Flag Day

On August 3, 1949, President Harry S Truman signed a proclamation designating a national day on which we honor the United States Flag, and so June 14 became known as National Flag Day.

The story goes deeper, though. President Woodrow Wilson was the first president to establish the date by proclamation in 1916, following initial efforts by New York kindergarten teacher George Balch to hold an observation on the anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes. Balch’s 1889 effort gradually gained ground, and with the involvement of the Sons of the Revolution, the idea was popularized. The National Flag Day Association was formed in Illinois in 1894 and a Flag Day observance was held in Chicago that year with three hundred thousand school children in attendance.

It’s no accident that Flag Day traces its history to educating children about Old Glory. Continue reading “Flag Day”


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Ethics

Ethics. It’s a big word. It can be a loaded word in some ways.

Ethics is typically defined as the fundamental principles of decent human conduct. Merriam-Webster defines it as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. In business, it can be taken to encompass the study of universal values such as respect and equality for men and women, fairness in dealings with others and concern for health, safety and the environment.

Does this sound familiar in a Scouting context? It certainly should.

Ethics is at the heart of the values we instill in our young people. Continue reading “Ethics”


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Looking from the outside in

At our church, I serve on a committee that oversees our communication efforts. Among our tasks are the advertising and promotions that we place in local media, our various “side-door” ministries (activities that help to enrich the community, like Scouting) and the church website. We redesigned the website this year, and one of the topics that we added was a look at our Sunday worship for those who are visiting us for the first time, and what they could expect when they walked through our doors.

As we tossed around ideas for the first-time visitor section, we had to envision walking into our church – something we do each week without much thought – as if we had never been there before. Sure, we had all been first-timers once, but it had been a long time since we gave it any thought. Not only did it open our eyes to things we stopped noticing years ago, but it led to some redesign work in the church to make it easier for newcomers to find their way.

The process got me to thinking about how first-time visitors to our packs and troops must feel. Continue reading “Looking from the outside in”


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Dealing with alumni adults

A while back, we ran a couple articles about the role that other adults play in a Boy Scout troop. By “other” adults, I’m referring to assistant Scoutmasters, committee members and parents of Scouts.

But sometimes, you encounter a situation where adults like to stick around after their sons have aged out and moved on. They’d like to stay associated with the troop but no longer have a Scout registered.

I received such a question from a reader recently. Continue reading “Dealing with alumni adults”


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Who’s to blame when communication fails?

Have you, or your Scouts, ever played the game of Telephone? A group forms a circle, and the first person thinks of a message. He whispers it to the second person, and the second to the third, and so on, until it reaches the last person. The first person says his original message, and the last person repeats what he heard – usually hilariously different from the way it started. It’s a great illustration in the value of clear, accurate communication.

The need to get a message across clearly is important for any team to function effectively. Whether it’s a patrol, a unit committee or a Key 3 relationship, being on the same page is essential to successful group effort, and communication is the key. Failure of the message recipient to understand what they’re being told can cause the collapse of cross-functionality.

Who is responsible for clear communication? Continue reading “Who’s to blame when communication fails?”


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