Here are a few more Scoutmaster's Minutes, collected from lots of people, tacked onto the end of Ray Taylor's book. If you have any that you would like to share with the greater Scouting community, please send them to me and I'll include them here.

Table of Contents

The Bullfrog

Once there was a very large green bullfrog who lived in a modest sized pond. Even though many other animals and fish lived around this pond the bullfrog didnt have any friends. You see, the friends he once had were gone. They were tired of his boasting and tried to stay out of his way. This situation changed when the geese began to migrate through the area. Two geese actually became his friends. They spent many a long day visiting, swimming and doing the things friends do. Then one day the two geese told the frog it was time for them to continue their migration. The frog was sad and asked if they could take him with them. He suggested that they let him climb on one of their backs and hang onto their neck. Both geese agreed that he was entirely too fat for one goose to carry. Further saddened, the frog began to think and finally came up with an idea. Listen, he said, How about we take a string and each of you take hold of a end with your mouth and bite down hard, then I will bite in the middle of the string and you can fly me between you. The geese pondered the idea and decided to give it a try. All were ready and the geese began to flap and run. The frog hopped along with the string in his mouth until he was lifted from the ground and was airborne. Oh what a feeling thought the frog. Onward they flew for days on end until they flew over a farmer out in his field.

The farmer looked up and upon seeing the geese and frog remarked, "My, my, a flying frog I wonder who taught those geese to fly such a big frog?"

Hearing this the frog said, "I DID!!!." That night the farmer feasted on very large succulent frog legs.

Check your ego, dont let it get so far out of control that you lose your friends or worse yet, end up on someones plate.

-- Thanks to Greg Gough, SM Troop 201, Ozark, MO. I used to be an Owl but I will always be an Eagle!

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?

-- Thanks to H. Alan Schup

The Empty Pot

The following is a paraphrase of "The Empty Pot" by Demi.

A Chinese Emperor is dying and needs to pick his successor. Since he loved gardening (this is the outdoor angle), he decides to let the seeds choose. He calls all the children to the palace and gives them each a seed to grow. They are to return in the Spring with their plant; whoever has tended their plant the best will be named Emperor.

One little boy, known among the children as an excellent gardener, cannot get his seed to grow. He tries repotting several times, no luck. At the end of the year, he has nothing but an empty pot to present to the Emperor, while all of the other children bring huge, beautiful plants of varying kind.

However, the Emperor had baked all of the seeds so that they wouldn't grow. Only one child was honest and brought forth the empty pot. He was rewarded with being named Emperor. --Thanks to a contribution to the GirlScout-List

A Lesson in Trust

This is a "true" story I related to our Scouts.

It seems that before the first man walked on the moon, NASA found an area of New Mexico where the topography was similar to the surface of the moon. They decided that it would be a good idea to take the astronauts and the lunar lander there to check out the equipment. They arrived at the area and unloaded all their gear. During the second day while working with the equipment they noticed a flock of sheep on the horizon. As it drew closer they could see several dogs herding the flock and two Navaho Indians walking behind. The Scientists knew that they were Navaho because the reservation was near by. The Two Navaho Indians set down on the ridge and watched them work for several hours.

Seeing the Navahos watching them, two of the scientist decided to go talk to them. After walking up the ridge they soon discovered that the old Navaho could only speak in his native tongue but his son could speak English. The old man said several things and his son translated, "he says, what are those things down there?" The scientist explained that they were men in space suits and that they would be traveling to the moon by rocket and once there they would get out and be the first men to walk upon the moon. The old man nodded and said a few more words that the son translated "so, they will walk upon the moon?" And the scientist confirmed. The old man nodded and said a few more words. The son said, "he wants to know if he can send a message to the moon with these astronauts." At this the scientist became very excited and searched their gear until they found a tape recorder. The old Navaho recorded his message. The scientist asked the boy to translate but he wouldn't.

They worked about a month next to the reservation but every time they asked someone to translate the message they would listen to it, smile and shake their head no. Finally they found a Professor of Native American studies that agreed to translate the message in exchange for some funding on a research project. He listened to the tape and smiled. He said, "this message is a warning, it says, Look out for these guys, they are coming to steal your land."

You may wonder why I told this story as my Scoutmasters Minute. Our program element this month is Leadership and the reason the old Navaho sent this message was because he did not trust the white man. Trust is a very important part of Leadership. If you cannot trust your leader or he cannot trust you, your patrol will not be very effective. Trust is also very fragile, it takes only one action on your part to destroy the trust others have in you. Often times when trust is breached it can never be rebuilt. A Scout is Trustworthy. And now may the Master of all Scouts be with us till we meet again. Goodnight Scouts!

--Thanks to Greg Gough, SM Troop 201, Ozark, MO.

I Used to Work in a Zoo

This is a Scoutmaster's minute that I used recently that still has the Scouts talking. It starts with the following story told in the first person. You have to keep a straight face. I have had several ask me if I really did work at the zoo :). Here it is -

When I was 16 I discovered that having a job would be of great value to me. It would be of value because I could buy gas for my car, pay for my clothes, etc. The problem with being 16 and wanting a job is finding one. Luckily my dad knew the caretaker at the zoo and he asked him if they needed any help. He said to send me down for an interview. The very next day I went to the zoo and met him in his office. There we talked for a while and finally he told me he had a job that he thought I could do. He told me to follow him and we went through a series of tunnels and alleys (employee entrance) until we emerged by the gorilla cage. I noticed that the cage was empty. He pointed to the cage and begin to explain that the gorilla Mabel was getting very old and had just yesterday gotten sick and had to be taken to the vet. Mabel was one of>the feature attractions at the zoo and the kids just loved to see her. Mabel never did much but sit on the branch of that big tree and held onto the rope that was hanging down. He went on to say that he had a gorilla suit I could wear if I would be interested in sitting on the branch for 4 hours at a time. It sounded good to me so I told him I would.

The next day I went to the zoo, put on the gorilla suit and climbed into the cage. I sat on the branch holding the rope and soon there was a crowd of children pressing their faces to the bars. About an hour passed and I began to get into this gorilla stuff. I would grab the rope and swing across the cage. The kids thought it was great so I started swinging higher and higher. In the next cage there was a lion and he was becoming irritated by my antics and began to pace his cage and roar. I kept swinging and started to swing to the lion's side of the cage and would use my feet to push off of his bars. I could really swing out far and he roared even louder. All of a sudden I missed the bars and flew through and dropped into the lion's cage. I landed on my back and was stunned but immediately got up and ran to the front of the cage screaming "help me, help me, I am not who you think I am". Just as I got that out the lion jumped on my back and knocked me to the ground. His head was at my neck and he said, "shut up stupid or you will get us both fired".

The point to the story is that I took the job because it had a value to me. You will hear on TV news reporters say that we have a valueless society. This is incorrect. Even gang members have values, they value things like money & drugs. Everyone has values, it is the principles that determine what your values will be. The Scout Law sets a foundation of solid moral principles, from these come good values. Goodnight Scouts!

-- Thanks to Greg Gough, SM Troop 201, Ozark, MO.

The Monk and the Missionary

There is an old story of the missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh. He was traveling through the Himalayas with a Monk in the bitter cold. Night was coming and the Monk said, "If we don't reach the monastery by nightfall, we are in danger of freezing to death." Just as they reached a narrow path, they heard the cries of a man who had fallen over the edge. The Monk said, "Do not stop. God has brought him to his fate. He must work it out himself."

Sadhu replied, "God sent me here to help my brother. I cannot abandon him." The Monk went on and Sadhu climbed down a steep path. When he found the man, he saw that his leg was broken and he could not walk. Sadhu made a sling from his blanket and tied the man to his back. He then began a body torturing climb. He made his way through the deepening snow. It was dark>and it was all he could do to follow the path. He perserved, and faint with exhaustion, he finally saw the lights of the Monastery. As he moved toward the light, he stumbled for the first time and nearly fell. He did not stumble from exhaustion, but over an object. As he brushed the snow off the object, he looked down and saw that it was the body of the Monk.

Years later when a student asked him, "What is life's most difficult task?" he replied, "To have no burden to carry."

-- Thanks to Alan R. Houser, Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24

I Wish I Was That Brother

Upon graduation from college, a few years back, a young man received a gift from his older brother. It was a shiny brand new Packard. The car of his dreams! One morning as he approached the car he saw a young lad of 12 peering through the windows into the car! Obviously enthrawled with the car, the lad didn't hear the young man approach. "Is this your car?" the lad asked when he noticed the man. "Yes it is!" the man responded! "Wow! This is a nice car!" remarked the lad, "How much did it cost?" "I don't know!" answered the man. "It's your car, but you don't know how much it cost?" exclaimed the young lad. "No," stated the man, "you see, my brother bought it for me!"

"I wish...I wish...I wish" stuttered the lad. The man thinking he's going to say, I wish I had a car like this. "I wish I was like that brother!" finished the boy! Amazed at the lads response he offerred to drive him around the block! As they were driving, the lad requested if he would drive him home. Thinking he wanted to show off that he was riding in a new car to his friends, the man agreed! They drove more than a few blocks to where the boy lived and as he turned onto the street the man noticed that it wasn't the best kept neighborhood! The houses were dirty and broken. He pulled up in front of the boys house. "Please wait," the boy yelled as he ran into the house! "Oh, he's probably going to get his family to show off the new car", the man thought to himself. The door to the front door opened and out came the young lad. In his arms he carried a small boy, crippled from birth! The lad brought him out to the car and stated as he hugged his younger brother, "See just like I told you! It's a brand new car! And someday, I'm going to buy you one just like it!"

How unselfish this boy was....to be the kind of brother that looked after the other first! What kind of Scout are you...Are you like the older brother!

--Thanks to Peter Van Houten

Boys Shave Heads in Show of Support.

Yorkville, Illinois; Dec 4 1992

Radiation treatment may soon cost Mark Lowry his hair, but his bald head won't stand out in the classrooms at Cross Lutheran School.

When his classmates learned that Mark, 13, would undergo chemotherapy, all 15 of them decided to have their heads shaved in a show of support. By yesterday only two boys in the seventh and eighth grades weren't bald - one was due for a haircut this weekend; the other was Mark who came home from the hospital this week with a full head of hair.

"It probably won't be for long, though," Mark said.

Mark learned only recently he had leukemia and started chemotherapy treatment last week. Classmate Travis Busch then came up with the headshaving idea, but cleared it with Mark first. "We didn't want him to feel we were making fun of him," said Travis.

How long do the boys plan to go hairless? "Until Mark grows his hair back," they said. --AP

--Thanks to Anne Riddick

Being Honest by Peter Van Houten

I'd like to share an experience I witnessed last night that exemplifies the virtues of honesty and the principles of being a Boy Scout!

Beyond my role of Scout leader I am also a little league coach for the minor league. I was scouting (interesting choice of terms here) the team we'll be playing tomorrow and noticed they had a very talented first baseman. He was older than the rest and already a good 5'5" tall. Unfortunately, he'd had the misfortune of a couple of bad plays which resulted in the runners advancing to 2nd base. He's also been getting some abuse from the other team for his size and race, being Indian (as from India).

Let me add that the other teams coach doesn't exactly have the personality that generates good sportsmanship, and I witnessed him chewing out a couple of his players for not running fast enough, or doing EXACTLY what he told them to do.

Now that I've set the scene we'll bring you into the 4th inning. Score is tied! Two outs! Saied (sp???) is playing 1st, runner currently on 2nd. The ball is pitched and hit to 2nd baseman who throws to 1st base. Saied catches ball as runner touches base, but ball rolls out of glove! Umpire calls runner OUT! The opposing coach and most of his parents went ballistic, and I mean Ballistic (with a Captial B). (Had I been the ump I would have thrown the guy out of the game) Anyway, the ump turns to Saied and says, "Did you have control of the ball before he touched the base." The pressure is on and you can see it on his face. Saied replied, "I caught the ball, but it rolled out. No!" The ump reverses her decision and calls the runner safe!

Reactions:

  • The opposing coach is relieved and makes a couple of choice comments about the ump's vision.
  • Saied is feeling he let his team down.
  • All the parents on Saied's team gives him a standing ovation for his honesty.

I approached Saied after the inning, shook his hand and complimented him on his honesty. I found out later through his coach that he was indeed a Boy Scout (just joined).

Here's a boy faced with a challenging decision that could have made a difference whether his team won or lost. He could have easily taken the easy way out and said Yes!, but regardless of the outcome, chose that being honest was the right way! This young man exemplified the Boy Scout principles. My hat goes off, and my hand extended in congratulating young men who when faced with such decisions choose the right way!

--Thanks to Peter Van Houten

Lessons From The Geese

by Robert McNeish, Associate Superintendent of Baltimore Public Schools

We live in an area where geese are very common. We see them coming in the Fall and leaving early Spring. Their migration is an awesome sight.

There is an interdependence in the way geese function.

FACT: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an "uplift" for the bird following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

LESSON: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

FACT: Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone. It quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the "lifting power" of the bird immediately in front.

LESSON: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go.

FACT: When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.
LESSON: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership -- people, as with geese, are interdependent with each other.

FACT: The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

LESSON: We need to make sure our "honking" from behind is encouraging, not something less helpful.

FACT: When a goose gets sick or wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation to follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is either able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own with another formation or catch up with their flock.

LESSON: If we have as much sense as the geese, we will stand by each other.

-- Submitted to the Scouts-L Youth Groups Discussion List by Alan Houser, Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24

The Origin of the Left Hand Shake

The Left hand shake goes way back to the origins of Scouting, and was inspired like many original Scouting concepts by B.-P.'s Army career.

When Captain Baden-Powell entered the capital city of the Ashanti people in 1896 he was met by one of the chiefs who came to him holding out his left hand. B.P. held out his right hand in return but the Chief said "No, in my country the bravest of the brave shake with the left hand"> 1

This was because African Warriors typically carried a spear in the right hand and a shield in the left. To shake left handed meant you had to put down your shield and put your life in the hands of the other person.

So began the Left hand shake of the World Wide Brotherhood of Scouting.

-- Thanks to Jim McGregor, 1st Camden South Scout Group, Camden NSW Australia

It's Only a Pin

Two fond parents watch their boy where he stands,
Apart from his comrades tonight,
And see placed on his camp-battered tunic, a badge...
An Eagle... the emblem of right.

It seems just a few short months have passed
Since he joined with the youngsters next door...
How proud they were then of their Tenderfoot pin
As they told of the message it bore.

But the years have gone as he struggled along
To learn what the Scout Law's about;
He practiced them daily, the Oath and the Law,
Until now he is an Eagle Scout.

You may smile in your worldly wisdom at this
And say, "Why it's only a pin."
But I'll tell you, no honors he'll gain as a man
Will mean quite as much to him.

The red, white and blue of the ribbon you see
Are the symbols of honor and truth.
He has learned how to value these fine attributes
In the glorious days of his youth.

And the out-flinging wings of the Eagle that rests
On the breast of this knight of today
Are the wings which will lift him above petty deeds,
And guide him along the right way.

Yes, it's only a pin, just an Eagle Scout badge,
But the heart beneath it beats true,
And will throb to the last for the things that are good;
A lesson for me... and for you.


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.

-- Thanks to Marc Grey, SM Troop 317, Davie, Florida

The Eagle and the Wolf

There is a great battle that rages inside me.
One side is a soaring Eagle.
Everything the Eagle stands for is good and true and beautiful,
And it soars above the clouds.
Even though it dips down into the valleys,
It lays its eggs on the mountains.
The other side of me is the howling Wolf,
And that raging, howling wolf represents the worst that is in me.
He eats upon my downfalls and justifies himself by his presence in the pack.
Who wins this great Battle?
The one I feed.

You Scouts must make a choice of whether or not you wish to be an HONORABLE MAN. Which are you going to feed, the Eagle or the Wolf?

-- Thanks to General Krulak, Commandant of the US Marine Corps. Presented at the 1994 Naval Academy Leadership Forum


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