Family Scouting Early Adopter program

In October 2017, the Boy Scouts of America took the historic step of deciding to allow girls into our Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting programs  The introduction of Family Scouting, as it’s known, into Cub Scout packs was to begin by the fall recruiting season in 2018, while the parallel program for girls of Boy Scout age is due to start sometime in 2019.

Now, under the Early Adopter program, councils which opt-in are allowing packs to begin recruiting girls this winter. Continue reading “Family Scouting Early Adopter program”

Looking from the outside in

At our church, I serve on a committee that oversees our communication efforts. Among our tasks are the advertising and promotions that we place in local media, our various “side-door” ministries (activities that help to enrich the community, like Scouting) and the church website. We redesigned the website this year, and one of the topics that we added was a look at our Sunday worship for those who are visiting us for the first time, and what they could expect when they walked through our doors.

As we tossed around ideas for the first-time visitor section, we had to envision walking into our church – something we do each week without much thought – as if we had never been there before. Sure, we had all been first-timers once, but it had been a long time since we gave it any thought. Not only did it open our eyes to things we stopped noticing years ago, but it led to some redesign work in the church to make it easier for newcomers to find their way.

The process got me to thinking about how first-time visitors to our packs and troops must feel. Continue reading “Looking from the outside in”

There IS a better tool

soccerball_250As fall recruiting season nears, we’re putting together our plans to make sure every boy has an opportunity to join Scouting – scheduling Join Scouting nights, polishing our presentations and getting ready with another year of fun, adventure and enrichment.

You can tell that fall is approaching because our competition is getting their act in gear as well. All over town, I’ve noticed signs springing up announcing that youth sports leagues are forming, for kids age 3 to 17. Competing for space on street corners with the political signs, these promote a certain non-profit organization that franchises youth sports programs in towns around the country.

I won’t mention the name of the organization, but a check of their website boasts of over one million participants in towns from coast to coast, offering leagues, camps and clinics in today’s most popular sports. In a way, the organization is similar to Scouting in that kids at all skill levels are welcome, with no tryouts. Everyone plays in every game, sessions are one day a week, and trained officials are present. There’s no mandatory volunteering and, unlike us, no fundraising of any kind. Continue reading “There IS a better tool”

Is there a “recruiting season”?

another_250In a couple all-too-short months, it’ll be fall, and Cub Scout packs will be holding Boy Talks and Join Scouting nights, re-registering boys for another year of fun and accepting new ones into the fold. Fun lies ahead, and we don’t want them to miss out on any of it.

Boy Scout troops usually accept new members in the winter or spring when Cub Scouts cross over. Months of preparation go into planning joint activities, going to den meetings and having the Arrow of Light Scouts visit our troops. The two meet at crossover, where the new Boy Scouts take the leap into their next adventure.

Looking at the way we do things, it’s as if we open our doors twice a year: once in the fall for the Cub Scouts, and once in the winter for Boy Scouts.

But step back – it really isn’t that way. Continue reading “Is there a “recruiting season”?”

The “I Just Want to Play” League

sandlot2_250If you’re the parent of a child involved in organized sports, you are undoubtedly aware of how competitive playing a game has become. And it’s not the children who are competitive – it’s the parents. Sure, many of the kids want to get in there and do well at their sport, but the parents push them to do better. Many are finding that other parents have outdone them, enrolling their kids in special training camps, instructional sessions and skill drills in hopes they’ll make it in a highly-competitive league. They plead with teachers and school administrators to do what they can to give their children better grades so high-profile college teams won’t dismiss them. Recreational leagues can be cut-throat. Parents scream at the children and coaches from the sidelines during games. And this all starts – incredibly – in grade school.

But kids, for the most part, don’t want to be in a highly-competitive sports league. They just want to play. Continue reading “The “I Just Want to Play” League”