Belief or learning?

brainlock-lekkyjustdoit_200fA commenter on a story in The New York Times made the observation:

Belief is the conviction that one already knows; learning, in contrast, requires an awareness that one has yet to know.

This is what happens when a mania for belief takes over your life. Eventually, you become incapable of learning. New information goes in one ear and out the other — it literally just does not register, as the mind, addicted to belief, blocks it out.

While the original context of the comment had nothing to do with Scouting, I certainly think it applies to some volunteers in our movement.

Too many Scouters come in to Boy Scouts with the belief that they know how the Scouting program should work, and they apply the beliefs they have acquired in life. Often these have to do with their experiences in areas like business management, sports coaching, and even Cub Scouting. They do not have the awareness that Boy Scouting is different. Continue reading “Belief or learning?”

Just tell me what I need to do!

TigerDenLeaderGuide_200School starts in most places in just a few weeks, which means we’re heading into our big recruiting season. Packs will be going out into the schools to spread the word about Cub Scouting, enticing boys with the thrill of adventure, exploration and fun, and hoping they’ll run home to tell their parents that they want to join.

We’re also going to be recruiting their parents as den leaders, committee members and even Cubmasters. Without adult volunteers, Scouting simply wouldn’t exist.

Recruiting boys is relatively easy. They’ll go for anything that appeals to them, and Cub Scouting has it all – and then some.

But recruiting adults is another story. Continue reading “Just tell me what I need to do!”

Why keep score?

scoreboard_200The game of Scouting that we play is indeed a game. We hope that our boys are having fun, and one of the best ways to have fun is to play a game. William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt was the first to describe Scouting as a game with a purpose.

Most games we play have winning as the desired outcome. In order to determine a winner, a metric is needed: the score. Indeed, virtually every game – from sports to darts to cards – has a means of scoring the outcome. The football coach Vince Lombardi was the one who famously pondered:

If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep the score?

The boys playing the game enjoy keeping track of how they’re doing, whether they are playing a sports contest, engaged in a robotics or debate competition, or playing the game of Scouting. Continue reading “Why keep score?”

Why aren’t your leaders trained?

trainedGreenq_125It’s the time of year when we look back on our past experiences and accomplishments over the previous twelve months and make resolutions on what we’re going to change and improve in the year ahead.

In Scouting, sometimes our new year’s resolutions arise out of our unit’s performance on our annual Journey to Excellence evaluation. JTE makes it easy to see where we’re doing well and lacking, and can give us some impetus to make changes. (Next year’s evaluation form should make it easier to tell how we’re doing.)

One of the key areas that many units can improve on is leader training. Continue reading “Why aren’t your leaders trained?”

Selecting volunteers

raised_hands_200As we get back into high gear with our pack and troop programs, we may find that we’ve had some “churn” in our adult commitments. Perhaps a family moved away over the summer or decided on a shift in priorities. When that happens, an adult who made a commitment to volunteer in our unit is no longer available. This churn is most common in Cub Scouting, as den leaders move up and new dens (particularly Tiger dens) form, membership in the various den levels gets redistributed, or an adult in a key role has experienced a change in outside commitments, such as work or other involvement, and can’t continue in that role.

You might thin the term selecting volunteers is a bit strange – Continue reading “Selecting volunteers”