weekend in which just about every Scout in the Troop stepped out of their comfort zone in one way or another and tested themselves.  Whether it was teaching classes. shooting, or going through the C.O.P.E. course.
Saturday night the Scouts put on a great camp fire program.  One of the brand new Scouts, the one that climbed up to the platform and could not bring himself to go… he stood up there for 20 minutes mustering the confidence to step off.  He finally went and afterward told me that “knowing what I know.. I would have went right away”.. he needed to develop trust.  And he did.. trust and confidence.  So anyway, Saturday night.. he stepped up in front of the whole Troop led a song at the camp fire.  High Fives all around for the boys of the Troop.
It was one of those camp outs when everything comes together and the boys show me that all they need is support and a pat on the back and they will do great things.
Scouting teach self-reliance and to live the Scout Oath and Law.  They get it in the class room that Baden Powell set up.
Well, better get busy on the next podcast.. I will get more posts out.. things are now leveling off with the new guys..
Have a Great Scouting Day!

1 extra Degree

I always talk with the Scouts about Good not being good enough. There are many examples of how good will only get you good.. and on the other hand.. there are great examples of how doing your absolute best will get you Best results.
Being an Eagle Scout for example, will give you an edge over a non Eagle Scout when everything else is equal in trying to get a Scholarship or a job. Going that extra mile up a hill will get you a better view. Achievement is not easy and shouldn’t be.. if earning those things that in the end mean more was easy they would be meaningless.
Think about the difference between getting a participation ribbon at Camporee and earning the Top Troop award at Camporee. There is a big difference and only those that apply themselves, work hard, and have the right skills win.
I found this great little video on the net the other day.. think it sums it up well.
Enjoy and Have a Great Scouting Day!

Modeling the Expected Behavior

This weekend, our Troop conducted Junior Leader Training.  Because we have so many young Scouts, we decided to do things a little different this year.  This year, wanted to ensure that the leaders clearly understood what was to be expected as a leader.  Instead of the typical classroom environment, we took the training out doors where we do the leading.  An over night camping experience in which the Scouts attending the training committed to doing everything right.  The committment of the Scouts that arrived on Friday evening at Camp Discovery was apparent from the word go.
We built a camp fire and pulled our chairs up close.  The theme for the weekend was Modeling the Expected Behavior.  What that means to the Scouts of our Troop is that as leaders they need to set the very best example that they can.  As examples they model the behaviors that we expect to see from the rest of the Troop.
So this weekend, the leaders learned about the Teaching EDGE, Leading EDGE, Ethical decision-making, Communicating effectively, and Learning to teach.  The leaders shared expectations and demonstrated to one another what “Right looks like”.  This morning after teaching one another how to properly pack gear, leave no trace, and cook a meal, they spent some time on the C.O.P.E course working on team development.
At the end of the training it was time for reflection and reinforcing the theme of the weekend.  Modeling the Expected Behavior.
This theme will be the driving force for the rest of the year.  It is the hope of those that attended the training that they will affect a positive change in the Troop.  They all understand that as they go, so will the rest of the Troop.

In my opinion this was the best Junior Leader Training session I have seen our Troop do.  There was a clear understanding at the end of the training and I too feel that the Troop will better for it.  With so many young Scouts in the Troop and more coming at the end of the month, Scouts that are willing to take responsibility and be the very best example by modeling the expected behavior, will be have a lasting impact on our unit.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Where worlds meet

For those of you that have followed the blog for any given time, you know that I am a fan of sports.  I believe that sports do great things in the lives of youth and I also believe that there is room for sports, scouts, academics, and a normal life for our youth.  I actually think that when youth participate in sports and scouts they become better young men and women.
This last weekend was spent watching my oldest son wrestle at a tournament with the High School wrestling team.  John did real well this weekend, and as I sat and watched, and for those of you that have been to wrestling tourney’s.. you know that it is an all day affair.  You have lots of time to sit and watch, think, write, or do as I do.. people watch.
I typically get into lengthy discussions with other parents.  This year has been interesting as John is a Senior and many of the parents we hang out with we have known since the boys were all in kindergarten.  So the discussions quickly turn to how amazed we are about our boys, future plans, college, and “do you remember when” subjects.  This last weekend we got into a discussion about one of the boys that I have known since he was 7.  He was in Cub Scouts with John, but when the time came to cross over, he made the choice not to continue with Scouting.  He turned out to be a great young man and is a good friend of my daughters. 
One of the other dads sitting with us said that his son had to drop out of Scouts because of athletics.  He could not do both as Scouting and sports don’t mix.
I had to ask why he thought that way.  The answer I got did not make sense to me.  He said that Scouting was more for kids that were intellectual and could not make it in sports.  He added that scouting takes too much time away from sports practice and social time. <insert record scratch>
I made mention that both of my boys were in scouts and they both are athletes, and they both are A’s and B’s students, and both have a good social life.  He said it was the exception not the rule.  Then I told him of the Scouts in my troop.  In my Troop there are football players, baseball players, wrestlers, water polo, swim team, lacrosse, soccer, and golf team members.  Of those guys, they are active in the Troop and are all either Eagle Scouts or well on their way to becoming and Eagle Scout.  All of them are good students and very active with their Schools.  Members of Student government or clubs, and are all really good young men.
Again, he said we are the exception not the rule.  So I had to ask.. why do you suppose that is?
I believe that young men that play organized sports learn valuable life lessons.  They learn team work and working with others.  They learn that the team comes first and individual egos should be left at home.  They learn that hard work produces great things and that when you lose you learn.  They learn that effort pays off and that collective effort will eventually win.
I believe that sports push young men to stay fit and sports develop in them a sense of committment and accountability.  The individual is driven to be there for his team mates, he understands that without every one pitching in and moving toward the same goal the team will not be a success.
I think far to many times parents and Scout leaders can not get past the old “Jock” stereotype. 
Speaking strictly for my family Sports and Scouting go hand and hand.  Sports and Scouting complement one another and help round out our kids.  Add to Sports and Scouting good family values, strong faith, and a host of friends that have the same interests, and we have been blessed with three awesome kids.
The boys John and Josh have been active in both Scouting and Sports since they could be.  Josh started playing Football in 3rd Grade.  John and Josh both run Track and played Soccer.  John took to Wrestling, Josh stuck with Football and Track.  Katelyn played Soccer and volleyball for the Nike Club league team.  She is talented in Band and is a great student academically.  She tried Girl Scouts, but could not fit in with their click.  So she stuck to a supportive role in her brothers Scouting lives.
The point here is that all three are great kids and sports and scouts have played a great role in that.  It has meant long weekends, lots of travel time, and spending money on the kids activities rather than ourselves, but the result is that we have a great family life and kids that are healthy, smart, and ready for life.
Sports gave them confidence, good attitudes, and drive to accomplish anything.  Scouting does much of this and more, but when the two worlds meet a great young person comes out the other end.
So this Dad that does not see the value in both.. or that its one or the other.. well, I think that comes from parents that see the hassle, Scout leaders that see the competition, and youth that go along with what they say.
Parents need to be supportive of a young man that wants to do sports and scouting.  They need to make a committment to their son that doing both is possible.  Scout leaders need to understand the value in having an athlete in their troop.  They too need to be committed to the Scout and his needs and interests.  Scouting and Sports can work together.
I am proud of the Scouts of my Troop that take the time to be athletes.  I admire their dedication and committment, and I tell them that during Scoutmaster conferences or when they have an achievement on or off the playing field. 
Here is what I know for sure.
It’s not 100% so I am not saying this for effect…
Young men that are Scouts and Athletes are better students, better leaders, are better fit, and have a higher confidence level.  They stick it out to the end and do not let their Troop or their team mates down.
I’ll take that any day!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

*By the way.. the picture on this post.. Gerald R. Ford,  39th President, Eagle Scout, Football player at the University of Michigan 1933

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.
<DAD MOMENT>
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.
</DAD MOMENT>
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!