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Scouts Embarrassed to March in Parade

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I'm confused. What events are not optional in Scouting? We can't make attendance mandatory.


What we can do as leaders is to set the expected behavior. I'm tired of folks blaming the adult leaders about attendance at events like these. What role to the Scouts parents play in this?


Year after year in our troop it was the same folks with the same excuses. Well our family always family camps on Memorial Day weekend. It was always something. I made sure my boys knew that my expectation was that they attend the parade. Yes, their attendance was sporadic - I think they attended about 4 out of 6 years, but I don't believe you can force the issue - either as a parent and definitely not as a Scout leader.

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Unless I'm Mistaken (and I could be)we can have mandatory attendance if it central to the charter organization. Like a church requiring service attendance. Why not a VFW post requiring memorial day activities?

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Mandatory attendance would just be one more factor for boys dropping out.


I know how my 16 yr old would react if he missed a "mandatory" event - he'd figure that since his scouting career was already in the toilet, there's no sense in going back. His logic is very black & white - which isn't uncommon in teens. (Adult logic is also often black & white - just on different issues)



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I'm also not fond of "mandatory" events. They have an annoying tendency to multiply. Once you start labeling mandatory activities, anything which you do not specify as such gets terrible attendance (well it wasn't mandatory!).


Personally, when somebody tells me something is mandatory in a volunteer capacity, my initial, often unspoken, response tends to be sort of unscoutlike (oh yeah? you going to make me? good luck with that buddy). I just really don't appreciate people on power trips, trying to manage my limited time and energy for me, without any good explanation of *why* they want me to do something. Tell me why you want me to do something and you're likely to get a much better response than if you attempt to simply mandate it.



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I'm not sure 'mandatory' is the right word here... how about 'strongly encouraged'.


If these are the only two things the CO is really asking of the unit and gives in both time, meeting space, and maybe even money to the unit... its not too much to ask for the unit leadership to strongly promote participation.


There's a HUGE difference in, "Well, we're going to do this... but its not mandatory...." and then an adult leader is seen standing on the sidelines during the event.


Versus... , "This is an important event. It shows our patriotism, it is really the only thing our CO asks of us, and its important to be there to show respect for our country's veterans, especially those who died for this country. Besides, its good community PR for the unit. I'd really like to see as many people there as possible..."


Neither statement says anything about it being optional or mandatory... yet they set very different expectations for the level of participation.

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I tend to agree, and since the SM wasn't the winner of Top Communicator award with this one (feedback is a gift :) )...


I'd have said something very similar, but it would have been:

- To the SPL..

- In person if at all possible (going to his house and visiting with him/Mom/Dad as needed for appropriate 2-deep)

- Let him craft the message (with a little help)

- Have him send it to PLs and Troop officers

- Only then would I have sent a follow-up to parents.


There are ways to twist arms, hard such that the youth get the message. Sometimes left-handed choices are a viable option.

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