A long-standing trend in our local BSA council is late registration for events; it may be worsening. The nature or origin of the activity seems to have little or no impact on the lateness with which people commit to participating. The last minute 'mad dash' of recruiting and constant extending of registration cut-offs is, quite frankly, ridiculous. In an organization such as the BSA this flight of the bumble bee scenario should be completely unnecessary.
Unfortunately, Decisive, Timely or Punctual is not mentioned in the Scout Law (or the Scout Oath).
Over the years, I have observed (with discontent) this trend of last minute commitment in:
- Unit Activities (Pack outings & Troop events - camping trips, service opportunities and summer camp)
- District banquets
- Council events: Cuborees, Camporees, University of Scouting, MBU, Jamboree registration, and training (IOLS, NYLT, Wood Badge, etc.).
- OA Lodge events: Ordeals and Fellowships, banquets, Section Conclave (aka Dixie) and service/work days
The pattern cannot be denied: it is fact. But, why?
- Is everyone so busy they just don't have time? No. They usually wind up registering eventually, so there is no time savings.
- Are they uninformed of upcoming events? No (or, they should not be). Units, districts, the Indian Waters Council, and Muscogee Lodge all publish calendars, have social media (I.E. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and utilize email, phone, text or mailings.
- Are they overwhelmed with information? Perhaps: a partial Yes.
- Are organizational skills (prioritizing) lacking? Perhaps: a partial Yes.
- Are they over-committed? Between school, sports, church, clubs and the like for children, plus adults' work schedules, this is likely a Yes.
- Are they inconsiderate? Yes. Absolutely, no question about it.
Regardless of reason or excuse, the consistent lack of on-time commitment and registration wreaks havoc on organizers, both professionals and volunteers alike. Resources are over-spent (time, effort and money) constantly recruiting. Walk-ups are gladly accepted, but this process is inherently inefficient. Food is wasted, because a good headcount is not available. Events are sometimes scaled back, rescheduled or canceled due to lack of participation. Planning becomes more and more difficult.
So, the moral of my story is: lack of commitment and late registration is Un-Scout-Like behavior. A Scout is Loyal? A Scout is Helpful? A Scout is Courteous? A Scout is Thrifty? Maybe even, A Scout is Trustworthy? Undoubtedly, not knowing the number of participants makes it difficult to Be Prepared.
Just sayin'...We can do better.