Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Building Men

"It is easier to build a boy than to repair a man"

This line greets participants of Scoutmaster specific training early in the session. These words more than any other to me sum up why I give so much time to Scouting. As the year comes to a close, I am looking back and wondering how much of a builder I have been. Am I doing my part? Am I making a positive difference? What about my Troop? Are the adult leaders and youth leaders really building foundations for the future?

The youth of this generation are facing challenges unknown to those previous and an American future that is very much in doubt. Changes in technology, communication, economics, family life and cultural focus have reached a tipping point that may move our country up to promising future or down to an abyss of despair.

I do not consider myself just an adult volunteer. I am construction worker on mission from God to help build men of the future. Men who will be faced with choices someday that will impact the lives of others. Men who hopefully will at a critical time will maybe--just maybe in the depths of their subconscious think "brave" when deciding to go against the crowd. Men who will think "trustworthy" when faced with a critical ethical choice or personal temptation. Men who deeply know the meaning of the phrase "On my honor" and put these words into action with their daily lives.

Reflecting back on 2009, I am not so sure of my success. What I do know is that no matter what challenges I may have faced I was clear in my personal mission.

I also know my effort was only a single brick in this project. There are many other influences that will impact the future of these boys and there are many other influencers working to make a difference as well. In the end, if I have only made a difference in the life of one young person then I have been a success.

What about you? Are you a builder of others? Do you keep the Oath, Law and Aims of Scouting in your heart as you interact with your Scouts? Do you have clearly defined personal vision as to why you are involved?

I would like to challenge you as this year comes to a close to look deeply inside yourself. Reflect on your actions of 2009 and look to making even more of a difference for others in 2010. The boy you help build today may indeed be the man that changes the world for the better tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Troop "Turkey" Campout

This campout is a Troop 168 tradition. We cook Turkeys in a pit and invite all the families out for a big Thanksgiving feast including all the trimmings. The boys (and Crew ladies) work really hard to make it a nice event. Here are just a few pics I thought I would share.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Twitter vs. Facebook

Last week I read no less than four articles about Twitter in the various magazines and newspapers I subscribe. I am a twitter nut myself with two accounts @davidtcopeland and @okcscouter. I have found it to be to a great tool for connecting with others and for learning about all the latest trends in social networking. My Scouting account has lead to some great connections with people in other parts of the country that also have a passion for this great program. Does my Twitter obsession mean and end to my Facebook days? Absolutely not!

I see the two as distinctly different tools with difference purposes. Twitter has been great for “virtually” meeting people from all over the country. I consider many of these Twitter folks to be my friend even it is in a weird I have never met you before kind of way. Most Twitter people seem to talk mostly to themselves and for whatever reason have little desire to really communicate and connect with their followers. (More on this with a later post)

I treat Facebook on the other hand as a “real” friends only forum with all my settings set as private. Every friend I have on FB is a person I have some kind of connection and 99% of them I have met in person at one time in my life. My family, childhood friends, and many other people are on this with me. We share updates and my favorite feature is the picture albums people post showing families. The connections on Facebook to me seem more personal.

Both tools to me have a purpose and they are distinctly different for me. I personally plan to hang on to both.

What about you? Facebook or Twitter? Do you have both? What do you see as the difference?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Scouting is a Legacy

Starting next month and most of the way through 2010 we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Scouting in the United States. It is amazing to think of the millions of people who have gone through the program in the years since founding. I still remember telling my 80+ year old neighbor about being a volunteer. His face immediately lit up as he began to tell me stories of what it was like to be a Scout back when he was a youth.

Our Troop here in OKC has been chartered for 45 years and has second and third generation Scouts. This really hit me when the dad of first year Scout sent me the picture I have included with this post. He is standing near the sign back in 1990. Now flash forward 19 years and his son recently stood in that same spot for the same picture just by chance. Another Scout in that 1990 picture is also back with the Troop serving as an ASM.

Things change over the years and in many ways they also stay the same. Isn’t great to belong to an organization that will continue from generation to generation? Certainly something to think about!

What about you? Are you a second, third or more Scouter? What are some of your favorite encounters with former Scouts? How do you plan to pass your legacy on to the next generation?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Scouting is Family

I love this picture I took of our adults at a campout last year. I think it visually sums up one of the things I have enjoyed most about being part of the Scouting movement and Troop 168. These folks have grown to be some of the best friends I have ever had in my life and it seems I am always learning from them.

Together we share the common goal to support the Values Scouting represents and provide opportunities for the boys to grow as leaders as well as men of integrity. Somewhere in between, there is time to learn about each other's lives. Struggles at home, work, and life in general are often discussed and counseled. Successes in these same areas are even more often celebrated. I know it can be said that we truly care for and respect each other.

What has been your experience? Are you taking time to connect with the Scout parents as well as the boys?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Headed back to Gilwell

Looks like I am going to be a Troop Guide for the Spring 2010 Woodbadge Course. I am excited to be a small part of this first class training program. I enjoyed my experience a couple of years ago as a participant but I have always known that you learn even more by teaching.
The next few months are going to be hard with a lot of sacrifice of time and a lot of effort. My prayers start now that our session and our staff will make a real difference in the lives of those who participate and in turn in the lives of the youth they serve.
Stay tuned here to the Ol' OKCScouter blog and I will keep you up to date on my Journey and I will be seeking the advice of those who have served on staff in the past. It is going to be a lot of fun!
Have you been a Troop Guide on a Woodbadge Staff? Did you enjoy the experience?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Social networking and local Scouting

Many of the adults in our Troop are actively using social networking tools to stay connected and build relationships. This began with Facebook and now is evolving to include Twitter and Blogger.

Facebook: Several of the Troop Adult leadership and older youth are on Facebook. My account is not exclusive to Scouting and every “friend” is someone I know personally. I also have set up photo albums for campouts and upload pictures directly from my phone during our weekend adventures as well as summer camp. These pictures allow followers to see real time the fun we are having on campouts. My wife and other parents have really enjoyed the little window into the fun we are having. My Facebook Troop Scout youth friends get to see what they are missing!

Twitter: I see Twitter more as a tool for getting to know people around the country and world that I might not connect with otherwise. To this end, I have created and maintain two accounts. @okcscouter is only for my life as a Scout leader. Here my goal is to connect with other Scout folks. I also recently used this account to micro-blog our recent summer camp experience. Several Troop adults followed these updates and the feedback was great. This micro-blogging included real time uploads of pictures using twitpic.

Blogger: Speaking of summer camp, our Committee Chair @imasoonerfan used this tool to blog our summer camp experience. Again, this was another outlet for the parents, grandparents and others to keep up to date daily about our camp experience http://troop168summercamp.blogspot.com/2009/06/camp-alexander-2009.html Those interested could read a daily synopsis of our trip, view pictures and leave comments.

Why do all of this?
It goes back to staying connected and building relationships. Sure we are 100% boy run but the buy in and encouragement of the adult at home is critical to Scout success and retention. We have many involved parents but there are also those that due to other obligations will not be able to attend campouts and meetings. Connecting to the Troop through social networking gives them the inside scoop of our activity and in way lets them in the mind of the leaders who are spending so much time working with the youth. It also gives them another avenue for involvement and engagement.

What about you? Is your Unit leadership using social networking to stay connected, build relationships, and encourage retention? I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Water Rocket Plan

Our plan today is to build a couple more water rocket launchers. Have you ever used these? Fun and easy to make. Here are the plans...

3 each - ¾” PVC Cap
One - ¾” PVC Tee joint
One - ¾” x ½” threaded Tee joint
5’ of ¾” PVC schedule 40 pipe
One - ½” x 8” threaded riser pipe
One - ¾” 90 degree ell (“L) joint
1’ electrical tape
One tire inner tube valve
PVC pipe cement or epoxy
Important: use protective gloves and goggles when gluing!!!

Assembly Instructions:
With a hack saw, cut the 5’ PVC pipe into
Two - 6”,
two - 12” and
one - 8” length.
Drill a ½” hole in the middle of one ¾” Cap.
Push the valve stem into this hole and trim the rubber so that it will have a tight seal.
Glue this cap to one 6” pipe, being careful to have the pipe end push the rubber to be tightly sealed against the cap.
Assemble the rest of the launcher as shown, and glue the joints.
Wrap the threaded riser pipe where it joins the threaded Tee, so that there is a tapered, water-tight connection when a 2 liter bottle, with a few cups of water in it, is pushed onto it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Scouting and Twitter?

There are a few Scouting Twitter pros online such as @latterdayscout, @insanescouter, @kabiff @Scouterjeff @halfeaglebot and more. These folks are using Twitter to connect with others in the Scouting community, share information, spread the good news and the benefits of the program. Scouting is in so many ways a grassroots movement and Twitter truly defines what it means to be grassroots.

I saw a study just a few weeks ago that said 40% of the people who sign up quite Twitter within a few weeks. Is that you? Don’t give up if it is!

Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Always include an interesting avatar (picture). Many people will not follow someone with no picture
2. Write in interesting profile. This is your introduction to the Twitter world and should make a stranger think you would be interesting to follow.
3. Show off your personality with your Tweets. “Going to the bathroom” “On my way to the store”—Do I care? Well once we get to know you we might but when you start keep the Tweets informative and fun.
4. Share links—This is the best way to share new and information your followers might like.
5. Tweet right away—Sure you just have a few followers. Go ahead and start Tweeting as your were a superstar. If someone checks you out they will know what to expect
6. Follow the people your favorite twitter friend follows. For example, everyone I follow has some tie to Scouting.
7. Always send a direct message to new followers. This lets them know you really do appreciate they would be interested in you.
8. Be sure and follow back the people who follow you.(just be sure and skip the spammers)
9. Speaking of spammers—watch your followers closely and be sure an block inappropriate followers.
10. Be aggressive to add followers. A tool like Tweetdeck allows you to search for people using key words. I use this to find people that are tweeting about Scouting for example.

Twitter can be a lot of fun and a great way to build relationships as well as learn. Don’t let the difficulty of getting started discourage you.

Attention Twitter pros! What other tips would you have for others?

What are some of your best Twitter stories?

Leave a comment and let others know.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My first OKCScouter Post

I am excited to have started my own blog dedicated specifically to my Scouting experience and to the Scouting community. My journey back to Scouting is short compared to many people I know. My son joined just a couple of years ago in fourth grade and is rolling into the start of his second year as a Boy Scout. My Troop is located in Oklahoma City and strongly supports the boy run philosophy.
We are not perfect by any means and there are times when I get frustrated with the program. However, most of the time I consider this to be a good thing since I fully understand we are all here for the betterment of the youth we serve and also in many ways the parents of the Scouts as well.
I hope you will enjoy the posts and take an active part in the discussions. I look forward to connecting with you!

Here's question for you:
Why are you involved in Scouting?