On gratitude

Thanksgiving has become a speed bump in the marketing cycle that starts before Halloween and continues all the way to Christmas and beyond. In the past, it marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, retailers have been tripping over themselves to attract customers by cutting prices and opening earlier. Forget about opening at the usual hour of nine or ten AM on what has come to be called Black Friday. Midnight is no longer early enough as evidenced by some of the big stores opening up Thanksgiving evening and even late in the afternoon. (But, kudos to REI Co-Op, outdoor retailer and favorite supplier of Scouts, for giving its associates Friday off to go out and appreciate the outdoors.)

The holiday itself features parades, football games and gut-busting dinners shared around a table with families, with all the friction you might expect. Continue reading “On gratitude”

Combining committees

One of the most persistent problems in keeping a troop or pack going is obtaining sufficient adult leadership to get all the various jobs covered without causing burnout of the small group of people who usually get stuck with everything.

It’s often advised to make sure each committee role is covered, and in a Cub Scout pack, to ensure that den leaders (and the Cubmaster) aren’t doing committee-type things.

Troops are usually better off, because parents are more familiar with Scouting after going through it as their sons grew, and they see the value in the program and the need to get things accomplished. Or perhaps it finally dawns on them that nobody else is going to do the work, and the pack or troop can only go when supported by enough volunteers.

One solution, as suggested by a reader, is to combine the pack and troop committees for units that are chartered by the same organization. Continue reading “Combining committees”

Family Scouting is on the way!

By now you have heard that the Boy Scouts of America will begin to allow Cub Scout packs to register girls beginning next fall, and a program for older girls is on the way as well.

This is a long-awaited (and long-feared) advance in our programs. Embraced by many, it’s also criticized by some who fear the erosion of our “traditional” values. But experts up and down have endorsed the concept as a way to unite families and make Scouting more convenient for today’s families fragmented by diverse schedules and activities.

The core of the apple is this: Continue reading “Family Scouting is on the way!”

What about training?

  • Cub Scouts recruited? Check.
  • Dens formed? Check.
  • Leaders volunteered? Check.
  • Applications submitted and filed? Check.
  • Dens are meeting? Check.
  • Training completed? Ummm….

Something’s missing here.

It seems like in the hubbub and rush to get our Cub Scout dens cranked up and running again, families invited and involved, pack meetings held, popcorn sales organized, supplies, handbooks and uniforms obtained and den programs up and running, that one essential aspect of Cub Scouting – the one that tells you how to do it – is frequently ignored. Continue reading “What about training?”