Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why Cub Scouting is Awesome, even for a curmudgeon like me.

Our district put on a 5 evening, Cub/WEBELOS Scout (twilight) Day Camp last week.
  • Yes, it was a lot of preparation.
  • Yes, it was a lot of paperwork.
  • Yes, it was a lot of (redundant) training.
  • Yes, it a lot of risk assessment and liability mitigation.
  • Yes, it was a lot of, what seems over-the-top restrictive, policy.
Lucky me, I was the Camp Director.  A volunteer Assistant Scoutmaster, with an 18 year-old Eagle Scout, who works with the OA Lodge, District and Council, almost exclusively with Boy Scouts rank First Class and above, somehow managed to get himself placed in charge of a Cub Camp. Oh joy!

  • Yes, it was fun for the boys.
  • Yes, it was meaningful (to families of boys aged 6-10).
  • Yes, it was personally rejuvenating and spirit lifting.
  • Yes, it was...well, MAGICAL.
The gap-toothed smiles, of boys missing front teeth; the non-stop inquisitiveness; the boundless enthusiasm; the wonder in their eyes, when they see or do something brand new; the thrill of hitting a target for the first time; the opportunity to make new friends; the joy of simply being outside.

If I ever get too old and cranky to appreciate the magic of moments like these, please pull my BSA card and send my sorry behind home.

Lucky me, I was the Camp Director.


Darrin Luksik
Congaree District, Indian Waters Council, Boy Scouts of America

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What makes Scouters think they are so special they don't have to abide by simple rules of ettiquette?

Why, oh why, are so many Scouters, who are otherwise exemplary people, downright rude when it comes to answering others?  Much like failing to register for events, in a timely fashion, this too puzzles me.

Volunteers, who supposedly share in a set of core values, can yet be so impolite. Many Scoutmasters and Cubmasters in my district and council reply with such infrequency to email, I have actually been told on more than one occasion, that I should know better, because "Scoutmasters don't answer email."

Well, that was a direct quote, but my experience shows you could equally substitute Cubmaster, Committee Chair, or almost any strictly unit position.  Also, it is not just a refusal to reply to email.  Text messages and voice mails have almost the same woeful success rate.  Some individuals must be tracked down.  Unless you are face-to-face, they will ignore.

If this pattern were to occur in a business environment, these folks would be reprimanded, perhaps counseled, and repeat offenders fired. Yes, FIRED, terminated, let go, parted ways with, or maybe permitted to ‘resign’ or ‘retire’ on their own.  It is not just rude to ignore communications directed squarely at you, it is bad business.

I mentioned “purely unit position”, and perhaps this is key to, if not understanding, at least narrowing in on this strange and un-Scout like behavior.  There are more than a few units, some quite large and having vast resources, with a myopic point of view that borders on isolationism.  Their leaders do not serve in district or council capacities; the units themselves are often standoffish.  Quite frankly, they view themselves as better than others and it is easy for outsiders to see.  These units, from top-to-bottom, behave much like middle or high school clicks.  They are the ‘cool kids’, no one else need apply.

Well, these ‘leaders’ should look at the behavior they are modeling for their youth.  I suggest they are doing a disservice, rather than serving.  Blatant avoidance is nothing more than a form of social cowardice.  Or…is it social Darwinism in action?  Yep, I am calling you out; you should be grateful I do not name individual names and unit numbers.

Newsflash, you are definitely not busier than your fellow Scouters who do take up the mantle on behalf of Scouts who are not our own children, or outside our specific unit.  You just cannot be busier, because we repeatedly have to pick up your slack.  

You know who you are and should be ashamed.  Would your mother, or grandmother approve of your behavior?  What makes you think you are so damn special? 

So endeth the rant.