A lot of us were drawn into Scouting as adults with the assurance that “it’s only an hour a week.” We’d be hosting a fun activity, we were told, using the published handbooks and planners, so we don’t have to work through it ourselves. We’ll have help – the other parents will pitch in. We can get trained so the job is even easier. And that’s all there is to it!
It’s only later that we find we take on a second hour, then a third, because we like the way that things are going. We enjoy being with other civic-minded adults, usually our neighbors, who are enthusiastic about Scouting. We like being able to do things that we can’t do otherwise, like camping inside a professional baseball stadium or a Navy sub. We like the fun that our sons are having because it’s good, clean fun. And we start to see that it really is a game with a purpose: help other people, obey the rules, do your best.
And once we get a couple years under our belts, we might be asked (or volunteer) to help at the district level. Would you help train other leaders? Would you help the camping committee with day camp? Can you give a presentation at Roundtable? (Oh, and we could always use another Roundtable staff member. Would you be interested?)
In much the same way as we watch our boys grow and develop their skills, then go on to help the younger ones as they get older, so do we start giving back to Scouting by helping others. We had fun on the way up; everyone should have that opportunity!
I suspect that if you’re reading this article, you’ve gone beyond that second and third hour to the point where it’s almost like another full-time job. We go to work and do the job we get paid to do, but in our time away from work we find ourselves doing more and more for our pack, troop, district or council. Clarke Green summed it up very well in a piece called Extraordinary People in his podcast number nineteen a couple years ago. We become those extraordinary people because we do things that are beyond the ordinary.
Scouting is different. Scouting is not something you clear your schedule for an evening and go do for an hour a week, then return to your home and your life and resume whatever you were doing before. Maybe this is true of your bowling league, or poker group, or softball team, but Scouting is different. Unlike most other activities, Scouting is more about “be” than “do.” When we become involved in Scouting, not only do we the instill the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law in our youth, but those values rub off on us as well.