Aid’s to Scoutmastership, stepping in, stepping out.

Wow, little did I now how much I would learn as a Scoutmaster, and I only pray that I continue to learn more. I came into my new role as an eager Beaver (WB 2131) wanting to learn something and better myself in 2018. Although, I believe I had some preconceived notions of what would work, some of them true, everything has been a learning opportunity all centered around accepting changes along the way.
Some of my recent opportunities I have learned.


1.Dealing with adults is probably the hardest thing about being a Scoutmaster.

2. I need to enable and then step-out of the way of youth, especially leaders.

When 4 out of 5 people (adults) are in on a joke, I need to make sure the 5th person understands the context and feels included. And with grace I realize we can’t expect everyone to be serious all the time. As a SM you have to know when to step-in and know when to step-out whether dealing with Scouts or adults. Some parents, ASM, SMs, etc, want to run the Troop, they feel the Troop is a direct reflection of who they are, if the Scouts fail, they too are a failure. We only fail if we stop trying. As a SM I have had to learn to take a deep breath and allow myself to step-out of the Troop’s way, the Patrol’s way as they try to play the game of Scouting. Most of the time I am constantly asking myself, am I stepping in too much? Am I getting in the way of a learning opportunity? Am I not stepping-in when i should, so the scouts can have some fun and not get too bogged down in the murk? In the end my final notion is most of the time I should just step out and allow the patrol method to work because no matter how much I stress, Scouting works!

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Argentina

While waiting, drinking tea at All about Chai, for my son to finish his time at the local Mathnasium I overheard someone say they were flying home to Argentina. They had interesting South American, yet French, or different accents, I guess I should say Argentinian. I clued in and wanted to instantly jump in their luggage and head down to an interesting country.
Why?
I recently watched an episode of Globe Trekkers where the host drove the main highway from the tip of Argentina to the bottom of Argentina stopping at different spots a long the way. From hippy communes, to base camps to consumer filled farmers markets, and amazing hiking trails and lakes and streams to fish in…I was intrigued. There is a lot of outdoor opportunities to be had in Argentina! After the show episode I got on the Craigslist job opportunities for one of the bigger Argentinian cities to see what was available for a VISA worker. Of course, the same stuff available in any other city, weird “acting” opportunities.
I’ll get a chance someday to head down, explore such a beautiful country, maybe my wife and kids will be on board too, haha!

I was…

I was a small town kid

I was a minority even though I was white

I was friends with Native kids

I was a woods explorer

I was a river swimmer

I was a scout

I was a country kid who rode

Skateboards

I was a sailor in the navy

I was depressed

I was an artist

I was a submariner

I was a poet in High School

I was a drawer

I was a band geek

I played trombone in college

I was a terrible kid at times

I was a good kid at times

I was a video production nerd, still am

I was an easy cryer in school

I was picked on in middle school

I was a third and fourth grade breakdancer

Who am I?

I am a human

I am a dad

I am a husband

I am a hunter

I am an angler

I am a English Lit grad

I am a skateboarder

I am a Scout Master

I am a Toyota Tacoma owner

I am a conservationist

I am a photographer

I am a brother

I am an artist

I am a reader

I am a writer

I am a friend

I am a son

I am a Christian

I am a camper

I am a traveler

I am a beer drinker

Lottery

My thoughts on the Lottery.

Having a billboard advertising the lottery on the road to work, this highway being one of the most highly traveled business commutes in the city.  It’s smart.  Early morning travelers, half awake, dreading their job, look up at the false hope of the millions of dollars that can be awarded them, if they only buy one ticket.  It’s very Willy Wonka, but with a catch.

The statistics show that most people that have won the lottery are in debt.  Quick money, leads to quick problems.

My worry is that the lottery sends a since of false hope.  That I can wish in one hand and hopefully it will fill up.  Also, those of us that need the money or dream of the money only end up spending money we should be using or investing on a sliver of a chance in winning. The poor feed the lottery pot.  The income from lotto sales is supposed to help pay for schools, so we rationalize our desire to gamble on our kid’s future.

Meanwhile, up on the hill, those that don’t need the money push around the new lottery income to pay for the schools, cut their own taxes, because….”hey, I don’t have a kid that goes to that school, and why should I have to pay for it?”  It’s a win for those that should be paying tax, but it’s a loss for those that should be benefiting from it.

Do I still play the lottery?  Yes, I do.  On rare occasions.  For fun…I think.  At least I tell myself it is for fun, for that small slice of hope that would come from winning millions.  Or maybe it’s my wishful thinking that I can deal with a curse, a curse of millions of dollars, the people at the door, the paranoia, the angry loved ones, the false hope that I am not like the majority of people who end up in debt that would have been better off without the money in the first place.

Life as a Scoutmaster .1

At then end of summer 18 I decided to take on the duties as a Scout Master for my son’s Troop.  I say my son’s Troop, but I feel, by the time of my appointment as head Scout wrangler, I had taken a vested ownership of the gang.

My history with scouting started young.  My dad had been called or was asked or somehow found his way attending scout camp at George Thomas sometime in the late 70s.  He was an elementary school counselor with a love for music and extreme gift of compassion and was sought out for his skills. It seems dad would disappear for a week or two, show back up during the weekend, or when he got to sneak away from camp, so it was hard on a 5 year old.  It was hard on me because I knew my dad was out doing cool “guy” stuff, but it was not allowed back then to have a kid down at older boy scout camp. Scouting was different back then, it was a little more strict, depending on where you were located in the United States.  I am sure it had been different before that, less strict, different then what it had become.  Scouting has always been about change.

By the time I had got old enough or was allowed to head down and camp, I believe I got to stay a night or two near the end of a camp week.  I think there was a Camp Director that was a bit more strict and hard to get a long with, but an assistant had taken over for the week who was more understanding and allowed my dad to bring me down.  The energy at scout camp was palatable.  There were snakes along the trails, snake pits to throw snakes into, common snapping turtles, et al.  Most of that doesn’t exist now at Scout Camp because the movement take a more hands off of nature approach now, which I have tried to actively change.

I joined Cub Scouts when I could, but it wasn’t until I was a Webelos Scout that I really felt like my dad supported what I was doing.  He felt that the Cub’s were just a money making tool for the BSA, or at least he was told that by the “old timers” he was friends with in Scouting.  I am not sure I have the same feelings toward cub scouting, it’s more of a way to “‘capture” a family early, so they feel like they belong and understand the world of scouting.  I completed my Arrow of Light thanks to my friends the Silverhorns, a Native American Family, who also were members of the local LDS (Mormon) church, and where my Scouting Journey began, also where I got my lifelong nickname, but more on that at a later post.

I’ll flesh out more of what happened with my Eagle application and process later, but I figured I would get that out of my system.

So here I am, SM at my son’s Troop, err my Troop.  So far so good.  The hardest thing is trying to keep the parents at bay.  The boys stay as engaged as they want to.  I inspire them with a SM Minute and I try to encourage the PLC to function as “good” leadership. But in the end, I have to remind myself that it has to be Fun with a Purpose.

Old Dudes

It was the older guys that took me under their wing to teach me how to stand act at a session.  I think it was around 1987 when my family headed through New Mexico to visit relatives in Arizona that we stopped, somewhere, not sure where, but there was a skate spot right next to the hotel.  Wooden ramps in various forms of disarray, littered the vacant parking lot, yes…skaters still achieve this landscape today.  Of course those guys were not old like I see old skaters today.  Anyone over the age of 40 that still rides with me seems like an old dude.  And “old dudes” rule!

Why No Wagons

Growing up a minority in a community has it’s advantages.  The constant looks and questioning from the majority helps you develop a special skin. Your “special skin” either grows thick to avoid the stares and words, or you turn invisible and blend in with your surroundings. From a young age I learned to blend in, until I was vetted as a “good guy” by people who didn’t know me.

Despite being a “minority” in my community I was still the majority of the rest of the world and that came with advantages that the rest of the town didn’t have, but I’ll mention those in another story.  I was a “white-boy” in a predominantly Native American town.  My best friends were either Kiowa, or Apache, some might have been Delaware, Wichita, or Caddo Indian, all of these tribes had headquarters either in town or the surrounding counties, giving the town the name Indian City USA.  Despite the vast number of tribes I grew up alongside,  I tended to be accepted as a Kiowa.  My Kiowa friends, their grandmas and moms adopted me in at an early age.  Eventually, these matriarchs would refer to me as one of their sons without batting an eye, true love.

Not only was I white, but by the time I was in the 6th grade all I did was skateboard.  It was probably 86 when the skate-bug fully entrenched itself into my central nervous system.  I had toyed with skateboarding before then, but living in rural America, pre internet, it was difficult to see those other worlds which exist beyond your local community.  And once I joined that sub-culture of skateboarding I found yet another home. Skateboarding has always prided itself in being anti-racist, anti-bigot, it tends to attract the marginalized, creative type, those that are “different,” it accepted us as much as we accepted it.

By the 8th grade my skate crew had grew to a sizable list of classmates of multi-generations, new recruits and older guys.  Our town hosted the National Indian Exposition every year, a week long celebration of Native American  dancing, gatherings, artworks and fellowship embra, along with it came the annual parades that marked the beginning and end of the week of celebration.  That summer our skate crew took up the name “no wagons” in order to help the ongoing protest by some of the expo attendees that wanted to remove covered wagons from the parade.  We wore our buttons with pride! From that summer and maybe a year later we were known as the “no wagons” skate crew.  We were the skate-warriors riding the plains, pushing the oppressive white man back from where he came.