Posts Tagged ‘Training’

rtcommishShortly after becoming a 21 year old scoutmaster in 1981 I began attending the monthly district roundtable meetings, and learned quite a bit about how to be a good adult Scout leader. It did not take long for the commissioner to recognize my enthusiasm about Scouting. A few years later I was a member of the roundtable staff. We had a lot of fun and hopefully helped a lot of troop leaders become better at their positions. I even earned my commissioner’s award. It finally came to an end after several years as we all moved on and others took over, but I still attended roundtables as a scoutmaster through the next two decades.

I have been trying to figure out what to do with myself after stepping down as the troop’s scoutmaster a year and a half ago. I still help out with the troop as a committee member (the troop treasurer.) I have helped on a few activities and the occasional troop meeting. I think I may have been helping a little too much because a couple months ago I was told by one of the current troop leaders to back off. That caught me by surprise but it did get me thinking. I do want to stay involved in Scouting, but where does a retired scoutmaster fit into the program?

A couple people suggested I become active on the district or council level. I really have no interest in serving on a committee or some such role. I do not have the slightest interest in being involved with fundraising. I have never been very active in the Order of the Arrow. I am not sure I would like being a unit commissioner.

Which brings me back to roundtables. I was once a roundtable staff member. I think I might be able to bring a little something to help with those monthly meetings once again. There are a few things I would like to try to add a little fun and spice. So, I sent the commissioner an email asking if he would like some help this upcoming year. It did not take him long to respond.

Tonight I had a two hour meeting with Al. I threw a bunch of ideas at him and told him what I would be interesting in doing, and what I was not interested in doing, if I joined the staff. To tell the truth, now that I look back at the meeting, I wonder if I may have been a little too enthusiastic. He liked a lot of the ideas I brought up. Before you knew it, the two of us started creating a yearly plan for the 2013-2014 roundtable year. We now have our monthly themes, and even the September and October agendas plotted out. We plan to meet with our district executive within the next few weeks to get things finalized.

So I guess I am once again on the district roundtable staff after a two decade hiatus. Who knew that I would one day be back in that saddle?

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.

Fast Start Orientation, The Outdoor ProgramThe last post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast contained the first of three parts of an eleven year old Boy Scout Leader Fast Start Orientation vhs tape I have in my Scouting collection. This post features part two of that training tape which covers the troop Outdoor Program. 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?


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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
Don’t forget to leave a comment below, or at the iTunes store.

One goal of the program of the Boy Scouts of America is to provide leadership training to the youth of a troop. This occurs through troop meetings, patrol leader council meetings, weekend sessions, conferences, and the National Youth Leadership course.

Troop 68 holds elections every six months for the offices of patrol leader and senior patrol leader, in March and September. These leaders than appoint the other troop and patrol leadership. Ideally, I like to hold an afternoon training session after an election. This has not worked out for the last year because of scheduling conflicts.

The troop’s theme for this month’s program was scheduled to be “Laughs For Lunch”. We had planned to practice songs and skits for a community campfire style program. (See post about Laughs For Lunch HERE.) Unfortunately, due to a small troop roster and some high school sport conflicts, we had to drop the Laughs For Lunch theme. The patrol leader council decided to use this month’s meetings for leadership training. We would break down the afternoon training session into three parts for our January meetings.

The first of these meetings was held last night. Six of the eight troop members attended, four of who had never taken part in a youth training program. We watched the first portion of the video which covered styles of leadership training, sharing leadership, communications, and knowing the skills of your team members. The game activities helped to demonstrate these leadership points.

The meeting went well. The boys seemed to enjoy the session and even picked up a few leadership points. I hope next week goes just as well.

As the year 2009 comes to an end, it suddenly dawned on me that this year was the 25th anniversary of my first trip to Philmont Scout Ranch. It was not a trip to partake in a twelve day trek, but to spend a week at the Philmont Training Center (PTC).

I was a 23 year old scoutmaster when I received a letter from PTC inviting me to attend a Scoutmaster Fundamentals Course during the 1984 season. Needless to say, I was quite excited. I had never been to Philmont but it had always been a dream of mine to get there someday. Unfortunately, I was a young adult who was pretty much living from paycheck to paycheck at the time. The money to pay the course registration and the airfare was not in my budget or savings account.
The troop committee must have seen this as a great opportunity to invest in the local Scouting program. So did the business community, it turns out. One of the committee members went to several local businesses to explain the committee’s plan. A short time later, the committee surprised me with the news that I would be going to Philmont Scout Ranch for the training. Enough businesses had donated funds to pay the airfare and registration. I was shocked! I was surprised. And I was going to make a commitment to stay the scoutmaster of Troop 68 for at least a few more years.
There were a few firsts for me involved with this trip. It would be my first time to Philmont. It would be the first time I would travel by airplane. It would be the first time I had ever traveled on my own. I was a little nervous, but a lot excited.
The trip went well. I proved to myself that I could handle a trip on my own. The course had great instructors. I learned a lot about being a scoutmaster. I met many dedicated Scouters from around the country. I saw the movie Follow Me Boys for the first time. And I climbed to the top of the Tooth of Time (for the first time).
Of course, me being the type of guy who likes taking a lot of photographs, I did use up several rolls of film. I have posted those pictures on my Flickr account. Here is a slideshow of those photos:

 I did my Woodbadge course in the fall of 1988. Yes, that was long before the current “Woodbadge for the 21st Century”, but I have a feeling the core training is still pretty much the same. The course was held at Camp Stearns in central Minnesota. We camped out, cooked outdoors, and slept in tents. In fact, most of our training was held outdoors. We seldom found ourselves inside the Woodbadge Lodge.

The staff kept us pretty busy between training and projects. One Saturday afternoon, each of the five patrols was assigned a pioneering project to build. The projects included a catapult, a ballistica, a swinging gateway, and an overhead gateway. My patrol, the Bobwhites, received the weather station project, which we found to be quite interesting.
As the patrols arrived at the field to build their projects we discovered piles of rope and logs and a drawing of the completed project. No directions on how to build it, just a drawing of what it should look like when finished. We needed to figure out how to construct it ourselves.
The weather station the Bobwhites were to build looked like a large diamond balanced on ropes about a foot off the ground.We guessed that the humidity and barometric pressure would tighten or loosen the tautness of the ropes, thus raising the diamond higher or lower. The closer it was to the ground, the greater the chance of rain. If it rested higher it was probably meant that we would have great weather.
The Bobwhites had a good time building their project, as did all the patrols. I like pioneering and knots so I was helping out the patrol members who were not as proficient with square and diagonal lashings. Raising, balancing, and tying the diamond onto the cross ropes proved to be a fun challenge. We hung a little strip of cloth to the top to show wind direction. One of our patrol members came up with another small embellishment for the project.
The scoutmaster and a few other staff members inspected each of the projects. When they saw a stone hanging from the end of a rope on our project their curiosity lead to ask what it was for. “It is a weather rock”, we replied. We placed a sign next to it that explained: If the rock is wet it must be raining. It the rock it swinging it must be windy. If the rock is warm and dry the sun must be shining.
All five pioneering projects turned out very well. There was even a competition between the ballistica and the catapult to see which would throw a projectile the furthest. Yep, we all had some fun that afternoon.

The Friday that I had been both dreading and excited about had arrived. It was time to go to the first weekend of Woodbadge training at Camp Stearns in central Minnesota. I was dreading it because I did not know if I would know anyone in attendance other than Paul, the culprit who signed me up for the training. I am pretty shy and it takes me a while to warm up to new people. But I was also excited because this was Woodbadge, the ultimate Scout leader training course.

It did not take long to find a few people from my council that I knew once I arrived at Camp Stearns. I have known Bruce since my days as a Boy Scout. He worked on staff at the summer camp I attended, Parker Scout Reservation. I knew Jim through roundtable meetings and council family camp weekends. Jim was also known as Skunk because of the striped cap and coat he wore when camping, which we suspected was made from real skunk hides.
John was also from the Central Minnesota Council and was the fourth member of our patrol. He was the scoutmaster of a troop in St. Cloud. The final members of our patrol were two female Scout leaders from the Viking Council, Mary and Marge. So, we had four men and two women in our group. We all got along great and formed a good, if somewhat mischievous, patrol.
It was time to receive our patrol name. Would we get to be the agile Antelopes? Maybe the wise Owls? How about the mighty Bears? I liked the idea of being a high flying Eagle. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered we were to be the Bobwhite patrol. A bobwhite? A small game bird? Come on guys, get real. But the Bobwhites we were named, and the Bobwhites we would be.
We actually had a lot of fun as the Bobwhite Patrol. We came up with a cool flag, created a nice sign for our camp, and came up with an awesome totem. Bruce even found some small yellow beaks for us to wear by the second weekend of training.
“I used to be a Bobwhite, and a good old Bobwhite too. But now I’ve finished Bobwhiting, I don’t know what to do.” We are the Bobwhites. Beware!
Watch for more stories about my Woodbadge training.