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:

  • Attend your district’s program kickoff. It’s like a Roundtable, only it provides details on your district and council activities aimed at your Scouts. While these are sometimes held in the spring, sessions will often take place in late summer. You can solidify your calendar or fill in the gaps so you’ll have a complete slate of activities when those new Scouts join in September.
  • Make sure all your leadership positions are filled. Unsure about who is leading the Bear den? Make some calls and invite a parent to step up to leadership. Are you including the kindergarten Lions in your pack? You need to have an experienced adult leader in place. Scouts want to do things from the get-go; they won’t wait around while you figure out who is going to lead them.
  • And speaking of adult leadership, make sure everyone is trained! Not just the required Youth Protection Training but position-specific training for den leaders, Cubmaster and assistants, and committee members. While Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters still need in-person training, troop committee members can take their training online. It’s easy to do with MyScouting. Unit Key 3 leaders can see everyone’s training status and can let untrained leaders know how to get trained. It’s time well spent to learn how to do their jobs – especially in Cub Scouts, where most leaders don’t have previous Scouting experience. Every Scout deserves a trained leader, so make sure they all have one! Your district may also have in-person training, which  you’ll find out about at the program kickoff session.
  • Remind all of your adult leaders to attend the monthly leader Roundtable that’s put on by your district’s Commissioner staff. In an hour and a half, they’ll learn about council and district activities, meet with fellow leaders and pick up program helps for the following month’s theme. Put the Roundtable dates for the year on your pack or troop calendar and don’t schedule any unit activities (den, pack, troop or committee meetings) on those nights!
  • Check your unit’s Scout Me In pin on the BeAScout website to make sure it has accurate contact and meeting information, and if necessary, update it.
  • As sure as fall rolls around, popcorn sales will be back. Nearly every council sponsors a popcorn product sale and most units participate as a way to get out in the community and raise some funds for our packs and troops. If your council participates in Trail’s End Popcorn sales, there’s a new app for smartphones that streamlines the sales process. It lets individual Scouts (or their parents) make sales at show & sell locations and door-to-door, take orders, accept credit cards and track progress toward an individual goal. Check with your council popcorn coordinator for details (if they haven’t already e-mailed you).
  • Of course, you’ll want to establish the dates and reserve your school, church or other facility for your pack meetings, troop meetings and committee meetings if you haven’t already done so.

Put these steps in motion so you’ll have a smooth start to your program year. It’ll save a lot of running around at the last minute and relieve you of a major headache.

Did I miss anything? What are you doing to get your unit and your Scouts ready for fall excitement? Leave a comment below and share with your fellow Scouters. Thanks!

This post Get a head start on fall first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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