I love Halloween. What other day of the year can we transform into a wholly different persona and be accepted for doing so? As a parent, Halloween has taken on a new kind of joy for me: picking out costumes with my kids, carving spooky and fun jack-o-lanterns, the anticipation of the loot to be gained from trick-or-treating. The parent I have become is also a little concerned every year at this time. I worry...[More]
If your Eagle ceremony/reception venue can’t accommodate a slide-show presentation of the Scout’s journey to Eagle—or if your technology know-how is lacking!—why not use a digital photo frame? Photos from the Scout’s years as a Cub Scout, his progression through the ranks of Boy Scouting, and his Eagle project can be scanned, downloaded, and displayed. Because of its small size, the frame can easily be placed near the guest book or on the cake table...[More]
Early in The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook I talk about balancing the methods of Scouting—making sure you’re using all eight methods on a fairly even basis. The problem is that Scouters often focus so much on one method (usually advancement, outdoors, or youth development) that they forget to use the others (usually ideals, personal growth, or uniform).From time to time, in fact, one method even cancels another out. I recently chatted with a Scout leader about...[More]
My boys’ Webelo den just had their Raingutter Regatta; being new to the boy side of Scouting, I had never heard of – much less participated in – such a thing. The boys brought home their boat kits, we painted and assembled them, and the night of the regatta they lined up with the other boys and raced their boats by blowing on the sails. Every scout who participated received a ribbon. Even my daughter...[More]
I’m a strong believer in making the Eagle court of honor a separate event from the regular troop court of honor. When you do that, however, you often run the risk of having a poor showing of Scouts. Other Scouts, especially younger ones who don’t know the honoree, may see little reason to show up.So, what can you do to get Scouts to turn out? Here are a few ideas: Send invitations to their homes;...[More]
Has one of your Scouts completed a world-class Eagle Scout service project? If so, you should consider nominating him for the Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award. Launched last year by the National Eagle Scout Association, this award is designed to honor the top Eagle projects on the local, regional, and national levels. I’ve had the chance to interview the first two national winners (for...[More]
I would hate to be a placekicker.Too often, I’ve seen a placekicker called out in the last seconds of a football game to attempt an impossibly long field goal—all because 11 other guys couldn’t make a touchdown. On the positive side, of course, if the placekicker does make the field goal, he becomes the game’s last-minute hero and probably gets more glory than he should.So what does that have to do with Eagle courts...[More]
If you’ve been in the program very long, you’ve probably heard this adage: “If you take the outing out of Scouting, all you’re left with is dollars and cents.” Turn the S and C in “SCOUTING” into dollar and cent signs ($ and ¢), and you’ll get the point.The adage is true, of course, but it tends to give less weight to money than it should. After all, without money it’s pretty hard to...[More]
I am a geek. Or am I nerd? Maybe I’m a bit of both. I loved science as a kid. I studied whatever information I could get my hands on, I played with chemistry sets…I didn’t have a problem with the dissection part in biology. One Christmas I begged my parents for a microscope kit (while my sister asked for dolls) and I used that kit so much I burned the bulbs out. In high...[More]
While an Eagle court of honor is a troop function, a large part of the audience is usually made up of the honoree's family and friends. That's especially true with older Scouts who may not be well known to the guys in the new Scout patrol.Of course, you have to invite family and friends; they won't hear about the court of honor in the troop newsletter. As early as possible in the planning process-even before...[More]
The Hiking Serenity of a Snow Covered Trail
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There is an oasis of peace on the Forest trail as snow blankets the ground and muffles all sound. Snowflakes falling in rapid silence erasing my foot prints from the pristine...