Bobwhite Blather

Information, Observation, and Inspiration for Scouters

Speak up! You can do it!

mic_and_audience_250Of all the things that terrify people, the one at the top of the list for most is public speaking. So much so, in fact, that a lot of people would rather have a root canal than get up and give a speech to a group.

For anyone in a leadership position, though, being able to comfortably deliver a speech or talk to a group of people is an essential job skill. Leaders need to be able to communicate their ideas and plans, and the way to do this is by speaking to those you wish to lead or serve. The fear of speaking to a group deters many people from taking on roles of leadership, and hinders success when they do. Continue reading

Succession planning for Scout units

recruitment_200On Scout Sunday, I visited the Blue & Gold Banquet of a Cub Scout pack that I am the commissioner for. The pack is well-run, with exciting and interesting activities planned in advance throughout the year. Most of the Scouts received advancement recognition or awards of some kind, and all dens took part in the entertainment segment of the program. Each den has a den leader and parent help. The most important observation I made was that the boys are having a great time.

None of this came about by accident, of course. Den leaders have stayed with their dens throughout. The Cubmaster has only been on board with the pack a couple years, but having been an active leader in other packs and troops before moving to our community, he naturally fit right in.

During the course of the evening, the Cubmaster made an announcement that there would be a parent meeting this coming week. Continue reading

Bear program changes

new_bear_book_250In our continuing series on changes coming this year to the Cub Scout program, this month I’ll preview the Bear changes along with some pointers on how to do some advance preparation for some of the Adventures.

As always, be sure to consult the BSA’s Program Updates website for the official word on the changes to the program. Note that the recently-held webcasts on the Cub changes have been posted for viewing at any time.

The core adventures required for Bear are: Continue reading

Q&A: More on SSNs, counselor ID numbers

questionmark_200Time now for a couple more questions from readers.

Social Security numbers in troop records

From a troop committee chair:

Troopmaster has a place in the adult records for a leader’s social security number. Should we be recording the SSNs of our adults? It seems to me like that’s private information.

A unit has no reason to retain Social Security numbers of its adult members. It has no use for them, and in fact it can be a liability to the unit when stored in a database such as Troopmaster, which can typically be accessed by multiple persons in the unit. This is why the SSN field is blacked out on the unit copy of the application form – units are expected not to file that bit of info away. Continue reading

Put passion in your presentation

microphone_200Former president Bill Clinton has acquired the title of “Explainer-in-Chief” recently, for his talks and speeches clarifying the current administration’s actions and policies. Mr. Clinton has the ability to relate complex subjects in a manner that can speak to a large audience.

Regardless of how you may personally feel about Mr. Clinton and his messages, there is much to take away from his style of presentation. Continue reading