Bobwhite Blather

Information, Observation, and Inspiration for Scouters

Taking action on tough issues

gavel_200Most of the time, the business of running a troop or a pack goes smoothly. Everyone is in it together for the benefit of our sons, and nearly all committee members and parents are glad to work toward having a better program for them – and have a little fun along the way.

But sometimes there’s a problem. It could be a dissatisfied parent, or a rift between volunteers. It could involve a Scout’s misbehavior or something he did unintentionally. It could even be the top leadership – in a recent column,¬†Ask Andy dealt with a situation where the committee chair was abusive toward the Scoutmaster and committee.

What’s the best way to deal with situations like this? Continue reading

To play, or not to play?

ccsoccer_200Ready or not, summer is coming to a close, fall is rapidly approaching, and with it the start of school. We’re gearing up for our Join Scouting nights and Boy Talks and enticing young people (and their parents) to join our packs with our fun programs and cool activities.

There are also those who have had a year or two experience with Scouting and are on the fence, deciding whether they’d like to continue on with more of the same or branch off into other activities. It’s always a shame to lose a Scout and his family if ¬†they have the impression that they’ll see the year ahead as “been there, done that” with the kinds of things they’ve done already rather than as a progression into activities that build on what they’ve done and involve new things they can do as they grow.

One reason for this reluctance is the preponderance of youth sports teams, whose seasons are really anything but a continuum or progression. Continue reading

Build it and they will come

Field_Of_DreamsAbout four years ago, our community voted on itself a tax increase to build a new library. Even though it was only twenty or so years old, the former library building was way too small. There was hardly any space to hold the burgeoning collection of materials and provide room for modern technology such as computers and DVDs. Though it had lots of programs and regular users, there just wasn’t enough room. A committee of dedicated volunteers and professionals designed and built a beautiful new building so big that six of our former libraries could fit inside. There are quiet areas, conference rooms, a coffee shop and a large conference room, plus room to grow. The amazing thing to note is that in this day and age of being able to look up just about anything online, the parking lot is packed every time I drive by, seven days a week, and it’s difficult sometimes to find an available study room when I meet Scouts there to go over merit badges. Continue reading

Agreement without argument

megaphone_200It seems like every time you turn on the news or look at the paper, you see a story about how our national elected leaders seem to be incapable of getting any work done. Far worse than what was labeled as the “do-nothing” Congress of the Truman administration, our representatives seem to be constantly in a tug-of-war with each other. Very little gets done as a result, and even issues that make sense for the majority of the people fail because a wrench gets tossed into the works and the gears of governing stall.

Reaching a consensus doesn’t have to be that difficult. It takes the willingness on the part of all parties to settle for less than everything they want, and allow each other to hang on to their key principles.

At times it seems like the discourse at our unit committee meetings sounds a bit like the debate on the floor of Congress, but it really doesn’t have to. Continue reading

No more, no less

33216_WB-2What if a high school math teacher decided that during her geometry class she would start teaching her students about calculus?

What if questions about calculus appeared on the course midterm or final exam?

In the first instance, the teacher could be trying to show her students that what they’re learning – in what to some may be a pointless geometry class – is of value further along in the spectrum of mathematics. After all, calculus does rely on many of the concepts learned from geometry.

But in the second case, the teacher is clearly out of bounds for expecting that her students should demonstrate some proficiency in limits, differentials or integrals – subject matter that isn’t required by the geometry curriculum.

Yet there are some in Scouting who apply the same practices with our Scouts. Continue reading