Why do volunteers falter?

discouraged_200Scouting is a volunteer organization. We knew that already. Except for a relatively few paid staff members at the national and local council levels, almost all of the work of Scouting is done by volunteer adults, giving of their own time and resources to make Scouting happen for the youth.

Because of this volunteer nature, the people who actually keep the wheels turning are in a different position and place than in a typical large organization such as a corporate or governmental entity. Much of this involves generous people stepping forward to take on sometimes challenging roles; other times we invite selected individuals to join our movement and carry its aims forward. Continue reading “Why do volunteers falter?”

Know the rules!

rulebooksEvery game has its rules. They can be very basic or highly complex. Any baseball fan who knows the infield fly rule can tell you just how complex the rules of the game can get.

Scouting is a game. Our founder, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, even said so. It’s a game with a purpose but it’s still basically a game. And like almost all games, there are rules for the game of Scouting. Our rules can range from the very basic – “Be prepared!” and “Keep it simple, make it fun!” – to the very complex, as you might find in the Guide to Advancement.

Why do we have rules? Continue reading “Know the rules!”

Micromanaging: a bad idea

puppetWe’ve all been there, I’m sure. We’ve worked for, or with, someone who quite figuratively can’t see the forest for the trees. Someone who fusses over every small detail of a project, process or workplace and who directs even the most minute function, whether it’s something he or she knows about or not.

Micromanaging, as it’s come to be known, is the bane of corporate existence. Articles and entire books have been written about the phenomenon and what to do about it. It has even spawned a wildly popular comic strip, Dilbert, in which a typical engineer is tormented daily by his boss with inane orders, processes and obstacles to getting any work done.

Unfortunately, Scouting isn’t exempt from the micromanagers. Continue reading “Micromanaging: a bad idea”

How Scouting helps identity development

seven_arrows_200Last week I attended an orientation session at the university my son is attending in the fall. There were separate sessions for the new students and for the soon-to-be parents of a college kid. Besides the expected talks on dorm life, financial aid and how to pay the bill, several university staffers presented segments on various aspects of adjusting to college life.

One of the most interesting talks was on the topic of student well-being. Going beyond adjusting to a roommate and using the health center and recreation facilities, the speaker enlightened us on the steps of identity development that our students would most likely go through during their years in college. Continue reading “How Scouting helps identity development”