Category Archives: Training

A Time To Reflect, A Time To Refocus


2011 is in the books.  All in all, I’d say it was a good year.  It had it’s ups and downs, but on the whole I’d say it was a good one.  As we pass into this new year, I’d like to take some time and reflect on some Scouting things, and also look ahead at what’s to come.

A Time To Reflect:

First off, 2011 was my first attempt at blogging.  The 100 Days of Scouting thing got me into this whole blogging / twitter-ing stuff.  I have made many contacts and friends through these technologies, and for that I am most grateful.  Some of the ideas, information and suggestions I have gotten over the last year have greatly helped not only myself, but my unit, my District and my Council.  It’s like we’re one big Roundtable sometimes, isn’t it?

Secondly, there was the #CSPSwap.  I have a whole bunch of awesome CSP patches from all over the country now, and I hope that we can do it again sometime this year!  On a side note, I know that I owe a few of you folks some CSP’s still.  I haven’t forgotten who I owe patches to, and I will still get them to you – sooner than later I hope.

Our unit is currently in the process of recharter.  I’m not sure how we’ll pan out for the Journey To Excellence, but I think we’ll score high enough to at least get Bronze, if not Silver.  We look good on paper – but in practice I feel we have a long way to go.  This last year, I learned quite a bit about how a boy-led Troop is supposed to work.  For the past 6+ years, I have held too tightly to the reigns of the Troop (including planning, decisions and just about ever facet).  I’m learning to let go, let mistakes happen, let learning begin.  Training the boys isn’t about standing up in front of the Scouts and droning on and on about something.  It’s about letting them figure out what resources they need to learn a skill, and how to procure those resources.  It’s about asking the right questions.  Questions that lead them to discover the answers for themselves.
I have to admit – this is the toughest thing I’ve done this year.  And it’s caused a little bit of strife with some of the adult leadership.  Some feel there needs to be more adult-provided structure.  Maybe they are right.  I just don’t know, and we’ll have to see how things go.

I became one of the Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioners for our District.   I took my training, and am still learning and trying to come up with ways to make Roundtables something people want to attend.  It’s not easy.  And – it’s not my top priority.  Being Scoutmaster trumps being Roundtable Commissioner and I feel that at times, the Roundtable programming suffers for it.  It’s about finding a balance, and I’m still working on it.

Speaking of our District – our Council re-organized our Districts from 8 down to 2 very large Districts.  They had a contest to re-name each District – any the name I submitted was selected for my District!  We’re now part of the Northern Trails District of the Voyageurs Area Council, and I had a little something to do with the name.  Way cool, huh?

A Time To Refocus:

A new  year brings new opportunities.  Here are a few of the things I’m looking forward to so far in 2012:

We just held Troop elections – which means we have some new leaders and some returning leaders.  I’m looking forward to being able to train them using the new ILST.  It looks promising, and I hope to be able to use as much of it as I can to help these young men understand and start down their journey to becoming leaders.  It’s as much a learning process for me as it is for the Scouts.

We have a pretty good group of Webelos 2’s (or, should I say Arrow of Light Scouts?) possibly crossing over in late February or early March.  We could sure use a good influx of Scouts and just as importantly – new adults.  Our Committee is very, very thin right now and we need some people to step up and fill some important positions.  Hopefully we can get it all worked out and our Committee can, dare I say, start to do what a Troop Committee should do.

Summer Camp.  The possibility exists that a brand-new Troop in our area is going to piggyback with us to summer camp this year.  Our first year, we piggybacked with another local Troop to help us figure out the whole camp thing.  Time to pay it back – and to make it even better – their Scoutmaster and I used to be in the same Troop years ago!  I’m really looking forward to helping them down the right path so they can be a strong, boy-led Troop as well!

Blogging – I hope that I can blog more consistently this year.  Not sure I’ll do the 100 Days of Scouting or not – depends if it happens.  I feel like I lost all my steam after it last year, and I just didn’t give the blog enough of my time.  Granted, I got pretty burnt out on Scouting at one point this last year – and that definitely affected whether or not I wanted to write about it.  So I may try to pace myself more this year and see how it goes.

I have submitted my application to be an adult leader for the 2013 National Jamboree.  Our Council hasn’t picked any adult leaders yet, so I don’t know if I’m in or not.  If I do get picked there is one thing I know I have to do:  lose weight and get in shape.  I know I can do it, and it would be a great incentive to me to get my butt off the chair and moving and eating better.  Getting healthier is one of my goals for the year, but being part of the contingent would really light a fire under me.  (So if anyone from the Jamboree Committee is reading this….*ahem*).

I could go on and on about what I’d love to see…..but when it really all boils down to it – what I really want for 2012 is for everyone in my family (and extended Scouting/church family as well) to be healthy, happy and safe.

Feel free to share your hopes/dreams (dare I say resolution).  I’d love to hear what you are most looking forward to!

Here’s to the new year!


Day 100 – Limping Across the Finish Line


100 days ago, I thought it might be ‘neat’ if I tried my hand at writing a Scouting blog.  It just so happened that the 100 Days of Scouting was kicking off for its second year and I found it a great excuse to get it going.

Here we are – and what a long, strange and eventful journey it’s been.  My last post was kinda my wrap up post – so I won’t do it again – but I do have something I’d like to get off my chest.

I think my wife summed up my irritation pretty well:  “I find it amusing and exhausting when people complain and rant about rules and policies in BSA or other youth organizations. Bottom line: if you don’t like it, then volunteer for a different organization. Pretty doubtful that a nationally based group is going to change their ways because you think you’re superior to their rules.”  Thank you dear, you have a way with words sometimes when I’m so frustrated all I can do is sigh.

Today, I also had to deal with a set of parents who tried to get their Scout signed up and paid for this weekends activities.  Sign up for it was due over a month ago so we could plan transportation and such.  What kind of lesson would we be teaching both the Scout and his parents if we let them slide on it?  Not to mention, we already have the tour plan filled out and ready to go.  Yea, I also struggle with excluding a Scout because his parents don’t know how to keep things straight.  But I even reminded 2 weeks ago thinking if they somehow forgot about it, they could take care of it then and it would have been ok.  It’s not fun to play the bad guy, but sometimes you just gotta in order to keep everyone from taking advantage of you.

Well, I kinda just went off for my Day 100.  Sorry.  Wait, no I’m not.  I’ll bet you there’s someone else out there who’s dealing with the same stuff, or worse – and maybe they’ll read this and feel just a wee bit better because they realize that they’re not alone.  That’s one of the lessons I’ve gotten out of this 100 Day of Scouting deal.  I’m not alone in how I feel, or the issues that I have to deal with day in and day out.  So, our Troop is at least sort of ‘normal’.

My last hashtag with #100DaysofScouting for the year…..*sniff*

YIS

K.


Day 62 – we’ve taken the first step.


Saturday saw our first Troop Leadership Training in several years.  We hada majority of the Troop show up, which was a good sign!  Another good sign was that someone brought doughnuts!  In all seriousness,  it was awesome to have that many Scouts attend leadership training.

I personally think it went rather well.  As we’re focusing on having the Scouts actually lead the Troop – this is going to take a little adjustment, but I think I’m ready for it to happen.  When I held this training 2 years ago – EDGE wasn’t in the Scout Handbook yet.  Now that it’s there, this is a much easier topic to cover, as they have all at least had some exposure to it.

What’s not in the TLT training guide is how to use the SMART criteria to create your goals for accomplishing your vision.  So I made sure we went over that and used it to make sure their goals were SMART.  For those of you wondering what SMART is, its:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

If you want more of an explanation, just search for SMART goals and you’ll get all the info you can handle on the subject.

We have a PLC tomorrow.  The first one with the newly trained Scouts, and the first one with the newly elected SPL.  We’ve taken our first steps into a new boy-led world and right now I like what I’m seeing!  If this boy-led Troop thing wasn’t a good way (or really, the only way) to run a Troop, the BSA wouldn’t be working on their second hundred years.

Keep up the good Scouting!


Day 60 – TLT Time!


Tomorrow morning I’m leading Troop Leadership Training (TLT, or sometimes still referred to as JLT).  I think I have it all put together – so wish me luck!  This is only the second time our Troop has done this, and thus it’s my second time as well.  Should be every 6 month, and I’m hoping to stick to it this time.

I’ve got the projector, the laptop, the PowerPoint presentation ready.  I’ve got the syllabus, the books, the position cards.  I’ve got all my ducks in a row.  Am I nervous?  Nah, not really.  I always have a bit of apprehension with training, though but I suppose that’s a good thing.

I’m really excited to train these Scouts  – I have high hopes that they can start to turn our Troop around and get us heading in the right direction.  Only time will tell though, and so I have to have patience…….which is sometimes easier than it sounds.

Tonight I put the final touches on the TLT stuff for tomorrow.  I also filled out our summer camp deposit form, and got all the money put together for the Troop.  Gonna hand it off tomorrow to our CC and he’ll cut one big check for the deposit.  Then we’re one step closer to summer camp!

I know I’ve said this a bunch of times on here now, but I am still thinking and working up the courage to finally sit down and try my hand at doing a podcast.  I don’t think my microphone is very good, but I can’t justify spending any money on a better one if I don’t at least try and make one with what I have.  I just need to script it out as best I can, and sit in a quiet room (hard to do here in my house) and go for it.  Any words of wisdom?  Words of encouragement?  Words of warning?

Tomorrow will be fun, I think.   It’s a very important step in building the leadership of our Troop, and of our Scouts.