A Collection of Scoutmaster Minutes From Troop 1911:


Seeing a Different Perspective: Bowline and Sheet Bend
  • Tie bowline – ask scouts what it is
  • Tie sheet bend – ask scouts what it is
  • Hide ends and ask if they can tell the difference

Have you ever gotten into an argument with anyone? Of course you have. Everyone gets into arguments, especially about things they care about. I’ve noticed, though, that sometimes I get into arguments about some pretty silly things. And sometimes the person I’m arguing with is basically on the same side as me but neither of us knows it! We are simply looking at the same problem from two different perspectives. This realization usually comes after some unnecessary words and bad feelings and could have been avoided if I had taken some time to better understand the other person up front. So, next time you have a disagreement with someone, take a moment to try and see things from the other person’s point of view. Make an attempt to understand why they are arguing their side. They may be seeing a bowline and I’m seeing a sheet bend, when in reality they are pretty much the same knot. 



In church this past Sunday, we were asked to think about a time this summer when we felt refreshed. Maybe it’s been when you went for a swim on a hot day, like some of you did this past weekend at Nimrod Hot Springs. Or when you finally caught that 27 inch lake trout on the last troll of the morning on Flathead Lake (Gabe and Caden). For me, it was when our troop went to camp and I was able to reconnect with some old friends and the place I hadn’t visited for about 20 years. 

One definition of refreshed is “having regained strength or energy”. To me, that means that before you can become refreshed, you’ve in some way been depleted – your energy or strength has been used up. For a cold water swim to be refreshing, you have to first be hot. For catching a fish to be really exciting, perhaps it is after a frustrating period of not catching anything. 

So as you continue your summer, ask yourself: what have I done this summer that made me feel refreshed? Is there anything else I can do to get myself energized again? And I challenge you to make that happen.


Tenderfoot 2c.  Explain the importance of eating together as a patrol 

One source says:
-Enjoy the company of other scouts.

-We work together, play together and eat together.

-Time to appreciate our blessings and give thanks.

At camp a couple weeks ago, our troop made a point to cook the entire meal, wait until everyone was seated, say a short grace and eat together as patrols. At the end of camp, everyone was asked to reflect on their favorite parts of the week, and a couple of our scouts mentioned one meal in particular – pork chops, masked potatoes and corn – where it was nice to have everyone at the table, good manners, passing food to each other, and sharing stories about their day. That meal was an example of how scouting is supposed to be: eating together as a patrol.

So, moving forward, I will challenge you as scouts to continue this tradition: Before anyone eats, make sure the meal is cooked, everyone is seated, and grace is said. Use good table manners. Share stories. I know you will appreciate the experience.


To Build a Fire: The Usefulness of Birch Bark

When I was younger, I read a story called “To Build a Fire” by Jack London. The story follows a man and his husky dog in the Yukon Territory way up North. While ignoring warnings and traveling to a camp in -75 degree weather, he falls through a patch of ice, soaking his feet and lower legs. The story then goes on to describe the struggles he endures to ignite a fire to dry himself out and warm up again. 

The story haunted me. And it inspired me to hone my fire starting skills so I did not end up in the same predicament. I would spend hours in my back yard, experimenting with different natural materials I found to figure out which ones were best at starting fires. Thistle down was superior to milkweed, for instance, at catching a spark due to the tiny filaments that made it like a feather. And I also discovered birch bark. Birch bark may be nature’s most perfect fire starter. If it is peeled thin enough and cut into steps, you can light it with a spark. Once lit, it burns with the intensity and vigor of a petroleum fire – like lighting gasoline. And here’s the best part: it’s waterproof. It can be soaked in water for days, but you can always pull it out and light it. For years, I carried a curl of it in my pack – just in case.

Birch is native to Montana, and can be found in the Seeley-Swan valley where I spent Memorial Day weekend with my family. While bark should NEVER be harvested from a live, standing tree, it can often be easily found on the ground. The bark itself outlasts the wood it surrounds and can sometimes be found in tubes when the center has rotted away. That weekend, I came across some cut up logs from a fallen tree and cut off the bark from one of them. On your way out, you can take a strip to keep with you in your pack – just in case you may need it some day to start a fire. 


Working Together As a Team: A Bundle Is Stronger Than One Stick

I’ve been thinking a lot about our troop and how we function as a team. I wonder how you are feeling about this – whether we are all operating individually, such as saying “I did KP yesterday, so I don’t have to do anything today”, or if we are acting as a team, such as when Eli noticed in his patrol this weekend KP was getting done without anyone asking. Their patrol was then free to move on to the next activity without the prospect of a dirty pot hanging over their heads. Here is a story I came across that I think does a pretty good job illustrating the benefits of working together as a team.

Once there was a Scoutmaster who had a troop at camp. The first evening he heard one of the patrols arguing. The Scoutmaster walked to the trees and gathered a bunch of sticks and tied them together to form a bundle. The Scoutmaster then asked each one of the Scouts to break the bundle of sticks. Using all their might, none could break the bundle. Then the Scoutmaster untied the bundle and asked the Scouts to break each stick separately. With ease they broke every stick. The wise Scoutmaster said to the patrol, “the sticks tied together showed you that there is strength in unity.” As Scouts, we have the strength of the Patrol or the Troop to rely on, and we should all stick together.


Does it Matter in the World If There Are More Archers?

This past week I received a book in the mail: By the Shores of Many Point. This is a history book of the camp we’re going to this summer in honor of its 75th anniversary, and tonight I’m going to tell you a story from this book. As many of you know, I worked here for 6 years through high school and college. Tonight I’m going to tell you a story about someone who had a great influence on my life because of the leadership he showed and taught.

The camp director of Many Point was a fellow named Bob Gagner. When he took over in 1981, it was after a period when the attitude of the staff was one of “staff first”. They had a good time, but there was no sense of purpose and very few rules that they followed. They had no uniform policy and would wear whatever they wanted. Attendance at the camp was at an all time low, with only half of the campers compared with ten years earlier.

One of the first things Bob did was issue standard shirts and hats to all staff members and they were expected to wear them. As is common with change in an organization, there were a few growing pains, but overall most of the staff supported the change. According to one staff member, “Actually, it does look a lot better when you’re not just throwing on whatever.”

Then next change he worked on was to the shift the attitude from staff-first to scouts-first. Here is a passage directly from the book:

“Many Point had always been, and still was, a place where scouts could have all kinds of fun. But Gagner had come to believe…that fun should come with a purpose. ’Take archery,’ he said. ‘Does it matter in the world if there are more archers? No. But it does matter if you learn to give yourself a positive self-talk. It matters if you learn that, when the arrow doesn’t go where you want it to, you have to aim differently’. 

You could interpret that statement literally, but I suspect Bob meant it on a deeper level. When things in life don’t go the way you  want them to, are you willing to change yourself so that the outcome is different the next time you try?

When I showed up to work at camp 15 years later, Bob was still instilling the values of the camp – and its “mission” as it had come to be known – in all of the staff. It’s something I still believe in today and still try to carry out as we do scouting as a troop.

For those of you going to camp this year, you will get to see first-hand the place Bob helped to create. Bob retired in 2006, after serving as Camping Director for 23 years. But, there’s a good chance he’ll be making an appearance this year – the same week our troop is camping. You’ll have to come along to find out.


How wolves change rivers: Your Actions Affect Others

In this area of the country, wolves are a controversial subject. Some people like them, some people would like to get rid of them. But, the reason they are so controversial is because, good or bad, they have an effect on their surroundings. Tonight, I’m going to talk about an unusual effect they have had that nobody saw coming.

Some years back I took a raft trip down the Snake River in Wyoming. The guide on the raft told the story of how wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone Park and the surrounding area after more than 70 years of being absent. The project was done because it seemed to be the right thing to do because they had historically been there. 

As expected, the wolves had an impact on the wildlife populations. They reduced the deer and elk populations. They reduced the coyote population. What people didn’t necessarily expect was that they would increase the rabbit and mouse populations. Because there were fewer coyotes. There were also more bear and birds. Because the wolves had scared the deer and elk away from their favorite area to feed – right along the river. The guide pointed to all of the shrubs and trees along the banks and told us they were not there just 20 years before. Regrowth of the trees and shrubs created more habitat for birds. The trees grew berries, which were food for bears. Finally, the most dramatic impact was that the shrubs and trees stabilized the river banks, which led to  more water flowing through the same stream channels instead of constantly seeking new paths and causing erosion. Indeed, the wolves had changed the rivers.

So, what do we make of all of this? Let me leave you with a parting thought:

Take a moment to think about how your actions impact ecosystems, relationships, – other people. Some of these ways you may not be able to fully see on the surface. But, can you begin a cascade of positive effects by changing some of your actions? By being more scout-like in your daily lives? This is my challenge to you this evening.


Be Prepared: The Story of the Titanic

For those of you who don’t know this story, I’ll share a quick version of the Titanic. 

On April 10th, 1912 the Titanic started her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. She was the newest and largest ship afloat at the time. She also had the newest technology of watertight compartments that gave her the nickname Unsinkable. She was a powerful and majestic ship. Her first class accommodations were the most luxurious of any ship with a gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, and the finest dining. At the time, there were three classes. First Class, Second Class, and Third Class (also known as Steerage). With all the high tech safety features, and engineering that went into building her in Ireland, the 2,224 passengers and crew members had great confidence in her… a little too much confidence.

Titanic, on her maiden voyage, only carried 20 lifeboats.  Less than half of her capacity of 48 lifeboats. If something drastic happened and the passengers needed to abandon ship, only 1,178 people at most would be able to fit on the provided lifeboats. 

On April 14th, four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, and about 375 miles south of Newfoundland, she struck an iceberg at 11:40pm ship’s time. On the starboard side, starting from the bow and working it’s way back, the iceberg started punching holes in the hull. A total of 5 of the 16 watertight compartments were now exposed to the ice cold water of the great Atlantic Ocean. But not to worry, she was unsinkable from the watertight compartments that could be remotely sealed from the bridge right. Yes and no… The design of the compartments below deck made it possible to keep the ship afloat if 4 compartments or less were damaged. But the iceberg breached 5 compartments causing the water to flow over the top of each compartment as it filled with water and gradually caused the ship to sink as each of the 16 compartments filled with water. The distress call of S.O.S. was broadcasted out to anyone who could help. The RMS Carpathia responded to the call, but was 58 miles away and would take over 4 hours to reach the Titanic.

To the lifeboats! But remember. There were less than half of the needed lifeboats onboard to save everyone.  Women and children were first to be saved. So the crew began loading the lifeboats, but only at half their capacity. It’s even speculated that First Class passengers refused other classes to be permitted on the lifeboats they were on. Also, many of the passengers, in the beginning, felt that loading the lifeboats was unnecessary. Even the dining room was setting the tables in preparation for the next meal. They still believed that this great ship would not sink. The lifeboats continued to be released with less than full capacity, the band kept on playing, and for the most part the passengers did not see the danger.

In two hours, things started to get bad, real quick. The bow started to dip farther into the water. So much that passengers noticed the angle as they walked or ran to their lifeboats.  Those that doubted that the ship would sink, came to the quick realization that the Titanic was doomed. But now most of the lifeboats were either already gone, or filling up quickly. There was no more room for those who waited too long to be saved. One can only imagine the chaos with a sinking ship in the middle of the freezing Atlantic, flares being launched into the dark sky, the sound of the water spilling into the bulkheads, the band playing Nearer My God To Thee, screaming, crying, fear…

At 2:20 am, from the weight of the water pulling her down, Titanic broke apart and foundered with over 1,000 people still aboard the ship. 

Those who did not hesitate running to the lifeboats were saved.  Sometimes the small and simple decisions, like taking a seat in a lifeboat, are the choices that end up determining the rest of our lives. 

We can learn many lessons from the history of the Titanic that we can apply into our daily lives.  As scouts, we learn to always be prepared. When Baden Powell was asked what to be prepared for, his response was “Why, for any old thing.” 

Continue to do your best each day as you prepare yourself for “any old thing.”


Great leaders bring out the inner strength that people often do not know they possess (Winston Churchill)

Who here has heard of the Duke of Marlborough? How about Winston Churchill?

Winston Churchill was a direct descendent of the First Duke of Marlborough, although he was never seriously in line for succession to that title. He was born in 1874 at Blenheim Palace where the current Duke resides. After what is understood to be a rather sad and ignored childhood, his father enrolled him in the army and thought that he had no future in academics. Yet, once there he studied hard and ended up graduating 20th out of a class of 130. From there, he kept ascending in influence and importance and is today recognized as one of history’s greatest leaders. Here’s what his granddaughter had to say about him in a speech she gave in 2012:

‘Churchill became Prime Minister at age 65, in the most daunting circumstances imaginable. Hitler’s blitzkrieg was over-running continental Europe, Britain was about to stand alone. Strong leaders need a challenge… . This is how Churchill described his emotions of the time: ‘I felt as if … all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour.’ My grandfather was reflecting the fact that his whole life had been devoted to inspiring leadership.

‘As time passed, following his death in 1965, Winston Churchill became an historical figure who fewer and fewer people could actually remember. Then, following the tragic events of September 11th he stepped quite literally right out of the history books and back onto the international stage. Leaders everywhere called on the inspiration and example of Winston Churchill, including President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

‘Faced with the global financial crises, terrorism, and war, the constant cry was: ‘We need another Churchill’.

Scouts, I mention this tonight because it’s important for us to look for leadership examples as we develop our own leadership skills. I’ll leave you with this one thought, again from his granddaughter’s 2012 speech:

‘Great leaders bring out the inner strength that people often do not know they possess. It has been said that Hitler could persuade you that he could do anything, but that Churchill could persuade you that you could do anything. He gave each and every man and woman an heroic role to play [during the second world war]. Perhaps today, you as a scout can identify a heroic role you can play in your everyday life.


4/6 A Scout is Friendly

A Scout is friendly. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their customs are different from his own.

When I was in graduate school, I shared an office with a very diverse group of folks. There were only ten or so of us in the space, but they included myself, who had come from Iowa and another fellow from a western suburb of Minneapolis. There was also a guy from Germany, one from the Phillipines, a woman from the Netherlands, a guy from Senegal and one from China. After work, I would often have long conversations with one or more of them and learned about their culture, way of life, political situations of their countries, and how the US was perceived from afar. We would share recipes and because we were in Minneapolis, they could often find foods that were from their home country that were completely unfamiliar to me. We would share meals together. I learned a lot and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. In fact, I’m still friends with the fellow from China – we collaborate professionally and have been working on a couple of projects for the past 4-5 years. I talk with him a couple of times a month.

So, the next time you come across someone that’s a little different from you, I encourage you to talk to them – learn about who they are and where the come from. Who knows? You just might just make a life-long friend.


3/30 Why do we fall? (The Batman)

This weekend I was watching a movie “Batman Begins”. It tells the story of why batman came to be. In an early scene, we meet a young Bruce Wayne (Batman’s real identity) who fell down a well. At the bottom was the mouth of a cave and out came thousands of bats, flying over the boy and putting a fear in him that would last well into his adult life.

In the scene when his dad pulls him out of the well, he asks his son this question:

Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

Here’s another way to think about it:

Failure is something we all experience in our lives. It is not pleasant – it can be discouraging and frustrating. But if we can use it to measure what it takes to be successful then failing becomes a tool we can learn from. If we take the time to look at our failures it will teach us what we have to do to be successful. It forces us to self analyze who am I and what I did. Winning is an easy pill to take. Often swallowed rapidly, cherished and we move on. We must use failure as a teaching tool. If we don’t take the time to learn from our failures then we have really failed at becoming successful and have gained nothing by failing. So failing is an opportunity that can teach us how to be successful.

Later in life, when Bruce finally conquers his fear of bats – that, is he picks himself up – he becomes the batman.


3/23 A Scout is Helpful

A Scout is helpful. A Scout cares about other people. He helps others without expecting payment or reward. He fulfills his duties to his family by helping at home.

Before Chicago publisher William D. Boyce made his fortune in the Windy City, he knew what it was like to live in the midwest. In Winnepeg, Canada, he co-founded a newspaper.. He worked as a reporter in Fargo, and in December 1882, in Lisbon, North Dakota, he started the Dakota Clipper, a weekly newspaper specializing in political and business intrigues.

In 1909, Boyce was on his way home from an African safari, and lost his way in a dense London fog. A boy came to his aid and, after guiding the man, refused a tip, explaining that as a Scout he would not take a tip for doing a Good Turn. This gesture by an unknown Scout inspired a meeting with Robert Baden-Powell, the British founder of the Boy Scouts. As a result, William Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. He also created the Lone Scouts, which merged with the Boy Scouts of America in 1924.

No one knows what happened to the boy who guided Mr. Boyce through the London fog, but he was one Helpful Scout who will never be forgotten.


First point of the Scout Law: Trustworthy

Here are some sayings about lies:

A lie will bring you quick results but no premiums. A lie will look well for an hour but show shabby for a year. A lie will bring you cash but cut your credit. A lie will bring you velvet for a moment but hard circumstances for a decade. A lie is a commercial fake, a social fraud, an intellectual makeshift, a theological blunder, and a universal failure. Don’t lie.  

Here is a short story from  “The Young Man and His Problems” by James L. Gordon. Courtesy of Funk and Wagnalls Co. “He had just moved into the area, and it was the first or second time he had been to town. He came into the store and ask the proprietor:  ‘Are these plow points tempered enough?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘I think not; I tried some of them and they are soft.’ When the farmer had gone I said to the proprietor: ‘Why didn’t you tell that man that the plow points were well-tempered and hard, and would do the work he required of them? Why, you told him the truth and missed a sale;  you’re a strange man.’ The author then notes: But, as long as I stayed in that community, that man had a customer who would spend his last dollar with him.”  

In other words, the short-term loss of sale from telling the truth turned into a long-term loyal customer.

As we go through our daily activities with work, school, and our various volunteer events, let us be like that salesman who told the truth when asked  if the product he was selling was good enough for the job.  


1/19 Neckerchief

When you joined your troop, you received a triangular piece of cloth called a neckerchief. As you know, this is worn with your uniform around your neck. This triangle is one of my favorite pieces of the uniform.  Not just because it adds some color or that it is extremely helpful when playing games, but because it has so many different meanings. The color of your neckerchief could represent your troop or what patrol you’re in. It could indicate that you attended a jamboree or national youth leadership training. When I was a staff member at Many Point Scout Camp, we had a unique neckerchief that made everyone aware that we were a staff member.  Everyone wore a “yellow neckie” and  It not only visually indicated to other people that we worked at the scout camp, but it also created a sense of camaraderie between everyone who wore it.

In order to look your best wearing the neckerchief, it needs to be rolled properly. Here are 3 different ways you can roll your neckerchief.

As we go through the ranks and merit badges, we find that the neckerchief can be used for other purposes including first aid applications. While hiking, you can wear a neckerchief to protect my neck from the sun and to cool myself down by soaking it in water along the trail.  But, there is one purpose that tends to get overlooked, to remind you of the Scout Oath. The neckerchief has three points. Just like the Scout Oath has three points.  Duty to God and Country, Duty to Others, and Duty to Yourself. I challenge you to remember the three points of the Scout Oath each time you place your neckerchief on your neck.  To God and your country, to help other people at all times, and to keep yourself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.


1/12 Physically Strong (Theodore Roosevelt)

In 1867, a sickly, asthmatic (which was sometimes fatal in those days), and frail nine year old boy received some advice from his father. “Son, you have brains, but brains are of little use without the body; you have to make your body, and it lies with you to make it.” From that day forward, this young boy started to make his body, and he never ceased in making that body until the day of his death. In the home gym that his father built, the boy became a strapping young man who loved to compete in boxing, rowing, gymnastics, weightlifting and exploring the wonders of the outdoors.

After graduating from Harvard, his doctor advised him to find a desk job and avoid strenuous activity due to discovering that the Lad had a serious heart problem. Instead of taking the doctor’s advice, he went out and climbed the Matterhorn instead. In 1880 he married and entered Columbia University Law School which only lasted a year before he decided that law school was not for him and dropped out and entered public service. In 1884 both his wife and mother died on the same day causing him to grieve for two years at his ranch in the Badlands of the Dakota Territory.  There he worked as a frontier sheriff and eventually remarried. 

In 1886 he ran for mayor of New York City, but did not win the race. But that did not get him down because in 1886 he worked for the U.S. Civil Service Commission and in 1895 became the president of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners. It seemed like he was on the fast pass of his career as 2 years later he was named the assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy and then a year later became a colonel of the First U.S. volunteer Cavalry known as the “Rough Riders.” Shortly after, he was named Mckinley’s running mate for the Presidency and won! In 1901 his running mate was shot by a deranged man and sadly died, causing this sickly, asthmatic, frail boy from New York City, to be sworn in as the 26th President of the United States at the age of 42. His name, Theodore Roosevelt.

When the world is constantly telling you that you can’t, be like President Roosevelt. Don’t let your weaknesses bring you down. Learn from them and get stronger. Each time we recite the Scout Oath, we give our honor that we will do our best to be physically strong. Because, No matter how weak or strong we are, there is always room for improvement. 


What Makes Someone a Good Leader?

We’ve been talking about leadership a lot tonight, especially in the context of NYLT sign-ups. One of the aims of scouting is leadership development. A mentor of mine once told me that Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement, was concerned about the future leadership of his country, England, because he experienced so many boys who seemed directionless and untrained. But, what exactly does it mean to be a leader? Scout Lucas Hodgson recently asked “What makes someone a good leader for Scouting and other activities?” So Scouting magazine posted the question to Facebook. Here five of the responses they got:

  1. A role model

“Someone that acts as a role model to his fellow Scouts and Scouters. That has always been my quote in my troop.”

— Ashton, a Scout from Pennsylvania

  1. A good person

“Someone who listens to others and can also listen to their own head and heart. Don’t be pushed around to do things that go against your own values.”

— Nicole, a volunteer from Ohio

  1. A servant leader

“I told my son when he became a patrol leader that you lead by example. If your patrol is assigned the latrines, be the one with the toilet brush in hand and use it. Any time you need to lead, especially if it is a volunteer situation, you are far more respected by participating than just telling people what to do when you sit on the sidelines.”

— Jamie Leigh, a volunteer from Texas

  1. A good observer

“A good leader notices when someone is left out or not fitting in and makes an effort to find out why and bridge the gap.”

— Ann Marie, a volunteer from New York

  1. A humble person

“Someone who guides and encourages. Not someone who says their way is the only way.”

— Nancy, a volunteer from Delaware

Now it’s your turn. As you think about those who lead you and those you lead, ask yourself, “what is going on that’s effective in a good way? What can I do to be a good leader?”


Traditions enrich people’s lives everywhere. Whether they are religious, cultural, or individual family customs. Traditions are like glue that holds a lifetime of experiences together. They can be common that many people practice or unique to only a certain family or group.

Our Troop has some of its own traditions. Who can name something our Troop does that’s a tradition.

The Christmas party is a tradition of this Troop, where sometimes those who are in town for the holidays drop by to visit. This year will be a little different …

Let’s remember to enjoy those traditions and our families this time of year, even if they may look a little different from normal.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us

My youngest son, Knox was asking me the other day what a hobbit was. That inspired this Scoutmaster minute:

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit… 

The shire was filled with cozy homes, small gardens, and good-natured hobbits. At the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring we are introduced to Bilbo Baggins’ eldest nephew, Frodo Baggins. Frodo is care free, full of joy, and just wants to enjoy Bilbo’s birthday party because in reality it’s also his birthday. But, fate has a different course intended for young Frodo.  Bilbo leaves a ring to Frodo and Gandalf is the bearer of bad news. After Gandalf confirms that the ring is indeed the One Ring of Sauron, the Dark Lord, he then begins to inform Frodo of the burden that is associated with the ring. Between Sauron, Smeagol, Gollum, Mordor, and a ring that will eventually take over his life; Frodo is frightened and angry.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

I’m sure that there are many of us at this current time and realm on Earth that are saying the same as Frodo did, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” We are seeing more and more people being infected with an invisible enemy. Economies are struggling. The days are getting darker. But, Gandalf reminds us that we are not in control of when bad things happen to us, but we are in control of what to do with the time that is given us. 

What will you do with the time given to you?

Thanksgiving: Benefits of Gratitude by Amy Morin

Two days from now we celebrate one of the most significant holidays on our calendar: Thanksgiving. It’s a time when traditionally families and friends get together to eat food, watch football, and take a rest from stresses of everyday life. It’s also a time when a lot of us pause for a moment to think about and maybe even talk about what we’re thankful for.

This year will be different for many of us in our country. My family, for instance, usually travels to see the grandparents in Iowa, or hosts a large gathering of friends. This year, there will be 4 of us at Thanksgiving: me, my wife, Eli, and my youngest son, Knox. It would be easy – perhaps even tempting – to view our situations in light of what we DON’T have. This might make us a little sad, or perhaps even bitter or resentful. 

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author and writes about 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. I won’t read them all, but they include better relationships, better physical and emotional health, better sleep and self-esteem.

The seventh benefit  she writes about is this: Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.

The article concludes by saying this:

We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.

So, this year for Thanksgiving, I encourage you see the good things in your life. Be grateful for your parents, your friends. The beautiful state in which you live. Allow your reflection on these things to fill you with good thoughts and satisfaction. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone and I hope to see you again soon.

Growing As a Model Troop

Last week we elected a new Senior Patrol Leader and Patrol leaders. Noah has appointed many of you to serve in troop leadership positions. Often times when there is new leadership put in place, there is new energy and a renewed vision for the Troop.

In a call last weekend, I challenged Noah and Luca to think about what the perfect meeting would look like. “Think about how it would look to someone visiting for the first time”, I said. What if everyone dressed their best? Even if you don’t have the official Scout pants, for instance, you have a choice as to what you will wear. The nice pants or the basketball shorts. Everyone is issued a neckerchief. Do you take the time to roll it nicely and tuck it under your collar? Is your uniform clean? What about the flag ceremony? Is it disciplined and well executed? What about new folks? Do we welcome them in, help them find a patrol, and reach out as Friendly Scouts?

I also asked what it would look like if patrols took the time to plan and organize an activity – both before and during the meetings? A few weeks back, for instance, we got to practice carrying each other on stretchers. A lot of you probably thought that was pretty fun, right? I’m going to challenge you to have something fun to do at every meeting. Your patrol leaders know what to plan for and when. Take a moment during patrol time to plan out those games and activities.

Finally, I want to talk a little bit about membership. We have an exciting year planned out. We’re going to go dig dinosaur bones in June. How cool is that? Do you have a friend or buddy that would enjoy these types of things? Invite them to check us out! Our next outing is December 5th – the Christmas Tree campout. Invite someone to come along! He’ll learn how to safely use a saw and axe and get to chop down trees and even bring one home for the family. No need to spend the night even. They just might like it and want to join. If a friend of yours joins, you can earn the Recruiter patch to wear on your uniform.

We’ve got a lot of great guys in this troop. We have some fantastic leadership in place. We have a lot of fun and exciting activities planned this next year. I challenge you to be a GREAT troop. I know you can do it.


Stepping Up to Be the Leader

Today is Election Day for our country. Next week is election night for our Troop. You have undoubtedly heard a lot about the importance of voting so that we can have the leaders in place that best represent the people of this country.

What you may not have heard about as much is the importance of stepping up to serve as the leader. It is my observation that each and every one of you will have many opportunities in life to step in and be the leader. For example, taking the lead on a school project or organizing a game amongst friends. The question is – when that opportunity comes, will you be up for the task and willing to take it on?

Leadership takes work and leadership takes practice. Fortunately, Scouting provides you with experience in both. Next summer, many of you will be eligible to participate in National Youth Leadership Training – where you can work on and develop your skills from excellent trainers along side fellow scouts. I’ll be promoting this more as it gets closer. In the meantime, serving in a leadership position in the Troop puts those skills into practice. Take full advantage of this opportunity!

In the end, I will leave you with this quote from Scouting’s founder Robert Baden-Powell. As you listen to the words, consider how your service as a leader could make make a difference in life.

He says:

“Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. ‘Be Prepared’ in this way, to live happy and to die happy — stick to your Scout Promise always — even after you have ceased to be a boy — and God help you to do it.”

– Baden Powell.


Having a Dream: Alan Bean

We all have dreams and ambitions in this life. There is even a famous speech that starts out with saying, “I have a dream.” A couple of my own personal dreams and ambitions include becoming a better photographer and becoming a better leader. Some of our dreams are attainable while some are in a totally different galaxy.

Alan Bean was an astronaut on Apollo 12 who walked on the moon. When asked what he learned about success over the years, this was his answer: “The most important quality I have noticed in successful people is that they have a dream . . . . They think and work toward that dream every day. I often ask people to tell me their dreams. ‘What did you do today to move you closer to your dream?’ 85% didn’t do anything. They’re planning to do something next week, they’re just too busy today. These 85% will probably never see their dream come true.”

So, ask yourself the same question, ‘What have I done today to make my dream come true?’ If the answer is ‘Nothing specific,’ then you will never make it unless you change your ways.

There is a wise saying that goes, “if not you, who? If not now when?”

For most of us, the end goal will not magically happen overnight. But constantly doing one little thing everyday will get you closer to making your dream come true.


Fresh Water

In church this past Sunday, the pastor showed a picture of a stagnant pool of water. It was pretty gross – full of mud, algae, probably some mosquito larvae. “This is not water I would want to drink” he said. He contrasted this to the fresh water you see in mountain lakes. Many of you visited some of these lakes in Montana with me this summer. Why is the water in mountain lakes so fresh? [There is an inlet and an outlet; the water that goes in is fresh and clean]

Our minds are like a lake or a pool as well. They can be fresh and clean, or they can stagnate and get icky. If we are unwilling to learn new things and become set in our ways, we can get stagnant. The things we do and say are often a reflection of what we are filled with. If the things we are viewing, reading, and thinking about are polluted, our minds can get polluted as well. But, if our minds are full of good things – for instance, if we are learning first aid skills – good things will flow out of us, such as being able to help someone who is in trouble when that time comes.

So, I have 2 challenges for you scouts:

  1. Make sure you never get stagnant – always seek to grow and learn. And
  2. Fill your mind with good things. Keep it clean. So you will eventually give good things back to the world.


Giving Back: Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane is one of the superstars in the Liverpool soccer (football) team. He grew in up on an African country called Senegal. Mane earns more than 10 million dollars annually and is one of the top soccer players in the world. However, recently, there was one photo uploaded by Mane which broke the hearts of many fans. In the photo, some spotted Mane carrying a cracked Iphone 11. Many fans were confused as to why Mane didn’t buy a new Iphone. Some joked that he can at least but a new screenguard. Why do you suppose Mane would not worry about fixing his phone or putting on an image of being wealthy?

In an interview in October 2019, Mane outlined that his major goal after becoming one of the top players was to help people. “Why would I want ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches and two jet planes? What would that do for the world? I starved, I worked in the fields, I played barefoot, and I didn’t go to school. Now I can help people. I prefer to build schools and give poor people food or clothing. I have built schools [and] a stadium; we provide clothes, shoes, and food for people in extreme poverty. In addition, I give 70 euros per month to all people from a very poor Senegalese region in order to contribute to their family economy. I do not need to display luxury cars, luxury homes, trips, and even planes. I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me,” Mane said.

The slogan of the Boy Scouts is “Do a Good Turn Daily”. This simply means to use your time and talents each and every day to give back to others. You don’t need to have millions of dollars to do this. But, often times, we are a bit better off than those that we are helping. Perhaps you have a bit more time. Or better health. Or knowledge, such as how to change a tire. You don’t have to have millions of dollars to help others. But, looking at examples like Sadio Mane can help us remember to use the gifts and blessings we’ve been given to help others and make the world a better place. Do a Good Turn Daily.


Dreams Are Important

Tonight we spent some time brainstorming and dreaming of activities we will do in the next year. Without dreams and imagination very little progress would be made in life. Some of you guys do a good deal of daydreaming. Sometimes teachers and parents think you do a little too much and need to wake up to reality. A productive life is a happy balance between the two. We can’t spend all our time dreaming. We have to put our best dreams to work. All action, both good and bad, is based on dreams. By dreams I don’t mean the weird things that pop into your head while you sleep. I’m talking about your hopes, wishes, desires– thoughts that just pop into your head and heart at any and all hours of the day or night. Dreams really do come true, so guard your dreams with care. For unreal and hopeless as they may seem, they could become either a prison (if they are negative) or a home for you if they are positive. So dream positive, and dream big about ways to make life better for yourself and others.


A Little Extra Effort

As you watch me tie these poles together, think about how this lashing might be compared to success in life. The wrapping turns hold the two poles closely together. But notice that they are not real tight, and with a little movement of the poles, the ropes loosen to allow slipping.

Now I add the frapping turns. I might have been satisfied without these turns, but notice what happens when I make the extra effort to add them. The frapping turns took up all the slack in the first turns and tightened the entire lashing the poles are now securely bound together in place. Repeated movement won’t loosen the ties that bind them together.

These frapping turns that finished the job took a little extra effort, but what a difference they made in the job! In life, you will constantly be given chances to put forth a little extra effort. When you have the chance, don’t let these opportunities pass. Remember the frapping turns.

If you put extra effort into things you undertake you will find success in life, real lasting friendships, and the inner knowledge that, come what may, you 



In the patrol leaders council, we often talk about the skills of leadership.  Patrol leaders who have been through Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops, or National Youth Leadership Training know even more about them.  Of the leadership skills we discuss, I believe one of the most important is setting the example.  There’s an old saying that sums it up well.  It goes something like this: “What you do speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say. ” In other words, don’t tell me what is right; show me by your example.  

It seems to me that when it comes to setting the example, we are all leaders.  Even if you’re not a patrol leader, the way you conduct yourself will rub off on your patrolmates.  If one patrol member goofs off and is sloppy in his habits, there’s a temptation to say, “Well, Brian gets away with it, why shouldn’t I?” 

That may be human nature, but it’s not the nature of a good patrol or a good troop.  A good patrol and troop have to work like a team, with every member setting a good example of Scoutlike behavior.  Let’s keep that in mind always, but especially when we’re in summer camp this next week.  Let’s show our pride in our troop and in ourselves as Scouts and young men. 



Tonight’s minute is about “discipline”.  The dictionary has several definitions for “discipline”, including “punishment” and “a field of study”. But, tonight I would like to discuss this meaning: “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.” Indeed, Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, is quoted as saying: “The Scout Oath and Law are our binding disciplinary force.” In other words, Scouts all follow the same rules – with the aim of improving ourselves – and as a result we as Scouts are bound together with a common purpose.

This past weekend I read the book “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing. It is a real-life story of how 28 men endured two full years in the Antarctic, including a sunken ship, camping for months on a slab of ice drifting in the ocean, staying on an uninhabited subarctic island, a 600 mile small-boat sail through the world’s most treacherous waters, and topped off by a land crossing on an island that nobody had done before and nobody was able to do again for another 50 years. It was led by a man named Ernest Shackleton who has become regarded as one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen.

Sir Raymond Priestly, Antarctic Explorer and Geologist has this to say about the man: “For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.”

What made him such a great leader? I pulled out three characteristics that stood out when I read the book:

  1. Optimism. He knew how to keep the spirits of the crew up and he never even hinted at despair or lack of hope. In one instance, he told a crew member to leave behind 3 newly hunted seals because he was certain they would not need them to get to the next step of the journey. While it was ultimately a mistake, it highlighted how confident and optimistic he was about their eventual escape.
  2. He was first to volunteer for the most difficult and unpleasant tasks that needed to be done. After a sleepless night battling 100-foot waves in a 22-foot boat, he would volunteer to take the first 4-hour watch – to make sure the ship would not run into ice bergs – while the others slept. If you want others to follow you, set the example by taking your turn at undesirable tasks (such as doing the dishes on campouts, right?)
  3. He kept the discipline in the group. The common goal was to survive a shipwreck and all activities were centered around that aim. Nightly watches. Close watch on rations. Daily routines. Assigned responsibilities. Care for the sick and wounded. Shackleton was a man with a plan who stuck to the plan, including all the unpleasant tasks, and created an environment where the crew could depend on him. They respected him. They wanted to follow him. 

Imagine for a moment if you were a new scout and you walked into troop meeting for the first time. What would you want to see? What if there was complete freedom, and everyone was going in their own direction, or if nobody was wearing a uniform. Now imagine walking into a Troop meeting where the SPL has the patrols in straight lines. Everyone is in full uniform. The flags are presented with precision and respect. Which troop is the one showing discipline? What do you want your troop to look like? 


Diversity and Inclusion

I know you’ve been hearing a lot lately about the news and protests about racial injustice in our country. This is an important moment in our nation’s history and every one of us needs to pay attention and respond.

A couple of weeks ago, the Boy Scouts of America issued a statement in response to the situation. Does anyone know what that said?

The first statement was this:

“As our country reckons with racial injustice, we all must consider our role and our failures and commit to meaningful action.”

It also states in bold:

“There is no place for racism – not in Scouting and not in our communities. “

It then goes on to announce a new “Diversity and Inclusion” merit badge that will be required for Eagle. It is described as a combination of Citizenship in the community and American Cultures. It is not supposed to affect those of you who are currently working on Eagle, but it is likely that many of you in this room will earn this badge in the future as you work toward Eagle Scout.

But, did you know that the Scouts have historically been on the forefront of inclusion and diversity? Benjamin Rene Jordan, a professor at Christian Brothers University, wrote a book called “Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America” about the early days of Scouting.  

In an interview, he said, “In the teens and 20’s the organization was very inclusive and cutting edge for groups that were socially or culturally despised or discriminated against in that period. So they went out and actively sought alliances with…groups that many people thought weren’t good Americans or weren’t good citizens…”

For instance, the Boy Scouts reached out to and included “African Americans and Native Americans much faster than a lot of institutions in the United States were willing to do.” Immigrants, marginalized ethnicities, and religious faiths were all groups that the Boy Scouts included from an early period in its history.

Certainly things in the Boy Scouts have changed over the past 100 years. But, the recent call to take action on inclusion and instill it as a value in our members reflects a value as timeless as the organization itself. And I hope that everyone here takes that to heart and embraces those who are in and who seek to become a part of our troop.  

Indeed, one thing I’ve come to love about scouting over the years is this: No matter your background, race, social standing, intellect, physical ability, etc. etc.  – “Everybody gets a chance”.


Character: Fernández Anaya

In December, 2012, there was a cross country race held in Spain. It features some of the world’s elite runners. 

Athlete Abel Mutai, an Olympic bronze medalist representing Kenya, was just a few feet from the finish line, when he became confused about the signage and stopped running, thinking he had completed the race. 

A Spanish athlete, Fernández Anaya, was right behind him and realized what was happening. He started shouting at the Kenyan for him to continue running; but Mutai didn’t know Spanish didn’t understand. So, Fernández ran behind him and guided Mutai to the victory. 

Afterwards, a journalist asked Fernández, “Why did you do that?” 

“I didn’t deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.” 

Fernández Anaya’s actions may not have earned him the win, but they did earn him many new fans. Since the race, his Twitter and Facebook pages have been filled with plaudits from around the world.

This past week, a young person asked me, “What do I need to work on to set myself up for success in life?” My answer: Focus on your character. Being honest. Integrity. Being what you believe and living that out. Character is more important than any skill you develop.

Today, we remember Fernandez Anaya not because he was a great runner. We remember him because of his character and the integrity he displayed at a race nearly a decade ago.


Flag Day:

This past Sunday was a National holiday – can someone tell me what it was?

Flag Day – 

Some of you participated in a flag retirement ceremony this past Sunday to honor those flags that have completed their useful service. 

On June 14, 1777 we got our first official US Flag. The Continental Congress which made the laws in those days, specified that the flag would have 13 stripes, alternating red and white, and 13 white stars on a blue field.

Over the years, the flag has gone through many different design changes, from a circular arrangement to straight rows and even different sized stars. It wasn’t until 1960 that the current flag design was adopted. Here’s a neat story I came across about how the flag looks today:

By Josh Axelrod and Saeed Ahmed, CNN

The designer of our current flag was a 17-year-old Boy Scout named Robert Heft. What did this talented teen get in return for creating the iconic look? A grade of B-minus.

Heft’s teacher asked students at Lancaster High School in Ohio to design a new 50-star flag, after Hawaii and Alaska joined the Union. Robert arranged it with five rows of six stars and four rows of five stars, spending 12 and a half hours sewing the flag.

His teacher said the design was unoriginal and gave him the mediocre grade, but offered to raise it to an A if the design was accepted nationally. So Robert wrote to his congressman and the rest is history.

And when his flag was adopted on July 4, 1960, his teacher changed his grade to an A.


Success Only Lasts a Little While

This past week, I watched the ESPN documentary, “The Last Dance” about the 1998 Chicago Bulls NBA basketball team. Has anyone seen that? Great documentary about one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. 

Does anyone know the name of the coach of that team? Yes, Phil Jackson. Universally touted as the greatest NBA basketball coach of all time, he coached the Chicago Bulls and then the Los Angeles Lakers to a total of 9 world championships. He’s coached some of the greatest players of all time, including Shaquille O’Neill, Koby Bryant, Scottie Pippen, and, Michael Jordan. And he happens to be from – you guessed it – Montana.

In the documentary, he uttered a statement about success. The Bulls had just won their fifth championship and were considering trying for a sixth. He said this:

You’re only a success at the moment you perform a successful act. You have to do it again.

  • Phil Jackson

In other words, they could celebrate for a little while. But, then the moment would pass and everyone would look to see what happens next. The quote caused me to feel a little uneasy. On the one hand, when you accomplish a goal, you usually feel pretty good about it. And you should! On the other hand, it doesn’t really last that long. But, that’s how life works, right? This morning, I went on my daily run. And I feel good about it. But, if I want to get in shape, I need to get up tomorrow and do it again. The grass I mowed last Sunday grew this week and needs to be mowed again. In school, when you get your homework done and you feel good about it. But, what happens the next day when you get up and go to school again? More homework.

The same goes with Scouting. When you earn that first rank of Scout, we award it to you and celebrate your success at a Court of Honor like what we’re having next week. But, guess what? The Tenderfoot rank still lies ahead. And so on all the way up to Eagle. But, even Eagle is not the end. In the Eagle Scout pledge, we hear these words: 

On my honor, I will do my best to make my training an example,

and make my rank and influence strongly count

for better scouting and for better citizenship,

in my troop, in my community, and in my contact with other people,

regardless of race, color, or creed.

To this, I pledge my sacred honor.

The attainment of Eagle Scout is not the end. It is a definition of how to live your life from that moment on.

Scouts, I challenge you to keep moving forward. Embrace the next challenge of the next rank. Always keep growing, and never give up.


Prepared for Life

Michael’s dad Ian sent me a news story this past week that I’d like to share with you. 

Jayden Hardowar an 8-year old in New York City, came down with a mild fever in late April and seemed to show he had recovered. But shortly after, he came down with an upset stomach and three days later, collapsed.

Tyron, the boy’s 15-year-old brother, performed CPR and helped keep Jayden alive until first responders arrived and used a defibrillator to revive him.

“I was very nervous. I had all these thoughts going through my head, but then I told myself I need to put them aside and I need to focus,” Tyron told the reporter. “Once I saw him take a deep breath I was, like, ‘I’m doing something right,” he said. “I’m very happy that, you know, I made an impact on his life.”

In the hospital, Jayden was tested and it was determined he had the coronavirus in the past, despite not having the severe symptoms. It caused him to develop a condition that led to his cardiac arrest. After spending two weeks in the hospital, he is back home again recovering.

When the reporter asked Jayden how he came to know CPR, he mentioned he was a Life Scout and on his way to becoming Eagle Scout. “Every scout”, he said, “needs to learn CPR. I recently took a hands-on training, and that’s where I became familiar with CPR.”

Scouts, I mention this tonight because the skills you learn in Scouting are very real and very important. They might just save a life. Next week, we are going to learn about the signs of a heart attack and about the steps of CPR. We are planning to meet at Playfair park at the pavilion for a demonstration from one of our Eagle Scouts and a former Scoutmaster, Tony. So come prepared to see each other, and come prepared to learn or brush up on some useful skills. We’ll see you there!

SM Minute – Change

This past Sunday I was participating in our church’s weekly service. Online, of course. The topic was about an Old Testament prophet who was facing a particularly difficult time and was wondering when it was all going to end. In relating the story, the pastor said at one point, “I sometimes wonder when I can go back to the way things were. But, I have a surprise for you – God doesn’t ever go back. God is always moving forward. Always doing a new thing – in my life, in your life…in this city, in this nation, in the world. The question is do I have eyes to see how He is moving us forward even when it feels like we’re stuck?”

It was a sobering thought for me – the idea that things are not going to be the same as they were. My work, time with family, interactions with my kids’ schools, and scouts will all be different going forward. In some ways, it’s a little sad. There are things I’m probably going to miss. I’m going to miss Kolby as SPL. I’m going to miss the Scout handshake – at least for a while. I’m going to miss summer camp the way I know it.

We’re going to be easing back into in-person events and meetings again over the next several weeks. We’ll need to keep our distance. We’ll likely be outside. Things will be a bit different. But, I’m also optimistic about some of the changes. I think tracking advancement online is a great way to keep up with progress and see your success. You can enter the information yourself! I was talking with ASM Dave today and we were remarking how patrol meetings through video chat can be a great way to connect, make plans, and do presentations required for some merit badges. I think when we do get to spend time together again, it will be a bit more meaningful, and I know I’ll value it perhaps just a bit more. And I’m looking forward to working with our new Senior Patrol Leader!

So Scouts, moving forward, let’s keep our eyes open to change. It’s OK to acknowledge and even be sad about some things that are different. But there are also some things that will be for the better. Be aware of those as well and be thankful for them. 

And again, I admonish you this: Be healthy, Be safe, Be prepared!


Senior Patrol Leader

The week before our elections, I wanted to take a moment to recognize your Senior Patrol Leader, or SPL. That person is Kolby, and he’s been serving in that role for nearly 6 months. As SPL, Kolby has been in charge of the Patrol Leader’s Council – or PLC – which is the group of scouts that runs the troop; deciding on meeting themes, organizing and leading campouts, teaching skills, and generally making things work. 

The Senior Patrol Leader is the lead scout in the Troop. It’s a position of responsibility, yes, but also one of esteem and respect. It is one of the most significant leadership positions a young man can hold during his Middle School or High School years, and it’s on par with the captain of a sports team such as football or soccer. In Troop 1911, the position is especially important as our troop is and has historically been one of the largest troops in the entire state of Montana. 

Serving as an SPL can be one of the most important opportunities of one’s young life. A scout will learn to organize, lead, speak in front of others, inspire, and keep the peace. He has the latitude to implement a vision for the troop and lead scouts to new experiences, hone excellence at meetings and camporees, and be a role model that younger scouts look up to and aspire to become one day. In short, it is an incredible opportunity.

So, why do I mention this now? First, I want to acknowledge Kolby, and his Assistant Senior Patrol Leader Will, for their service these past six months. Your leadership and service, especially during these particularly difficult past couple of months, has been fantastic. You’ve overseen many activities, from the Klondike Derby to the cabin campout at Georgetown Lake, and our Virtual Campout just a couple of weeks ago. You’ve taught scout skills, and overseen troop meetings such as how to cross country ski, bird identification, and hosted a session with some of our city’s leaders. It’s been quite a ride!

Secondly, I wanted to inspire those who are Star Scout or above to consider this rare and important opportunity. If you have any thoughts at all about doing this, I would urge you to be courageous and give it a shot. Next week, come prepared with a short speech outlining your qualifications and vision for the position. Let me know you intend to run and I’ll help you come up with something to say. Also, talk to someone you would like to work with as an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader before next meeting.

Finally, I want to inspire our younger scouts. The time will come when you will be faced with the opportunity to become a Senior patrol Leader. Build up to it. Start to take note of things you would like to see the troop do. Start formulating a vision. Watch those who lead to learn from their strengths, but also note things that you might like to do differently. Be prepared for when the time comes.

In closing, I want to say “Thank You” again to our outstanding Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Kolby and Will. You have made your mark, and I look forward to your continued leadership with the Troop in the upcoming months and years. 

So, with that, I will say “good night”, and I look forward to a great turn-out next week for elections!


Why I Hire Eagle Scouts

A recent article in Scouting magazine highlighted some of the reasons employers hire Eagle Scouts. Dan Churay is the head of the hiring department at a major corporation in Houston, Texas. He highlights a few of the characteristics of Eagle Scouts:

“Eagle Scouts are leaders with a built-in set of core values, a trained sense of how to achieve objectives with the resilience to persevere to overcome obstacles and roll with the punches,” Churay says.

Eagle Scouts are Resilient

Scouts learn how to be resilient early on. After a first campout in a thunderstorm, a Scout learns about leaky tents, muddy campgrounds, lack of sleep from the thunder and wet sleeping bags – not a pleasant experience, at first. But the next morning, the sun comes up, the sleeping bag and gear dries out, and a Scout can brag, “I survived!” Later this experience becomes a story of perseverance and resilience upon which the Scout can lean on as life throws other curves at him.

Eagle Scouts are adept at learning

Scouts learn a lot. They are thrown into new situations and figure things out. Scouts are taught to survive in the wilderness by learning to pitch tents, apply first aid to cuts, navigate the forest, cook meals and paddle a canoe. Scouting through its merit badges exposes Scouts to new topics, some required, and some chosen. Even so, many of these topics are completely new to the Scout.

Scouts learn leadership

Before a Scout earns his Eagle Scout rank, a Scout has served in a number of leadership positions. Patrol leader, senior patrol leader, quartermaster and scribe are just a few positions for which Scouts serve on their way to earning their Eagle rank. … Older Scouts teach younger scouts. Mentorship and servant leadership is ingrained in the Scouting movement. The best Scout troops are troops that allow the Scouts to run the troops with coaching from adult leaders. Like any skill, Scouts fail and learn leadership techniques through the coaching of their Scoutmasters and their assistants.

Eagle Scouts communicate

On the way to earning Eagle, Scouts learn to stand up in front of their patrols and their troops and make announcements and presentations. They learn to put on campfire skits or lead camp songs in front of groups. A confidence develops in this skill by these activities. Scouts learn how to capture an audience’s attention and how to make their point. Public speaking becomes more and more natural.

In conclusion, Churay writes:

In my capacity as an HR and business executive, I hired many people, most of whom have learned their business and technical skill and leadership traits outside of the Scouting program. There is no doubt that Scouting is not an exclusive incubator of talent. … Even so, I have observed that Eagle Scouts have a special edge in leadership skills.

Scouts I encourage you to keep on Scouting through this time. Keep moving toward those goals of resilience, learning, leadership, and communication. Troop 1911 has had more than 100 Eagle Scouts in its history and their names are on the plaque at the front of the hall where we meet. One day you may end up an Eagle Scout!


Endurance: A story of Ernest Shackleton

I wonder who here tonight has hear of a man named Ernest Shackleton? He is considered by many to be one of the greatest leaders the world has known. In 1914, he led a crew of 28 men on a journey of survival to the Antarctic that lasted nearly two years. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest stories ever told. Tonight I’m going to tell just a part of the story to highlight some of the things the crew did to get them through a particularly difficult time.

The ship’s name was “Endurance”, fitting for the situation they were in. In December of 1914, they set sail for the South Pole. Their mission was to cross the continent of Antarctica on foot and get picked up on the other side the following summer. Remember in the South, December is the beginning of summer. However, not two weeks into their journey, they entered “pack ice”, small icebergs floating close together in the water. Soon after, they became stuck in the ice, and by February, they realized they would not get free before the onset of winter. The Antarctic winter is a cold, dark time, that includes days – even weeks – of total darkness, when the sun does not rise above the horizon. For these men, trapped by the ice, hundreds of miles from the next-nearest human, with no way to communicate with the outside world, the situation might quickly turn into an environment of hopelessness and despair.

During the dark months, Shackleton was most concerned about his crew’s fitness, training, and morale. To keep the spirits up, he implemented a strict daily schedule that included common mealtimes, exercise, and leisure activities. They also regularly exercised their sled dogs, and even set up a dogsled race. The men kept each others spirits up, pulling friendly pranks on each other, and organizing small rituals, such as listening to the record player for an hour or two every Sunday night before bed. There is one particular event I want to read to you from a book about the expedition called “Endurance” (p. 54).

It gives me hope to think about these men, in the darkest and coldest of times in the Antarctic, gathering together for such a fun and encouraging experience. But, they had turned the corner. From now on, days would become gradually longer, until once again Spring, and then Summer returned to the Antarctic. For now, we’ll leave the expedition on the ice, but you are free to look up the ending, and I may come back to this in a future Scoutmaster minute.

Scouts, we hope we turn the corner soon, too – on this virus and the way we’re living our lives. In the meantime, think about some ways we can cheer each other up. One opportunity is a skit or song you can share at our online campfire this weekend. Bring a smile to the guys in the Troop. Consider being the Master of Ceremonies – it’s not that hard and it can count toward Communications merit badge. I will close with the enduring words found in the scout handbook: A Scout is cheerful. A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy


“The world is a frightening place right now. The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly while our medical professionals are working tirelessly to stem the tide. The best advice I have for you is to be the best Scout possible. As always, live your life every day guided by the principles of the Scout Oath, Scout Law and Outdoor Code:

  • Trustworthy, Obedient:
    • Stay at home!
    • Practice social distancing.
  • Loyal, Helpful, Reverent:
    • Do your schoolwork.
    • Help at home.
    • Attend Scouting events online.
    • Attend church services online.
    • Foster and maintain a sense of community.
  • Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Cheerful:
    • Be a good daughter or son.
    • Be a good sister or brother.
    • Be a good friend.
    • Be cheerful, especially when others are not.
    • Be more patient than ever. People behave differently when they experience higher levels of stress.
    • Talk with your family and spread your good cheer.
    • Connect especially with your older family members, who might fear this pandemic the most. Consider using video chat. I’ll bet just seeing you will lighten their hearts!
  • Thrifty: Be Prepared, but do not hoard, for this will deprive another person from obtaining what they need.
  • Brave:
    • Be brave in the face of fear.
    • Be calm when confronting adversity.
    • By exhibiting steadfast courage, you set a good example for others to follow. You’ll be a beacon on the hill, an inspiration for those who see you.
  • Clean:
    • Wash your hands.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
    • Keep your house clean.

Be the best Scout you can be: Do a Good Turn Daily. Be Prepared.”

3/31/2020: Perseverance

My scout master minute tonight is about Perseverance. 

Persevere is to be persistent, staying in the race, refusing to stop. We talked about it a couple of months ago when we learned about the marathon runner who had gotten injured but still finished the race, but I thought it was worth revisiting again in light of our current situation. Earning your Eagle award requires a lot of perseverance. We’re in a time right now, where some may find it difficult to adjust to a new routine, a new situation, a new life. Tonight I wanted to offer some words of encouragement from others; about keeping on with what you’ve started; in school, life, and Scouting.

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

-Albert Einstein (theoretical physicist)

Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.

-Charles F. Kettering (inventor, engineer, and businessman)

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson (author and philosopher)

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.

-William James (philosopher and psychologist)

Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer.

-Author Unknown

Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting.

-Christopher Morley (journalist, author, and poet)

And my favorite:

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

-Author Unknown



3/24/2020 – The Pandemic: Grieving Loss and Turning to Optimism

As we go through this time together as a Troop, community and country, I want to highlight the the three duties of the Scout Oath and how we can reflect on them in our daily lives to help us through. The first duty is to God and Country. The second is to Others. Finally, the third duty is to Self. We recognize these three duties at our Courts of Honor, when we light the three candles at the front of the altar.

The duty to God and Country is listed first in the Scout Oath, and certainly by design. Indeed, many people around the globe view their relationship and duty to God to be the highest priority in their lives. I have a friend in Michigan who lives by a motto taught to him by his father: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”, meaning never lose sight of God as the highest priority in your life. Times of uncertainty and struggle are when many people seek out spiritual support from churches, pastors, and the spiritual community. Indeed, during this time you may find it’s a little easier to do so, as many churches and places of worship are broadcasting services online. I encourage any of you feeling the need for spiritual support to use this as an opportunity.

As for Duty to Country, every citizen has responsibilities to understand, defend, and improve his community. Duties include serving in public office, voting, protecting natural resources, and learning about our government system. During this time, it is especially important to follow the guidance of our city, state and national leadership.

The second Duty of the Scout Oath is to others. You will look for opportunities to help and will not pass someone by that you are capable of aiding. You will use your skills to assist anyone you meet and seek additional help if needed. There are likely lots of opportunities to help others that will come up during this time. I will post them as I find them on Facebook, send emails, and work with others to organize opportunities. During this time, do not forget your duty to help other people at all times.

Last, we have a duty to self. To keep physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. Keep yourself active. Take a walk or a hike in the woods with your family. Eat healthy. Fill your time with exposure to positive things – the arts, good books, music, inspirational stories, merit badges. 

Finally, I will leave you with this:

Today I read an article by child psychologist Lauren Rockwell about grieving the “small things” during this exceptional time. She acknowledges that many of you are experiencing losses in your life right now that while not major, are very significant. Time with friends. The soccer season. Your high school graduation. A cousin’s birthday party. While these may seem small relative to some other things going on in the world, they are worth recognizing, honoring, and taking time to be sad for the loss. She then goes on to write:  

But keep silver linings in mind too. Life-changing losses and events like these almost always hatch good things later. Forest fires always encourage young things to grow. Not “having” makes you realize the joy and privilege of “having.” It makes it sweeter.

And as my wise son noted, empathy emerges when we find ourselves in a place we have never been and walking in shoes we have never worn. Laser clarity comes with loss and illuminates what is important and what is not. It can be a reset. Especially methinks, when the loss is of the first-world variety.

Scouts, keep your chins up and your heads high. Remember the duties that you’ve pledged. Be Prepared. Support each other. And we’ll see you next week!

Leadership Lessons from Geese

by Joel Garfinkle

As leaders, we can learn a lot from the goose. Geese are intriguing creatures and while considered pests in certain situations, they also have an incredibly strong sense of family and group loyalty. Probably one of the most phenomenal geese facts is that their desire to return to their birth place every year is so strong that they will often fly up to 3,000 miles to get there.

As you consider these fascinating facts, think about how you could apply these lessons to incorporate a bit of goose behavior into developing leadership skills to create your own style.

  • Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in V formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
    Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another. 
  • Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
    Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help, and we give our help to others. 
  • Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
    Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities, and unique arrangement of gifts, talents, or resources. 
  • Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those in front to keep up their speed.
    Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek. 
  • Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help or protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
    Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong. 
The Man in the Arena

I was reading the Montana Council newsletter recently and Jory Dellinger quoted Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech. Curious, I looked into the history of the speech, and found this piece by Erin Mccarthy that I would like to share with you:

On April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt gave what would become one of the most widely quoted speeches of his career. The former president—who left office in 1909—had spent a year hunting in Central Africa before embarking on a tour of Northern Africa and Europe in 1910, attending events and giving speeches in Cairo, Berlin, Naples, and Oxford, among others. He stopped in Paris on April 23, and, at 3 p.m. at the Sorbonne, before a crowd that included, according to the Edmund Morris biography, Colonel Roosevelt, “ministers in court dress, army and navy officers in full uniform, nine hundred students, and an audience of two thousand ticket holders,” Roosevelt delivered a speech called “Citizenship in a Republic,” which, among some, would come to be known as “The Man in the Arena.”

In addition to touching on his own family history, war, human and property rights, the responsibilities of citizenship, and France’s falling birthrate, Roosevelt railed against cynics who looked down at men who were trying to make the world a better place. “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer,” he said. “A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities—all these are marks, not … of superiority but of weakness.” Then he delivered an inspirational and impassioned message that drew huge applause:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Scouts, tonight I ask you: When the challenge arises, and the going is tough; when the easy response is to watch from the sidelines: Will you choose to enter the arena?

Finish the Race

John Stephen Akhwari was a marathon runner from Tanzania who competed in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. However, he had not trained for the high altitude and his legs started cramping up. At kilometer 19 of the 42 kilometer race, he was run into by some runners jockeying for position. He fell, badly wounding his knee and hitting his shoulder against the pavement. However, instead of ending the race at that point, he got up and continued. More than an hour after the winner had crossed the finish line, he was still running. The sun had set. Akhwari finished the race to a cheer from a small crowd. He had finished last, coming in 57th place. But he had finished, which was notable as there were 75 that started the race.

When interviewed later and asked why he continued running, he said, “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

Do each of you accept responsibility to finish a task when you start one or do you take the easy way out when the going gets tough? Do you keep your promises when you make them, even the ones you make to yourself? A person who keeps their word will be respected and trusted. What kind of person do you want to be remembered as?

Words to Live By

Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous author of Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde suffered throughout his short life from respiratory illness and he spent many years looking for a climate that would cure him. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 41 and is buried on Samoa. 

In spite of his considerable suffering he had twelve positive attitude tips that he lived by that I would like to share with each of you. They are still incredibly good rules to live by.

  1. Make up your mind to be happy, learn to find pleasure in simple things.
  2. Make the best of your circumstances. Everyone has problems. The trick is to make laughter outweigh the tears.
  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously, Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortunes that befall others.
  4. You can’t please everybody. Don’t let criticism worry you.
  5. Don’t let your neighbor set your standards. Be Yourself.
  6. Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
  7. Don’t borrow trouble. Imaginary burdens are harder to bear than the actual ones.
  8. Hate poisons the soul, so don’t carry grudges, avoid people who make you unhappy.
  9. Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.
  10. Don’t hold post mortems. Don’t spend your life brooding over sorrows and mistakes.
  11. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
  12. Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.

As each of you lives your life, remember his advice. Your attitude towards any given situation you encounter will almost always affect you far more than the situation. Attitude is everything in life.

Honoring Others

Next week’s court of honor is for friends and family to gather and appreciate your achievements in Scouting over the past few months.

One way you can give back to those who help you is to bring them along with you. In our Troop, we award not on the Scout the rank, but also the Scout can give out a mother’s pin. We’re going to go through a quick demonstration of how to do this.


Again, we hope to see everyone here next week to honor each others achievements over the past several months.

A Scout is Reverent

The word reverence refers to a profound respect for God. The wonders of the world remind us of our God’s creative power. We find it in the tiny lines of a leaf and the great mysteries of the universe. It exists in the kindness of people and in the teachings of our families and religious leaders. 

We sow our reverence by living our lives according to the ideals of our beliefs. The United States Constitution gives each of us complete freedom to believe and worship as we wish without fear of punishment. All your life, you will encounter people who hold different religious beliefs or even none at all. It is your duty to respect and defend the rights of others whose beliefs may differ from yours. 

In this Troop, we will have several opportunities to practice Reverence. This Sunday, we will be participating in this church’s Sunday service. We’ll conduct a flag ceremony for the Church and afterwards highlight some of our adventures and service from the past year. At an upcoming Troop meeting, our Committee Chaplain, Lance, will be presenting on the Scout Religious award that you can earn for your faith.

As we go into this next week and month, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on and embrace opportunities to deepen your relationship with the Creator. To be Reverent.

Setting Goals

Scouts, we have a court of honor coming up on February 11th. 

A court of honor is a chance to recognize those who have earned merit badges and advanced in rank. It is also a time for parents and friends to encourage those who have advanced by attending and participating.

Scouting is a path that leads from Scout rank through First Class up to the Eagle Scout badge. Overall in the scouting program, very few guys make it all the way. The only ones that do are guys who can set a goal and then work hard to achieve it.

One way to get started toward the goal is to set yourself a more modest goal. If you’re a Tenderfoot now, make up your mind that you’re going to earn Second Class in time for our Court of Honor in a month – or at least pick out and achieve several requirements to complete before that time. There is an ancient saying that is appropriate here – ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.’

That’s a good thing to remember, not only in Scouting but in life, too. You can’t progress if you never get started.

You’re going to have plenty of chances to pass advancement requirements in our troop meetings this month – and every month. Take advantage of those opportunities. We’re also going to have a chance to do some advancement at our campout this coming weekend. Merit Badge University is the last Saturday of the month, and sign-ups close this Friday January 10th. Here, you have the opportunity to earn at least 1 if not 2 merit badges.

It’s my hope that by time our February Court of Honor rolls around, each and every one of you will have  taken several steps toward the next rank and that many of you will earn the next rank.

Are You A Fire Builder?

Every Troop, it seems, has a fire builder. This is a person whose first thought in the morning, or on making camp, is to build a fire. He is the boy who kindles a fire almost intuitively in any weather condition. It’s a skill, or an instinct, which is almost independent of rank or experience.  Think about who in this Troop are the fire builders.

When you light a fire with flint and steel, you start with the tiniest, most delicate spark. If you don’t do anything after you strike the spark, it will quickly die out. You have to blow on it, very gently at first, until it glows and the heat begins to transfer to the surrounding tinder. If you are skillful and attentive and have worked patiently on the spark, it will burst into flame. That flame can then be used to provide warmth, protection, and light, (not to mention being an essential ingredient in a hot dutch oven peach cobbler).

Most worthwhile human endeavors are like that – friendship, scholarship, citizenship, even marriage and parenthood. They start with a spark, but require careful and attentive nurturing before they will burst into flame and sustain themselves.

Have you ever noticed on a cold morning at a campout that everyone is huddled around the fire, but there are usually only one or two boys actively working to keep the fire going? Citizenship is very much like that. Everyone enjoys the benefits – the warmth and heat of the fire – even those who are not helping feed the fire. But you also know that if there is no fire builder, that if everyone stands around keeping warm, and no one leaves the fire to get more wood, the fire will die out and everyone will be cold.

My challenge to you as Scouts, is to be a fire builder. Nurture the sparks of character, citizenship and leadership wherever you find them. Use your leadership to ensure that we are a nation by the people, not just of and for the people. Our country depends on its active citizens to survive and thrive. Be the active citizen. Be the fire builder.

Servant Leadership 

I came across a quote this past week that made me think about the upcoming elections next week:

A boss loves power.

A leader loves people.

What makes us trust a leader? 

Here’s an answer straight from the manual:

We trust effective leaders because they care about us and about helping others succeed. That is the true role of a leader—helping other members of the troop succeed. Servant leaders understand what success looks like not only for the group but for each member of every team. They do everything they can to help the troop and each member succeed. 

Servant leaders help the troop through day-to-day operations and through all the chores and tasks that must be accomplished. Duties are delegated and roles assigned. Troop leaders help manage this process. They focus on how to make every member successful in assigned tasks so that the troop will come together quickly as a team. 

Servant leaders want to lead because they know they can help make a difference and provide a better experience for every individual.

It is about a choice to lead. It is about a choice to give rather than to receive. What we need to build into the makeup of our Scout leaders is the concept of servant leadership. 


Star Requirement #2: 

As a First Class Scout, demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life.

Tonight’s minute is about how Doing a Good Turn relates to doing your Duty To God.  Here is what Lord Baden-Powell, Scouting’s founder, had to say about Doing a Good Turn: 

“The Scouting practices tend in a practical way to educate the boy out of the groove of selfishness . Once he becomes charitable, he is well on the way to overcome or to eradicate the danger of this habit .”

The promise that a Scout makes on joining has as its first point, “To do my duty to God .” Note that it does not say, “To be loyal to God,” since that would merely be a state of mind . It clearly says to do something, which is the positive, active attitude . 

Baden-Powell went on to say, “The main method of the Boy Scouts movement is to give some form of positive training … since the boy is always ready to do rather than to digest . Therefore, we put into his activities the practice of Good Turns in his daily life as a foundation of future goodwill and helpfulness to others . The religious basis underlying this is common to all denominations… 

“Thus we teach him that to do his duty to God means, not merely to lean on his kindness, but to do his will by practicing love toward one’s neighbor . 


Meeting 9/24/2019 – Court of Honor

Next week’s meeting is a court of honor for our Troop. This is a time when Scouts, parents and friends gather together to recognize the achievements of the Scouts over the past several months. 

This fall court of honor for Troop 1911 is especially important. We will recognize many rank advancements, merit badges from summer camp, 50-miler awards, and a special NYLT award. We will also take some time to honor our most recent Scoutmaster, Albert Grobe.

As you think about how to get involved next week, I want to encourage you to not only participate, but also to invite your parents, siblings, and friends to join us for this time together as a Scouting family. Regardless of how much you have earned personally over these past few months, your participation in the Court of Honor shows support, encouragement, and respect to your friends and fellow Scouts. So, dress sharp, Be Prepared, and let’s have a great time celebrating!


SM Minute 9/17/2019 – Outdoor Code

Some of you have earned the Environmental Science merit badge. You’ve learned how everything in nature is connected in some way to everything else. Some scientists call it the web of life. Every strand has connections with other strands.  Even rocks, for example, are part of that web because they help form the soil we depend on for food. 

You’re also finding out that if we pollute or destroy a strand in the web of life, it has effects on other strands. That’s why it’s so important that we understand what we are doing to nature and why as Scouts we sometimes do conservation projects to help our environment. 

What I’m leading up to is a reminder that, especially when we are camping or hiking – such as our backpacking trip this weekend –  we follow Scouting’s Outdoor Code in all we do. If we obey that Code, we are not going to damage any strands in the web of life. 

Please join me in the Outdoor Code. This is on page 223 of your handbook.

As an American I will do my best to 

Be clean in my outdoor manner

Be careful with fire

Be considerate of the outdoors

Be conservation minded