Friday, August 16, 2013

Reality is Broken. In Scouting too?

B-P said that "scouting is a game with a purpose".  As much as that is so true of boy scouting, it has to be true of Cub Scouting.  With that in mind I started reading "Reality is Broken", by Jane McGonigal.

The book looks at how to make our reality better based on what's been learned by designing games.  Like the new merit badge, that doesn't mean just video games.  It looks at what really makes people like games.  Why do they spend hours playing?  Sometimes as much as a second job.  How can we take those lessons to make our every day work and life better?

I'm reading it thinking about Cub Scouting.  How do we keep it highly engaging for the boy?  How do we keep if fun and engaging for the adults?

I'll post more as I read though it.  Sounds promising!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Thank you to two long time Scouters

Last night I attended my old troop's 30th anniversary and the retirement of my Scoutmaster and my Advancement Chair, Darrell and Susy Halverson.  When I was in Cub Scouts 30+ years ago these two were involved with our Cub Scout Pack.  The troop was started two years before their son was old enough to join the troop.  They started with 5 boys in the troop, like many new troops.  The next year I crossed over into it and was one of the 23 boys on the first summer camp trip.

These folks have probably forgotten more about how to do scouting than most Scouters will ever know.  They have been mentors, trainers, on the campouts, doing the paperwork, and encouraging the boys.  I can't say enough about the impact they have had.  I like'd what their son said.  "I think dad always regretted not getting his eagle....well, 44 of them is pretty good."

Thank you Darrell and Susy for all you've done!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Feeling busy and drained?

I ran across an article on being prolific which is an interview with Joss Whedon.  The guy behind things like Buffy, Firefly, Dr. Horrible's Video Blog, and a little movie called Avengers.  He's made enough stuff I like that I took a look.  What struck me was that he has to do things a bit different than I'm used to since he is in such a creative field.  (I do tech work.)  It also struck me that there are some similarities to pack planning.

Joss has some interesting insights on how to design things creatively.  What struck me was that with creative arts, like cub scout event programs, it is better to do something less then perfect to get it done than it is to perfect it before trying.  That is different than engineering work.  We don't like buildings or bridges failing.  But we can take more risk when putting together a fun program.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Developing Perseverance

Stuff to Blow Your Mind has an interesting podcast on the topic of Willpower.  It has some interesting scientific findings on what affects a person's willpower or the Cub Scout Core Value Perseverance.

It has a lot of implications for Cub Scouting.  The influance of glucose at the moment of temptation is interesting.  They also talk about how a person's experience with the integrity of others will affect their willpower and self disciple.

I think it makes sense that those experiences will affect a person's ability to persevere.  If Billy regularly sees people not following through on what they say, then he will learn not to trust what they say.  As he learns to not trust people's statements about the future, it can extend from not trusting people to not trusting the world.  Why put off the pleasures of today when you don't expect the promises of tomorrow to be fulfilled, even when you do your part?

It makes me realize that to teach perseverance we need to let the boys see people fulfilling what they say they will do.  We have the chance to do that in our activities.  I'd never thought of intentionally including those promises and follow through specificly for teaching self-disciple before.  It would be worth pointing it out to the kids at times just to be sure they make the connection.  It will help to shapre their world view and ability to see the value in perseverance.

That's something that would work from Tigers to Adults.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Motivating volunteers

"A Cub Scout helps the Pack go", and they do.  One of them can match the energy of all the adults put together.  It doesn't say "A Cub Scout makes the Pack go".  That takes the volunteers.  Both in uniform and not.  Leading a Pack means leading not just the boys, but the volunteers, and the families.  Today is International Volunteer Day, so I'm thinking about the Volunteers.

There are three reasons that people volunteer: influence, socialization, or accomplishment.

Influencers like to have some control.  In a Cub Scout Pack or Den that means that they will care about the details of things like their child's safety, schedules, where the group will go for an outing, or who gets to lead the flag ceremony.  They want to have some control over those details.

Socializers want to have time with other people.  It might be the kids, it might be other adults, or it might be just their kid.  To feel fulfilled they need to spend time with people.  That can be working with someone or just free time.  If they don't get time with the people they want they will feel stressed and unfulfilled.

Accomplishers want to get something done.  They want to get requirements signed off, badges award, trails hiked, crafts built, or boys character improved.  They usually have good things in mind to accomplish.  If they feel like things aren't getting done they can feel stressed or discouraged.

Effective motivation will mean letting volunteers find what they are seeking in your group and in a way that makes the group better.  It might be as simple a letting someone volunteer as a Den Leader so that they can make sure there is a den program for their son.  Sometimes it means figuring out what the volunteer wants when they won't (or can't) tell you what it is.

How do you know what that is?  If they get what they are seeking, you will see them more enthusiastic or relaxed.  If they don't, ask them what stresses them about what's going on.

When you know what they care about and things go well, be sure to take a moment to share smiles with them.  Help them enjoy the moment.  If you can honestly do it, complement them.  Those positive feeling help build to them taking on more challenges.

If you can see to it that your volunteers' felt needs are met, they will like volunteering with your group.  That can only help you!

Scouting is more than just one unit (Pack).  It's all of us.  Thank you for what you do for scouting.  What you do there helps it everywhere.

And thank you for volunteering where ever you do.  You're making the world a better place!

Learning in Scouting

This topic is a bit more practical program, and targeted for the Boy Scout level, but it does a great job of explaining how we want boys to be learning in scouts, and how it's different from how it's done in school.

This is a podcast.  If you don't normally follow any podcasts, you can just listen to the audio on the website.

ScoutmasterCG Podcast 147

The guy that made it is Clark Green.  He has years of experience as a Scoutmaster, but isn't speaking in any offical role with the BSA.

Think about how much of Cub Scouting can be done by the boys.  New Tigers probably aren't up to leading a flag cerimony.  Wolves can, it's even a requirement for their rank.  So if you're working with wolves or above, have the boys do everything they can!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I'm Steve and I'll be your blogger here.  :-)

It seems like an intro would be the way to start.  I started in scouting as a Cub Scout.  I was a Cub for 3 years, a Boy Scout for 7 years, and an Explorer for 5 years.  I have a lot of memories of that time, but once I turned 21 I was out of scouting.  Until my son declared he wanted to be a scout 16 years later.

One day after watching "Follow Me, Boys", he turned around and said he wanted to be a scout so he could capture a tank too.  A quick check showed he was old enough to be a Cub Scout.  Shortly after we were looking at a pack for him.  It happened to be the same pack I had been in as a Cub Scout.

After talking to a few people with the pack I was told by the COR (Chartered Organization Representative) that since the pack didn't have a Committee Chair that was the only position I could volunteer for.  Being as the Committee Chair has to approve any other volunteers.  I was familiar with the Cubmaster role, and the Den Leaders.  All I could remember about the Committee Chair from when I was young was that there were grown up meetings at his house and I played with his kids.  "What does a Committee Chair do?", I asked.

Since then I've learned a lot about Scouting.  My background as a boy helps because when something is described to me I can think "Oh, that's what the adults were doing back then!", but it isn't needed to understand how to do Scouting.  This blog is an attempt to fully digest what I've been learning, share it with others, and hopefully learn it better from the feedback.

There are some fantastic resources on the Internet for scouting already.  Most of them are focused more on the Boy Scout level.  You can find folks that have been doing Boy Scouts for 30 years.  Someone that does Cub Scouts after their boy is out is rare.  I've been involved as an adult for 3 1/2 years now and expect to be involved for another 3 years.  This blog should be a bit different from the other resource is that it's focus is on Cub Scouts, not the program tricks but how a pack works.

Oh, and as to what a Committee Chair does...
Whatever they can't delegate.