The “what” comes immediately. The “why” takes longer.

whowhatwhy_stuartmiles_200If there’s one thing that Scouting does thoroughly for its adult volunteers (besides handbooks and publications, that is), it’s training.

There are all manner of courses for training every volunteer position, from den leader to council chairman. Basic training courses are offered online and in person for unit positions – a first exposure to adult leadership at the pack and troop level. In-depth seminars and specialty classes at events like Pow-Wow and University of Scouting expand on that knowledge. High-level courses such as Wood Badge and Advanced Backcountry Leadership Experience put Scouters through the wringer. For the serious volunteer, there are week-long courses at Philmont that offer something for everyone.

Yes, the BSA is big on training – make no mistake about it. Continue reading “The “what” comes immediately. The “why” takes longer.”

Course correction for your journey

JTE-White_250A few weeks ago I answered a question about whether a unit should rearrange its adult roster to take advantage of points available on the Journey to Excellence. By registering a den leader as an assistant Cubmaster instead, the pack would qualify for additional JTE points and possibly a higher level.

It’s not a good idea to fudge the numbers this way, because it doesn’t accurately reflect where your unit stands, and takes away an opportunity to realize where you can improve your service to your youth members.

While you shouldn’t try to optimize your JTE score this way, you can certainly use it to suggest a course correction for your Journey in the coming year. Continue reading “Course correction for your journey”

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?”