Many troops scale back a bit during the summer months, so in the coming weeks the list of things to pay attention to will shrink somewhat. There are still several things you need to ensure get handled before the break.
- Make sure final details for summer camp are taken care of. Are all fees paid to the camp? Is every Scout who is attending registered? Do you know which adults are attending and is everyone’s paperwork (health forms, youth protection training, any required clearances) complete? Who is taking and returning the troop trailer? Are the tents and cooking gear in good repair, if you provide your own? Do you have enough drivers to transport Scouts? Have you filed a tour plan if you need to? Also, be prepared to pay any miscellaneous charges incurred while at camp, as well as make a deposit in case you need to reserve your slot for summer of 2014.
- It’s a good idea to go over summer camp details with parents, especially parents of new Scouts. You might want to hold one final meeting just to review things like what their son should be packing, how much money to send with him, and how they’ll be able to contact you during the week. You should also review homesickness prevention strategies with your parents, especially the part about not trying to contact their sons while they’re busy at camp. One of the most beneficial things they can do is to talk up how much fun their son will have at camp, and avoid saying things like “we’ll miss you so much” and “if you don’t like it we’ll come and get you.” The resources in the article, as well as those in Clarke Green’s podcast and blog, will help guide parents.
- Be sure you communicate exactly when and where to meet before heading off to camp, and when and where the boys will return. If you typically plan a court of honor at or after camp to recognize ranks and merit badges earned, be sure you let everyone know the details.
- June is a good time to do a mid-year checkup on how your troop is living up to the Journey to Excellence. While data in all categories isn’t available until close to the end of the year, you can see if you are on track with things like trained adult leadership, membership growth, planned short- and long-term camping, and Webelos-to-Scout transition. Ensure that your troop records its service projects in the JTE website. And have your Scouts been incorporating the fitness benchmarks into their troop meetings? You can pick up in areas that are deficient now to improve your final tally. Remember, the Journey to Excellence isn’t so much a standard to be met as it is an indication of a healthy and active troop that’s providing a Scouting program of greatest benefit to the boys.
I’ll be back toward the end of June with some reminders for July and the summer months.
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