Posts Tagged ‘Scout Law’

To Sacrifice our Principles for Popularity

February 26, 2013

I am glad to see the BSA Home Office finally getting their PR straightened out on this membership mess.

Scouting Magazine‘s Bryan on Scouting blog today published a well-written defense of the national Key 3’s fiasco.  No matter how you feel about the content, at least they’re communicating.

I do disagree with the premise that this is a “family discussion”.  Call it what it is—outside agitators for political correctness.  The “family” settled this matter last year when National Council recommitted to existing membership standards.

Why would our leaders reopen this wound?  I believe this quote from National Commissioner Tico Perez is insightful:

The Key 3 has “one singular purpose in mind: to grow Scouting,” Perez explained. “To take Scouting to as many boys and girls as we can in America…

It’s all about the numbers.  That is the root threat to our organization, much much more important than this smokescreen of membership.

We all know Packs and Troops that look great on paper.  They recharter dozens and dozens of Scouts and Scouters.  They have fun at their meetings, but they don’t ask much of anybody.  Its not too hard to earn ranks, but not too many boys learn very much.  They are popular, but they don’t accomplish much.  That’s not to say we shouldn’t have fun, but at some point we’re compromising the quality of the program in the quest for numbers.

Growth for the sake of growth is no solution for Scouting.  We can not sacrifice our principles for popularity.



Always Room at the Scouting Inn

December 22, 2012

en: Ideal Scout Statue by Robert Tait McKenzie...

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. -Luke 2:7

Did you recruit a new Scout today?

No?  Are you sure?

Like the original Unknown Scout in the London fog, every day each of us who are Scouts and Scouters represent Scouting and the BSA (or WOSM organization of your choice), in uniform or not.  At school or at work, on service projects or just puttering around the neighborhood.  When people know you’re a Scout, they judge all of Scouting by your actions.  When people don’t know you’re a Scout, each person you meet is a potential Scout/Scouter or supporter.

As I related in my last post, my family recently moved to a new city/state/Council, so my boys and I have been looking for a new troop(s).  In a time of transition like this, we faced (and are still working through) many decision points regarding participation in Scouting.  The boys, being at different ages and ranks, have their own interests and concerns–even whether or not to continue in Scouting at all.  So we poked around on the Council website looking for local Troop and Crew info.  I visited Roundtable to see which units were active.  I asked around when we got to town to see if anybody knew any Scouters… and we visited several meetings to see where the boys felt they could fit in.  In each case, someone had the opportunity to extend a welcoming hand… or not.

Not only does everybody win in the game of Scouting, but there’s also always more room for more players.  While Mary & Joseph were turned away from the Inn so long ago, there’s always room in Scouting for families who want to live by the Scout Oath & Law.  And every day, each and every one of us invite new Scouts in, whether we know it or not, by how we live the Scout Oath and Law.  Do you live On Your Honor?  Are you Courteous and Kind?  Have you Done A Good Daily?

There are no strangers to Scouting, only friends we haven’t met yet.

Merry Christmas.


Scoutmaster Minute—Peer Pressure

September 16, 2012

Scouting (Photo credit: omer_k)

SM Minute—Peer Pressure

Now that we have a couple weeks of school under our belts, I hope each of you have made some new friends. Why don’t you invite one to our next Troop meeting, or campout?

Good friends ask you to do good things, like going fishing, or on a hike.  Some so-called friends, though, don’t have your best interests in mind.  Let’s look at page 61 in your Scout Handbook again:

Real friends will not ask you to do anything that could put you at risk.  If those who say they are your friends are smoking,drinking, using drugs, watching pornography, using profanity, or doing anything else that is unwise, you don’t have to go along with them. You might need to look for new friends who are interested in healtheir activities. Don’t worry, they are out there.  Be true to your values, and you will find them.

Remember, a Scout is Friendly and Loyal, but a Scout is also Trustworthy and Clean.


Scoutmaster Minute—New Friends

September 9, 2012

Scouting (Photo credit: omer_k)

SM Minute—New Friends

Going back to school is a time of new starts, new beginnings.  You’ll have new classes, and hopefully new friends. A Scout is Friendly after all!

This is a great time to reach out to new kids at school, and old friends you haven’t caught up with in a while.

It’s also a good time to remember the importance of making good choices, from page 61 in your Scout Handbook:

Good Judgement in Choosing Friends

Choose friends whose values you share and admire.  Be open to those who are not just like everyone else you know.  Differences in race, culture, and language may keep some people at a distance, but those differences can also be doorways for you to expand your understanding of other people and of the world.  Disabilities might seem to be barriers to friendship, too, but look beyond what seems to separate you.  You might be surprised to discover how much you have in common with others and how much you can share with one another.

Have a great week at school.


Scoutmaster Minute—Being Clean

July 29, 2012

New posh St Peter's Maney kneckerchiefs

SM Minute—Being Clean

Being clean and unspoiled seems like a simple thing, doesn’t it? But it’s really one of the toughest assignments in our Scout Law.

Think of what a soiled handkerchief goes through in order to be clean.  It gets scalded in hot water.  It gets soaked in harsh soap suds and strong bleach.  It gets scrubbed or tumbled around roughly in a washing machine.  Then it gets thrown around in a hot clothes dryer until it’s dry.  An then, the worst torture of all, it gets flattened out under a heavy, hot iron.  But then when all that’s done, the handkerchief looks clean and unspoiled.

We must be willing to go through something like that if we are to be clean and unspotted.  Turning your back on everything dirty is not as simple as it sounds.  It often means making yourself unpopular with some people.  Not going along with the crowd can be mighty rough.  Or, if you have done wrong, it’s extremely painful to admit what you’ve done and try to make it right again, to ask forgiveness.  But these are the trials that purify.  You see, the tough treatment in the laundry of life can help you to be clean—if you can take it.

How about it?  Will you settle for being soiled?  Or would you like being clean, orderly, and unspotted?  A Scout is clean.


(adapted from Troop Program Resources, p.14)


Scoutmaster Minute—Parable of the Toothpaste

January 22, 2012

SM Minute—Parable of the Toothpaste

Have you ever squeezed too much toothpaste out of a tube of toothpaste and tried to put it back in the tube? It can’t be done, can it?  No matter how hard you try, the toothpaste is out of the tube forever.

When you think about toothpaste, think about the Scout Law: A Scout is Kind.  Like toothpaste from the tube, once unkind words come out of your mouth, you cannot take them back.  So when you are tempted to say something unkind, remember the parable of the toothpaste, and keep the unkind words to yourself.


(adapted from Troop Program Resources, p.19)


SM Minute—When the World Stopped Turning

September 11, 2011
WTC during construction

Image via Wikipedia

Scoutmaster Minute—When the World Stopped Turning

Today is September 11th. Some of you remember the events of ten years ago today. Most of you have learned of them in history books and television. There are few days in the history of the nation when, as they say, “the world stopped turning” and everything changed direction. Pearl Harbor. Gettysburg. 9/11.

The events of the day speak for themselves. I would like to speak to how this days speaks to the Scout Oath.

On by honor I will do my best

Your honor is something that cannot be taken, but only given—it is what you do when nobody else is looking. The same with ‘doing your best’. Only you know what your best is, and you may not even know that until you are called to duty.

To do my duty to God and my country

Many people are paralyzed in an emergency. When the time for service comes, a Scout stands up—for his God and his country, for friends and family.

and to obey the Scout Law

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent, in good times and in bad.

To help other people at all times;

Times of crisis are a true test of character.

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

It is much easier to do what must be done with stamina, smarts, and good common sense.

However, the best lesson of the day may actually lie in the Scout Motto: Be Prepared.

Be prepared, Scouts. Be prepared.


SM Minute—Twelfth-Point

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

Image via Wikipedia

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: .


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

December 30, 2010

My Scoutmaster Minutes for Troop 25 on the Scout Oath and Scout Law for the Centennial Year of Scouting in the USA.  Some original, some re-posted from Troop Program Resources and other sources.

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

Scoutmaster Minute—The Scout Salute and Handshake

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Trustworthy

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Loyal

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Helpful

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Friendly

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Courteous

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Kind

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Obedient

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Cheerful

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Thrifty

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Brave

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Clean

(A rebuttal from Mike RoweA Scout is Clean… Except When He Gets Dirty)

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Reverent

Scoutmaster Minute—The Outdoor Code

Scoutmaster Minute—Why Are You in Scouting?


(edit: updated links)

SM Minute—A Scout is Reverent

October 17, 2010

Scoutmaster Minute—A Scout is Reverent

A Scout is reverent.  A Scout is reverent toward God.  He is faithful in his religious duties.  He respects the beliefs of others.

Sometimes we overlook the 12th and final point of the Scout Law.  How a Scout is reverent is between him, his family and his relationship with God.  My relationship with God is different than yours.  Some of us attend church every week.  Some of us celebrate God’s grace in the great outdoors.  What is important is that every Scout is reverent towards God, in his own way.

When we go camping, we have a Scout’s Own service like we did at last weekend’s Camporee.  This is not meant to replace your church duties.  It simply recognizes that a Scout is reverent and shares our different religious traditions.

A Scout is reverent, yet we also respect the many different ways each of us is reverent all around the world.