Accepting refugees

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

If you follow the news at all, there’s no way to avoid hearing about what some are portraying as a grave threat to our country – an “invasion” by a caravan of “dangerous criminals” with plans to “attack our borders”. The claims are that there are “ISIS” “terrorists”  who are “unknown Middle Easterners,” “hardened criminals” and “very tough fighters” who are “bringing smallpox” and have intentions of spreading mayhem. Tens of thousands of military troops have been dispatched to the border to quell this “insurrection.”

Cooler heads realize that the caravan – many hundreds of miles from our border – is composed of, at most, a couple thousand people, mainly from Honduras. For these mostly women and children, many with nothing but the clothes on their back – shoeless, even – things are so bad in their home countries that they are willing to risk the trip Continue reading “Accepting refugees”

Barriers to entry

fence_250Have you ever joined something – a club, team or organization – and had to cross a hurdle in order to be a member?

Clubs have membership requirements. Most sports teams have tryouts. You have to meet the job requirements as a step in getting hired.

Scouting has its membership requirement. For Cub Scouts, it’s really simple – be a boy in grades one through five. Boys need only be eleven years old but not yet eighteen to be a Boy Scout. Simple, right?

We also have our joining requirements, but we let new members in the door before they complete, or even start, fulfilling them. Continue reading “Barriers to entry”

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”?”

To play, or not to play?

ccsoccer_200Ready or not, summer is coming to a close, fall is rapidly approaching, and with it the start of school. We’re gearing up for our Join Scouting nights and Boy Talks and enticing young people (and their parents) to join our packs with our fun programs and cool activities.

There are also those who have had a year or two experience with Scouting and are on the fence, deciding whether they’d like to continue on with more of the same or branch off into other activities. It’s always a shame to lose a Scout and his family if  they have the impression that they’ll see the year ahead as “been there, done that” with the kinds of things they’ve done already rather than as a progression into activities that build on what they’ve done and involve new things they can do as they grow.

One reason for this reluctance is the preponderance of youth sports teams, whose seasons are really anything but a continuum or progression. Continue reading “To play, or not to play?”

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”