In the Washington Post, from last year that I have been meaning to write about, a fascinating article about emotional isssues that kids in college are facing. The focus of the article that the title suggest the emphasis is on women’s college sports. The content is far broader, even though the persons interviewed are women’s college coaches and affiliate personnel.
One strong passage caught my eye.
Talk to coaches, and they will tell you they believe their players are harder to teach, and to reach, and that disciplining is beginning to feel professionally dangerous. Not even U-Conn.’s virtuoso coach, Geno Auriemma, is immune to this feeling, about which he delivered a soliloquy at the Final Four.
“Recruiting enthusiastic kids is harder than it’s ever been,” he said. “. . . They haven’t even figured out which foot to use as a pivot foot and they’re going to act like they’re really good players. You see it all the time.”
Some of the aspects emphasized apply equally well to scouters working with scouts.
It doesn’t take a social psychologist to perceive that at least some of today’s coach-player strain results from the misunderstanding of what the job of a coach is, and how it’s different from that of a parent. This is a distinction that admittedly can get murky. The coach-player relationship has odd complexities and semi-intimacies, yet a critical distance too. It’s not like any other bond or power structure. Parents may seek to smooth a path, but coaches have to point out the hard road to be traversed, and it’s not their job to find the shortcuts. Coaches can’t afford to feel sorry for players; they are there to stop them from feeling sorry for themselves.
Coaches are not substitute parents; they’re the people parents send their children to for a strange alchemical balance of toughening yet safekeeping, dream facilitating yet discipline and reality check. The vast majority of what a coach teaches is not how to succeed but how to shoulder unwanted responsibility and deal with unfairness and diminished role playing, because without those acceptances success is impossible.
Here is a key conclusion.
The bottom line is that coaches have a truly delicate job ahead of them with iGens. They must find a way to establish themselves as firm allies of players who are more easily wounded than ever before yet demand they earn praise through genuine accomplishment.
From this article we can draw a couple key conclusions:
- In our role as scouters, we can help prepare our scouts, boys and girls, for their college experience. We can teach them to deal with “unwanted responsibility” such as cleaning up after dinner or cleaning the latrine and with “unfairness” such as being assigned camp tasks too many times when others have not had their rotation.
- We can be the “toughening yet safekeeping, dream facilitating yet discipline and reality check” that is parents to provide for their own kids.
- We can be “firm allies” of scouts “who are more easily wounded than ever before yet demand they earn praise through genuine accomplishiment” such as rank advancement, BSA Life Guard training, mile swim patch, or high adventure.
What is “IYOS”? It is the “Ideal Year in Scouting.” It is the way for the Crossroads of America Council to tell you what the Best Practices for units will be in the next 12-18 months. What camping opportunities and activities are coming up. When deadlines for summer camp are. When rechartering will take place. When popcorn sales will begin and end. How unit budgets should be developed. How big summer events can be paid for.
Council is in the process of rebuilding the website dedicated to IYOS. Make sure to stop in regularly and monitor the progress. Hopefully you will learn something every time you stop in. We expect the 2018-2019 district calendars to be added in the next couple of weeks.
Setting the Stage for Continued Growth
[INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, February 8] District Leaders, mentors, family and friends assembled at the 2017 North Star District Awards ceremony to offer well-deserved congratulations to the Leadership team and to recognize members of the District for their commitment to service. Included in these honors was the highlight of the Journey to Excellence Gold Award status earned by North Star with the overall highest score in the Council and an announcement that North Star’s contribution led to the Crossroads of America Council being the highest scoring council nationally, too. A highlighted list of honored outgoing leadership and 2017 Award Winners can be found below.
2018 District Objectives
As 2018 North Star District Committee Chair Mark Maucere outlined in his keynote address, there are four pillars on which the upcoming leadership team will be focused in order to build on the success of this past year, which are:
Membership Growth. This includes development of strategies to communicate with Charters and Schools as well as in assisting our Units with Leadership Outreach and Program Awareness. This work will help keep up the interest with new/prospective Cub Scouts and their parents in the competition for time and attention with other extracurricular activities. Our new Membership Chair is soon to be named.
Increased Unit Commissioner Involvement. Stephen Heath is the 2018 District Commissioner, and he is looking forward to building the Unit Commissioner team and for these Unit Commissioners to create stronger and more cohesive working relationships with each of our District Units as “one team.”
Program Offering. Mark Pishon as 2018 District Program Chair will bring a passion and energy to this critical pillar to enhance our current program offering as well as expand in areas that will further encourage greater recruitment, participation and retention.
Communication. Cheryl Bilsland will be serving as 2018 Communication Chair and brings corporate digital marketing and Toastmasters communications mentorship experiences to the role. We look forward to building upon and expanding our communication and outreach presence in a way that best meets the needs of the District.
Mark emphasized his “open door policy” and is humbly looking forward to meeting and working with each of you, thanking you for your service, insight, talent, energy and involvement in order to grow our District in 2018.
2017 North Star District
Leadership and Award Winners
We want to thank our 2017 District Key 3 team for their dedicated servant leadership:
John Wiebke District Chair
Con Sullivan District Executive
Jeffrey Heck District Commissioner
Hearty congratulations and gratitude for your service, goes to the following 2017 District Award Winners:
|Alec Damer||T514||Merle H. Miller Eagle Scout Project of the Year Award|
|Austin Damer||T514||Judge John Price Outstanding Eagle Scout of the Year Award|
|Agrayan Gupta||T56||Dr. Bernard Harris SUPERNOVA Award (the first awarded in North Star District, based on our information)|
|John Wiebke||T358||District Award of Merit|
|Mike Yates||T56||District Award of Merit|
|David Sperry||T514||Unit Leader Award of Merit|
|Michael Faulk||T56||Arrowman of the Year|
|Bill Buchalter||P83||Cubmaster of the Year|
|Ron Wells||T343||Scoutmaster of the Year|
|Denise Purdie-Andrews||T69||Firecrafter of the Year|
|Katherine Ritchie||T343||Boy Scout Committee Chair Person of the Year|
|Todd Sanger||P514||Cub Scout Committee Chair Person of the Year|
|Nick Griffith||T56||Hooked on Scouting|
|Jason Chamness||T358||Hooked on Scouting|
|Laura Gunderman||T358||Hooked on Scouting|
|James Stiles||T358||Hooked on Scouting|
|Amanda Walsh||T358||Hooked on Scouting|
|Jill Williams||T358||Hooked on Scouting|
|Mary Fenchak||T514||Hooked on Scouting|
|Jill Carson||T343||Spark Plug Award|
|Mark Carson||T343||Spark Plug Award|
|Brendan Cavanaugh||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Joe Forler||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Brad Gibson||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Kathryn Gibson||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Bob Jalaie||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Dawn Pasquale||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Chris Pishon||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Chris Strachan||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Jane Sullivan||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Valerie Swack||T358||Spark Plug Award|
|Matthew Glaze||T514||Spark Plug Award|
|Marilyn Mathioudakis||T514||Spark Plug Award|
|Ken Savin||T514||Spark Plug Award|
|Lisa Savin||T514||Spark Plug Award|
If you would like more information about this topic, please call Cheryl Bilsland, 2018 North Star Communications Chair, at 317-225-6102, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Pacer’s front office:
As a Scouting member, you are invited to participate in our Spring Scout Night with the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, March 25th vs Miami Heat at 5pm. Each Scout can earn a patch! This event will sell out, so do not miss your chance to root on the hometown team!
By purchasing tickets through this offer, you will also:
• Receive a FREE Scout Night patch!
• Have Access to a SPECIAL MEET & GREET with a Pacer’s player
**This event DOES NOT include a post-game free throw, or a food/hat voucher. It is just a ticket to the game, a patch (same patch as the November game) and a post-game meet and greet with a player.
To Purchase: Visit www.pacersgroups.com/scouts; Passcode: Scout.
We are offering a limited number of lower level tickets for just $55! These will go quickly, so don’t wait to purchase!
Make sure to register by Friday, February 23rd.
Kalee Grant | Indiana Pacers
Group Events Specialist
Pacers Sports & Entertainment
Pacers | Fever | Mad Ants | Bankers Life Fieldhouse
125 S. Pennsylvania St. Indianapolis, IN 46204
Download the flyer for Scout Night 2018 here.
Since today is Groundhog Day, let’s watch Bill Murray and think about the meaning of life.
About two weeks ago, I ran across some blog posts lauding the interview on British Channel 4 of Professor Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. Throughout the entire interview (beginning with the first question), the lady doing the interview was picking at him and developed into a nasty onslaught. Despite it, Professor Peterson was the epitomy of Canadian courteous.
I became fascinated with this gentleman. I found his YouTube page and began devouring his lectures. I started on his 2015 lectures on personality.
In lecture number 14 of that series, he is discussing the meaning of life and its impact on the choices that people make (1:01 mark). In previous lectures, he questions whether the Existentialists like Dostoyevsky, Kirkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus were right that the meaning of life is to suffer. If life is suffering, the Existentialists thought that the only solution was to live a truthful and moral life, thereby limiting the spread of suffering. Some were atheists, some were Christians (Kirkegaard and Dostoyevky). So Peterson picks up on this idea of suffering as part of the key component of living.
Peterson points that a resentful person is mad at the world. He is likely seeking to punish the source of the suffering, the person or group of people. The resentful person in suffering wishes to spread suffering as his revenge. Peterson uses this process of vengence as a strong rationale for good and moral behavior. Peterson suggests that each person makes contact with easily 1000 other people over the course of his life (since this is a scouting blog with a primarily male membership for the next few months, we will stick with “he”). Those 1000 people touch a 1000 people. Those 1000 touch another 1000. If each of these contacts is unique persons, that is over 1 billion people that are only 3 touches away. If we use more conservative mathematics, it is still easy to see that tens of millions of people are only 3 touches away; hundreds of millions are 4 touches away.
Peterson suggests that spreading suffering through vengence-seeking behavior has the ability to spread ill feelings and will quickly. It is the effort of the individual to spread friendliness, curtesy, kindness, and cheerfulness that can help break this spread of suffering.
How do we teach a scout to spread friendliness, curtesy, kindness, and cheerfulness? What about putting them in the woods in less than ideal weather? What will happen? Inexperienced scouts will be cranky, angry, and difficult. Yet if they go out in these conditions and experience friendship, comraderie, joy, silliness, and adventure, they learn that hard conditions do not necessarily make a hard person. They learn to see the glass as half-full when the rest of the world wants to ignore the glass exists.
A couple of years ago, we took our troop to the requisite Pokegon State Park tobogan run. We camped out at the edge of the park. The weather was cold that February, and the wind blew over the snow. The scouts were having so much fun sledding, making snow forts, having snowball fights, cooking in the cold, and all the other aspects of troop campout. They didn’t see the cold as a cause of suffering. The cold created the opportunity to enjoy the snow. Cold created the cheerfulness and joy.
Another several campouts all had the same experience. We arrive. The heavens open with a downpour. We spend much of the rest of the campout under shelters playing card games and telling stories. The weather created the chance for patience and mutual interaction.
This is where scouting shines through as the best means of developing character and citizenship in our scouts. They don’t learn to seek joy; they learn to experience joy.
Compare this to the many teenagers who spend most of their time bored and seeking out stimulation and excitement. They don’t have joy so they believe that they need to seek excitement or connection. They seek out dangerous activities or risky behaviors to have an experience of joy. Their daredevil behavior or chemical abuse provides a short buzz, then boredom returns. What stories do they have to share? Daredevils always have the “you’ll never believe what we did” story. Chemical abusers only have “we were so wasted” stories.
Scouts have stories like, “On our fifth day in the Boundary Waters, the rain set in, so we heard thunder. We quickly paddle for shore. As we sat on shore in raingear, we told stupid stories and laughed the hardest we had the whole trip.” (Ask my son about it. It is amazing how waiting on shore can lead to such involved stories.) At the end of the stories, though is an accomplishment: they paddle 50 miles for a week under some rough weather. That lesson is more than a momentary daredevil fix. It is a lesson in finding joy where suffering is possible.
On another canoeing trip, I saw an adult upset that the group was not doing what he wanted. He became resentful. He spent the next day pouting, complaining, and seeking to make everyone else suffer. The rest of the group ignored his antics and kept laughing.
That is Peterson’s lesson on suffering. Spreading suffering is an individual choice that has a significant impact on the individuals around you. A scout learns in the wilderness how to cope with rough situations or dramatic personalities that have the potential to spread suffering. If he can cope with suffering, he is more likely to find joy.
You don’t have to see the world like Kirkegaard in finding God through the suffering and mysteries of life to see the value of using a campout to find joy amidst the suffering of inclement weather.
Don’t treat bad weather as an excuse not to camp. Use bad weather as opportunity to accelerate the citizenship and character building opportunities that are unique to scouting. Your scouts will grow. Your unit will grow.
You may have seen in the news that former Eli Lily executive Alex Azar, Sr., was confirmed this week as the new secretary of Health and Human Services.
What would receive little attention in the public press is that Alex is a former parent of now defunct Pack 61. He and his wife Jennifer were active in the pack. I had several camp outs with them. One of them lead to a story that’s worth retelling in person, but not as interesting for a blog. Let’s just say the opening line begins something like, “So we were talking over the campfire when a helicopter started circling overhead.”
Alex and his family, Jennifer, Claire, and Alex, Jr., are all very understated, self-effacing, and accomplished. I enjoyed my several years with them doing pinewood derbies, camping, and taking trips to places like Lincoln Boyhood State Park.
Congratulations to the Azars, particularly Alex, Sr.
From District Pinewood Derby Chair Bill Buchalter:
Pack Leaders,Pinewood Derby Season is upon us and it’s time to schedule your races. If you’re receiving this email it is because I have your name as the contact for your Cub Scout Pack, and you used the District derby track last year. If you are no longer the leader of your pack please forward this message to your new leader and copy me on the message. If you no longer need to use the District track please let me know and I’ll remove you from this list.There are a few dates already reserved, so please keep this in mind as you schedule:
- Saturday Feb 24th – Pack 830
- Wednesday Feb 28th – Pack 179
- Monday March 5th – Pack 35Details about the District Race in March will be coming soon. Please let me know as soon as possible to reserve your date for your race. If you have any questions please let me know.Bill BuchalterNorth Star District Pinewood Derby Coordinator317-509-0767
Just a quick reminder that we will hold the first Roundtable of the year on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 7:00 pm at Luke’s Lodge, the outbuilding on the campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.
The Scout Roundtable will focus on different advancement softwares including Scoutbook.com, TroopWebHost, and TroopMaster (PackMaster). These three will have specific presentations and opportunities to see the software live. Others will be discussed. If your unit uses a different software that you like, please contact Jeff Heck to provide more information for presentation purposes. This open to all packs, troops, and crews. Please suggest that your unit chair and advancement chair attend.
The Cub Scout Roundtable, led by Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter, will focus on Blue and Gold Banquet planning and preparation for use in the next 30-90 days. Come learn how to make this memorable and valuable to your Cubs and Webelos!
Correction h/t on date to Mark Pishon.
In scouting, we spend an inordinate time dealing with the unknown:
- Will it rain?
- Are the boys ready for the backpacking trip?
- Is the Senior Patrol Leader-elect ready for his job?
- Am I ready to be the Cubmaster, when everyone else tells me I would be great?
One of the best reasons that scouting works is that it teaches scouts (and adults) humility in the face of the natural elements and adversity in scout meetings. Why is humility important?
Humility is the personal characteristic that a psychologically balanced person has. Humility is not self-deprecation nor self-doubt. Humility is the desire to self-critique that leads to a more thorough and thoughtful response.
To get a sense about how important a dose of humility is, consider the impact of a lack of humility in introducing problems. This is the Dunning Kruger Effect.
So from this video we see that lacking humility to question preparation and understanding leads to hubris and Greek tragedies (and miserable camping trips).
Estimation error is a huge problem in self-assessment. A scout filled with hubris and self-confidence with not a trace of humility estimates that all of his plans are perfect. “I know it won’t rain, so we don’t need the dining flies.”
The estimation error of a humble scout is smaller. “I don’t think it will rain, but, if I am wrong, we will pack dining flies. Maybe we will just take two rather than three.”
One of the best lessons a scoutmaster or cubmaster can teach a scout is how his decision fits in larger patterns of human nature and behavior. Since scouting is learning through experience, it is important to allow safe failures. But it is even better to reflect on how those failures occurred and how to “fail more successfully” next time. To me a more successful failure is one that avoids the errors made last time. “I am not error free, but I work to only make an error once. The next time, I will inadvertently find a new error, hopefully of a smaller magnitude.”
Does your troop or pack take the time to reflect on its successes and failures before going to bed or departing a meeting, when the reflections and lessons are more profound? A scoutmaster or cubmaster suggesting the power of humility during these timely reflections is one of the greatest character building lessons we can offer, that are hard to duplicate anywhere else.