Commissioner College 2015

11061992_10152869529739143_3709668585078736937_n  Over the weekend of March 14th, the 2015 Cascade Pacific Council held it’s annual Commissioners College.  I believe that I have been to Commissioners College now four times.  I have now gotten my Associate, Bachelor and just this year Masters in Commissioner Science.  I took the Roundtable Commissioner Basic Training in 2013 a full six months or so before I became the Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner.  This year I also taught a course on Commissioner Tools to everyone.

As many people know who have read this blog for awhile, I believe in getting all the Training you can for the position that you currently hold.  I also believe in learning about other positions since you might be in that roll soon or you might need to help someone with information about it.

My next stop along the Commissioner Training path is to go for my Doctorate.  I am already starting to help another Scouter with his Doctorate since I have access to the Council website as the Ast Council Commissioner in charge of Communications and Commissioner

The good thing to keep in mind, is that as I go through this process, there is the Doctorate of Commissioner Science Knot award.  I have completed a lot of this already, but have a long way to go.  I should be completing the Roundtable Commissioner’s Knot in the fall of 2016 as I already have the Arrowhead for it.

During the time I was writing this, the monthly Council Commissioner Cabinet met at Council.  The topic of commissioner College came up.   Several people asked if we could move the date due to other Council/District/Unit conflicts.  Also if we could look at other topics to be incorporated into the college.  Plus it was even asked if it could be joined into the Commissioner Retreat.  All were positively received.

I am looking forward to working on my Doctorate, learning a lot more and again teaching a class.

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Ask the Scouts

plc%20meetingDo you ever ask your Scouts, specifically the PLC how’s it going?  Do you ever get out of where the Troop meets and call a get together?
Well, our Scoutmaster did that this past week.  It is Springbreak here in Portland, Oregon and a lot of the families are not here.

Instead of a Troop meeting that was supposed to happen, the Scoutmaster sent a note out to the PLC asking if they have time to meet.  Not everyone could show up, but a few did and it was a great time.

I got to tag along because I am switching over from a Committee Member to a Ast Scoutmaster.  The Charter Org Rep also showed up.  He had paid for all the cookies, chips, soda and a few sandwiches during our meeting at the local Subway.  We had planned on meeting at Starbucks, but they were closing.  Be Prepared!

This meeting was great since both the Scoutmaster and myself had listened to Clark Greene’s  Scoutmastercg’s Podcast on Socratic Scouting.  Both of us listen and read Clarke’s blog and podcast.  If you are not, you should.

With this in mind, the Scoutmaster started in by asking a lot of open-ended questions much like he does in PLCs.  Except these were a tad more pointed.  The answers were great.  The Scouts, who were the SPL and PL and Instructor shared their ideas and very frank comments.  They like the uniform. We are a full uniform Troop with a yellow fuzzy necker and a Troop hat.  It helps one Scout keep things in order at home since he has to take care of it.

We also talked about stepping up to be a leader and what leadership really is. Just because someone is not in an official position, that person can help in many ways.  Being respectful to the PL, pitching in as needed and just being a friend to a new/younger Scout.  This led to advancement and how to help the newly crossed over Webelos II.  Stepping up and helping those new Scouts meet the Scout Rank and progress to Tenderfoot can be accomplished by the Instructor. But he will need help.  In which the Instructor asked if the APLs could help him and he would manage them.  GOOD.  That gives the APLs leadership and goals and the Instructor leadership as well.

The Instructor, who is First Class did not know what he could sign off on requirements.  After it was explained that he could, a light went on for him.  He had recently ran for the PL position and did not get it.  He is rather new to the Troop due to a transfer.  Now, he will be able to meet and be the coolest guy to the guys at the lower ranks.

It should be noted that the Troop is over half younger guys than older guys.  Our SPL is 16, the ASPL is 13 and the rest of the PLC are about 14-15.  There are a lot of 10.5-11-13 year old Scouts.  This is due to a lot of recruiting by our Scoutmaster and Webelos Campouts over the past three years.

Outside of what we thought we would hear, is that the Scouts want to find more Patrol Outings to do.  Not just Camping, but having a night to themselves to go hangout on Troop nights.  Elliot’s PL wants to get to know the guys more than he does.  He also wants to finish up on the Fishing Merit Badge they started last Summer.  The Scoutmaster told them, DO IT.

I also brought along the new Troop Planning Guide.  Of which, those present liked what they saw.  They will be working to include it in upcoming programing and outings.

That night in Subway, we listened to the Scouts.  We responded to their questions and helped guide their discovery.  We helped them understand that they can ask and do anything they want.  The Adults are only here in general to drive them places and make sure Safety is observed.  The Scoutmaster explained that the leadership learned here is up to them and that if they fail, no one is going to blame them.  Scouting is a safe place to try new things and learn from mistakes.  You cannot do that in life.

As I came home, I realized that the SPL, PL and Instructor had a new understanding and felt empowered to make changes.

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Called out

Within the Scouting movment, we take a lot of training.  Some very boring and some very inspiring.  There are the mandated ones and ones we take for fun.  Some we will never really ever use and some we hope to never use.

I have taken the First Aid, CPR, AED atleast two to three times.  I have also taken Wilderness First Aid.  All sadly right now are out of date.    I have only really had to rely upon my training once when I had just completed Wilderness First Aid and it was for my daughter.

The last time was during the California Adventure Trip with the Troop.  You never know when someone is going to need help.

The Scoutmaster, myself and two Scouts were off at a burger restaurant on the backside of Knotts Berryfarm eating.  The two Scouts needed food and one was one allergic to Peanuts.  So, with YPT in affect we hung out and got food.  During lunch a man, who turned out to be the Dad ran up to us asking if we knew First Aid and CPR.  The SM looked at me and said GO!   In grabbing my stuff that had my First Aid Kit in it, I thought…WHOLLY CRAP…WHAT IS CPR? DO I KNOW IT? I AM GOING TO DO CPR!

Getting to the site, I found a 12 year old girl who had fainted and hit her chin.  She was breathing, alert and awake.  As I came over to her, I kneeled down and told her my name and asked if I could help.  She said yes.  Dad was there and he said yes too.  I had an instant ice pack and gave it to her.  I held it on her neck saying this would help her cool down.

There are several questions you need to ask and I did.   What is her name, where are you, what have you eaten today?  Passed.  Asked her how she felt.  Asked her if she had anything to drink recently. (She was eating slowly an orange someone gave her as well as water.

I noticed the skinned chin and a dirty spot on her right shoulder.  So, I knew she went down hard.   I moved the ice pack to her chin and asked if she hurt in other spots.  She replied no.

Within the 6-10 minutes of getting onsite, Park Security showed up and started in with the same line of questioning.  The girl was feeling better, but still shaky and weak.  She was dehydrated as I had thought.  Soon after the Park EMT showed up and I let them take over.

I hung out and watched just in case, but I was not needed.  A few Scouts who saw what I was doing did ask me later what happened and what I did.  I explained it all to them.

This was my real first time that I was called upon to help.  In all the training I took, I never had the feeling that I had when I was helping.  I do not think that you can prepare yourself for that.  I am glad it was not Blood and CPR.

Now, I have to go get myself recertified in CPR, AED, First Aid and Wilderness First Aid.  I also need to work up my First Aid Kit.  It is lacking a bit since I have used it for band-aids, ice packs and other stuff.

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The Magical Moments

There are moments within any event, outing or setting that can and do happen.  You are not always ready for them, but they appear and leave a lasting impression upon you.  There were many of these types of moments, however I will only recount a few.

During our first day which was at Disneyland and California Adventure, the Troop met many people who were very positive towards not just us as a Boy Scout Troop, but as Scouts in general.  Many Cast Members gave the Scout Sign or Salute and shook our hands.   We would be passing by or getting on or off a ride.  I would return their Scout Sign, Salute and handshake.

Some of these people would come up to me and personally thank me for helping shape the character of the boys.  They would explain that they only in Cub scouts, or made just 2nd Class, Life or Eagle.  Several explained that they were in the Order of the Arrow.  One young man I found out was a OA Trek Guide at The Summit in 2013 and now just elected Crew President.  I asked if he knew Nick Dannemiller.  Of which, I told him that we are from his home Council.  We talked a lot about the OA, Trek Guides and what he was doing.  I ended up giving him a Cascade Pacific Council CSP and a Pioneer District patch.

I had several Old Eagle Scouts come up and explain how Scouts changed them.  How important it was that they were in Scouting.  They told me to keep doing what I was doing.  They were filled with pride on their achievements and talking to someone about it.  They were happy that we were there and having fun.

Myself and the Scoutmaster did explain several times that while we are at Disneyland that there is a “Game with a Purpose”.  Once we explained it, they understood it.

Some of the great moments were when kids who were in Cub scouts  came up to us and shook our hands.  We encouraged them to keep going and earn their Arrow of Light so they could become a Boy Scout soon.  Giving them the Cubscout Handshake and telling them to Do their Best made them smile.

One young man before we left Knotts Berry Farm on the last day, who I believe worked there came up to all of us and explained that he had just completed his Eagle Board of Review and passed.  We congratulated him.  Our Scoutmaster is the only Eagle that was on the Trip, so he took great pride in congratulating him and all the others he met.

I also have two great talks with two separate Council Board Members of the Greater Los Angeles Council and the Orange County Council.  Both had great stories.  One of them asked a lot of questions of CPCBSA and our Scout Executive.  He was amazed that we were all in Disney and that it was a tradition for us.  His wife  grilled us and told us about that we all had to go to Fish Kill Camp at Philmont.  She was a hoot!  Our second Board Member repeated how it was good that we were that involved with Scouting.  Again, heard  a few stories.  He returned for a moment and asked me what Critter I was since he saw my Wood Badge Beads.  He told me he was an Owl, and I said that I was sorry about that since I am a Beaver.  He and I had a really good chuckle over that.  Swapped a few Wood Badge stories….;)

I think that the finest magical moment was after the Flag Retreat at Disneyland Main Street.  It is about 30 or so minutes for the whole  event.  Singing of the National Anthem and many other patriotic songs.  At the end, we all same America the Beautiful.  This has been going on for 25 years.  During which, the Disney Security Force would be the Color Guard.  As the Disneyland Marching Band would play, the US Flag and California State Flag would be lowered.  However before that. Retired USMC Gunnery Sargent Ernie Napper would is the best Sargent voice ever, explain why we where there, who they were honoring and thanking us for being at Disneyland.   At which the Disneyland Marching Band would play the Army song, USMC song, Navy song, USAF song and USCG song.  At which the Veterans of each branch would stand up and circle the flag pole.  Best ever retirement I have seen.

After which, I told the Scouts that were there and the Scoutmaster that I wanted to say thank to Ernie.  As we approached, he was taking photos with other people.  When he saw us, he turned and pronounced that he wanted to take his photo with the Scouts, the Scoutmaster and myself.  He gave the US Flag to the Scouts to hold and shook our hands.  It was the most solid handshake I have ever had in my life.  Ernie spoke to the Scouts directly.  He thanked both the Scoutmaster and myself for doing our job to Scouting.

I came away from this whole experience of being thanked for being in Scouting a lot more humble and appreciative of what I do.  Granted I get thanked by many people within the District, Council and other places within Cascade Pacific for the work that I do.  I take it to heart too.  However, being outside of Cascade Pacific, out in public and representing not just T150, Pioneer District, Cascade Pacific but Scouting as a whole and getting thanked for helping Scouts.  That got me.

Being a Volunteer within Scouting means a lot more than it did before this Trip.  Affecting and changing lives of the youth….now, that is Magical.   Next up…..Getting called out.

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The Journey

The adventure was just more than 80 hours with the Scouts.  This was a journey with the Scouts learning about themselves, the Adults learning about how the Program works and about to work with each other.

Just like the Totin Chit, the Scouts were for the really the first time told that it is ok to bring cellphones, but only for communications within the Troop.  There is a proper way to use a cellphone and how not to.  We used the Cellphones to ensure they were where they needed to be and to communicate any changes.  It worked very well.

Youth Protection.  The normal Buddy System was boosted up to at lest four Scouts.  This is due to crowds and going on rides.  Most rides took 2 or four.    It also forced them to figure out who they wanted to be with.  Not just tent mates or what merit badge they were taking so they would hike to that activity together.  They had to understand that some people did not like being twisted around, upside down and going 80mph.  They would rather ride the Tea Cups or more tame rides.

Youth Protection was also a challenge for the Adults.  There were six of us, but we still had to make sure we had coverage at the Park, the Hotel Pool, in the Hotel and walking to and from Disney.   Our rule was that two adults while at Disney had to be on site at all times.  There were times that because our sons were with the parent, that worked out.  However, there were times that we could not go off with our sons.  This was not a family trip, this was a Scout Trip.

The other challenging point for me, was that normally a Scout Trip is at a Scout camp or hiking in the woods.  We did not really need to be “that” on guard for stranger danger  (though we always are) or generally where they were.  There is a sort of cocoon if you well. (Please do no think that I am lax on Youth Protection or let me guard down.  That is not the case.)  However, we were outside of our normal comfort zone.  No one around us knew the BSA Youth Protection rules or what any BSA Rule was outside the Scout Oath and Law.

What came out of it for me, was to distance myself from my son and force him to be with other Scouts.  I hung out and made myself available to be that Adult to make sure Two-Deep Leadership coming, going and in the parks.  If they were tired, I was there so they could rest.  I also enabled the other Adults to go off and have fun.  It worked out well since I did about 10.8 miles at Disney in flat shoes (Vans) that hurt me for the rest of the trip.

I got to know the other Adults since we just do not get time to talk.  That was a lot of fun.  I also got time do what I wanted to do.  We all learned more about each other and created memories.  Just like Wood Badge in Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing.

Next up….those magical moments….


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80 Hours of Scouting

The Troop that Elliot is in has a regular trip to Southern California for 80 hours to Disneyland, Magic Mountain and Knotts Berry Farm over Presidents Day weekend.  This year was the year for it.  The trip will not happen for another three years.  Elliot was one of 17 Scouts and I was one of six adults who went.  The logistics were handled by a Troop Mom, who worked wonders.  Vans, Hotel, Flight and tickets for all three locations.  Myself and the Scoutmaster were the registered drivers, a ASM, our very own Surgeon (There is a Troop Patch for Physician!) and a parent.  We had all the bases covered.  Mind you everyone had to have the Medical Forms of Part A, B & C!

I have been to five years of Cubscout Summer camp and now lots of outings and many many overnights with Troop.  However, I have never been on a trip with 22 other people en mass via a flight along with getting them to and fro in one safe whole piece.   Our Scoutmaster has done the trip several times, as a Scout in the Troop and as an ASM.  However, this was his first time leading it as Scoutmaster and he was the ONLY ONE who had done it before.

No one died or got lost No real huge issues happened.  The only real thing was loosing a couple of Disney Park Hopper Tickets that caused us to get all tickets re-issued before getting in.  But, oh well…

I was very happy to go and very happy to return.  I knew that this was a journey and everyone would have fun.  But, what I struggled a bit with was, how does this relate to Boy Scouts?  What would they learn?  What would I learn and do?  Is this just to go see Disney and go on rides?

Nope!  Not at all.  Stay tuned for Lessons Learned.

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CAMPING 2015 Cubscout Style


I have finally reviewed a lot of the requirements that are coming into effect June 1st 2015.  Our Council held a 4 hour class on the changes.  Two Commissioners went to the Philmont Training Center over the summer and learned a lot.  This class was an expanded version from what we taught at the November University of Scouting.  I can see the vast difference from the one hour class to the four-hour class.  It is just amazing to see what the whole week was like.

Since there are so many topics covered, I am just going to focus on the Camping aspect of what was conveyed in the four hour class.

I am pulling all of the information from the “Adventure Requirements and Insignia” PDF from the website.  Understand that all the requirements are in the PDF and if you have questions, please consult that guide and work with your own Council resources to iron out issues.  This is what I understand it to be and I am open to suggestions as needed.  I will only be going over the Requirements and not electives.  Requirements are needed for Advancement.  Hence, the Den Leaders, Cubmaster and Pack Committee will need to be aware of these and plan accordingly.  Also understand that if the Charter Organization forbids Camping, then the Pack will need to work out ways to resolve the requirements.

Tiger Adventure: Tigers in the Wild:
5:Participate in an Outdoor Pack Meeting or Pack Campout Campfire.  Sing a song and act out a skit with your Tiger Den as part of the Program

Wolf Adventure: Call of the Wild
1. While a Wolf Scout, attend a pack or family campout. If your chartered organization does not permit Cub Scout camping, you may substitute a family campout or a daylong outdoor activity with your den or pack.
6. On the campout, participate with your family or den in a campfire show. Prepare a skit or song, and then present it at the campfire for everyone else.

Bear Adventure: Bear Necessities
1. While working on your Bear badge, camp overnight with your pack. If your chartered organization does not permit Cub Scout camping, you may substitute a family campout or a daylong outdoor activity with your den or pack.

5. With your den, plan a cooked lunch or dinner that is nutritious and balanced. Make a shopping list, and help shop for the food. On a campout or at another outdoor event, help cook the meal and help clean up afterward.

Arrow of Light Adventure: Camper
1. With the help of your den leader or family, plan and conduct a campout. If your chartered organization does not permit Cub Scout camping, you may substitute a family campout or a daylong outdoor activity with your den or pack.
2. On arrival at the campout, with your den and den leader or family, determine where to set up your tent. Demonstrate knowledge of what makes a good tent site and what makes a bad one. Set up your tent without help from an adult.
4. On a pack campout, work with your den leader or another adult to plan a campfire program with the other dens. Your campfire program should include an impressive opening, songs, skits, a Cubmaster’s minute, and an inspirational closing ceremony.

You will see in each Rank with the exception of the Webelos Badge, that every Rank requires a Campout or a Family Campout and in some cases a daylong outdoor activity with your Den or Pack.  The Family Campout and Daylong outdoor activity wording is geared towards the Charter Organizations that do not allow overnight Camping.  These could be for the LDS and also the Jewish Packs that observe Shabbat.  Also, this would work for those Packs that cannot afford or creates a huge hardship in getting out to a Campsite to go camping.   Kids do not join Scouting to be lectured at and to play in a gym.  They want to be OUTSIDE and having fun.  I wrote a post about The Nature-Deficit Disorder awhile back.  Please read it for more information.

With careful planning and understanding from the Den Leaders, Cubmaster and Committee these requirements can be met very easily.  If your Pack is already Camping.  No sweat.  If your Pack is not.  Here is a great challenge.  Or even a Wood Badge Ticket item!

I would also urge the Pack Leadership to look for District events such as Cub-o-Ree’s or Webelos Woods to help augment your planning.  Webelos camping with Troops will also help resolve this issue.

Please bear in mind that any camping within a Pack or Webelos setting will still need proper training via BALOO and Trip Permits from Council.  Please consult the Guide to Safe Scouting as well.  It is not just Youth Protection needed, but these other trainings.

Do not worry.  All this training will help you put on a great program for the Scouts.  It is very much the same within Boy Scouts and other programs within the BSA that this type of Training is required.  Your contribution and support of Scouting is greatly appreciated.  Also, what you learn for Scouting can also be used in your daily life and within your family.  Be Prepared!



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