Posts Tagged ‘Scout Motto’

You Can Never Be Prepared For Some Things

April 30, 2013

English: A stop sign in , Canada.

I witnessed an auto accident last week.  Guy pulled out from a stop sign and t-boned a car right in front of me. Scarred the heck out of me.

My Scout sense did kick right in.  I stopped safely, checked the scene, then called 911.  Fortunately nobody was hurt seriously, just banged up.  Both cars were totaled.

I was thankful then that years of Scout training didn’t fail me then.  But there are some things we can’t always be prepared for.  My friend was in the car in front of me that was wrecked–I wasn’t a cool, collected first responder; I was mad as hell and fighting not to make a bad situation worse.  Then when I calmed down, I really wondered how well prepared I would have been to provide first aid if someone had been bleeding. When was the last time I checked my first aid kit in the truck?

As Scouts we strive to do our best, but there’s just some things you’re never sure how well prepared you will be.



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.


National Preparedness Month

September 20, 2012

September is a good time to work with our Scouts—Pack, Troop, or Crew—on being prepared during National Preparedness Month.  Expand on the Bear Law Enforcement Activity with FEMA resources.  Ask your PLC to refresh the Troop on basic First Aid Skills or work on Wilderness First Aid for the backcountry.  Bring in your First Aid and Emergency Preparedness merit badge counselors.  Ask your leaders to take the online BSA Hazardous Weather training.

Be Prepared.


Main Content

Release date:
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012
Release Number:

DENTON, Texas – September is National Preparedness Month. Putting together a family preparedness plan for disasters or emergencies can serve you well in any circumstance. Whether you are facing a severe weather event, a fire in your home, a hazardous materials incident in the neighborhood, or any other emergency, it’s a good idea to plan in advance.

  • Talk to your family members about preparedness and how to respond calmly to emergencies. Discuss what you would need to do to shelter in place, leave your home or evacuate your city.
  • Identify two meeting places, one near your home and one away from the neighborhood in the event family members cannot return to the house.
  • Post emergency phone numbers beside the telephone. Teach children how to call 911.
  • Choose a friend or relative out-of-state whom all family members will telephone to check in. The out-of-state relative can relay messages. When evacuating, notify relatives and friends about your plans. Be familiar with designated evacuation routes leading out of town.
  • Draw a home floor plan and choose at least two escape routes. Make sure you know how to shut off the water, gas and electricity.
  • Keep an emergency supply kit, including water, non-perishable food, important documents, radio and flashlight with extra batteries, extra eye glasses, medications and special needs products for babies and the elderly.
  • Make plans for family members or neighbors with special needs, as well as for care of pets.

During National Preparedness Month, and throughout the year, FEMA and the Ad Council invites everyone to prepare in advance for all types of natural disasters. The Ready Campaign’s websites ( and and toll-free numbers (1-800-BE-READY and 1-888-SE-LISTO) provide free emergency preparedness information and resources available in English and Spanish.


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Scoutmaster Minute—Wilderness in Our Backyard

July 15, 2012

SM Minute—Wilderness in Our Backyard

This week I drove up to the State Park.  The fish weren’t biting, so I took a hike.  About 20 minutes down a trail that wasn’t too steep, pretty easy as those things go, the trail got pretty darn close to the river’s edge along a wash out.  It was a good 30 feet down to the rocks and water below and if I hadn’t been watching my step I might easily have joined them.  At the same time, I noticed my cell phone had no signal at all, just like back at the trailhead.

When we go into the backcountry, at least one member of our Scouting party has to be trained in Wilderness First Aid, which is specifically geared to first aid when you’re more than 30 minutes from help.  Now this wasn’t Philmont, or the Boundary Waters.  This park trail isn’t your backyard, but it’s not even that far off the pavement.  And it was more than 30 minutes from help:

  • 20 minutes back to the car
  • ?? to find a cell signal
  • At least 20 minutes back down the trail.

That all adds up to trouble.  But it’s trouble a Scout knows how to prepare for, react to, and survive.

It is said that Robert Baden-Powell was asked, “What exactly should a Scout ‘be prepared’ for?”  To which he responded, “Why, any old thing!’

Be prepared, for any old thing, any old place you go.

Scoutmaster Minute Resource

May 6, 2012

I appreciate all the hits I’ve received from folks searching for Scoutmaster Minutes.  You’re probably like me, scrambling for a few last minute words of wisdom.  Not too much, not too little, knowing you’re the only thing between your Scouts and the door home.

I’ve adapted quite a few SM Minutes from BSA’s Troop Program Resources, a handy resource.  There’s a couple versions out there—I have one (c)2002 by Boy Scouts of America (I hope I’ve adapted enough not to raise their ire, all credit where credit is due).

The US Scouting Service Project is another handy all around resource.  I’ve been reading Baloo’s Bugle and Ask Andy since I was a new Den Leader, and continue to find stuff to use.  If you’ve landed here looking for a Scoutmaster Minute, USSSP has posted several from Scouter David Eby.  Among those are one I used last week, that Scoutmaster Eby had used at the 1997 National Boy Scout Jamboree:  Never Give Up.

On July 25, 1962 fourteen year old Monroe County Boy Scout Dennis Churchill was fishing on Lake Erie with four companions when a sudden severe storm capsized their boat six miles from shore. Dennis put on a life jacket then left the others clinging to the boat while he swam for help. With thunder and lightning crashing overhead, high winds gusting and waves six feet high washing over him, he swam four hours through the storm alone before finally reaching shore….

While a couple boys questioned the wisdom of leaving a capsized boat (our best practices have changed a bit over the last 50 years) this life & death story did get their attention.

So never give up looking for inspiration.  And before you go to the meeting, remember the Scout Motto:  Be Prepared… with a Scoutmaster Minute of your own.

Scoutmaster Minute—Your Hunger Games

March 25, 2012
The Hunger Games (film)

The Hunger Games (Wikipedia)

SM Minute—Your Hunger Games

Many of you have read, or may have seen the new movie based on the teen novel, Hunger Games.  Not to give away the end of the story, but the trilogy follows a teenager in a future dystopia—a future in which most everything that can go wrong has gone wrong.  In the story, the main character is thrust into an immediate survival situation for which she is completely unprepared.

I’m not suggesting that any of you Scouts have to worry about being thrown into a fight to the death.  But any of us, at any time, can find ourselves in a strange situation with only our wits and skills at hand.

Your Hunger Games may be a car accident on a dark lonely road.  It may be a choking child you are watching.  It may be a group of friends offering you drugs or alcohol after school.

Whatever your survival situation, your Scout Skills will give you a hand up.  Just remember the Scout Motto:  Be Prepared.


A map of the fictional nation of Panem from Su...

A map of the fictional nation of Panem from Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.


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?

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)

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

January 10, 2010

Everyone joins Scouts for different reasons. The thrill of adventure in the Great Outdoors. Earning ranks and badges. Having fun with our friends.

But what does it mean when you say “I am a Scout”?

We know what the Scout Oath or Promise says:

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

And we know what the Scout Law says:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

We know the Scout Motto:

Be Prepared

We know the Scout Slogan:

Do a Good Turn daily.

And we know the Outdoor Code:

As an American, I will do my best to
Be clean in my outdoor manners,
Be careful with fire,
Be considerate in the outdoors, and
Be conservation-minded.

But what does that mean?

As we start 2010, the 100th year of the Boy Scouts of America, think about what it means to you to be a Scout. Think about how you “Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life”. Let’s talk this year about how your Patrol and Troop can help you be the best Scout you can be.