What's New

Tuesday Talkback: Balancing family life with commitment to your Scouting family

Tuesday-TalkbackFor a few lucky Scouters out there, “Scouting family” and “actual family” are synonymous. Their spouse and all their children are actively involved in the program, meaning family time is pretty much all the time.

The rest of us, however, must find a happy balance between those two important commitments.

Pop quiz: Have you ever found yourself shortchanging your family to fulfill a commitment to your pack, troop, team, post, ship or crew? Or maybe you’ve shirked something you agreed to do for your Scouting unit because family responsibilities took over?

The goal here isn’t to criticize your life priorities but to share ways you’ve successfully satisfied both commitments.

For today’s Tuesday Talkback, tell me this: How do you balance your real family with your Scouting family? Leave a comment below.

Here are some more questions to consider: 

  • Do you spend more hours each month encouraging other Scouts and leaders than you do encouraging your own son or daughter?
  • Do you miss more than one school concert, soccer game or family event a year because you have a Scouting obligation?
  • Do you ever volunteer for a task without first discussing it with your spouse?
  • Do your Scouters’ events take precedence over your son’s/daughter’s Scouting events?
  • When was the last time you took a family vacation that didn’t involve Scouting?

Responses from Scouting magazine readers

Consider these responses from 2004.

Other Tuesday Talkbacks

Find them here.


Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by Weibel Kids

63 Comments on Tuesday Talkback: Balancing family life with commitment to your Scouting family

  1. Our whole family is involved in the Venturing program. Perfect for a family with children of both genders! Just a couple months ago I trekked to Philmont for a second time. It was a blessing to take my husband, two boys, and our 3 scouting kids from the Crew. While there we met up with our daughter who was a 2nd year Philmont staffer for her 3 days off. Yes, scouting is a great activity for the entire family. We are so thankful for the Venturing program.

  2. I finally had to learn to say “NO”.

  3. There is a fine line to walk when balancing family and church and Scouting and school commitments. It is a struggle each month to put each engagement on the calendar and then try to figure out which one to put ahead of the other. After much thought and prayer this last summer while on a road trip with my two sons; I have come to the conclusion that ultimately God and family are first. Activities directly effecting my children are top of the list and some are not Scouting related. I committed to these children that I would do for them first and the benefits to other children by my involvement in those activities would be considered a bonus. Scouting is a good foundation for our sons, but we must include church and family and band and art to have well rounded children. I may move into a more permanent role with Scouts once my children are grown, but for now wife, stay-at-home mom, home-school to one son mom, band mom, ASM mom, volunteer mom are in a fine balance for our family.

  4. Jon Hosford // October 1, 2013 at 9:39 am // Reply

    Bryan,

    My Wood Badge Patrol’s diversity project addressed exactly this issue last weekend! I can’t post a picture here, but we built (lashed) a balance beam that showed how Scouting can balance life. We hung tokens for each program and different aspects of life to balance each other out. Guess we were timely!

    • Here’s the project he’s referring to. Thanks for sending it to me!

      Wood Badge project - balance

      • Bob Basement // October 8, 2013 at 7:40 am // Reply

        So your gonna have to explain to me what that has to do with diversity….

        Diversity is many things and simply balancing ones life is not one of them.

  5. It is not easy when your own kids are involved in so much, but even as a leader in our pack, I try to make sure there is balance. Yeah, we miss some other activities (a little league game or soccer game here and there) due to scouting, but we do not do every outing and trip with the pack either, so we can do those other things with the family. It is only fair. In today’s age of kids doing so much it is impossible to be at 100% of anything, so trim a little here and there to get the most of all extra curriculars.

  6. H. David Pendleton // October 1, 2013 at 9:49 am // Reply

    My spouse has never asked me to cut back on my Scouting activities & I am active in my son’s Troop, as District Roundtable Cubmaster, & on the Council’s International Committee. I do not have any other major hobbies such as golfing, boating, or fishing and only usually do them in conjunction with Scouts. I still find time to volunteer at my church & at a local museum. Where have I found the time to do all this? From my TV viewing time. I have no “must watch” TV series. Instead of sitting at home on Saturdays watching college football & on Sundays watching professional football, I am out doing something. Often with my son. I still get enough sports viewing in, but it ranks much lower in importance than it once did.

    If my spouse every told me that Scouting was hurting our relationship, I would change what I was doing. Until then, I am going to continue to mentor young people in a variety of ways.

    • “Instead of sitting at home on Saturdays watching college football & on Sundays watching professional football, I am out doing something.”

      That is why I have a DVR. I find much more enjoyment trying to grow our new Troop/Pack.

  7. Kristin Wardle // October 1, 2013 at 9:54 am // Reply

    I am a mother of two sons (an Venture/Eagle and a Bear Cub Scout) and a daughter. My husband is an Eagle Scout and an avid leader, and I have been involved in Cub Scouts since my oldest son joined a pack nine years ago. Our daughter went from wearing the “Scout Sister” shirt to being very put out by anything Scouting because she felt it excluded her. Due to my involvement with Cub Scouting, I was unable to be equally engaged in her activities, therefore no Girl Scouts. The activity program for girls that our church offered paled in comparison to what her brothers were getting. Looking back, I wish I had balanced that better.

    After both my husband and I attended Wood Badge, we talked a lot about how Wood Badge helps you as a parent AND a Scout leader. My daughter disagreed. After staffing two Wood Badge courses together, my husband and I had to say “enough.” It was too hard on our daughter for both parents to be gone. This daughter just turned 14 and is interested in becoming a Venture. I’m hoping that we can adjust her attitude about Scouting and that she enjoys participating in something that she resented because she thought it was only for the rest of us.

    • Thank you for that, my daughter is 6 and both her older brothers are scouts. Girl Scouts next year no matter what. She has always been along for the ride to scouting events but never front and center. She is involved in sports and cheering but really loves all things relating to scouts. As a leader, popcorn kernel, etc. Sometimes I need to slow down, especially for her. Thank you for reminding me. I hope your daughter becomes a venturers and goes to Jambo in a few years.

      • Kristin Wardle // October 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm // Reply

        I hope you can learn from my mistakes : ) I think that the fact that she is interested in Venturing, after saying “No Way!!” for the last few years, is a sign that she is coming around. She is very proud of her older brother’s achievements, too. All is not lost!

      • Bob Basement // October 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm // Reply

        More than likely she will be disappointed with Girl Scouting compared to what her brothers have done……

        My daughter tried girl scouts for 4 years…….The summer camps are individual and not unit based, the finances are way different. The units can discriminate based on age, school, neighborhood, or heck if the leader doesn’t like the way you look. took almost a year to find a unit that would accept her.

        Thank goodness the BSA isn’t that way

        • The reason that Girl Scout Summer Camp seems individual is simple. If the leader(s) make it unit driven then it becomes that way. My wife and I are involved in both Boy and Girl Scouting. We use the same method with both and it works out fine. Heaven helps us, we even take them as combined groups camping. I figure that they might combine and make a Venture Crew when they all turn 14. I have to admit that I hear it from both sides from old Boy and Girl Scouters. How can a woman be a Boy Scout Troop “SCOUT MASTER” and why is a man Leading a Girl Scout Troop. Simple answer: It’s about leadership, not about which sex is leading them.

        • That is not completely true. The organizations are just different. As a Girl Scout in the late 90s and early 2000s I went to summer camp without my troop/unit and still had a great time.

          Units in Girl Scouts can be cliquey in the middle school age group, the new journey program is helping to combat this. It was always great to make new “camp” friends, it was like being dropped into a new world in the forest where everyone was you friend rather than the drama of peer groups that can cross over from school and into scout meetings.

          Units in GSUSA can fall apart easily (but they can also be started more easily) because there are not chartered organizations with the Girl Scouts. In my troops we always had girls from different neighborhoods and schools. The main issue was girls leaving and their friends leaving soon after or leaders leaving because their daughter no longer want to be in the program.

          I’m very sorry your daughter had a poor experience but please do not slam the Girl Scouts so easily. Every unit and council is different, just as it is in the Boy Scouts. I gained so much from the Girl Scout program and am a true believer in it.

        • Bob Basement // October 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm //

          She was very fired up to join Girl Scouting

          The units are very discriminatory….She was too old, too young, from the wrong neighborhood, wrong school and wrong socioeconomic class.

          The local council does not allow unit primary leaders to be male….So I was not permitted to start a new unit.

        • My daughter is still in the Girl Scouts working towards her Silver Award. Unfortunately, one of her previous “leaders” (using the term lightly) had a falling out with my wife so she ends up kicking our daughter out of the troop and gave me some half baked explanation about not allowing her in Scouting. Clique? Indeed. It seems to me that some of the GS leaders’ idea of camping is a trip to the day spa. At least that is what it seems like in south Orange County. No wonder reality TV has made our county look like a laughing stock to the rest of the nation. The good news is she found a troop that accepts her for who she is without the catty middle school drama that some leaders never grow out of.

          I was so incensed about our daughter getting booted out of that troop that I looked into the Venturing program. My wish is that they would open Venturing to the middle school girls so that they don’t have to wait until they are 14 and done with the 8th grade. Fortunately, I am allowing her to participate in the activities of our new Troop/Pack to prepare her for Venturing (I’m the interim Scoutmaster and Chartered Organization Rep). She’s in the 7th grade now and probably has more leadership qualities in her pinky than some of these so called Girl Scout leaders in south Orange County. She can’t wait to get into Venturing.

    • The hardest people to sell venturing to are BSA daughters/younger sisters who’ve felt marginalized. They may take years to set aside time for the program. If she is interested, see if she can start visiting a crew with a friend or two. That way it becomes her own vision, not yours. If you’re lucky she might invite you along for the ride!

    • Deaf Scouter // October 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm // Reply

      I think you’ll find yourself getting involved now WITH your daughter at the Venture level. i know so many Scout sisters that enjoyed the Venture trail with their parents/family that they wished Venture opened up at a younger age. What is even better in Venturing is the brothers join too and it really becomes a family affair!

      • Bob Basement // October 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm // Reply

        While parents think it might be great to be a family affair…..What do the kids think????

      • Venturing that is a family affair is really not Venturing.

      • Or to quote my wife on one high adventure …
        “You bring me to the most beautiful beach,
        with the whitest sand,
        on the most romantic island,
        sailing the bluest sea in the world,
        WITH TEN KIDS????”

        Although at times I may share my family with my crew with absolutely no regrets, it is definitely not a family affair.

  8. Dustin Tarditi // October 1, 2013 at 9:56 am // Reply

    When I made the decision to accept a role as Assistant Cubmaster (to become Cubmaster the following year) with my oldest son, it would be required that I scale back considerably on my involvement with my fraternal organizations of which I was an active member. It was simply not possible to be in 2 or 3 places at once. When I informed them of my upcoming obligations there was nothing but support and congratulations on my commitment to the boys in Scouting. Not only did they understand, but they admired and endorsed the decision to take my time and talents and direct them towards the Scouting program.

    It is certainly challenging to balance work/life/Scouting/other commitments, but we are setting the example for our Scouts to do the same, however. Children learn what they live.

  9. For mother’s day and father’s day and for different days in between my wife and I get an hour with each of our four children to make sure we are connecting one on one with them other than the daily schedule which gets quite hectic.

    Make a date with your spouse or children that is not scout related and don’t cancel. Our children appreciate “dad” time as I am the Scoutmaster for our troop and typically very busy with everyone else’s kids. :)

  10. Oh boy. Is this ever juggling. Over the next six weekends, we have two Wood badge sessions mom is staffing, a council wide Halloween fund raiser (Haunted Forest- Haunted carnival theme) the troop is participating in, OA fellowship weekend, another troop campout (service weekend at our summer camp) AND canned food drive bag delivery, canned food pick up weekend. It does help having both parents doing different things, and boys divide their time between troop, crew and OA, but it does keep the family schedule full. Church has become a more hit and miss affair, and non-scouting stuff is saved mostly for mom.

    Oh, there’s school stuff too….but that’s another story.

  11. 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 is pretty much the Silver Beaver formula. Service to Scouting, service to youth, service to community. It’s not a bad model to go by. I would modify that to say that service to employer, self, and family ought to take up about half or more of your time, with the rest split the other way. If you find yourself spending more on the outside service side, then your personal and family stuff might be suffering.. You won’t go anywhere if your home life is a train wreck.

  12. Devil’s Advocate here….My husband got me involved in Scouting a few years ago, I found I was doing more of the work and he was getting the accolades. His young son was to a point where he was being left behind because dad was involved on a District and Council as well as local level.
    If Mr. Bubbles is right, then My husband is way over his 1/3 and family got scant faith gets almost nothing. When it came down to having only 3 days home in 2 months this past Summer, I told him he had to make a change. His son is not going to be 12 for long and 13-18 will go by fast if he doesn’t slow down and spend more time with him. When Scouting becomes more about YOU and less about YOUTH then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. Hubby had his eye on Silver Beaver…..I had my eye on my son’s feelings. The two did not fit. I am cutting back after this years Popcorn sales (I am Kernel for a Troop and a Pack thanks to being volunteered by hubby) Not to mention that my faith is very important to this 50 year old woman. When I am so exhausted after working three days full of Show and Sells (thanks to lack of parent involvement) I can barely make it up in time for Sunday Services, something has to give.
    Scouting is a great Movement, but I like to see the retired guys spending more time with other people’s kids, (theirs are grown and out of the home) then my own husband while he ignores his son. Joining the young and the old is a wonderful thing.

    • Bob Basement // October 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm // Reply

      I know of 3 divorce directly relating to the one of the spouses involvement in scouting

    • Deaf Scouter // October 1, 2013 at 5:25 pm // Reply

      Sometimes the best wake up call is NO when one’s spouse volunteers them so they quickly learn they MUST ask you first. The other option is DIY trail by handing it right back to them…*winka

  13. Frank Casias // October 1, 2013 at 11:08 am // Reply

    Having been a scout in my youth, I saw my parents split their time between scouting, PTA and family events. My dad took my brother to summer camp for 11 years, first with me, then both, then just my brother. My brother did the entire scouting program, from cubs on up. So my mom was a “Scouting Widow” for a week each year. But we made up for that my being a close knit family. When I had my own family, with a daughter and a son, My wife and I were always involved with whatever activity they got into to. My son did start in cubs and I was ‘drafted’ right off the bat. While my daughter found another venue, that was in another non scouting organization that my wife had been involved with when she was a girl. But here again, family events took priority over scouting. We would support each other’s special happenings. Now that my son is an adult and I’m retired I find more time to be on the district and council level, but I also share my time with my wife. Most of the above comments are right on, Family is first, then school, extra curricular activities must take a lesser priority. AND that includes scouting.

  14. harshreality // October 1, 2013 at 11:32 am // Reply

    If you answered “no” to the question, then you are a far stronger person than I. I constantly struggled with the balance. If you are a “yes” person when anyone asks for help like I am, you will end up being over-committed between Scouts, church, work, home, etc. Even now, with both my kids in the “in-between” phase of Scouting, I can get double-booked with my Scouting and other commitments, although it is less frequent now that I am choosier for what I raise my hand these days.

  15. That is the one real bone I have to pick with the Wood Badge course. It’s all structured around how to give more and more and more to Scouting. The folks in there are there because that’s what they already do, and now WB is asking for more? There needs to be a module in the WB course that shows people how to say no once in awhile.

    The guy has his eye on the Silver Beaver? Really? Why? I’ve seen people out there campaigning for that bauble for themselves for years and years. They never seem to get it. Why? Because they are too busy playing politics rather than out there building a program, leaving a legacy, and showing real leadership.

    • Mr Bubbles,

      You should take Wood Badge. Your assumptions are not correct. Wood Badge is about becoming a better leader. This applies to all aspects of life, not just Scouting. At no point does it ask you to give more to Scouting, other than the ticket work which is a very finite amount. An amount YOU set. In fact, it has modules specifically teaching you how to spread the load and help lighten your duties as well.

      And there *IS* a module that specifically addresses balance in life and focusing on the big things like family. It is presented as one of the last items in the course for a reason. After the complete immersion of a Wood Badge course, it certainly would be easy to focus solely on doing more for Scouting. That module helps bring people back into focus.

      Yes, people leave a Wood Badge course with their batteries recharged and fired up to do more for the program. But, like all things in life, you have a choice. And if people listen and use what is taught, they will also leave with an understanding of how to balance what is really important in life.

      I’ve got to agree with you on the SB though. I’ve seen that in MANY councils. I am a recipient, but our council does a really good job of awarding it to people who bust their butts for the boys, not who politic or buy it. (and I certainly can’t afford to buy it!)

      • Bob Basement // October 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm // Reply

        I love tickets that include Date monthly date night with wife or daughter.

        • Jon Hosford // October 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm //

          Now you tell me! I wish I had thought of that! But then again, I tried to have items that I wouldn’t normally do anyway! That is such an awesome idea. You don’t mind if I steal that for my turn as a Troop Guide at the next course right?

        • Bob Basement // October 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm //

          I hope your kidding….

          I think it is absolutely tragic that a Man chooses scouting over his wife or daughter and is forced to write a contract to give them some attention for a piece of leather tong and a couple pieces of wood.

        • H. David Pendleton // October 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm //

          I heard that before WB for the 21st Century, tickets had both Scout & personal items so many Scouters would add “Monthly Date Night” as one of their personal goals. As for my WB course, I don’t think my Mentor would have allowed such a goal unless I could somehow tie it back to how going out with my spouse was going to benefit the position I was currently serving in.

          I guess I could have stated that keeping my spouse even more happy would allow me more freedom to give to Scouting. I thought about it for awhile & couldn’t figure out a good way to write it so didn’t pursue it. More power to those that can get it approved as a ticket item.

        • Jenny Weeks // October 2, 2013 at 7:10 am //

          When recruiting for the upcoming WB course, I had an asst. CM tell me no, because his son’s birthday is during one of the weekends of the course. I have to admire him for putting family first, I missed my own son’s Birthday during WB 4 years ago. We celebrated early since I wouldn’t be home, he still had a sleepover with his best friend since hubby was home that weekend. I don’t feel like we cheated him at all. I still called home on his birthday, but he was too busy with his BFF to talk long. :)

        • Bob Basement // October 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm //

          How sad you chose scouting over your son.

    • It was actually the sessions with my patrol members that taught me that I needed to learn how to say no.

  16. Bob Basement // October 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm // Reply

    I was very new to scouting as an adult and I saw a Course Director in tears over missing a Father Daughter Dance. It made an impression and not a good one on the level of sacrifice some volunteers make.

    I swore I would never be that man.

    Family first, Job Second, scouts down the way.

  17. ScoutMom404 // October 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm // Reply

    If my family can’t join and help out, then we don’t attend. Scouting is supposed to be family friendly! I am a single mom with 4 boys (no girls). We can do most activities together. The older boys help watch the younger ones while I do volunteer activities, but we all stay close together so I can keep an eye on them…just in case.

  18. So, what I have gotten from all of this above is simple. The center of all is “SCOUTING” and we all need to figure out how to mold our life around “SCOUTING”. We will learn how to revolve our lives around “SCOUTING” if we pay to attend the highest level of “SCOUT LEADER” training. What it says to me is that the rest of your life should be totally adapted to “SCOUTING”.
    So, my final conclusion is that if people were to drop their commitments to “SCOUTING” then the rest would not suffer and life would be smooth.
    Well I will put it out simply, tonight I will attend a PACK meeting for a new pack. The District Executive will be there and tell the adults that all they will need to do is give 1 hour a week to “SCOUTING”. 1st lie. Then they will tell them that 70% of popcorn money will go back to boys, 2nd lie. You won’t be asked to give more time or money for you boy in scouting 3rd lie. It doesn’t take long for parents to figure out they have been lied to. Then they start dropping out and the council will wonder why.
    Let me provide you with an example of why parents choose sports over “SCOUTING”. I had a lady I work with who has 4 children. They all excel in sports and she actually liked that fact. She could drop them off at practice and do what she needed to do for a couple of hours. No body came after her asking her to give more and more time to practice. The didn’t ask her husband either. Her kids made the paper almost every week for their athletic performances. She paid a fee up front and didn’t have to do fundraisers ever. The uniforms came with the payment. They at times went to camps for their sports. She could take all the kids to one of the others kids games. The 2 oldest got full rides to college and the other 2 went directly into professional sports. All of the children were confirmed in their churches and one of them is studying religion in college.
    I participate in a Pack, Boy Scout Troop and “OH EVEN THOUGH THE BOY SCOUTS LOVE TO PUT THEM DOWN” Girl Scout Troop, have a council position and do Camp Commissioner in the summer. Now the Council is trying to get me to take on a District Commissioner position as well.
    Don’t tell me I need to go to WB either. I was a commissioner at summer camp this year and watched one of my units fall apart in the adult leadership area. Guess what the entire ADULT LEADERSHIP there were very proud that they did not have an adult there that was not WB. I spent the majority of my adult live leading young people into battle and refuse to learn how to lead again.
    Once again, from the posts above it is apparent that as long as you give most of your time to “SCOUTING” then that is what “SCOUTING” is looking for and the rest of your life can come second.

    • H. David Pendleton // October 2, 2013 at 6:38 am // Reply

      You must have different DE than me. I have never heard a DE say that each parent “only” has to give an hour a week to Scouting. Some parents give none while others give a lot more. The Scouts whose parents are active Scouters are more likely to reach Eagle than those that are not. Maybe because their son sees how their parent makes Scouting a priority so they might start the same way.

      As for the 2nd “lie”, about 1/3 goes to the popcorn company, 1/3 to the council, & 1/3 to the unit. The 1/3 for the council is used to support the Scouts so indirectly it is being used on the Scouts so they can go to camp, etc. Some units have their 1/3 go to the unit while others have it all go to the Scout’s personal account, & still others are in between.

      I have never heard our DE tell the 3rd “lie” you listed either. If people want someone to raise the kids, than by all means they can be dropoff parents. They will not last because psychological people will support better something they have a stake in.

      Not all families are 4 for 4 in winning the genetic sports talent pool. There are more academic scholarships out there than sports scholarships. The chances of becoming a professional sportsman is way less than 1%. The chances of playing college sports is only slightly better. When it comes down to resume time, what is the employer going to like to see? That Johnny sat on the bench for his high school sports team or an Eagle Scout? My spouse played on the college varsity team and lettered two years. I don’t think she has ever listed that on her resume

      As for leadership, I know a little about that from my 23+ years as a military officer. I still went to Wood Badge. While I did not learn that much in leadership, it was useful in a number of ways. It exposed me to all levels of the Scouting program; it allowed me to meet the other active Scouters in the council; it allowed me get to know 7 other Scouters that I have turned to for advice since then; and gave me a few ideas on how to run a better program. Why does the military have their officers go to school every few years? What leadership is being taught at the War Colleges? Anyone who refuses to continue to learn is going to stagnant and that is probably one of the reasons that there are SMs are still doing things the way they were done 30 years ago instead of going by the new 2013 Guide To Advancement. All one has to do is read Bryan’s Blog, LinkedIn, & FB to understand that there are many BSA leaders doing what they want instead of what they should be doing.

      Those that believe that what we are doing is useful will continue to support Scouting. Those that don’t won’t be around long. I’m still trying to figure out why you are doing so much for a program that it appears you treat with distain. Thanks for doing so anyway.

      • Jon Hosford // October 2, 2013 at 7:33 pm // Reply

        Well said David.

        Your last paragraph sums up my initial reaction. Unfortunately, I’m sure his disdain is evident to all around him as well.

      • For what it’s worth, I was able to find time for Scouting and sports when I was in high school and college. 2 years varsity letters in football, 3 years varsity letters in wrestling, 4 years of college football and an Eagle Scout. And which accomplishment am I most proud of? Eagle Scout, hands down.

        With Scouting, you don’t get the nagging injuries most of the time :) I know, I feel the aches everyday.

  19. I see scouting as my ministry. But, as Bob pointed out with scouters, I’ve seen a lot of ministers’ marriages a complete train wreck, so I know that’s not an excuse. The best scouters (and ministers) I know say ‘no’ a lot. So I do too.

    You won’t find me at every roundtable. I got too many youth who want me to drop them off cliffs!

  20. Agree with Brubble. If you have been in the military, and gone through all their leadership training, and other similar corporate stuff, do you really need to learn how to be a leader all over again?

    • The military has a focus and trains for that. Bidness the same.
      WB works on the methods, ideals and program of BSA. Military and business leaders still have things to learn about working with youth.

  21. Pam Hendriksen // October 1, 2013 at 6:13 pm // Reply

    With a busy household and 3 boys, 2 cubs and 1 boyscout, scouting has to be a family commitment renewed each year. Being actively involved in leadership roles helps us own the program we are supplying the boys. Also, staying involved lets the boys know we think they are important and so is the scouting programs. Yes it is a lot of time invested, but it works because we have made it a family commitment.

    • Bob Basement // October 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm // Reply

      Boy scouting is not family scouting
      Venturing is not family scouting

      This is one of the many things wrong with scouting now……Too many tag along parents and a program that isn’t run or led by the boys.

      Cubs have all the family fun you want.

      • H. David Pendleton // October 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm // Reply

        I have seen many complaints that too many parents just want to drop their kids off at Baby Sitters of America instead of being involved. Now the complaint is that the parents are too involved. Being “involved” does mean that they are are helicopter parents following their son around. The Committee needs many adults to handle all the requirements to support the SM & ASMs. By serving as the Quartermaster, the Camping Coordinator, the Treasurer, the Popcorn Kernal, & especially the CC, that leaves the SM & the ASMs free to deal with the Scouts.

        In our Troop, any of the Committee members are welcome to attend the Campouts. The adults set up away from the Scouts & rarely interact with them except if there is a safety issue. The SM/ASMs deal with the SPL who then deals with the Troop.

        We have 5 or 6 ASMs besides the SM. Last month, I arrived late to the Campout with my son as he was just getting back from a school outing. Turns out, there were only 2 adults out with the Scouts due to conflicts. The SM & Camping Coordinator were there & luckily I chose to come out as the Camping Coordinator had to leave the next day because his house that he was trying to get sell for 5 years finally had an offer. Without this “involved” parent, the Troop would have had to pack their gear & go home a day early w/o doing anything. I guess the Troop was somewhat lucky that this parent is “involved” enough so the rest of the Campout could continue.

        • Hold on!!!
          QM – Youth position.
          Treasurer – Yes, I get that banks want adults managing the checkbook, but don’t you have a boy collecting dues, popcorn $s, etc.. and turning it in to that adult?
          Camping Coordinator – SPL + ASPL responsibility (what? yours doesn’t make calls to reserve a site, fill out the tour plan, and collect SM+MC’s signature? Well, ours doesn’t either, but if the adults stepped back, the youth would step up.)
          “only 2 adults” what more do you need? Next weekend give the SM camping coordinator, and yourself, a break and two other ASMs cover it. (That is, unless your SM’s like mine and will be camping even if there are 100% no-shows!)
          Advancement tracking? How bout those PL’s for trail to first class, and the Troop Scribe for everything above? At the end of the evening he turns in his report to the committee chair and SM.

          Look, it’s great to have parents in camp to watch their boys develop from a distance. I love the company! And it was totally awesome that your SM had such a depth chart that he could count on you to be the 2nd adult instead of pulling up stakes. And I bet each of those ASM’s has unique talents that the boys can tap to make a great program. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking we need to do anything more than we have to.

          In fact a lot of what we do just allows boys to go home early and play a few video games.

        • H. David Pendleton // October 3, 2013 at 11:42 am //

          q: Yes, we have a youth QM & Asst QM. The adult QM is the one that takes the propane tanks in to get filled & pay for them because the Scout QM might not be able to drive or open up the trailer because we do not issue keys to them. The Adult QM is who the Scout QM turns to if a piece of equipment is broken & needs to be repaired outside the troop.

          Our “Camping Coordinator” fills out the tour plan & coordinates the camping location. Do you want a 14-year old negotiating a reduced price with the place you are camping?

          Only 2 adults on a trip is asking for trouble. What happens if 1 of the adults gets hurt? Does everyone go to the hospital? How about if 1 of the Scouts gets hurt? If you have to have 2-deep leadership, everyone is headed to the hospital. What if one of the adults is incapacitated to the point he cannot drive? Who is driving the Scouts back home? I say 4 adults is the minimum for a campout. We don’t have a bus to put the Scouts in & most of us have trucks that only seat 3 people besides the driver. With that, we need 4-6 vehicles just to get the Scouts to the campsite. If we are going 2 hours away, do you want a parent to drive 2 hours to drop off a bunch of kids, go home, & return to pick them up on Sunday? Doesn’t sound like much of a plan to me.

          When I am on a campout, I do NOTHING for the Scouts unless there is something that another Scout or an SM/ASM cannot teach them. I help cook the adults’ food & clean up, but that is all. Usually in the campsite I sit in my chair and create a bunch of survival bracelets enjoying nature. I watch the Scouts from a distance & interact almost exclusively through the SPL when I need to do so.

        • Bob Basement // October 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm //

          hmmm,

          QM is a youth position. So why don’t you give the youth QM a key???

          The boys can do everything…..A Shame you don’t trust them.

        • The purpose of two-deep is for emergencies when one adult has to take a couple boys to the ER (contact parents, etc …) and the other has to stay back with the troop (and maybe arrange transportion home early if conditions warrant it).
          World’s not gonna fall apart if there is one leader for a couple dozen boys for a few hours. Ya’ll are still avoiding one-on-one contact.

          Like I said, I never grudge additional adults. Yet some don’t mind that 2 hour trek each way. I find it hard to believe given fuel costs that folks would be driving 4 hours for their own amusement anyway, but there are those who prefer that. We just take them however they want to serve.

          I know some 14 year olds who would be perfect for negotiating discount rates.

          Oh, and regarding $$, one of my crew treasurers was sixteen when she started to manage the collection of a five-figure high adventure budget.

  22. Randy Sorensen // October 1, 2013 at 11:09 pm // Reply

    Bryan it is all about determining what he big rocks are in your life and placing them in the container of your life first. Then filling the spaces with the smaller ones. I think you know what I mean.

    • Bob Basement // October 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm // Reply

      So is your family Big Rocks or are they the little ones?

  23. I choose to do scouting because of my family and try to treat it as a healthy hobby. There are times I may spend too much time (see obsess) but as the father of 2 sons (one an Eagle the other a wolf in cubs) there are few places or opportunities they will have during their childhood/adolescence that will afford them the chance to grow and develop like scouting. I’ve “skipped” scouts to be at another event of one son or the other and try to encourage the other troop leaders to do the same.

    I think it is critical for the boys/scouts to see their leaders able to balance their lives in a healthy way. So many today don’t understand that idea.

  24. Reblogged this on Patrick Lynch and commented:
    This past Spring I was interviewed for Scouting Magazine on my ways I balance school work with also being in the Scouts. Hope to share it once it is published!

  25. I am struggling right now with that. With 3 boys , one only stayed in scouting and is now a boy scout. He went to Jamboree this summer. And between his scouting events; like popcorn show & sells, the younger boys are worn out being dragged around. It has gotten to the point they have draw the short end of the stick. So had to choose the schedule to meet all of our family, even then son in boy scouts. He will not be going on the next 2 camp outs since we have traditional family events those weekends, one of which is a camporee for Nuclear Science merit badge. But it is what it is. Being a single mom does not help either with a father that is 2 hrs away. So had to put the foot down. Unfortunately, not getting a very good response from his troop leaders on this…but it is what it is.

  26. Sometimes it hard to balance scouting with family. My brother dropped out of Cub Scouts when he was young. My father wasn’t a scout, but he became an Assistant Scoutmaster when I joined my troop and stayed until I earned Eagle. Scouting is great and if it can also be a family thing, that’s even better. But if that’s not the case, the rest of us just need to remain proactive and use our organizational skills to find a way to make it work.

  27. I find it hard to not volunteer more and more time to scouting.

Join the conversation