Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category


PhilmontPTCpatrol1984My first trip to the Philmont Training Center (PTC) was shortly before my 24th birthday in 1984. It was my first trip on a plane. It was my first trip away from Minnesota on my own. In fact, it was my first trip anywhere on my own. Yes, I was quite nervous. Was it worth it? Yeah sure, you betcha!

That training course was “Boy Scout Skills For Scoutmasters”. Scoutmasters from around the country came to learn about doing a great job in the role they held. The instructors were Carl Nelson and Jim Boeger. They did a fantastic job of leading the conference and made it both fun and enjoyable. I was even able to get Jim Boeger to sign a copy of his book The Scoutmaster.

The course participants were divided into patrols, just like a Boy Scout troop. I was a member of the Daniel Boone Patrol. I think the age of the members of our patrol spanned forty years, but it did not matter. We were all there to learn new skills and have fun. And we did. (pictures of this trip can be seen in my Flickr album at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevejb68/sets/72157622517598000/

It will be thirty years to the month, this month, when I travel to PTC for a second training conference. Bob, my district executive, and I will be taking a new course for 2014, “Increasing Advancement By Delivering Excellence”. According to the brochure:

It has long been said in the BSA that the best advancement comes through participation in exciting activities. Units presenting programs with “built-in” opportunities to fulfill advancement requirements not only retain youth through the rewards of recognition and develop confidence through advancement, but they retain youth because every meeting, every outing, every adventure, leaves them wanting more. How is such programming planned and promoted? What is the responsibility of the council and district advancement committees? What can commissioners, trainers, and members of camping committees do? If you are a unit leader, a volunteer involved in the advancement program, a commissioner, a trainer, or anyone else connected with district operations that is interested in building the rate of advancement through excellence in program delivery, then join us at Philmont!

Bob and I are looking forward to this conference and bringing back new ideas for our troops and district. I also look forward to meeting Scouters from around the country. I hope to get a little patch trading done while I am there. I was not prepared for trading council strips when I first attended in 1984. In fact, now that I think about it, things could be a bit different this time around. After all, in 1984 there were no home computers, iPhones, iPads, or digital photography. I thought I took quite a few pictures last time. That will be a small number compared to what I plan to take this time.

If you are there during this time I invite you to look me up. Let’s trade patches!

Thanks for Sharing!

    Philmont SMT19840008I had been a scoutmaster for only two and a half years when I received a letter in the mail inviting me to attend the Philmont Training Center (PTC) for the Scoutmaster Fundamentals course. I had always wanted to go to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico so I jumped at the opportunity. The troop committee thought it was a good idea and agreed to fund a portion of the trip. The Melrose business community provided most of the rest of the funds. So, in 1984 this 23 year old scoutmaster received his first experience at the ranch.

    I have returned to Philmont five times to participate in backcountry hiking treks, but I have never returned to the PTC for another training training course. The last time I was at Philmont was in 2004 when I was an advisor for a trek crew. As the years slipped by I began to think that would be my last trip to the ranch. I was beginning to miss the place.

    I received an invitation to attend the training of my choice at PTC early this year. I was thrilled to receive the letter but also a little skeptical since I had stepped down as the scoutmaster of Troop 68 two years ago. Yes, I remain active with the troop and serve on the committee but why would the council recommend me for training at Philmont Scout Ranch? No particular course was recommended this time. I would be allowed to sign up for whatever interested me.

    I called Bob, our district executive, and asked him what was up with this. He replied, nothing special, no particular reason. The council thought I might be interested, that’s all. We chatted a few times about this over the course of the next few weeks. Before I knew it we had both registered to take a course in June, this month.

    I am thrilled to be going back to Philmont. The course is just the carrot on the stick for me. I am really looking forward to seeing the silver on the sage, starlight skies above, and aspen covered hills once again. Philmont truly is a Scouting paradise. And a great place to have a training center.

    I wonder if the old stagecoach is still there.

    Thanks for Sharing!

      weight-scaleI was the runt of my class. I was the smallest boy, both in weight and in height. In fact, most of the girls in my class were taller than I was. When I was in tenth grade another guy moved into our class. Suddenly, I was not the shortest guy in the class of ’78. In eleventh grade I finally hit a couple growth spurts. I may not have been the shortest anymore, but I was still one of the lightest. Skinny kids do not weigh much after all.

      I stopped growing when I hit 5′-8″ tall. I remained skinny throughout my twenties. I began to put on some weight when I was in my thirties, finally hitting the 160′s. I soon began to realize that my metabolism had changed. In my early 40′s I hit 170 pounds. By my late 40′s I had made it into the 180′s. Sitting behind a desk most of the day was taking a toll, and all the snacking was not helping matters. I still remember the first time a young Boy Scout called me fat, but it was not enough of a shock to make me do anything about my weight.

      On Monday morning, March 3rd, I stepped on the scale and was shocked to see that I weighed 193 pounds. No wonder my clothes were not fitting well any more. I thought to myself that I needed to do something before this got any worse. I got dressed, had breakfast, and went to work. End of subject. Forgotten once again.

      The next day a coworker of mine asked me to help him with a program his wife had downloaded to her tablet. It was a calorie counting app she was using to help her lose weight. He wanted to lose several pounds himself but could not figure out how to create an account for himself. I downloaded the app to my iPad, quickly learned how to use it, and showed him what he needed to do.

      He came to me just at the right time. I decided to try using the app myself. I set a goal to loose two pounds per week for 11 weeks to get my weight down to 170 pounds by May 20th. Of course, it was all up to me really. I would have to watch my I eat, and how much of it, and record it into the app. It gave me a daily calorie goal to stay within to loose the weight. I also needed to get out and exercise some more.

      My eating habits are probably the same as most people. My meal portions were too big. I ate too my fast food and junk food. And I snacked too much between meals. This app quickly showed me the areas I needed to change to reach my goal.

      It has been over 8 weeks since I began my diet experiment. I am happy to report that I am still using the app and still watching what I eat. I have cut way back on the snacking. I very seldom eat at fast food joints anymore. I have cut back on the size of the portions at mealtime. I still get a little hungry between meals but my efforts have paid off. I am on target and have lost 16 pounds so far! There was no fancy diet plan, no exercising until I drop from exhaustion.

      It was nice to have to punch a new hole in my belt to hold my pants up. My shirts and jackets are fitting much better. It is great to be back in a suitable area on the Boy Scout physical weight chart. I look forward to reaching my goal just a few weeks before I head to Philmont Training Center in June. And yes, I do realize that once I hit my goal weight I will always have to watch what I eat to maintain it, but I have a positive outlook.

      Sorry Burger King and McDonalds. You will not be seeing me often anymore.

      Thanks for Sharing!

        lions club logoThe Melrose Lions Club is one of several service organizations that do a great job of helping our community. They also support our Boy Scout troop. While our troop’s usual fundraisers raise enough money for our regular program needs The Lions, VFW Post, and American Legion help us out when it is time to replace equipment like tents and dining flies.

        Once a year, the Melrose Lions invites community volunteers to a dinner to recognize them for their service and commitment. Members of the fire department, the ambulance corps, and the police reserve attend along with members of the local food shelf, Project Give-A-Gift, Scouting, and others.

        Three adult leaders from Boy Scout Troop 68 attended this year’s meal held on Wednesday, April 23rd. Scoutmaster Jim, Assistant scoutmaster Eymard, and myself as a committee member enjoyed a great meal of chicken, dressing, mash potatoes with gravy, corn, and a choice of cookie. Joining us at the table were members of the police reserve and a couple members from the Lions Club.

        It was a good night of fun and fellowship, and nice to be recognized for the many hours of service we all donate to our community. I would like to thank the members of the Melrose Lions club, and also thank them for all their support of Scouting over the years.

        Thanks for Sharing!

          Cub Scout CharactersCub Scout Pack 68 held their Blue and Gold Banquet last night, Tuesday March 25, at the American Legion in Melrose. Pizza was brought in with hot dogs, chips, and desserts provided by the families. The Cub Scouts were pretty excited to receive their achievements during the award ceremony.

          I am a member of the pack committee and attended the event for two reasons. First, I wanted to video record the awards ceremony. Second, I wanted to chat with the second year Webelos and their parents to promote moving on to the Boy Scout troop. Unfortunately, only three of the six Webelos Scouts attended the ceremony. I did get to chat with the three boys who did attend, along with their fathers.

          Mark, the current cubmaster, will be stepping down from his position in May. His youngest son is one of those second year Webelos who will become a Boy Scout of Troop 68. Mark has been the cubmaster since his oldest son, who is now 14, was a Cub Scout. Near the end of the evening’s ceremony Mark spoke briefly of his tenure with the pack and thanked the parents for allowing their boys to be a part of the Cub Scout program.

          It was then time for Dave, the committee chairman, to say a few words and thank Mark for all he has done for the pack. Dave’s son is also a second year Webelos Scout and will be joining Troop 68. Dave has agreed to join the troop committee.

          This means it is time for new leadership to step forward to continue the program of Pack 68. After the meeting I chatted with a few of the parents about filling these leadership roles. One father is seriously considering taking over the position of cubmaster. Another is willing to join the pack committee, and may even be willing to take over as the chairman.

          I offered to stay on the committee for another year and offered my home as a place to hold the committee meetings. Mark and Dave have also stated they would be willing to help the new leaders as they learn about their new roles within the pack. Our district executive has offered to come to town and conduct a training session for all the new pack leaders.

          It is starting to look like things are falling into place for Cub Scout Pack 68′s program to continue strong as things kick-off again with a new program this fall.

          Thanks for Sharing!

            Scouter MagazineI was working on my second patch blanket today and came up to a spot for which I needed a patch. Along the edge of the blanket I have been placing patches that do not really fit with an activity I have attended. Instead, I have been using special patches for anniversaries, special occasions, and generic type things. I needed one of these type of patches for a spot around the perimeter of the blanket.

            I began to look through my notebooks and bins to find one that would be a good one for the spot. I found one that would fit well, but it also reminded me of a magazine I once subscribed to that does not exist anymore. It was a patch given to charter subscriber of Scouter Magazine, an independent publication about Scouting, written by Scouters. I really enjoyed reading this magazine. It was full of great ideas and articles written by Scout Leaders from around the country. It was not meant to replace Scouting Magazine, but was a publication for adults in Scouting to share ideas in the late 1990′s. Remember, the internet was just starting to get popular and there was not a lot about Scouting online yet.

            Scouter Magazine only lasted for about five years, unfortunately. I still have my issues, which are probably collector items by now. Then again, maybe not. Most of the people who received the magazine have probably left Scouting and thrown away their issues. It would be great if someday this publication could be started again, along with an electronic version. Bring it into the 21st century. I bet they would have a lot easier time getting articles from contributors these days. But then, when you think about it, maybe blogging has taking that role. HalfEagle.com has done a good job about bringing some of the best blogs about Scouting into one easy to use format.

            As I was looking online for information about Scouter Magazine this evening, the only thing I found was an open letter written in February 2001 about the closing of Scouter Magazine. (Read it at http://old.scouter.com/magazine.asp )

            Oh well, the magazine may be a part of history but my patch will finally see the light of day as it goes from the notebook to the blanket. At least people who see the blanket will know that for a short while I was a charter subscriber to Scouter Magazine.

            Thanks for Sharing!

              vistaroundtableOne of the things we are doing a bit different this year at the monthly Scenic District Boy Scout roundtable meetings is to break up the meeting, near the half way point, with a game, song, or skit. The goal is to introduce a new game or teach a new song or skit to troop leaders that they may take back to use in their own troops. One month we played one pitch kickball. The next month we played Tip with a frisbee. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves so far.

              Last month I lead the group in one of my favorite campfire songs, Vista. It is a sing-along, repeat after me type of silly song that also has some simple hand gestures. The words are a little hard to follow, and the song gets faster each time. It is a challenge to keep up and do well.

              I was joined by three newly beaded Wood Badgers in leading this song at the roundtable. As you will see, we all had fun, even though one gentleman had a little trouble keeping up with us. Did anyone care? Not a bit. That is part of the fun of the song.

              I would like to thank Dan Kuntz for providing the video for this post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast.

              I challenge you to learn the song and use it at your next meeting or campfire. Is your audience able to keep up with you?

              Click here to DOWNLOAD  this Podcast.
              Subscribe to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast
              at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
              or through iTunes  (Please take time to rate the show).
              Leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

              http://www.melrosetroop68.org/QTmov/VistaRoundtable540.m4v

              Thanks for Sharing!

                wood badge 2013Many Scouters will tell you that Wood Badge is like the college course of training for adult Scout Leaders. Not only is the course fantastic for any branch of Scouting but participants also receive training which they will find useful in the field of work and life in general. The woodbadge.org site states:

                Wood Badge is Scouting’s premier training course. Baden-Powell designed it so that Scouters could learn, in as practical a way possible, the skills and methods of Scouting. It is first and foremost, learning by doing. The members of the course are formed into patrols and these into a troop.  The entire troop lives in the out-of-doors for a week, camping, cooking their own meals, and practicing Scout skills.

                Wood Badge is more than just mechanical course work. Wood Badge is the embodiment of Scouting spirit. Like many intense training experiences, it has always relied on a busy schedule forcing the participants to work together, to organize and to develop an enthusiasm and team spirit to accomplish the tasks and challenges placed before them. Carried out in context of Scouting ideals and service to young people, the course brings out a deep dedication and spirit of brotherhood and fellowship in most participants. Certainly were it not for the common goal of the movement and its program for young people, it would be hard to get grown men and women to endure the 16-hour days required by a program that runs from early morning to late at night.

                During this month’s Scenic District roundtable, three Central Minnesota Council Scouters received their Wood Badge beads and neckerchiefs for completing the course and their “ticket” of goals. Kevin Schatz, Mike Peters, and Troy Payne stood proud as they received the tokens of their achievement. I have always considered an adult completing a Wood Badge ticket the equivalent of a Boy Scout completing his Eagle Scout award. This video post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast further recognizes these three men for completing their goals.

                Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
                Subscribe to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast
                at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
                or through iTunes  (Please take time to rate the show).
                Leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

                Thanks for Sharing!