Even leaders make mistakes

To err is human, said the poet Alexander Pope over three hundred years ago. Everyone makes mistakes. Scouts make mistakes. In fact, the Scouting program is built partly to allow young people to safely make mistakes and learn from them. In the words of Samuel Beckett, No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

But while making mistakes is a common and not often fatal attribute, in certain cases they can cause disruption in an organization. The fatality arises from the inability to recognize mistakes for what they are.

You’ve probably encountered someone who just can’t admit having made a mistake. Continue reading “Even leaders make mistakes”

Fill in the blanks – the right way

With fall comes our surge of new members in the Boy Scouts of America – mainly in the Cub Scouting program – and with it comes the paperwork. The BSA membership of our current members gets renewed at recharter time, but those new to Scouting or new to our units (including transfers from other packs) need to complete a membership application. And of course, this means both youth and adults.

For the last year or two, it’s been possible to submit applications online. This allows the new member to complete a paperless application, have it routed automatically to the unit leader or committee chair and chartered organization representative for approval, and forwarded to the council for processing. Key unit leaders must be registered on my.scouting.org, and will receive emails to notify them of new applications needing their action. The system makes the process smooth and foolproof with no paper to handle.

For various reasons, though, this approach isn’t optimal for many units: Continue reading “Fill in the blanks – the right way”

The blessing and curse of email

Sometimes I wonder what we ever did before email became ubiquitous. I remember having phone lists and calling trees, phoning the pack leaders to let them know about an important item or change, and calling all my den parents to remind them about the upcoming den meeting or outing. We had printed newsletters, calendars and activity handouts, which got revised frequently resulting in lots of paper thrown away or recycled.

Email has become the most important way to distribute information. What better way than to type a few lines and hit Send and have your message instantly appear for others to read?

When used properly, email is a powerful tool. Continue reading “The blessing and curse of email”

Get a head start on fall

It’s still summer across the country and we’re mostly in that mode of thinking – summer camp or day camp, pack picnics and bike rides, hiking and weekend camping. Families are enjoying vacations, relaxing in the back yard or at the lake, working in the garden or taking in the splendors of summer.

But like the retail world, Scouting works a season ahead, and now is the time to put some thought to the coming fall and the resumption of school and our Scouting programs.

Here are some ideas to kelp you kick-start your program year: Continue reading “Get a head start on fall”

A mid-year checkup

Depending on where you are, school is probably out, or will be out soon. Packs are wrapping up their program year and reminding parents of the summer’s planned activities. Troops are still meeting, though perhaps on a relaxed schedule, and are getting ready for summer camp, the highlight of the year. But in general, the pace of activities steps down a notch or two.

There’s one thing you should consider doing before heading for camp, or for the lake, or hitting the road for that summer vacation: Do a mid-year checkup of your unit. Continue reading “A mid-year checkup”