Nine ways to be a better Scouter in 2012

Here’s a New Year’s resolution you’ll want to keep: Be a better Scouter next year.

I should point out that you’re already pretty great. Like in business, a big part of being a successful Scouting volunteer is simply showing up.

By being there at meetings, campouts, and events, you’ve already secured a place in the upper echelon of society.

So thanks for a great 2011, folks. But hey — why rest on your laurels?

Let’s make 2012 even better. Here’s how:

  1. Recruit more Scouts — Easier said than done, right? But instead of setting a yearly goal, like 10 new members in 2012, make monthly goals, like one new Scout per month. Why not try the “invite one” approach used my many churches? Tell your Scouts to bring just one friend to a future meeting or outing, and watch your pack, troop, or crew grow.
  2. Get in shape for adventure — This was a popular New Year’s resolution when I asked our Facebook fans to, ahem, weigh in on the subject. Brenda R. said she plans to get in shape for a Northern Tier canoe trip this summer, while Jay L. and others have their sights set on shaping up for the 2013 jamboree.
  3. Help Scouts reach their goals — Not every Scout will earn Eagle, but the trail to get there is as important as the destination. Check in with your Scouts regularly to make sure that the troop is providing them with the resources they need to achieve their goals. In addition to advancing in rank, Meredith W. says Scouts who set attainable goals will “develop a deeper sense of camaraderie and teamwork.” Good point.
  4. Serve the community — Helping other people at all times is part of Scouting’s DNA, but can you do more? Starting at Cub Scouts and going all the way to Venturing, make service a cornerstone of your unit. Your Scouts — and your community — will be rewarded.
  5. Train yourself — Whether it’s an online course that takes 45 minutes to complete or a weeklong session at Philmont Training Center, you’ve got to get trained. Consider it exercise for your Scouting mind.
  6. Keep your Scouts interested — Gaining six new Scouts is great, but if you lose a half-dozen “veterans” a month later, you’re back where you started. So it’s important to help your youth leaders create a compelling year-long calendar. An exciting schedule of monthly events will give the guys (and Venturing girls) a reason to stick around.
  7. Encourage healthy eating habits — Sour Cream and Onion chips may seem like the ideal breakfast to members of the Fox patrol, but you know better. Model healthy eating in adult-prepared meals, and offer suggestions to your Scouts on ways they can make breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that won’t make Mom and Dad cringe.
  8. Teach a merit badge — Everyone’s an expert at something, and with 127 merit badges to choose from — from American Business to Woodwork — chances are you’re qualified to teach several merit badges. Ask your troop which merit badges they’d like to earn at an upcoming campout or meeting, and get started. (From Jim B. on Facebook)
  9. Try something new — When you return to the same nearby state park three times a year, does it make your Scouts comfortable or does it just make them bored? Consider branching out by suggesting other locations to your youth leaders. An extra hour or two of driving can open a new chapter of adventure.

That’s my list. What else can you do to make 2012 a banner year for your pack, troop, team, or crew? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

7 thoughts on “Nine ways to be a better Scouter in 2012

  1. Its much easier to model good eating habits on camp outs if the adult patrol advisors eat with their patrol, of course one adult cooked meal can set the tone for the year if you make it a contest to see if the patrols can out do it.

    the most important part of communicating is done with your ears, listen up at your thorns and roses, scoutmaster conf., and boards of review, you will learn what your young men need and like to do to keep them interested and advancing.

  2. Teach life skills – Things like First Aid, cooking (and the cleanup that follows), and knot tying are things that, once learned, can benefit a Scout or scouter for the rest of their lives. Make sure that you are making an effort to improve your Scouts knowledge in these three areas and they will better prepared to handle life into the future.

  3. I am the Committee Chair of Crew 345 in Redford, MI. I am already doing all 9 of these as is most of the Adults in our Crew! In fact, this summer four of the adults in our crew completed Wood Badge training. Many of the things on the list above are ticket items for the four of us. Our crew has done some very cool things. I hope to get them ice climbing soon. We have a manufactured tower in Fenton, MI called Peabody Ice Climbing. Our big trip this summer will consist of caving, canoeing, hiking, ziplining and climbing in Kentucky.

  4. Bryan,

    I am highly supportive of BSA and have donated to the NCAC’s annual fund drives. But, I just read a story that the BSA was supporting a GLSEN No Name Calling Week. I am supportive of this type of activity because in the Scout law it says a Scout is Friendly. However, I reject the idea of partnering with this organization when the BS’s do not allow Gays to be leaders etc. is hypocritical. I am truly disgusted to find this out. I have two boys who are Eagle Scouts and one working towards that rank. BSA should not associate itself with this type of organization just like the Girl Scouts should not be associated with Planned Parenthood. The BS will continue to lose membership if this continues.

    • Thanks for the comment, R. Hankins.

      We aren’t partnering with the organization. I used a timely discussion to remind Scouters about the importance of being kind to their fellow Scouts, as discussed in the Boy Scout Handbook.

      For 100 years, Scouts have been instructed to use respect in dealing with others and to live by the Boy Scout Oath and Law, which teaches Scouts to be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”

      Scouting respects everyone’s right to have and express different opinions and teaches its members to use courtesy and respect at all times — even with those with whom they may disagree or who are perceived to be different. In Scouting, to disagree does not mean to disrespect and is never an excuse to “call names.”


  5. Pingback: Happy 102nd Birthday, Boy Scouts of America! « Bryan on Scouting

Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s