Saturday, October 29, 2016

The last of my original Cub Scout cross-overs has his Eagle Scout COH tomorrow

Can it be twelve years already?

I was writing a "reflections" piece for an upcoming Eagle Court of Honor, and realized this will be an alpha and omega moment. The last member of my son's Cub Scout den will be presented his Eagle badge and medal tomorrow, 30-October-2016.

Pack 3, Den 5, from Timmerman School, will have ended their run in the BSA youth Program.  They have all aged out and this will be the very last ceremony.

Eight members of our WEBELOS Hawk patrol crossed over in late February 2009. The four who stayed in the program all earned the rank of Eagle Scout (3 with Troop 324 and 1 with Troop 202). A .500 batting average, that's not too bad. Of the four that left Scouts, I am only in contact with one.  He too is a fine young man and is heading toward a career with the US Navy.

Drafting another reading for another COH was easy; the memories are still vivid and fresh in my mind.  I hope all these young men remember their days and years in Scouting as long, and as fondly, as I do.

Yours in Scouting,

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Congaree District Cuboree - October 1, 2016, registration is open

CUBOREE - Registration Now Open
WHO: All Cub Scouts and WEBELOS
WHAT: Congaree District Cuboree
WHEN: October 1, 2016 (Saturday), 8:00am - 12:0...
WHERE: Satchel Ford Elementary School, 5901 Satchel Ford Road, Columbia, SC 29206 WHY: This is our annual Fall Cub Scout FUN DAY!
HOW: Register now - Cost is $10.00


This year's theme is centered around FOOTBALL. Program to include: BB guns, archery, a Sports Field Challenge and one rank advancement activity. Scouts will be grouped by age and rotate as dens (Tigers, Wolves, Bears and WEBELOS). All participating Scouts will receive a Cuboree patch.
What to bring: a water bottle and an awesome attitude! (Tigers must bring a parent or guardian).
Dress: The Cub or WEBELOS Scout field uniform is always appropriate, but, a Scout t-shirt or other appropriate clothing is fine. No open-toed, open-heeled shoes allowed.
If you bring a friend (boys age 6-10) and he joins Cub Scouts (by submitting a youth application), your Scout is eligible to receive a special RECRUITER patch.
Questions to:

Friday, August 19, 2016

REGISTER NOW for the 2017 National Scout Jamboree (Indian Waters Council contingent)

Time flies: next July is ‪#‎2017Jamboree‬ BUT register now because:

> The first Parent/Scout Jamboree meeting is being organized.
> ShakeDowns are being planned, where Scouts gather to form Jambo contingent units and begin preparations.
> Scouts will begin selecting their Jamboree Troop, Crew and Patrol leaders (NLT this Fall).
> Osprey bags go to the first 100 registered, at no additional cost.

REGISTER NOW on the council web site. Live Scouting's Adventure.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why Cub Scouting is Awesome, even for a curmudgeon like me.

Our district put on a 5 evening, Cub/WEBELOS Scout (twilight) Day Camp last week.
  • Yes, it was a lot of preparation.
  • Yes, it was a lot of paperwork.
  • Yes, it was a lot of (redundant) training.
  • Yes, it a lot of risk assessment and liability mitigation.
  • Yes, it was a lot of, what seems over-the-top restrictive, policy.
Lucky me, I was the Camp Director.  A volunteer Assistant Scoutmaster, with an 18 year-old Eagle Scout, who works with the OA Lodge, District and Council, almost exclusively with Boy Scouts rank First Class and above, somehow managed to get himself placed in charge of a Cub Camp. Oh joy!

  • Yes, it was fun for the boys.
  • Yes, it was meaningful (to families of boys aged 6-10).
  • Yes, it was personally rejuvenating and spirit lifting.
  • Yes, it was...well, MAGICAL.
The gap-toothed smiles, of boys missing front teeth; the non-stop inquisitiveness; the boundless enthusiasm; the wonder in their eyes, when they see or do something brand new; the thrill of hitting a target for the first time; the opportunity to make new friends; the joy of simply being outside.

If I ever get too old and cranky to appreciate the magic of moments like these, please pull my BSA card and send my sorry behind home.

Lucky me, I was the Camp Director.


Darrin Luksik
Congaree District, Indian Waters Council, Boy Scouts of America

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What makes Scouters think they are so special they don't have to abide by simple rules of ettiquette?

Why, oh why, are so many Scouters, who are otherwise exemplary people, downright rude when it comes to answering others?  Much like failing to register for events, in a timely fashion, this too puzzles me.

Volunteers, who supposedly share in a set of core values, can yet be so impolite. Many Scoutmasters and Cubmasters in my district and council reply with such infrequency to email, I have actually been told on more than one occasion, that I should know better, because "Scoutmasters don't answer email."

Well, that was a direct quote, but my experience shows you could equally substitute Cubmaster, Committee Chair, or almost any strictly unit position.  Also, it is not just a refusal to reply to email.  Text messages and voice mails have almost the same woeful success rate.  Some individuals must be tracked down.  Unless you are face-to-face, they will ignore.

If this pattern were to occur in a business environment, these folks would be reprimanded, perhaps counseled, and repeat offenders fired. Yes, FIRED, terminated, let go, parted ways with, or maybe permitted to ‘resign’ or ‘retire’ on their own.  It is not just rude to ignore communications directed squarely at you, it is bad business.

I mentioned “purely unit position”, and perhaps this is key to, if not understanding, at least narrowing in on this strange and un-Scout like behavior.  There are more than a few units, some quite large and having vast resources, with a myopic point of view that borders on isolationism.  Their leaders do not serve in district or council capacities; the units themselves are often standoffish.  Quite frankly, they view themselves as better than others and it is easy for outsiders to see.  These units, from top-to-bottom, behave much like middle or high school clicks.  They are the ‘cool kids’, no one else need apply.

Well, these ‘leaders’ should look at the behavior they are modeling for their youth.  I suggest they are doing a disservice, rather than serving.  Blatant avoidance is nothing more than a form of social cowardice.  Or…is it social Darwinism in action?  Yep, I am calling you out; you should be grateful I do not name individual names and unit numbers.

Newsflash, you are definitely not busier than your fellow Scouters who do take up the mantle on behalf of Scouts who are not our own children, or outside our specific unit.  You just cannot be busier, because we repeatedly have to pick up your slack.  

You know who you are and should be ashamed.  Would your mother, or grandmother approve of your behavior?  What makes you think you are so damn special? 

So endeth the rant.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Congaree FOS Breakfast featuring Marcus Lattimore, 14-April-2016

Our Congaree District (Indian Waters Council, BSA) had a Friends of Scouting Breakfast fundraiser at Seawell's the morning of 14-April-2016. It was very successful both in terms of contributions and in content.

First, a sincere Thank You to our table sponsors and other donors.  Because of your generosity, the event grossed in excess of $25,000.  FOS is a large part of our operating budget, and allows our district and council to bring the content rich programs of the BSA to the youth of the Midlands.

Local WISTV personality, Ben Tanner, emceed the event and prominent leaders from business, government, higher education, and religious organizations were in attendance.

Ben Tanner's Tweet, following the breakfast.

Here is the text of my Facebook post, immediately following the event.

Had breakfast at Congaree district fundraiser for local Boy Scouts of America. Guest speaker Marcus Lattimore (USC #21) was an inspiration. He is a man of powerful faith and determination and will positively impact many young lives for years to come.
A Scout is...
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent.

Mr. Lattimore, a USC football all-time great, whose athletic career was cut short by devastating knee injuries, was a gracious and charismatic guest speaker.  He delivered an inspirational message with heart felt grace.  Even as a Clemson alumni, I always appreciated #21 on the football field, but now I am a fan of the man Marcus has become.  Through adversity, he has found his life's purpose: helping our state's youth, assisting injured amateur athletes through his foundation, and inspiring those around him to be better human beings.

Again, thank you to all involved with this event, benefitting the local Boy Scouts of America organizations.



Article on How Scouting is Funded:  

The BSA's Mission and Vision Statement:
 Mission Statement

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

Scout Oath

On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Vision Statement

The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Why do people wait so long to register for events in the Indian Waters Council?

A long-standing trend in our local BSA council is late registration for events; it may be worsening.  The nature or origin of the activity seems to have little or no impact on the lateness with which people commit to participating.  The last minute 'mad dash' of recruiting  and constant extending of registration cut-offs is, quite frankly, ridiculous.  In an organization such as the BSA this flight of the bumble bee scenario should be completely unnecessary.
Unfortunately, Decisive, Timely or Punctual is not mentioned in the Scout Law (or the Scout Oath).
Over the years, I have observed (with discontent) this trend of last minute commitment in:
  • Unit Activities (Pack outings & Troop events - camping trips, service opportunities and summer camp)
  • District banquets
  • Council events: Cuborees, Camporees, University of Scouting, MBU, Jamboree registration, and training (IOLS, NYLT, Wood Badge, etc.).
  • OA Lodge events: Ordeals and Fellowships, banquets, Section Conclave (aka Dixie) and service/work days  
The pattern cannot be denied: it is fact.  But, why?
  • Is everyone so busy they just don't have time?  No. They usually wind up registering eventually, so there is no time savings.
  • Are they uninformed of upcoming events? No (or, they should not be). Units, districts, the Indian Waters Council, and Muscogee Lodge all publish calendars, have social media (I.E. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and utilize email, phone, text or mailings.
  • Are they overwhelmed with information? Perhaps: a partial Yes.
  • Are organizational skills (prioritizing) lacking? Perhaps: a partial Yes.
  • Are they over-committed? Between school, sports, church, clubs and the like for children, plus adults' work schedules, this is likely a Yes.
  • Are they inconsiderate? Yes. Absolutely, no question about it. 

Regardless of reason or excuse, the consistent lack of on-time commitment and registration wreaks havoc on organizers, both professionals and volunteers alike. Resources are over-spent (time, effort and money) constantly recruiting. Walk-ups are gladly accepted, but this process is inherently  inefficient. Food is wasted, because a good headcount is not available. Events are sometimes scaled back, rescheduled or canceled due to lack of participation.  Planning becomes more and more difficult.
So, the moral of my story is: lack of commitment and late registration is Un-Scout-Like behaviorA Scout is Loyal? A Scout is Helpful? A Scout is Courteous?  A Scout is Thrifty?  Maybe even, A Scout is Trustworthy? Undoubtedly, not knowing the number of participants makes it difficult to Be Prepared
Just sayin'...We can do better.