Thursday, October 28, 2010

Flag Retirement Opportunity

Every year at Troop 168’s Turkey Cookout campout we perform a U.S Flag retirement ceremony. This is an occasion for the Scouts and Adults to honor the American Flag and the Men and Women who have served or are serving our Country.

The U.S. Flag Code states, "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning".

If you or someone you know has a U.S. or State flag that is in such condition that it is ready to be retired please let me know and I would be happy to make arrangements for you drop off at our next Scout meeting or another location.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bill Gate Silver Beaver Award

This video is a nice tribute to Bill Gates. I had heard he was a Scout as a kid and that his father is an Eagle Scout. What I did not know was that he made it all the way to Life Scout (like me).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Camp is a rite of passage not to be missed by any Scout. This was my 3rd year to tag along as an adult and once again the experience reminded me why I love Scouting so much. Interacting and observing other Troops also reminded me why I think Troop 168 is indeed among the best you will find.

I work mostly with the newer Scouts and for all of them this is their first summer camp. For most of them it is also their first time to face multiple days of autonomy and self-reliance. We help the first day or two to make sure they know where to go and after that we step back and leave them alone. Classes are theirs to find and requirements are theirs to make. We drop by for pictures from time to time and of course inquire as to how things are going. Teachable moment advice is around as the situation allows.

I unfortunately observed this not to be the case for New Scouts in many other Troops. These well intended folks treated the Scouts as Webelos IIIs and hovered over every move they made. By not allowing the boys room to figure out things on their own a huge opportunity for personal growth is lost. Sure things might run smoother and sure more items might not get finished but that is nothing compared to the learning that takes place when failing positively and learning on your own how to succeed.

Adults leaders! I know it is our nature to want to feel involved and useful. At the same time, let me challenge you to remember that doing nothing is sometimes the best something.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How not to hike!

Perhaps one of my favorite hiking songs from my Scouting youth. I can clearly remember singing this as we worked our way through Philmont during the summer of 1981. Funny how auditory triggers like a song or an olfactory memory like the smell of a pine tree can take me back.

I hope my next hiking adventure goes a little better than the experience of these Muppets : )

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Meet the Owls

I would like to introduce you to six of my newest heroes. For the last few weeks I have known them as the Owl Patrol. They are Randy, Jeffery, George, Sally, Everett, and Eric. Together they share a common passion to help the youth in our area to live lives based on a common set of values that are seldom talked about in today’s world. These values center on the three Aims of Scouting; Character, Citizenship and Fitness.

Just weeks ago they were strangers to each other and now I can tell you they have built bonds that may last a lifetime. They came together to attend the premiere Boy Scout Adult leader training known as Woodbadge.

Believe me this in not an easy commitment. Participants (and staff) pay to participate and are required to attend two four day weekends of training and then complete five goals known as “tickets” within 18 months. The actual course is action packed with activity starting with breakfast and running all the way to after nine PM.

You might find it surprising to learn this training does not involve fire building skills, camping skills or knot tying. Instead, the participants learn advanced techniques for project planning, team development, teaching others, coaching, mentoring, conflict management and more. I was a leadership trainer for many years and can tell you this course is on par with anything you will find in corporate America.

Back to the hero part.

These are not six super heroes that you will most likely ever read about in the paper or see on TV. With the exception of a Scout related training award or two, these heroes will most likely never get any recognition for their efforts and certainly will never benefit financially. Most kids they encounter will never thank them for their efforts and from time to time there will be conflicts with parents as well as other volunteers. They will have many nights of sleeping on the ground, getting bug bites, and dealing with homesick children. Many will no longer have family vacations due to all off time being used for training or for sponsoring trips. They will ultimately spend hundreds if not thousands of their own money to pay for camps, travel, gas, uniforms and equipment.

But with all these challenges they will press on. Press on with the inner confidence that they are making the only investment in life that actually matters. It is an investment through service and sacrifice in the lives of others. Based on what I know of these folks, the world will reap benefits finer than any gold from their efforts.

Congratulations Owls and “work those tickets if you can”. If that catchy Bette Midler song were not so hard to sing I would belt it out for you now.

Are you a hero? If not sign up as a volunteer and you too will soon be making a difference for others.



Friday, April 23, 2010


I spent some time this morning looking over my presentations and preparing for my final weekend of Wood Badge as a Troop Guide. What a wonderful experience overall this has been. Truly we do get more out of teaching than we do from the receiving process.

Wood Badge has refreshed my knowledge and passion around this great program we all have the privilege to give so much of our time. There is so much potential in each of us to make a difference in the lives of the youth and the adults we encounter. I see this difference playing out as selfless and positive most of the time. There are other times when I see it as selfish and negative. And finally, there are times I see it with no impact at all due to passivity and apathy.

Whether you have been to Wood Badge or not, I hope that from time to time you will challenge yourself to deeply review the Aims and Methods of Scouting. Measure yourself and your program by this as well as the Oath and Law. If you do, I know you will leave this time of reflection refocused on why you are here and the positive potential you have to impact generations.



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

See us Grow!

This is a little song I wrote a few years ago when my son was in Cub Scouts. It is most fun if everyone joins in the singing. Hard to believe how much he has grown even since the attached picture was taken.

See Us Grow!

Sung to the tune of Let it Snow

Well, being a Scout is fun,
And we want to tell everyone
Pack 164’s the best ya know!
See us grow, See us grow, See us grow

From tigers, to wolf’s to bears
We know the fun is there!
And don’t forget the Webelo’s (shouted by the Webelo’s)
See us grow, See us grow, See us grow

Oh I promise to “Do my best”
And I’ll follow the “Law of the pack”
As pass through many tests
I’ll remember to serve and give back

Finally, welcome to our blue and gold
It’s going to be great we’re told
To everyone here---HELLO!
(Big Finish!) See us grow, See us grow, See us grow

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The Troop’s January campout was Trapper’s Rendezvous near Newton Kansas with a record crowd this year of over 5,000 people. This is a great Scout event that many of the boys look forward to attending every year. It has a little bit of a bad reputation for some due mostly to the potential for cold. (there was a legendary year with ice and high of 6) I think my family has brought warm weather karma with us since for two years in a row there have been sunny skies and warm daytime temperatures.

Trappers is an encampment of old time mountain men and there are many period re -enactors walking the grounds to tell their story. They each handout a wooden coin after they tell you who they are and what made them famous. There are also displays and demonstrations of period skills such as blacksmithing and cooking.
The attraction for most of the boys is the trading. They are encouraged to bring items for trade and it is amazing the number as well as variety things you will see traded. There are many pocket knives of course but also, old toys, hats, animal furs, etc.

My son came home from this weekend with boxing gloves, a snuggie, an old army helmet , a bugle and a variety of other random items. The most unusual things I saw up for trade were a fairly new house window with frame and a dishwasher.
It was especially cool to see the boys learn negotiation skills as they haggled. Each successful transaction ended with a left-handed shake and a “good trade” comment.

This year an older Scout challenged himself by starting with only a rock off the ground to start the day. He ended with a really cool guitar and a couple of other things. Now that is some serious trading up!
Walking around the event and soaking it all in, I was once again thoughtful of just how cool it is to be involved in Scouting. Time hanging out with the Scouts, chatting with the adults, and meeting other Scouts are just priceless to me. I almost feel sad for kids that were home instead playing video games or hanging out at the mall.

These are certainly moments the Scouts will not fully appreciate now but in years to come will enjoy telling. “Remember the time I went to that event and traded a rock?”