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Top 10 Pragmatic Scoutmaster Skills
The successful Scoutmaster is a big brother to the scouts in his charge.
His role is important but, when done correctly, appears to be easy and not very crucial to what is going on.
These 10 skills will help a Scoutmaster succeed in his role:
- Fire Starting - Every boy likes fire. A scoutmaster able to create a fire with flint and steel, magnifying glass, battery and steel wool, bow drill, fire piston, ferrocerium sparker, ... gives scouts something to shoot for. Demonstrating the mystique of creating fire in so many ways shows scouts there are many ways to accomplish a goal. See Starting Fires page.
- Story Telling - Sitting around a campfire, after the scouts have run their campfire program, has been some of the most fun I've had in Scouting. A campfire without stories gets boring fairly quickly.
Having a few stories ready to prime the pump of the scouts' imaginations, and being able to tell them well, keeps these times interesting and entertaining. Hearing an experienced scout tell a tale to younger guys and realizing he had first heard it from me a few years earlier is one of those fine rewards we get.
- Walking - Being in good shape so you can walk around camp with the scouts, backpack, and participate in day hikes is essential to fulfilling the role. Walking is the way scouts explore the wild places and that is where we need to be.
- Iron Stomache - Some scout concoctions created for cooking competitions can cause cancer, canker sours, and cardio concerns. Scoutmasters, often asked to sample food, need to be able to digest a wide range of flavors and textures.
- Sense of Humor - Knowing whether to laugh or cry will keep you sane, or at least help a bit. The more broad your sense of humor, the more you will enjoy scouts.
- See Silver Linings - It's easy to view every lashing project that falls apart, every burnt meal, every 57-match fire, and every mis-navigated hike as a complete failure. A scoutmaster sees the one knot that held, the cajun flavoring, the 193 extra matches in the box, and the extra map and compass work as successes.
It's those small successes that gradually build on each other until a scout is self-sufficient. He doesn't join the gang as an expert - if he did, scouting would offer him nothing.
- Listening - Scouts, being boys, often don't communicate effectively or even in complete sentences. A grunt, shoulder shrug, or look of the eyes may be all a scout has to say. Being able to listen to this, and hear what's being said, helps a scoutmaster be that big brother needed more by this sort of scout.
- Sit On Hands - Whether it's an exciting game, food preparation, setting up a tent, or leading a meeting, the scoutmaster that can refrain from getting involved is a step ahead. The fun, challenge, and success of Scouting is for the scout, not the adult volunteer.
- Live Vicariously - Since the scoutmaster refrains from direct involvement in most scouting activities, he must enjoy watching the accomplishments of others. Some adults push their children too hard to excel and the scoutmaster can't do that. He should make opportunities available, encourage scouts to achieve, and appreciate their attempts. Visiting with past scouts that are home from college, and believing that Scouting has helped prepare them for life, is about the best pay I could expect.
- Selective Deafness - This is most valuable at night. If you can't sleep through snoring, night noises, and giggling, you will be a grumpy, old scoutmaster way before your time. Ear plugs are an alternative if you are still working on this skill.
What other skills have you found especially helpful in your role as a Scouting volunteer?
Posted: 8:23 10-06-2015 1212
Pocket Card Forms
Here are two Word Doc files that might be useful to Cubmaster Ramon and anyone else tasked with filling out recognition item paperwork for a large Pack.
When a scout completes one of the new Cub Scout Adventures, he receives a belt loop or pin for recognition along with a pocket card documenting the adventure he completed and date. Writing in the information for dozens of scouts can be quite time consuming, so I created a Word doc that is formatted so it prints the content in the appropriate positions to fill out a sheet of 8 Adventure Pocket Cards.
DOWNLOAD the Adventure Pocket Cards document.
The new Pocket Cards stock are HERE
Each rank also has a pocket card for documentation. Purchasing adventure pocket cards and rank pocket cards by the sheet is less expensive than individual cards. Even if you have only a few scouts advancing at a time, printing in all the Pack specific info will make the cards look better and save you time. You can just leave the date and scout name blank if you don't know who it's for yet.
DOWNLOAD the Rank Pocket Cards document.
The new Bobcat Rank Cards stock are HERE and all other ranks are available, too.
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Posted: 10:21 09-23-2015 1209
Rocket Into Scouting
Visit RocketIntoScouting.org to sign up for Cub Scouts in Minnesota or South Dakota.
All area elementary schools are scheduled to have Scout representatives on hand from 7 to 8pm on Sept. 17. Let your neighbors with elementary school age boys know about the opportunity.
Posted: 18:46 09-14-2015 1206
Adventure Pocket Card Help?
Cubmaster Ramon is trying to make the new Cub Scout Adventure recognitions a bit easier to administer in his Pack. He has a request from all you fellow Scouters...
Have you created a mail-merge, fillable PDF, or other such document into which you can enter Cub Scout names and print onto the new Cub Scout Adventure Pocket Card stock purchased from ScoutStuff.org? The cards look like this.
If you have such a beast, and would share it, please send it to me and I'll post it for everyone.
The new Pocket Cards stock are HERE.
Posted: 8:16 09-08-2015 1205
Jeff and Gracie
Check out my current location on the map. I ran into Jeff and Gracie the Amazing Hiking Dog on the trail. They were out doing trail maintenance and are Scouters from Charlottesville. We had a nice chat and walk, and he gave me a coke. Thanks for the snack and all your efforts for the trail community!
Posted: 11:28 08-28-2015 1188
Entered the shenandoah park. No bears yet, but saw a huge deer. Coverage is getting worse so I may not be able to get posts out. Met a scout and his dad doing their 50-miler hike. They might make it to the shelter I'm staying tonight.
Posted: 9:02 08-25-2015 1182
Oops - here's the pic.
Posted: 11:34 08-21-2015 1174
Check out my current location on the map. Here's a nice view for lunch! I'm at Bears Den rock and hope to go 10 more miles this afternoon.
Posted: 11:33 08-21-2015 1173
Cub Scout Ideas
If you've been involved in the new Cub Scout program over the summer, I expect you've probably come up with some neat ideas for some of the adventures. If your Pack's program year starts in a couple weeks with the new school year, then you're getting ready to lead scouts through their adventures on the way to earning ranks.
There are hundreds of other den leaders out there that are also doing their best to make this scouting thing fun, interesting, and fulfilling to the scouts in their charge. They could really benefit from hearing what works for you, what games and activities you did to support an adventure, and any planning tips you have.
I'd like to hear what you've come up with, too! I'll add your ideas to each adventure page so others can use them. To encourage sharing of ideas, each month I'll give a $25 scout shop gift card to one person from those that have shared ideas as described on the Share Ideas page. The first card will be given in October since that's when I'll be getting back from my Appalachian Trail hike.
Share a useful idea, help some fellow volunteers, and maybe win a prize!
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Posted: 11:10 08-16-2015 1169
Do you know any scouts that like stickers? My son's water bottle is plastered with layers of stickers!
I have a bunch of these stickers to hand out to scouts I meet on my Appalachian Trail trek starting next week for those lucky ones that track me down.
If you'd like your own, and don't expect to run into me on the trail, you can still get some. The stickers are free, but there's postage, so you can click this Buy Sticker link and get two stickers for $1.
I'd love to get a Selfie of you and your sticker to add to my collection, like these pics.
Posted: 11:12 08-14-2015 1167
I'm off on my next hike in a week.
The plan is to hike from Harper's Ferry, WV south on the Appalachian Trail to the terminus on Springer Mountain, GA.
After checking out buses, planes, trains, and automobiles, I've decided to go by rail across the country. Bus was $90, plane was $100, and train was $150. So, why did I choose train?
First off, I will only ride a bus if it's the very last possible option. My Greyhound experience last year was enough to last a loooong time.
Even though the plane was less money, it got me to Washington, DC so I would need to take a commuter train to the trail, and it landed at night so I'd need to pay for a place to stay.
The train takes a bit more than a day and costs more than flying, but I step off the train right onto the trail, I can pack all my food and gear at home, it arrives at mid-day, and I stay on the ground. Plus, I've not been on a long train ride in many years so it will be more of an adventure.
I've looked over the AT Guidebook, set up resupply spots, figured out how far I'll hike each day and where I'll spend each night. Of course, as soon as I set foot on the trail, the plan goes out the window but it's a good exercise to get a general idea of what to expect. You can check out my rough hiking schedule if you're interested. If it all works out, I'll reach the end by Oct. 15, but I can take as long as I need.
If you know someone along the trail that would like to visit with a hiker, send me an email. I'd always prefer a home over a tent or shelter any night on the trail. And, I'm hoping some Scouts might be able to join me hiking for a couple hours or days.
Posted: 13:33 08-12-2015 1165
The 23rd World Scout Jamboree is under way right now in Japan. You can even see live streaming videos on this page (but it's 1:00am right now). The 24th will be held in 2019 at the Summit in West Virginia. Scouts from around the world will be visiting our country in just 4 years, and it will be a super opportunity to meet international brothers and sisters. Wouldn't it be cool to already be friends with some of them before they arrive?
The new Tiger Family Stories adventure, the Arrow of Light Building a Better World adventure, and the Citizenship in the World merit badge all have requirements to communicate with scouts in other places. A Webelos or Boy Scout getting to know scouts from other countries now just might meet some of them four years from now at the Jamboree!
Pen Pals are a great way to make international friends. There are over 600 units signed up in the Scout Pen Pals program here on Boy Scout Trail, including scouts from Canada, UK, and Australia. It's a great way to start a relationship between Scouting groups. It can take a little time to get things rolling, so now is a great time to start looking for Pen Pal units that will be ready to swap messages when your scouts are ready. Talking to scouts around the world is exciting and fun, not just to complete requirements.
Check it out today!
Posted: 10:43 08-03-2015 1160Previous Posts
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