Have you ever had one of those experiences in life where you’re studying or working on something completely different and you start seeing logical connections with everything else you’re doing? That is happening to me. Recently I finally made the commitment to do weightlifting in training while my son was preparing for high school sports. I was trying to make sure I kept up with the teenager. (It has not been easy for me. Aches and pains. Blah blah blah.)
The goal was to help him get stronger. I needed to learn more about barbell training to help him. University of Tennessee Law School Professor Glenn Reynolds had been praising a gentleman by the name of Mark Rippetoe. The professor had talked about how much Mark’s strength training methods had helped the professor improve his back troubles. I have found the professor interesting about other things, so I took an interest in what he said about this.
I listened to a podcast where Mark was the interviewee. I was instantly hooked. It was passionate, logical, and well informed. I bought Mark’s book Starting Strength. I started to listen to his podcast. I watched his YouTube videos. I bought his app. The more I listened to Mark, the more I learned.
One of Mark’s running themes is the importance of training as a process. Training, as opposed to exercise, is the process of applying repeated stresses to a biological system to create predictable and programmable results. If the technique is properly used, for example in weightlifting by increasing weights in a predictable manner, the body adapts to the stress of greater weight by becoming stronger. The strength comes from the body creating more muscle.
Principles Learned Applied to Scouting
As I have looked at Scouting, I have learned more about Green Bar Bill Harcourt and his theories of the patrol system. I have read Baden Powell’s literature on the patrol system and the intentions of Scouting.
Both of these gentlemen would have seen the logic of Mark’s weight training system. These gentlemen would’ve gone further and suggested that the same principles apply to developing and promoting character in young men and women.
Scouting is a system of intentional stresses placed on boys at strategic moments to create predictable results. If you take a tiger cub into the woods, he will be stressed that he is not in his home environment. He will have fears that he has to overcome with the new noises and smells. The presence of animals may give him trepidation. Yet he walks out of the woods having experienced a game that promotes curiosity and a desire to cooperate. While he may have been yelling at his peers, the den leader offers him the opportunity to be quiet to listen for animals.
As the same boy grows in Webelos, he goes back into the same woods to learn how to work in a small group of boys with one of his peers as the leader. The stresses are more focused on the social aspects. The boys become each others’ teachers. One boy may have taken a great interest in raccoon behavior. Another one may be more interested in trees and leaves. Yet another may be fascinated with mushrooms. Each one of them offers the others some lessons. All of them have to learn how to work together under stress. All the stresses are not necessarily self created. There may be rain or cooler weather than expected. They have to learn to adapt. They have to learn how to put up dining flies or tarps as walls.
As they move into Scouting, they take some of these lessons working together and start to work toward the future. They take a greater part in planning and developing what they want to do. They become more involved with teaching each other the basic skills they need to do camping and cooking in the field. Many of the other scouts will be reluctant students. The teacher must learn patience and creativity in trying to teach his ideas.
Each one of these stresses of working in the field together and teaching one another is a part of the character building system. Each boy will suffer his own stresses. Each one will grow stronger for having faced the stress and adapted to it. Just like a weightlifter must put his body under the stress of increasing weight. He pulls the weight off of the floor in the hope that the additional stress on his muscles will create new muscle fiber; so, too, the scout will face mental stresses and challenges of character that the scoutmaster, the teacher of scouts, hopes will grow the scout’s ability to withstand pressure and stresses in the future while still making moral choices.
So what are the stresses that the scout faces that create character? It is not strict organization and military discipline. The troop that does not suffer chaos and conflict is not doing scouting. A troop that does not take advantage of the chaos to teach lessons of life in the scoutmaster minute or impromptu patrol leader council meetings, does not teach the lessons that are available. The chaos and conflict are our teachable moments. They are what we are waiting for — not trying to avoid.
You know you have run into a masterful scoutmaster if he is both quiet and is keenly observing his troop. He is studying what is going on for his next opportunity to give a scoutmaster minute that is full of lessons of the moment. He is watching to see if there is a vision that he can draw from his senior patrol leader and patrol leaders. He is the master of the Socratic method. He asks strategic questions at strategic moments. In this way he is like the strength coach. He is present and offering tidbits of information. As a coach and teacher, he is not undergoing the stress of lifting the weights. He is offering ways to improve his student’s efforts in the moment. He helps the student articulate his own thoughts about what feelings the student has and what lessons he can learn from those feelings.
So when you see a scout under stress, be aware and think about when you might have a strategic moment to offer a coach’s thought.
Do not remove the stress for the sake of being stress-free. You may be removing the lesson that the Scout needs to grow into the man of character that you seek.
In an effort to make the District current in its social media, posts from this website will now post to a Facebook page, too.
We realize that many individuals and units rely on Facebook as their primary communication method. For those units, families, and scouts, distributing valuable information easily through Facebook is highly desirable.
If you find an article timely or interesting, please “Like” the post. This will increase the number of people who can receive the same value.
As we enter the Fall Recruiting season, we will be using social media to push information to prospective families and scouts to learn more about what we offer. Sharing good posts for those audiences will allow us as a district to leverage information shared to persons who would not normally see our posts.
For example, a mother may have a new Tiger Cub in Pike Township also on a new soccer team. She joins a Facebook group for the soccer team. As a result, the new friends on Facebook may see a link to a photo of her son in a scout uniform. The next week, the new friends may see that the Tiger Cub mom liked an article about an upcoming hayride for scouts. The next month, they see an article about how scouting improves a boy’s cheerfulness and trustworthiness.
All of these examples are useful marketing for us. Very few took more than a few “Like” clicks for the young mom.
So, please have your unit’s Facebook page “Like” our new page. We would love it!
Remember as the weeks tick by we approach Camporee.
We need to set a theme in the next week or two. If your troop would like to contribute their idea, time is running out. We need to order patches and inform troops how to prepare.
April Camporee is also where the Order of the Arrow tap-out and invitations occur. Remember to encourage your OA candidates to attend the Camporee.
Your prospective troop leaders can also benefit by attending the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops and Crews. This is a prerequisite for National Youth Leadership Training also known locally as White Stag.
Adult leaders who are Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, Committee Chairs, and Chartered Organization Representatives should plan on attending the Unit Key 3 Conference from 9:00 am to 11:00 am on Saturday, April 23rd at Camp Kikthawenuend for Camporee, too. We will review and summarize district plans for recruitment, programming, events, administration, rechartering, and unit support. Mark your calendars now.
Roundtable this week will be about camping and scout honoraries — Firecrafter and Order of the Arrow. The Roundtable will be in the outbuilding Luke’s Lodge on the campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 West 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260 at 6:30 pm.
Cub Scout Roundtable will focus on summer camp, tour permits, and BALOO training. This means that every pack should have a representative present. Do you have a new Den Leader in your pack? This would be a good session for them to attend to learn more about camping in Cub Scouting. Do you have an incoming Cubmaster or Pack Committee Chair? These persons should know this information cold. Remember healthy packs’ registered leaders attend roundtable regularly.
Boy Scout Roundtable will focus on summer camp and the scout honoraries’ role in camping and scouting. This discussion will be led by OA Chapter Advisor John Ruggles of Troop 343 and Firecrafter Advisor Greg Hoyes of Troop 804. Your current or prospective youth OA Representative and Firecrafter Sparks and their parents are encouraged to attend.
Remember: scout leaders attend roundtables when their unit leaders pick up the phone and ask them to attend. Please pick up the phone and ask!
As noted here before, Council is holding a National Jamboree 2017 Rally this weekend at the Scout Center. Sunday, March 13th at 2:00 pm.
Encourage all of your scouts to attend.
Council’s “Jamboree Troops” allow only 32 scouts per troop.We have a limited number of troops. That means that likely these troops will be full by May 2015.
Plan early. Meet some of the Council’s scoutmasters and see what is a good fit for your scout.
As noted earlier on this website, Crossroads of America Council will hold a rally to encourage enrollment in National Jamboree.
The Rally will be held at the Scout Center on Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 pm.
The National Jamboree will take place in July 2017 at Bechtel Scout Reservation in West Virginia.
Encourage your scout and venturers to attend the rally, even if they do not have an initial interest.
If you cannot make the Rally, please let us know. We can arrange to have a Jamboree Scoutmaster attend your troop meeting. (The Rally will be better for building excitement.)
Hope to see you at the Rally.
As we are ending February and beginning March, many Cub Scout packs are looking at changes in their adult leadership. This may not be immediate and it may be a year down the road, but it is on their minds.
One of the most important parts of recruiting new adult leaders is to show perspective leaders that their future efforts will be recognized. The best way to do this is to make sure that you were properly recognizing departing or current leaders.
The national program for this includes many different options.
One of them are tenure stars. These are simple metals that can be given to adult leaders for years of service. They are placed over the left pocket of the uniform. Encouraging adult leaders to wear their tenure stars a while’s new parents to see that your pack or troop values an adult leader who continue serving the unit.
The second option is knot awards. There are many different knot awards available. They tend to encourage tenure, continuing education, regular attendance, and specific tasks necessary to successful completion of that role. To learn more about the requirements, download a PDF of the requirements and fill out the form. Then go to the Scout Shop.
I am fascinated by the old use of the Scout staff or walking stick as part of the scout uniform. The scout was expected to be able to use his staff for many uses. Take a look at this article on ways to use the staff and use scout craft.
The scout staff is also the way that a scout can make his uniform his own. He can add handles. He can add medallions.
In Del-Mi District, many troops give a Webelos crossing over into scouts a scout staff at the cross-over ceremony.
Just a quick reminder that Thursday, March 3, 2016 is the night for the District Committee Meeting at 7:00 pm and District Commissioner’s Staff Meeting at 6:00 pm.
Both will take place at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, Fourth Floor, Indianapolis, IN 46260.
Mark your schedules.