As you may know, the Boy Scouts of America has been around for about 100 years. I will skip the entire history which can be found in many other places. The important thing for you to know is that the Scouting movement has been training boys for over 100 years. During this time the program has been updated and evolved as needed but at its core it has always had the same three targets called the Aims of Scouting:
"How do I know my son is safe?"
If you are wondering if your son is safe with the Scoutmaster and the Assistant Scoutmasters, the answer is "Most Definitely!" All of the adult leaders (Scouters) are required by the B.S.A. to be trained in youth protection and hazardous weather once every other year. The BSA Youth Protection Program is one of the best in the world. The Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters also go to Scoutmaster training which requires us to attend three two-hour classroom sessions and a three-day weekend that teaches us how to do the job right. Two of us have gone further still and attended an advanced leadership-training course called Wood Badge. This training program consists of six days of training, and to finish the course the participants must complete five projects in an 18-month period that improve local scouting. You can tell Wood Badge trained Scouters because they wear a strip of leather with two to four small wooden beads around their neck. If you are still concerned, it may help set your mind at ease to know there are currently eight Eagle Scouts among the Scouters that camp with your son. Your son could not be in better hands other than your own.
"What do I do if I have a great idea?"
Boy Scouts is boy led and boy run. If you have an interesting idea, tell your son's Patrol Leader and/or tell the Senior Patrol Leader. If you have a flyer or other information about a cool place, the same thing applies. You need to sell the idea to the Scouts not the adults. The Scouts decide what they are going to do, where they are going to go and how they are going to go about doing it with only guidance from the Scouters.
"What do I do if I have a concern?"
Boy Scouts is boy planned and boy executed. There are many cases where a parent's concern can be handled better by the scout's patrol leader or the senior patrol leader. The Scoutmaster and his assistants are always willing to answer questions in person, by email or on the phone. Sometimes you may be directed to a youth leader because the answer lies within their circle of responsibility. If you don't get a satisfactory answer from the youth leader, feel free to ask the Scouter again. This gives the Scouters the opportunity to help the Scouts grow in their position.
"How do I know what is going on?"
We have a troop web site, www.sharonscouts.org, and an online calendar that reflects all of the upcoming events for the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in Sharon.
We run all of our communications by meeting announcements and emails. There are also times when we send out text messages or make phone calls.
We send hard copies of announcements home.
After each meeting, ask your son what is going on in the next couple of weeks. He may remember a handout he stuffed in his pocket before he left; then again, he may not. It's okay the information is on the calendar and the web site. The web site is updated periodically and an email announcement goes out when most changes happen.
In situations where we have to get the word out in a hurry, the Scouts use a phone tree to let everyone know about cancellations and other last minute changes. The phone tree is a simple system in which the Patrol Leaders call the Scouts in their patrols. Typically, each Patrol Leader calls his assistant and splits the load leaving each Scout with about three calls to make.
You can always call the Scoutmaster, the Committee Chairman or any of the Assistant Scoutmasters.
"When are the weekly meetings?"
Our Troop meets on Monday nights from 7:00 to 8:00 at Saint Paul's Lutheran Church unless you are notified otherwise. We rarely cancel meetings. No Scout meetins is worth getting injured over. If you feel the roads are not drivable please stay home.
"What about camping?"
One of the hallmarks of the scouting program is camping. Troop 411 typically schedules a campout every month except December. In June, we go to summer camp at Camp Manatoc in Peninsula, Ohio for a week. Summer camp always starts on Father's day.
"How much can I be involved and how much do I need to be?"
The more you are involved in your son's scouting the more likely it is that he will continue on in scouting. By being involved, your son sees that scouting is important.
There are several levels of parent involvement:
I just need to drop off my son and run off to the next child's activity. The best thing you can do is to make sure you show your scout you are interested in his scouting and support him in his efforts. If too many things are going on keep in mind that there are other Scouts that live near you that can probably give your boy a ride to meetings and campouts. Contact one of the Scouters if you need help getting your Scout to and from meetings.
I am very busy but I will do what I can. You can be on the committee and help out on an as needed basis.
I like to camp but can only do it occasionally. Great, we will call you if we need an extra adult or let us know which weekends you are available. We would love to have you along.
I don't like to camp but let me know what other things I can do. We are always looking for people to help with the busier committee jobs so just let us know how much time you can commit to.
Scouting is a great thing let me know how I can help out at anytime. Please start by filling out an Adult Application form to be an Assistant Scoutmaster or Committee Member. (The Scoutmaster can provide you with one.)
What can I do to help? I am not leaving until you tell me. Get started on that Adult Application form and while you are at it we will talk with you about where you can help out the most.
Move over and let me do that for you young man. Hold on Cowboy, this is a Boy Scout Troop. That is something the Scouts can do. Take a few deep breaths for a minute or so and fill in the Adult Application while I find that flier for Adult training.
As you can see from above we can work with you at any level. What we would like to see is a distribution of the workload among the Scout families. At this time we have approximately 15 Scouts in the troop. If each family takes on about 6% of the effort the troop would be in great shape. Keep in mind that the Scouts are planning and leading the troop. All the adults have to do is support that effort.
The Scoutmaster and his assistants deal with the Scouts directly in a guiding fashion. Be an Assistant Scoutmaster if you would like to work with the Scouts directly.
Committee members take care of the many details that need to be done in the background. Details like filing paper work, finding items we need to run the program, get items from the Scout Shop and participate in Boards of Review for the Scouts. Be a committee member if you want to work in the background to support the troop.
Please ask if you have any questions about how you can help out.
Where do you go from here? The next thing to do is to read the "The care and feeding of a new-Scout".
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