This is a topic that comes up a lot, in any and every Unit. Sports and Scouting. Many Parents think that it cannot exist together. Practice and/or games are on Scout night or the Unit is off camping during a “BIG” game. I am in a Pack, so I am not going to be able to talk about Troops or Crews and Sports. Those involve High School sports and Elliot is not there. If you want more information about it, visit Scoutmaster Jerry’s Blog & Podcast. Follow that link and it will show you a search on Sports.
I am going to talk about Sports at the Cubscout Pack level. I will start with the understand that you (the reader) are fully aware of all the Beltloop/Pins, rank requirements and other Scout Awards at the Cubscout level that deal with Sports.
As Cubmaster, it is up to me to create and foster a good program within the Pack. I have tools from the BSA available to me for that. I also have tools from the US Scouting Service Project (USSP) called BALOO’s Bugle. There are many others, but these are the ones I turn to the most. They are bookmarked on my browser toolbar for quick access.
So, it’s Program Program Program as one smart Beaver keeps pointing out to me.
“Ray Kinsella: I think I know what “If you build it, he will come” means. “
So, why is this coming up? In an online forum, this question was once again posted. The poster was perplexed why the Coaches wouldn’t work around Scouting and that his Scouts were missing out on the program he was presenting.
The basis of his question is: How does your unit deal with the interference that comes from the various sports seasons? Is there any solution other than to roll with it and let those boys that show the dedication to Scouts forge ahead?”
My reply: As a Cubmaster, it’s my duty to explain to the Den Leaders & Parents that Scouting will be here for you during your other activities. As we all know there are many Beltloops, Pins, Arrowpoints, Webelos Activity Pins and other requirements that can and should be used to achieve the desired Rank. If you can convey that to the Den Leaders, Parents and directly to the Scouts that they should participate in other cool things and it counts for Scouting, then they will be more inclined to come back. I can tell you that my son’s Webelos I Den is all Baseball right now. They just got done with Basketball. We even have LaCrosse. For the most part, they come to the meetings, some don’t make it to weekend events or just late.
Main point is tell the Parents how Scouting works. It is very hard for Parents to shuttle kids to several practices, games and Scouting events. Sport seasons are short and Parents feel that because of that point, the kids need to be there. Scouts is every week for an hour, so skipping it is not a big deal.
I always tell Parents that if there are things that are required for the Scout to progress, that they are the Akela (in most circumstances) and can sign-off. But I also explain that a Scout is Honest and we are just not going to pass them through. They need to do the work then explain, demo or show. (All depends on what activity/requirement they are working on)
What your fighting is the Parents, not the Scouts in scheduling. I would just put out your schedule, send reminders as you do and work with who shows up. I would follow-up with a re-cap of what happened to all and make mention of it at Pack Meetings. If the Scouts that missed hear what they are missing and find it cool, they will lobby their Parents.
It’s Program, Program, Program. Build it and they will come.
So, that is my job. I need to explain it to the Parents about how Scouting and Sports work. Boys are both Scouts and sportsman. They like both of them. Nurture both of them. There are even boys who do not like sports or not totally good at them. Scouting is there for them. Provide a good program for the boys.
You just might be Ray’s Brother-in-Law at the end of the movie:
Mark: When did these ballplayers get here?