From Troop 343 Assistant Scoutmaster Andrew Himebaugh:
“The Clique”Word has been received that the Troop is run by a clique. Upon investigation we find that this statement is TRUE.Furthermore, we find that this clique is composed of faithful members and loving parents who are present at each meeting; who willingly accept appointment to committees; who freely give of their time to teach skills to the Scouts; to look out for each other; and to serve in a wide variety of ways.They are those who sincerely believe that the more one puts into his Troop, the more he gets out of it.The strange thing about this clique is that it is very easy to get into.All one needs to do is demonstrate a lively interest in the organization, make constructive suggestions and accept responsibility when asked to do so.Show a continued interest in all the affairs of the Troop and before you realize it, you will be a member of the clique. . . . And you will be surprised how very happy they are to have you!
Memorial Day is upon us for 2017. The American Legion would like to invite all of the North Star District for breakfast. The district will make a short trip to Crown Cemetery and put decorations on veteran’s graves in honor of their service. We should be done before lunch.
Date: Saturday, May 27, 2017
Time: 7:30 to 8:00 AM
Breakfast location: Broad Ripple American Legion Post # 3, 6379 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN
Yours in Scouting,
North Star District Committee
Boy Scout Base Camp at the Indiana State Fair is making a comeback from August 4-20! The site needs lots of manpower to promote Scouting to potential and current families. Earn volunteer hours with your unit, family, or friends and help by sharing what you love most about the program. Volunteers will get free fair admission so that they can explore before or after their shift. Learn more and register.
Did you know that #Basecamp17 at the Indiana State Fair is right around the corner? Running the site to promote the Scouting program to potential and current Scouting families takes serious manpower and we could use your help! Register today to volunteer at Base Camp with your family, unit, or friends. Volunteers will have free fair entry so that they can explore before or after their shift. Learn more and register.
As the academic year winds down, many scouting units are thinking about leadership transitions and upgrades.
Transitions occur when Cub Leaders leave their packs to follow their son(s) to a boy scout troop. They occur when Scoutmasters retire when their son(s) reach Eagle of 18 years old. They occur when a scout leader has health issues.
Leadership upgrades occur when a handful of scout leaders seek to fill the many vacancies in their unit’s committee. Upgrades occur when leaders switch roles to refresh their own excitement and engagement or move into positions better suited to their individual talents: a banker moves into a treasurer’s role, a teacher moves into a scoutmaster corps role.
Some units are in communities where there are few adult volunteers available or few scouts to recruit. We informally call these areas “scouting deserts.”
District is looking to build teams of experienced scouters who can help offset some of the problems with scouting deserts. These experienced scouters are being asked to serve as part of our new “oasis teams.”
In our ideal vision an oasis team would be a semi-permanent team of scouters who would work together for a year or so. In that period of time, they would work together to rebuild or refine existing units or serve as an organizational committee for new units. In the vision, the oasis team would consist of 4-6 members per team. They would serve as a temporary unit committee or supplementation to a beleaguered unit committee.
The oasis team would assure that the unit has an annual calendar of activities and meetings; a unit budget that identifies the cost of a year’s program to a scout’s family; a fund raising plan to make sure all scouts can afford scouting; and a succession plan for the unit’s families to take over full time management of the unit with 4-6 months.
The transition plan would have the annual calendar and budget done in the first 60 days with the Oasis Team taking the lead. The plan would have the Oasis Team identify successor for each key position in days 61 through 120 and implement a training plan to have those successors 100% trained by Day 120. The successors would shadow the oasis team member who is mentoring the new volunteer. From days 121 to 180, the oasis team would switch roles. The oasis team mentors would shadow the new volunteer’s first steps in the role. At the end of six months, the oasis team would be replaced with a New-Unit Commissioner to advise the entire unit.
Ideally, North Star could use three Oasis Teams right now. That means we would like 18 experienced scouters.
Please contact Jeff Heck if you know a candidate for serving in this role. We would love to build these teams and begin implementing them before the end of May 2017.
Don’t forget that tonight at 6:30 pm is the night that Council will hold its first ever Facebook Live session. The subject will be Cub Scout recruiting for the back to school cycle of 2017.
I do not have the direct link to the event. I cannot find it on the council’s Facebook page.
I would recommend simply going to this link.
Please note come on a previous Facebook share, I had indicated the wrong time. The actual start time is 6:30 PM.
The U.K. Guardian, a strongly leftist newspaper, ran this favorable article about being a scout leader. We don’t often hear from scout leaders about the value to the adult leaders.
Please send me your experiences and benefits from being a scout leader. Or share your thoughts on the comments below. I would like to run our own Indiana version of this article.
An article about free play time disappearing and its effect on kids makes an interesting starting point for a series of articles I am planning on posting.
People who meet with me about their Scouting unit often hear me recite the phrase, “If it is efficient, it is not scouting.” I know this often confuses some as they look at articles on this website. I’m also looking at best practices for improving the scouting experience. The question should arise in many people’s heads that best practices are often about efficiency; so, how can best practices in scouting not seek efficiency?
For me this is a very simple and obvious answer, we are not building a business to maximize profit. We are building young men of character. If it were simple to form a young man of character by a simple recipe, we would have no crime, we would have no conflict, and we would have figured out the system already.
Over the millennia, we know many different methods for raising young man of reliable character. In ancient Sparta, Young men were raised in very strict circumstances. They were taught to fight and to obey orders. At the same time, there was a strong structure of encouraging boys to break out from within the rules. If they wished to find a wife, they would often have to escape discipline and jump through windows in the dark of night to find their future betrothed. This mixture of discipline and self-reliance made Spartan warriors among the most flexible minded and deadly of any armies of their era.
In the Middle Ages boys of landed classes would serve as an apprentice to a knight, called a squire. The predecessor to modern trade unions, guilds, would take scout age boys in as apprentices and train them into journeymen. The guild apprentice system worked its way over to America with trades like blacksmiths, tanners (leatherwork), and coopers (barrel makers).
All of these training methods involved action and exposure to the real world.
The modern method of “classrooms solve everything” began in earnest around the turn of the 20th century. Part of the logic was parents were too dumb and ignorant to know how to properly teach children. It should be left to professionals.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect classroom education. I finished 19th grade (as I tell my Wolf Cub nephew. Want to see a head explode? “Seventeen more years?!”). From my many years in the classroom, though, I have concluded that Baden Powell had it right when he quoted a writer named Casson (of whom I know little else):
Judging from my own experience, I would say that boys have a world of their own — a world that they make for themselves; and neither the teacher nor the lessons are admitted to this world. A boy’s world has its own events and standards and code and gossip and public opinion.
In spite of teachers and parents, boys remain loyal to their own world. They obey their own code, although it is quite a different code to the one that is taught to them at home and in the schoolroom. They gladly suffer martyrdom at the hands of uncomprehending adults, rather than be false to their own code.
The code of the teacher, for instance, is in favour of silence and safety and decorum. The code of the boys is diametrically opposite. It is in favour of noise and risk and excitement.
Fun, fighting, and feeding! These are the three indispensable elements of the boy’s world. These are basic. They are what boys are in earnest about; and they are not associated with teachers nor schoolbooks.
According to public opinion in Boydom, to sit for four hours a day at a desk indoors is a wretched waste of time and daylight. Did anyone ever know a boy — a normal healthy boy, who begged his father to buy him a desk? Or did anyone ever know a boy, who was running about outdoors, go and plead with his mother to be allowed to sit down in the drawing room?
Certainly not. A boy is not a desk animal. He is not a sitting-down animal. Neither is he a pacifist nor a believer in safety first; nor a book-worm, nor a philosopher.
I love that line, “A boy is not a desk animal. He is not a sitting-down animal.”
I have a nine-month old Golden Retriever puppy at home. She is not a sitting-down animal, either. Goldens are known for their expressiveness. When Goldens are happy, they are jubliant. When Goldens are sad, they look like their best friend died. Put a Golden in a kennel by herself all day, every day and watch depression set in. I see much the same behavior in younger scouts.
We have noted previous studies that suggested that being in nature was good for a person’s psychology. These studies are showing patterns that BP would have warned us against nearly a century ago.
Boys need to be active. They need to take risks. They need to “waste time” being boys. It is an inefficient process.
I am starting an intriguing book right now called Antifragile.* As part of the introductory chapter, author Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes,
[Anti-fragility] is behind everything that has changed with time: evolution, culture, ideas, revolutions, political systems, technological innovation, cultural and economic success, corporate survival, good recipes (say, chicken soup or steak tartare with a drop of cognac), the rise of cities, cultures, legal systems, equatorial forests, bacterial resistance … even our own existence as a species on this planet.
He continues a bit later,
The antifragile loves randomness and uncertainty, which also means— crucially— a love of errors, a certain class of errors. Antifragility has a singular property of allowing us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them— and do them well. Let me be more aggressive: we are largely better at doing than we are at thinking, thanks to antifragility. I’d rather be dumb and antifragile than extremely smart and fragile, any time. It is easy to see things
The paragraph that connects Taleb’s concept of “anti-fragile” to the study first noted above is wrapped up in this quote,
Crucially, if antifragility is the property of all those natural (and complex) systems that have survived, depriving these systems of volatility, randomness, and stressors will harm them. They will weaken, die, or blow up. We have been fragilizing the economy, our health, political life, education, almost everything … by suppressing randomness and volatility. Just as spending a month in bed (preferably with an unabridged version of War and Peace and access to The Sopranos’ entire eighty-six episodes) leads to muscle atrophy, complex systems are weakened, even killed, when deprived of stressors. Much of our modern, structured, world has been harming us with top-down policies and contraptions (dubbed “Soviet-Harvard delusions” in the book) which do precisely this: an insult to the antifragility of systems. This is the tragedy of modernity: as with neurotically overprotective parents, those trying to help are often hurting us the most.
Being inefficient in scouting is no inherently good. Many mistakes can be made by just allowing the boys to “just be boys.” They can spend all their time playing video games on their iPhones in their tents, the modern equivalent of lying in bed reading War and Peace or watching the Sopranos.
We don’t want to hurt those we are trying most to help. So we need a chance for the boys to figure out their situation in the face of stressors. They need to be exposed to randomness and volatility. They need to be able to act within the framework of life without “neurotically overprotective parents” hovering over the boys.
Every day it is becoming clearer that “risk management” driven by the insurance and legal industries is not all that it is cracked up to be. The much better form of risk management is the old innoculation method: expose the patient to very small doses of the harm. This small exposure to the risk creates more strength, adaptability, and resilience.
So when you are with your scouts, take your cup of coffee and sit down. Wait for the scouts to face a risk before intervening. (Intervene for frustration, confusion, or danger.) You will be silently teaching them the best lessons.
* Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. Antifragile (Kindle Locations 342-345, 347-350, 366-373). (Random House Publishing Group, Kindle ed. 2016).
UPDATE 5/1/17: I just love this sentence, ibid. at 426.
We have the illusion that the world functions thanks to programmed design, university research, and bureaucratic funding, but there is compelling—very compelling—evidence to show that this is an illusion, the illusion I call lecturing birds how to fly.
At Council’s Semi-Annual Operations Meeting on Tuesday, Director of Field Services for Council’s Eastern Section Marilyn Lopez announced a Latino Outreach Initiative.
Marilyn is bilingual. Part of the reason Council hired her is with a view to her being instrumental in building a successful Latino outreach. That program is now under way.
North Star District has been named as one of the three (3) traditional districts to receive the focus of this effort. We were chosen because we already have a significant Latino population within our borders. A parallel effort will be pursued in the after-school units.
The outreach will begin with a specialized committee. The committee will consistent primarily of persons with existing connections to the Indianapolis Latino community. In addition, Council will work with local colleges and universities to staff interns with bilingual skills to serve as a support network. Some of these internship positions will be paid; others will be unpaid.
The goal of the program is to build three new units in each district that are majority Spanish-language families with a total of 100 new scouts. These units will market to the Latino families for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as a family affair, and not just an activity for a boy.
Along with the new units, the initiative will seek to serve existing units with Spanish language support. These bilingual scouters will be an invaluable resource in the success of the initiative.
If you know family or friends who are bilingual or are currently studying Spanish, this is a great opportunity to build your language skills. One way to prepare for this effort is to buy the Spanish lanugage material. Then read the English and Spanish language material together. For example, read one chapter of the English Cub Scout Leader guide, then read the same chapter in Spanish. Compare the vocabulary and syntax. You will quickly learn the Scout-specific language in both languages.
This initiative is intended to have a major impact in the fall.
Please let Con, Marilyn, or me know about any Spanish outreach resources so that we can Be Prepared come fall.