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Boy Scout Troop 49
(Oconomowoc, Wisconsin)
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A monthly challenge from Scoutmaster Michael Neimon

Your Work Plants Seeds

The two pictures here show what the view of the wilderness was before Charlie McCarthy did his Eagle Scout project and what resulted from his project. Charlie's eagle scout project was to create three benches to overlook a beautiful conservancy in Hartland. To the extent possible his workers cut back a bunch of buckthorn so that those on the benches could see out into the low area. Those on the project did a good job opening up some views but there was still a huge amount of buckthorn left. 
I went by the other day to see the project again. What I saw took my breath away. All the buckthorn that was there after Charlie's project was gone! 100-year-old Oak trees were liberated from them and the view now is spectacular. What came to my mind is that YOUR WORK PLANTS SEEDS. In this case, the seeds were the idea that this area could look better. I believe because of Charlie's vision and project other citizens got a taste of what could be and acted on it. 
As scouts you are the ones who need to do the work, have the vision, plant the seeds, and show the way. Society will follow.

Why Wear the Uniform Properly?

There is this mindset that it does not matter that if I don't dress nice or properly, it does not mean that I am not smart or kind. This is true, except for the reality "that image does matter." Why would you want to place that kind of doubt into someone? If you boarded a plane and you saw the Captain standing there partially wearing his uniform, un-tucked shirt and work out shorts would you be confident of his skills? If the waiter that serves you looks sloppy, are you confident of the food the restaurant serves?

A uniform is a symbol of efficiency and effectiveness. As an Air Force commander said, "If you can't wear your uniform properly, how can we trust you to do your tasks properly." It also is your identity within an organization that creates a sense of belonging. A scout becomes comfortable in that uniform because others are wearing it as well. Another good thing about a properly worn uniform is that it fosters competition within an organization. When scouts see others and what they have accomplished, it drives them to do the same or better! Finally, a uniform is a symbol of pride, mostly in yourself, for the commitment you have to something greater than yourself. It identifies you. It shows the level of spirit you have in yourself and for the organization you are representing. When you don't wear it or when you don't wear it properly, it has a negative effect to those around you.

As a Boy Scout you are part of a unique group. There are very few in this group and fewer will take it to its highest honor. Society recognizes what scouting represents. It reaffirms their belief when they see a scout in uniform. If you are not wearing the uniform properly and completely, you cast doubt in those that not only see you but how they feel about scouting in general

Someday it will be You!

It is ironic how the common courtesy of responding to a person’s question is lost even in this world of immediate communication. People will post to their facebook in the middle of the event, tweet something as soon as they can, snapchat or instagram one another on a moment’s notice. Somehow though a simple inquiry can go unanswered and when called on it, the age old response, "I was too busy" or " I have a lot on my plate" or " you have no idea how crazy it has been" just seems to flow with little or no regret. Saying one of these answers is simply dishonest.

My hope for you as scouts is to change this attitude. When someone, especially an adult, asks you a question, it is a direct reflection of who you are in how you respond. If you do not respond it puts you in a bad light, even if you really are a good person. You might not think the question is that important but what you fail to see is that it is not for you to decide the importance. You must assume it is important to the person who is asking.

Fact is we are all busy in our own ways, but all of us have time to respond. Someday you will be the one that really needs to get an answer on something. If the person does not respond are you going to accept it? Are you going to say, "that is ok that you thought so little of me that you simply ignored me. I still want to do things with you or for you." I doubt it. Someday it will be you asking a question. It might be a very important question, at least to you.

Have you laid down the expectation that others should want to respond to you?

Want to be an Eagle Scout?

Here is the secret: Have a plan and execute it. I know, I know - that sounds lame and not very exciting. But think about it, have you ever done anything in life that matters without having some kind of plan and then executing it? Ok, okay, here are some details for your plan:
1. ***MOST IMPORTANT: Do a question a day from any merit badge or rank requirements you are working on - 5 to 10 minutes tops. Everyone has.
2. If you find a merit badge that you have to track an activity for a period of time, find another one and do two at the same time (i.e. Family Life, Personal Fitness).
3. Have at least two merit badges you’re working on at a time, one of which should be an Eagle required one.
4. Ask your parents to help you by reminding you and giving you a push.
5. Lastly, don’t push off the work, time is not your friend and it just gives you stress. Most Eagles will tell you after that fact that they could have and should have done it sooner.
Now, it is not a race but if you follow the above plan, you can get to the rank of Eagle in an appropriate length of time and without a lot of stress. Our troop needs eagles to be there to help inspire the younger scouts.

Mr. Marek

I was doing a scout master conference for a life scout wanting to make Eagle. I talked about how he was going to give back to the troop, if he was to become Eagle. I wanted to find an example of why it is important. I could have used many of our adult leaders as an example, but Mr. Marek came to mind. I told the scout that it is because of people like Mr. Marek that you need to step up. Mr. Marek takes numerous hours out of his life to help you and other scouts through their journey. He easily could say he is too busy or has other things to do. No, he chooses to volunteer at Eagle Scout projects. He looks over Eagle write ups and critiques them, so they are up to the standards they should be. He gives positive feedback, and once in a while he gives a certain needed reality check to scouts to make them better than what they are. He does these things because he believes he can make a difference. He does these things because he believes you as an Eagle Scout will take up the torch, think beyond yourself and do the same. Our troop needs adults like Mr. Marek to make our future scouts successful. More importantly, our troop needs Eagle Scouts to start acting like Mr. Marek to make our future scouts successful.

What You See May Not Be What I See

     We had two younger scouts give instructions on knot tying. They gave instructions on how to tie your shoe. They articulated very well the process and they were having fun doing it. To many of the scouts it may have seemed too basic since you already know how to do it and maybe not worth your time to listen. What I saw was two scouts taking a leadership role and trying to give instructions. I saw two scouts practicing the art of public speaking and gaining valuable knowledge and experience in that realm. The topic may have been weak but in my mind, they have my respect for taking the initiative when others did not.
     What I also was trying to see and I found equally important is how all the rest of the scouts were acting. Were you going to 1) not listen as it does not interest you, 2) goof off or 3) patiently listen, and look for that nugget of information you can gain or give feedback on. What most of you might have seen was scouts choosing the route of #1 & #2.  I saw that as well, but I also saw some that chose #3. To me those were the scouts that not only were being supportive of the speakers, but acting as true scouts that gain my respect.

Lead with Humility

Does boy lead mean the scout leading is perfect? If any scout believes they are the best or they can lead the best, they are in for a disappointment. It may be true that they are better than most, but unless they lead with humility, they are only fooling themselves. What I mean by this is that you may think you're a great leader or better than others, but unless you bring the others along, help them become better leaders and have the patience to work with them on their level, you will never be the best leader. If you don't do this you’re simply arrogant and some day someone just as arrogant will be better than you and you will wish they had humility. Yes there are times when a leader simply cannot take the time to be humble, he/she has to dictate and expect their dictate to be followed. In scouting that time is few and far between. However, up until that time it is the credibility you create based on the humble approach to leadership you use that makes those to whom you are dictating want to follow you. I recently finished an event and one of the scout leaders came up to me and asked what he could have done better. Just asking that question answered in my mind, that he will be a great leader.

What does a Boy Led Troop mean to you?

Does it mean that only the Scouts do the work? It shouldn't. When an adult runs an event are they doing it all? Is it only them? No, they have help. That help comes in many forms. It might be physical, where both scouts and adults pitch in. It might be in the planning stage. It might be during the event. In this regard the adult might be making some mistakes or not doing it the way I or others might have done it. None-the-less, we help that adult, so the event can be as successful as possible.
The same is true for the Boy Led approach to scouting. We as adults need to help out just enough, so that each scout is successful in the scout event they are in charge of and that they remain the person in charge. It takes more effort with some scouts and less with others, but that is ok. The key is not to do too much, otherwise the scout stops becoming the leader. 

Putting Yourself Out There

As scouts and future leaders you need to put yourself out there whether it is coordinating an event, helping at an event or whatever. Many times this means doing something that is uncomfortable, at least for the short term. You may not feel confident or you may risk some people laughing at you. I thought about this the other day when SPL Alex Neimon took the bugle and played Taps the other day. His Trumpet was not at the meeting. He is very uncomfortable with the bugle, but it was his turn to be the bugler. So he grabbed the bugle, practiced throughout the meeting during patrol corners and then played TAPs at the end of the meeting. He was not musically perfect. Some scouts kind of snickered. He kept playing through the mistakes. I was proud of him as he did all this on his own. I did not interject or make him do anything. I was proud of his performance, because he tried. I was also proud of all the scouts that did not laugh or snicker. Your focus on the flag, your salute, honoring the colors and not laughing, quickly made it clear to those that did, that it is unacceptable to act any other way. They stopped because of your example.

Volunteering- YUCK!

I figured you would read the article if you saw a topic like this one. I want to give you some reasons why you should volunteer above and beyond what you simply do because you are a scout.

There are benefits to yourself that you may not be aware of when you volunteer. The more you volunteer the more skills you acquire and you gain a work ethic. These skills build and may lead to skills-based volunteering for organizations that are in your field of interest and lead to a paying job. It did for me! In addition, it provides a knowledge base that allows many to switch over from one career to another career. Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health… those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. That being the case Mrs. McCarthy, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Marek and Mr. Fuehrer will live to 110! Lastly, Volunteering brings on the Love!!?? What do I mean by that?? Researchers have found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Volunteering builds empathy, strengthens social bonds and makes you smile — all factors that increase the feeling of love.

So start feeling the love and while doing so track your volunteer hours (especially in Middle and High School) as it is a wise idea and will prove beneficial later when you look for a job, apply for scholarships or colleges.

It Does NOt Have To Be Your Scout

Our boys need parents and volunteers who not only guide their own scout but show them that thinking and acting beyond yourself is the key to a community, organization, or youth's success. Just being there is important. It shows your son that he is more important than any other thing you have going on. Helping the other scouts shows the boys that you care not only about your son, but them as well.
It goes to show that if you and other adults display this care and commitment, then that is what is expected of them. It will become something they will want to do. When that occurs the foundation for a healthy scout, troop, community and future parent is created.
This is what is missing in many urban environments and sadly is becoming what is missing in affluent areas as well. I have coached a variety of teams. I applaud anyone who coaches, they are on that path as well. But I will say that scouting is uniquely different.
The oath, law, approach, lessons and the variety of subject matters that must be learned and practiced separates it from any sport. It is why parents who are adult leaders are so important. They are the key components to getting our youth to think and act beyond themselves for a better future for them and the community.

What you do makes a Difference!

As we move into Summer it is time for fun and sun. It is also a time for you to continue to make a difference. While you are having that fun and sun think beyond yourself often and demonstrate to those around you that you do make a difference in their lives. Help with family. Help with the community (i.e., the Legion or neighbors) and Help with your troop (ie. fundraisers, outings, Eagle projects). It is not that I am urging you to do more than what you should, as a young man and as a scout, it is your duty to help others at all times. All I am saying is that you can have fun doing it. 

Cheaters Beware

I had a chance to visit the Air Force Academy on a tour. This is a 4 year college program that the Air Force allows a select few to attend. The tour guide was a cadet who had just graduated. He talked about how those who are selected come with the foundation of integrity and honor. He said something that made me think about what we tell you as scouts. He said that when they take tests no one takes away their phones, computers, or any device that would allow them to cheat. The professor leaves the room. No one watches them while they take a test. Imagine if that was your class. Would anyone cheat?

Does anyone cheat at the academy? He said very, very few. They don't stay around long. The reason is that all the cadets around him will tell. They are not snitches or narcs. They are young men and women of integrity and honor. The expectation is that all will tell on a cheat, NOT all will protect a cheat. Now that does not mean out of 4,000 students there are no liars or cheats? No. It just means that those individuals will be caught.

You can create that world for yourself. Study hard and stay true to integrity and you will always succeed. 

Cheerful is Priceless

I think that Cheerful is one of hardest of the scout laws to adhere to but probably, next to Trustworthy, the most important. In survival mode they will tell you that the person who keeps a positive attitude will have a better chance to make it. And when you’re in a group of people, is it the cheerful person that you want to get rid of first.

I doubt it. I want you to keep cheerful in mind as you work your way through scouting, not only for new scouts but probably more importantly for the more seasoned scout. If you have gained the knowledge and you're placed in leadership, cheerful is how you will be able to get people to not only follow you, but they will have a fun time in the process. That combination is what we all strive for. 

When you’re not there you are missed!

I want you to know that when you are not at a troop meeting you are missed. Each and every one of you brings something positive to the meetings. It might be that you need help on a rank advancement, which helps another scout gain valuable experience being the teacher. It might be that you have questions that are scout related, merit badges, eagle projects, etc. and that is great because that is the reason we as adults show up. Another reason is that when you show up we as adults get to see your growth. We see you as young scouts growing into young men. We get the chance to share experiences with you that not only make you a better person but us as well. Lastly, your presence may simply show others that the troop is worth your time and that being the case it is worth their time. I look forward to seeing each and every one of you - again.

Do You Have Character??

We all have been in situations where someone has the advantage over us. They may be faster, smarter, taller, or older, or they may just communicate better than us.

We all have been in situations where we have the advantage. The other person might have a disability (physical or mental), they may have personal problems or life problems. They may be slower than us, or younger, or they may not communicate as well.

Here's the lesson. Sometimes we think we have the advantage and we really don't. We think the other person has nothing of value when they actually do. We perceive ourselves better than them but in reality it might be just the opposite. It might be that we have the advantage now but over time they may gain it.

Where am I going with this? I'll tell you. The mark of a real man, one of character, is the man who brings others along or builds others up when they have the advantage. It is that person that does not belittle, shame, demean or reject those who are perceived not to be your equal. As a scout you must develop your character in this light. It is one of the foundations to success and happiness.

Doing the Right Thing May Not Be Easy

The other day I was working on a conservation project on some common land in my subdivision and a fellow homeowner came out and began to argue with me about it. I had a right to be there doing what I was doing and I had received approval by the Homeowners at an annual meeting to do this project. This man chose not to come to the meeting to voice his opinion. Rather he waited for me to show up and he then argued with me about it. It is a tactic many people do to get you to stop doing something. They will argue with you, hoping you will simply not want to deal with the hassle and give up. Here is some life advice. For the rest of your life you will be faced with this choice. In the future, it may be kids drinking at a party, it might be the lure of trying prescription drugs. It could be a friend suggesting you go with them to steal or vandalize stuff or it may simply be skipping homework to goof off. It is not always nefarious stuff. Later as you get older it will be things like whether you coach a youth team, be a scout leader, volunteer at an old folks’ home or in my case take on a conservation project.
Even if it does not happen right away, doing the right thing will eventually make you feel better in the long run. Doing the wrong thing will not. Anything you do will have its ups and downs, you just need to weather the storm. By-the-way, the guy arguing with me; well the following week I completed a task near his home, he came out, thanked me and wished me a Merry Christmas. 

We Are Proud of All of You

I meant what I said at the Winter Court of Honor. All the leaders in the Troop are proud of the fact that you are in the Troop and that you are working hard on rank advancements, merit badges, and becoming better young men. Scouting is one of the few programs, maybe the only one, that truly works on making you an all-around good person and a productive person in society. It is a joy to see you every week and when a scout misses a week or so doing something else, I can honestly say that you not only are missed, but we as leaders and fellow scouts are none the better.

As a Scoutmaster and a Merit Badge Counselor I get the privilege of seeing you advance in rank, do scoutmaster conferences, and help you with merit badges. This allows me to see you grow from the new scout who knows nothing and has the whole scouting experience before him to the veteran scout who is nearing the end in scouting but has the skills and ability at such a young age to take care of himself and can make a positive difference in this world.

Stay the course in scouting. If you are struggling come and see me. Everyone struggles. I spoke last time about "Doing the Right Thing May Not Be Easy". Well, scouting may not be easy all the time but it is the right thing to do. 

Telling is not Snitching

In scouting there is no such thing as keeping a secret if the secret that is kept goes against the Scout Oath and Law. If you are a scout and someone does something wrong or is doing something wrong, it is your duty to relay that information to a youth in leadership or to an adult if safety is a concern or the act is severe. Our goal and your goal must be the same. To improve your skill and along the way build each other up as young men that the troop, our families, and society can be proud of. This cannot happen if we have individual scouts or groups of scouts that are not reporting bad behavior or scouts not listening to leadership. You are doing the scout a long term favor by reporting them to leadership. We can correct the situation, give the scout an opportunity to change and succeed, giving him a positive long term outcome.


Hey Scouts! Why not look at this New Year as a chance to rededicate yourselves to scouting. If you have been very involved keep up the good work. You are building on a life skill that benefits the troop and yourself now and you in the future. If you have not been around much, this is the opportunity for you to turn it up a notch. If your goal is eagle you need to rededicate yourself to being around, providing leadership and showing not only the scouts, but the adults that you have what it takes to be awarded Eagle Scout when the time comes. A new year brings new promise. On your honor let’s see you do your best.
Mr. Neimon, Scoutmaster

Hello and a Smile

     Do you know how powerful it is to look someone in the eye and recognize them with a simple Hello and a smile. Maybe follow it with a “How are you today?” As scouts, you are to practice courteous, kind and reverent. This simple gesture addresses all three. It also makes a positive impact on the person, far greater than what you think. For some, it comes natural and for others (like me) it takes effort. None-the-less, it is worth it! Everyone to some degree wants to feel important. That does not mean they want to get in front of a group and make speeches, it just means that they want to be valued. What you are doing by recognizing this person, you are telling them they have value. It does not matter if they are sitting by themselves, passing you in the street, or a scoutmaster/adult in the troop who comes every week to the troop meetings to see how you’re developing as a scout. Now, here’s a secret, if you do this, I will guarantee that not only will the other person feel valued and think more highly of you, but you as well will feel good inside. All that with a simple Hello and a smile.

Wimachtendienk Wingolauchsik Witahemui

Soon we will be holding elections for the Order of the Arrow.  For those older scouts who are eligible, I want you to give it serious consideration as to whether you want to take your scouting to another level.  Sure, it may seem like something you want to do.  The OA, after all, is the National Honor Society for scouting.  However, like being a scout, it comes with responsibility and that should not be taken lightly.  Do I want our scouts to seek the OA.  Yes.  But first seek out an OA member (adult or scout) and ask what Wimachtendienk Wingolauchsik Witahemui means and what is expected of you.  If you think you can fulfill what is expected then I urge you to join us.

We Need You to Set a Goal and Sell!

Scouts, this is a call to arms.  We are at that time of year again and as a Troop we need you to sell wreaths, popcorn or coffee.  Money makes the world go around - well it at least helps pay our bills and as a large troop, we have bills to be paid.  Our method of operating as a Troop depends on money we receive from these sales.  It also gives you an opportunity to make money for your scout accounts.  I know it's hard to carve out time but if you set a goal of say $500 and go out just a little bit throughout the week, you can accomplish a lot in a month's time.  There will be days when selling is going good and other times when people are not buying.  Stay the course and don't give up.  Just like you are doing for your rank advancement and for those shooting for Eagle.  It will pay off in the end.  In this case, literally pay off in the end.

Oath and Law

Just recently, someone said something to me that was really good stuff-  

   Our boys need to stop going through the motions and ask themselves why they 

   are in scouts and what they want to get out of it.  The Scout Oath and Law are         

   supposed to trickle down into their souls, not just be something they wash with.  

As it relates to the topic above, I am going to try a different tactic this time.  Not going to babble on. 

If you care what I have to say in this regard, scout or parent, come ask me what I mean.  

Group Effort, Individual Journey

    A couple of weeks ago, 11 of our scouts were able to go on a high adventure outing to the Boundary Waters on the Minnesota/Canadian border.  You all go to camps and that is great.  At these camps, your work on rank requirements and merit badges are the building blocks for a high adventure trip later on.  
    We had two crews that worked separately most of the time.  Overall it was a group effort but for each scout (and adult) it was also an individual journey.  High adventure trips are different in that there is no going back.  There is no easy way out.  In the beginning we experienced a nerve racking canoe trip across a big lake in zero visibility dense fog.  Consistent rain.  Cold.  Wet gear and heavy load with long portages.  No warm breakfast (granola bars), lunches that may not be to everyone's liking (not to mention eating in the rain) and dehydrated dinners.  
    Everyone experiences things that test them.  Tests their patience, their emotions, their physical abilities, their leadership, and their skills.  Failure is not an option on these trips.  What I love about high adventure is that though it is critical to have us work as a team, each person is having an individual journey of obstacles and barriers to overcome.  If you learn the skills of a scout.  If you practice your leadership skills.  If you practice being a team player.  If you are always helping.  If you do these things, you will have awesome experiences  doing high adventure that will last a lifetime.   If you're willing to go outside your comfort zone.  If you don't do these things, high adventure will stink.  If you do not believe me - ask any of the 11 boys on the trip.
    On another note, Congratulations to Alex Neimon, Charlie McCarthy, Hunter Ferrick and Michael Kluz for completing National Youth Leadership Camp.  Charlie McCarthy’s patrol was named Honor Patrol.  Really cool.  As scoutmaster, I can tell you the skills they learned there and their effort in scouting really paid off on their high adventure trip to the Boundary Waters.  

Great Job and Great Summer!

     I just wanted to thank all the scouts who have volunteered service time and/or have gone on troop campouts.  I have yet to come across a scout who did not like the outings or helping out.  You may not know it, but not only are you growing and maturing, you are building the foundation to being outstanding young men.  It is awesome to see the faces of the people you have touched.  I sat in a meeting the other day for the Legion Post and the expressions and words of gratitude that came from them were priceless. 

     As we move into the heavy camping season, my hope is that you will continue to enjoy this awesome journey.  You will never regret it and you will always remember it.  Camp on!!

Want to be an Eagle Scout?

Here is the secret:  Have a plan and execute it.  I know, I know - that sounds lame and not very exciting.  But think about it, have you ever done anything in life that matters without having some kind of plan and then executing it? 

Ok, okay, here are some details for your plan: 

1.  Do a question a day from any merit badge or rank requirements you are working on - 5 to 10 minutes tops. 

2.  If you find a merit badge that you have to track an activity for a period of time, find another one and do two at the same time (i.e. Family Life, Personal Fitness). 

3.  Have at least two merit badges you’re working on at a time, one of which should be an Eagle required one. 

4.  Ask your parents to help you by reminding you and giving you a push. 

5.  Lastly, don’t push off the work, time is not your friend. 

Now, it is not a race but if you follow the above plan, you can get to the rank of Eagle in an appropriate length of time and without a lot of stress.  

Is Wearing the Uniform uncool? Go ask a Vet

Think Beyond Yourself:  Is Wearing the Uniform uncool?  Go ask a Vet.

If you letter in sports, you will buy a jacket and have the letter sewn on and wear it proudly in public.  If you have a favorite sports team, you will wear their colors and logos and wear it proudly in public.  Why then would you not do the same for your scout uniform.  Think about it.  All the time and effort you spend learning what it is to be a scout.  You work on rank requirements, merit badges, go to troop meetings, campouts and workshops.  You put in years of hard work.  Why would you feel "weird" or say it is "not cool" to wear it in public?  Now I am not saying you need to constantly put on your uniform and drive around town but if you do have it on - keep it on and wear it proudly.  You earned it.  If you think it is uncool to wear it in public,  I say go ask a Vet.  I can honestly say that I have never heard a veteran say to someone "Heh, nice Brewers shirt" or "I see you lettered in football".  I HAVE seen many times veterans/military personnel and adults come up and say good job to a scout and care enough to even ask what rank they are.  I see them from a distance looking at a scout with a smile.  Why?  I think that if you went and asked a Vet they would tell you that they understand symbols of hard work, symbols of integrity and a uniform that society associates with being a good person.  So I ask again, why wouldn’t you wear it publicly...proudly.

The Power of YOU

We are on the verge of another troop election.  Why is this important?  It is important because YOU are the leaders of the troop.  YOU are the ones that make the decision and set the course.  YOU decide what fun we will have and where we will go.  YOU also decide how much fun YOU are going to make scouting for others or YOUrself.  

I ask YOU, no, I challenge YOU.  Think beyond YOUrself.  Go for a position within the troop.  If the one YOU want is taken then find another one.  See how YOU can make a difference in the lives of fellow scouts, parents, society or in YOU.  

Exactly the Way He's Supposed to Be

An internet link was sent to me and the message was outstanding.   I encourage you to contact me if you’re interested in reading the link.  You don’t have to have a child with autism to get what I believe is the higher point.  There is a girl named Lily in this article who said and did something that is simply stunning and is perfectly in line with what we as scouts should be doing in our lives, schools and community.  A boy told her that another boy named Jack (who has autism) is weird.  Her response to the boy was not a laugh, a judgment, an opportunity to belittle or cut down.  She told him that Jack isn’t weird.  “He is exactly the way he is supposed to be.”  We can all learn from someone else.  What Lily said really, really hit home for me.  It is not just autism.  It is about anyone who has a disability or simply is different.  It could be someone who is mentally impaired, has attention deficit behavior, stutters, or has a physical disability.  The answer is not to label them as weird, ignore them or poke fun.  Every person has something to offer to you to make you a better person.  One of Jack’s gifts to the world without knowing it is he gave an opportunity to a girl to hopefully change the mindset of the one with the real problem - the boy who called Jack weird.  I hope you as scouts will follow the path Lily is going down.

Awesome Troop 49!

    A New Year tends to bring new hope, visions, or challenges to people.   I want to challenge you.  I want to challenge you, as a scout and as a person, to be AWESOME. The word awesome is also defined as extraordinary. That is what I am speaking about. We all want to be extraordinary. You all CAN be extraordinary. You just have to try.
    I want you to be awesome in your family life, your community, your school, and in your religious belief. Now, that all sounds great but how do we know. As scouts you have the jump on the other kids. The expectation is there, all you have to do is fulfill the expectation.  I want your community, your teachers, and your parents to be awestruck by you. Not just in one thing like- Wow, he is really good in sports, or acting, or getting his homework done- but in as many different areas of your life as you can be. If you need some guidance or a template, just recite the Scout Law and Oath to yourself in the morning when you wake up and then go out and do it that day.
    Then, and this is really really important, tell me about it. I don't care if it is an email, text, quick phone call, etc. I want to know. This is an opportunity for you to toot your own horn. I know your awesome - tell me about it.
                                                                                                       -Scoutmaster Michael Neimon

Ps: Parents, if you're reading this, you can tell me as well.

What I Want for Christmas

What do you think I want for Christmas, as it relates to all of you in Troop 49 (including parents)? As you can probably figured out, I want you all to think beyond yourself and act accordingly. That would be awesome. That would be the gift of giving.

How do we get into thinking that way? Well, at the last troop meeting I was doing a Scoutmaster Conference with a scout. We were talking about what he was doing to live the Scout Spirit. It dawned on me that, though he was doing something, he really was not seeing the depth of his giving. Why? Because at his age scouts don't have skin in the game. I told him that when he is at home, scouts should think as if the home was yours. I mean really yours. You paid for it, you're paying the utilities, you're paying the mortgage, you're paying the repairs, you pay for the food, clothes, etc. Now imagine those living there did not help you or helped very little. How would that make you feel? What would you think of them? Now apply this to your teachers at school and what they do. Apply this to your pastor and what he does. Apply it to your community and what they need. Finally, apply it to your Troop and what we need from you.

The beauty of it all is that if you do this, which by the way is "thinking beyond yourself and acting accordingly", you will feel great inside. Others will look up to you and appreciate you. Doors of opportunity will open for you. If all of you do this we as a Troop will accomplish great things and I guarantee you will enjoy the ride.

Merry Christmas,

Mr. Neimon, Scoutmaster

Duty and Responsibility

As American Citizens you have certain rights and privileges.  We all know those came at a cost. However, knowing your duty and responsibilities as citizens is equally as important.  Why?  Because if you do not exercise those, you will lose the others.  What do I mean?  Let's keep it simple.  When you buy a house, you are not just buying a building.  You are buying into a community.  If you do not invest time and effort into your community, it may turn on you.  Decisions made without your input.  Social problems increase leading to criminal problems.  In the end, that beautiful neighborhood or community in which you grew up may not stay that way.  Sure you had a right to buy the house, but you also have an obligation as a citizen to maintain or improve that community.  I urge you to pay extra attention when in social studies class they talk about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  It is not just that you have a right and privilege.  It's what you need to practice to keep them that is equally as important.

That said. I know a lot of you have been exercising good citizenship.  Here are just a few from our troop:  Cameron Hegwood, Tyler Hansen, Jimmy Muffler, Hunter Ferrick, and Michael Kluz for their work at the fundraiser for Calvin.  Andrew Castillo, Charlie McCarthy, Alex Neimon, Zach Kluz, and Cedric Hong for their recruiting presentation at Pack 91's meeting.  Cameron Hegwood, Alex Fuehrer, and Zach Roth for their efforts cleaning up after the wreath pick up.  Kudos to you and Mega Kudos to those who have silently been doing their duty.  Our community is a better place.

Thanks for thinking beyond yourself.

Easy Way Out

     Who doesn't like "the easy way out".  If you don't have to work hard, why do so? Everything around us screams of the Easy Way Out. If you want to eat something, you just go to a fast food restaurant or put a hot pocket into the micro. Throw your clothes on the floor, Mom will eventually pick them up. Dad is working outside, don't ask if you can help or else he may take you up on it. You're tired, why get up early and do some cleaning (especially the dishes you made dirty), if you sleep long enough Mom will have it done. The problem with the Easy Way Out is it rips at your soul. You're cheating yourself and those around you. Then when you always want it and when you don't get it you get angry or frustrated. The Easy Way Out makes you feel entitled. As Scouts I challenge you to not take the Easy Way Out. Nic Ishizaki did not take the easy way out, he took on the role of SPL and is doing great right from the start. Those scouts (and parents) who helped in the conservation effort this past weekend did not take the easy way out. In fact they worked so hard and impressed the treasurer of the homeowners association so much that he paid more than what we had agreed upon.  This has allowed the Troop to fully pay for a new three turbo burning campstove and griddle.
     If you don't take the Easy Way Out and work hard physcially you reap the benefits of getting stronger and more fit. If you don't take the Easy Way Out mentally you study more, your learn more, you become smarter which in the end gives you a lot of satisfaction. If you don't take the Easy Way Out morally, you attain a strong ethical foundation. Does this not sound familiar? One last thing. If your goal is to become an Eagle Scout then you can't take the Easy Way Out. Those boys drop off. You have to take on the challenges, do the work and be a leader. Eagle Scouts have to take the hard route. It is what separates you from others. 

Follow IS the Leader

Ok scouts, as you begin to read this you're going to be a bit confused as you think - Mr. Neimon always says that he wants us to be leaders, not followers. The goal of our troop is to make us leaders, now he is saying to be a follower. What? Has he lost it? Did he get hit in the head with a paddle on the last canoe trip?

I am happy to say I did not, and that if you think about it, being a good follower is also being a good leader. You cannot be a good leader unless you've not only been a follower but a good one. You understand what should be done, what needs to be done and what you need to do in order to get others to follow you.

What makes a person a good follower:

Listen: You need to listen. Eyes focused, mind open and listen. Hear what is being said, evaluate in your mind what you think is working right and what is being done wrong.

Think: Think ahead of time as to not only what you can do, but what is the end result and how can we get there with you helping?

Active: Do what is being asked. Be an active participant. This good work ethic will make everything you do in life a whole lot easier. People who avoid work are forever frustrated. They develop an entitlement mindset - which means they wait for others to do stuff, they then get frustrated when others let them down. It also makes you mentally lazy NOT mentally awake. Don't avoid work.

Feedback: When the opportunity presents itself talk to the Leader and tell him or her what in your mind was being done right and what was being done wrong. Keep in mind you might not be right. There may be other pieces of information that you were not aware of that dictated the directions you were given.

Apply: When you become the leader it is now your turn to look back on the skills you developed in order to get something done. This works for any activity, not just for scout stuff like planning a camp out, etc. Here are some examples: playing a game with friends, helping dad or mom with a project at the house, cleaning the house, washing dishes, keeping your room in order, classes, homework and just interacting with people.

In short: If you show others that you are a good follower, they will want to follow when you take over as a leader.

Be Prepared - For Correction

As we all know, the Scout Motto is: BE PREPARED which means you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your DUTY.  So yes it does mean that you want to be properly packed with the right gear for the activity you are doing.  It also means that you want to take the necessary courses and merit badges, and be physically fit prior to an event so you can engage in that activity safely and appropriately. 

What I want you to focus on is what I believe absolutely critical to you as scouts in becoming good leaders and more importantly all around quality individuals. Wikipedia says: Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it. 

I highlighted two critical concepts from this definition.  This is what we are striving for in Troop 49.  This is what will separate those who are quality scouts and those who are not.  Sooo here is the cold hard reality:   You will all fail in this.  Sorry, but it is true.  You all will and you will all need to be corrected. It is those scouts who are prepared for correction, willing to take correction, willing to take ownership of the failure or shortcoming and make the necessary changes that will change their course for the better. 

If you understand and do this you will not only go far both in scouting and life but also you will enjoy the ride.


PS:  as always remember to Think Beyond Yourself and Act.

Who'd Thought Sailing is like Scouting like Life

When we went on the overnight sail on the Denis Sullivan the other month we were put into crews/patrols/family.  We were given tasks/responsibilities/chores to do in that unit.  There was a Captain/Patrol Leader/Parents and there were sailors/scouts/children.  We ate together, slept at the same time and shared tasks during our "watch".  Yes sailing is very much like scouting and life.  We covered for each other, protected each other and kept each other on a proper course.  We did all this with our own crew but also for the entire crew as well.  When we were on watch we looked for hazards, checked the boat and plotted/steered the course.  Those people sleeping or relaxing relied on use to do our duty as they would be doing the same for us when it was their watch/responsibility/chore to do so.  Yes, sailing is very much like scouting and very much like life.  In order for a tall sailing ship to function you need everyone helping out.  In order to have a good strong scouting troop you need everyone helping out.  In order to have a good sound family and community you need everyone helping out.  Remember that as you Think Beyond Yourself.

Think Beyond Yourself


This is a theme I will keep reminding you about while you’re a scout in Troop 49. There is an old adage in this regard and it goes something like this:  A friend came to see me and needed help, I did not help him and he went away.  Another friend came to see me and needed my help, I did not help and he went away.  Yet another friend came needing my help and I did not help him and he went away.  Now I am in need of help and I have no friends. 

This proverb stands the test of time.  In any friendship, organization, club, or just being a good citizen or neighbor, you have to think beyond yourself and help others in an unselfish way.  They will benefit and you, someday, will benefit as well.  It may be when you need it, it may not be when you need it.  It may come out of the blue.  It might just benefit your soul in a way that keeps you happy and healthy.  Whatever it is, feel free to tell me when you have acted on this.  I am always interested.  It feeds my soul as well.


Think Beyond Yourself

Have you ever needed help?  Has there been a time when you could not figure something out, you were too weak to carry something, you did not have the knowledge to answer a homework question, or simply needed and extra hand.  How about when you were really down, life sucked and then all of sudden someone gave you that helping hand.  It might have been as simple as saying hi or taking the time to talk with you.  Was it great that someone else thought beyond themselves to help you out?  Sure, if it was your parents you kind of expect that, but there are parents in this world who don't, would it not suck to have them as parents.  There are people in this world, many of them, who don't think beyond themselves or their family.   However, there are those who do.  Example:  If you get a chance say GOOD JOB TO MR. RUFFALO. Why, you say. Well, there was a situation where a boy ran away from Ladd Lake Boys Home.  The young man was in Mr. Ruffalo's back yard.  Mr. Ruffalo ran after the boy and after an extended chase and a bit of a tussle he secured the boy until authorities could take him back.  He could have just done nothing, but he thought beyond himself.  This boy needed intervention.  He needed someone to care.  He needed to be caught and returned so that he can continue his path of rehabilitation.  Mr. Ruffalo took action and made that happen.  KUDOS to Mr. Ruffalo. Now, I am not asking you to go crime fighting on your off time like Mr. Ruffalo, but I am asking you to think beyond yourself and act on it.  Hold the door for a lady without asking, pick up garbage when no one else around you will, help a neighbor who needs help, help a teacher at school when it looks like she needs help.  If kids are acting up in front of an adult, don't be one of them but help that adult in need by telling the kids to knock it off.  If you do something let me know.   That’s being a scout, that’s being a good citizen.  We need more of that.                             -Scoutmaster Michael Neimon


What if?

This scoutmaster corner is focused directly at those scouts who are in 8th grade or higher.  

      We are in the season where God allowed His only Son to be crucified to save us.  An unbelievable sacrifice that He did for us.  What if God did not do that?  What if He decided He had better things to do? What if He sat back and said "I know it all, they are ignorant, I am not going to help them one bit".  I am sure God has plenty to keep him busy.  But he didn't turn His back on us.

      How does this relate to scouting, you say?  Well, what if the leaders of the troop didn't show up?  What if the ASMs decided they did not care?  What if the Committee members and parents didn't help out anymore?  Go to our website and look at the names of the volunteers running the events.   Who is volunteering their time so you can go to camps?  Who is helping out so you can have a Troop?  And finally, when you have a chance, take a look at the 58 names listed on the side of the trailer.  

      Now by no means are we in the same league as God, but the point is the volunteers in this Troop care.  The Eagle Scouts care.  They cared enough to stick around and help the Troop grow.  As you go from 8th grade to 9th and on up to 12th grade, are you going to care about scouting?  Or will you find other things to do that pull you away from the Troop instead of finding a way to give back to the Troop?  These are the years we need you most. These are the years when you show by action to all those who support the Troop that their efforts to educate and nurture you is something you're willing to pay back.  I encourage you to find ways you can help the other scouts in the Troop: give a helping hand, some good advice, share skills you have learned, act the part of a Scout.  

      My goal and hope years down the line is that we don't have to link your name with "What if".

                                                                                                                 -Scoutmaster Michael Neimon

For God and Country

“For God and Country” is the American Legion’s motto; that alone makes the partnership of Troop 49 with the Delafield American Legion Post 196 not only special but perfect.  But let us take it a step further.  In the words of the Legion’s commander, “The post never forgets it’s duty to our veterans, and the people of our community along with the community in itself.”  These are important distinctions and I know our troop thinks and acts the same way.


We are now embarking on a special journey with a very special group of individuals.  These are individuals that wrote a blank check to the United States of America for an amount of “Up to and including my life”.  Instead of saying that is good enough, they continue to serve in their lives and in their community.  This makes our connection with them an honor. 


To the scouts and adult leaders in Troop 49 this relationship carries more weight.  It carries more responsibility.  I know we are worthy.  I know that we can think beyond ourselves, beyond camps, rank advancements and merit badges.  I know we can add in helping not only those who served our Country but those in our community, too.


The Delafield American Legion’s website is  Take a moment and look at their website and what they do.  See the events, activities, and fundraising that they perform for our community. 


Thank you American Legion Post 196 for accepting to be our Charter Organization Representatives.



Michael G. Neimon

Scoutmaster Troop 49


                                If you think you know it all there is an idiot in the room

I just coined this phrase and kind of like it.   I am using it to emphasize a point about being the best you can at what you do.  The Olympics are a dramatic example of what practice and perseverance accomplishes.  However, practice alone will not make you the best you can be.  You need to always be willing to learn and to apply what you learn to your practices.    The good news is that the concept applies to non-Olympians as well.  Last week Charlie McCarthy and Jack Hutchinson demonstrated their robot.  They are on a team that practices a lot.  They find out what works and what does not, and listen to each other then apply what they learned.  They put effort towards winning and their efforts are paying off.  I am told that Adam Brewer and his ski team are in the running to go to State.  That does not happen unless you practice and are persistent.  However, if Adam did not apply the different techniques that he is taught he would not be at his current level.  As scouts you need to practice and persevere with learning the craft of scouting.  When you work on rank requirements and merit badges you are practicing and being persistent.  When you listen to your troop leaders and apply what they are saying you are on the path of being the best.  What is great about scouting is that what you learn and how you learn can be applied to all the other things you do in life (sports, school, friendships, church, etc.).  I want you to always wonder, always ask questions, and never think that you know it all.  If you do that we will have a lot of smart people in the room.

Do You Deserve Your Title?

You all have one now - your Scout Rank.  You will have many of them in your lifetime.  Does it really matter?  You bet it does!!!!  A title is your reflection.  It tells others what you are, what you have achieved and what you can do.   Would you take Karate lessons from a person who is not a black belt?  Would you fly with someone who does not have their pilot's license.  You know what is worse?  When someone has a title and they do not do anything with it.   Imagine you went to your doctor because you're sick and he said he does not practice anymore now that he got the title?  Imagine your teachers at school deciding not to teach even though they are certified to do so.  How about calling someone your best friend and they decided not to be your friend anymore??  Weird huh?  Best friend is a title.  To get there you have to earn it through a lot of interaction and trust.  As scouts you gain your title or rank through hard work and persistence. You gain respect by doing something with that title.  As you mature you will find out that people quickly become less interested in your title and more interested in how you demonstrate that you deserve it.  Do you deserve your title?  Prove it.

Bullying and Teasing

I took an article from the Living Kettle Moraine Index - Nov. 13, 2013 titled:  Students Learn To Become 'Upstanders', and made some modifications.  I changed "upstander" to "scout".

A scout knows the definition of bullying and teasing behavior, their negative effects and how to be a positive influence by "being a scout."

There are different types of bullying: physical (hitting, kicking, destroying property), social aggression (spreading rumors, excluding from group, silent treatment), verbal aggression (name calling, teasing, threatening), written aggression (name calling, teasing, threatening), sexual harassment (comments of sexual nature that make a person feel uncomfortable), racial harassment (unwelcome comments about a person's nationality such as ethnic jokes or racial name calling) and cyber bullying (using technology to be mean to another).  Teasing can be just as debilitating to a person.

A scout recognizes when something is wrong and acts to make it right.  When he sees or hears about someone being bullied or teased, they speak up. In these situations a scout is being a hero.

A scout is to be socially responsible.  They know to do the following:

·Choosing not to join in when people are picking on or laughing at someone,

·Speaking out against unkind words or actions, by anyone - friend or not. 

·Saying something helpful to the person who's being picked on or laughed at,

·Asking people who are teasing how it would feel if they were the ones being teased,

·Asking the person who's being left out or picked on to join you in an activity,

·Letting an adult know what's going on.


Every week you say the Scout Oath and Law.  They are not just words.  They are a reminder of how you can and should be making a positive difference at home, in school and in the community.  They are words you use to justify why you do not stand for bullying and teasing. 

The Precious Gift of Life

This time of year we are reminded of the precious gift of life.  The impact that one child can have on a family, community or world.  What we do with that precious gift of life is extremely important.  Are we going to waste it away on drugs and alcohol?  Are we going to waste it away being a selfish person who only wants to satisfy our own self?  Are we going to be indifferent to those around us or to those who do not appear to be important to us?  Are we not going to respect one another?  Are we going to think less of others who may not be as gifted as us in certain areas or financial status? 

My hope and prayer for this Christmas season is that you as scouts look beyond yourself not only during Christmas but all the time.  This is a life commitment that begins now.  This will ensure that the precious gift of life you were given was not given in vain.  Look around you to see who it is that is making the most of their gift of life.  In Troop 49, you will not have to look far.  There are fellow scouts, adult leaders and parents hard at work in this regard.  In your family you can look back at those who may no longer be with us and see what they did that made a positive difference.  You can look at those who are still with us and see what they are doing that benefits you and all those around you. 


My challenge to you is simple:  Impress us with your actions.  If you follow and apply the Scout Law and Scout Oath you will meet and exceed that challenge.  I look forward to watching you work on this challenge.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!                                          
Mr. Neimon