Pack or troop having trouble at school? Try this

When I was in Cub Scouts, my elementary school — just down the street — was the perfect pack meeting place.

The gym was spacious, the location convenient, and the closet full of equipment for games and activities.

These days, not every pack, troop, or crew has it so lucky. Many school districts have essentially banished all Scout units and told them to meet elsewhere. That’s frustrating, but instead of complaining, let’s act.

Enter the BSA’s Adopt-a-School program. It flips the traditional relationship between a school and a Scout unit upside-down.

Instead of a Cubmaster or Scoutmaster approaching a principal and saying, “Here’s what we need,” the Scouter starts by asking, “How can we help?” It’s a win-win for the community — Scouting gets stronger, and the schools are improved.

Here’s how it works: 

The Adopt-a-School Process

  1. A staff advisor or unit leader approaches a local school about participation in the Adopt-a-School program.
  2. The unit and school agree to four volunteer service projects over a one-year period. (Ideas include grounds beautification, teacher appreciation, festivals, book drives, or tree-planting.)
  3. The unit pledges to the projects and registers them on the Adopt-a-School website.
  4. The Scouts complete the project. (Like Pack 334 from Findlay, Ohio, seen in the photo above.)
  5. The unit records the project through the Adopt-a-School site and links it to their Journey to Excellence hours.

Don’t Forget the Patch

What’s in it for you? How about the patch seen above, awarded just for pledging to the projects?

Then, as each project is completed, units will receive a green, blue, red, or orange mini-patch (seen at right).

Four projects, four mini-patches. Collect ’em all.

To recognize their contribution, the local council and school will each receive certificates of participation.

The Goal

Rudy Gonzalez, membership recruitment specialist at the BSA, told me that the increased exposure of Scouting’s value to schools and the local community could mean increased membership.

He and his team hope to see the adoption of 25,000 local schools by the 2013 jamboree.

Let’s get started!

What Do You Think?

What’s the relationship between schools and Scouting like in your community? How could it be improved?

12 thoughts on “Pack or troop having trouble at school? Try this

  1. This definitely works. When our town was having budget issues and they were looking to close schools after hours. Our troop put together a PowerPoint slide show that highlighted all the community service projects we do (both annual and special) and made sure to include all the Eagle projects around the School. The result: the board decided to have each School open one night a week for groups. The night chosen for our school, our regular meeting night, of course.

    The other benefit of doing projects around your “home base” is that they provide a readily available reminder of the outcomes of community service to the boys.

  2. Our unit tried to participate in the BSA Adopt-A-School program, we approached our local school but the school administration says that the district refuses to support an organization with discriminatory membership policies, and won’t allow us in.

    Meeting spaces, service projects, promotions, recruitment, Eagle projects… we get none. The local public schools want nothing to do with the BSA around here because of the private organization’s discriminatory and controversial policies.

  3. Then, Matthew – get some of your local scouters to run for the school board – Here in Texas it is a volunteer position (you don’t get paid). Don’t run on the platform of getting scouts in schools – have a good core of princilple – once you are in, then start working to get the scouts in – they pay school taxes also – check to see if other groups who have policies that restrict membership (example churches – you have to subscribe to their core beliefs to be a member) can meet, and then point out it is the district that is being intolerant. And BSA’s policies support their aims – they are not discriminatory and controversial…today “tolerant” does not mean that you let people have different views – it seems to mean I’m evil if I don’t accept your views.

  4. The “elephant in the room” is the ban on gays. Scouting needs to put on their “big boy pants”, and deal with this issue instead of hoping it goes away. In 2014, ATT CEO Randall Stevenson takes over as National Executive Board Chair. ATT has non-discriminatory policies in place, as does more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies. Stevenson has already come out publicly that he does not support the ban.

    • Posting off topic (especially about this) is not cool, man. Internet etiquette would call this trolling, whether we agree or disagree with your statements. Take your elephant to the correct room, please.

  5. I don’t see how the BSA excluding homosexuals “support their aims” – seems discriminatory to me… and it certainly is controversial.

  6. Sounds like a great program and the new Adopt a School website rocks!

    We just brought in this story today of Eagle Scout Alex Schoedler from Troop 79 in Southern New Jersey Council giving back to his Middle School.

    Plenty of good stories of Scouts giving back to their school.

    We will be sure to visit regularly.

    Thanks Brian for the update!

  7. Ray,
    They have ‘dealt with the issue” numerous times. Their answer is always the same. It is a private organization and they can choose which values they want to promote. Just because you don’t agree with their response doesn’t mean they are avoiding the issue. They have spoken put on your “big boy pants” and deal with it.

  8. Last year we decided to use the proceeds from our annual cake auction to buy snacks for the school to use for kids who didn’t have any. The principal was overwhelmed with our generosity and finally perhaps got a better understanding of just what we’re all about. The boys got a HUGE kick out of helping their fellow students.

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