Softly Falls the Light of Day

mV5nrN2CajJ_vxBo_5Ef5xAI received the sad news yesterday  that a Scouting friend had Gone Home this past weekend. He was an amazing man who touched the lives of many people (Scouters as well) and his spirit will live on in the youth he worked with over the past years.  God grant you a quiet rest Baloo.

As it sometimes happens when someone is taken before their time, I’ve been pondering my mortality and how my personal “accounting” would look if today was my last day. Would my life’s ledger have more black than red ink in it?  We take time for granted and put off things with the assumption there will be time later. Most of the time this line of thinking is OK, but sometimes life throws you a knuckle-ball and suddenly there is no “later”.

Not meaning to sound like an inspirational poster, but living like there is no tomorrow does have some merit, and in its own way it is just another way of being prepared. Our Scout vespers which is sung at the end of meetings and gatherings is a reminder of this. For some it is just something we sing before we leave the meeting, but if you really pay attention to what it is saying  you will see that it asks the singer to review their actions for the whole day and not just the past 2 hours. Perhaps it’s time I pay a little more attention to “now” and not depend on the future so much.

How would you answer these questions?

Softly falls the light of day,
While our campfire fades away.
Silently each scout should ask:
“Have I done my daily task?
Have I kept my honor bright?
Can I guiltless sleep tonight?
Have I done and have I dared
In everything to be prepared.?”

Listen Lord, oh listen Lord,
As I whisper soft and low,
Bless my Mom and bless my Dad,
There is something they should know.
I have kept my honor bright.
The Oath and Law has been my guide.
Mom and Dad, this you should know,
Deep in my heart I love you so.

Until next time…

Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!

The Wherefore and the Why

1912438_10152329295924257_965649798_nIf anybody were to ask me why I spend the long hours doing what I do, I would show them this picture. This is my proof that Scouting produces capable young men (women too). I recently found (and stole it  acquired it) from Facebook where was being shared between my friends. Seeing these 3 together brought back a flood of memories, and along with a most satisfying sense of pride!

I’ve camped in snow, rain, the hot as well as the cold with these guys. I’ve dressed up as a War of 1812 Red Coat and marched with them at Fort George. Collected winter coats for people who have none. Delivered Santa boxes to the underprivileged.  I’ve paddled canoes with them (including two days of non-stop rain in Algonquin Park to see turtles or moose, neither of which appeared since they unlike us were smart enough to stay out of the rain!). There is a lot of “one hours” a week in there over the years. I consider it time well spent!

I’ve known these 3 for a long time (since before they were even in Scouting). This photo is during their second last year in Troop, working their way (not that you could judge that by the relaxed poses)  towards finishing their Chief Scout Awards. That was 2006. One of them is now in the process of becoming a fireman and the other two are attached to our Troop as Scouters (part-time). While they have walked their own paths to become the men they are now, I’m thankful I got to walk with them for part of the way!

This photo gives me faith in Scouting and what it does for youth!

So what is your reasons for being a Scouter? Please share in the comments section.

Until next time…

Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!

Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Scouting

I’m not sure if you may have heard of the writer Robert Fulghum, but I’m sure that you have heard of his work titled “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”. If you haven’t had a chance to read it (click here) I suggest you make the time to do so. It has some of the best and simplest advice I’ve ever read.

I’m a big believer in the idea that Scouting is a lifestyle choice as well as an activity. I’ve said many times that while you may take off the uniform at the end of the meeting, you don’t take off the “Scout”. Every week we say our Law and Promises but how do the lessons learned in Scouting apply to life? After 11 years here are a few things that Scouting has taught me…

Work hard, have fun, and help your family and friends – you may recognize this as the Scouts Canada Beaver law but it’s still good advice.

Always remember to do a good turn.

Always try any new food put it front of you. You don’t have to like it but you need to taste it.

Lead from the front.

It’s hard to know when to speak up, but it’s even harder to know when not to say anything.

Try your best, even when nobody is watching.

A Scout whistles in the face of adversity (it feels like I whistle a lot).

Try to do something that scares you.Then try it again!

Youth leadership – Train them, trust them, then let them lead.

One of the nicest sounds in the world is the splash of a paddle.

Remember the past but look to the future.

Stories are best told in campfire light.

The only statement stronger than “I can’t” is “I’ll try”.

Never ask someone to do something you’re not willing to try too.

While there are many other things that I can say Scouting has taught me, these few lines sum up how I try to live my life. Can it be considered overly simplistic? Perhaps, but sometimes the simplest lessons are the best ones. One of my favourite quotes from Robert Baden-Powell is the last paragraph of his farewell letter to Scouts.

“But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn come to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. “Be Prepared” in this way, to live happy and to die happy – stick to your Scout promise always – even after you have ceased to be a boy – and God help you do it.”

Leave the world a little better than you found it, spread happiness, and being prepared. These are the last three items to complete my list. Everything I needed to know  about living a good life I’ve learned from Scouting. How about you?

Until next time…

Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!

Minnesota Boy Scout halfway to goal of sleeping outside for an entire year

I know a youth that is exactly like this!

Bryan on Scouting

Update (Jan. 8): Read Rudy’s blog to learn more about the conditions he faces on a nightly basis during his quest to spend an entire year sleeping outside his Minnesota home.

His sister and his friends call him crazy, but you and I call Rudy Hummel a typical Boy Scout.

Rudy, a 17-year-old Life Scout from the northern Minnesota city of Hermantown, is nearly 200 nights in to his quest to sleep outside for 365 nights in a row.

Any Boy Scout living in Miami or Maui could pull off that feat, but Rudy lives in Hermantown, a suburb of Duluth, where tomorrow’s high temperature is 5 degrees. By the weekend, it could get down to minus-18. Consider that as you sip your hot cocoa by the fire this week.

Rudy’s original plan was to camp outside all summer, he told the Duluth News Tribune. “I thought it would be cool…

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