Bobwhite

Bobwhite Blather

Information, Observation, and Inspiration for Scouters

Avoiding the expert mountain

I remember when I was about six or seven years old and was first learning to ride a bicycle. I had training wheels on my two-wheeler for what seemed like forever. One day, I noticed that the training wheels weren’t touching the ground as I rode, so I asked my dad to take them off. Riding down the sidewalk, I felt empowered that I had learned a new skill and felt that I had mastered riding a big-boy bike.

Until I rounded the first corner, and the wheels slipped out from under me. Boom! Down I went.

I wasn’t such an expert, after all.

Life is like that. We get a taste of the knowledge we seek, and we learn a bit more, and a bit more, and it starts to come to us. Continue reading

The merit badge counselor’s role

If you’re a merit badge counselor, you’re probably pretty familiar with the role that merit badges play in the Boy Scout advancement system. Once they reach First Class, Scouts must earn a certain number of merit badges to continue advancing, with some drawn from the list of badges required for the rank of Eagle Scout and the rest on any subject at the Scout’s discretion.

The merit badge counselor, therefore, has a pivotal role in the advancement process for our older Scouts, and the Scouting experience for all Boy Scouts. Continue reading

When campouts fail

It seems like an ideal troop outing. A trip to a local ski area for a weekend of snow sports. The slopes are not too steep but still full of fun and challenge. They offer downhill and cross-country skiing trails, snowboarding runs, ice skating and tubing. There are lights for nighttime skiing as well. Lessons are available, and there’s camping on site. The ski area is less than an hour’s drive away, and the cost is reasonable. There should be plenty to do for everyone.

But when only a few Scouts, and fewer adults, choose to attend, the outing has to be cancelled.

What went wrong? Continue reading

This is the Boy Scouts. This is America.

This week I attended the quarterly court of honor at my old troop. The troop is doing well with a healthy youth membership, youth leaders in charge and supportive adults. While I think things were pretty good when I was active and serving as committee chair, the current adult leadership has continued the tradition of excellence and improved on it in the years since I left “active duty.”

One thing that has changed is the makeup of the Scout membership. I recognized a few of the Scouts but there is a whole new crop of boys whom I had never met.

What struck me as unique is how the troop has kept up with our community demographically. Continue reading

Adults in the Order of the Arrow

As we’ve been discussing, the Order of the Arrow is an organization for youth members in Boy Scouting. Its governance and activities are all conducted by members under 21, and because they are the top tier of Scouts, they do it very well, with a sense of commitment to the principles of the Order as well as a big share of fun.

There is an adult presence in the OA as well. As in all other areas of Scouting, it takes adults to make things happen. Some are more direct roles in program planning and execution, while others are a back-seat advisory role. The role of the adult in the OA falls into the latter category.

How adults come into the Order of the Arrow doesn’t make a big difference in their level of involvement. Continue reading