Just as the scouts learn outdoor skills, leadership skills, and life skills as they experience the adventure of scouting, Scoutmasters keep learning as they spend time in their "job".
Attrition has always been one of my personal concerns and each year I try to improve the troop's retention ratio. This year, I'm applying quite a bit of effort to the Scout conference - where a new scout earns his Scout badge.
Similar to the first step of a thousand mile journey, the Scout conference confirms that the scout is a member of the troop and part of the gang and starts him on his scouting trail. He's demonstrated that he is sincere in his interest to participate and follow the direction set by the Oath and Law. He's prepared to give it his best.
The new group of scouts that crossed over this past month all met on Monday. The newly elected SPL had chosen three Troop Guides. At the meeting, each Troop Guide stood in front and called out the names of the scouts in his patrol. Each group went outside and spent the next half hour playing "get to know you" games and talking about scouting. Guess what the scoutmaster did - chatted with the parents!
Since the scouts are doing such a great job of getting the new scouts moving ahead, I'm not needed much. By training the Troop Guides beforehand, they're ready to lead the guys. My time comes when the scouts set up a scoutmaster conference with me. We use TroopKit.com
for our scheduling so new families get up and running pretty quick.
This past week, I've had eighteen Scout conferences, but ten of those were on last weekend's campout. The new guys are waaaay excited for the Court of Honor on Monday because that is when they will receive their patch, troop neckerchief and slide, troop numerals, and a special gift that's a surprise for now.
I did my best to welcome the guys to the troop, answer their questions, and listen to what they were hoping to experience in scouting. By the way, every one I asked has a Wii game system. :-)
By making sure the scouts and their parents know the door is open and a phone call is welcome, a scoutmaster sets the direction for open communication, caring, and community. The Scout conference sets the tone for that scouting family's experience in the troop, so it's a very important 20 minutes.
Posted: 23:36 03-19-2010 489 Previous Post Next Post
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