Sunday, May 5, 2002
2 a.m.. The last group of E.I.T.s retired to the sleeping cars.
Is it morning already?
Ever-cheerful Wally remarked on the melodic rhythm of the puffing chimneys in the men's compartment during the night. Glorious Glenn had woken him up with the cry of his whistle sometime after 3. Wally suggested Glenn should have brought oats to bed to feed that nightmare. Or a ruler to measure the time he had slept.
Passenger Emma went back to bed, but the E.I.T.s filled their personal fireboxes with waffles and fruit, bagels and cream cheese, and a big pot of coffee.
We were sent back to our bunks to change into uniform for Scout's Own, organized by the Cabooses. After an opening Grand Howl to Akela Cameron, we walked together to the Oba-sa-Teeka Chapel, a clearing in the trees at the edge of a ravine.
Marvellous Mark presented copies of the service (attached) to all of us while Loud Lloyd collected our knives at the entrance, as etiquette requires.
The service was by the book, except for an ad lib Scouter's Five from Lloyd. He recalled Amazing Amy's late-night remark that there were seven key points in life. This experience was one of those key points for us, he suggested, because our teams are coming together and some lifetime friendships are being formed.
A train whistle sounded on queue in the distance as Mark read his portion of "Pass it on."
Not everyone knew the tune to "This is my Father's World," so the singing was more mellow in this part. But as Practically Perfect Patti noted later, this kind of imperfection in an otherwise excellent program showed the Cabooses were stretching for a higher target. This camp is supposed to be a safe time for us to experiment with new material. If an idea does not fully succeed, now is the best time for that to happen.
Change again? Not for the third time today - fourth for those past-midnight workers. Most of us chose to stay in uniform, and Mark snapped group photos of the sixes and our leaders.
Amy read her piece of the log. How could we have done so much yesterday? Joyous John took the log's controls for the next stretch of track.
Practically Perfect Patti led us through a spelling game. Each member of two six-person teams took one card, with a letter on each side. The cards were M and D, O and E, F and G, A and N, T and I, and S and R.
As Patti read a story, she paused at words such as TOADS FORM GREAT FRIENDS. At each of these short words, members of the six had to reassemble, right to left, holding their card up to spell them.
Positively Perfect Pat and Tremendous Tony were worn out delivering As and Es, while Joyous John, holding the R and S, had to do double duty on the word FRIENDS. Scouter Cameron and Amazing Amy, meanwhile, spent much of the game on the sidelines, holding unpopular letters M and D.
Still driving the engine, Practically Perfect Patti led us through an exercise on leaders' duties and responsibilities, such as:
· To the Pack: leadership and support; providing and involving Cubs in the program;
· To youth: Giving guidance on becoming successful adults; keeping them safe;
· To parents: keeping them informed; offering a safe environment for their kids, and managing the risks well;
· To the group committee: A program plan, and paperwork;
· To the community: Showing that Scouts is fun and worth being involved in;
· To Scouts Canada: Properly representing the organization in our communities.
Just before the break, Loud Lloyd announced the theme of the Cabooses' Friday campfire - nature - and gave each six another role and some duties for this part of our next weekend's planning. My, the responsibilities are piling up.
Patti reminded us that we also have important roles in our families and responsibilities to ourselves that mustn't be forgotten among our Scouting duties.
Song time. Ida leads us on an A-Z of fast-food, with the Pizza Hut song. On cue, everyone revs an imaginary Harley, but not as well as Amy and Mark did at the Saturday night campfire.
Talk of fast food, and memories of the campfire Harley-cum-KYBO, brought a funny story from Ida about what seems to be a close mental link between Scouting and farting. Tony recalled his group had actually held a fart camp, with baked beans the main item on the menu.
Ida made us promise to hand in an evaluation of the weekend's program. That led into a discussion about how we evaluate the programs we run in our packs.
Positively Perfect Pat asks her Cubs for their feedback right after any new game. Most of us discuss our program successes and failures and pack planning sessions.
The Cabooses offered a comprehensive list of questions to ask ourselves about our plans and our objectives:
· Did we include all our goals in the program?
· Have we managed risk properly?
· Did all the leaders participate?
· Are we having fun?
· Have we involved the parents?
· Have we used all the resources we had available?
· Were we flexible?
· Did we try something scary?
· Were we prepared, and did we do our best?
Heavy subjects, but Emma was clearly having fun, walking around our circle, letting her Barbie kiss each of us in turn.
Time for a slap test. With 12 people in a circle, passing a slap once around from right to left, we achieved a new team record of 3.35 seconds.
BP on leadership: A leader is more like a poet, born, not manufactured."
We talked about what our Cubs are looking for in a leader:
· A role model to provide direction;
· "Know what you're talking about";
· "They want to BE you."
How can we provide that role model? Be relaxed, caring, knowledgeable, flexible. Leave our problems at the door, and listen to the Cubs with all ears. We need to take risks, too. As Shar said, "If we try new things, they'll try new things."
One way we can set an example is with our uniforms. "People in uniform are proud," Tony pointed out, and we can instill that pride and respect by paying attention to uniform details, in ourselves and in our inspections of the Cubs. Sixers and seconds should be given time to check their six's uniforms before the inspection. Leaders can check for a different detail of the uniform each week, offering points for good performance.
The sixes broke off to draw anatomically correct pictures of a Cub leader, with features such as:
· An open mind;
· Eyes in the back of the head;
· A nose that leads in the right direction and sniffs out new ideas (as well as fart contests);
· Oversized ears for listening;
· A mouth that first engages the brain;
· Shoulders to cry on;
· Arms to twist and provide an extra push;
· Outstretched, helping hands;
· A big, loving heart;
· Thick skin;
· A strong back for support;
· Knees that bend to a Cub's level;
· Feet planted firmly on the ground.
Not all these parts can be in one super-leader's body, which is why we are a leadership team.
Communication. We pair off, back to back, all with an envelope of cut-out paper shapes. One person designs something with his cut-outs, then tries to describe the figures so his partner can visualize and match them.
Some conclusions: Men and women think differently; and if one building block is placed wrong, the pieces that follow are also wrong.
How to communicate clearly:
· Identify the problem;
· Examine the facts;
· Look at the causes;
· Propose tentative solutions;
· Test and evaluate the consequences;
· Select the best alternative;
· Implement and control the decision.
Time to think about a goal on our Pack Scouter's skills chart. We each wrote down a personal challenge, sealed it in an envelope and addressed it to ourselves. We will see it again in September.
Another Ida story, as grace before lunch:
A bear was chasing an atheist, and caught up to him by the riverside. As his life flashed before his eyes, the atheist screamed, "Oh my God!"
The world came to a halt. The river stopped flowing. A bright white light shone from the sky, and God said: "You use my name. You have denied my existence all this time. Why should I help you now?"
The atheist agreed that it would be hypocritical to expect help from God now. But perhaps God could turn the bear into a Christian.
"Okay, that's reasonable," God replied.
The white light disappeared, the river started running again, the world resumed its rotation. Then the bear stopped, put its paws together, and said, "For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen."
Ida reads a story - funny to hear, but not to live - including up to 30 risk management errors. Last year Scouts Canada had six lawsuits pending. The Camping/Outdoor Activity Guide is our best tool to ensure we are not taking bad risks during field trips ande that all the correct forms have been filled out.
One pack draws up a list of all the cars in each Cub's family at the beginning of the year, with licence and insurance details. When a parent's car is used later to provide transportation for a field trip, the drudgery of record keeping is mostly done.
Another pack fills in the top part of each consent form, so parents have only to provide a signature.
We were reminded again of the new Scouters' motto: Never sign a waiver.
Scouts Canada has changed many of its rules in the past year. While the latest version of any form is always available on the Internet, several of us expressed frustration about the difficulty of finding when a form has changed. Ida suggested we write to The Leader and ask for an update section in that monthly Scouters'magazine.
There was confusion about the 200-kilometre rule for Tour Permits, and whether it applied to trips over 200 kilometres in Canada. Ida promised to check and get back to us.
We tossed out ideas of community resources we could include in our program planning - everything from the Heart and Stroke Fund, which will provide pamphlets and speakers, to our local MPPs, who will arrange tours of Queen's Park.
When Cubs are out in the community, we were reminded, they should wear their uniforms to give Scouting a higher profile.
Time to pack and clean up. Tony earned extra points for mopping two areas.
Ida told a last story about how geese work together and stick together, which almost had Tony in tears. But he led us in the weekend's final Grand Howl.
Three weeks until we meet again at Oba-Sa-Teeka. Our homework will keep us busy and in regular contact in the city.