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Identify potential Scout leaders with the Oreo Test

Wondering whether that parent on the other side of the meeting room would make a good Cub Scout, Boy Scout or Venturing leader?

Try the Oreo Test.

Don Lauer of Troop and Pack 9212 in Summerville, S.C., devised the method, and he said it hasn’t failed him yet.

“Just a simple thing,” he tells me. “Plus I like cookies.”

I think it’s brilliant. Here’s how it works … 

The Oreo Test

By Don Lauer

Pre-Step: Check with other Scouters

I speak with the Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, etc. and see who they may think would be a great help or asset to the pack or troop. Then … I get my game face on …

Step 1: Make your approach

Walk up to a person who shows interest in helping out. Chit-chat with them. I used to be a special investigator for the U.S. government, so you learn a lot about people in a simple conversation (micro-twitches and all), but I digress.

Step 2: Get them laughing

I’m very personable and I love telling jokes … so I’ll admit, I am a bit of a clown, and I get them laughing about some of the fun anecdotes of Scouting. (One hour a week and all, that one time at Scout camp where Rickey the Raccoon ate the Nutter Butters, waking up each Saturday to the forest and smell of burnt pork butt, etc.)

Step 3: Ask them to do a simple favor

After a little chit-chat, I ask them to do a simple favor for me. I ask them if next week they would bring in a pack of Oreo cookies to share as a snack (for the kids, for a leaders’ meeting, etc.).

Step 4: Let the test begin

So why this simple task? I can tell you that 100 percent of the prospective leaders in our pack and troop have been asked to bring in Oreo cookies. They look at me puzzled and I politely say, “See you next week.”

You are probably thinking I’m losing it … especially if you have spoken to my wife lately.

By now you are probably wondering why Oreo cookies, right? So I’ll explain …

Step 5: See what they bring next week

oreo-emptyEmpty-Handed: If they come back next week without them … they will probably have an excuse. I have no use for excuses, I only need solutions.

We all work, go to school, have disabilities, have sick kids, etc. Adapt, overcome, find a way … just like all the other dedicated adults in the pack that on top of life remember the craft, or the Scoutmaster who stays two hours after the meeting helping Scouts and he/she still has to get up for work at 4 or 5 a.m.

oreo-snackSnack-size Oreos: If they come back with the snack-size pack, they did what was asked, but the bare minimum. Bare minimum does not equal good leader quality.

Who wants to work with folks who do the bare minimum? It’s only a matter of time that their work ethic will be dipping into less than the bare minimum, and the program will suffer which means the boys will suffer.

oreo-regularRegular Oreos: If they come back with a thing of Oreo cookies that is the normal pack … they have followed directions, met the challenge and sacrificed $3.50 of their own money and time shopping to get it.

They might just be worth the leader conversation.

oreo-doubleDouble Stuf: If they come back with Double Stuf, now we are talking potential. They exceeded expectations. They get the leader conversation that night. Usually these folks walk in with a smile holding them up.

You get a laugh, they get a laugh, we all get a cookie! Stephen Covey would be proud with the Win-Win-Win!

oreo-nutterNutter Butters: If they show up with Nutter Butters, I’ll make them a Scoutmaster or Cubmaster only if they were paying attention to the anecdotes from Step 2.

I always make two jokes during Step 2: 1.) It’s not a campout without burnt pork butt involved (Scouts burning bacon) and 2.) It’s not a campout without Nutter Butters. I don’t really know why the second, but they always make the backpack trips.

oreo-noshowNo-Shows: More than not, the folks never show up again. They self-eliminate the time I have to spend with them as a leader and more than not, the folks who come back the next week with Oreo cookies bring more than one pack … which is the final test.

oreo-lotsEnough for Everyone: If they bring back cookies to me, who cares… If they thought it through to make sure each and every boy in the pack or troop has a cookie, their heart is in the right place from the word go.

See, I can train you in Scouting … you either have the right heart or you don’t. I surround myself with leadership who has their heart in the game for the boys. The boys come first. Always.

Step 6: Analysis

See, a simple test of Oreo cookies gets me quality leaders who have the right heart, stay the longest in the organization, attract like-minded others, parents and Scouts.

Who would have thought all that from a cookie? End of the day … I don’t care if you are “Dad Eagle, Super Scout” … or a brand-new single mom. Just bring in Oreo cookies next week, and let’s see where this goes.

Plus, you can see the entire room smile that next week when someone walks in with Oreo cookies because no one but the leaders ever know why, and the kids will eat anything chocolate! So, win-win … again!

Feature Oreo photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by mihoda; Empty pockets photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by danielmoyle

88 Comments on Identify potential Scout leaders with the Oreo Test

  1. Awesome.

  2. This should be an exercise that the DEs or representatives run at Cub Scout roundups. We’ve had so many leaders pressured into a leadership role that they were not qualified for (the most important qualification being a willingness to set aside other things to do what it takes to be an effective leader). With the Oreo test, the pack committee can figure out really quickly who is serious about being a leader and who is just quick to volunteer to shut this guy up and get out of the room!

  3. Carol McNally // February 26, 2014 at 10:19 am // Reply

    LOL..Love it and totally agree!..I’m a “bring multiple packs” kind of girl…;o)

  4. If they show up the following week with Girl Scout cookies does that make them an instant Scouter? Putting not only their time, but their money into Scouting is what makes a volunteer a Scouter.

    • Really, right?! Im on the Committee for my son’s cub scout Pack and my daughter is selling girl scout cookies, lol.

    • YES, YES, YES!! I like the way you think Dave! If they already support (any kind) of Scouting by buying cookies, odds are that they’ll be willing to show some support in a leadership role. But I think that’s the point you intended, so I’ll shut up now.

    • And then, what if they bring drinks? I’d love them forever.

      • Bryan Wendell // December 30, 2014 at 1:40 pm // Reply

        Gotta have something to wash down those Oreos!

  5. Great test. Look forward to trying it out!

  6. Missed one. The cookies and the juice and cups. Here’s the person who looks past the task to the total outcome. Cookies without juice is like camping without bacon. This is the person to have as an assistant.

    • Graphically Designing // February 27, 2014 at 12:03 pm // Reply

      It’s not cookies with juice! It’s cookies with milk!

      • Juice or milk – especially if you have kids with special dietary needs – whatever works and what they are willing to share! I love this test… I will be using this next! For my boy scout and cub scout units and my girl scout units! <3

  7. Now maybe you can expand this to bring unspecified cookies – if they bring the Oreos, fine, you have a grading system already set up…but with “cookies” you see more into them. What conclusions can we draw from just bring the store brand generic Oreos, or from Chip Ahoy, or from the cookies from the local bakery, or with several different packages (maybe a future candidate for Committee Chair) – now if they (male or female) bring some home-baked goodies, you’ve got a keeper!

  8. Dave M.
    Only if they are Thin Mints. 😉

    • I was thinking the same thing!

      • No way. Samosas all the way!!

  9. Brilliant.

  10. If they bring napkins and drinks, that means they’ll take the Training. Get it done

  11. Great one!

  12. what a fabulously simple idea to garner great results

  13. I like it! Well, all but the pork butt. Being a Jewish family, we’ll improvise on that part of the story, but DEFINITELY using this method. Thanks!!!

    • Bob, thanks for being part of Scouting. I’ve seen plenty of non-Christian/Catholic folks of other religions not get involved because of differences in faith. My wife’s strictly Catholic raised cousin married an amazing Jewish guy. They are both involved in leadership at the Pack, Troop, and District level with their three boys.

    • You mean I should stop serving pork to my Jewish Scouts (totally just kidding) We are a Diverse group, including Jewish and Hindu in our Troop, As such we have learned a lot in planning camping meals that work for everyone. Although I will say I was the one responsible for the Tofu dogs debacle…. those have got to be the worst tasting things I have ever put in my mouth.

      I reading the post above I would actually cringe seeing the nutter butters come through the door, 2 boys with sever peanut allergies makes that a big issue for us. I would in fact say that if the person bringing the cookie thought to bring a variety for allergy specific kids that would be the gold star award in my book.

  14. I really like this approach with the Oreo’s and it is a simple test that can reveal some telling results. I look forward to sharing this with other leaders.

    However, I have to strongly disagree with the Nutter Butters elevating someone to supreme status due to the prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergies amongst our youth. Bringing in Nutter Butters not only misses the mark of the assignment, but potentially endangers the safety of our youth not only from direct exposure, but from cross-contamination. Unfortunately it only takes a minute amount to cause a reaction.

    As the parent of a child with a severe nut allergy, it is something that we are constantly aware of, on the lookout for, and educating others about. It is our job as leaders to be aware of these types of allergies in our units as the consequences can easily range from the mild (hives) to the severe (anaphylactic shock or death).

    • Since the point of Nutter Butters are to see if the person was paying attention, and in the context of “this has worked in our unit” I am willing to concede that the author has ascertained that there are no peanut allergies in his unit.

      I have a family member allergic to tree nuts. (Actually, if you go far enough out on the extended family tree branches, there’s all of the major allergens.) We check, double check, and check again just in case. It’s my job to make sure the people who need to know, know. It’s also my job to be food taster. In Scouting situations, I tell everyone repeatedly, when it’s time for menu planning or snack packing or whatever.

      I’m actually thinking about printing health forms on red for the allergic one. I think it would stand out in the mass of papers at camp check in.

    • Jon, you are right that leaders should be aware enough to know of allergies and other special considerations. However, you missed the point of the story. It could be a veggie and fruit tray with the anecdotal camp story being about Ricky the Raccoon stealing the carrots. The point is to see if the potential leader connects with the previous conversation and makes the extra effort to bring WHATEVER it was that the Scouts made memories from. It’s not about the cookies.

    • I see Nutter Butters as a negative, but for a different reason. I’ve staffed several NYLT courses, and Oreo cookies have a cult-like following among the youth staff. Bring Oreos, you are a supportive adult in a youth-led organization, and the Scoutmaster usually knows the Scouts and what to ask for. The adult who returns with something they see as “better” than what the youth have chosen, would not be my first choice to support the Scouts. If it ain’t youth-led, it ain’t what Scouting is supposed to be.

      • I agree. Nutter Butters are an inferior cookie to the almighty Oreo. What would someone that brought some of the other Oreo flavored like mint, vanilla, raspberry , holiday, Halloween orange would say about the prospective leader? Why would generic “cheap” Oreo knock off cookies disqualify a prospect? A scout is supposed to be thrifty. Lord knows I lost track a long time ago how much money I have spent on scouting.

  15. Thumbs up!

  16. This is great! It was signed by the writer but I don’t see any copyright info… So, since this was posted on a national BSA blog it seems that we could send the link or copy and paste it into an email to give it to our leaders to “work it” with our Packs (and Troops) too! Is that allowed?

    • Please do share the link or the post itself. Internet courtesy would dictate for you to give the writer, Don Lauer of Troop/Pack 9212, the full credit when sharing. I just published it!

  17. I disagree with the author’s assessment. As an investigator the author knows (or should know) his case is solved before he starts. The facts present themselves well before the Oreo question. Other leaders have already identified the potential leader (as stated in the “pre-step”). He walks up to the person who shows interest in helping…the challenge here would be to walk up to the one who doesn’t show interest, engage them, and get them interested in being a leader. Mr. Lauer is causing more of a turn-off than turn-on by his method. How many great leaders has he chased away by his methods? If I have to decide between feeding my family and buying Oreo’s (or any other cookie) I would choose my family EVERY time, but according to the author this disqualifies me as a leader. Really?!?! Scouting is expensive to begin with, now you want me to prove my worth by adding additional financial burden? Personally, my current financial situation would not allow me to buy this guys cookies, yet I am in a Pack, Troop, and District level leadership position. According to him, I should be in none because I can’t afford his cookies. The author is what Scouting does NOT need, not what we need. I could write volumes on the authors flawed logic, but this comment section is supposed to be brief.

    • I have a funny feeling, Terry, that you would make something work in spite of the expense. But keep in mind that training is also expensive, and a lot of us hate overtly pressuring someone to sign up to lead when they really need to be pulling a second shift to make ends meet.

      Besides, the parent who should be asking for a camper-ship might be the one who says “I thought about bringing a snack all week, but couldn’t swing it.”

      • That is my point. We ask parents to pay a membership fee, dues, additional money for council events, uniforms etc.They are in it for a hundred or more from the get-go. A person is identified as a potential leader so you make small talk with them. I’m good up to that point. But to define their leadership potential by whether or not they buy cookies is beyond short sided. The person who can’t afford the cookies may be the greatest, most reliable leader a unit has. Why? Because their time and devotion to a quality program is all they may be able to offer. Has the author ever thought that the ones who don’t return to the meetings may not return because of pride and embarrassment, That the ones that bring the bag of mini’s spent the last of their milk money on the cookies, same with the single pack purchasers. In our unit we do not force people to become leaders, and we don’t judge them for not being able to buy cookies. One of the greatest leaders I knew couldn’t afford to buy his kids Christmas Presents, let alone cookies. If we would have turned him away we would have lost a great leader. So, again I ask, how many good leaders has the author’s attitude and a bag of cookies chased away?

        • So, instead of bashing a good idea that will work for a lot of units, why not propose and share your own good ideas for finding quality, devoted leaders?

        • JWMoe, I am not bashing a good idea at all. I feel it is a bad idea, and have cited my reasons. I think that many on here and FB have hit the nail on the head. Find the parents that don’t hesitate to jump in. The ones who show excitement at every turn. Give some people small jobs. Progress into larger and larger roles until they decide the only thing missing in their role as a Scouter is the tan shirt. Take into account personality traits such as shyness, as well as social standing. Be a mentor and coach to the potential new leader. Make yourself available. Have the Pack/Troop set aside training dollars to offset the financial burden. What the author suggests is that only those who are willing to incur more out of pocket expenses are worth a darn as a leader. I take issue with that part of his philosophy as should everyone. The stereotyping of a person based on whether he buys cookies or not is far removed from the principles of scouting. The idea that he would categorize people by how many cookies they buy is absurd to say the least.

    • Scouting is horrendously expensive. Thank God for thrift stores. If I brought some cookies from our local dent-and-bent, would that be enough of a qualification?

  18. James Lehman, Jr. // February 26, 2014 at 11:38 am // Reply

    Weel, friend Lauer makes some valid points in judging a person’s interest and involvment level. But, as was brought up by Terry and Jon and Bob, there are other considerations. The work gets done by who ever shows up. Encourage, engage, educate and examplify. Just ’cause they don’t bring cookies doesn’t mean they should be eliminated from possible Scout supporting positions.

  19. THIS IS GREAT! Unfortunately the parents that come to my mind immediately are the ones who would drop off their kid – and the cookies – and drive away. I’ll have to be more observant in the future to look for the potential….This system actually makes sense.

  20. Reblogged this on Popcorn Guy and commented:
    Love this method to identifying potential Scout leaders.

  21. If they bring Thin Mints, elect them King.

  22. I guess my den parents are above and beyond excellent leadership material. I send a supply list of what we will be using and we have more than enough to use at our meetings.

  23. As I was reading this I was eating an Oreo cookie. I do remember Noelle asking me to bring Oreo cookies to sm event. I wonder if that was a test !!

  24. So the more someone spends the more likely they are to be a good leader??????? Seems rather flawed, what about those who can’t afford to bring snacks for the troop, you may never see them again because they are too embarrassed to say they can’t afford it. Yet they could be a fabulous leader

    • investigatethislol // February 27, 2014 at 10:05 am // Reply

      the audacity of some of these people huh? to rate you down for mentioning financial troubles. Matthew 19:24 guys.

      • I don’t know, but it’s possible whomever rated it down wasn’t doing so because financial troubles were mentioned–the cost of Scouting is a factor, especially for the non-LDS units who almost always greet parents palm-up, just to support the program. This was a creative, light-hearted, and maybe even partly tongue-in-cheek approach to recruiting adult volunteers. I’m surprised at those who read the article and can only find fault with it. :-( It was written by a volunteer. The best way to discourage a volunteer is to criticize their efforts. Discourage your volunteers, and no matter what you do to recruit more, you won’t be able to hang on to them. A Scout is Friendly–and Cheerful, too! THey find a way to laugh when their tent starts floating in a rainstorm, instead of bemoaning the weather.

  25. Reblogged this on Troop 113's Blog and commented:
    What a fun posting — a way to check on the listening skills and overall commitment of potential leaders….

  26. What about the person who brings the “WhoNu?” ‘healthy’ version of Oreo? lol.

  27. Reblogged this on Mark Ray | Writer and commented:
    A truly inspired (if fattening) way to screen potential volunteers….

  28. As simplistic as it sounds, it’s a great tool. As any great tool, it adapt it to your needs. “Mr Don”, as we know him around here, gets it done.

  29. investigatethislol // February 26, 2014 at 10:50 pm // Reply

    use somethings besides oreos please.. oreos are terribly unhealthy for kids and adults alike. setting a crappy example for nutritional choice. I’d be more impressed if the potential candidate brought back something healthier for everyone and scoffed at your suggestion of indulging the problem of obesity in our youth. By the way, the way you needlessly inserted the bit about being an investigator makes you sound like one of the guys who mentions that kind of thing to people around you just so you can hear them ooh and ahh and wow over you. bsa already has enough snobby folk. lets not add to it.

    • It’s not about the cookies, it’s not even about food. It could be an anecdotal story about a craft item and then asking for a donation of that type of item. Perhaps a story about craft sticks and the potential leader being tested works for a medical supply store who is known to make charitable donations to community organizations. The candidate may go above and beyond and bring back several boxes of tongue depressors at no expense to themselves or the unit. Everyone wins and you’ve found yourself a great new leader.

      Don’t limit the potential for this test by being narrow minded about the details of the story. Use your own mind, think for yourself, be creative, and stop limiting yourself because you choose to get hung up on inconsequential details.

  30. Scout Exec... // February 27, 2014 at 5:22 am // Reply

    I have to add one idea… The mini oreos… If they bring one bag then I agree but if they bring multiple bags of mini oreos they are still leadership material… Didn’t have time to read all the comments to see if anyone else thought of this but wanted to throw that thought out there… You can put multiple mini oreos in your mouth but sometimes the big ones are too big for one bite for little kids… Less mess faster clean-up…

  31. Brian – I love this! Do you mind if I adapt it towards finding good leaders in general as long as I credit you as originator? Thanks.

    • Oops – I see it is Don Lauer who wrote. Perhaps you can check with him?

      • Go for it.

  32. What if they can’t afford to buy cookies but leading the boys at there heart is what counts.

    • annoyed former girlscout // May 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm // Reply

      I agree.
      But apparently wanting to make a difference in a child’s life is only important if you listen to dessert whims and power plays.

  33. “The Boy Scouts has been connecting kids with the outdoors for a century, introducing 112 million kids to the outdoors during the Scouts’ tenure. Staying “physically strong” is even a part of the Scout Oath. But it seems many Scouts have simply been giving that portion of the Oath hollow lip service. According to BSA’s internal Body Mass Index data collected at the 2010 National Jamboree, 41 percent of its youth participants are overweight or obese. That’s 10 percent more than the American average. And adult Scouts are struggling even more with their weight. An astounding 77.5 percent of the adult Scout participants at the National Jamboree were overweight or obese. If the Scouts have been getting kids moving in the outdoors for 100 years, why are an unusually large percentage of them obese?” From: “Scout’s Honor” BY Graham Averill, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, October 2010. Perhaps you should choose a healthier test!

    • BOO!

    • Brandon Michael // February 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm // Reply

      BMI is a horrible statistic first off. The maximum weight for me would be 193 pounds. Anything more and I would be overweight. Here is the thing, when I drop that low, people think I am sick because I look sick and unhealthy. I weighed 215 when I went to Philmont and had no problem (until I got a blister towards the end) could run an 8 minute mile, and avg. 20+ mph on a bicycle. Yes we need to get kids more active, but you need to look at the proper data too.

      • Concur with you about BMI. When I worked in my Pentagon office back in the early 2000s, I was responsible for keeping track of my section’s physical fitness (PT) cards as the Army uses 2 minutes of Push-Ups, 2 minutes of Sit-Ups, & a 2-mile run to test everyone’s physical fitness level. At this time BMI was making the news & the Army said to calculate everyone’s BMI.

        Along with doing the PT test, everyone is weighed in and those that miss the screening weight have to a body fat evaluation to see if their weight is under the standard for their height and gender. With about 15 Officers in my section, our average PT score was well above 290 points with a maximum of 100 points in each test. Over half us scored the maximum 300 points.

        In my mid-40s, I had not scored less than 293 points on the PT test since I was 26 years old. I always maxed the sit-ups & run, and if I lost any points it was always in the push-ups. Some young Captain couldn’t believe that I a max PT scorer so I challenged him for the PT test so the loser would buy lunch. I did 80 Push-Ups (well above the number needed for my age) and just a couple under the max for age group with the highest numbers needed for max scores. I did 100 Sit-Ups (quit with 10 seconds left of the 2 minutes) even though I appear a little “soft” in the middle. I also ran my best 2-mile run in a couple of years by a minute. Needless to say, I got a free lunch.

        Back to the BMI. I calculated my BMI (68 inches, 180 pounds) & it came out to 27.37 which put me right in the middle of the “overweight” category. I then calculated the other 14 Officers and almost everyone of them were also in the “overweight” category. There was only one Officer that was in the ‘normal” range who was about 6 foot tall & weighed 140 pounds, which put him in the lower end of “normal”

        I worked out 5 days a week and almost everyone in the office worked out at least 3 days a week if not 5. The BMI counts all weight the same and does not take in account whether the weight is muscle or fat. Muscle weighs more than fat so that that work out a lot are always going to come out in the “overweight” category or in the very high end of the “normal” category. The exceptions are few.

        For the last 10 years of my military career, my weight was always within a pound of the 180 as my screening weight was 181 before having to take the tape test to determine my body fat. On road marches and other physical events, I would usually outdo 75% of the Soldiers, Officer or Enlisted, even though I was 10-20 years older than the youngest Soldiers.

        The BMI should just be one measurement to determine whether someone is of healthy weight. It should not be the only determinant.

    • Michael Heisler // February 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm // Reply

      Lighten up. Geez

    • The real problem is that many parents and leaders go to scouts because they don’t think they can or should push their kids to be active or involved in sports. They have defined themselves as nerds or band geeks, and not athletes. Why not be both? Why penalize those that want to do both by having your meetings on Tuesday nights? Scouts should be on Monday nights when more people in general can make the meetings!

      • this would be a regional and sport specific thing. we fight all kinds of sports and practices for attendance and we are Monday nights. We know what teams our boys are in as such we have some boys that are only there in the spring, other only in the fall, but that said we are a Monday Night troop. The night wouldn’t make an impact on sports here, as they practice some sport every night of the week.

      • The meetings should be determined by the SPL if it is a BOY led troop. Our meetings are on Friday night. They are well attended. Another troop in our town meets on Tuesday. We get the boys who have Karate and tutoring on Tuesday nights.

        • This is fine and dandy for the boy-led meetings. But is it the boys who book camping excursions or do the administrative duties such as scoutmaster conferences or boards of review? Who do the boys turn to for guidance in tough situations?

          A good leader is needed in those situations.

  34. This is the most simple way to find a leader I have ever heard in my thirty-five years of Scouting. How unique! Kudos to Don Lauer! And for those who complain about “giving a kid a cookie” – if you have a great troop, they get all the exercise they need! Keep up the good work.

  35. just to show some science behind the oreo test:


  36. It’s rather sad that the message and rationale behind the test was lost on some of you. it was a story with a process and a result which one with wisdom will take and adapt to their needs. For those who saw nothing but a half empty glass, or an axe to grind completely unrelated to the purpose — well — re-examine your reasons for being involved in scouting.

  37. There probably is some value to this test, but I don’t think you should punish a parent’s interest in helping by imposing the oreo request on them. We want to include more people not exclude them. Maybe, I am wrong in assuming you mean to literally ask them to bring oreos instead of just reading this and learning from it like a parable and a way to look at peoples actions and judge them. Every scouter volunteer brings something to the table, we should pool our strengths together and not just search for the perfect person. Some may be good speakers, persuaders, planners, gear experts, cooks, disciplinarians, negotiators, have vast material resources, or have more time to share than others. There may be a leader that is not well spoken or great at leading people at first, but instead young at heart and able to inspire the boys with knowledge and interest that can change their lives and spark an interest that leads to a career. It would be wise to take any adult help you can get, beggars can’t be choosers. Scouting also develops adult leaders. Someone with your expertise should have no problem developing great leaders.

  38. Seems cynical and manipulative to me. I’ve only got a few years of scouting leadership experience, but do have about 15 years experience running, helping to run and coaching a community sports program. There are better ways to find volunteers. Ask for small jobs that aren’t make work, let then know specifically what needs to done. be appreciative and ask again. Most people want to help.

  39. Brilliant! I may do this before voting for officers in my Crew. Though, I probably would have brought homemade cookies, where would that score me? lol

  40. I would bring cups and milk too. Great write up and poo poo to all the negative Nelson and Nancy’s.

  41. I agree that we should evaluate the method presented in the context of our own unit. If this method can be used as an effective recruiting tool, then use it. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. It’s that simple. Please don’t bash something that works for some people in some situations just because it doesn’t work in your unit or your situation. There are positive and negative aspects of every recruiting method that the mind can think of. Evaluate the method and use it or don’t use it. It’s that simple.

  42. Makes a lot of sense, although I disagree on some points. Nutter butters I wouldn’t bring unless explicitly asked to, considering that peanuts are a common, and potentially life threatening allergy. Bringing these could also show a lack of consideration (how would it feel to be that one Scout who can’t eat the cookies because they’re allergic?).

    With the double stuffed oreos, assuming that they’re more expensive, I would opt for a larger quantity of normal oreos rather than a lower quantity of double stuffed since the purpose is to help provide snacks for leaders/scouts. I can hardly tell the difference between eating normal and double stuffed oreos unless shown both at the same time.

    Also, I feel that a better quality would be to bring a variety of oreos (or anything really), in this case maybe buying normal ones, as well as halloween ones and golden oreos. This gives the scouts/leaders options, which I feel also shows going above and beyond (being considerate that different Scouts would like different things).

    In addition, I feel that parents who email back to inquire or ask about more details for the oreo contribution would also be going above in beyond, in my experience those who are new and ask questions tend to be more reliable than those who just make assumptions despite lacking experience.

    While this method does work, I think its also important to remember that its only for a reference. Just because someone forgets to bring oreos or doesn’t bring a lot doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re uncommitted, sometimes they’re rushed, they forget, or they just lack experience. For example, people might bring NutterButters if very few of the people they know have allergies, usually only individuals who are exposure to the concept in real life make this consideration (i.e. someone who has it or their spouse/children have it).

  43. Retired Scout Executive Paul // November 1, 2014 at 7:01 am // Reply

    Since this old string surfaced again on Halloween, with some good comments from Scouter Arv, I thought I’d join in. Last night we had a pumpkin painted teal among the others on our porch. (And don’t start in on me about Halloween, I’m not listening!) It was there, along with a poster, because of FARE – Food Allergy Research and Education. Their Teal Pumpkin Project is to encourage folks to have something to offer kids with food allergies. We had a nice tray of cans of Play-Doh, bubbles, glow necklaces, etc. Several posters in this string mentioned the kids with food allergies, and I am glad to see that awareness. Scouting is working on a partnership with FARE, so watch for more ideas and info on this. One more way to make Scouting work for more kids! (And don’t start in about being mad that you no longer get “free” peanuts on airplanes unless you want to hear from all the parents who are struggling to keep their kids with food allergies alive!)

  44. I disagree with adults not modeling fitness and I get the creeps when I see junk food brought to meetings. Bring apples, fruit cups, nuts, or something without so much fat and sugar. …and yes, I know apples and fruit cups have sugars and nuts have fat, but it is much different – and part of teaching our boys to enjoy a healthy lifestyle without giving up having something that tastes good.

    Leaders that look like Humpty-Dumpty eating cookies and junk all the time are NOT what boys in Scouting should see as often as they do. Kids know hypocrisy when they see it and your overall integrity and credibility suffers greatly as a result. I gained a bit of weight the first years after I quit smoking and I can tell you it is coming back off slowly – so I do understand – but get busy and be a physical role model, too!!! Fitness is a precious, life-long gift of the Scouting Ideals and it is our responsibility to deliver.

    Remember that kids tend to do more what they see us do – less what we SAY to do.

    I’ve read this “cookie test” long ago. We all clearly get the idea, but …cookies? You may have better luck by asking prospects what their favorite outing ever was and whether they would do YPT training so they might be able to help the boys to plan an outing there. It allows them a bit of a “comfort zone” and some confidence in knowing something that they can share with the Troop. It gives them instant interaction with the boys, as well, creating a bit of a bond and a sense of ownership …and belonging. Make the experience positive and easy for them as you can.

  45. Hmmmmmmm…..sounds like the chartered partner and the pack committee should try this so the DE isn’t put in the position that he/she must not have to “pressure” anyone!!!!!!!

  46. I’ll bring you double stuff oreos and teach them how to dip them in funnel cake batter and deep fry them!

    • Bryan Wendell // November 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm // Reply

      you’re hired!

  47. Paul Mastrangeli // November 2, 2014 at 10:30 pm // Reply

    Don’t forget to tell them about the Oreo knot. They will let you know what size is the most important Oreo (knot) is most important for them.

  48. Just now reading this as part of the ‘best of 2014′ blog … love the concept! I ended up in Cub leadership because of a very simple test … our main leader said, “I’m due in May, if we don’t get leaders to step up, we won’t have a pack in fall” … very effective! LOL. I’d already been helping out as a Tiger mom anyway, and I wanted it to continue for my son, so there I was. And I have LOVED being a BSA Scouter because the training and enrichment opportunities are amazing … I was even talked into leading a class for University of Scouting, and I am petrified of talking in front of adults. I also lead Girl Scouts, now that my daughter is the right age, and my pockets can be pretty empty between the both of them … but I would find a way to make something work. The parent could always say up front, “I can’t budget for that right now, is there something else I could do to help?” If the camaraderie was established during the anecdotes part, the parent SHOULD be comfortable enough to say something …. if not, the anecdotes missed the mark and the bond was not established … and that is a reflection of the tester, to take into account for the next time. The test works both ways.

  49. I would be willing to bet very few DE’s would pass this test. I’m sure they would be more than happy to tell everyone else how wrong the idea was afterwards though.

  50. What if they bring in one of the other flavors of Oreo?

  51. ScoutingVolunteer // December 30, 2014 at 3:33 pm // Reply

    I would buy probably have brought store-brand version of Oreos, unless the name brand happened to be on sale and would be about the same price. I do realize some people look down on that, not buying name brands, which I find to be a shame. I’m using resources wisely, which is what I do with Troop resources as well! There’s a ton of ways to have fun while being thrifty — you’re still eating cookies, whether they’re Oreo brand or store-brand…if you have a little money left over to do something else fun because you bought store brands, then even better!

  52. Very cute, very psychologically well-played, however…….what about those of us who have to decide – get those cookies, or have enough lunch money for the kids at school that week? Putting someone on the spot like that can be beyond embarrassing, and perhaps create some no-returns, lowering membership numbers, driving away the kids that may most need the organization. And yes, I am being dead serious. Sometimes, for some of us, just being able to get the basics to even join Scouts puts our back up against the financial wall. Being asked to contribute this, that, or the other in addition is honestly too much. I am not saying that this test is a bad idea, just that it needs to be remembered how it could backfire.

  53. And then there’s people like me. I’m the one who mentally says to myself: “OK, how many kids in the whole group? I should get enough so there’s two cookies for every kid. And more than one kind of cookie, (I love nutter butters, so we’re having those, too!) in case of allergy or they just don’t like them. Oh, and enough for the the adults. Maybe some goldfish crackers as well. Hmm… should I get a gluten-free package of cookies just in case? Better bring the igloo with some ice water so they have something to wash it down with (no kool-aid indoors). And napkins to wipe off their faces afterwards.”

    Probably explains why I’m perpetually involved… pack, troop, district, council, wood badge, okpik, Baden-Powell university, mb counselor.

    And I thought I only carried these extra pounds because of stress… it’s because I buy too many cookies! :-)

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