Scoutmaster Minutes


I have here in my hand a key - a small item as you can see, yet it will open the door to my car and start the engine. With this little key I can visit faraway places, see wonderful sights, and do so many things that were impossible a hundred years ago. I always carry this key with me.

Your scout book is a lot like my car key. It’s a small item, yet it will open the door to Scouting and will speed you on your way to adventure. Sure, you probably could get by without using your book. 

I could get by without my car key, too, but I'd have to walk and it would be slow. I certainly wouldn't get to see all the places I can reach by car. 

Let's not leave our key behind as we enjoy Scouting. Use your book regularly. Take it with you to meetings and on hikes and camping trips. Let your handbook open the door for you.


Have you ever thought about how a bicycle works? Most of us just hop on and let it take us where we want to go without giving it a second thought. A closer look shows it takes a lot of different pieces doing their part and working together to make transportation happen. 

When you push the pedal with your foot, a lot happens to make the wheels turn. The pedal turns a crank that turns a gear, which pulls a chain that turns another gear, which turns a hub, which pulls the spokes, which turns the wheel, which pulls the tire that pushes against the road to make the bike go. 

When you want to stop, you pull a lever that pulls a cable against a housing, which causes another lever to move, which pushes a pad against the wheel. Changing gears involves levers, cables, housing, springs, and pulleys working together. If any one part fails to work when it is supposed to, the whole system fails to work. When one system fails, the bike can still be ridden, but not in top form. 

You are the parts, just like on the bicycle. Our patrols are like the pedaling, braking, and gear-changing systems. The senior patrol leader is like the rider. He directs a pedal or a lever—your patrol leaders—to do their part and they in turn ask you to do yours. If you choose not to do your part, your patrol suffers and the troop doesn’t work well. The troop is our vehicle to adventure, fellowship, and good times. And each of you is a very important part.


I’m sure you have all played in an organized team sport or worked on a group project at school so you know what team work is. 

Success is achieved by teamwork, not just one persons talents or participation. 

Patrols are the same way. The secret to patrol teamwork is making sure every member does their job. If one scout isn’t participating, the whole patrol suffers. If each scout does their job, the patrol is bound to be a winner. 

Possessing a winning attitude is what we call “patrol spirit”. 

Strive to be a winning patrol. I’m not talking about winning every contest because in the end that’s not what matters. I’m talking about your patrol doing the best that they can, every member contributing and having real patrol spirit. 


What would you think of a policeman in full uniform except for pants which were bright plaid?

How about a surgeon wearing a sports coat over his white uniform while on duty? 

Or even more absurd, what would you think of a train conductor wearing a fireman's hat?

They'd all be "out of uniform.” With some of the outfits mentioned, you wouldn’t be sure what they really were.

As scouts, we have a uniform, too. We have a full uniform - not just a neckerchief or just a shirt, but like the people I just mentioned, we have a full uniform. When we don't wear the full uniform, we are just as "out of uniform" as the policeman with the plaid pants.

The Flag Code says that when we are "in uniform" we salute the flag with the Scout salute, but when "out of uniform" we salute by holding our right hand over our heart.

How do you think a Scout should salute the flag if they’re wearing blue jeans or some other non-official dress along with part of the uniform? They aren’t "in uniform," are they?


You hear a lot of talk about being a 'good sport', but just what does it mean? A 'good sport learns the rules so they will not break them. They compete with all their heart, striving to outclass their competitors. If they win, they don’t act smug, but instead compliments the losers for the fine job they did. If they lose, they should accept that facet and find out why. Maybe they can win the next time. A good sport takes pleasure in the game right to the end, even if they are not winning, for the purpose of the game is not merely to win but to find joy and strength in trying.

I want you all to keep this in mind this weekend. Try your best, follow the rules, but most importantly, have fun and learn something new. 


Sometimes I’ll hear somebody start a sentence like “These kids today … “ and then follow with some complaint about how young people today are not nearly as good as the young people they grew up with. Depending on the situation, I’ll either have to bite my tongue or tell them how mistaken I feel they are. I’ll never agree with them.

These complainers have clearly not spent much time with young men like yourselves. You follow the Scout Law, which sets a high standard. You are good citizens. You do your duty to God and country. You balance school and sports and other activities, yet you still manage to find time to help others. And when things go wrong and you don’t live the way you should, you take responsibility and set yourselves back on the right path.

You give me hope for the future. Don’t forget that. You can inspire others, just as others have inspired you. Live the Scout Oath and Scout Law every day. Keep the hope alive.

Did you know that in Hawaii it’s illegal to laugh loudly?

You have to keep it to a low, ha. 


A scout is dependable. In the Scouting program, we depend on each other to make the program work. Whether or not we are leaders, we each have a duty. Throughout your time as a scout you will probably be a patrol leader, an instructor, the senior patrol leader, the webmaster, or one of many other positions that require you to do certain tasks, which, if you don’t do, will impact the meeting or campout in big and small ways. 

Sometimes you’ll hit the mark and do everything just right. But other times, you’ll fall short of expectations. It is important to remember that trustworthiness doesn’t require perfection, it requires honesty and effort. If you make a mistake, own it and make a plan to make it better and not repeat the mistake. 

As you get more experience as a scout and as a leader and you’ll develop your dependability and trustworthiness which will benefit you throughout your life.


Good thoughts are no better than good dreams if you don’t follow through.


Most of you have heard the term “Pay it Forward”.  The basic idea is that if someone does something kind for you, instead of repaying that person back you pass it on and do something kind for someone else.

We hope and expect that all of us end up being good citizens and good people. And we all hope and expect that this troop will provide a good solid program for all that are involved. 

I encourage all of you to “pay it forward.” 


Nations, states, communities, and even families have laws. These are simply rules by which people must live in order to have harmony. If we didn't have laws or rules to govern ourselves, society would be impossible. 

If a person breaks a law of the land, they are penalized in some way. They might be fined or sent to prison. If you break one of the family's laws or rules, you get penalized, too. Maybe your time to watch television is cut back or maybe you get grounded. 

Each of us needs our own set of laws to govern ourselves, too. These are your personal standards, the laws by which you live. In Scouting, we call these standards the Scout Law. 

What's the penalty for breaking the Scout Law? 

Maybe you think the penalty would not be so bad, but let's consider it for a moment. If you're not trustworthy, people will never depend on you. If you're not friendly, you won't have many friends. If you're not obedient to your parents, teachers, and others in authority, you can't expect that other people will obey you when you're in authority. 

There's a reason for every kind of law-our nation's, our town's, our family's, and our own. They show how we can live in harmony with others and with ourselves. Let's think about that as we repeat the Scout Law. (Lead Law)


Taking responsibility for your actions is a hallmark of a good leader. Personal Responsibility means understanding that where you are and what you are doing is up to you. You can't blame it on your parents, your friends or society. YOU are responsible for reaching your goals.


Unlearning is a necessary step to becoming well-educated. Like that messy kitchen drawer overflowing with outdated coupons, dead batteries, and old receipts, our minds are filled with judgments, opinions, and a whole lot of unnecessary BS (Belief Systems). Every moment, each event, is an invitation to reevaluate our views, biases, and privilege. Don't just close the drawer to avoid seeing the mess, clear it out. You can handle the discomfort and we can all benefit from making room for more acceptance, compassion, and kindness. Unlearn. Liberate yourself and others from the confines of a closed mind. 


In the scout law, we say, “A scout is brave.” What does that mean to you?

Usually, we think of bravery as overcoming fear - to take some action that saves a life or helps someone in some way. Most of the time we’re talking about overcoming fear of physical harm. 

But there’s another kind of bravery. It’s the bravery to overcome the fear of ridicule from our friends. It’s the courage that’s required to do what you know is right, even if your friends make fun of you. It may even be tougher than being brave in a crisis because you usually have more time to think about it. 

I know it’s sometimes hard to act right when everybody is urging you to do something you know is wrong. It takes a courageous person to withstand the pressure from friends. 

It’s not easy, but it’s the mark of a good scout. Let’s try to do our best to be brave in every situation - the emergency and the pressure from friends.