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Youth Leadership Training Continuum
The Boy Scouts of America has a vision to be the foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training in the country. To support that vision, a Youth Leadership Training Continuum has been developed. It currently consists or three courses that work together to develop leadership in scouts.

The material in these courses is taken from the very best leadership courses available in many settings, even corporate executive training.

The courses are:

If you've used the 'old' JLT troop training program that was a complete course, the new TLT is just a couple page outline with very little direction. It is up to the SPL and Scoutmaster to make up and present the training they feel is important. TLT is specifically intended to quickly tell new youth leaders what they need to do and its success relies on the SPL having NYLT experience. If you have an opportunity to acquire an old JLT program, I recommend you get it so you can have more ideas available.
Since our troop does TLT twice a year and have been doing it forever, it goes smoothly and gets the new leaders ready for their jobs.

The NYLT course in our council is great according to the 6 scouts that have attended from our troop - 2 each summer. The troop pays for their camp in exchange for their commitment to use their new skills to guide the troop. The expanded understanding of EDGE, EAR, SMART, SSC, and Be-Know-Do is helping to bring the troop to a higher plateau of overall skills and leadership.

I don't have experience with NAYLE, but there is a web site with more info.

Hey, don't worry about all those TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) I tossed around. I'll be blogging about them over the next few days.

Scout On
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Posted: 9:57 09-30-2007 217
Mice and Men
I saw the funniest thing this morning while out on my walk.
I was walking on the bike path that runs along a divided 4-lane road. So, it's path, curb down, 2 lanes, curb up, median, curb down, 2 lanes, curb up, sidewalk, grass - get it?
Right in front of me, a tiny mouse comes scurrying out of the grass and across the path. I couldn't even see his little legs, they were moving so fast. If you've ever seen a mouse run, the look like they are hovering as the zoom along. This guy was in a big hurry!
He ran right to the edge of the curb and kept on going - whoosh! into air off the curb and plomp! down to the road with a somersault on landing.
He kept right on running across both lanes right at the curb of the median without slowing down. Bam! He bounced back off the curb after hitting it full steam, ran back at it, and scurried up. Across the median and whoosh! into air off the curb again with a somersault when he hit the road. Across the 2 lanes as fast as he can go right at the curb - yep, Bam! again.
After tumbling back and scarmbling up the curb, he zipped across the sidewalk and into the grass and was gone. I swear if I had had a video camera, it would be one of those $10,000 home videos on TV. :-)

While continueing my walk, I figured that mouse must have had poor eyesight and could not discern the curbs. He just knew he had to get to cover and was bent on getting there no matter what.
It made me wonder how often we are set on reaching a goal and ignore the different ways we have to get there because we try to charge right down the most direct route no matter what. Maybe taking a little time at the start to check out the options and make a plan and then be willing to revise the plan as it unfolds would keep us from slamming our heads into curbs as much.

Scout On
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Posted: 23:40 09-28-2007 216
Don't Skimp on Boots
I'll usually skip name brands and spend less money on no-name products, especially for commodity items like food, paper towels, and such supplies. From my experience, the extra money for a brand is not worth it. There isn't a taste difference to me between Kellog's raisin bran and a grocery chain's raisin bran.

But, one place I've found that a brand's reputation is worth paying extra for is in footwear. I've had cheap shoes fall apart quickly and that's a chance you can't really take at Philmont or on some other long-distance trek. Danner boots are high quality products that have been around a long time and have a great reputation. I'm partial to them because they are based in Portland, OR which is a wonderful town in a beautiful part of the country.

But, you don't need to go to Oregon to buy Danner, Rocky, Morrell or any other brand of boot as long as you have the Internet. Many sites carry Danner as well as other top brands of footwear at competitive prices. I recommend visiting a shoe/boot store and try on boots until you find one that fits - but then check the online prices and buy where you feel most comfortable doing business.

Our troop is heading to Philmont in June, 2008. With young guys and growing feet, I'm recommending they purchase their boots no earlier than March and no late than May 1. But, I've told the adults to consider getting boots for Christmas so they'll have plenty of time to get comfortable in them.

Scout On
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Posted: 7:14 09-28-2007 215
Life Saving ASM
An Assistant Scoutmaster in Nebraska saved a teenager from drowning in a car accident this summer. The article in the Papillon Times tells how he heard the crash at night, pulled the victim from the car, and performed CPR.

Next month, the ASM will receive a BSA lifesaving award for his actions. Now, that's the kind of recognition I like to read about.

Scout On
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Posted: 16:06 09-27-2007 214
The Perfect Campout

This was the perfect campout! The weather was perfect - I mean absolutely perfect with blue skies, low humidity, cool nights and a warm Saturday. The tinder was dry so scouts could easily practice their fire starting. The clear skies let them find direction at day and night without a compass. They even chose to sleep under the stars instead of in tents which is rare due to mosquitos and threat of rain.

The dutch ovens were well-used this weekend too. There was kelbasa sausage and potatoes, chicken chili, apple cobbler, chocolate/cherry dump cake, and Sunday morning doughnuts! There were a few PopTart holdouts and hotdog chefs, but it was good to see signs of better meals.

A couple older scouts spent a lot of time with the new scouts on their advancement requirements and that seems to have carried over to the troop meeting last night. I noticed more interacting and talking between patrols than is typical. Hopefully, it will continue.

Scout On
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Posted: 16:20 09-25-2007 213
ScoutMate Retiring
If your troop uses the Scoutmate software, it was announced last month that the folks that make it are throwing in the towel after 16 years. They sent an email to registered users, but things change quickly in some units so you may not be the registered email they have.

This would be a good time to consider using TroopMaster since they are offering a discount to past Scoutmate users. The Scoutmate site even recommends that you check into the move and there are instructions for converting your Scoutmate data to Troopmaster.

Now, that's nice to see companies working together for the ultimate good of the customers. I hate to see a product pulled from the market because that lessens the urgency of competition and tends to result in fewer choices with higher prices.

Scout On
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Posted: 12:02 09-21-2007 212
American Business tool
A couple days ago, I mentioned being 'thrifty' and doing things myself. Sometimes, it's hard to distinguish between thrifty and cheap, according to my wife.

One area where I've learned that I need to be very thrifty is the stock market. Years ago, I set aside some money that I could invest however I wanted - kind of like play money, but it was real. It was something I had always been interested in, but was afraid I didn't know how to do it. So, having a set amount that I could lose or grow put limits on my involvement.

I did ok and any money I made I set aside out of the playing field. I made a few poor investment choices and the original funds got used up so my game was over. I pretty much broke even, making a little bit but not much, and that taught me that I'm not really very good at that.

Now, if it was just pretend money, it still might be a fun game. I was looking for resources for the American Business merit badge and I came across an interesting site called MyWallSt.net where they are having a rookie challenge that is free to register and participate. The idea is that you start with $100,000 in virtual money to invest in real stocks. You get to compare the results of your investments against other players. Now, that's my kind of investing. :-) And, they even have weekly winners of real cash. The site says they give away $1000 each week.
Well, it's a good way to learn about trading stocks with no risk. If an American Business merit badge counselor approved of it, scouts could use the site to buy and track their stocks for that requirement. Since they're under 18, they wouldn't eligible to win any real money so they might want their parent to register.

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Posted: 11:41 09-21-2007 211
Volunteering Pays Off
So, I've been volunteering to set up computers at my son's school in the morning for their barrage of annual testing. It's pretty much monkey work - push buttons and type the same words over and over for each computer. It sure isn't difficult, but it takes about 30 or 45 minutes to do a room, so I'm freeing up a staff person for other work.

I've discovered that there can be a ton of unexpected benefits to volunteering for short-term tasks like this...

Church, school, and other community groups always seem to be looking for more volunteers. I've made my commitment to Scouting for now, so I usually have to turn down the other opportunities - they're usually long-term needs and I put way too many hours into Scouts. But, short-term tasks are a great way to help out and try something new. Give it a try!

Scout On
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Posted: 13:47 09-20-2007 210
Doing It Yourself
A lot of Scouters I know seem to be the Do-It-Yourself types, I know I am. At the OA Conclave, my chainsaw was having problems so another Scouter had a look at it. 'Looking at' also included taking it apart which resulted in a lost bolt. We had scouts helping us scour the ground, but no luck.

Fortunately, I had the nut and found a 70 cent bolt to replace it at the local hardware store. That was a cheap fix. I've been involved in other 'fixes' that weren't so cheap. For example, our furnace stopped working a couple years after we moved in. I played with it and discovered that the ceramic starter was broken. For $55, I got a replacement part but in my clumsiness of installing it, I cracked it. I swear I barely touched it, but as they say knowledge is power and if I had known how fragile it was, I could have done better. As it turned out, I bought a second one and installed it just fine. The cost of two parts still saved me about $75 over having someone else come and take care of it.

I think that might be why the kind of folks that scout also do things themselves. We like to believe we are self-sufficient and I think that 'thrifty' comes into play there quite often. It's amazing how many scoutmasters keep old gear working and operational long after 'normal' people would have thrown it out. The same goes for their homes - why buy new when I can get this thing fixed?

There are thousands of articles about home improvement projects on various web sites. Whether you want to repair your troop trailer or get ideas for Eagle Scout projects, it doesn't hurt to read a bit before tackling the task. If you're more of a Watcher than Reader, getting an instructional DVD can also improve your results, it probably would have helped me with my cracked ceramic starter.

Scout On

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Posted: 15:31 09-19-2007 209
Scouts Outside of Scouting
I've been volunteering at my son's school to set up computers for state testing in the morning. As I was walking down the hall, I saw one of the scouts in our troop and the look on his face was priceless when he saw me. It was like - "WHAT!?! are you doing here?" "This isn't right. You don't have your uniform on and we're not camping. Huh???" And, then he got a big smile and said Hello.

So far, I've seen 4 scouts in the halls the past couple days. After the first one, I've had my eye open for them. A couple I've seen way before they noticed me and it was great to see how they interact with their buddies. I can't help but compare them to other kids, and being completely unbiased :-) I must say they look like good kids to have as friends.

I even saw a boy that was in scouts but dropped 2 years ago. It was nice to say 'hi' and remember his name and ask how things were going. He seemed to be doing just fine without scouting, but I'm pretty sure I detected a slightly sheepish look about him while we talked. I think that's common in scouts that dropped the program so I never bring up scouting when I see them. I just say it's good to see them and ask how school's going and how their folks are. That's usually safe and easy for them.

Keep your eyes open for scouts wherever you may be.

Scout On
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Posted: 14:19 09-19-2007 208
Better than a Flashlight?
This summer at Boy Scout camp, we had the usual racoons roaming the campsites. I went to each tent and asked if they had any food or smellables or anything at all that they wanted me to store away in the lockbox for the night. Every one said, "No, thank you."
Well, I woke up at about 1:30 hearing a bunch of grunting, snarling, and scuffling about. I got my little LED flashlight, slipped on my mocassins, and went out. There was the cutest, little darling (NOT!) of a racoon tearing apart a scout's daypack getting at his baggie full of GORP.
I chased the little rascal off and then woke the scout and his buddies, who were still sound asleep. I gave them the choice of getting up now and taking care of the mess or having this rabid, 28 pound ball of fury and gnashing teeth come back looking for more snacks where he had found this one. It didn't take them long to get it cleaned up. :-)

I've thought it would be really cool to have a pair of night vision binoculars at times like these. Then, I could really see what was going on without bothering the wildlife until I needed to stop some mischief. Some night goggles would also be very useful on Friday nights when our troop always seems to be setting up camp in the dark.

There's an interesting article on this page about how night vision works.

Scout On
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Posted: 23:06 09-18-2007 207
Search for Steve Fossett
You can help find Steve Fossett, National Eagle Scout Association president, if you just have some free time and your PC. In coordination with those involved in the search efforts in Nevada, BSA volunteers are being asked to join the search by using the Internet to study recent satellite images of the area where the adventurer disappeared September 3.

To sign up to help, visit mturk.com and follow the instructions. You need to sign in to aid in the search. The Web site assigns an image of a 278-foot-square section of the 6,000 square miles being searched. After studying the image, the user simply clicks "yes" or "no" as to whether there is any sign of Fossett's airplane that might warrant further investigation in that section. Anything larger than two or three feet will appear in the image, and instructions and examples help users understand what viewing. The flagged images are passed to the search team coordinating the flights over the area.

Good Luck

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Posted: 23:57 09-17-2007 206
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