Category Archives: Summer Camp

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!


The Best Part of Waking Up…


…Is a Scoutmaster outside your tent singing loudly and out of tune!

This is a tradition that I have carried on since I was a Boy Scout years ago.  It is now requested that I do this at least once a camp-out (if possible).  I now submit to you – for the first time ever in a public place – my ‘Good Morning’ song:

(don’t worry, I’ll keep my day job)


Summer Camp


Look what a week together does to us....

Summer camp.  I missed last year (new job), so preparing for this year I was even more of a Nervous Nelly than usual (just ask my wife!).  And as always, all my worrying and fretting instantly disappear when the rubber meets the road and we’re off and running.  I just want everyone to have a great time all week, and I worry before-hand to ensure it all goes well while we’re there.

This year was a very special year for me.  This year was the first year that my son came with.  I’ve been to camp for 4 years, and he was still in Cub Scouts all that time.  So this is my very first time that I had to be Scoutmaster AND Dad….and according to my son, I did just fine.

This was our first year at Tomahawk Scout Reservation.  We decided as a Troop years ago that we’d switch it up from time to time (2 or 3 years) so the older boys didn’t get bored, and since we have so many camps in our area, we wanted to experience them all, if possible.  The boys chose to go to Sioux Camp, where food is delivered right to your campsite, and you eat in camp.  I’m very happy with that choice for two reasons.  One, it gives us a little ‘Troop time’ every meal, so we can discuss the day’s activities, address any issues or concerns and so on.  Secondly, if there wasn’t enough food (and it did happen) – we had our Troop trailer with us, and we could make other food to complete the meal.

11 boys earned 22 merit badges over the week.  Several more have just one or two requirements left to finish them up.  All in all, the staff at TSR Sioux Camp were awesome.  We weren’t really tickled with the campsite given to us, but we feel we’ve upgraded for next year.  Our Troop also won the sailing regatta and the ‘fear factor’ challenge (eating nasty things).  This was many boy’s first go at summer camp, and I have to say that I’m very proud of them all for their work and attitude throughout the week.

A few of my gifts

Just a few things that were given...

One thing to note, is that they do treat the adult leaders there very well.  I felt respected and listened to all week, not to mention some of the cool things they wound up giving me!  Several patches, a very nice belt buckle (for having over 75% of the troop attending) and a Scoutmaster coffee mug were given to me throughout the week.

Finally, I would like to thank the other leaders that took a week and spent it with me the the boys.  I always have a blast at summer camp, and this year was no exception.  I hope to be doing this for many more years!

YIS