Monday, January 2, 2012

Monthly Theme - Positive Attitude

The core value highlighted this month is:

Positive Attitude: Being cheerful and setting our minds to look for and find the best in all situations. Through participating in various activities at the pack meeting boys will gain a better understanding of the importance of having a positive attitude whether they are part of the audience or as the center of attention on stage.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Do I Have in My Pockets?

ON a few of the websites I peruse the authors all tend to in one manner or the other present what it is that they carry every day, the gunbloggers all tend to include their personal firearm in their every day carry details. Since I am not a gun carrying member of society, based solely upon the laws of the state in which I reside, I got to thinking about what it is that I have in my pockets every day, and more importantly, why.

There are several items that I never leave the house without, one is my Gerber Para Frame folding knife, and the other is one of my challenge coins. Today though in addition to one of my challenge coins I am carrying these items:

Yes you are seeing that correctly I have two marbles along with my Wood Badge challenge coin. Why you ask? Well I could be smart and say it’s so that I can never lose my marbles, and some day’s I wouldn’t be far from the truth, but the truth is much more cerebral. I picked up those marbles on the same day I was handed my Wood Badge challenge coin, and they came with a story. We were in formation and the course director began passing around a large jar full of marbles with instructions to take two and pass the rest on. When everyone had two marbles she began:

“There was a man who one day sat down and did a little arithmetic. He figured that most people live to the age of seventy-five, some live longer some live less, but the average is seventy-five. Then he did a little more math and multiplied 75 times 52 and came up with the number 3900 which is the average number of Saturdays that a person has in their live.

It wasn’t until he was in his 50’s that figured out that he had about another 20 years to live, and realized that he only had a little more than 1000 of those Saturdays left. So he went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. He ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up all 1040 marbles. He took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container in his garage next to his gear. Every Saturday since then, he took one marble out and threw it away.

He found that by watching the marbles diminish, he focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

Then one Saturday morning he took the last marble out of the container and threw it away, he figured that if he made it to the next Saturday he would have been given a little extra time, and who couldn’t use more time?”

It was then that she paused and looked at all of us. Everyone there had given up two of their Saturdays to attend this course, two of their marbles had been thrown away, and they were the two marbles we were holding in our hands.

“Take these marbles”, she counseled us “and, make sure that you always focus on the important things in life. You are here, attending this course, because you realize that your life on this earth isn’t just about you. Don’t ever forget that.”

I’m carrying these marbles today, because on Boxing Day my wife was looking in my bin on the shelf where I place all of my stuff when I empty my pockets and asked, “Why do you have these two marbles here?” I told her the story, and realized that maybe I hadn’t remembered fully what they meant, and that quite possibly I was squandering away some of my time here on earth, for you see that man only had the story half right, every day we have here is a gift, not just those left after the marbles are all gone. And every day we need to make sure we are setting aside time to focus on the important things.

To paraphrase one of the tenets of the Wood Badge course, it’s about leaving a legacy it’s about focusing on the important things in life, everyday and not just when you have time to spare.

So that is what I have in my pockets today...what do you have in yours?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

Respect your Future

Wayne Gretzky said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

What I mean by “respect your future” is: make choices that will make you happy for a long time, rather than just focusing on the next two seconds. Among other things, that means that in everything you do, you need to be sufficiently upstanding that your conduct doesn’t keep you up worrying late at night.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Monthly Theme - Respect

The core value highlighted this month is:

Respect: Showing regard for the worth of someone or something. Respect is something we should all practice every day. We should strive to be respectful of others, of our surroundings, in what we say and do, and most of all we should have respect for ourselves. Cub Scouts will learn that if they are respectful of others, others will respect them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

Why does Scouting encourage a boy to do Good Turns?

Here is what Lord Baden-Powell, Scouting’s founder, had to say about it:
“The Scouting practices tend in a practical way to educate the boy out of the groove of selfishness. Once he becomes charitable, he is well on the way to overcome or to eradicate the danger of this habit.”

The promise that a Cub Scout makes on joining has as its first point, “To do my best, to do my duty to God and my Country.” Note that it does not say, “To be loyal to,” since that would merely be a state of mind. It clearly says to do something, which is the positive, active attitude.

Baden-Powell went on to say, “The main method of the Boy Scouts movement is to give some form of positive training rather than merely to inculcate negative precepts, since the boy is always ready to do rather than to digest. Therefore, we put into his activities the practice of Good Turns in his daily life as a foundation of
future goodwill and helpfulness to others. The religious basis underlying this is common to all denominations, and we, therefore, interface with the form of none.
“Thus we teach him that to do his duty to God means, not merely to lean on his kindness, but to do his will by practicing love toward one’s neighbor.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monthly Theme - Citizenship

The core value highlighted this month is:

Citizenship: Contributing service and showing responsibility to local, state, and national communities. Cub Scouts will demonstrate good citizenship as they participate in pack flag ceremonies, show respect for people in authority, and strive to be good neighbors.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cubmaster Minute

"When I say ‘I will,' I am taking on a responsibility. When I say, 'I will take out the trash or walk the dog,' it becomes my responsibility I need to make sure I do what I said I would. A simple 'I will' turns into a pledge or a promise-a promise that has to be kept. Keep that in mind the next time you say "I will."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Responsibility Tips for Den Leaders

By Alice, Golden Empire Council

Check out these activities suggested by teachers and creative Den Leaders. They can help boys practice being responsible and also reward them!

Interpersonal Responsibility: Have Den Rules!
One teacher talks about classroom rules, letting her students help decide on rules and consequences. As a Den Leader, you can do the same – just make sure you have only a few basic rules that everyone understands. Post your list at the front of the den room each meeting – if a rule is being broken, just point to the list and ask “What’s the Rule?” No need to get into a discussion with an individual boy, since the den all worked on the rules and consequences together. (You might even have to check the boy’s ideas when they decide on consequences – they are often far too severe)

Behavior Journals: Send home Positive Reports!
Teachers often have students write in their own personal journals about their week’s behavior and how they handled problems that came up. At the end of the week, they take their journals home to share with parents.

As a Den Leader, you can help boys with behavior issues to take personal responsibility by having them write down what happened, and how they think the problem could be solved.
You can also give out “Positive” reports to take home to parents. Baden-Powell said “A pat on the back is a stronger stimulus than a prick with a pin. Expect a great deal of your boys and you will generally get it.” Set a goal to say at least one good thing about each boy at every den meeting. But don’t give undeserved compliments – boys know when the praise is genuine! Remember, “It’s better to build boys than repair men.”

A Taste of Responsibility:
Check this out under Gathering Activities

Responsible Service:
Have each boy make a coupon book to give to his parents or teacher exchange for service from the boy. Each boy can include things such as “sorting the recycling” or “sweep the back porch” or “pass out materials.” Then have the boys turn in their completed coupon books when they have taken responsibility to do each promised task. A word of warning: these tasks should not include regular chores or assignments – they should be for extra things each boy can do.

“Caught Being Good Coins:”
One Den Leader I heard of uses special plastic “coins” – when a boy is “caught” doing something good – helping without being asked, cleaning up after an activity, helping another boy with a project or craft. Boys cannot ask for a job to earn a coin – they are rewarded for choosing to be helpful and take responsibility for themselves and their materials, books, candy wrappers, whatever. Coins are redeemed for simple toys, stickers, party favor type stuff, sometimes a patch.

Assignment Organizer:
Teachers often have their students record their assignments in a special notebook, so they can check off what they do in class – whatever isn’t done becomes homework, which they take home. Both parents and students initial the list before it returns to school.

As a Den Leader, have a process for “homework” – things that must be done at home. Make sure there is some kind of check-off for the boy to do – you could have a chart to post at the Den Meeting, so that boys can initial or put a sticker when they have completed the homework. Some dens have an email system – so parents can be reminded. But it’s important to have some way for each boy to keep and mark off his OWN record as well, especially with assignments that require more than one week.

Money Matters:
To help students understand budgets, teachers often use play money, provide each student with a list of necessary expenses, and have them figure out how to use their “money.”

As Den Leaders, we can work on the scout or religious award requirements that involve learning how to use money. One possible “field trip” might invlve a visit to the grocery store where boys help find the best value, compare not only cost, but price per unit, and also nutritional value.

We can also let the boys take an active role in planning the expenses for a den or pack activity, so they get a realistic view of how much things cost. Every scout should have an opportunity to earn at least part of the money for Day Camp – encourage parents to offer chores for hire, or use a den or pack project, such as a car wash or popcorn sales – where the boy himself can be responsible for part of the cost.

October – A Month for Responsibility

by Alice, Golden Empire Council

October is a month filled with opportunities to be Responsible. Every Cub Scout can learn, step by step, to make good choices, finish the job, keep his promises and earn a reputation for Responsibility. Here are some ways to accomplish that:

October is Adopt a Shelter Animal Month
Even if every boy can’t go out and adopt a new pet, he can take responsibility for a pet he already has. Remember that your pet depends on you to give them fresh water, food, a safe place to live, and exercise. That’s how you show you love them!

Want to help a shelter animal? Check with a local shelter – they often need food, clean towels and blankets, and sometimes even people to come in and walk the animals.

October is also Disability Awareness Month
Try some of the Disability Challenges in the GAMES section of Baloo's Bugle. Invite someone to come and share how they cope with their disability.

Fire Prevention Week is the First Week of October
Visit a fire house, or invite a fireman to visit your den. In the past, my boys got to try on the boots and gear, turn on the siren, and even try using the hose! Check with your local fire department – they often have brochures, comic books, activity books, and sometimes other freebies – like pencils or even plastic fireman’s helmets! Have the boys distribute door hangers to remind people to check the batteries on the smoke detectors – they are real lifesavers!

And be sure to teach every boy to be responsible for his own safety – review Stop, Drop & Roll and how to get out of a burning building safely.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Monthly Theme - Responsibility

The core value highlighted this month is:

Responsibility: Fulfilling our duty to God, country, other people, and ourselves. Being responsible is being dependable and doing what you say you will do. Cub Scouts will have fun learning about responsibility while pretending to be on a campout.