Bobwhite Blather

Information, Observation, and Inspiration for Scouters

Memorial Day

Lee Erwin / Clarksville Now

Lee Erwin / Clarksville Now

It’s the unofficial start of summer. For many, it’s the first three-day weekend of the summer season. Stores have big sales to mark the occasion. And towns across America have parades and remembrances to mark Memorial Day.

As with many holidays, we often forget the reason for the observation. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, a day when people would decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. Continue reading

Seven ways to improve your committee meetings

meeting_f_250The unit committee is where the business of the pack or troop takes place. While the Scouts are busy doing the things Scouts do, the adults are taking care of things like finance, logistics, equipment and recordkeeping. And just like any other committee, meetings are unavoidable. In fact, we’re expected to meet monthly to help ensure that the business is taken care of.

Committee meetings can be a real drag if they’re not conducted efficiently. They can go on and on with little focus, not getting much accomplished other than frustrating the participants. So to keep your committee meeting from keeping the minutes and throwing away the hours*, try the following: Continue reading

Just when we get them trained…

patch-district-executive-294x300If you’re a regular visitor to this site, you are most likely a volunteer Scouter. Someone who gives of their time and effort to help the Scouting program exist for our sons and daughters and the communities in which we live.

You’re more than aware that as our kids grow, so do we, and we tend to move along and follow them through the programs that they participate in. When they’re in Cub Scouts, we volunteer as leaders in the pack, and when they move on up to Boy Scouts, we usually leave Cub Scouting behind and try our hand at volunteering in our son’s troop.

At each step of our own Scouting trail, we learn about what’s expected of us as a volunteer. The first thing we do after completing our Youth Protection Training is to find and take the position-specific training for the job we’ll be doing. But as we know, training isn’t the final step but only the first step in our road to learning about Scouting and the work that we do. We gain knowledge along the way, through training courses, day-long seminars, resources like Scouting Magazine and just talking to our fellow Scouters at Roundtable and other gatherings, formal and informal.

And just when we get the hang of things, we leave. Continue reading

The “I Just Want to Play” League

sandlot2_250If you’re the parent of a child involved in organized sports, you are undoubtedly aware of how competitive playing a game has become. And it’s not the children who are competitive – it’s the parents. Sure, many of the kids want to get in there and do well at their sport, but the parents push them to do better. Many are finding that other parents have outdone them, enrolling their kids in special training camps, instructional sessions and skill drills in hopes they’ll make it in a highly-competitive league. They plead with teachers and school administrators to do what they can to give their children better grades so high-profile college teams won’t dismiss them. Recreational leagues can be cut-throat. Parents scream at the children and coaches from the sidelines during games. And this all starts – incredibly – in grade school.

But kids, for the most part, don’t want to be in a highly-competitive sports league. They just want to play. Continue reading

Just what is “camping,” anyway?

tents_at_scouting_camp_250Boy Scouts go camping. Everybody knows that, right?

Camping is the universal activity that ties the program together. Outsiders are likely to think that camping is the raison d’être of Scouting. It’s been with us since the very first camping trip that Lord Baden-Powell took Scouts on back at Brownsea. Camping is to Scouting as building robots is to Robotics or playing basketball is to basketball teams.

We have previously explored why Scouts go camping. It’s not just because we like camping. Not many boys join Scouting expressly for the camping. It’s because when Scouts camp, they practice leadership, self-reliance, independent thinking and problem-solving that will serve them well as they grow. Continue reading