Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekly Patrol Box #15

I've spent a lot of time this week working with Scouters on the Internet.  That is, helping them to get it.

There are so many tools available to us to help make our jobs easier, yet I bet half of all Scouters don't even use email on a regular basis.

This weekend, take the plunge.  Become electronic.  It is mostly, if not completely, free.  Just like a Cub Scout belt loop, stick your toe in the water--it won't bite you and you'll be glad you did.  In no time, you'll be swimming like a shark!

  1. Email--get it and use it if you don't already.  Force yourself to communicate with it.  I've known people who could only type via the "hunt and peck" method, go to 30+ words a minute in a year.  Yahoo mail and Google mail (gmail) are free, have tons of storage, and great spam filter capabilities.
  2. Instant messenger--AOL AIM, Yahoo Messenger, and others are available.  If you have Yahoo mail, you can use the same ID to run Instant Messenger.  Your Scouts use IM all the time (when they aren't using their cell phones to text).  
  3. Text on your cell phone--you can almost always upgrade your account with a cell carrier to add texting cheaply to your cell phone.  For $5 a month, I get 200 text messages.  Not a lot compared to what your Scouts use, but great to reach them in a pinch.
  4. Blog--Google has made blogging fool-proof.  Anyone can have a blog, and it seems like everyone does!  Maybe it is something your troop's historian can take charge of?  See last week's Patrol Box for blog ideas.  Even our BSA camp has one.
  5. Facebook--be available to your Scouts.  They are on here!  So are their families and tons of fellow Scouters from your council.  Ten minutes a day goes a long way to staying on top of what is happening in their lives.
  6. Twitter--this new tool gets easier and more intuitive everyday.  Everyone says the same thing--at first they don't get it, then suddenly a light bulb goes off, and it makes sense.  The amount of information waiting for you is enormous.  Come see me on Twitter to see what I mean.
  7. Hootsuite--this allows you a great way to watch your Twitter account.  If you already use Twitter, and need a way to organize it better, try Hootsuite.
  8. Youtube--again, your Scouts can help you find relevant material.  Search for Boy Scouts of America to get your feet wet.
  9. YahooGroups--keep one for your pack, troop or crew to stay in touch.  Email archives, links, databases, picture archive, polls, and best of all you can set it up to be private--only people you allow to view it and participate in it can do so.  Everyone else is shut out.  Look for "Cub Scout Talk" and "Boy Scout Talk" first for high caliber information and help.
  10. Something new--be open to try the new stuff that comes along.  
Once the Scouts see that you are active and that you get it, they share more with you and help you be a more effective leader.  Speak their language and you'll have an easier time reaching them.  

Put that Betamax away.  Step away from that 8-track.  Get a phone without a cord.

What tools do you use to make your more effective as a leader?  How do you communicate with your busy Scouts and busier families?  Comment away!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tetanus shot?

This is a picture of tetanus, in an advanced stage.

Tetanus is not funny.  Around the world it is preventable cause of death.  Adults 50 and over (Scouters!) will account for 70% of all cases.

Are you prepared for summer camp?

Read more


Friday, April 10, 2009

Weekly Patrol Box #14

[Flexing my Patrol Box opening muscles...ouch!]

I think hibernation season is about over, and it is time to get the Patrol Box out again.  In fact, we have a big Webelos Crossover this weekend, so there is a lot to do.

To kick things off, how about this nifty little patrol box?  Our patrols are looking to build a new one, and this looked great.

With such a big weekend coming up (we are picking up 5 new Scouts), it might be a good time to look at the blog resources available to Scouting.  Each day you can pick up a ton of experience and learn from others--quick education.

  1. Recently, I mentioned Scouting magazine's new Cracker Barrel blog.  Already a favorite to read.
  2. continues to be a favorite--read about this Bobcat attack (no, it isn't the name of a skit!).
  3. LeaveNoTrace blog--somehow, it just seems like the right thing to follow...
  4. of my favorites.  Always brief and to the point.
  5. Lone Star Scouter (or Troop 483 blog)--a blog that begins with Will Rogers' quote, "The only problem with the Boy Scouts...There's not enough of them.",has to be a good read--and is.
  6. Scoutmaster Musings from is always informative and offers good ideas, like the new (very profitable) troop fundraiser announced earlier this month.
  7. Chairman's Chat is more infrequent, but worth the time.
  8. The Scoutmaster's Corner (formerly The Commissioner's Corner) is reinventing itself.
  9. Trail Cooking & the Outdoors just gets you in the spirit of getting out there!
  10. Finally, A Scoutmaster's Blog from Steve B. at Melrose Scouting Productions (think "Buttons").
Enjoy your weekend, and all of the good reads here.

What are your favorite Scouting (or Scout related) blogs?  Do you know of any written by Scouts?

American Cultures Merit Badge resource

National Public Radio has a series called StoryCorps that records the recollections of American history.

This particular story is of a young Boy Scout in the early 1920s dealing with racism, in the Scout's own voice shortly before he died.

Enjoy the audio!