On gratitude

Thanksgiving has become a speed bump in the marketing cycle that starts before Halloween and continues all the way to Christmas and beyond. In the past, it marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, retailers have been tripping over themselves to attract customers by cutting prices and opening earlier. Forget about opening at the usual hour of nine or ten AM on what has come to be called Black Friday. Midnight is no longer early enough as evidenced by some of the big stores opening up Thanksgiving evening and even late in the afternoon. (But, kudos to REI Co-Op, outdoor retailer and favorite supplier of Scouts, for giving its associates Friday off to go out and appreciate the outdoors.)

The holiday itself features parades, football games and gut-busting dinners shared around a table with families, with all the friction you might expect. Continue reading “On gratitude”

Questions from a new den leader

If your Cub Scout pack is typical, you’ll not only be recruiting Scouts this fall – you’ll also be recruiting adult leaders. Den Leaders are the ones that packs usually need the most, and they’re the most important because they deliver the program.

Your prospective den leaders will undoubtedly be full of questions, since many will come to you with either no Scouting background or perhaps have experienced Scouting as a youth member many years ago. I found this list of questions a new den leader might typically ask, Continue reading “Questions from a new den leader”

Adults on troop outings

A reader wrote to me a few weeks back asking for advice on how to select adults to go along on troop campouts, particularly those featuring above-the-norm, interesting activities. This reader felt that certain adults were given first crack repeatedly, that most of the adults were being bypassed when it came to offering the chance to participate, and he asked if some sort of a lottery or rotation system should be put in place.

I responded by saying that first and foremost, Scouting is for the Scouts. It’s not something that the adults plan and do because they like it or find it interesting, and include the youth in the process. Adults are there to make it possible for the Scouts to do Scout stuff. Continue reading “Adults on troop outings”

Dealing with alumni adults

A while back, we ran a couple articles about the role that other adults play in a Boy Scout troop. By “other” adults, I’m referring to assistant Scoutmasters, committee members and parents of Scouts.

But sometimes, you encounter a situation where adults like to stick around after their sons have aged out and moved on. They’d like to stay associated with the troop but no longer have a Scout registered.

I received such a question from a reader recently. Continue reading “Dealing with alumni adults”

Who do we appreciate?

From the very beginning, Scouting has been a volunteer-driven organization. The paid professionals are but a tiny number of people who make our program go. The heavy lifting is done by the parents and friends who step forward in every unit, district and council.

April is Scouter appreciation month. It’s a great time to recognize the work and dedication that your unit’s volunteers put forth so your Scouts can have a fun and enriching program. We can’t give them a pay raise but we can do many things to show them that their efforts are noticed and worthwhile. Continue reading “Who do we appreciate?”