Thursday, 31 January 2008

Scout Law Explain in Laymans Terms

Here is my favorite in interpretation of the Scout law by another scouter. So enjoy and hopefully you can learn something from reviewing this information
What the Scout Law Means to Me
John Wayne

A great American, John Wayne, passed away many years ago. One of his last public appearances was at a dinner. He was riddled with cancer and knew he was close to death. The purpose of the dinner was to benefit a land purchase for a Scout Reservation called John Wayne Outpost Camp. At this dinner, Wayne recited the Scout Law. Then he did something unusual. He said the twelve points of the Scout Law are "nice words". "Trouble is" he continued, "we learn them so young we sometimes don't get all the understanding that goes with them. I take care of that in my family. As each boy reaches Scout age, I make sure he learns the Scout Law. Then I break it down for him, with a few things I have picked up in more than half a century since I learned it." Then Wayne proceeded to explain the importance of the Scout Law, breaking it down for the guests at the dinner; much like he would have for his grandson.

TRUSTWORTHY: The badge of honesty. Having it lets you look at any man in the eye. Lacking it, he won't look back. Keep this one at the top of your list.
LOYAL: The very word is life itself; for without loyalty we have no love of person or country
HELPFUL: Part sharing, part caring. By helping each other, we help ourselves; not to mention mankind. Be always full of help -- the dying man's last words.
FRIENDLY:Brotherhood is part of that word. You can take it in a lot of directions - and do - but make sure and start with brotherhood.
COURTEOUS: Allow each person his human dignity; which means a lot more than saying, "Yes, ma'am" and "Thank you, sir." It reflects an attitude that later in life you wish you had honored more... earlier in life. Save yourself that problem. Do it now.
KIND: This one word would stop wars and erase hatreds. But it's like your bicycle, it's just no good unless you get out and use it.
OBEDIENT: Starts at home. Practice it in your family. Enlarge it in your friends. Share it with humanity.
CHEERFUL: Anyone can put on a happy face when the going is good. The secret is to wear it as a mask for your problems. It might surprise you how many others do the same thing.
THRIFTY: Means a lot more than putting pennies away; and it is the opposite of cheap. Common sense covers it just about as well as anything.
BRAVE: You don't have to fight to be brave. Millions of good, fine, decent folks show more bravery than heavyweight champs just by getting out of bed every morning, going out to do a good day's work, and living the best life they know how against the law of odds. Keep the word handy every day of your life.
CLEAN: Soap and water helps a lot on the outside. But it is the inside that counts, and don't ever forget it.
REVERENT: Believe in anything that you want to believe in, but keep God at the top of it. With Him, life can be a beautiful experience. Without Him, you are just biding time.

John Wayne then thanked those at the dinner for putting his name on the outpost camp and said, "I would rather see it here than on all the theater marquees the world over."

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Whenever I talk about uniforms in the Scouting program to adults or youth, I usually try and include this quote because it sums up what the primary purpose of the uniform is in the scouting program. Yes it does not match the Eight Methods of Scouting exactly but when you are referring to a outside source then it sums up the purpose of the uniform for the general non-scout population. So here it is:
  • Putting on the uniform does not make a fellow a scout but putting on the uniform is a sign that the world that one has taken the scout obligations and folks expect scout like acts from one wearing it
This quote means that putting on the uniform is a physical sign to the rest of the world that this person has agreed to act Scout like. When I talk about scout like behavior from a outside the program perspective, that outside person demands and expects that this person is going to have strong morals and ethics even in this world were it is commonplace for your average teenager to loose this and not realize it is important until much later in life. The obligation that this Scout has taken is not some top secret code that very few people understand, this obligation is clearly laid out in the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan. There are no secrets about how this system is suppose to work if you are willing to carefully examine and understand the words to these statements of ideals.

One of the most important things to do while wearing a Boy Scout uniform is to to be proud to wear that uniform. Be proud of who you are and what you stand for even if you are standing alone. Having the courage to be able to truly do this takes guts but once you do this you will feel much better with yourself. This is only true for members of the Troop who actually want to be there. If you do not want to be there then most likely you will be the one putting down the organization. Let me give you one piece of advice if you dislike being a Scout "Leave us alone, get out, and I hope you can find a organization that you like to be involved in, so good luck in whatever activity you choose, sorry this could not work out but obiviously it wasn't meant for you". I now realize that even though this would be a wonderful program for everyone to participate in, in my eyes, I have to realize that this is not possible because everyone has different tastes.

Wearing your Boy Scout uniform is just like a sports team putting on a jersey for games and practice. Yeah Boy Scout uniforms are just a little more formal than a sports uniform but it is the general idea. You would not show up to a game as a player without your uniform if you wanted to play in the game, then why do you think it is appropriate to show up to a Troop meeting without a uniform. Yes occasionally you are not going to have your uniform availble for you to take to your meeting but showing up consistently is a disrespect to yourself and others who are supposed to be proud of the organization you are involved in.

Enough ranting but here is my last thought. Wearing the uniform means that you are showing the world that you want to make a difference and become someone of high moral and ethical standards.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark West
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Ten Commandments of Leadership

These commandments of leadership are rules that all leaders should learn how to incorporat into their belief system. If every leader of the world was capable of doing this things to every subordinate every time, then we would have created a wonderful and utopian leadership style. Most of us are going to at one point in hour lives fall on the bad side of these paradoxical statements.
  1. People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered - Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives - Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies - Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow - Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable - Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. The biggest people, with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds - Think big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs but only follow top dogs - Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight - Build anyway.
  9. People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them - Help them anyway.
  10. Give the world the best you have and you may get kicked in the teeth. Give the world your best anyway.

Why is it so easy for people to be so negative and mean to others is because of the fact that we have become a society that focuses on individualism and scouting is trying to teach the opposite of individualism. We are trying to create a world of moral and ethical leaders ready to face the challenges of today's world, knowing that what they stand for is the right thing to stand for.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark West
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

January 28, 2008 After Meeting Review

During tonights meeting I felt like we did a okay job. There were a few major issues that need to be sorted out but otherwise I think that we are running a great program up here. So here are the issues that occurred at tonights meeting
  • Senior Patrol Leader took a semi active role in leading the scouts and was not the primary voice in the meeting. My worst fears were confirmed about the campfire program was realized. It is a total disaster but we did get the two skits that we need for the Freezere campfire program.
  • Scouts not respecting the youth leaders who were trying to talk about items that were upcoming.
Here is what we accomplished
  • Finalized the food list and assigned a scout to the grubmaster position
  • Gear checks but still concerned with one particular scout, who seems not to care but will be the first to complain about problems
  • Decided on skits for District Freezere
  • Got a list of activities for the next six months put together with at least a general idea of what we want to do.
All in all we had a great meeting and got a fair amount of work done. I was hoping to get more work done on the Communications Merit Badge but their is not much to do when I can not explain specific elements for the program. Going to have to develop some sort of guiding mechanism for putting together the program.

Yours In Scouting Service
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Monday, 28 January 2008

You Might be taking Scouting too Seriously

Yeah lots of people play are with this same exact line but it is just so funny that I have to post something like this every once in a while to lighten the load.

So here it is:
You might taking scouting to serious if.....
  • most of your wardrobe is olive drab or khaki.
  • you keep a lantern hanging outside your bathroom door.
  • you cannot walk by a piece of trash without picking it up.
  • you carry a dufflebag size first-aid kit in your car.
  • you always cook enough food for twelve.
  • you have the urge to help little old ladies ... whether they want it or not.
  • you know 100 uses for a bandana.
  • someone asks for a volunteer and you find your hand is already in the air.
  • you correct someone who says "Gee, I used to be an Eagle Scout/Girl Scout", and then get him/her to volunteer in your Troop.
  • you always have a boy/girl registration and adult leader application in your bag. And you have to keep replacing them.
  • you are proud of the mentors your sons/daughters have found.
  • you say "signs up" in a business meeting to quiet everyone down.
  • you find yourself discussing the relative merits of internal vs. external frame packs on a date.
  • you have a special woven belt loop cup holder.
  • you spontaneously break into strange songs in public.
  • your radio is always tuned to the weather station.
  • you horde tent stakes.
  • you know all the words to Little Bunny Foo-Foo, but can't remember your anniversary.
  • you have something on your shoe...and you're sure it's only mud.
  • you have to go to the restroom and you start looking for a buddy.
  • you tie your shoe and check the handbook to se if it can go toward earning a badge.
  • you miss "cargo pockets."
  • you really love your self-inflating sleep pad.
  • you deeply understand the potential of a group working together
  • you know you have brothers all over the world.
  • You have your own desk & filing cabinet just for scout related paperwork.
  • If your calendar is full of meetings that you never forget, but can't remember to send a birthday card to your brother-in-law on time.
  • If you have the local BSA office on speed dial.
  • People don't recognize you when you're not in uniform.
  • if your gourmet meal consists of cornbread, "Spam," and bug-juice...
  • if you've ever heard the phrase, "Trust me, it's only an hour a week!!"...
  • if your "family vacation" includes 30 kids your wife/husband doesn't know...
  • You are in a large group of people and someone tries to talk And you hold up the Scout sign to get them to quiet down.
  • Instead of building a fence around the yard with nails and wood, You lash it with poles and rope.
  • Instead of teaching your 1 yr. old son his ABC’s You teach him the Scout Law and the Scout Oath
  • A stranger asks for directions to a public restroom and you hand him a trowel and give him detailed instructions in the fine art of digging a kitty hole.
  • Derby Day has nothing to do with Kentucky or horses. It's all about a 5 oz block of wood and a ramp.
  • And the number one way you can tell if you are a Scouter is: You take your own bag of Trails End, Butter Microwave Popcorn to the movies and ask the guy behind the counter to put it in the microwave for 2m, 33s exactly.
yeah It may be overkill to some people but for others it is the absolute honorable truth. Hurray for those who think that many of these are true in your life, scouting is not just a weekly meeting it is about living a certain way.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Sunday, 27 January 2008

New Advancement Requirements


All requirements that are new or updated are effective immediately for all scouts unless that Scout started working on those rank requirements before January 1, 2008.

At the web address below you will be able to access all the updates.

Hopefully the link works up their if not just copy the entire web address or go to

These Rank advancement changes are not major things to sweat over, it is just like National reviewing a certain set of Merit Badges each year expect for the fact that it deals with Rank Advancement. These changes are for the betterment and growth of the program.

Don't frown, Yes First Class had the biggest changes but what can you do about it. Yeah you can complain but is that truthfully the best thing to do. These requirements are their to reflect new ideas that are necessary for Boys to learn in order to keep pace with this information superhighway world.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

District Freezere

Up in the Great Alaska Council which serves the southern half of the state of Alaska, the Tustumena District is getting ready to go on its District Freezere on Febuary 8, 9, and 10. This district serves the Entire Kenai Peinsula up here. Even though my unit is not incharge of running activities I still have a huge list of items to take care of before the campout. Here is what i have to do in order to be ready.
  • File a Tour Permit with Council for the activity
  • Assemble a list of Scouts and Parents who are going
  • Have a Gear check night and make sure scouts have the gear that is appropriate for this outing and make recomendations for additional items. If necessary ensure scouts gather those needed items through their own resources or the Troop resources.
  • Troop Equipment checks
  • Ice Fishing Gear
    • What do the scouts already have
    • What is needed and who needs what
    • Wish List possibilites
  • Food
    • Finalize rough draft of Food list
    • Assign grubmaster
    • Ensure Grubmaster knows numbers and how to get food ready for the weekend.
    • Find out if anybody needs cooking requirements for rank advancement
This is no where a complete list of what I have to do but it is start. Hopefully when I show this to the Senior Patrol Leader, he will realize that being in a leadership position is more than just showing up at weekly meetings and monthly outings, it is about putting in time to ensure their is a successful program.

It seems like a lot but it will all come together relatively quickly, If I focus on these items.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Thursday, 24 January 2008


I recently I just posted about being active member but the truth is that in order for the adults and youth to be active in the Scouting Movement they have to willing to volunteer their time. Yeah most people are going to say that the youth are not volunteering their time but the truth is as soon as that youth moves into a leadership position he should realize fairly quickly that putting together the scouting program requires effort outside the meeting. This effort comes only when that person recognizes that they are a needed part of the organization and once they realize or are given this opportunity then they willing be willing to give their personal time to the program. I volunteer to sign up for a merit badge and I volunteer to go on a campout, yeah it may not be giving my time for others but I is certainly giving away time.

The spirit of volunteerism in the United States is fading at a drastic pace and I am very concerned that we are not keeping enough resources or recruting enough resources to ensure that this program can reach every community possible within this country. Yes it is going to require someone to step up to the plate someday, maybe it will be me or maybe it will be you. It comes down to the fact that if their is a need in your community that you can work on to address and have a issue with that event or idea, then you shouldn't just sit their and complain. Do something productive, step out on a limb and take chare of the situation.

Volunteering personally makes me feel very good inside. I allows me to see so many differnet people and experience so many things that can become very valuable in a later part of my life. Yes volunteering is going to require work and effort but when done with others you can have fun while you are doing it.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Friday, 18 January 2008

Active National verse Personal Beliefs

According to national in order to a meet requirement that has a active participation item involved with it, the below conditions and nothing else have to be meet. These conditions are according to the guidelines the Boy Scouts of America has in the Advancement Committee Procedures and Guidelines Manual. Here are the conditions:
  • Scout will be considered "active" in his unit if he is
    • Registered in his unit (registration fees are current)
    • Not dismmsed from his unit fir disciplinary reasons
    • Engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis (Informed of unit activities through Scoutmaster conferene or personal contact and by using various other mean
I Have only one problem with this definition for being activity is that it does not require the scout to even show up to a regular meeting or activity and he still can be considered "active" when doing time for various purposes. I have to question whether this is faithfully carrying out his leadership position responsibilities but since I do not have the authority to alter requirements, I can not have a say about this whole business of leadership.

My opinion is that this is just doing the bare minimum in order to get by, which to me isn't allows the best decision to make. I am not saying that the requirement should change because if it changed from these concrete items to something less concrete, it would be hard to create a standard for everyone in the Troop.

Yes I personally expect more from the rest of the adult and youth leaders in the Troop but will only push the subject so far before either (A) recruiting another person to the position and making the current person step down to a position that is better suited for him/her or (B) giving up and not worrying about it because I have more important things to worry about.

In every organization their are going to be those who will barely do anything and their will be those who are willing to do everything in order to ensure success. I hope that you are one of those people who if you had to leave you would be missed because of the work you do for that organization.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Scouting and Being Physically Fit

Physical fitness is a word that I shudder at when ever I am forced to recall this subject. To me it is sometimes very hard to determine what is meant by the words "physical fit" in the Scout Oath but on the other times I do understand this subject it is about keeping your body in a physical sate that you can be proud of and a stand of body that allows you to keep doing your favorite activities for as long as possible. I am not saying that you have to go out and become the strongest, the most muscular, the fastest, or the best athlete but I try to expect from myself and others that you learn to take care of your body, so that your body will last as long as possible in this world. Yeah it is much easier to be just a sedentary person but is that truly a good thing for you to do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no it is definitely not a good idea.

Here are some tips about staying on track with fitness as a beginner who maybe uncomfortable with dealing with athletes who are so much faster and stronger than us non-athletes. I am not saying that it is a crime to be a athlete but these people tend to despise or reject those of us who are not in as good as shape as them.
  1. Determine whether or not you feel that you are in good enough shape for your own standards. Keep your personal goals and favorite activities in mind when deciding whether or not you are fit enough for your standards. Remember that most of us are not going to be the next world's strongest or become a arnold but we still can have goals to increase our body image and strength.
  2. Body image is not the most important thing in life, yes it may help you create a sense of fame but is this the life you want to lead. A positive body image is determined by you and you alone, yes others will comment but if you are happy with your body and are not have serious medical conditions because of physicals conditions then you are fit enough in my opinion
  3. Don't worry about others who always seem to be stronger than you, they usually have been training in some form for a couple of years by now.
  4. Do not be unrealistic about you goals because as soon as you set unrealistic goals you are setting yourself up to fail.
  5. Talk to your family or a trusted medical advisor and see what they think about the physical condition of your body.
  6. Live a balanced lifestyle that has you doing some sort of physical activity three times per week for approximately one hour.
  7. Eating a balanced diet will help you feel better about yourself. I do not agree that the only way to have a balanced diet is to deprive you of certain foods for the rest of your life but remember moderation of certain foods is the key to success.
  8. Sleep. Getting enough sleep should occur before you start even thinking about a serious exercise or workout period. Sleeping allows your body to complete certain processes and allows you to be able to feel better about yourself. You will be able to maximize energy output and increase stamina if you just sleep for the recomended number of hours a night. I am not going say a specific number because that depends on age and many other factors that only you and a qualified medical professional can address.
Remember fitness is about being able to participate in the activity that you want without having to overexert or abuse your body in order to get that activity done. Yes we are not going to be experts in every area of fitness but we have a responsibility to make sure that we live balanced lifestyles. So, get out their and play, that is all their is to it, nothing complicated about that.

All information provided in the above article is not intended to be used against or without approval from your doctor or other fitness expert.

Scouting isn't just about citizenship it is about creating and nurturing citizens that are able to take care of themselves and their world using a ehtical decision making process.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

How to Deal with the World's anti-Scouting Syndrome

First off before I going in the strategies lets take a look at some of the major reasons why people will misunderstand or dislike the program. Below> you will find a list of the most common reasons why kids or adults will not join scouting but remember this is not going to be a complete list and will focus on broad topics instead of being specific. So here it is:
  • Dislike of going camping or hiking: Yeah some kids don't like spending their weekends in a a sleeping bag at temperatures somewhere between -40 and 120 degrees F. Sleeping in a sleeping bag requires people to be able to going without your normal comfortable bed in your house for a fair amount of time. Let me be the first to tell you that sleeping bags are definitely not as temperature or comforted rated or changable as your own room but it gets the job done. This outdoor activities requires lots of energy and work in order to accomplish these tasks in a reasonable amount of time
  • The Coolness Factor: No I am not talking about temperature about about the cool that has to do with social conditions. Most people in your average high school who are not involved in scouts will say that Scouting is not a cool thing to do and will then influence others to believe the same thing. Scouting and being accepted by your classmates if you are open about your involvement in scouting is slim to none and I would lean more towards the none side of the scale
  • The teasing factor: Yeah some kids will probably make fun of you but isn't that true about whatever activity you participate in. Someone on the outside is going to find something activity you particpate in to tease you about.
  • The cost: Should not be a issue if your Troop is doing its job by providing a program that is fit for everyone in the community. Yeah everybody has to pay dues but beyond that, we can probably work with you to determine how to pay for your scouting experience. You may not get to do everything that other people are doing but just being their means that you are involved.
  • The Values: Yes we do have a system of values that we will teach to the youth involved with the program but if you really look into the ideals that we are trying to teach, we are just teaching ideals that will help you be a better person and leader for your community.
Again this are just a few of the reasons why people not involved with Scouting will trying to make a person who is involved with the program have a miserable life. Here is the strategy that I use. When I can keep my cool. I try to use the STOP and ACT method for problem solving.
  • S-Stop: just don't continue what you are doing and begin to remove yourself from the situation temporarily if at all possible.
  • T-Think: work up a list of ideas that will help you solve the problem. At this point it does not matter whether you are thinking positive or negative thoughts just organize them it a reasonable order that makes sense to you.
  • O-Observe: take in who you are dealing with as a whole, take in the resources and the support system you have surrounded yourself in. Try to get yourself to put yourself in the other person's shoes.
  • P-plan: chose the best option that you have come up with and make up the contingencies and other details that you may run into.
  • ACT: Follow through with the plan you made and evaluate your progress once the action is completed.
Here are a few general hints about dealing with these social issues.
  1. Know that you are part of a organization that is a worldwide movement of more than 28 million members, obviously with numbers this high you are participating in a activity that is good for you and for the world.
  2. React but don't overreact. Overreacting just fuels the fire and fueling the fire means that you are going to have to deal with more and bigger problems in your future.
  3. Know which adults to go to when the teasing steps over that fine line of being considered harassment.
  4. Know which peers you can go to for guidance, support, and possibly help with dealing with this person.
  5. Use your friends that you trust that are not part of the scouting movement, to get the bully to realize that you really are not that weird of a person
  6. Prioritize who you are going to let get under your skin.
  7. Be tough and stick it out through the program because it is well worth it
Hopefully here is a list that will arm you with some of the tools and information need to dealing with the "World Anti-Scouting Syndrome".

Please feel free to e-mail or post comments about problems you are having

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Monday, 14 January 2008

One and a half hours a week! What Planet are you from

I here the following situation from youth at least on a monthly basis, "Scouting is just a hour and a half on tuesday night and then I am done with scouts for the week unless I have a service project or outing to attend over the weekend". Now I know that most hours would agree with me that scouting is not meant to take place in the 1.5 hour time frame for those of us who are entrusted and given the privilage of running such a wonderful program. Running the program to ensure the scouts have a successful meeting usually requires at least 1 hour of planning per 45 minutes of activity. So lets take your average 1.5 hour boy scout meeting which is 90 minutes long and divide that by 45 minutes which gives us two, then multiple the 2 by the one hour that you have of planning per 45 minutes and you get 2 hours of planning. In this planning time I include the time you talk on the phone, e-mail the troop, e-mail the committee, e-mail the SM's and ASM's, make sure your ASPL knows what his job is, check in with the Patrol Leaders and the the PL''s the weeks announcement, deal with emergencies that seem to always come up either the night before or a hour before the meeting is suppose to occur, resolve the emergency, delgate needed resources to the emergency, ovbercome the emergency, keep a cool and calm attitude, keep your wits about you and the finally after this list is not which is no where near complete attend your meeting that you worked to put together and see it (A) be a total success, (B) be a average meeting, (C) be a okay meeting, (D) have the adults take over because you can not engage the Troop or (E) have a complete failure and want to quit your position.

This is just for the meetings. These are the things that the leaders of the Troop worry their brains about, so when you complain to your PL or SPL about have to do a 20 minute assignment outside the meeting, remember that these leaders are counting on you to do your assignment so they can follow their original plan and not have to come up with something else on the spot.

Most teens I think now a days would think the following thought, "Why should I trust my peers to put together a meeting that I am going to attend even when I do not fully understand their capibilities or dislike like that person". The reason that they end up trusting this person is that you have to first set a high standard and then meet or break the standard every time after.

Leaders are here to serve, not to be serve. Yes we do have power but power abused is power loosed. The more power hungry you become the less likely I am willing to listen to that superior.

Now back to the reason why I think scouting is more than just a meeting. I am not even going to involve you in being a leader in your boy scout Troop. I am talking about your everyday average scout who is part of a Patrol.
  • Advancement: I believe that most of us have the want and the expectation that you will complete the Eagle Rank. Yeah advancement isn't suppose to be the main focus when scouting is suppose to be three-fourths outing but it is one of the methods and the more you earn the cooler your uniform looks. I am not saying that I encourage you to earn awards just because they will look cool but for your average youth mind you will certainly stand out. Who doesn't like being put in the spotlight and on display.
  • Scout Spirit: Scout spirit is not suppose to be a word thought about only when you are getting the requirement in the book, having a board of review, or participating in a Scoutmaster's Conference, it is about developing a lifestyle that will help you be successful in a world that openly promotes and allows so many negative actions. Yeah you may be criticized standing up for what you believe but if you don't stand up then who will. You should be proud of who you are. I will tell you that once most teens become young adults they continually saying that if they were a scout for even a very brief period it taught them how to live.
  • Outings: Sometimes when I come back from a outing and am sharing my experience with the rest of the Troop I look around and see a few disappointed faces on the people who couldn't go. I then begin to wonder whether or not it was reasonable reason or just because they didn't feel like putting in the effort the outing would require to be able to particpate in. If you don't attend the outings then you miss three-fourths of the program because the word scouting is three-fourths outing and that is what we stand for
Hopefully this few ideas will spark a few more and you will realize that scouting is not just on a particular night each week but it is life style that can require so much more than one meeting a week if you are willing to put in some effort.

Also I hope that I did not bore you or confuse you one bit.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Scouting and Technology! Welcome to the twenty-first Century

most adults that I run into unless they are a computer or technology guru misinterpret the reason why technology can be so beneficial to the scouting program. Yeah there are a lot and I mean A LOT of BAD STUFF OUT THERE but there is also looks of good information and resources that I use on a daily basis that help to make my life easier. Technology allows me to keep pace in such a fast paced world. The standard for delivery of information has come down from years to practically instant communication. Having this practically instant communication without the face to face contact makes it much easier for youth and adult leaders of Scouting units to get the point across.

Technology is a scary thing to so many people in this world but truthfully it is like any other feature or skill, it has to be learned and everyone is capable of learning to work with these advance electronic gizmos to a certain degree. What I am not saying is that everybody is going to become a instant expert. Experts are in a field are nurtured and built up over the course of many years.

Technology has it's place in scouting. We as the leaders of the movement need to encourage the national leaders of the movement to start taking advantage of the many different venues that technology creates for us to use. Yes this is going to take time and work but this is the type of work that we should commit ourselves to. This is about bringing more kids and retaining kids longer in a day and age of whether you have a Ipod or not can determine you social popularity. This may not be totally right but in order to understand and develop ways to work with this problem we must learn to immerse ourselves into the problem and tackle it head on.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Making Scouting the best possible in 2008

One of the questions I continually get from Scouts is "How can I make the most out of Scouting". Usually when Scouts asks me this question I usually ask them about their past history in the Troop and what activities and functions they have participated in that was fun. After defining what they liked I get ideas for activities that they would like the Troop to participate in. Then depending on what they want to do or have the Troop do I may sit down with them and make a goal for the year that has to do with scouting that is involved or not involved with that activity depending on their position and maturity level.

Goal setting it is something that helps us define what we want and how we should get to what we want. The Method that the Boy Scouts of America in helping leaders define a goal is the SMART methodology.

S- Specific: The goal must be focused on a single item. It must do the most good for the greatest number of people possible with the limited resources that are available in your Troop to use.

M- Measurable: For a goal to be measurable you must first define your initial value or baseline and then decide what you want to work up to in reasonable increments that are possible to achieve with the people and limited resources you surround yourself with.

A- Attainable: You should set goals that are a challenge for you to reach but are not too challenging that the become impossible to reach. I am not discouraging the concept of "Dreaming Big" but I am saying that in order to "Dream Big" you must have small Dreams that add to to your overall "Big Dream" you have created for yourself.

R- Relevant: Whatever goals you make in your life you must make sure these goals are in-line with your interests and your ideals. But remember that when you are trying to come up with a goal it is not necessarily just about your own personal life but it could involve friends, family, scouting, or other organizations you are involved with.

T-Timely: Set specific dates by which you are to achieve your goal or steps that allow you to reach that goal. Setting these specific dates will allow you to have a concrete way of measuring your success. It also helps you to achieve your goals a reasonable amount of time.

Setting goals does not have to be just for Scouting, it should be a method that is used in every aspect of your life to achieve your dreams and to have success at what every task you are assigned or that you give yourself.

Set goals and be happy to know that by setting goals you are on your way to leading a more organized and better managed life.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

Saturday, 5 January 2008

What After Being Active

Here is one of biggest problems that I continually run into with people who are new to the scouting program and that is not knowing their is always something you could do for the Scouting Movement. Yes scouting is about fun and games but when scouts approach me and say their is nothing to do on this campout, I can usually give a list of at least five different tasks that could require attention when the resources become availble. As soon as I mention one of these tasks, all of a sudden these scouts have something to do, which for me solves the problem of them being bored, even though they did not get a straight answer from me.

We as leaders of a Scouting unit must continually promote the idea of self reliance. When I am talking about self-reliance I am talking about other youth leaders in the Troop being guided to a solution to their problem without the person in a higher position giving them a direct answer.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Are You an Active Member?
Are You an Active Member?

Are you an active member?

The kind that would be missed?

Or are you just contented

That your name is on the list?

Do you attend the meetings

And mingle with the flock?

Or do you stay at home

To criticize and knock?

Do you take an extra part

To help the work along?

Or are you satisfied

To only just belong?

When the business comes around

Do you pretend you're sick?

And leave to work to just a few

Then talk about the clique?

Think this over, member,

You know right from wrong.

Are you an active member,

Or do you just belong?

In my experience their are a fair amount of people who are content with just putting their name on the list and not doing much more than that. Yes these people are most likely great people but do they have a true passion for scouting can be questioned. Let me close on this note, "Are you a person that sits back and lets others do the work or can you say that you are truly a active member" Being active requires work and dedication. Here is my philosophy if you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability because of the fact that you only get to do that specific task, at that specific time once. Basically do something like their is going to be no tommorrow to look forward to.

Yours in Scouting
Mark W
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1616

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