Build it and they will come

Field_Of_DreamsAbout four years ago, our community voted on itself a tax increase to build a new library. Even though it was only twenty or so years old, the former library building was way too small. There was hardly any space to hold the burgeoning collection of materials and provide room for modern technology such as computers and DVDs. Though it had lots of programs and regular users, there just wasn’t enough room. A committee of dedicated volunteers and professionals designed and built a beautiful new building so big that six of our former libraries could fit inside. There are quiet areas, conference rooms, a coffee shop and a large conference room, plus room to grow. The amazing thing to note is that in this day and age of being able to look up just about anything online, the parking lot is packed every time I drive by, seven days a week, and it’s difficult sometimes to find an available study room when I meet Scouts there to go over merit badges. Continue reading “Build it and they will come”

A warm Scouting handshake

handshake_200Last week we discussed some of the ways we can overcome the hesitation that Scouts and families may have at joining a troop. After as much as five years in Cub Scouts, preparing to become Boy Scouts, most boys will be looking forward to joining the adventure, and their parents will be coming with them.

The next challenge for new Scouts joining your troop is keeping them engaged and involved. Continue reading “A warm Scouting handshake”

More on “sports parents” and Scouting

bsalax_200In February, we posted an article titled Signing Day in which we explored the high-profile world of high school athletes committing to play sports in college and how the “race to the top” ends up costing parents, families and youth dearly, often to grave disappointment. A few months later, Bryan Wendell of Scouting Magazine blogged about the phenomenon as well.

More continues to be written about the youth sports craze and how parents can best manage their children’s, and their own, experience and expectations.  Continue reading “More on “sports parents” and Scouting”

What Cub Scout membership coordinators need to know

youthapp_200Cub Scout packs are making plans to get their programs going for the next year of fun and excitement. Join Scouting nights are getting scheduled and all the recruiting materials are being updated. But Scouting’s raw material is membership, for without the boys we don’t have a movement!

A pivotal committee function at this time of year is the membership coordinator, whose job is to register all of our new Scouts and re-register the returning boys for another year of fun. Often, though, we find that this important job is either being done by other committee members or by a new parent without a good understanding of the process. The responsibility for unit membership really is a separate task which calls for a dedicated individual to handle it.

When a new parent steps into the role, there’s usually a lot to learn about the membership process, and when it’s a parent new to Scouting they have to learn a little of everything! Continue reading “What Cub Scout membership coordinators need to know”

Look at yourself!

Taking a break from answering readers’ questions, a recent Ask Andy column, Troop Spotting instead gives advice to parents of Arrow of Light Scouts who are shopping for a troop. Much of the advice is stuff we know about: uniforming, youth leadership, the adult role. It’s thoughtful, comprehensive, and gives soon-to-be Boy Scouts and their parents some great information when looking for a troop.

Besides being useful to boys about to cross over, it’s also a great checklist to size up our own troop. Continue reading “Look at yourself!”