Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’


crazy squirrelI saw this picture online and it brought a huge smile to my face. I could not help but picture a Scout Leader standing up in front of a council or district training session and yelling this to all the attendants.

Just think of this for a moment. It has to be true, doesn’t it? Don’t you have to be a little crazy to sit there in a room full of teenage boys, trying to steer them into learning constructive life skills? Or a cubmaster trying to keep a few dozen elementary age boys’ attention long enough to conduct an award ceremony? Or a scoutmaster taking 15 boys who are not his own into the wilderness for a camping trip? Don’t you have to be a little crazy to do these things, and so much more?

Well, maybe a little bit. But you also have to believe in the program and be willing to back it up 100 percent or more. More importantly, you have to believe in the boys and imagine what they are capable of becoming as they grow into adult men and future leaders of our communities, and even our country.

Yes, we Scouters are a little crazy, and though it may not be a competition, it is a worthwhile program to belong to.

brainstormingBoy Scout Troop 68 now has a program plan for the 2013-2014 year. I talked to the scoutmaster at last week’s troop meeting to ask how things went at the year planning conference. If you recall from the last blog article, I was a little concerned over an item or two, namely that he invited the entire troop membership to attend and that he also invited all the parents. Turns out that I did not need to be concerned.

The parent invitation is the one that bothered me the most. If too many parents attended the meeting I was afraid it would become a parent planned program instead of a Boy Scout planned program. I need not have worried about it. Not a single parent, other than the scoutmaster and assistant parent, came to the session.

Unfortunately, not many of the Scouts attended it either. Most of the patrol leader council either could not attend, or decided not to attend. Only three boys showed up. One was the senior patrol leader, who happens to be the scoutmaster’s son during this term, and another was a new Scout who just joined the troop and does not hold an office. Talk about getting involved right from the start. Although not many boys showed up for the session they went ahead and planned the yearly program.

The scoutmaster told me he really did not want to reschedule the meeting since only a small group of Scouts attended. I had to agree with him. The boys and families had known about the session for over a month. If he would have rescheduled he would have had no guarantee that more Boy Scouts would have attended. And it would have pushed the scheduling process back another week or two or three which could have caused us to miss the presentation of the new schedule by the senior patrol leader at this month’s committee meeting. If it would have been rescheduled for later in the month it also could have got in the way of this month’s outing.

I think they did the right thing. If any parents or Scouts want to object about the new program, well, all we have to is ask them where were they on Saturday, August 6th. After all, everyone was invited to come and give their two cents at that time.

brainstormingI became a scoutmaster in 1981. I went to district and council training and learned that the Boy Scouts should do the planning for their troop’s program.Boy Scout Troop 68 began holding a yearly planning conference during the first or second weekend of August. During the last thirty years it has been fun assisting the troop’s junior leaders develop their monthly themes and activities. Some activities became yearly traditions. Others did not go very well and were not repeated.

This year’s planning session, held today, will have at least one thing different then sessions of the past 30 years. I will not be attending. I have to work Saturday morning and I have a wedding to attend in the afternoon. I am not the scoutmaster anymore so it is probably best that I do not attend, to just step back and let the new leaders lead.

Jim, our current scoutmaster, will not be going into the planning session blind though. He and I were the adult leaders for last year’s session so he has a pretty good idea how to conduct one. Most of the Scouts who will be attending have also participated in a planning session, so things should run smoothly.

Jim did make two changes to the planning session this year. The first should not make a difference. He invited all the Boy Scout members of the troop to attend. The reason I do not think it will matter is that we will be lucky if half the 11 current members attend. Hopefully, the junior leaders do attend because this session is part of their job as leaders of the troop.

The second change he made does worry me a little. He invited parents to attend. Now, I realize that not all the parents will show up. They already have events scheduled, I am sure. My concern is that too many parents will attend and mess up the planning process. I am afraid the program could end up being planned by parents and not by the Scouts.

Am I concerned for no real reason? Will the session run smoothly with the parents there? Will any of them even show up? I guess we will know soon.

How does your troop conduct its yearly planning session? Drop a note and share your ideas with us.

crthonorI do not know if you have ever read this poem but I thought you may enjoy it. It is a poem by Bill Chiappi about the adult Boy Scout leader. It is called “The Scouter”. I happen to come across this many years ago. This might come in handy for that special event.

He hasn’t much in worldly goods,
Yet he’s richer than you know,
For he’s chosen to be a Scouter
And his spirits are aglow.

He’s just a Scouter, nothing more,
But he molds the lives of boys.
He teaches them how to do their best,
And he shares their many joys.

They work on badges, go on hikes,
Share campfires in the night.
They practice skills and follow laws,
And learn to do things right.

He watches them grow from boys to men,
And it makes it all worthwhile,
When they turn to him and say, “Gee Thanks!”
And their face wears a golden smile.

FirstClassSmallThe Boy Scouts of America offers a unique youth program. It has five distinct features that other clubs and organizations do not offer today’s youth. Granted, some clubs do offer one or two of these features, but no other youth organization offers all five of them.

What are these features that makes Scouting so special?

Scouting is a value based program. The B.S.A. asks boys to take an oath when they join, and then live up to that oath. Scouting teaches values, promotes good citizenship, and provides good adult role models. The program is diversified. It is not the same thing every day as some youth activities can be. In fact, Scouting compliments other organizations by providing program that they may be missing.

Developing leadership is another feature of Scouting. The boys plan their own troop program. They learn new things through hands-on experiences, not just by text book learning. They will receive the chance to be a leader by holding a position of responsibility in the troop. (Troop 68 holds elections every 6 months so many of its members will be given the chance to hold a troop or patrol office.)

Scouting is an educational program. Through the advancement program a boy will learn many new skills. Some of these will be just for fun, but many will help him later on in life. Subjects introduced through the merit badge program may help a boy discover a new life-long hobby or even a career choice. As he earns his merit badges and ranks he is recognized in front of his parents and peers for his accomplishments. This builds self esteem and helps him to develop a sense of pride.

Scouting encourages service to the community. An important part of Scouting is doing service for others. The Scout Slogan states that a Scout will “Do a Good Turn Daily”. Troops do countless hours of service conducting food drives, road and park cleanups, and conservation work, to name a few. By doing service a boy develops a pride in his community, a pride that will carry into adulthood.

Scouting can be a vehicle to bring families together. Many families find scouting to be a neutral topic, one in which parents and children can participate together. It offers parents a chance to spend ‘quality time’ with their sons. And the program is already there. All you have to do is participate.

The Scouting program does has its advantages. And families that participate in the program can attest that Scouting pays good dividends.

The last two posts to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast contained the first and second parts of an eleven year old Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation vhs tape I have in my Scouting collection. This post features part three, the last part of that training tape which covers the Troop Committee. Who makes up the committee? What does the committee do? What are they responsible for? Are they really necessary? It is an excellent video that is still relevant to today’s Scouting program.

I think it is fun to watch these old videos to see how, or if, Scouting has changed through the decades. What do you think about it? Have you seen this before? This is a great video to watch if you are new to the Boy Scout program.

Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
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Troop Meeting TrainingI have collected a fair number of Scouting related items during the thirty-plus years I have been involved with our local Boy Scout Troop. One of these items is a vhs tape of Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation from 2002. You see, there was a time, not that long ago, when adult leaders could not readily go to the internet to watch training videos. They had to borrow a vhs tape from their council office. I know, hard to believe.

While I am stuck at home recovering from neck surgery, I decided to make a digital copy of this 2002 training tape I received from the council when they decided to throw it out several years ago. Once I had a digital copy of it I thought it might be fun to share this 11 year old production with the viewers of the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast. The whole video is 32 minutes long so I broke it down into three parts.

This first part takes us through the process of planning and conducting a Boy Scout troop meeting. The video covers things very well and is still very reverent to today’s program. Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 has followed this format for decades with a lot of success. If you have new adult leaders in your troop I would recommend they sit down and watch this. I also think it is fun to watch a training video from 11 years ago.

Click here to DOWNLOAD and watch this Podcast.
Subscribe to Melrose Scout Productions Podcast through iTUNES  (and rate the show)
or at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/melrosescoutingproductions
Don’t forget to leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

It has been one year since I retired as the scoutmaster of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. It has been an interesting, but sometimes confusing year. After thirty years of serving as a scoutmaster I am trying to figure out what my role should be and where I now fit in with the troop.

I knew one of those new roles would be as advisor to the new scoutmaster. When the new scoutmaster stepped down after five months (he was also serving as the pack cubmaster) I found myself to be an adviser to the NEW new scoutmaster, Jim. Jim has taken to his role well and is not afraid to ask questions. He has taken all the online training and has been attending the monthly district roundtables. He has continued many of the things I brought to the troop but he is also adding a few of his own touches, which is to be expected.

When I visit a troop meeting, I have to watch myself. I find that I sometimes will step back into the role of scoutmaster when I see some help may be needed. When I catch myself I take a step back. I am getting better. The Scouts still seem to enjoy that I come to some of the troop meetings.

Patrol Leader Council meetings are still held at my home. It is a center point for the out of town families. The scoutmaster likes it because I am there to offer suggestions when needed. It has also offered a continuity to the meetings through the last year of adult leader changes.

I will admit that it has been strange not attending the monthly troop activities. I like that I may now pick and choose which outings I will attend instead of being expected to attend everyone of them. It was weird not attending a long term camp with the troop in 2012. After all, I have spent every summer vacation for the last 30 years with Boy Scouts, either at summer camp, Philmont Scout Ranch, a Jamboree, or some other high adventure outing.

I currently serve as the troop treasurer on the committee. After a year I have decided that although I guess I am doing a good job, I really do not enjoy doing it as much I as thought I might. I miss working with the Scouts. It may be time to look at changing to something new. I wonder if the troop could use an assistant scoutmaster?