Warm weather and a break from school combine to make summer the greatest season for Scouting.
But in many troops, summer means just two things: summer camp and high-adventure trips to places like Philmont, Sea Base, Northern Tier or the Summit Bechtel Reserve. That leaves a lot of Scouting-free time.
Jeff Bostwick, a member of the Boy Scout Experience Task Force, challenges troops to do more during what he calls “the prime time for Scouting.”
“The thrill of the outdoors, the adventure of the outdoors and the lessons of the outdoors are more especially available to Scouts during the summer months,” he says in the April 2016 ScoutCast.
Before you take 12 minutes to listen to Bostwick’s thoughts on getting the most out of summer, I thought I’d share five quick takeaways.
Five ways Boy Scouts can get the most out of summer
1. Plan a service project
Summer is a great time for service.
Who should benefit from the service projects? Start with your chartered organization.
The senior patrol leader and some adult leaders can sit down with the chartered organization representative to learn about what work needs to be done.
“Service is a great opportunity to strengthen that relationship between that unit and that unit’s chartered organization,” Bostwick says.
2. Work on advancement
Some Scouts think advancement pauses during the summer. Not true.
“These program elements should be in full swing all during the summer, and that includes all the opportunities for advancement, for service hours, for service projects that go along with it,” Bostwick says.
3. Participate in community activities
Set up a booth at the county fair, march in a Fourth of July parade or organize a park cleanup.
Being a visible part of the community is a valuable tool for recruiting more Scouts into your troop. And, Bostwick says, service to the community can have other benefits as well.
“I know of one unit in my council … they clean up the park where the Fourth of July celebration for that community takes place,” he says. “And as a result of that service project each year, they are afforded the benefit of using that park freely by the local authorities.”
4. Plan a few shorter trips
In addition to a week spent at summer camp, many successful troops plan shorter trips throughout the summer.
These don’t have to be three-week trips across the country, either. It could be something as simple as an overnight at a local Minor League Baseball stadium.
“Whether it’s cycling, backpacking, trips to historical sites within the community, the point is there should be full activity and an aggressive program all throughout the summer months,” Bostwick says.
5. Work on merit badges
Scouts find themselves at home quite a bit during the summer, and they’ll benefit from switching off the PlayStation for a few hours to knock out some merit badge requirements.
Merit badges like Family Life and Personal Fitness that include a time element seem perfect for summer.