Avoiding planned-in conflicts

One of my jobs as a unit commissioner is to keep the leadership of my troops and packs informed about happenings around our council. Most events are pretty well publicized and advertised in newsletters and at Roundtable, but we often get inside information at commissioner meetings that can help our units when it comes to planning their activities.

However, it frequently happens that a pack plans its winter sleepover on the same date as another council event, or a troop camps the same weekend as the required adult leader training course that their new Scoutmaster needs to take. Some plan their meetings on the same night as Roundtable. Continue reading “Avoiding planned-in conflicts”

Pinewood Derby pitfalls

“Things went pretty well. I only had three boys cry.”

That’s an actual quote from an actual Cubmaster following his pack’s annual Pinewood Derby race held last week.

If you’re a Cubmaster, I’m sure it has happened to you as well. The trophies are all lined up, and the boys all dream of taking one home. The cars are carved, painted and weighed. Then the race is on. A wheel falls off, or wobbles, the masterpiece goes skittering off the track or scrapes along to the finish line, and the car comes in last. Hopes turn to disappointment – sometimes more than a tender young heart can bear. Continue reading “Pinewood Derby pitfalls”

2017 Advancement Updates

January first is usually a significant day in the advancement process. Most rank and merit badge requirement changes become effective as of the first of the year. New Year’s Day in 2016 marked significant and sweeping changes in Boy Scout requirements. Most ranks saw changes or an overhaul, and Scout was added as an official rank and not just the joining requirement. The permissive period started January 1, 2016, meaning that Scouts who were working toward a rank could continue to use the old requirements until they completed that rank, but had to use the new requirements if they started after that date. As of January 1, 2017, all Scouts have to use the new requirements.

Possibly less noticed were the requirement changes that took effect January 1, 2017. Yes, there were a few – some you probably didn’t hear about – but they are worth noting. Continue reading “2017 Advancement Updates”

Help your Scouts pay their own way

As youth groups go, Scouting is extremely cost-effective. Where else can Scouts experience fun and adventure for such a reasonable cost?

When I share the opportunity to become a Friend of Scouting, I often tell parents gathered at courts of honor and Blue & Gold Banquets that, dollar for dollar, Scouting is one of the least expensive youth programs available. Many parents understand this if they also pay the costs associated with other youth activities like travel sports. And the value is not just in the good times the Scouts enjoy, but the broad spectrum of activities – not to mention the values and aims of Scouting that we (hopefully) deliver.

But there is a cost, even though it isn’t that much, and someone needs to pay it. Continue reading “Help your Scouts pay their own way”

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 “Avoiding the expert mountain”