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Scoutmasters minutes

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This one, from about 2004, is one of my favorites and I still recieve email requests to use it. Go ahead.





This Scoutmaster Minute is for those of you guys who sometimes feel"conspicuous" when you wear your uniform out in public.


Last Thursday evening I had a Court of Honor to attend for a Scoutmaster friend of mine who was receiving a special award. His troop is way south of the river and I knew that I wouldn't have enough time after I got off work that evening to drive home, get dressed and then drive all the way back, so I brought my class A uniform to work with me that day on a hanger. After work, I got dressed and then, since I still had a little time before the Court of Honor and because I was a little hungry, I decided to grab a bite to eat. I went into the McDonalds and stood in line. It was pretty crowded and I noticed a table of high school guys, maybe 16 or 17 years old, behind me and to the left. As I stood in line, looking up at the menu and deciding whether I wanted combo meal #1 or #3, I heard one of these guys snicker and say, "Hey! Look at the Boy Scout!"


There was a split second of embarrassed silence. Then, as I was turning around to say something, one of the other guys at the table said loudly," Yo! Dude! Chill out! *I'm* a Scout!" Our eyes locked for an instant, and even though we had never met before, we shared a bond of comradeship, this 17 year old and me. Then, without skipping a beat, the fellow in line in front of me, about my age, who hadn't seen me enter the restaurant, turned around and said "Me, too!" and he grinned and gave me an OA handshake. Unbelievably, one of the guys in the kitchen who was wrapping up burgers called out over the counter, "Hey, me too!" And then, not to be left out, I heard an 8-year old voice pipe up from one of the tables, "I'm a Cub Scout!"


Well, after I had paid for my burger and left, I was feeling pretty good. You see, there are a lot more Scouts out there that we realize. We may not be in uniform all the time, but we are all Scouts just the same. We all follow the Scout Oath and the 12 points of the Scout Law. I'm very glad to be part of that brotherhood.



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One of trendy things now is when there is some chore to be done or some assignment to be given out, you'll see a lot of guys immediately put their finger to their nose. "Nose Nos" I think they call it. Back in the day, we would all just yell "NOT IT" to accomplish the same thing. The last guy to call Not It or to touch his finger to his nose gets stuck with the job.


I really hate that attitude. It's sure un-Scoutlike. Not at all Helpful and is absolutely runs counter to the whole idea of cheerful service or servant leadership.


So the next time your Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol or one of the adults walks up needing help with a chore and everyone else puts their finger to their nose (and at this point you put your finger to your nose) how about instead you take that finger and ..... (as you let your voice trails off, slowly move your finger from your nose and raise your hand over your head, as if to volunteer for the job.)

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  • 1 month later...

Tried to create a new thread for this but keep getting an error message. This is a good one for Veteran's Day week. Hope everyone sees it here.


+ + + + + +



Jack Lucas was a 14-year-old high school kid from the small coastal town of Plymouth, NC, when he decided to join the Marines. Not when he finished school, but right then. He was a tall, athletic kid so the Marines believed him when he said he was 17. Unfortunately, that still meant he needed his mothers permission to join the Corps, so he forged her signature on his enlistment papers.


Jack was sent to Parris Island, SC, for basic training during which he earned the sharpshooter qualification. He was sent to New River Naval Air Station for further training and was certified as a heavy machine gunner and advanced to Private First Class. Unfortunately, his real age was discovered when military censors read a letter from his 15-year-old girlfriend. Jack told the Marines if they booted him from the Corps he would just join the Army, so they made him a truck driver and sent him to Pearl Harbor.


Jack often told his friends he was going to join a combat unit, so no one was surprised when he went AWOL one day. Jack had stowed away on a troop transport ship, the USS Deuel, when he learned an arrest warrant had been issued for him as a deserter. He dressed in his best uniform and surrendered to the commanding officer. Already at sea, with nowhere else to go,

Jack was permitted to join the 5th Marine Division.


Jack celebrated his 17th birthday aboard the Deuel. Six days later the 5th Marine Division, including 17-year-old Jack Lucas of Plymouth, NC, invaded the small Japanese island of Iwo Jima.


That same day, Jack and his squad were advancing in a small trench when they encountered a Japanese patrol. A firefight ensued during which the Japanese threw two hand grenades into the trench. Jack dove on top of two of his comrades and reached out to pull a third under him before the one of the grenades exploded, shielding them from the blast. Jack was seriously wounded but sacrifice allowed his squad to defeat the Japanese patrol and continue to advance. Jack was left for dead.


Soon a Navy corpsman found Jack still alive. One of the grenades had failed to explode. Still Jack had more than 250 pieces of shrapnel in his body and endured 26 surgeries over the coming months.


In October, 1945, in a ceremony at the White House, President Harry Truman honored Jack Lucas for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty and presented him with our nations highest military award, the Medal of Honor. He was still just 17 years old and was and is the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Civil War.


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The youngest MOH awardee was a 12 year-old bugler for an artillery crew 2nd US Battery B. His unit was under heavy fighting at Antietam, the bloodiest one day in American history. The battery commander was wounded and he dragged him to safety and returned then to find the crews short-handed and he put down his bugle and manned the gun. This gun was directly on the front line just to the right of the famed Cornfield where the famous Iron Brigade advanced on the equally famous Hood's brigade of Texans.


And who says Eagle scouts at age 14 are too young/immature.....



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Not to take away from the thread or hijack these great American Heros in any way, but:


"And who says Eagle scouts at age 14 are too young/immature....."


Yes, in some cases this is the truth, however, it is more the exception than the rule. . .

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  • 1 month later...



Way back in 1915, a booklet was published called "The Scout Law in Practice" Written by Arthur Astor Carey, its chapters are "...based upon talks to the Sea Scouts during the cruises of the Boy Scout ship, Pioneer."


Mr. Carey provides a frank look at scouting ideals. The language used might be called quaint, but I'd call it effective, efficient, and descriptive. Naturally, not everyone will share Mr. Carey's opinions on all points; however, there are many interesting sections that serve to get us thinking and examining scouting ideals.


From time to time, I'd like to share short excerpts that might be helpful to getting us all to reconsider how we look at and deal with scouting ideals.


From Chapter Four, "The Rules of the Game":


"We all know what a miserable thing a game becomes when it is not played according to the rules"


"The fact is that the rules of the game are the foundation of the game; because, when the rules are not kept and the game ceases to be play[ed], it becomes a scramble or a swindling match. And for this reason fair play has been the thing which men of our race have always loved most of all, because it represents faithfulness to an obligation of honor."


"True sportsmanship rests upon this foundation: that a man would rather lose a point, and indeed lose the whole game, than play against the rules..."


Do you scouts believe that? Do you see that embodied in the "sportsmanship" of modern pro-athletes, government officials, teachers/professors or other elders? Do you feel a genuine call to want to see it embodied and are you willing to become part of a generation that strives to live differently?


Further along in chapter four we read;


"Now, when we speak of a number of laws which belong together for a common purpose, we call them a "code" such as the old Roman code or the Code Napoleon; but, when they are deeper than the civil law and apply to the inner thoughts and motives of men and not only to their outward acts, we call them a Code of Honor.


This is just what the Scout Law is, and therefore it is necessary for us to study and practice it. But we must remember one thing at the very start -- that we can not understand it just by reading, or studying or even learning it by heart; but only by trying our best every day to obey it, and then carefully noting when we have succeeded and when we have failed. Doing this will help us to understand the law better and better as time goes on, and to practice it with increasingly good results.


Just as a reminder, here's the Scout Law with the short explanations added. (perhaps get SPL to read it):


A Scout is TRUSTWORTHY. A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is a part of his code of conduct. People can always depend on him.

A Scout is LOYAL. A Scout is true to his family, friends, Scout leaders, school, nation, and world community.

A Scout is HELPFUL. A Scout is concerned about other people. He willingly volunteers to help others without expecting payment or reward.

A Scout is FRIENDLY. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs that are different from his own.

A Scout is COURTEOUS. A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows that good manners make it easier for people to get along together.

A Scout is KIND. A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not harm or kill anything without reason.

A Scout is OBEDIENT. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.

A Scout is CHEERFUL. A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.

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

A Scout is BRAVE. A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.

A Scout is CLEAN. A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean.

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


So what do we do as scouts and scouters? Can we afford to take a break, alter our character in a business meeting, "bend the rules" when it's really critical? Of course not! Most may make a mistake, occasionally a bad choice, but as pointed out above "...by trying our best every day to obey it, and then carefully noting when we have succeeded and when we have failed" we will really understand the Scout Law.


What will you commit to do differently tomorrow?

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  • 2 years later...

Either myself or my ASM will take the opportunity for a Scoutmaster Moment at every meeting.  Sometimes I struggle to find a topic.  Other times, I have 5.  I'm always looking for new sources.


I used this one last night.  It seemed to go over well.  Link



What frequency do you have SM Moments?  What sources do you use?

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As the RTCommish, I try to run my RT a bit like a Troop meeting.  We open with a small flag ceremony,  official announcements, then the "program" or breakout trainings. Time for closing,  I give a short "SMMinute" ( might be humorous, might be more serious) which I generally read from a source (lots of inspirational, Scouty resources available) and then Scout Sign, recite the Scout Promise and "God speed home"....

I also send out a weekly email that serves as our District Newsletter. I include a "teaser" at the top, a thought provoker,  which also seems to present itself to me from many sources.  Religious gospels, native American writings, Ernest Thompson Seton,  Khalil Gibran, William Penn,  Gandhi,  Daniel Webster,  old Scoutmaster Manuals, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Service, Baden Powell,  Groucho Marx, some guy named anonymous,  I find lots of inspirational stuff.   My 1952 vintage Fieldbook has a lot of Greenbar Bill quotes.  Even the most modern BSHandbook has some neat words to consider.


"One finger cannot raise a pebble"  =Hopi Indian =     >>>  go and discuss teamwork, cooperation, the need of the hand to use all the fingers AND the thumb to be really effective.


Last time, I read a short story where the "moral" was not , as expected , that you could not lead a horse to water and make him drink, but maybe your job was to make him thirsty so he would seek his own water.

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One of my favorite "less-than-a-minute minutes" that you are welcome to share:


What rank do you boys want to be by the time you age out of our troop?

I know we'd like all of you to be first class scouts.

Some of you aspire to Star, Life, Eagle, and maybe a few palms.

We'd love to support you in that.

But most importantly we'd like you to be the best scout that a fella ever knew.


I've been around, and met a quite a few scouts, but only one qualifies as best.

His name is Jeff, he aged out at Second Class.

He was a troop treasurer and patrol leader.

He had a knack for finding arrowheads ... and picking hidden monuments to hike to.

But, none of that made him best, it just made him interesting.


Before all that ... one day Jeff invited me to join his troop.

I could have wasted a lot of time not scouting if it weren't for him.

And for that I'm forever grateful.

That's what makes him the best scout I ever knew.


Maybe one day you too will qualify as the best scout a fella ever knew.

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