Archive for the ‘National’ Category


I am not afraid to say it. President Obama  has lost a few points of respect with me this week when he decided to join the five hosts of The View television show instead of talking to the 40,000 Boy Scout and leaders at the BSA National Jamboree.

I know, I know. Speaking at the National Jamboree is not in the President’s job description. He only does it if he wants to do it, and if his schedule allows it. But you know, he accepted the position of the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Why wouldn’t he want to address the young men who are the future of our country. And do it live at the event?

I understand the Jamboree participants will watch a prerecorded message from President Obama. That is better than nothing. At least the Boy Scouts were worth his time to record a video.

I attended the 2001 National Jamboree. President Bush was scheduled to appear at a arena show to speak to us. Unfortunately, a storm went through the area and the show was postponed until the next evening. President Bush was not able to make it the following night so he recorded his message for us to watch on the big screens at the arena. (I personally did not mind watching the video. It saved us the time and trouble of going through presidential security.)

The difference between these two events was that President Bush made the effort to attend the Jamboree, where President Obama did not. It gives me the impression that he decided to sort of brush off the Boy Scouts.

Come on Mr. President! This is the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. You had a captive audience of nearly 40,000 young men of every race and background, the future of this great country. This event was not something that just came up suddenly. The planning for this Jamboree was going on for years. You could not find the time in your schedule to address the Scouts?

Yet, you could find time in your schedule to appear on a national daily talk show, and do some fundraising. This gave me the impression that being a celebrity is more important to you then being a leader of this country. And I know I am not the only person to feel this way.

Mr. President, you could have taped your talk show interview at any time. You only have one week to speak to the young men at the 100th anniversary BSA National Jamboree. In my humble opinion, you blew it.

Of course, this is my opinion and not the opinion of the Boy Scouts of America. I realize that not everyone shares my point of view. I also realize that the President will probably never read this blog post. But this is something that has been weighing on my mind this week so I wanted to write about it.

How to you feel about the President skipping a live appearance at the National Jamboree? Please keep your comments civil or I will delete them.

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    The trial is over. After seven years of court battles the trial about wether the Cradle Of Liberty Council, BSA, can stay in the building they paid to have built and pay for the yearly costs, has come to an end. (If I understand correctly, the council has always paid the maintenance costs of the building on the land they rent from the city for $1 a year.)

    It appears that the Boy Scouts have won. According to the philly.com website:

    “A federal jury Wednesday decided that Philadelphia violated the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment rights by using the organization’s anti-gay policy as a reason to evict them from their city-owned offices near Logan Square.”

    The full article can currently be read at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20100623_Federal_Jury_Decides_in_Favor_of_Scouts.html?submit=Vote&oid=1&mr=1&97011914=Y&cid=8500281&pid=97011914

    So, does this mean it is over? I doubt it. It sounds like the city of Philadelphia’s lawyers are already looking toward their options for the next round of legal battles.

    I find it simply amazing that when you consider all the good that Scouting has done for that community, and how that building has not cost the city a dime to build and maintain, and how the city has so many other pressing problems to take care of, that they spend so much time, money, and resources to trying to evict the Boy Scout council. Scouting has been such an asset to Philadelphia. Seems to me like the city has received quite a bargain from the Cradle of Liberty Council.

    It does not make much sense to me. I guess that is why I am not in politics. Wouldn’t it be great if some rich supporter of Scouting would just buy the property and donate it to the council?

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      Have you read it yet? If not, you should. The plot is riveting. The characters are interesting. The story’s climax will leave you waiting for the sequel. Okay, okay. The Guide To Safe Scouting (G2SS) is not quite that exciting, but it is a good book that every Cub Pack and Boy Scout Troop leader should read and have a copy kept nearby. There is a lot of useful information in it, and it can help you through some troubled events. For example, do you have a problem with a boy that continually misbehaves or hurts other boys, and nothing you try seems to help?  The G2SS has an app guideline for that. It states:

      All members of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles set forth in the Scout Oath and Law. Physical violence, hazing, bullying, theft, verbal insults, and drugs and alcohol have no place in the Scouting program and may result in the revocation of a Scout’s membership in the unit.

      If you do not have a copy of the Guide To Safe Scouting you should get one today. Stop by your Scout office or go to scouting.org to download a pdf version.

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        Yes, you read that correctly. The Boy Scouts of America now has an official Youtube channel. As I write this, the channel has twelve videos posted, eleven “Words to Live By” videos and the “State of Scouting” video. You can even watch them in HD. The channel can be found at http://www.youtube.com/BSA100years#all

        It is long overdue in my opinion. The BSA has come up with some excellent promotional videos over the years, along with some pretty corny ones, but yet very few people ever saw them. Speaking for myself, the only time I ever saw most of these videos was when I attended a district or council event. I kept thinking about how the National office should be showing these to the general public, not the people already involved with the program. I am sure budget and costs were the main reasons for not seeing these on television very often.

        Now we have the internet. I hope the BSA continues to use it to get the word out about Scouting. This Youtube channel is a step forward in the right direction. It also gives troop and pack leaders another tool to use to promote Scouting, and the Scouts a site to direct their friends to learn more about the program.

        I am not sure if anyone from the National office reads this blog but I hope they also use the channel to post some of the older videos created years ago, like the Scout Zone and the We Do It videos. I know I have already posted several older videos to my Youtube channel, but it would be great for better quality videos to posted to the official BSA channel.

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          There has been a lot of talk in a few of the Scouting forums about some new online forms that can be found on the scouting.org site. I would like to write about two of them today – the tour permit and the medical form.

          The new Tour Permit is actually a writable pdf document in which you can fill in the blanks on your computer. I have downloaded to my computer and have used it for a couple of troop activities. It is pretty much the same information as the old forms, but since it is digital there are a few advantages. The first is that the committee chair, the council, and I can email it to each other, thus making it quicker to use. The other thing I like about it is that we can use digital signatures, which we discovered are very easy to set up and use. It has saved us time in trying to track each other down for those signatures.

          Our council has posted this digital tour permit to its website and can be found at http://www.bsacmc.org/34426_Tour_Permit_App_2008.pdf . I am sure it can also be found on the national website, but I did not look for it there.

          After looking at the new yearly Medical Form, I will admit that I like it. It is simple to follow and easy to understand. Best of all, this new form will replace the three current forms that are being used (Class 1, 2, and 3). It looks like the new form will be used by both adults and Scouts, and will even be used for high adventure bases.

          This new form is broken down into three parts. Part A is the general medical information which is provided by the parents, similar to the old Class 1 form. It lists basic information including address and insurance stuff, plus has a section to list up to six perscription drugs. This part is for one day or weekend activities.

          Part B of the form is for long term and strenuous camps and activities, like high adventure bases and summer camps. This is the part that needs to be filled out by a doctor or licensed health-care provider. A height and weight chart is also featured on this page.

          Part C is a new addition to the form. It includes a “Hold Harmless/Release Agreement” and a talent release form for the parents or gaurdian to sign. To tell the truth, in today’s digital age, I think this is an excellent thing to add to the form. This new medical form can be found at
          http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34605_Letter.pdf

          I plan to hand out the new medical form to all the Scout families this month, even though it looks like they will not be required until next year. I want to get a headstart on this. I also plan to email the digital version of the form to parents in case they would like to fill out the personal information on their computer before printing it off.

          I think these two forms are an excellent step to making things a little easier for troops, crews, and packs. Now the councils and districts just have to get these units to begin using them. I would not think it should be too hard to get that done.

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            I have written in earlier blogs about how I feel the Boy Scouts of America’s national office should be doing more to promote the Scouting program to the American public. It the past, it seems as if they have relied more on the local units to promote the program then trying to do it nationally, and I can understand that, up to a point. During the last five years it has seemed that the national office has disappeared into a cave, ignoring much of the negative press Scouting has received over recent issues, and allowing many people to bad-mouth a great and established program to help boys and young men without making any statement what-so-ever.

            Things seems to be changing now that we have a new national Chief Scout Executive, Robert “Bob” Mazzuca. He does not appear to be afraid of talking to the media, and has already done a few interviews promoting the Scout program and letting the public know what Scouting can offer their boys and families.

            The BSA has produced some good video commercials during the past ten years or so. Unfortunately, I have not seen many of them on national or local television. The only place I see them is at council roundtables, award ceremonies, and a couple websites. That is a shame, but I realize it costs money to air them during a television show.

            So, with this podcast, I am hoping to get some of these commercials seen by more people through the internet. After all, I can not afford to air them on television either, although I have aired them on our local cable access channel as part of our troop’s courts of honor.

            This podcast posting includes five commercials produced by the Boy Scouts of America. Each commercial uses a point of the Scout Law as its theme: trustworthy, helpful, obedient, thrifty, and reverent. I hope you enjoy them as must as I did when I first saw them.

            Please leave a comment here using the link below, or at the PTC Media forums, or at iTunes. Or drop me an email at webmaster@melrosetroop68.org

            Click here to DOWNLOAD this Podcast
            Subscribe to Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast through iTunes.
            or at http://feeds.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
            Check out the other Scouting podcasts at PTC Media.

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              I am not sure if you saw the article or not, but Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca was recently interviewed for an article in the newspaper, USA Today. I thought it was a well done article, and I am glad to see that our Scout Executive is not afraid to speak to the media to discuss the positive aspects about the Scouting program. Here is a short except from the article:

              Q: When people of business discuss leadership, they use words such as vision, passion, charisma. Why do the Scouts use these 12 words: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent?

              A: Charisma and other personality traits may determine how far up the ladder you go, but the 12 points of the Scout Law define your character. If you don’t have integrity, you’re not a good leader no matter how charismatic.

              Q: Which one of the 12 would you most recommend to a business executive?

              A: (Pause). I think brave. You can’t do the right thing and be effective without some courage.

              Q: The Scouts are retooling as they head into their second 100 years. What changes are being made?

              A: We’ve been engaged with (management consultant) McKinsey folks for months. Over 100 years, you get a little arthritic and bureaucratic. We are steeped in tradition, which is a good thing, but we’re not particularly good at innovation and renewal. We don’t want to abandon tradition, but we want to be nimble. I’m writing a blog now. It’s gotten more traction and excitement than anything I’ve done in my life. It’s cool.

              To read the whole article click HERE. I am not sure how long USA Today leaves their articles online so you might want to check this out quickly.

              Also, do not forget to read the sidebar information about Robert Mazzuca. There are a couple good bits of information there including Mazzuca’s Tips:
              There are many ways to the top, but great leaders must be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
              The most important Boy Scout quality of a business leader is bravery. You can’t do the right thing without courage.
              Companies need to be proactive and define themselves, or someone else will.
              Encourage personal responsibility. It’s a hallmark of leadership.

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                For a few years now, the Boy Scouts of America has done background checks on new adult leaders in troops, packs, and crews. When the organization first began doing this I thought it was a bit extreme, but I have gotten used to the idea. I have also noticed that others groups, clubs, and even schools now do the same thing for their volunteers.

                Will background checks work to keep out the rift raft and troublemakers? I am sure it will help, but nothing is one hundred percent foolproof. It does sound like it has stopped some “undesirables” from holding Scout leadership positions. Unfortunately, it is also stopping some good people from holding a leadership role due to mistakes made early in their lives.

                For example, I had a father who was very active with the troop. He worked well with the boys and they respected him. He was a good assistant scoutmaster. Unfortunately, when the council did a background check on him the council found that he had made a few wrong choices in his life over twenty five years ago. and then denied his application. This gentleman had straightened out his life a generation ago, has raised a fine family, and had already proven himself to be a good troop leader, but the BSA says that he is no longer good enough the be an assistant scoutmaster. (And no, I am not going to write here what his record showed, even though I know because he and I have talked about it.)

                In this example, I think the background check has backfired against the local troop, and thus the BSA. This policy is actually keeping a good man out of the program. It makes me wonder how many more times this has happened around the country. Don’t get me wrong though, I happen to agree the background checks are a good idea, but I also think we need to take a look at the current character of the person, not just what happens to be on record from a generation ago. After all, people do change. They learn from their mistakes.

                Or are we now going to teach the boys that once they make a mistake we should hold that against them for their entire lives?

                I have been a scoutmaster in Scouting for over 25 years, so the background check has not been done on me yet. Last week I did receive a letter from the National Office asking me to complete a form because they are now doing the checks on all adult leaders. I can mail the form in, or I can do it online.

                I am not worried. I have never been arrested, never done drugs, never been part of a political demonstration. I have never even got a speeding ticket. I am just an ordinary law abiding citizen of Minnesota. Always have been, always plan to be.

                However, when I think about it, would this not be a dandy way to get out of being a scoutmaster after all these years? Hey Bubba, pass me a bottle of beer and give me the keys! It is time to get a record. (I am kidding, of course.)

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