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2007 - Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan 2006 2005
New Dutch Oven
Our troop hosted a pack of Webelos at the camporee earlier this month and their Cubmaster insisted on giving us some money. I said "no", he said "yes". I said "No", he said "Yes". I said "NO", he said "YES". Since he's a lawyer, I gave up. :-)
Anyway, I wanted to do something special with the money and the scouts have started to get more interested in dutch oven cooking, so I looked around.
Lodge has a Lewis & Clark Commemorative dutch oven out. It's an 8qt. 12inch - that means it's deeper than normal so it works great for a roast.
If you want to take advantage of my legwork, the cheapest place I found this oven was at katom.com
(I never heard of them either) and it was significantly cheaper than Lodge, REI, and other places. I was a bit nervous ordering it, but it arrived today and it is perfect! They also have the BSA Logo dutch oven and lots of others.
So, this weekend at the Scoutorama, the visiting Webelos be cooking doughnuts and chocolate chip cookies in our D.O.s - and if that doesn't convince them to join the troop, nothing will!
Posted: 15:44 10-30-2007 245
MYSCOUTING Almost Here
It seems like forever that there has been a 'MYSCOUTING' link on scouting.org
that just goes to a "Coming Soon" page. It was going to be here in August, then September, now its October.
But, the page has finally changed! You can now access MYSCOUTING and register. Enter your email, BSA ID info, and password to create an account for yourself. You receive a confirmation email and clicking the embedded link activates your account.
That's when you get to see the MYSCOUTING menu - "E-Learning", "ReChartering", and "Advancement" - "Tour Permits" are not available yet. You'll need special codes from your council to use the ReChartering and Advancement areas.
The MYSCOUTING area really needs a lot of work. Right now, its just an entry page to a handful of non-integrated tools, each one needed a separate login with no navigational integration between them. But, at least it's moving along and we're inching closer to usable online tools to reduce the work of our precious fellow volunteers.
Posted: 9:16 10-27-2007 244
Have you watched Kid Nation on TV yet? My youngest son and I have been studying it for the past few weeks and find it interesting.
The concept is that 40 kids aged 8 to 15 are out at a ghost town that failed, attempting to build a city with no adults. (I have no idea what parents would have their 8 year old go out on his/her own for 40 days.) They've got a few kids that have good leadership skills, a few ringers that I think were coached to be irritants, and then a lot that you never hear from.
It's getting boring now that we know every show will have a contest, a town meeting where some homesick kids might decide to go home, and one kid will get a $20,000 gold star. Other than that, it's a whole lot of bickering, squabbling, and basic self-serving child behavior - imagine that. :-)
We are kind of rooting for Mike who is a Tenderfoot scout and was one of the leaders. He got voted off the town council last week so maybe he'll get a gold star soon.
There are a few snippets that would make good clips to use in a Troop Leader Training session on leadership styles that work and don't work.
Posted: 0:12 10-25-2007 243
Snow Sports Extreme
The scouts are planning their December campout which will be a skiing weekend. Since moving to Minnesota from Oregon, I haven't done much downhill mostly because there aren't many hills to go down. :-(
We do have a few guys in our troop that love to ski, though. They are talking about a high adventure trip to the West Coast in 2009 and include some skiing on Mt. Hood in Oregon. I've skied on Hood in July and it was a blast!
There's a full-blown summer ski program on Hood for skiers of all ability levels, as long as they want to improve. The National Alpine Ski Camp (NASC) offers a comprehensive summer program, usually attracting 14-17 year olds, but open for skiers down to 8 years old. What a great way to spend 10 days.
Besides skiing, the NASC program includes extra activities, such as rafting, rock climbing, windsufing, and mountain biking. They've been holding sessions for over 20 years.
Posted: 23:58 10-24-2007 242
Cub Scout Hero
If you read Boys' Life every month like I do, you've seen a lot of Scouts in Action stories. Today, a Minnesota Cub Scout gets a medal for saving his little brother last year. Pretty cool!
In the summer of 2006, Jonah H., 10, saved his brother Micah, 3, from drowning in a family friend’s swimming pool. Micah jumped into the pool without a PFD and was unable to swim. Jonah called for help, swam to his brother and held his head above water until help arrived.
Jonah will be honored with a medal for his heroism tonight at the North Star Museum of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting
in North St. Paul. Jonah is a member of Pack 49 in Northern Star Council and lives in Maplewood.
In 2006, the Boy Scouts of America awarded 92 medals, spread across the 300 Boy Scout Councils in the country.
Posted: 15:42 10-24-2007 241
71 Years of Scouting in Phillipines
The Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) was established in 1936 with a mission to train youth as responsible leaders of the country that love God, their country, and fellowmen. Scouting was brought to the Phillipines in 1910 by Americans and now has more than two million members, making one of the largest Scouting organizations in the world.
BSP celebrates its birthday in October and has support of the government and especially the Department of Education. Education has weekly activities during October to help promote scouting in the schools. The activities this year support the "One World, One Promise" theme of Scouting worldwide.
As a highlight of scouting month in the Phillipines, the 14th National Jamboree will be held on Oct. 22-27 at the Philippine Scouting Center for Asia-Pacific Region, Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna. About 10,000 attendees are expected from the 109 Councils.
Posted: 23:08 10-21-2007 240
When I went to Philmont in 2005, we had a scraggly assortment of backpacks. We had internal and external frames. We had huge packs and practically microscopic packs. We had orange, brown, blue, red, and green packs. But, we all had full uniforms! :-)
Finding the luggage at the airport could have been a real pain, except that we had a trick up our collective sleeves. Rather than ship the backpacks and hope no straps fell off or zippers opened up, everyone bought identical duffel bags large enough to fit every backpack.
At the luggage carrousel, it was a snap to find our duffels as they came by! Plus, we had extra room for shipping back souvenirs, including the trail food I collected to show the troop what we ate for 12 days.
In case you haven't heard of them, a company called "Outdoor Products" has a range of camping gear that is inexpensive. It's a good brand for new scouts buying their first backpack or other gear - low price on gear they'll outgrow. They have a 10,600 cu. in. duffel for $23 listed on Campmor.com and other online retailers. I believe that's what we got in 2005 and the new guys'll be getting similar bags next year for the two crews we have going in June.
Posted: 14:37 10-20-2007 239
I've had a few scouts ask me about blogging, how does it work, is it fun, does anyone read it, what value does it have, ... and so on.
For the most part, blogging is done by women. That doesn't mean it's a good way to meet girls or that guys will think you're a sissy if you blog. It means that most of the blogs are written by women. Women tend to be more open with thoughts and like to share 'stuff' openly. These blogs are most often public diaries of daily happenings, feelings, and the kind of thing that might have been written in a diary not too many years ago.
When men blog, there is usually a theme or niche for their writing. For example, I mostly write about scouting stuff. Other guys have blogs about electronic gadgets, horses, hunting, business management, stay-at-home dad, pretty much any area of interest where they can write and not get into feelings too much.
That's not to say there aren't guys with "diary" type blogs or women with "tech" blogs. It's just what you will generally see.
The reasons scouts blog are varied. Usually, it is because they feel they have a lot to say about a topic or want an avenue to express their thoughts easily and quickly. Recently, blogs have had a very strong impact on web site ranking and have even become money-making experiments.
Starting a blog is very easy, keeping a blog going can be hard work, especially when you've emptied your head of all the ideas you have on that subject.
To start a blog, you need to decide what you will write about, how it will look, what software you will use, and who you will use for your blog hosting.
Picking your topic to write about is completely up to you. It's better to keep it a broad theme in which you have ongoing interest. Writing about "electric lawnmowers" might be too narrow, but "lawn and garden" gives you more room to expand.
There are many choices for software and hosts to use. Most software packages give you a selection of page layouts and color schemes so it's easy to make your blog look the way you want.
Movable Type is a powerful publishing platform for blogs and Movable Type hosting is available through many companies. Wordpress is another blogging software that is very popular.
I happen to be a web developer and created this site before blogging took off so my blog is "home-grown" and does not use a package. I would not recommend anyone do it this way due to the unnecessary work and lack of features. Just find a host, buy a package, and start sharing your thoughts with the world - it just takes an hour to get started.
Posted: 12:53 10-20-2007 238
So, they tell me there's a bug going around. You think?!?
I've been out of commission for the past few days and am just now catching up on backlogged emails. Some of them have been interesting, but the one yesterday from someone moving their furniture and expecting me to get some Boy Scouts to help them was the best. :-)
Anyway, today's the first sunny day in awhile so I've got to kick the son outside and mow one more time while I work on my link directory and a few other web site updates.
Posted: 12:22 10-20-2007 237
Cubmasters and Scoutmasters
I sat in on a local Pack's meeting last night so I could hand out brochures for our upcoming troop event to the Webelos den leaders. They inducted some new Tiger Cubs and a Bear into the Pack. What a great time!
The Cubmaster introduced the two cheers they'd be using for the night. Either the "horse cheer" when shed held up a horse or the "rooster cheer" when she held up a rooster. The scouts just loved doing these different cheers and the place was full of activity and just plain fun. It was a very impressive and well-planned meeting.
From the minute I arrived, I noticed there were adults everywhere directing scouts on what to do, where to sit, when to stand, ... and so on. It's so much different being a Scoutmaster where I have to ask permission from the SPL just to make an announcement. :-)
The people that make great Cub Scout leaders won't necessarily make great Boy Scout leaders. It is a huge shift in style that is required from being the ringleader to being a roadie, supporting from the sidelines and helping get things organized.
I've seen in our troop where parents have joined with their son and had a difficult time making the adjustment. The best thing to do is have new adults that want to be involved complete the Scoutmaster Specific training as soon as possible. It's also a good idea for the Scoutmaster to have some sessions for new parents where s/he can explain the differences between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. I do these in April and May each year.
Even though the specific job duties of Cubmasters and Scoutmasters are quite different, they have the same general task of being the one person seen as the adult leader of their unit. They also need to be a good team, working together to ensure the transition of Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. Do you know your teammate? You should call him or her tonight and find a time to make a transition plan if you don't have one yet.
Posted: 12:07 10-16-2007 236
Another Lucky Weekend
We've been exceptionally blessed with nice weather for our campouts this year. (Maybe it's that global warming?) The district Camporee this weekend had clear skies and cool temperature with geese flying over and leaves falling from the trees.
We woke up to frost on Saturday morning but no one complained about being too cold at night. We had a 50% chance of rain Sunday morning, but it never came. The next few months will all be cabin and snow hut camping so the tents will be cleaned and packed until spring. I sure hope no patrol forgets to dry their tents before packing them away!
We had the opportunity to host 10 Webelos from a local pack and have them camp and eat with us. It was funny to see the difference a summer of Boy Scout camping makes on scouts. The Webelos, who were used to adults doing all the 'work', just ran around and then came looking for food when they were hungry. I told them that I only had enough food for the adults so they might want to go ask a patrol if they could help with the meal and eat with them. That took a bit of processing to understand, but they all got something to eat.
The Webelos joined us for our reflection and they all seemed to have had a good time. Hopefully, we'll see them at a troop meeting soon. It would be nice to get a few scouts from a new feeder pack.
I got to use a Sparks Fly flint & steel set to start our morning cooking fire - that was a fun success for me.
Posted: 11:50 10-15-2007 235
Last Campout of the Year
We're heading out in a couple hours on the last campout of the year for the troop. The November and December outings have us sleeping in cabins so this will be the last use of tents for awhile.
The weather forecast was practically perfect up until this morning when they changed it to be 50% chance of rain Sunday morning. Grrrr! But, that's our norm - packing up camp in the rain. There's a slight chance it might be snow instead of rain, but not likely.
This is the district Camporee with all troops invited, but only a handful participating. Past camporees have been lackluster and the district is trying hard to get them back in place as an outing not to be missed. But, it's hard to get over bad press, especially when it's passed down from scout to scout year after year.
We'll be hosting a handful of Webelos and their parents so they can meet our troop and experience a camporee. This is exciting because they are from a local pack that we've never even dealt with in the past. The two packs that normally feed us are not attending. So, this is a chance for starting a new relationship and having a good time.
I'll let you know how it went when I get home on Sunday.
Posted: 17:44 10-12-2007 234
Stages of Team Development
A scout leader needs to understand how a team develops so he can effectively direct them and modify his leadership style to guide them.
Typically, a new group gathering to perform a task will evolve from being enthusiastic with a low skill level to being confident with a high skill level. But, as a team evolves, the leader has challenges to lead them through the evolution.
There are four stages of team development that usually occur:
- Forming - Team members are excited to be on the team and enthusiastic about being part of the group. They may have very little idea about what they've gotten into and no skills to perform the required tasks. There tends to be lots of indepent initiatives that don't all work toward the team goal. The leadership style most useful here is Explaining.
- Storming - Team members realize that there is work required of the team and and they need to develop their skills to reach their goals. General enthusiasm drops because skills are not adequate. Conflicting ideas and assumptions need to be addressed to focus the team on a common goal. The leadership style to use now is Demonstrating.
- Norming - The skill level of the members begins to rise through practice and they gain confidence. Their enthusiasm rises as their skills grow. Members reach a common direction and have developed their place in the team. Team trust develops. Use of Guiding works here.
- Performing - With developed skills, the team is capable and getting the job done. They have high enthusiasm again because they know they can do it. The team is interdependent but each member is competent and autonomous. The leader just needs to use Enabling leadership now.
Even teams that reach the Performing
stage will revert to earlier stages in reaction to changing circumstances. A new leader may cause Storming or a new project may drop us back to Forming.
In Scouts, these stages of development should be expected after every troop election and whenever a group of scouts is tasked with a project. By including this in your troop leader training and reviewing it when a new team is made, it will help the team progress through the stages quicker and smoother.
Posted: 0:19 10-11-2007 233
Have you thought much about how the up and coming engineers and architects are being taught to work through our highly-discussed energy problems? Sure, we have hybrid automobiles starting to show up and windmills popping up on the prairies, but how mainstream is energy efficiency in the education system?
Well, for at least twenty teams from universities and colleges around the world, energy efficiency is the name of the game. The game is also called the BP Solar Decathlon and this year the event happens Oct. 11-17 in Washington, D.C.
These twenty teams are competing against each other to design, build, and operate completely sustainable individual solar homes. Each entry is judged on 10 criteria including style, innovation and efficiency. They've actually been doing the design and building part already but their houses are being displayed in a solar village for the next week on the National Mall.
The teams this year range from far and wide, including California, Colorado, Kansas, Georgia, Spain, Germany, and Canada.
The Solar Decathlon was initiated by the Department of Energy and first held in 2002. It was then held again in 2005. The first two Solar Decathlons were both won by the University of Colorado Buffalos. Maybe they'll make it a threepeat this year.
The contest is sponsored by BP and is a great showcase for alternate energy possibilities. In not too many years, solar power will no longer be a cool thing to check out - it will be a commodity energy source.
Posted: 23:56 10-10-2007 232
The Order of the Arrow is putting on a huge service project in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service in the summer of 2008. It is ArrowCorps5
and will consist of five separate projects on national forest land across the country with about 1,000 participants at each site.
Visit the official ArrowCorps5 site
for details about each site and registration information.
The five sites are:
- Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri on June 7-14
- Manti-La Sal National Forest in Utah on June 14-21
- George Washington & Jefferson National Forests in Virginia on June 21-28
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California on July 12-19
- Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on July 26-August 2
Councils should be in the process of setting up contingents now. There are some forms due in November and deposits due in February. The cost for each project is $250 plus whatever your travel costs may be.
The only way to participate is by going through your council - no individual registrations are accepted. Councils and Lodges were sent information just a couple weeks ago so this may be all new to them.
There are patches available for each project site and you can order them at OA Trading Post
even if you are not a participant.ArrowCorps5
is open for both youth and adult OA members.
View a promotional video:
Posted: 10:53 10-10-2007 231
Our district holds an Eagle Preview each spring and fall. This is a 2 hour meeting for all Life scouts to hear about the process of earning the Eagle rank. The entire list of steps is covered with emphasis placed on the project requirements and advice about how to proceed.
It's amazing how many people attend this event. When you see all the Life scouts together, it makes an impact about how many people are affected by the Scouting program. The age range is also fun to see - a few 13 year olds and a few 17ers, all working toward the same goal.
I think this is a great service that the district offers. It's not very exciting, but it's good information. I'd recommend you check to see if your district or a neighboring district does this and attend if you can. It's a good refresher for adult volunteers, even if you don't have a Life scout in the family.
Posted: 23:04 10-08-2007 230
I noticed a bunch of news stories on Google about Boy Scout troops doing Haunted Houses for fundraising events. Rather than door-to-door selling of popcorn or wreaths, they get the customers to come to them for a big scare - and pay for the priviledge. I thought Goblin Insurance might also be a good fundraiser - folks pay $5.00 and if they get TPed or any other problems on Halloween, the scouts clean up their yard for them the next day.
I'm just looking for halloween costumes for myself when the goblins come by looking for candy. I've always thought it would be fun to get something really scarey, but I'm afraid I might really creep out a little kid and scar him/her for life. So, it's usually something boring.
Our troop is doing a mock first-aid night at the troop meeting just before halloween. That's about as ghoulish as we're getting this year, but I'm looking forward to the few dozen critters that I know will knock on the door.
Posted: 18:25 10-08-2007 229
SSC - Start, Stop, Continue
In order to evaluate performance and begin to plan new direction, scouts should use Start, Stop, Continue. Other similar evaluation tools are Thorns & Roses, or Highs & Lows. The difference is that those only present the positive and negative reflection of what we've already done. Start, Stop, Continue looks towards the future to take our results and make a new plan.
- Start - What should we start doing to improve? Any new behaviors, activities, or directions to take? What should we do next to continue getting better? Was there anything we could to that would make things more fun or useful?
- Stop - What are we doing that is preventing us from being as successful as possible? Do we have bad habits or behaviors that we need to stop? What didn't work in this activity? Was there something that made it not fun?
- Continue - How were we successful? What went well that we want to keep doing in the future? What did we enjoy about this activity?
Start, Stop, Continue should can be used to reflect after any activity, campout, meeting, or event. It's a good way to promote continual improvement in the troop or patrol.
Posted: 10:18 10-07-2007 228
Troop Christmas cards
In a couple months, you'll start seeing all those business christmas cards by the water fountain at work or pinned to the employee bulletin board. They're a nice way for organizations to touch base at the end of the year and thank clients for a year of business.
I think the same is true for troops and packs. The end of the year is a good time to send a card to every family in the troop, the chartered organization representative, maybe the district executive, and others that have helped make the troop's year a success. Including a newsletter of the year's adventures and accomplishments makes the communication more meaningful. You might even mention the coming year's plans and how the program is growing in both offerings and expenses.
Sending cards to other troops and packs in your community wishing them a successful year to come would also be a nice gesture.
Those cards don't just magically appear. Someone has to plan ahead and order them - right about now. The Gallery Collection
is a publisher of greeting cards with a wide selection of styles, one of which should suit the scouts in your troop. They are also holding a design contest which could be a way for one scout to help with college.
The contest prize is a $10,000 scholarship for the best designed greeting card. We have a few scouts that are really into computer graphics and I could see one of them having a chance at winning. The contest is open to high school and college students and the criteria are:
1. Overall aesthetic appeal
2. Quality of execution
3. Creativity and Originality
4. Successful incorporation of design elements
5. Appropriateness for use as a greeting card
6. Attractiveness to The Gallery Collection’s corporate and consumer customers
7. Suitability as a design in the Gallery Collection greeting card line
The official rules and entry are available at their web site.
Posted: 9:48 10-07-2007 227
Troop Leader Training
The new SPL led his Troop Leader Training session last night and today. Last night, just the Patrol Leaders were present to review the 12 month troop schedule and add another 6 months.
In March, the scouts started coming up with themes for their campouts instad of just skiing, climbing, shooting, ... They kept that thought process going this time with no prompting from me! In a year, we'll be doing "Ice Wars", "Winter Survival", and "Nifty 50s" campouts. Nifty 50s is tent camping but we'll go to a drive-in theater for a late show instead of a campfire. Ice Wars is a bunch of competitions like largest snowball, catapult target shooting, fastest hole drilled through the ice, ... and whatever else gets planned.
Surprisingly, the highlight of the night for some scouts was Balloons. I handed each scout a balloon and said the task was to come up with an activity for a patrol to do using just balloons. I figured it would take 10 minutes, but after playing with the ballons for about 50 minutes it was time for bed.
This morning, all the troop leaders joined us for the Training session. Three Life scouts helped present EDGE and other skill instruction sessions. It went very well. Each scout has a couple very good goals for their term which will make a big impact on the troop. We finished with lunch and sent everyone home.
Now, we just need to follow through with the commitments made.
Posted: 16:25 10-06-2007 226
Scout iphone accessories
At our Troop Leader Training this morning, the topic of electronic devices came up again followed by the discussion of allowing them on campouts or not. It was pretty amazing how many of the scouts now have iPhones, iPods (Nano, Shuffle, Touch, Video, Photo, Mini), cellphones, and the like. From 6th graders on up, everyone had some device - in the past it has usually been one or two of the older scouts.
A few of them also mentioned that they had destroyed a device from rain, dropping, or losing it. That's another good reason to leave them at home when camping. But, I found online that there are a lot of iphone accessories and other supplemental gear to help protect these expensive gadgets - everything from cleaning kits to aluminum cases. Maybe some ideas out there for your scout's Christmas.
Posted: 16:09 10-06-2007 225
EDGE - Explain Demonstrate Guide Enable
When teaching is done in our troop, the scouts are always expected to use the EDGE techniques. At every Troop Leader Training session, these skills are covered and the Troop Guides and Instructors are continually reminded of the importance of this process.
We also have guidelines that teaching is done to groups no larger than 8 but preferably smaller, materials are prepared and available before the training, and every session has a short reflection time for feedback.
The EDGE technique is:
- Explain - describe what is to be accomplished and how it is done. Possibly more detailed background explanation of how something works. For example, using a compass to find a direction and explaining how a compass needle points north.
- Demonstrate - show the skill or task being done so the audience can see a correct way to do it. At the same time, explain what you are doing so your actions tie back into the Explain step. For example, hold the compass flat, turn until you are facing north and make sure everyone sees the needle pointing the way.
- Guide - let the learner try the skill while the teacher helps him as needed. This may need to be done multiple times until the learner can perform the skill unaided. For example, each scout locates west on his compass and turns until he is facing west.
- Enable - each learner performs the skill unaided while the teacher watches to ensure correct technique. For example, tell everyone to find southwest on their compass and face that direction. If any are facing incorrectly, the teacher needs to go back to Guide with them.
Posted: 11:16 10-05-2007 224
Our troop is planning a Lock-in at the church for a Friday night in November. The scouts bring movies and watch them on the TV in the youth room. Unfortunately, with 40 or 50 scouts, a TV doesn't cut it any longer. We need something bigger.
An LCD projector hooked up to a DVD player and sound system would be perfect. We can show huge movies on the gym wall and it's like being in a movie theater. I have an LCD projector in my basement and my sons have had their patrols over to watch movies. But, I don't know if I really want it around the whole troop on the loose since it is quite expensive.
Instead of risking personal equipment, there are companies that rent and ship projectors around the country. For about $140, you can have a projector for the weekend. With 30 scouts, that's just $4.50 each for movies all night long. Actually, it arrives on Thursday and you return it on Monday, so you have access to it for four nights and three days.
If you are thinking about your own home theater like I have or something for troop presentations, then renting is a way to try it and see if it will work out before making a big investment.
Posted: 10:51 10-05-2007 223
Recall of Cub Immediate Recognition Kit
|The plastic "Progress Towards Ranks" piece of the "Immediate Recognition Kit" (Item No. 01804) is being recalled by the manufacturer, Kahoot Products, Inc. |
The item may contain lead levels in excess of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards in the paint on the totem badge. This is a voluntary recall and, pending formalization of the recall details, all consumers are urged to remove the Cub Scout Recognition Totem Badge from the child's possession and kept in a safe place where only adults have access. Detailed instructions for returning the product for replacement will be provided by the manufacturer and posted as soon as they are available.
The manufacturer has received no reports of any injuries resulting from the use of the kits, but are urging this action as a precautionary measure.
Please share this information with the other leaders and parents of Cub Scouts. You can read Kahoot's Recall Letter.
Posted: 10:26 10-04-2007 222
SMART - Goal Setting
When a scout takes on a leadership position, he needs to identify goals for his term in office. Whether he's an SPL, Quartermaster, or Bugler, he should have a few goals that he will complete before the next scout takes his spot. To help scouts create and meet these goals, BSA training uses the SMART acronym.
- Specific - know exactly what completion of the goal will look like. Use Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why to define the goal. Rather than "Make the troop more fun", a specific goal would be "Have each patrol leader pick a troop meeting and have his patrol present a new skit at it to make meetings more fun."
Specific goals help to focus efforts and minimize wasted time and effort.
- Measurable - know how you can tell when the goal is accomplished. Answering questions like "How many?" or "How much?" means the goal is measurable. A goal about improving the rank advancement of new scouts could be measured by how many advance at least one rank during my term. Larger goals may have measurable milestones so tracking of progress is possible while the goal is not yet complete.
- Attainable - believe that the goal can actually be accomplished given your resources and time. That doesn't mean it needs to be an easy goal - stretching abilities helps raise the belief in what is possible.
It should be possible to describe what resources are required to reach the goal and show that they are, or will be, available. Setting a goal of a high adventure trip to Spain this year may not be attainable, but planning it for 1 or 2 years away could be.
- Relevant – make sure the goal relates to the job and has importance to the organization. Having the SPL plan a Cycling campout in a troop where only 2 scouts have bikes wouldn't be relevant. Having the Scribe design a more professional newsletter format would be relevant.
- Timely - know how long the goal will take to achieve. Without a deadline, a goal doesn't get finished. Every goal and task should have a finish date attached so progress can be tracked.
Posted: 15:56 10-03-2007 221
EAR - Conflict Resolution Skills
As a leader, a scout will be called on to resolve conflicts between other scouts. Conflict isn't fun, but having a few skills to deal with it makes a leader more effective and able to keep his team unified towards the goal at hand.
The BSA youth training provides conflict resolution training. The EAR acronym emhpasizes the value of listening and then working to fix a situation.EAR
- Express, Address, Resolve
- Express - each person should be given the opportunity to tell their side and express how they view the situation. Equal time is given to all sides and no jumping to conclusions or prejudging should happen.
- Address - after listening to the involved parties, the leader voices the concerns so everyone understands the issues to be resolved. This ensures everyone is trying to work through the same problem, even though from different views. Acceptable changes to the situation that will ease concerns are discussed.
- Resolve - a plan evolves that will effectively resolve the conflict. This may be an obvious decision or may require each party giving up something to meet a compromise for complex issues. The leader needs to work so each side feels as good as possible about the solution.
Posted: 17:59 10-02-2007 220
Air Gun Contest
I found a site called pyramydair.com that is having a contest for blogs like mine. If enough of my visitors click this air guns
link, then I will win my choice of items from their catalog, under $150. Pretty simple, huh?
So, I looked through their site and it's amazing how many pistols and rifles there are available that shoot pellets, BBs, rubber balls, darts, and even biodegradable ammo. There are air guns manufactured in USA, England, Czech Republic, China, Italy, Germany, and on and on - not just the old Daisy or Crosman choice.
But, that's still what I plan to go with when I win. I'll get the trusty old Red Ryder
rifle by Daisy. It's a classic and my sons still enjoy watching 'A Christmas Story' where poor Ralphie will surely 'shoot his eye out' if he gets his own "official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and 'this thing' which tells time" - to quote Ralphie.
The current model holds 650 BBs rather than just 200 but it still has a leather thong on the handle and an engraved stock. Besides, since the price is so reasonable on the Red Ryder's I'm hoping I can get 4 of them so the scouts can use them on our next Shooting campout. Being that 'thrifty' kind of guy, the Red Ryder is on sale to boot, so that makes it even more attractive.
I also have two nephews that are at least as dangerous as Ralphie and probably WOULD shoot each others eye out. :-)
The folks at Pyramyd Air have an imaginative way to get visitors to explore more of their site and report any problems, typos, or mistakes they encounter. In the upper right of the screen, there is a link that says "Want to get 5% off?" If you click that, it gives you more information about the program, but basically you tell them about an error you found or just a suggestion to make the site better and they'll send you a 5% off coupon. So, if you decide to buy a few air guns for Christmas gifts, get that coupon first and knock off $15 off a $300 order.
Posted: 17:23 10-02-2007 219
The theme of Youth Leadership Training Continuum (YLTC) is Be-Know-Do. The BSA has reduced the leadership position training to these three core concepts in an effort to streamline the training and cover what is critical to successful leadership.
- Be - the values and attributes needed for a character of leadership. This is the internalizing of the Scout Law.
- Know - the skills needed for successful leadership. This includes technical scouting skills as well as interpersonal, communication, and planning abilities.
- Do - applying the character and knowledge to a specific position or situation. The leader uses his abilities to influence, motivate, direct, and participate to have his team complete a goal.
By focusing on Be-Know-Do, training covers character building, skills development, and teamwork necessary for a scout to create and lead a successful team.
Posted: 9:04 10-02-2007 218
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