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Issue 391 – April 1, 2014


The requirement with the fewest words and greatest clarity will be the one most subject to “interpretation.”

The volunteer who takes all available training for the position, and the one who takes none, are both called Scoutmaster.

All volunteer meetings start late…except the one you’re running late for.

In precisely 91.37 percent of all situations in which a percentage is given, that percentage will be incorrect.

The campfire always burns brightest and best immediately after the last Scout has left the campfire ring.

The quality of any speech is in inverse proportion to the perceived status and authority of the speaker.

On camp-outs, the best guarantee of rain is not using a dining fly.

When your son agrees with your chastising him for having done something wrong, the greatest further likelihood is that he’s already done something wronger that you haven’t discovered yet.

Today is the worst day of your life only because tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.

The amount of toilet paper in the latrine is in inverse proportion to how much you’re going to need.

If The Patrol Method and Patrol Leaders Council are intended to be “mini-democracies in action,” why do Scoutmasters dictate to them?

On any trip to camp, the one vehicle that breaks down will be the one with the most Scouts in it.

Listen carefully to what a new acquaintance tells you he’s best at; this will be his greatest weakness.

“Long story short…” will be longer than the original. (Corollary: “I’ll make this brief” is your warning that it won’t be.)

Only two essentials are needed to reason with a bully: (1) A calm demeanor, (2) a length of 2×4 hickory.

Your new Swiss Army knife will always be missing the one tool you need most.

Whether you believe “this new Scout will be trouble” or not, you’ll be right.

“Well, you’re the boss,” is the clearest possible signal that the speaker intends to ignore and undermine you.

When you see a pretty woman wearing a PRESS badge, remember that it’s a definition, not an instruction.

And finally… The three life stages of a Scouting trainer: (1) Let’s ask Andy, (2) Let’s borrow Andy’s syllabus, (3) Andy who?

Happy Scouting!


Have a question? Facing a dilemma? Wondering where to find a BSA policy or guideline? Write to Please include your name and council. (If you’d prefer to be anonymous, if published, let me know and that’s what we’ll do.)

[No. 391 – 4/1/2014 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2014]


About AskAndy

Andy is a Board Member of the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.

Andy has just received notification by his council Scout Executive that he is to be recognized as a National Distinguished Eagle Scout. He is currently serving as a Unit Commissioner and his council's International Representative. He has previously served in a number of other Scouting roles including Assistant Council Commissioner, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Den Leader, and--as a Scout--Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. His awards include: Kashafa Iraqi Scouting Service Award, Distinguished Commissioner, Doctor of Commissioner Science, International Scouter Award, District Award of Merit (2), Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Scouter's Key (3), Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, Cliff Dochterman Rotarian Scouter Award, James E. West Fellow (2), Wood Badge & Sea Badge, and Eagle Scout & Explorer Silver Award.

Read Andy's full biography

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