Scoutmaster Minute - 2011

It's Not Easy

October 3rd

Let's be honest. Scout Spirit is not for wimps. It’s not easy being a good person.
It’s not easy to be honest when it might be costly, to play fair when others cheat, or to keep inconvenient promises.
It’s not easy to stand up for our beliefs and still respect differing viewpoints.
It’s not easy to be grateful or to give without concern for reward or gratitude.
It’s not easy to fail and still keep trying, to learn from failure, to risk failing again, to start over, to lose with grace, or to be glad of another’s success.
It’s not easy to look at ourselves honestly and be accountable, to avoid excuses and rationalizations, or to resist temptations.
It’s not easy to bear criticism and learn from it without getting angry, to take advice, or to admit error.
It’s not easy to be consistently kind, to think of others first, to judge generously, or to give the benefit of the doubt.
It’s not easy to stop feeling like a victim, to resist cynicism, or to make the best of every situation.
It’s not easy to control powerful impulses, to be accountable for our attitudes and actions, to tackle unpleasant tasks, or to sacrifice the now for later.
It’s not easy to feel genuine remorse and apologize sincerely, or to accept apologies graciously and truly forgive.
It’s is not easy to complete your homework, when chatting with your friends on Facebook is so tempting.
It’s not easy to come to the troop meetings at 6:55 when others come at 7:05.
It’s not easy to stay still in your patrol lines, when it is so much fun to talk with your friends.
No, it is not easy to live by the scout law. That’s why it’s such a lofty goal and an admirable achievement to be a scout when in uniform and more importantly when not in uniform.

Steve Jobs – Outside the Box Thinker

October 10th
Steve Jobs died on October 5th

World over people are remembering the person with great imagination and the innovator “Steve Jobs”. The person who always thought outside the box, creating an emotional connection between the man and the machine.

Before Macintosh people knew computers as big clunky box and you had to be a geek to use them. With iMac, he brought personal computers to people’s living rooms. There were lots of MP3 players before iPod was launched, but he thought of simplicity of a single button and a circular scroll bar. While others had tried and written-off tablet PCs, Steve launched iPad, and became an overnight success story.

Success did not come easy for him, it wasn't all romantic. When at college he slept on the floor, he returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple.

However he was always curious and followed his intuition. He trusted in himself, and had desire to leave his mark on this world, and that approach made all the difference in his life.

So fellow scouts it is your time to look deep within yourself, find that passion of yours. Work towards that dream, and give it your 110%. As you work towards that destiny, success will not come easy, there will be many obstacles, but if you keep your focus on that aim and believe in your goals, they will come true. As they did for Steve; some may know that he was ousted from the company he co-founded, but later was called back and turned it around to a huge success story, as we know Apple Inc. today.

In the end I would end with these words from Steve Jobs commencement address at Stanford:

“The old makes way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.”

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

So scouts go conquer those challenges with your dreams and make this world a better place.

Advancement - One Step at A Time

October 17th

Take 10 seconds to answer this question to yourself:
'Why am I in Scouts?'
(time off 10 seconds on your watch.)

Would anyone like to share one reason with the troop?

Common answers are: To Camp, It's Fun, and To Be an Eagle Scout.

If one of your main goals is to become an Eagle Scout, then picture this. Let's say that where I am standing right now is the Scout rank. Over there (about 15 feet away) is the Eagle rank. I'm going to reach that goal.

(Stretch your foot toward the goal as far as you can, do the splits. :-) That doesn't work, so keep your feet where you were standing, lay down, and stretch your hands as far as you can toward the goal. Still doesn't work. Ad lib that you're trying as hard as you can to reach it but its too far away. Stand up. Take a running jump to see how far you can go. Still don't make it.)

As you can see, I just can't make it - the Eagle rank is too far away. I can give up - OR, I can adjust my goals. Instead of shooting for Eagle right now, I will shoot for Tenderfoot rank by [September 1 or whenever]. (Take a big step forward to Tenderfoot.)

Then, I'll learn more skills to reach 2nd Class by [February 1] - step forward. Then, 1st Class. Then, Star. Then, Life.

Finally, I can reach that goal I couldn't get to when that was all I was interested in.

A Chinese saying is, 'A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.' Know where you want to go and start stepping.

You could ask a Scout or Tenderfoot and an Eagle to help you by standing 15 feet apart and having the Scout try to reach the Eagle.

The Lead Steer

October 28th
@ Green Bar Meeting

In the early 1800s, before railroads, the only way to move cattle from the west to the big cities was to drive the huge herds of cattle across the planes to places like Kansas City and St. Louis. Trails like the Chisholm Trail were marked as the best routes that would provide water, food, river crossings, and safety from man and beast. Cowboys would be on the trail for weeks at a time moving the cattle before finally arriving at their destination.

Each herd had a lead steer, which was usually an older longhorn steer that led the way along the trail. The cowboys would get the lead steer moving each morning, and he would slowly start leading the way up the trail to the destination. The herd would fall into line behind the lead steer and follow him. Cowboys would ride on the flanks and the rear to keep the stragglers from wandering away from the herd.

The lead steer was trained to lead the herds. After completing a trail drive, the cowboys would drive the lead steer back home to lead another herd up the trail, and this would be repeated time and again. The story of the lead steer points out that leadership is a skill that can be taught, and as a SPL, ASPL, PL, Junior ASM, and Troop Guide you will be given many opportunities.

So lead with conviction, give it your best and you will succeed. At times the task at hand may look overwhelming, but take a deep breath and break into smaller manageable pieces, and soon you will get a handle on it. Remember to key to success is planning. As a leader you have the chance of making a difference in the Troop, in the lives of so many young men.

Do not Underestimate Yourself

November 7th

Ask two scouts to come to the stage.
Ask them to mark a line on the wall, as high as they can. Once they are done, ask them to return to their seat and thank them for it.
Now ask all the scouts if they think they can do better. They all would answer yes.
Ask the same scouts to come back to the stage and ask if they could do better, and place a mark higher than before. They will.
Ask the scouts what they learnt from the exercise, some key points:

  • They can do better than what they think they can
  • Life may not give you a second chance so give it your best shot the first time
  • Always have goals, so you have something to aim for, set them high (but reasonable) so you have sense of accomplishment in achieving them
  • ….

Veterans Day

November 14th
@ Court of Honor - Veterans Day was November 11th


Can anyone tell me what Friday was?

That’s right, it was Veterans Day.

The scout oath starts like this. On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country. Serving in the military is one of the ways that we can do our duty to our country.

Let me share with you a story about a couple of scouts who were doing their duty during World War II.

Some of the fiercest fighting of World War II was on Okinawa. It was long and bloody and fought with fierce determination by both sides. In the midst of one of the battles a young American soldier fell wounded. As he lay there about to lose consciousness he saw a Japanese soldier standing over him, bayonet at the ready, poised to strike. The American soldier was weak from blood loss and near to blacking out, but he raised his right hand in a familiar sign - the universally recognized Scout sign. Then he lost consciousness expecting never to wake up.

He did wake up, though. When he came to, he was in an American field hospital. When the medics found him, his wounds had been dressed. In his pocket he found a note, written in Japanese. He found someone to translate the note, and this is what it said:


"I could not bring myself to kill a fellow Scout."

The note also had the address of the Japanese soldier who, instead of killing him, had tended to his wounds before moving on.

When the war had ended, the young soldier was assigned to the occupation force in Japan. He went to find his savior at the first opportunity. He discovered that the Japanese soldier who had spared his life and tended his wounds had died later in the fighting on Okinawa. But his family had survived, and the American became their friend and helped them in every way that he could during his time in Japan.

When asked why he helped them, he explained what had occurred and showed them the note. The people were so touched by his story that they erected a statue of an American Scout and a Japanese Scout clasping hands, which stands in Kyoto, Japan today. It is a monument to our shared humanity - that in the midst of war and violence, of hatred and bloodshed, two young men found that they were in fact brothers.

It is a monument to the Ideals of Scouting - that even when nations are deeply divided, Scouting is a link that joins us and encourages compassion, mercy, understanding, and peace.


Although these two scouts were on different sides of the battle, they were both doing their duty … To country, but more importantly to God.

Veterans Day is the day that we honor those who served in our countries military. Many of you know people who have served or are now serving our country that way. Take the time to thank them for their service.

Can everybody please rise.

(Everybody rises)

Scout salute

(Everybody gives a salute)


Baden Powel

November 28
by Eric Aune

Holes which cannot be filled

December 5
Webelos Visit

Sold into slavery

December 12
By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
December 16, 2011

This Friday in LA Times there was a cover page story on a girl named Shyima Hall. Shyima Hall was smuggled into the United States a decade ago, as a 10-year-old slave. She was forced to cook and clean inside the home of a wealthy family and, at night, sleep on a squalid mattress in a windowless garage.

She worked long hours; scrubbing floors, cooking meals and cleaning house, and was rarely allowed outside the spacious home. She was forced to wash her own clothes in a bucket and was forbidden from going to school. She never visited a doctor or dentist and didn't speak a word of English.


On Thursday, this Egyptian-born 22-year-old was given granted US citizenship. The ceremony capped a hard-scrabble journey that began with Hall's rescue, wound through the foster care system and ended with her living on her own, working, and with ambitions to become a federal agent.

In 2002, acting on a tip from a concerned neighbor, child welfare authorities rescued her from the house. During the investigation, Hall formed a tight bond with one of the lead federal agent, who served as a friend and mentor.

In recent years, Hall has spoken to groups across the country about combating human trafficking. Her dream now is to become a federal agent to help crack down on human trafficking and free the enslaved.

This story is of a girl who remained resilient through her tough times, fought back for injustice. The fortitude. Not falling apart. Not being a destroyed soul. So remember scouts success does not come easy, you have to work hard towards it. You have to believe in yourself.

At the same time you should be thankful for all that what you have, a roof on your head, food in your plate, time to play and enjoy, unlike Shimya, who had to work 16 hours a day.


A Scout is Loyal

December 19

Scouts, what's the second point of the Scout Law? That's right, "A Scout is loyal. " Our Scout handbook explains that a Scout is loyal to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school and nation. I'm going to add one more thing to that list - a Scout is loyal to his team. The team might be his patrol or sports team.

As you must have realized in today’s game, your patrol cannot be as good as it should be if you goof off a lot or constantly complain about your teammates or your patrol leader or coach. A winning patrol and a winning team must have a winning attitude. That means that every member must be willing to do his part and not spend time griping because the patrol's plans or the game are not going his way.

That doesn't mean that you have to be close friends with everybody in your patrol or team or even like all of them. But it means that when you join, you commit yourself to the success of the patrol or the team and pledge to give it your best effort.

In Scouting and sports, it's teamwork that makes winners. So whenever you're with your patrol or sports team, remember, "A Scout is loyal".

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