Ethics

Ethics. It’s a big word. It can be a loaded word in some ways.

Ethics is typically defined as the fundamental principles of decent human conduct. Merriam-Webster defines it as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. In business, it can be taken to encompass the study of universal values such as respect and equality for men and women, fairness in dealings with others and concern for health, safety and the environment.

Does this sound familiar in a Scouting context? It certainly should.

Ethics is at the heart of the values we instill in our young people. Continue reading “Ethics”


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Looking from the outside in

At our church, I serve on a committee that oversees our communication efforts. Among our tasks are the advertising and promotions that we place in local media, our various “side-door” ministries (activities that help to enrich the community, like Scouting) and the church website. We redesigned the website this year, and one of the topics that we added was a look at our Sunday worship for those who are visiting us for the first time, and what they could expect when they walked through our doors.

As we tossed around ideas for the first-time visitor section, we had to envision walking into our church – something we do each week without much thought – as if we had never been there before. Sure, we had all been first-timers once, but it had been a long time since we gave it any thought. Not only did it open our eyes to things we stopped noticing years ago, but it led to some redesign work in the church to make it easier for newcomers to find their way.

The process got me to thinking about how first-time visitors to our packs and troops must feel. Continue reading “Looking from the outside in”


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Dealing with alumni adults

A while back, we ran a couple articles about the role that other adults play in a Boy Scout troop. By “other” adults, I’m referring to assistant Scoutmasters, committee members and parents of Scouts.

But sometimes, you encounter a situation where adults like to stick around after their sons have aged out and moved on. They’d like to stay associated with the troop but no longer have a Scout registered.

I received such a question from a reader recently. Continue reading “Dealing with alumni adults”


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Who’s to blame when communication fails?

Have you, or your Scouts, ever played the game of Telephone? A group forms a circle, and the first person thinks of a message. He whispers it to the second person, and the second to the third, and so on, until it reaches the last person. The first person says his original message, and the last person repeats what he heard – usually hilariously different from the way it started. It’s a great illustration in the value of clear, accurate communication.

The need to get a message across clearly is important for any team to function effectively. Whether it’s a patrol, a unit committee or a Key 3 relationship, being on the same page is essential to successful group effort, and communication is the key. Failure of the message recipient to understand what they’re being told can cause the collapse of cross-functionality.

Who is responsible for clear communication? Continue reading “Who’s to blame when communication fails?”


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Who do we appreciate?

From the very beginning, Scouting has been a volunteer-driven organization. The paid professionals are but a tiny number of people who make our program go. The heavy lifting is done by the parents and friends who step forward in every unit, district and council.

April is Scouter appreciation month. It’s a great time to recognize the work and dedication that your unit’s volunteers put forth so your Scouts can have a fun and enriching program. We can’t give them a pay raise but we can do many things to show them that their efforts are noticed and worthwhile. Continue reading “Who do we appreciate?”


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