Thursday, November 28, 2013

Owl Post: How do you Move a Barn?

News report from Bruno , NE - In 1981, Herman Ostry and his wife, Donna, bought a farm a half mile outside of Bruno , Nebraska , a small community sixty miles west of Omaha . The property had a creek and came with a barn built in the 1920's. The barn floor was always wet and muddy.  When the creek flooded in 1988, the barn ended up with 29 inches of water covering the floor. That was the last straw. Ostry needed to move it to higher ground.

He contacted a building moving company and was discouraged by the bid. One night around the table, Ostry commented that if they had enough people they could pick the barn up and move it to higher ground... Everyone laughed.

A few days later, Ostry's son Mike showed his father some calculations. He had counted the individual boards and timbers in the barn and estimated that the barn weighed approximately 16,640 pounds. He also estimated that a steel grid needed to move the barn would add another 3,150 pounds, bringing the total weight to just under 10 tons. He figured it would take around 350 people with each person lifting 56 lbs. to move the barn.

The town of Bruno, Nebraska was planning its centennial celebration in late July of 1988. Herman and Mike presented their barn moving idea to the committee. The committee decided to make it part of their celebration.

So, on July 30, 1988, shortly before 11 a.m., a quick test lift was successfully made. Then, as local television cameras and 4,000 people from eleven states watched, 350 people moved the barn 115 feet south and 6 feet higher up a gentle slope and set it on its new foundation.

The reason most people think that something cannot be done is because they know that they can't do it by themselves. But impossible things can be done if we join together in the task. Working together, we can not only move barns, but change the world.

What could we do if we were united as a Family, a Church, a Community, a Nation, or as the World???

Prepared. | For Life.™

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Quiz

The Activity Arm of the Aaronic Priesthood (USA/Candada) is:

A. Duty to God
B. Scouting
C. Optional
D. Atrophied
E. Basketball
F. Squeezed in when there's time

What's your answer?
What's your boys' answer?
What's your bishop's answer?

Prepared. | For Life.™

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Owl Post - Be Yourself. No One Else is Qualified

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips,
My Wood Badge Chaplain (Owl Patrol) continues to send out a monthly inspirational note, hence: Owl Post.  I'm going to share them here on a weekly basis, until I run out.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

You don't have to actually answer the questions, just ponder on them.
Just read straight through and you'll get the point.
  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world
  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners
  3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant
  4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize
  5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress
  6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners

How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.
These are no second-rate achievers.
They are the best in their fields. 
But the applause dies...
Awards tarnish...
Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school
  2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult tim.
  3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhil.
  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and specia.
  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with


The people who make a difference in your life are not those with the most credentials, the most money...or the most awards.
They simply are those who care the most!

Pass this on to those people who have either made a difference in your life, or whom you keep close in your heart, like I did.

'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia!'

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottoes of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you -- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”
--Edward Abbey

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Finally, some good news

There's been plenty of self-inflicted bad publicity in the BSA recently, so here's something good and more representative of what we're really all about.

Vandalized arch receives much-needed makeover from Boy Scouts

Unlike some other (former) Scouters, they got advise and permission from authorities before fixing the problem.   Way to represent, Gentlemen!

In the same vein, National Park officials in Zion NP worked to fix a damaged rock recently.  I remember seeing this rock when I was there last June with my family. It's on the Canyon Overlook trail, and readily observed, once you've taken in the grandeur of Zion Canyon. My 10YO daughter took the below photo of it, and I posted it on Facebook with the following caption (Posted during the gvt shutdown, when the parks were closed to the public):

"In case you were wondering why we need park rangers in the first place, here's some cumulative damage done in Zion NP. My 10yo daughter took this picture and wrote this caption beneath it: "Stupid people wrote on this rock and I don't like that." Imagine what "stupid people" would do if there were no ranger presence at all. (There would be a whole lot more gorings in Yellowstone, for one thing.)"
She recently revised her caption to simply :(.  She's wise beyond her years.

The fix consisted of chipping away the defaced sandstone until a relatively pristine, somewhat natural - even if unweathered - look was achieved.  See the results on the Park's Facebook page.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Monday, November 18, 2013

Do a good turn. Daily.

This should be your next Scoutmaster minute:

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.. Hospital window.

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.

Take just a minute to read the rest.

"...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God."
-- Mosiah 2:17 (Book of Mormon)

Prepared. | For Life.™

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The importance of work

Godspeed on the James River.
She is  one of three (very small) ships
to carry the first English colonists
to Virginia in 1607. 52 souls crammed
aboard her to make the four-month,
one-way voyage. 
©2012 Eric Larson
Today's talks in Sacrament meeting reminded me of a magnet my wife and I picked up on a day trip during a business conference at Williamsburg, VA last year (we collect magnets of the places we visit).  The topic was work.  The magnet was a quote:
"He that will not worke,
shall not eate."
- Captain John Smith,
Jamestown Colony, 1608
Stick that on your Troop chuck box!

Speaking of work, my work with the Scouts, as I know it, has come to an end.  I was released today as an assistant Scoutmaster.  It's been a fun ride, and I have learned so much, especially from the online Scouting community. A big thank you goes out to all of you whom it has been my pleasure to get to know over the last three years. An especially big thank you goes out to the boys whom I have had the honor of getting to know and to serve as they begin life's journey, a journey which has but one finish line, and it's not marked by a patch.  Live it on your honor.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More links

I've added a link to Scouter Mom in the sidebar and on my links page.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Be friends with failure

A friend posted this link on Facebook. If'n that ain't what we's bin fixin'ta complish, I dunno know what is.

© Doodle Alley - Stephen McCranie

Prepared. | For Life.™

An ideals quickie

I was looking for a crossword or word search for teaching the Ideals, and couldn't find any, so I made one. I'm hoping that it helps the Scouts memorize a few dozen words, so that by knowing the words, they can then learn the meaning. It would also work great as a pre-opening activity.

UPDATE: I created a couple of Ideals graphics to give out.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Monday, November 11, 2013

Letter to leadership - TTFN

My tenure is coming to an end, for now.  I had a nice chat with the bishop yesterday, and The Times, They Are A-Changin'. After the meeting ended, I had a few other thoughts, which I wrote down:

Bishop, thank you again for our discussion yesterday.  Again, it has been my pleasure to serve as an assistant Scoutmaster in the ward.  I have been blessed to have been able to associate with these young men (11YO boys are Scouts, therefore, in my opinion, they are Young Men, too, regardless of which organization they 'belong' to) and have learned so much about how this inspired program works, and why it has been so successful for over 100 years, and why our sons need it.  As we discussed, the measure of that success isn't the number of badges handed out, but the number of boys and youth served, who are better today than they were before.  I can think of no other youth program that so effectively mixes the mundane and ordinary with the spiritual, that gives Youth real responsibility, and rewards them for it.  I had a couple of thoughts since yesterday that I'd like to pass along, regarding the Troop Committee, and integrating Duty to God with Scouting rather than compartmentalizing them.

Marching to a different cadence

Something bothers me about the Pledge of Allegiance. It's how we continue (even as grown-ups!) to recite it as if we're all still in first grade, three words at a time:

Vietnam Veterans' Memorial,
Washington DC
©2012 Eric Larson
I pledge allegiance
To the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the Republic
For which it stands
One nation
Under God
With liberty
and justice for all

See? Choppy and infantile. And dare I say, even rote and meaningless. Why not re-teach our Scouts to use complete phrases, or even sentences:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
And to the Republic for which it stands:
One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

It's just a thought.

Shake a Veteran's hand today.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A few thoughtful questions. And some thoughtful answers, too

I recently went back to the LDSScouts Yahoo! Group, just to see what's going on. I haven't been there in a while, and I was pleasantly surprised to find some thoughtful and helpful discussion. I copied some of the better questions and answers to this pdf (I hope no one from the list minds my putting this here), and hope to be able to use them as discussion drivers with my Committee and ward leadership. (BTW, I mentioned some months ago that my bishopric had been changed out. The new COR was the Cubmaster before, and he Gets It. The bishop is a federal attorney, and he'll definitely understand things from a "training + following procedure = inverse level of liability" perspective.  Hopefully, these questions, and the questions I sent them on Sunday, drive some good discussion within the bishop's office.)

Prepared. | For Life.™