Bad School Nights Do Happen

Recently I participated in a school night that did not have the desired impression. The school had scheduled us to have our parents meeting in a hallway between the cafeteria and library. There were five small tables with three chairs at each. I thought to myself, “That’s OK Scouts can adapt to just about anything.” But when 25 parents show up with their kids to sign up most people are standing and uncomfortable in a small space. To pour salt into the wound the cafeteria and library doors were open and everyone could see that both of them were empty with plenty of seating. Many of the parents remarked that the school felt that Scouting was somehow in competition with their students; which is crazy when you think about it. It doesn’t happen during school! The overall impression was that the parents were somehow being punished and forced into an uncomfortable space by the school just for trying to do something good for their children. I did speak with a few parents that expressed this disappointment in the administration of the school. I assured them that this was just a mistake and we should make do with what we’ve got for now. Later when I got home I wanted to write a thank you letter to the school for allowing us to have a parent’s sign-up night. I also wanted to warn them that the parents “were onto their game” as they put it and we’re probably going to say something. It would be a friendly, courteous, and kind thing to do. I sat for a great deal of time and thought about my feelings.  “Allowing us?” I understand that this would be appropriate if it was just the Scouts. What about the taxpaying parents who paid for the school and the salary of all employees in it?  To be truthful and not helping others at all times was really sticking to my thoughts. Unfortunately, this was the thank you letter  I ended up with…

“I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to have a parents’ night at their school. Although the accommodations were rather unusual being in a hallway with limited seating. Many parents were able to get introductions to Scouting and signed up their children for the adventure that we offer. Despite the space we were meeting in was crowded and uncomfortable, we had wonderful ventilation as the cafeteria and the library doors were completely open and vacant. I’m sure that this made a negative impression on what your administration thinks of the needs of your parents in regards to their children’s extracurricular activities. I just thought you should know that it did not leave a good impression on the parents you are hired to serve. I understand that some administrators can be mistaken in thinking that they’re really in charge when they’re actually accountable to the parents of the children in their charge. I recommend that you take seriously any complaints that may be forthcoming from your employers. Again thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to assist the parents of your school.”

After a great deal of thinking, I decided not to send this note as I know that it would end up being misunderstood. Any anger generated from the text would be taken out in retribution on Scouting the following years. If I had mailed it we would probably have meetings on the sidewalk, outside the gate for years to come. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what they want us to do. Who knows it might be an improvement. Sometimes not warning them and letting them come to it on their own is best. Deep down I know the school principal is not favorable towards Scouting though I’m not sure why. Only tolerating our presence due to School Board pressure. It’s unfortunately gone political. This is only impeding the children from eventually finding the Scouting path. It also makes taxpaying, voting parents angry that they would do this to them and their kids.  YIS⚜

My First YouTube Video

I was looking back at my YouTube channel achievements listed by VidIQ and started to think about how it all began. I think it started with the very first video that I put together demonstrating knot tying. I remember sitting on the floor back in 2005 with a piece of black foam core and a white rope while my son held the video camera over my shoulder. I wanted to demonstrate the knots that scouts are required to know from the tires’ POV. This was part of my Wood Badge ticket to create a DVD that could be given out to scout troops in the area. I converted the VHS videotape into a digital file on my computer. Then set about editing for the next two days. By the end of the year, I had a finished DVD that I could give to scout leaders at the next roundtable. DVDs were the latest technology at the time and we’re not cheap. I did make a cheaper CD that just had the video file that could be played on the computer.

In late 2006 Google announced that it was purchasing YouTube for over a billion dollars. At the time I was working for a company that was interested in putting videos up on this service, and they wanted me to try it out. Naturally, I grabbed the only file I had ready at the time and uploaded it to the new Google YouTube service. My thought was that I would learn how to upload videos and it would end up being cheaper because scout leaders only had to log into the link to see them. I didn’t know it, but at the time it was the only knot tying video on YouTube. It took off and almost became full-blown “viral”. A new term at the time describing short videos that were extremely popular.

7 Knots Every Scout Should Know™ became synonymous with knot tires everywhere. The little video became a hit almost immediately. Unfortunately, it also became pirated many times and even republished on YouTube over 16 times losing 170,219 views. Also, the original video had to be moved to a different channel in 2013 and this sacrificed all 413,458 of its views from when it was first published. Even though it has moved and had to restart at zero views it’s now 229,773 views today. So if you add it all up today it’s 813,450 views for a small quick knot tying video. This video has been licensed and used on television shows and movies. It has also caused a resurgence in the knot tying community that no one knew anything about. Today there are hundreds of thousands of videos about knot tying on YouTube, but nothing beats the little original that’s still around.   YIS⚜

Live Show? YES!

If you have been following my channel on YouTube, you know I’ve been talking about doing more live shows. In the midst of all this, a young man from England contacted me. Mark from the Big Man In The Woods channel asked if I would be available for a live chat on his channel.  Well, one thing led to another and we set the date for this coming Saturday, July 31st, at 3 PM (EST) this is 8 PM in London. If you have enjoyed Mark’s channel as I have then you know he is passionate about Scouting. I am looking forward to our discussion. Even if you are not going to join in the chat you should at least subscribe to Mark’schannel and check out some of his videos.


I have done a lot of Internet zoom meetings especially the past year with all the lockdown stuff going on. I have become very comfortable with live video. In June I hosted the BSA’s first International Virtual Cub Scout Day Camp. This was about 9 hours a day for two weeks of live video. I was so glad that Mark asked me to just sit and talk about Scouting in the United States. If you’re familiar with Mark’s channel you know that he is based in London England and the Scouting program was founded there before it immigrated to America. There are major differences between the two Scouting programs although the core values are the same.

I encourage you to set a reminder NOW to join us this coming Saturday. I will try to ask Mark some questions about living so close to Gilwell Park for us Wood Badgers.   YIS⚜

Old Fashion Handshake?

Dancing Chickens

How we handle our lives and scouting post-pandemic will be an ongoing process. What do we do with simple things like the old fashion handshake? The “elbow bump” is awkward and strange. How many times should we bump elbows before it becomes part of a “chicken dance”? Do you move them up and down or side to side? What if you bang your elbow into someone who’s not ready? After all, isn’t the elbow where we teach everyone to sneeze and cough? It looks silly and I don’t think it’s much better than a handshake with regards to cleanliness. Should this be replaced with a bow? I think most Americans would be confused as there are many different types of bows. If not performed correctly and appropriately it could easily be misunderstood. Not to mention the strained political relationships between the East and West. A traditional Indian form of greeting is the Añjali Mudrā gesture or namaste. This would be good most of the time without a full-on bow. Again this may prove to be confusing for the general American public. Currently, we are left with a “weird mime” type of wave jester or worse. We Americans must work things out with a new greeting that’s healthier, dignified, and geopolitical. Don’t worry you have until your next job interview or client meeting to figure it out.

B-P 1937

In scouting, we have a greeting taught to every new Scout; the scout salute. I’m in favor of a scout salute when in uniform. This might be perceived as militaristic in nature as we normally only salute the flag. But we all know how to give a scout salute and it can be done at a distance. B-P saluted scouts and scouts saluted him in return. It’s respectful and meaningful. If we use this for greetings and to properly replace scout handshakes then I think the problem is solved. Now, what do we do for the times when we’re not in uniform? 

Your In Scouting,  ScouterStan

ScouterStan Is On Vacation?

At the sound of the tone please leave a message. BEEEEP! … Stan, I know you’re there… I can hear you breathing… STAN! Okay…Okaaay,… I get it! You are doing that “family thing”… Okay, it’s cool… Just remember you are committed to doing a second season… Right?   Hey, I can hear you giggling on the line… Alright, I’m going to hang up now… … … STAN!? 

Commissioner Weekly Series 2 Starts up November 27, 2019

Hello World!

Welcome to the ScouterStan website!  I have been working on developing a unique website and I just couldn’t make it work the way I wanted.  So last week, I decided that I would install WordPress and started putting up blogs, articles, and more.  As a former web developer, I thought it would be an easy task to just whip something together. Originally the project started off good, however, I started to get stymied into more of a static site than I wanted.  The WordPress software out of the package is relatively easy to install and set up.  It even came with an “office plant” (look above).  I think I will move the furniture around a little and decorate later.  For now, I’m going to leave the ability to make comments on the site.  Just keep in mind everything will be screened as I wish to stay family friendly.  Just keep the Scout Oath and Law in mind and we shouldn’t have any problems.  Now I just have to figure out how to water that plant…

Like they say in the SOUTH of France…  Au revoir Y’all !