Safety first!

The world was on the edge of its seat last week over the fate of twelve young men  and their coach in Thailand. They had decided to visit a cave following soccer practice one day, and a sudden rainstorm flooded the cave and trapped them deep inside. A literal army of thousands of military and volunteers took extraordinary measures to rescue them after days of worry and hope. The technical skill, preparation and good fortune came together and, except for one rescuer who perished,  everyone was brought out safely.

Besides happily hearing the good news, my thoughts turned to what if this had happened to a Scout outing. After all, Scouts do some pretty adventurous things – caving being one of them. Continue reading “Safety first!”


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Move over, helicopter parents: Here comes the snowplow

You’ve probably heard the term helicopter parents. These are parents who seem to hover above their children, manipulating them like marionettes and steering them around life’s obstacles. Afraid to see their children fail, they try to push them to make the right decisions, acting as managers and spokesmen and try to erase any uncertainty. We’ve written about the subject several times in the context of highly organized activity schedules, staying out of the Scouts’ way, and mentoring and guiding our Scouts, rather than directing and managing them.

I heard another term a couple weeks ago listening to a radio interview with a local parenting expert.  In a discussion on raising resilient kids and teaching them the coping skills they’ll need later in life, Continue reading “Move over, helicopter parents: Here comes the snowplow”


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What is “Duty to God”?

On my honor, I will do my duty to God…

These familiar words open the Scout Oath, one of the fundamental guideposts of our movement and one which establishes our values. It’s always been part of Scouting, and was recently reaffirmed at the National Annual Meeting as a key part of all of our programs.

But although many units are chartered by a religious organization, we aren’t a church – so how are we expected to uphold duty to God outside of a religious framework?

To answer that question, we need only look to the words of our founder Continue reading “What is “Duty to God”?”


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Some assembly required

We recently bought some new patio furniture. If you’ve ever done the same, you realize that it most likely comes to you in pieces and you need to put it together yourself. The large Swedish-based retailer whose logo shares colors with Cub Scouting (you know who I mean) is well-known for their quality and price, and equally known for their cryptic assembly instructions. But this furniture was not from that store, and the instructions were even more puzzling – just a single sheet with eight tiny, hard-to-read drawings. Only my mechanical intuition and well-stocked tool chest saved me from the total frustration that would have ensued had I tried to assemble it with the minimal hand tools supplied

I briefly pondered taking pictures or making a video of the way I ended up assembling the furniture. Continue reading “Some assembly required”


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They’re walking in your steps

Today’s article comes to us courtesy of Sean Scott. Sean’s a long-time Scouter who I got to know through a Cub Scouting forum when we were both Cubmasters. Back in the day, Sean wrote:

Yesterday I was getting ready for a new pack organization meeting. My job is to get everyone excited and then, while my district executive talks to the parents, I take the boys outside to work on Bobcat. Oh, and then we make film canister rockets. When we get back together, I do a little ceremony, a couple of cheers, a song and a closing.

Not happy with the “Follow the Bobcat Trail” help sheet I’ve been using for a couple years now (it’s a 10th generation photocopy of an old mimeograph page, I believe!), I decided to type up a new one. One line describing the Law of the Pack really caught my eye and made me think: Continue reading “They’re walking in your steps”


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