Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Sometimes I think that we as Scouting leaders need to be reminded about the goals and aims of the Boy Scouts of America. I know I do once in a while. I found the following on the BSA website and thought it might be a good idea for us all to read it and remind ourselves why the Scouting program is such a great program.

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Aims and Methods of the Scouting Program

The Scouting program has three specific objectives, commonly referred to as the “Aims of Scouting.” They are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. The methods by which the aims are achieved are listed below in random order to emphasize the equal importance of each.

Ideals. The ideals of Boy Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Boy Scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and as he reaches for them, he has some control over what and who he becomes.

Patrols. The patrol method gives Boy Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where members can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through elected representatives.

Outdoor Programs. Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. In the outdoors the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose. Being close to nature helps Boy Scouts gain an appreciation for the beauty of the world around us. The outdoors is the laboratory in which Boy Scouts learn ecology and practice conservation of nature’s resources.

Advancement. Boy Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Boy Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge. The Boy Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Boy Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.

Associations With Adults. Boys learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves. Scout leaders can be positive role models for the members of the troop. In many cases a Scoutmaster who is willing to listen to boys, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives.

Personal Growth. As Boy Scouts plan their activities and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. The Good Turn concept is a major part of the personal growth method of Boy Scouting. Boys grow as they participate in community service projects and do Good Turns for others. Probably no device is as successful in developing a basis for personal growth as the daily Good Turn. The religious emblems program also is a large part of the personal growth method. Frequent personal conferences with his Scoutmaster help each Boy Scout to determine his growth toward Scouting’s aims.

Leadership Development. The Boy Scout program encourages boys to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Boy Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership helps a boy accept the leadership role of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting.

Uniform. The uniform makes the Boy Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. Boy Scouting is an action program, and wearing the uniform is an action that shows each Boy Scout’s commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. The uniform gives the Boy Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals. The uniform is practical attire for Boy Scout activities and provides a way for Boy Scouts to wear the badges that show what they have accomplished.

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    The 2001 National Jamboree at Fort AP Hill was over. We had made the trip home. The camping gear was all put away. It was time to return to “normal” Scouting. Well, not quite. I still had one more Jamboree related meeting to attend.

    A reunion meeting was held a couple weeks after our return. The Boy Scouts and leaders of both Central Minnesota Council troops, along with the boy’s parents, were expected to be there. This would be the last meeting of the 2001 troops. The agenda included a slideshow to be presented by our Jamboree chairwoman, and would also be a chance to share photographs, stories, and experiences. Of course, a few words by the two scoutmasters was also expected.

    The meeting began well. Most of the Scouts and their parents were in attendance. Photo books had been spread out on several tables. The 8 x 10 group photos had been handed out. Unfortunately, our chairwoman with the slideshow was nowhere in site. We had a laptop computer and projector available so I improvised by showing photos that I had on cd discs. It worked out alright, but it was not as good as a prepared slideshow would have been. Our chairwoman did arrive later but it was too late to watch the slideshow.

    It came time for the scoutmasters to speak. I stood up, looked over the room of Scouts and parents, and told everyone that I had a good time. However, I continued, “I never want to attend another National Jamboree again!”

    There were a few shocked expressions among the Scouts and parents before I explained why I made that statement. I told them that I had been a part of a nearly perfect Boy Scout troop. The adult leaders, the youth leadership, and the troop members had been great to work with, and to be with. We did have have any real problems. The boys got along well with each other.

    “I do not think I will ever have another Jamboree experience as good as this one was,” I said. “It was almost too good. I doubted I could ever have another group of adults and boys as great as this one. Thus, I did not ever want to attend another Jamboree again.”

    Time moves on. I did not attend the 2005 National Jamboree even though the council sent three troops and needed additional leaders. However, with the 100th anniversary of the BSA being celebrated during the 2010 Jamboree I am beginning to think about attending another one. I wonder if it would be possible to get my former Jamboree troop back together.

    Photos of my trip to the 2001 National Jamboree can be found at

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      In 1999 Sue talked to me about it, I thought about it, I applied for it, I interviewed for it, and finally, I got it. I was going to be the scoutmaster for one of the two troops the Central Minnesota Council would be sending to the 2001 Jamboree.

      Little did I realize how how work and how many meetings would be involved. I need to attend the council’s Jamboree committee meetings, meet my assistant scoutmasters, and start putting our team together. I soon discovered that the eight men chosen to lead these two troops were very dedicated to the cause, that we would work together well, and make a great team.

      I found that one of my duties was to promote the Jamboree among troops in the council and to recruit members. I quickly recruited nine members out of my home troop. My assistant scoutmasters did a great job of recruiting from their troops. The council did a little promotion. It did not take long before we had enough Boy Scouts to fill both troops and had a waiting list of boys who would like to participate.

      After the first “troop meeting” was held with the Jamboree Scouts and their parents, we began accepting applications for the youth leadership positions. The assistant scoutmasters and I conducted interviews from the list of applications and chose our senior patrol leader, ASPL, troop quartermaster, and troop scribe. I have to admit, we did a good job with our appointments. Our junior leaders became a great team to work with.

      The troop roster was divided into four patrols of eight Scouts. We made sure that no patrol contained over two Scouts from the same home troop. Once each patrol elected its own patrol leader we had a full patrol leader council and could begin training sessions.

      During the next year I attended several meetings a month to prepare for the Jamboree. There was the monthly committee meeting, the monthly leaders’ meeting, the troop meetings, training meetings, gateway building sessions, and more. Of course, this was all in addition to my usual duties and meetings in my home troop.

      Scouting had begun to take a significant portion of my time through the years 2000 and 2001. But with a great cast of assistant scoutmasters, committee members, and junior leaders in both my home troop and the Jamboree troop, my positions of scoutmaster went smoothly.

      In June of 2001 we help our pre-encampment which was basically a practice run for the Jamboree, with training mixed into the weekend. It was our first camp outing as a Jamboree troop. I am happy to report that things went very well. The only real problem to speak of was that we discovered some very loud snorers in the group.

      Preparations were over. It was time for Central Minnesota Council Troops 1417 and 1418 to attend the 2001 National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia!

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        Sue stopped in to see me at my work office. While we were chatting she asked if I had given any thought to going to the 2001 National Jamboree. I told her I had not even thought about it. She explained that she was a member of the council’s Jamboree staff and that she thought I should apply to be an adult leader for the Jamboree. She did not give me much time to think about it though. Applications were due at the council office within a couple weeks.

        So, I thought about it. Our troop did a high adventure trip every three years. The 2001 Jamboree happened to fall in the right year to be our troop activity. But the big question was whether the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 would want to attend the Jamboree instead of going to Philmont Scout Ranch, our usual destination.

        At the next troop meeting I asked the boys if they would be interested in attending the Jamboree. I explained that if they chose the Jamboree then I would apply to be an adult leader for the event. The Scouts thought it sounded like it would be a fun time so I filled out the application.

        Our council would send two troops to the Jamboree. Each troop would need four adult leaders, a scoutmaster and three assistants. The third assistant scoutmaster is usually filled by a young adult, usually 18-20 years old, that had previously attended a Jamboree. That left three positions for which I could apply.

        After looking over the job descriptions I chose to apply for scoutmaster. The job would be very similar to being the scoutmaster of a regular troop. Besides that, it appeared to be the easiest job of the three open to me. I would just have to make sure that everyone else does their job well.

        I turned in my application with only a day or two to spare. A short time later I received a letter asking me to go to St. Cloud for an interview. “An interview?” I thought. I have never done an interview for anything in Scouting in my life. It made me a little nervous.

        One of my young assistant scoutmasters, Ben, who also happened to be one of my troop’s Eagle Scouts, had applied to be a third assistant scoutmaster for the Jamboree so we carpooled to St. Cloud for our interviews. Ben had attended the 1997 Jamboree as a Boy Scout. The interview was conducted by four or five members of the Jamboree committee. They asked some interesting questions that seemed based on problems during the 1997 Jamboree. I answered them as honestly and as best as I was able.

        On the way home Ben and I talked about how we did during our interviews. We both felt we did pretty well. I also asked Ben a few questions about his experience during the previous Jamboree and how well he enjoyed it.

        It was not long before we received notice that I would be the scoutmaster for National Jamboree Troop 1417, and that Ben would be my third assistant scoutmaster. Suddenly, I found myself to be the scoutmaster in two troops. Now the work would begin!

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