A Night of Wood Badge 2017


16684155_10154608475754143_7900151572173707815_nThe 2017 Night of Wood Badge was held on Feb 11th 2017 at the Tigard Christian Church.  123 Scouters and family members attended this now annual event.  It is put on by the Wood Badge Association in the Cascade Pacific Council out of Portland Oregon.

This event is for several reasons.  It is here to promote Wood Badge courses for the year, help those who want more information about Wood Badge, recognize those who have completed their tickets and finally to enjoy fellowship with Scouters.
Before the main event, the Wood Badge Association held it’s annual Board Meeting along with a meeting to the general members meeting.  The main purpose of this Association to to promote and sustain Wood Badge and it’s infrastructure year over year.  Helping those who put on Wood Badge, and also help those attend who cannot afford the cost.

This year we had six participants complete their tickets and were able to be beaded at the event.  They were from the 2015 and 2016 courses.  16508880_1425621647456248_2634452144999220967_nThe participants and some of their Troop Guides  showing off their certificates of completion!

This was my fourth time being the Master of Ceremony. Last year was also a lot of fun.  I felt like Bob Hope or Billy Crystal hosting the Academy Awards.  Though, not as funny.  I enlisted several people to help put on the event.  We sang songs, told jokes, explained what the Wood Badge Association is, invited those who have been beaded to join an enjoyed a great meal together.

The meal was again put on by Lacey Carroll and company.  60 pounds of pork loin and roast beef.  Salad, rice and rolls.  The pre-cracker barrel was filled with great amount of goodies as well.   Her Wood Badge Brownies covered in chocolate and filled with goodness sent many of us into food comas.  Yes, it was the best Scout Food ever served.

My short Cubmaster’s minute dealt with looking out and paying attention to that one Scout.  Last year it was about making The Ask.   This Scout is the type of scout that does show up, goes to summer camp and participates in a lot of the activities of the unit.  However, advancement while he attains several Merit Badges is not his bag.  He is there to have fun.  But, for some reason he slips away.  While on the radar for his actions  there is not that person or persons whether adult or youth that helps him within the journey of Scouting.   I am not worried about the Scouts who become Eagle, since they have a support system.  Nor I am I worried about those who putter along and advance and have a good time without much nudging.

The Goal of the BSA is to build Character, Citizenship and Fitness within each Scout.  There are the methods of Scouting that help with this journey, but not all are utilized.  Even if a Scout does not attain First Class, they can learn Character, Citizenship and Fitness that will carry with them their entire life.  These are not ranks, but life lessons.

Without proper training and practice of what is learned for both the youth and adults within the Unit, failure will happen.  This is something that cannot be tracked within Journey to Excellence nor a Unit Commissioner’s Report.  It will only be noted on re-charter that there is one less Scout in Scouting. Please, look for that one Scout.  Become that Scout’s friend and/or Mentor.

During the evening, it was realized that there were 11 past Course Directors in attendance.  From 1985 to 2016.  It was a joy to have them step forward to be recognized.  A lot of time spent at Gilwell and helping affect Scouting through the decades.

Finally, we said good bye to a Scouter who has Gone Home.  Jim Holstrom who was the 2005 Course Director passed on earlier this year.  Earlier in the day was his funeral that several Scouters attended.  He is a Silver Beaver, Campmaster at Meriwether, Scoutmaster and a great friend to many within the Sunset and Sunrise Districts. He will be missed.

At the end of the night, we did all gather round to see that song once again.  123 people singing, albeit badly was a ending to a great time.  See you in 2018!

*Not all photos were taken by me, but from fellow Wood Badgers who attended.  Thank you for use of these photos.

Posted in BoyScouts, Cascade Pacific Council, Friends, Gilwell, postaday, Training, Wood Badge | Tagged

First Eagle Board of 2017

IMG_0248I was again an Eagle Board Chair for a wonderful and deserving Scout on Jan 19th.  It is my first Eagle Board of 2017.  Each Board of Review is different and memorable.   As Board Chair I reserve the Scoutmaster Conference for myself at the end.  I let the other two people on the board pick the areas of questions they want.  There are a total of six.  I usually end up with the questions about Reverent.

The night was great since there were six Eagle Boards covering three Troops.  Two Troops had two each.  A lot of Moms and Dads were there waiting to see what the outcome for the sons would be.  Much like waiting room in the delivery.  You know it’s coming….but the pressure of not knowing is tense.  And fun.

Our Scout did not disappoint.  He had stories.  The Parents had stories as did the Scoutmaster.  I call it dirt.  The Board wants to hear about the journey, the Eagle Project, things he did not like, what he liked, what failed and how they grew through the whole process.

This Scout loves Water, the Outdoors and his friends within the Troop.  He knows and observes God in all things.  It is a humbling experience to hear how an 18 year old sees God and where.  He can take a few moments while on the water soaking in all the peace and then a split second later ram his kayak into his buddies and have a water fight.

One of the questions I ask is “How would you get a buddy of yours to join the Troop.  Meaning a buddy that has never been in Cubscouts and has no clue what Scouting is all about.”  He answered “Guns, Knives and Fire.”  Ok…please expand upon this.  He basically explained that Scouting allowed him to go shoot guns at camp, whittle and use fire to cook food.  He got to do this with his friends.  It was a funny explanation.  One that I will remember.

As to what Merit Badge he liked the most, which when asked how has Scouting helped him, it was Cooking.  He explained that his first campout the Grubmaster figured one serving of everything for the Patrol.  Which ended up with not enough spaghetti for the 12 Scouts and a half of a poptart for each person.  His last camp out when he was in charge, everyone had enough food and the patrol said it was the best ever.  STEW!

The process of Scouting works.  It shapes these boys into adults that can take their past experinces and use them for guidence.

This Eagle Scout will do well.

Posted in postaday

How to score Root Beer at a Scout Unit!

Getting Root Beer at a Scout Unit is pretty easy.  Go to a Unit vz_eliquid_root_beerduring their Court of Honor and talk to people.  Soon, someone will ask if you would like one.  It is that easy. Yes it was.

Ok I did actually go to a unit to help with the District Friends of Scouting during the Court of Honor.  It was the first presentation of the season and I had never been to this unit before.  I had heard about it and since I am the FOS Chair for our District, I went. I also went to another FOS presentation for another Troop during their Court of Honor.  While I did not get Root Beer they had CAKE!  Again, a great time.   This is not a FOS based blog post, but one about how a unit operates.

I used these two presentations to help see how the units are fairing in the District.  Our District and Council is far below Bronze for Journey to Excellence.  Being the Ast Council Commissoner for Commissioner Tools I can see the numbers.  I was not there to spy or make suggestions.  I was there to see what was going on and to help as needed.

At the first Troop, which is very small, I saw several good signs.  The Scoutmaster and Committee Chair are engaged.  There are parents who are Ast Scoutmasters, Committee Memebers and Merit Badge Counselors.  This unit is re-building from a tough few years.  The scouts are young, but there and having fun.  I heard a lot about their upcoming year, past outings and how they are going to use the Troop Guides 1,2 & 3 to create plans for each Troop Meeting.  Excellent.  They have resources and are using them.  There were only two merit badges handed out because they were small.  Also, it looks like a lot of partials were almost done.  Hence, the big planning session and using the books.

The second Troop has a lot of Scouts and parents.  Quite large.  During the Court of Honor the Scoutmaster and other Adults handed out awards to the Registered Adults.  9 ASMs and 9 Committee Members all got trained for their positions this last go around.  Two Scouters are going through Wood Badge and the SM just completed.

What struck me is all the little traditions this unit had.  Rope on a carabiner, Woggles, Camo Scarves for moms.  The Rope/carabiner was for a Scout showing 12 knots that he tied in front of the troop successfully.  The different colored Woggles signified Rank.  Finally the Camo Scarves are for the moms who went on the Mom campout.  However, during this campout the Scouts cooked for the moms, pitched the tent and showed them all the basics of what they were learning.  Fantastic.

This unit had a lot of Merit Badges and Ranks to hand out.  Plus a lot of 25, 50 and 75 nights camping badges.  All the Scouts were proud of their achievements.

Two different units at different ends of spectrum.  Both are winners.  Because both understand the program, both are working with the resources and keeping the Scouts first. During my chat after the Court of Honor with the first unit, I actually recruited a Unit Commissioner and answered several questions about merit badge counselor training and paperwork.

Going to unit meetings, one can not only help that unit, but also pick up ideas to help your own unit and the next one you see.

Posted in BoyScouts, COH, Commissioner, friend of scouting, Journey to Excellence, postaday | Tagged

Sunday 11/18 ROTA QSO

BLpic512-300x184.pngThe Cascade Pacific Council Council’s at this point unofficial Amateur Radio Group met Sunday 11/20 at 4pm.  At our Thursday night meeting we agreed that moving it would be a good idea.  We need to get more people aware and involved.  The later time on Tuesday night had a lot of Scouts in bed.

If you want to listen to the “Round Table on the Air “(ROTA), we have recorded it and made it available here.

Last week’s ROTA had about 3-5 different people check in.  Today’s ROTA had about 10-12 with 9 Bear Cubscouts from Pack 195 check in while they were finishing up a Nature Hike at the Tualatin Wildlife Preserve.   Several other units checked in and described their weekend outings that they went on.  These covered Camp Meriweather, Stubb Stewart State Park, The Ape Caves and a hike on Mt Tabor.

Several suggestions of how to support Amateur Radio is to provide what Requirements could be covered by Amatuer Radio  and what Repeaters are close to Scout Properties.  Also, if there is a way to provide support for the Scouts to check in with someone on a coordinated time so the person is not just calling CQ CQ and hoping to find someone.

Overall, tonight’s ROTA was huge success from last weeks due to the participation.  We filled 50 minutes instead of 25 minutes of the net.

After the Net was closed an Official from ARRG, whose Repeater we use came on and offered assistance and support for this Net.  He was happy that this Net is here and will help as they can.

This week’s photo is from an article about Ham Radio and Scouting.

Posted in Ham Radio, NEWS, postaday, ROTA, signaling | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments


Good information for those who go camping in the winter and colder months of the year.

The Scoutmaster Minute

I have discussed the Hypowrap in a previous post, but I wanted to share with you a presentation that I recently did for a group of Scouters.
As we are now preparing for Winter Camping it is always good to start with First Aid for Cold Weather injuries, prevention, and treatment.
The Hypowrap is a good way to prevent hypothermia and certainly the start of hypothermia treatment.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Posted in postaday

The Council QSO

w2mtlOn Thursday 11/18 eight Scouters and a Scout met in the Skyloo room at Cascade Pacific Council to discuss how to bring Ham Radio into Scouting in the area.  There is a BSA National Amateur Radio Group, however the old group within Council is not operational at this time.

There is already a Facebook Group and a Weekly Net for discussing these topics and more.   We decided to come together face to face to meet and to start the process of making things happen.

The group that assembled has a great amount of experience in many different areas of Ham Radio.  This includes Digital, Fox Hunting, Building Raspberry Pi and CERT.  One of the Scouters is on the National Amateur Radio Team for the 2017 BSA Jamboree.capture

We all agree that getting Ham Radio Stations to Camporees and Webelos Woods is important.  We will be coordinating more so we can talk between them. We also believe that holding a Radio Merit Badge STEM Event that also includes the Cub scouts needs to happen.  Of our other ideas is that we will create a QSO Card that we can hand out with our information when we make contact with other Scouts and Scouters to tell about our group.  Which led to having a Roundtable event that we would link up and have check-ins from each District’s Roundtable that month.

After coming together, I realized that the group assembled we have a lot of resources that can be tapped into to help both the Council, District and Unit bring Amateur Radio to all.  Plus, the help and support we can give to those groups is exactly what they are looking for.  This is a win-win solution.  Which is already evident in the fact that a local Amateur Radio Group is looking into sponsoring an Amateur Radio Exploring Post!


Posted in Girl Scouts, Ham Radio, International Activity, JOTA, JOTI, postaday, STEM | 2 Comments

Let there be Scouting!

Over the this last weekend was the 2016 Cascade Pacific Council’s University of Scouting.  Yes, a lot of people in Scout uniforms coming together to learn more about what they like to do, because their kid brought home a flyer from School.

img_2854Wauna La-Mon’tay Lodge also held their Leadership Development Conference at that same time and place.  Both were well attended and everyone got a patch for attending.
This year my son, Elliot attended LDC for the first time.
He said that the classes were good, but loved Dodgeball.  He asked if I was there all day.  I reminded him that I was at the University of Scouting and teaching a few courses.  He asked if I had the lunch, to which I said yes.  He told me that they had Clam Chowder and a Ham Sandwich.  He was quite impressed with the Clam Chowder.  Funny, that kids key into.

We did talk about the classes that he took.  He said he would never use Communication or EDGE in real life.  Oh really?  I went on to explain that do you not ask and explain how to do something in the video games he plays.  Yes he said.  Well, it is much the same in video games as it is in Scouting, School and other places.  I then asked, did you not learn how to be a better Scout within a patrol.  He always complained about how the PL and SPL/ASPL just yell things and no one does anything.  He keyed in on a few moments at past outings and summer camps.   He started to get the idea, slowly.  Scouts just like Adults need Leadership Training so they understand the program to help make their Patrol and/or Unit better in every aspect.  Without training, failure is the only option.

While I do not know what exactly went on within his class, I can only believe that it is much the same in many of the Leadership and Wood Badge courses I have taken.
My time at University of Scouting was great.  I reconnected with Scouters that I have not seen in a while and also got some business done for Wood Badge, District and Council based items.  Oh, and a lot of bad bad horrible jokes were told.

The one course that I took was taught by Nathan Wood and it was about Ham Radio and Scouting.  I missed his course last year due to my own course I taught was at the same time.    Nathan’s course is based upon his hobby of Amateur Radio and his desire to get more people involved in it.  It was also one of his Wood Badge ticket items for his course.  The Staff at University of Scouting asked him back since a lot of people really liked it.  img_2846 While, I have been an Amateur Radio Operator for many years a lot of the info was geared towards the people who did not know anything.

He covered a lot of subjects, but what I liked a lot was the Fox Hunting.  I knew about it, but he had two Fox Hunting units and held a demo of how it works and what parts it took to make a unit.  Very interesting and I look forward to doing this.

My two courses that I taught were: Charter Org Rep (which is position required) and Journey to Excellence.

Both courses were lightly attended, which is fine.  All the participants did state that they were looking for information about the position and JTE as it pertains to their Units.

I spent just over half the time explaining the basics of who and why the COR is and their position.  I explained that the COR is a member of the Unit, District and Council.  There were a lot of questions about “Whatifs” and “What about this” that were very enlightening.  I wanted real world issues and we got them.  Each person got the COR Training handout via the link above and my contact info if they had questions.

The Journey to Excellence course was my first time teaching it at the University of Scouting.  I was asked by our Council Commissioner Dolly Olson to put it on.  Main in part that I was at last years Western Region Area 1 Training and on a National Conference Call with the National JTE folks.  I wrote about it in the Insight to a National Process post awhile ago.

My goal was not to go point for point over each area of the JTE, but to explain how the data gathered gets filtered up from the District to Council to Area to Region to National so the program can be tweaked for the better.  JTE is used for those people who cannot be at the Unit.  It is not a spying tool, but to see the improvement of that unit.

I  explained that the JTE is a tool for each unit to use in their Annual Planning and for the Scouts in the PLC planning.  It is a just like having a quarterly or annual review with your manager at work.  It is to help guide you to where you want to go.  It also helps you understand where the weak points may be.

I explained that even if your Unit is GOLD, there can be sections that are Bronze or Silver.  I explained that while the Council and my District got Gold this year, there were areas that were not GOLD.  I pointed out that Unit Commissioners is a huge sore point within both.  To which, several of the Skyloo people chimed in that they have never had a UC visit them.

I explained that Unit Commissioners are needed within every District and that if you have Registered Scouters who are looking to stay connected and help out their unit, another unit or the Pack that they came from, we want them.  This lead down the path of  Trained Leadership and finding people to step-up.  All good conversations.

I was asked if it was too late to fill out for this year and how to make it exciting for the PLC/Scouts or how to drive excitement for JTE.  First, I explained review what you have done for 2016.  Find the outings, service projects and contact the DE for Youth Membership levels if unknown.  Then it is plugging in dates and numbers in the Excell file.  Print it out and have people sign it and turn it in.

Make it exciting for Scouts.  The PLC is not going to get excited over Excel.   Explain it to the PLC that based upon what they are doing they may need to add another outing, or service project or incorporate Troop Meetings with Webelos.  I pointed out that NYLT and OA Conclave/Trainings will count on JTE.  Again, use it for planning meetings along with the Troop Planning 1,2,3 Guides to help better plan good meetings.  As for the Packs, work on Summertime Pack Events that may include a Troop for Cooking or helping with a Bike Rodeo or a Ivy Pulling at a local State Park.  Invite the Troop to help run a First Aid  Pack Meeting.  Get Den Chiefs.  If you work together the JTE for both Units will be filled up!

How to drive excitment for the Scouts for a Patch.  Within the Pack that I came from as Cubmaster, I ran the whole program as to JTE and other Pack items.  I plugged in the data and filled out the Excel spreadsheets.  Once I knew things were ready to be awarded and were turned into Council, I did it at the Closing Circle of the Pack Meeting.  I reminded the Scouts of what they have done over the past year.  The outings, summer camp, Scouting for Food, Popcorn Drive, things they did in the Den and overnights.  I explained that with all they have done and the ranks they have earned, they helped the Pack earn the JTE Gold.  I made them feel that THEY did it.  They helped the PACK GO.

Much can be the same within the Troop.  The Scoutmaster at the COH or a meeting after confirmation can hold his Scoutmaster’s Minute (or 5 in this case) saying much the same.  The fun that they had as a Patrol and Troop went to earning this award.

This course was a real eye opener for those who attended.  It does not matter what type of unit JTE helps them and helps all those upstream understand how to better understand and provide the program at every level.

Posted in summertime pack, Wood Badge, Journey to Excellence, postaday, Program & Training, new ideas, University of Scouting, Tico Perez, Wauna La-Mon'tay Lodge | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment