Yes, I said Quality Scouts – not Quality Unit, District or Council. We’ve talked about the current and future Quality Unit evaluations – the Centennial Quality Unit award and the new Journey to Excellence. Most units have completed or are going through their annual evaluations to see how they measure up.
I’d like to suggest that in order to have a Quality Unit, you have to have Quality Scouts as well. What do I mean by Quality Scouts? I’m referring to having Scouts who are engaged, involved, interested, and active. Although a lot of troops and packs have trouble recruiting scouts (for reasons we’ll talk about some other time), you may be fortunate to have a large roster of “active” Scouts — defined as registered in good standing and paying dues — but it doesn’t do you, or them, any good if many of those Scouts aren’t really actively taking part in outdoor activities, attending troop or pack meetings, and advancing.
Ask yourself the question of whether you’d rather have a large roster of dues-paying youth, or a smaller roster of more highly-functioning Scouts who really make the troop or pack go. This runs counter to goals of increasing membership that most councils and districts are facing, but what good is it if we are just collecting registration forms and fees but not fulfilling the mission to instill the values of the Oath and Law?
If at all possible, your program should be engaging all the boys in your unit, so they do derive the benefits of Scouting. But almost every unit has a few boys who just don’t fit the mold. Work carefully with those boys to get them engaged, but don’t hesitate to suggest another path if they would benefit by following it.