Archive for the ‘Lessons’ Category


FirstClassSmallTwo Boy Scouts attended a committee meeting recently. One came for his Star Rank board of review, the other to ask some questions about his Eagle Rank. After talking to both Scouts we discovered it may be time to spend a portion of each troop meeting talking about the basics of Scouting. You know, those things boys learn when they first become Boy Scouts but have forgotten over the years. In other words, it was time for a refresher course.

The Boy Scouts are very good with reciting the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto. They stumble a bit when asked what the twelve points mean, or what are the three duties of the Scout Oath. What should a Scout be prepared for, and how exactly does one do that?

I talked to the scoutmaster and the senior patrol leader about this subject. I offered to do a ten minute review at the end of each troop meeting covering one topic of the basics. The SPL smiled and told me he would time me and let me know when I reached my ten minutes. He is such a sweet kid. I guess I better keep the talks short and to the point.

Here is a list of some of the topics I plan to cover:
The meaning of the Scout Law, and the Scout Oath.
Wearing the uniform properly and proudly.
The Scout sign, slogan, and handclasp.
Advancement double dipping.
Preparing for a board of review.
Flag editcate. Uses for basic knots.
Meaning of the Scout emblem.

Like I said, these short talks are not meant to teach the basics, although new Scouts may learn a few things, but are meant to refresh the Boy Scouts’ memories. To tell the truth, I know a few adult leaders who could benefit from listening to these discussions.

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    As active members of the Boy Scouts of America we all do our best do follow the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. I recently received an email from a friend in Europe that listed some other excellent suggestions to live by. See what you think of these…

    1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
    2. Marry a someone you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
    3. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.
    4. When you say, ‘I love you,’ mean it.
    5. When you say, ‘I’m sorry,’ look the person in the eye.
    6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
    7. Believe in love at first sight.
    8. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.
    9.  Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.
    10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
    11. Don’t judge people by their relatives.
    12. Talk slowly but think quickly.
    13. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer,  smile and ask, ‘Why do you want to know?’
    14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great  risk.
    15. Say ‘bless you’ when you hear someone sneeze.
    16. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
    17. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
    18. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
    19. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
    20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
    21. Spend some time alone.

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      Cub Scout Pack 68 of Melrose held their first meeting of the new program year last week Tuesday at the high school cafeteria. After the opening ceremony, Cubmaster Mark sat down with the new and older Cub Scouts for a short talk. Then the boys split off by age group to different tables to create posters representing their dens. At least one parent sat down with each group to help get them started.

      It was fun watching the Scouts get down to business. Crayons, markers, foam sheets, and glue were available to create the 18″ x 24″ tag board posters. The foam sheets allowed the boys to add a third dimension to their artwork.

      The six Webelos Scouts went right to work. It did not take them long to agree to a Webelos Team Ninja theme. There was only one Bear Scout and one Wold Scout in attendance so they worked together to create a poster featuring a bear print and a wolf print. The first grade Tigers needed a little help getting started but in a short time they were just as focused on their masterpiece as were the Webelos Scouts.

      Once the cubmaster saw that the boys were all busy he called the parents together in another part of the room for a short meeting. After several minutes I noticed a couple of the mothers glancing around the room with confused looks on their faces. I knew it was not about anything the cubmaster was talking about so I asked them what was on their mind. At least two of them were surprised to see the boys still working together on their posters without any adult supervision at any table.

      That is right folks! The Cub Scout dens were completing a goal on their own without an adult looking over their shoulder and telling them what they should do. Even the first graders were working hard. Granted, the parents were still in the room but the boys were working on their own, by age group, each group working together on their poster. And they were having fun!

      I honestly believe this may have been the first time these mothers have noticed their sons working and playing with other boys without having an adult watching over their shoulder and guiding their every move for more then two minutes at a time. Kind of amazing, isn’t it?

      Welcome to the world of Scouting!

        

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        It is amazing the things you can discover while visiting a museum. Yesterday, Monday, May 7th, the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 had a field trip at the Melrose Area Historical Museum. While we were there we took a look at the Scouting display and saw some new items added since the troop visited two years ago. Some of these items came from the first Eagle Scout of Melrose, Minnesota. His name was John Johnson. He earned his Eagle Rank in 1966.

        As John got older he joined the Explorer Scout Post in town. One day he saved the life of a young child who was playing on the train tracks. John received the B.S.A.’s Honor Metal for his quick action. Boy’s Life magazine, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, was notified about this. John was featured in the magazine during the mid-1960′s on the “Scouts In Action” page. A copy of the page from Boy’s Life is found in the museum.

        I knew that John Johnson was the first Eagle Scout of Melrose. In fact, he was a guest speaker at an Eagle court of honor in 1992. But I never knew he saved a young child’s life and that he was mentioned in Boy’s Life magazine. Amazing what a person can discover at a local museum, isn’t it?

        Here is a photo of the Boy’s Life page found at the Melrose Area Historical Museum.

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          It is not a secret. Some Boy Scouts get nervous when it is time to do a scoutmaster conference for a rank. As a scoutmaster I do my best to put the Scout at ease and we usually get through it without a problem. Although there was the time when I held my first Eagle Scout conference back in the late 1980′s. That young man was so nervous that he could not recite the Scout Oath, even though he had repeated it at troop meetings for over six years. Ah, the memories.

          One of the Boy Scouts recently came to the house for his Star Rank scoutmaster conference. He was accompanied by his mother. It did not take long to realize that he was nervous, and that having his mother sitting across the room from him was not helping matters. In fact, I think it was making it worse.

          Let me set the stage for you. My front door opens into my living room. To the right, in front of the picture window, is the sofa. Across the room are two rocking recliners. At one end of the room is a gliding rocker chair. At the other end is the television and bookcases. When the Boy Scout arrived he sat down on the left end of the sofa, near the door. His mother sat in one of the recliners. I grabbed the troop record book and sat down on the sofa to the Scout’s right.

          Like I said, it did not take long to realize this Scout was a little nervous. I also noticed that he kept looking at his mother as he answered several of the questions, instead of answering to me. I moved to the other recliner across the room. This helped in that he now had an easier time looking toward me but he still looked toward his mother, as if looking for approval of his answers and comments. His mother was also commenting on some of the subjects we were discussing.

          I thought it might be better to make a few changes. I asked the Boy Scout if he was a bit nervous. He replied that he was. I asked him if having his mother sitting across the room was adding to his nervous. He said yes so I offered a new seating arrangement. I asked his mother to sit in the gliding rocker at the end of the room. I had the Scout sit in the recliner his mother had been using. This put the Scout between me and his mother, thus putting his mother out of his line of sight. I also asked his mother not to respond to any questions unless they were directed to her. She understood and pulled out her smartphone to play with.

          The seating arrangement did help. Once his mother was “out of the picture” the Scout was more relaxed and had an easier time talking to me. He may have still been a little nervous but the discussion moved along much better. He passed his Star Rank scoutmaster conference and his now ready for his board of review.

          Have you had any interesting experiences during a scoutmaster conference? Leave a response and tell us about it.

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            I am sure you have already had the conversation in your troop. How can we be more “green” and eco-friendly? The Boy Scouts have been discussing this long before it became socially fashionable. Take a look at Leave No Trace, for example. Or the points of the Outdoor Code.

            I recently received and email featuring a story about the generational differences of being green. I am sure this has been circulating about the internet for awhile already, but it was the first time I had seen it. I enjoyed reading it so I thought I would share it with you. I may even use this as a scoutmaster minute at the end of a troop meeting.

            (Unfortunately, I do not know the author of this story.)

            The Green Thing

            Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

            She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

            Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

            We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

            Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

            Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.

            We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

            Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

            But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks
            were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

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              So, you are new to the Boy Scout program. Maybe you crossed over this spring with your son who was a Webelos Scout, or maybe you joined with your son as he joined the program. Either way, you may be hearing terms you are unfamiliar with and abbreviations that confuse you. Let’s see if we can make a few of these clear and help you along your Scouting way.

              SPL – Senior Patrol Leader (The elected Boy Scout in charge of running the troop.)
              ASPL – The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.
              PL – Patrol Leader (The elected Boy Scout leader of a patrol.)
              APL – Assistant Patrol Leader.
              ASM – Assistant Scoutmaster.
              JASM – Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (A Scout who is not yet 18 years old.)
              PLC – Patrol Leader Council. (The boy leadership who plan troop meetings and activities.)
              TLC – Troop Leader Council (Another name for the PLC.)
              OA – Order of the Arrow (A Honor Brotherhood of Scout Campers.)
              NOAC – National Order of the Arrow Conference (Yearly national meeting of OA lodges and leadership.)
              PTC – Philmont Training Center at Philmont Scout Ranch.
              NYLT – National Youth Leadership Training (Training for youth leadership done on the council level.)
              G2SS – Guide To Safe Scouting (Our bible of how to safely operate our troops and packs.)
              BSA – Boy Scouts of America.

              This is not the whole list, but it is enough to get you started. Happy Scouting!

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                Yeah, I know. This is supposed to be YouTube Tuesday. Well, excuse me (as Steve Martin used to say). I found a great little video on a website called Vimeo that I thought would make an excellent suggestion for today. According to the video information:

                A young man fights a battle within himself over whether or not to smoke. Ultimately, he learns something about himself and, with the principles of the scout oath and law as his guide, makes the choice to be “bigger” than he ever thought he could.

                This video is my entry into the “Smoking Stinks” video contest hosted by the Boy Scouts of America. If you liked it, then feel free to vote at the following link.

                Big Things… from Bryson Rushing on Vimeo.

                What did you think about it?

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