Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stewart Edward White on Leadership

"To be friendly, to retain respect, to praise, to preserve authority, to direct and yet to leave detail, to exact what is due, and yet to deserve it--these be the qualities of a leader, and cannot be taught."

From The Forest, by Stewart Edward White in 1903.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

In the Forest

There's an excellent book called "The Forest". Stewart Edward White, an honorary Boy Scout, wrote it in 1903. It's worth the free download.

Watching our scouts and adults build great campfires at White Memorial last weekend and on the AT in November reminded me of White's advice on how to build a fire, and the lessons earned from making a great camp. This is long. If you want, skip ahead to the last paragraph. At least read that; it's worth it. He writes:

"A roll of birch bark first. Then some of the small, dry, resinous branches that stick out from the trunks of medium-sized pines, living or dead. Finally, the wood itself. Pile your fuel--a complete supply, all you are going to need--by the side of yoru already improvised fireplace. But, as you value your peace of mind, do not fool with matches.

"The civilized method is to build a fire and then to touch a match to the completed structure. the only sure way is as follows: Hold a piece of birch bark in your hand. Shelter your match all you know how. When the bark has caught, lay it in your fireplace, assist it with more bark, and gradually build up, twig by twig, stick by stick, from the first pin-point of flame, all the fire you are going to need. it will not be much. The little hot blaze rising between the parallel logs directly against the aluminum of your utensils will do the business in very short order. In fifteen minutes at most your meal is ready. And you have been able to attain hot food quickly because you were prepared.

"In the woods, as nowhere else, you will earn your leisure only by forethought. Make no move until you know it follows the line of greatest economy. To putter is to wallow in endless desolation. If you cannot move directly and swiftly and certainly along the line of least resistance in everything you do, take a guide with you; you are not of the woods people. You will never enjoy doing this for yourself, for your days will be crammed with unending labour."

Let's be people of the woods. Not too many things better than earning our leisure.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Epic Canoe Traverse for the Ventures

Congratulations to Troop 76 Ventures for stringing together two epic canoe "traverses" through the most remote parts of New York's Adirondack Park.  The scouts planned the trip, including meals, gear, float plan, and emergency contacts, for 6 nights and 7 days.  Our excellent outfitter, St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, runs 10-12 scout trips a year, and confessed they hadn't seen one as ambitious and well-planned as ours.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Flag Day

Who knew Flag Day was started right here in Hartford 150 years ago, at the beginning of the Civil War?  Thanks to Cam B. and John C-M for getting up VERY early to put out flags in Simsbury today.  Great way to keep up the troop tradition.  Downtown looked great.

According to the official flag code, the flag should be displayed outdoors between sunrise and sunset.  Cam and John took care of sunrise (which was hidden by the rain).  Nate L., Harley, and Ryan C. got the flags down at sunset.

Stay tuned for more information about flag retirement later this summer at the historical society, including a Civil War film, revolutionary war cannon, tomahawk throwing, and an optional campover.

Follow the link in the title for a cool article about the history of Flag Day, June 14.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heat 4Q Comeback: Experience & Teamwork Win Out

So much for the Bulls' great defense all season.  Heat come back form 12 down with two minutes to go by spreading it around three great players and team defense.  They shut down the MVP at the end of the game.

Connor will do a great job as SPL next year.  Next up: Find the rest of the Big 3 to round out a strong, experienced Senior Patrol.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

John Conard-Malley Eagle Court of Honor: Scoutmaster Remarks

Thank you Selectman Heavner, Commander Lanza, Mr. Case, and Coach Carabillo for joining us to celebrate a great accomplishment tonight. You all give a great deal to our community, to our country, and to Scouting. That, as always, is a great example to our scouts.

Kyle and Rich, congratulations to you! No scout ever gets to sit in John’s chair without very active love and support of his parents. One down, one to go!

I often talk about great campouts and “high adventure” trips an Eagle Scout has been on. I am not going to talk much tonight about John summiting Mt. Washington in winter 2009. I expect he will talk about that some. Except, I want to say how proud I am of you for doing that trip. Know that you making it through is one of the highlights of our time in scouting for Josh Gilbert, Mr. Bartholomew, and myself.

There are many ways to lead in this troop. John is not often the guy in front; he doesn’t call attention to himself. He is reliable and kind and sets an example for the other scouts.

In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu wrote:
“The best leader is one that people are barely aware of. The best leader puts great value in words… and says little. So that when his work is finished the people all say, “We did it ourselves!”

In John’s case. it would be better to say, “The best leader puts great value in movies… and says little.” John has been troop Historian for the past four years. As we’ve all sat and watched his movies from summer camp, troop campouts, and that 2009 Mt. Washington trip, we all said to ourselves, “We did it ourselves!”

Not everyone knows that John leads in Scouting in another way. The Patrol Leader Handbook says, “Good leaders accept leadership roles because they want to make a difference. Good leaders are servant leaders. They focus on helping others succeed.” Three years ago we asked him to serve on staff of National Youth Leader Training. This summer will be the third time he’s been invited back on staff – a great way to represent the troop and give back to scouting, and help the next generation of scouts develop into leaders.

Coach Carabillo talked about all the hard work that went into, and how much you learned from, your Eagle project. But that is only one part of being an Eagle. The bigger part is the example you set every week at troop meeting, on the campouts and service projects, at summer camp, and in your every day life. That is what people see and how they will form their impression of you and of what it means to be an Eagle Scout from Troop 76.

Finally, I mentioned John being kind – the 6th point of the Scout Law. It is another way of leading by example. Amelia Erhart said, “One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.” John has always looked out for scouts who need it. It is one of the reasons we miss you at summer camp…besides the movies. And why we’ll miss you in the troop.

But I imagine we will get by. John, you have done a great recording the traditions of the troop. Even more important, you’ve done a great job upholding them.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Great Weekend

Nice article in today's Hartford Courant about our December campout, what makes the troop great, and the upcoming Mission Impossible.  Great to see us in print.  Thanks, Sharon!

Two great Eagle Courts of Honor for two great scouts.  Huge attendance and lots of alums in attendance.  Always great to have them around.

Three scouts led the color guard for Mr. Don Skinner's installation as chief officer of the Simsbury Masonic Lodge on Saturday evening.  The Masons sponsored Ryan Holwesko's Eagle project, and Mrs. Skinner has been involved with the troop for many years, spearheading our involvement with special needs scouting.

Two nice shakedown "runs" in fresh snow and sunshine at Stratton Brook with the February Mt. Washington crew.  Maybe the strongest group yet.  It will be a great trip.

Great troop turnout at Special Olympics Snowshoeing, both as mentors and as participants.  Tim Carr, Dan Skinner, and Ben Glatfelter were super fast.  Thanks to Ryan Holowesko, John Boysen, Richard Havighorst. and Tyler Drake for helping out.