Dealing with policy issues

RuleBook_200A reader writes:

Our Scoutmaster wants to make changes to the troop uniform policy, but when I said I should have been in on the discussion he told me that uniforming wasn’t something that was at the committee chair level, since it deals directly with the Scouts. I said that changes of that nature need to be incorporated into the troop handbook, and should still be discussed by the committee. Should I have a say in the matter?

Let’s look a little deeper into what you’re asking and see if we can figure out what the real issues are. Continue reading “Dealing with policy issues”

Patterns of character

charactercounts_200If you are a civics aficionado, this is a very interesting time. We are in the midst of one of the most notable and volatile presidential campaigns in our country’s history. Much is being said on both sides of the debate, and it’s hard to imagine that anyone could not have formed an opinion by now.

But how do we form our opinions on matters of such great importance as electing our leaders?

As we prepare to choose who will represent us, in offices ranging from city council to the presidency, each of us looks for many factors in deciding who to support.

Undoubtedly, character is one of the most important of these factors, as it is probably the most reliable predictor of what a person would do in office. It’s not easy to gauge someone else’s character – you have to look for the outward signs that give a glimpse of inner traits. Sometimes these are fairly obvious but they can be quite obscure.

Perhaps the most important thing to examine is our own character, and for us Scouters, what better way is there than to hold character up to the light of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The twelve points give us some solid benchmarks for comparison and judgment. Continue reading “Patterns of character”

Prepared for life: Not just a motto

prepared_250The Scout motto – Be Prepared – has been with us since the beginning, when Baden-Powell encouraged his young charges to be ready for whatever life might throw their way. It came from his days as a military leader, training his soldiers to be ready both in battle and in peacetime. When asked the meaning of be prepared was, he explained

…a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.

B-P said a Scout should be prepared for any old thing. Continue reading “Prepared for life: Not just a motto”

The “I Just Want to Play” League

sandlot2_250If you’re the parent of a child involved in organized sports, you are undoubtedly aware of how competitive playing a game has become. And it’s not the children who are competitive – it’s the parents. Sure, many of the kids want to get in there and do well at their sport, but the parents push them to do better. Many are finding that other parents have outdone them, enrolling their kids in special training camps, instructional sessions and skill drills in hopes they’ll make it in a highly-competitive league. They plead with teachers and school administrators to do what they can to give their children better grades so high-profile college teams won’t dismiss them. Recreational leagues can be cut-throat. Parents scream at the children and coaches from the sidelines during games. And this all starts – incredibly – in grade school.

But kids, for the most part, don’t want to be in a highly-competitive sports league. They just want to play. Continue reading “The “I Just Want to Play” League”

He is describing chaos

New60minutesIf you’re a regular viewer of the CBS show 60 Minutes, you probably caught the remarkable story last Sunday of a prep school in Newark, New Jersey. St. Benedict’s is a private school that enrolls boys from grades seven through twelve from a wide demographic but with a common thread – most come from underprivileged backgrounds and are susceptible to the dangers that come with it.

Yet, ninety-eight percent stick with it and graduate; most go to college and do well, with nearly ninety percent earning a college degree.

How do they do it? Continue reading “He is describing chaos”