Archive for August, 2010

SM Minute—A Scout is Thrifty

August 29, 2010

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Thrifty

A Scout is Thrifty: A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.

Back to School not only brings recruitment nights, but also the annual Popcorn etc. fundraising campaigns.

A Scout works to pay his own way.  Some of you guys have jobs, others help out around the house, mowing lawns, shoveling sidewalks, doing what you can.

At the end of next month we’ll start selling popcorn and holiday wreaths.  We’ve got some great prizes, and it’s a good way to put some money away to do the stuff Scouts do.  It costs money to go to Camporees and everything else we have planned for the year.

Sometimes it’s easy to make a sale.  Sometimes it’s not so easy.  I’ve been told it helps if you stand up straight, know your product, and look your customers in the eye.  Be clear and let them know what you have for sale and when they can expect to receive it.  It doesn’t hurt to let them know how good the popcorn tastes, and how nice the wreaths will look.  Just remember, a Scout is Honest, as well as Thrifty!

So get out there and as always, Do Your Best.


If you’re strictly by the book, each Scout should pay weekly den dues (patrol dues?) to cover the costs of the unit program, supplemented by well-planned (and Council-approved) fundraisers.  Not only does this provide for the program, but it also teaches Scouts responsibility.

You tend to respect what you have paid for.

These days we mostly rely on Popcorn (and in our Troop, Holiday Wreaths) sales instead of dues.  Most of our Scouts do well enough to earn about half of their annual expenses, with bills coming due for the balance on camp-outs and activities throughout the year.

I wonder, though, if the price of Popcorn is worth the lessons no longer learned.  It’s easier than weekly dues, both for families that may not be able to spare a couple dollars a week and for leaders looking for a fundraiser-in-a-box.  It’s a pre-approved project for the Scouts, who are even “allowed” to wear their uniforms for the sales pitch.

But still… I wonder.  What are we teaching our Scouts by peddling yet another over-priced, feel-good good product door-to-door, just the same as their band candy and Junior Class frozen food?  What are we demonstrating about the value of a product, and the value of a dollar?

I don’t know.  At least our popcorn is better for you than those chocolate bars the tuba section is selling.


(h/t to SteveJB68 for the video!)



A Scout is Clean… Except When He Gets Dirty

August 15, 2010

Mike Rowe isn’t afraid of a little hard work.  In fact, he works hard at getting dirty…on television.  Mike hosts a show on Discovery Channel, called Dirty Jobs.  Mike, basically, goes out and tries out the difficult jobs that keep our country moving.

Mike visited the BSA National Jamboree this summer.  You see, Mike is an Eagle Scout, but he never quite signed on to one point of the Scout Law:  A Scout is Clean.  Here’s his points on why A Scout is (also) Dirty:

1.) I believe the willingness to get dirty is a fundamental requirement of civilized society.

2.) I believe that God created dirt – not cleaning products.

3.) I believe that a clean mind and a dirty body can walk around in the same skin.

4.) I believe that honest work looks an awful lot like dirt.

5.) I believe that without dirt, we don’t eat.

6.) I believe that it’s absolutely, positively essential to play in the mud.

See what Mom has to say about that next time she sees your uniform after a campout.


Ask Andy: A Reader’s Digest version of Wood Badge

August 5, 2010

I try to keep up with the Ask Andy Netcommish column at the US Scouting Service Project.  You will notice the link over to the left there;  yes, I have “asked Andy” in the past and wouldn’t hesitate to ask again.  I don’t always agree with his answers, but they are well thought.

Last week, Andy published a special one-topic post (#218) on a Commissioner’s question about what to do to improve the troop’s overall health and the Scouting experience its providing for the boys it serves.

As much to remind myself to revisit this essay as the thought to bring any additional illumination to the topic, I suggest anyone with an interest in the True North of Scouting take a quick read:

For a Boy Scout troop, I think these will naturally fall into eleven general areas (not necessarily in this order): Meeting operation, Youth leadership, Skills development, Membership development and retention, Budget plan, Attendance, Patrol activities, Adult assistance, Outdoor program, Advancement, and Uniforming.  Here’s where to start…

Trust me, you will want to read this.  It’s like the Reader’s Digest version of Wood Badge.

And put a reminder on your calendar to read it again before your PLC or Troop Committee Meeting or Pack Committee Meeting or District Committee meeting next month.  And the month after that.  And the month after that….