Years ago, AT&T, parent of the Bell Telephone companies, ran an advertising campaign which encouraged people to use their long-distance services to keep in contact with friends. The “Reach Out and Touch Someone” series of ads had everyone singing along and even inspired people to make a few more telephone calls.
The thought that we, as Scouters, should reach out and touch someone is a very good one, particularly when it helps us escape the closed world of our own troop or pack. How often have you been stumped about how to handle a situation, run an activity or plan an event? How many things that are happening all around you have you missed out on?
It can be a lonely world for a den leader struggling with putting on a den program for eight or ten active boys. It can be overwhelming to try to figure everything out. Fortunately, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel – as they say, borrow one! The way to cure that loneliness is to reach out – outside your own unit – and touch someone by talking to fellow leaders in other packs.
One of the best ways to reach out is by attending your district’s monthly Roundtable gathering. I realize that, for many leaders, asking for a couple more hours a month is a lot, but consider the benefits. You’ll meet adult leaders from other packs and troops who are going through the same thing you’re going through. You’ll get to know your district professionals and commissioner staff, and find out what’s happening in your district and council. You’ll get first word of important deadlines and requirements. But most of all, you’ll be able to share experiences with others who are doing the same things that you’re doing, and save yourself a lot of time and grief in the process. You’ll get support from others, validation for the things you’re doing right (and maybe help someone else too) and correction for those areas where you could improve. And along the way, you’ll make friends who can help you break out of the closed-in Scouting world that you live in if you don’t get out of your own unit. This applies to all adult leaders in Cub Scout packs as well as in Boy Scout troops, and helps you provide a better Scouting experience for the boys.
Another way you can reach out is very much like the telephone company hoped you’d do, and that’s via telecommunications. Specifically, there are hundreds of Scouting blogs, websites, podcasts and e-mail lists that are abuzz with talk of Scouting online. If you are reading this, you’re probably already taking part in the online Scouting conversation, but you probably know someone who could benefit from some of your favorite online resources. Why not share them?
It’s not much fun if you have to stay in the house all the time. By not reaching outside your own pack or troop, you’re effectively staying indoors, never meeting other people and sharing the experience. Get out and meet your fellow Scouters – it will enrich your experience and help you help your Scouts and others as well.
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net