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
- A staff advisor or unit leader approaches a local school about participation in the Adopt-a-School program.
- 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.)
- The unit pledges to the projects and registers them on the Adopt-a-School website.
- The Scouts complete the project. (Like Pack 334 from Findlay, Ohio, seen in the photo above.)
- 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.
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?