Volunteer – Just Do It!

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably an adult volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America or another Scouting organization. We were the ones who took a step forward – or stayed in place when everyone else stepped back – and found ourselves in a job we didn’t know much about at first, other than it would help the pack go, or allow us to be with our children and have some fun and adventures with them and their friends.

When I first volunteered to be a den leader, our Cubmaster told me that I needed to do two things – go to basic training, and attend Roundtable each month. Wanting to not let down the boys in my den, I went and got trained, and each month I joined our Cubmaster and many others at Roundtable.

At these events, I marveled at the knowledge and experience of the volunteers leading the sessions. Continue reading “Volunteer – Just Do It!”

Accepting refugees

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

If you follow the news at all, there’s no way to avoid hearing about what some are portraying as a grave threat to our country – an “invasion” by a caravan of “dangerous criminals” with plans to “attack our borders”. The claims are that there are “ISIS” “terrorists”  who are “unknown Middle Easterners,” “hardened criminals” and “very tough fighters” who are “bringing smallpox” and have intentions of spreading mayhem. Tens of thousands of military troops have been dispatched to the border to quell this “insurrection.”

Cooler heads realize that the caravan – many hundreds of miles from our border – is composed of, at most, a couple thousand people, mainly from Honduras. For these mostly women and children, many with nothing but the clothes on their back – shoeless, even – things are so bad in their home countries that they are willing to risk the trip Continue reading “Accepting refugees”

Two-deep leadership updates

By now, you should have taken the new Youth Protection Training course online to bring your training current. As we’ve discussed before, everyone must take the new course, which was released in February, regardless of the expiration date of your YPT. If you haven’t taken the new YPT, do it now!

The recent revisions to the Boy Scouts of America’s youth protection practices include updates to the policy requiring two adult leaders at all Scouting activities. The national youth protection team has provided some important clarifications and answered many questions about the new policy: Continue reading “Two-deep leadership updates”

Move over, helicopter parents: Here comes the snowplow

You’ve probably heard the term helicopter parents. These are parents who seem to hover above their children, manipulating them like marionettes and steering them around life’s obstacles. Afraid to see their children fail, they try to push them to make the right decisions, acting as managers and spokesmen and try to erase any uncertainty. We’ve written about the subject several times in the context of highly organized activity schedules, staying out of the Scouts’ way, and mentoring and guiding our Scouts, rather than directing and managing them.

I heard another term a couple weeks ago listening to a radio interview with a local parenting expert.  In a discussion on raising resilient kids and teaching them the coping skills they’ll need later in life, Continue reading “Move over, helicopter parents: Here comes the snowplow”

Comfort and joy

Over the last few weeks, our offices at work have undergone some renovations, including removal of the 25-year-old wall coverings, painting, general cleaning and rearranging of the furniture. The good news is that I get a new office cubicle with more space and a bit more privacy, but the downside has been working in the interim in temporary quarters, jammed into a small room with several of my co-workers. (But let me be clear that my co-workers are not a downside – I happen to work with a great team that gets along very well.)

During the process, the painters had their obligatory boom-box going in the next room. Ordinarily you’d hear rock and roll or country music, but they usually had the radio tuned to the station playing Christmas music. I thought “oh brother, here come the same twelve Christmas songs over and over” and spent the rest of the day with echoes of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You rattling in my head. Six weeks of that, I told myself, is more miserable than waiting for the groundhog’s prediction to come true.

But then it occurred to me why we embrace the holiday season. Continue reading “Comfort and joy”