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what the heck is an "active ScoutParent?"

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  • what the heck is an "active ScoutParent?"

    I recently filled out transfer paperwork for my son to join a new troop. It has been several years since I last filled out a BSA membership form. I don't recall this being on the old forms.

    There's a blurb on the form about it, but really, it sounds silly. Especially for boys who are older than cub scouts. Do any of your units even notice whether or not a parent fills in the little circle promising to be an "active ScoutParent?" And if so, what does that qualify the parent to do, in your view? How would you treat a parent who does, vs. one who does not agree to that? It isn't the same as being a registered leader.

  • #2
    You can probably get a better understanding of it by going to the on-line learning center and watching the "ScoutParents Unit Coordinator Fast Start" video.

    Basically an active ScoutParent is nothing more then what it was in the past. An active Scout Parent. But I think the Unit Coordinator is a great idea if you have someone in the troop with a personality that will encourage their envolvment.

    It's parents that do not register, but are willing to help. In a troop this could be helping to provide rides to an event, or be the popcorn kernal, or organize the annual scout breakfast etc.

    That you have that little tick in the boys registration form.??? Maybe it is because the form now is not devided with a seprate form for cub scout youth and Boy scout youth and a tiger scout "must" have an adult sign up to be the "scout parent"..

    I am unsure if it is needed beyond this point.. A Scout Parent unit coordinator I am sure will engage parents whether or not they put a tick in the Scout parent box.


    • #3
      This whole thing was started some years back by a Scouter who was trying to get more parent participation.

      It was picked up by National as a way to meet their goal of increased parent involvement, and increased volunteer registration. If you fill in the dot on the registration form, then BSA can pull that from their database and tout how many active parents it has.

      I agree, the whole concept is a bit silly. Filling in a dot on a form might help BSA statistics, but it will not actually make you an active parent. It also does not help that, for the most part, folks have no idea what it is, or why it is mentioned on the youth application. Especially brand new to the program parents. Most will look at it and think that of course they are the parent of a Scout, why else would they be filling in a youth application. They will then either fill in the dot and never think about it again, or totally ignore it. Others will focus on the word "active" and avoid it like the plague.

      I agree that a Committee position of Parent Coordinator can be useful if it is filled by an experienced parent. I think including that position in BSA publications concerning the unit Committee (Cub Scout Leader Book, Troop Committee Guidebook, etc) would be a better way to define it, and bring it to folks attention.


      • #4
        It's another one of those lovely things National thinks are important!~


        • #5
          Is there any substance to this? Does it change anything regarding say insurance? Does the "Active ScoutParent" get coverage from the scouts as primary coverage rather than secondary?

          We ask that any parent who wants to join us on a trip complete YPT, but neither they nor we want to go further than that and register as a Committee Member every parent who might camp with us once in a year. Can this be useful for that situation, or is it really just meaningless?


          • #6
            I assumed that the intention was that it could be used to induce a mild guilt trip if necessary. Very few parents are going to check the "no" box. Perhaps it's more than check the "I use illegal drugs" box, but still, it's probably uncommon.

            So when calling a new parent to help out with something, it's a good way to start the phone call: "I see you said on Junior's application that you were willing to be an active scout parent. We need some help next week with ....."

            If they checked the "no" box, you can still make the phone call. You just need some other opening line. They're not going to be "active", but they can still help out next week with .....

            I don't know if that was the exact thinking behind it, but I certainly wasn't going to check the "no" box, and here I am, the Tiger Den Leader.


            • #7
              Well, I can't say exactly what your definition or National's definition of an
              "Active Scout Parent" is, but I can tell you what we mean when we say "active scout parent" when it comes from the mouths of one of our pack leadership.

              Active Scout Parent( as defined by pack 235 - Hampstead, NC):

              A parent who actively perticipates and keeps an active interest in their sons scouting advancement and learning.They keep up with dates and activities, know when and where meetings, outings and ceremonies are taking place as well as what time.

              I can also tell you what is not an active scout parent by our packs collective definitions:

              Parents who pull up,park their car and sit in te car while their son goes inside. They stay there the ENTIRE time , yet complain about how meetings are run ( even though they cannot physically se anything). THese parents are also the ones who do actually sit in the very back during pack meetings, yet cannot tell you one single thing said by anybody less that 45 seconds after it was said...including their own child.

              When asked, they have absolutely no idea what their kid is doing, what the kid is working on, what den # their son is in and ( this is sadly true) sometimes do not even know the pack #, the name of the CO or the den leader's name.

              But...this parent gets mad when their son does not get any awards or special recognition directed specifically to their son..even though they have no idea what their son is doing or when.

              And as much as I hate it, that is all real life experiences. Most of it from the same parent of one scout.

              That parent will say they are 95% sure that their son is "X" rank.

              So, if by any chance National was aiming at those parents...I say:
              "HELL YEAH! It's about time!"


              • #8
                I had no idea what that circle was all about. I assumed it was some sort of a "pledge."

                Hey Scoutfish, you have parents like that in your Pack too? I thought it was just us.

                I find it works well to have the "either/or" activities. "Go to this part of the room if you want to help with ABC, or stay in your seat if you want to help with XYZ." Etc. When we do signups for events and camp, adults have to select among the options of "I will help with ABC," "I will help with XYZ," or "I have no preference and you can assign me to wherever I am needed most."

                At least it gets the idea across.

                Hey, how many of you DLs/CMs/SMs ever run across parents who assume you are getting PAID for what you do? I almost snorted my hot cocoa when I heard that one...


                • #9
                  Oh, maybe that explains why my Tiger Leader salary check has been so delayed!


                  • #10
                    Lisabob perhaps this link will help:

                    Sometimes it really is simply a matter of checking what BSA says. It appears to me that national is attempting to get more adult participation in Scouting.

                    T2Eagle, registered Scoutparents do not get coverage of our insurance also they do not have to provide a SSAN or pay the membership fee. No fee equals no Scouting magazine but with it available online I see that as no big deal.


                    • #11
                      The Scout Parent idea is a tool, and a tool is useful if you know how to use it.

                      Same for the Scout Parent Coordinator position that parents can choose as a registered adult leader position.

                      Personally, I'm experimenting with those as follows:

                      Scout Parent Coordinator:

                      As a District Membership Chair I find lots of recruiting nights where parents leave with a highly limited understanding of the Cub Scout or Boy Scout program. It may take weeks or months before they start learning the complexities of the program.

                      Also, many packs and troops may take weeks or months before they get around to asking new parents to help with the program. Often a unit committee chair looks around for someone to help when something needs to be done, but that's not an organizaed way of getting people involved.

                      If you have a Scout Parent Coordinator, you have someone who should be on the phone the week the family was recruited, getting acquainted with the parent and family, answering questions the parents have about the Scouting program, and finding some task the new family can do to help provide leadership for the unit.

                      When the parent completes that initial task, they are recognized as "Scout Parents" at a pack meeting or Court of Honor and their name is added to a perpetual roster of Scout Parents maintained by the unit, and they are signed up as Scout Parents when rechartering (no cost).

                      Our district Cub Scout and Boy Scout Roundtables in December, 2010 will be a joint presentation on how to recruit more adult loeaders, and using this model of the Scout Parent Coordinator will be part of the recommended methodology.

                      I think it makes good sense to have one specialist whose job it is to greet and orient new parents to the program and look for ways to have them get involved as leaders and volunteers right away.

                      For many units that is a haphazard process. Having a specialist makes good sense, in my view.