Archive for January, 2011

SM Minute—Twelfth-Point

January 30, 2011
Scouts reaffirm the scout oath at the 2006 Nat...

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Scoutmaster Minute—Twelfth-Point

Next Sunday is Scout Sunday, the beginning of Scout Week and the celebration of the founding of Scouting over 100 years ago.

Many of you are members of a large, organized religion.  You might be Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Jewish, or any one of a number of others.  As you know, part of being a Boy Scout is having a belief in God.  Every time you repeat the Scout Oath or Law, you reconfirm that you will do your duty to God, and that you will do your duty to God, and that you are reverent.

Keep in mind that some members of your patrol and troop might not belong to a regular church group.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in a higher power.  Native Americans believe that the Great Spirit is the life force that flows through all living things and controls the wind, fire, and the Earth.  You might think of the Great Spirit as Mother Nature.  Nature has created a world for its creatures that allows them to live and prosper, from the lowest insects to the mighty eagle.  To me, that sounds like a higher power at work.

It doesn’t matter to me how you believe in God—whether you attend church every week or simply respect the power of nature.

(adapted from Troop Program Resources, p. 18)


Scout Sunday is a great time to promote the religious emblems programs, such as God and Family, etc..  BSA says:

To encourage members to grow stronger in their faith, religious groups have developed the following religious emblems programs. The Boy Scouts of America has approved of these programs and allows the emblems to be worn on the official uniform. The various religious groups administer the programs. Check with your local council service center or contact the religious organization directly to obtain the curriculum booklets.

Many organized religious bodies are covered by age-specific programs of the P.R.A.Y organization: .



SM Minute—Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

January 9, 2011
Scouts watch an oncoming storm at the 2006 Nat...

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Scoutmaster Minute—Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Everyone, close your eyes for a minute and clear your mids.  I am going to give you a question to ask yourselves, but I do not want you to answer it yet:  “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Scouting is, of course, a time in your lives to have fun.  But it has a very serious side as well.  It is a time when you will learn many things to help you grow physically as well as mentally.  It is hoped that you will learn to be responsible young men to your families, to other people, and to your fellow Scouts.

Caring about and helping others are a large part of being responsible, which forms the basis of all aspects of Scouting.  For instance, you might know a skill and perform it very well while another Scout might be having a problem with it.  Don’t make fun of him.  Take the time to show him the correct way to perform the skill.

How does that help?  Well, it benefits the Scout you have stopped to help by building his confidence and enabling him to teach others.  But it is you that will be receiving the most benefit.  You will have grown by showing others that you care.  You will be looked up to as a leader.  You will no longer be regarded as the student; you will now take your place as a role model and teacher; someone who is respected and admired.

So the next time I ask you to ask yourselves, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” you can look at me and proudly say, “Yes, I am!”  Just remember that the answer to this question is not just a commitment, it is a way of life.

(Adapted from Troop Program Resources, p. 17)

Prepared. For Life.

January 7, 2011

The Centennial Year of Scouting in the U.S. is accomplished and boy what a year it was.  Now onto a new year, and a new face to the youth, Scouters and public of America.  This in from the BSA Cracker Barrel:

The Boy Scouts of America this week unveiled its brand identity pieces for 2011: “Prepared. For Life.”

The trademarked words incorporate the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” to show non-Scouts what Scouting is all about.

The three simple words convey a clear message: By joining Scouting, boys and girls will be prepared for life and for a lifetime.

I happened across the BSA National Council Strategic Plan (2011-2015)* the other day.  This play on our motto is in line with that plan’s exhortation to be “dynamic & relevant”.  It also harkens back to a story I’ve heard:

“Be prepared for what?” someone once asked Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting,

“Why, for any old thing.” said Baden-Powell.

I think I like it.  Be Prepared, for life…or any old thing.


* I won’t go into what I think about the pictures of Scouts on an ATV and jet-skis on page 10 of the strategic plan. How far from Leave No Trace can we get with those smoke-belching gas guzzlers?

JohnScout 2010 Posts

January 1, 2011

Centennial of Scouting railroad engine

Headlines from 2010 on JohnScout 2.0

This was my 2nd year for the JohnScout blog.  As we say in Scouting, “Do Your Best”, and although I know sometimes I could do better I hope I have done my best for the time and resources available.

My objective for the blog is to share some of what my Pack, Troop and District are doing locally (our local Crew all went away to college this year, but I try to pay attention to other Venturing activities).  I try to watch for interesting ideas from other Scouters across the country (and the World brotherhood of Scouting).  This year I had fun sharing in some of the Centennial of Scouting activities going on across the nation as well.

Every now and then I use the blog to sound off, to vent some steam on the bureaucracy of the BSA and the petty slings and arrows of the dysfunctional mainstream pop culture.  I try not to do that too often, but I am increasingly frustrated with all the paperwork that drives away good volunteers and interferes with helping boys become men in the spirit of True North.

So with that in mind, I am, as always, yours in Scouting,
John S.

  • Busiest Month: 717 site visits during October 2010; average 24 visits per day in November.
  • Top Referral site: (even after Josh got hacked and stopped updating content)
  • Second Top Referral site:  Minnesota’s own A Scoutmaster’s Blog (Melrose Troop 68)
  • Top Search Terms:  “bechtel family national scout reserve”
  • Top Outbound Clicks:  American Folklore graphic (See Tall Tales below)
  • Had twice as many hits this year as last (of course it helps when I actually POST original content).

Top posts for the year:


Centennial of Scouting: SM Minutes on the Scout Oath and Scout Law

Boys’ Life, 1977


SM Minute—Whose Job Is It?

Tall Tale, the movie

SM Minute—Why Are You in Scouting?

SM Minute—Climbing the Mountain


SM Minute—A Scout is Reverent

SM Minute—A Scout is Clean


BSA One-Stop Forms Shop

SM Minute—A Scout is Brave

SM Minute—The Outdoor Code


SM Minute—A Scout is Thrifty

A Scout is Clean… Except When He Gets Dirty

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


SM Minute—A Scout is Cheerful


Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Obedient

Don Kasak, 1935-2010, Scouter Extraordinary


Come Visit My Grave

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Kind

Northern Tier, If You Dare

Selling Out


Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Courteous

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Friendly

Spring Camporee: Rails on the Prairie


Zulu Toss Game

Scoutmaster Minute—Court of Honor

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Helpful


Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Loyal

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Trustworthy

Scoutmaster Minute—The Scout Salute and Handshake


Hometown Paper Profiles Eagle Project

Tall Tales

Scoutmaster Minute—Our Spiritual Compass

Do Your Best

Scoutmaster Minute—What Does It Mean To Be “A Scout”

JohnScout 2009 Posts