Bobwhite Blather

Information, Observation, and Inspiration for Scouters

Q&A: SSNs, background checks, merit badge counselors

ssn_mag_200Time for a few more answers to your questions, this time about Social Security numbers on adult applications, the criminal background check and how to become a merit badge counselor.

I don’t like giving out my Social Security number. Why is it required on an adult application?

An adult applicant’s Social Security number is required on the adult application form in order for the National Council to conduct a criminal background check. This is done on every volunteer who applies for membership in the BSA. Continue reading

A Scout is Kind – even when you don’t expect it

gossip_200Over cracker barrel one Saturday night at a campout a couple years ago, as the boys were off at their patrol sites getting ready for lights out, we adults were talking about our boys. We had been watching them from a distance all day as they went about their daily tasks, and I mentioned that it was great to watch my son going about the business of camping with his patrol, helping to instruct and signing off the younger boys from other patrols, and working with his patrol to get their meals cooked and the kitchen cleaned up.

One of the other dads happened to mention that he’d seen his son in action from a distance too, but in another way. Continue reading

Motivating volunteers to commit

MotivateHas this ever happened to you? You spot a parent at a troop meeting, chat with him or her and decide they’d be a good fit for a particular task you have in mind. After discussing it, they agree to take on the job, and you give some basic direction. Later that month at the committee meeting, they either don’t show up or report that nothing much has been done. We tend to brush it off as “everyone’s busy” and let it go, but as the weeks go by, there really isn’t any further progress. You really hate to bug them – they did volunteer, after all – but something has to move forward.

Sound familiar? Continue reading

Placing process before results

checklist_200A smooth-running troop is the dream of every Scoutmaster. Every Scout doing what he should do, youth leaders firmly in charge, and the senior patrol leader taking direction from the Scoutmaster and leading the other youth.

Most troops don’t fit that image, however. Patrols seem to vary from adequately prepared to barely functioning. It can be frustrating for a Scoutmaster to not see the Scouts getting anything done.

The same can apply to the troop committee. You see committee members not doing things the way you’d do them. You’re tempted to micromanage or just do things yourself.

When this happens, it’s time to step back and understand the real aim and the best approach to let the process take its course, rather than trying to fret about the end result. Continue reading

More on “helicoptering”

helicopter_200I’ve written before about the so-called “helicopter parent” phenomenon. Some parents are so concerned with keeping their child from failing that they practically do everything for them so they won’t fail at the tasks at hand, but with adverse consequences. Helicopter parenting often results in children who are ill-equipped to handle situations on their own once they finally break free of their parents’ influence – if that is even possible. Tales abound of parents who go so far as to represent their children in college, calling professors and registrars to intervene in what their kids really should be doing.

So what’s so bad about making sure your child is successful? Don’t we all want to have children who are successful? Continue reading