Scoutmaster Minutes Starting with the Letter "S"


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The Snake

A group of Arapaho Indian boys decided it was time to prove to the tribe elders that they were old enough to be considered men. By custom, the rite of manhood included living alone for one week in the wilderness. Each boy was instructed to only take a knife with him and come back seven days later and tell of his adventures. One boy, wanting to prove that he was more of a man than the others, decided that he would climb the snow-capped mountains for his week of adventure. Surely, living in the snow and cold is a hardship that the elders must agree that only a man could endure. So, he walked an entire day across the plains to the foot of the mountains. He climbed halfway up the mountains to the snowline when a snake spoke to him.

"Help me," the snake cried.

"Why should I help you, a rattlesnake? You are known to bite and kill people," replied the Arapaho brave.

"I am cold and almost frozen. Please put me in your warm shirt and take me down the mountain to where it is warm where I can survive," said the rattlesnake.

"How do I know that you are not going to bite and kill me?" asked the brave.

"Why should I bite the person who saves my life?" replies the snake.

"Ok. I do not like to see anyone die. Promise you won't bite me?" asked the brave.

"I Promise," replied the snake.

So the Indian boy placed the snake in his shirt and walked down the mountain. As he opened his shirt to let the snake out, the rattlesnake bit him.

"WHY DID YOU BITE ME? You promised you wouldn't bite and kill me!" yelled the young brave.

The snake replied, "You knew who I was when you picked me up. You have nobody to blame for your death but yourself."

Today Scouts, one doesn't prove his maturity by living alone in the wilderness anymore, but instead shows that he is a man by living wisely in the streets and making good decisions by himself. There are rattlesnakes hiding in the streets today that go by the names of marijuana, cocaine, crack, speed, acid, ...drugs. Drugs will falsely promise a lot of good times and laughs, but will instead lie to you, get you to steal and break the law in other ways, and if not kill you, rob you of your health and brains. The few hours of chemical-induced pleasure may cost you the rest of your life in permanent brain damage and physical disability.

When you decide to prove to others that you are mature enough to be a man, prove it by making the right choice not to do any drugs and stick to that decision. Ok?

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The Sunday Run

Last Sunday as I was finishing my run through Tree Tops Park with my running buddy, I saw a neighbor standing in her garage doorway about to get her newspaper. Unfortunately the years had not been kind to her. She was walking with a walker and one eye was closed. Over the years I had seen her taking care of her house and she had always appeared quite friendly, but in her present condition she could no longer see me from where I ran along the road. Without thinking, I picked up the Sunday paper and quickly brought it to her. God bless you, she said, as I handed her the paper. I was>astonished by the sincerity of those words as I realized that it would have taken her quite some time to walk to the paper and pick it up in her condition. As I caught up with Steve, my running buddy, I commented that I had fulfilled my scouting good turn for the day and it wasn t even 8 a.m. He jokingly replied, Now you can be a jerk the rest of the day.

At first I laughed but, the more I thought about what had transpired, the more I thought about what the meaning of what scout spirit really is. Scout spirit doesn t mean how many little old ladies you help across the street or pick up the Sunday paper for. It does not mean how many meetings or campouts you attend or how many merit badges you obtain. Scout spirit means that we live by the Scout Oath and Law twenty-four hours a day and uphold the pledge we make as scouts to hold ourselves up to a higher standard, or as the Hebrew National people say, We hold ourselves up to a higher authority. So don t just wait for the obvious situation such as the little old lady and the newspaper to exercise your scout spirit, but create your own situations to live the scouting life and practice scout spirit twenty-four hours a day,seven days a week.

By doing so we all answer to a higher authority.

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Safety Through Skill

We've been talking a lot about safety tonight, how to be safe ourselves and make our homes and community safe. I think the lesson is partly exercising our common sense and partly learning the skills of safety.

What do we mean by the skills of safety? Well for one thing, we're talking about learning to find the emergency escape doors and windows in a building like this one. We tried to do that tonight. From now on it will probably be in the back of your mind when you enter an unfamiliar building.

In other words, training your mind to think safety is one lesson. Another is carefulness and common sense. By being careful and using your common sense, you're not likely to get hit by a car while crossing the street. Still, a lot of kids are killed every year because they thought they could beat a car. Others die in accidents around the home that could have been prevented with a little more forethought. Still others get trapped in their burning homes, partly because they hadn't planned escape routes.

Safety is not the most exciting topic in the world, but it's a vital one for all of us to learn and to pass on to our younger brothers and sisters. Boring or not, the skills of safety are important. They may save your life or that of someone you love.

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A Scout Is Loyal

Scouts, what's the second point of the Scout Law? That's right, "A Scout is loyal. " Our Scout handbook explains that a Scout is loyal to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school and nation.

I'm going to add one more thing to that list - a Scout is loyal to his team. The team might be his patrol or sports team.

Your patrol or soccer team can't be as good as it should be if you goof off a lot or constantly complain about your teammates or your patrol leader or coach. A winning patrol and a winning team, must have a winning attitude. That means that every member must be willing to do his part and not spend time griping because the patrol's plans or the game are not going his way.

That doesn't mean that you have to be close friends with everybody in your patrol or team or even like all of them. But it means that when you join, you commit yourself to the success of the patrol or the team and pledge to give it your best effort.

In Scouting and sports, it's teamwork that makes winners. So whenever you're with your patrol or sports team, remember, "A Scout is loyal".

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Sportsmanship

Probably some of you will earn the Sports merit badge this month. If so, the first thing you'll have to do, is understand what sportsmanship is, because it's the first requirement. I'd like to read you a little story from the Sports merit badge pamphlet which sums up sportsmanship very well. Here's the story.

"In 1940, an underdog Dartmouth football team played powerful Cornell, which needed only one more victory for a perfect season and a number-one ranking in the country. Trailing 3-0 Cornell scored a controversial touchdown that the Dartmouth players insisted was made on an extra "fifth down". However the referee counted the touchdown, and Cornell won 7-3.

But after the game, Cornell officials watched the game on film and saw that, indeed their team had been allowed and extra play. They immediately sent a telegram to Dartmouth stating that they could not accept the victory. It went into the record book as a 3-0 victory for Dartmouth. "

That little story tells us what sportsmanship really is. It is the desire to play hard and to win - but to win fairly - and if you lose, to accept defeat with good grace. Let's remember that during our Sports Tourney and throughout our lives. Also remember, that to be a good sport you have to lose to prove it.

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Spell It Honesty

Tonight we've spent a lot of time talking about ethics - about honesty and fairness and respect for others. Now I'll tell you a true story about a Scout who showed what those things mean.

His name is Andrew J. Flosdorf, and in 1983 he was a 1st Class Scout in Troop 42 of Fonda NY Andy was in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, competing for the championship and a chance for a scholarship.

During a break in the competition, Andy went to the judges and told them that although they thought he had spelled "echolalia" correctly, he had mistakenly substituted an "e" for the first "a" in the word, which means a speech disorder. He said he discovered his error when he looked it up afterwards.

By admitting the mistake, that the judges hadn't caught, Andy eliminated himself from the competition. The chief judge said, "We want to commend him for his utter honesty," and the crowd gave him an ovation.

But Andy didn't tell them about his error to earn cheers. He wanted to win as much as the other contestants, but he wanted to win fairly. "The first rule of Scouting is honesty," Andy told the judges.

"I didn't want to feel like a slime. "

I don't know what has happened to Andy Flosdorf since then, but I'm sure of two things. He learned one of Scouting's most important lessons, and gave us an example of honesty and fairness that all of us should shoot for.

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Salt Of The Earth

Who can tell me what "salt of the earth" means? That's right, it means a person who has a fine character and is a nice guy to be around. The expression "salt of the earth" probably came from the fact that common salt improves the taste of a lot of foods. As you young Scouts will discover while you are working on your Cooking skill award, salt is used in many recipes - maybe most of them for breakfast and dinner dishes.

Just as the salt improves the flavor of many foods, a person who is the salt of the earth improves the lives of those around him. He lives every day by the Scout Oath and Law, even if he's not a Scout. He does his daily Good Turn and he deals fairly with everyone he meets.

You can be the salt of the earth, too, just by living the Oath and Law. Let's remind ourselves of what it takes by repeating the Law now (Lead Law. )

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Smilin' In The Rain

A long time ago, a joker said, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. " That isn't really true anymore because scientists can seed clouds with chemicals to make rain fall - if there are clouds , that is.

Next week we're going to be outdoors, possibly in foul weather, for our Foul-Weather Cook-Out (or See'n'do). It may be snowing or raining cats and dogs while we're out there, but we'll be there just the same because this is not a fair weather troop.

It may not be as much fun as being outdoors on a sunny summer day, but it's part of outdoor life, and as Scouts we belong outdoors. As long as you have a poncho, warm clothes and a pair of dry socks and underwear in your pack, you can enjoy bad weather, too.

At least I hope you can. I like to see Scouts smiling in the rain because a real Scout is cheerful even when things aren't 100% perfect.

The weather, and life, aren't always predictable. One of the lessons you should be earning as Scouts is to be prepared for foul weather as well as fair.

So the key words for next weeks outing are "Be Prepared" and "A Scout is cheerful. " If you follow that advice, you'll have a fine time, no matter what the weather is.

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Setting The Example

In the patrol leaders council, we often talk about the skills of leadership. Patrol leaders who have taken the junior leader training course know even more about them. Of the 11 skills of leadership, I believe the most important is setting the example. There's an old saying that sums it up well. It goes something like this: "What you do speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you say. " In other words, don't tell me what is right; show me by your example.

It seems to me that when it comes to setting the example, we are all leaders. Even if you're not a patrol leader, the way you conduct yourself will rub off on your patrolmates. If one patrol member goofs off and is sloppy in his habits, there's a temptation to say, "Well, Brian gets away with it, why shouldn't I?"

That may be human nature, but it's not the nature of a good patrol or a good troop. A good patrol and troop have to work like a team, with every member setting a good example of Scoutlike behavior. Let's keep that in mind always, but especially when we're in summer camp (or on tour). Let's show our pride in our troop and in ourselves as Scouts and young men.

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Safety Afloat

Scouts, what do the following merit badges have in common: Canoeing, Motorboating, Rowing, Small-Boat Sailing, and Water Skiing? I'll give you a hint - they all have the same first requirement.

You guessed it. All those badges require that a Scout be classed a "swimmer" before he even gets started on the badge. It's pretty obvious why you must be a swimmer before you can go out into the deep water in a canoe or other craft.

As I think you all know, to be classed as a swimmer you have to be able to swim 100 yards, do the elementary backstroke, and be able to rest in water by floating. To those who swim well, that's a piece of cake. To those who don't it could be a challenge.

You're not going to able to go canoeing or rafting until you can meet the test. We're going to spend time this month helping the non-swimmers and beginners so that by the time of our Water Rendezvous, most of you - maybe all - will be able to swim the hundred.

Being able to swim well will unlock the door to those other badges. It will also give you a life-long sport, one that you will be able to enjoy for many years after you no longer have the ability to play other sports. That's one of the reasons we go swimming now. The other of course is that it's fun.

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