This weekend our District held its annual Webelos Woods camp out. The attendance was very bad this year, some blamed it on a date change, while others placed the blame on Homecoming weekend at most of the high Schools in our area. Well, I should reserve judgement and so I will just say that the Troops that thought it was an important event, and the Packs that know that it is a good way to check out the Boy Scout Program took the time to show up. They at least put out effort to provide a program for the Webelos Scouts that will soon be crossing over. So kudos to those units that took the time to participate.
Our Troop had a dozen or more that attended giving a lot of junior leaders an opportunity to step up and lead. We set up our bi- pod climbing event this year which is always a hit. With the low attendance, there was plenty of time for everyone to climb as much as they wanted.
This is a big recruiting event for Troops, and in most cases a lost opportunity. It is a chance to show case your unit and develop relationships with Webelos Dens and Cub Scout Packs. Throughout the day I helped with Boy Scout Training evey once in a while peaking in on the Troop to make sure all was going smooth. It was.
After the training sessions and most of the activitues wrapped up a couple of Cub Scouters came to a few of us Scoutmasters to ask those critical questions, you know those questions that every one should ask when looking for a Troop to cross over. Is the troop Scout led? What kind of Outdoor program do you have? Is the Order of Arrow important to you and your Scouts? Are you a merit badge factory? You can always tell the folks that are looking for a good troop by the questions that they ask. So we stood and talked about our programs for about an hour answering any and all questions. It was a lot of fun.
After the big camp fire program on Saturday night, a Webelos den leader asked if I had a few minutes to talk with her Scouts. Of course I replied that I had all the time that they needed so we went to the dinning hall were a lot of folks had gathered to escape the chilly evening air.
I found a table and soon a crowd of parents, Cub Scout leaders, and one of my Assistant Scoutmasters had gathered at the table. The Q & A session picked up where it had left off earlier in the day, but more discussion about details of the progam and thoughts on discipline, expectations, and philosophy of Scouting became the subjects.
I shared my philosphy on Troops being different ice cream flavors and how they represent the different ways in which we deliver the promise of Scouting. I told the parents that while I would love for their sons to join my Troop, not all of them will like our flavor. I would rather see them join a different Troop were they will find a place that they want to be than join a Troop and not be an active participant and then drop out.
i told the group that the beauty of the Scouting program and allowing Troops to have their own flavor is that the boy can find his adventure. He can pick and choose that unit that he feels right in, the unit that will meet his scouting needs. It is how Scouting works for so many young men. I think that is a great part of this organization.
Then the boys came over… and that is when the fun began. They had great questions and shared stories with me. We had a great time. I hope that some of them come to my Troop. I would love to have all of them, but know that we just won’t work for some Scouts and their families. We spent the better part of an hour and half laughing, talking, an answering questions with those young men, it was a great evening.
I think that when we offer our program to young men that we need to make sure that we allow them to seek and find their adventiure. Scoutmasters should not be so quick to just expect a crossing over Scout to come to their Troop just because they always came from “that pack”. Scoutmasters should be willing to assist those young boys to find their adventure.
Based on what I saw this weekend.. they are looking, and I hope they found it with our Troop.
Have a Great Scouting day!