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Making Scouting Fun For Adults

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Old Grey Eagle's comment deserves discussion:


"How do I say this delicately? Well, I guess I don't know so I will just say it straight up


Scouting is for the Youth, But unless the Adults are not having a good time, the future is limited


Now, having a good time is open to interpretation. I have had fun being a waiter at a Council event, helping run Camporees, etc because I was with people I respect and enjoy being around. When adult find little pleasure in scoting, there will be issues."



So--- should leaders look for ways to make meetings and activities fun for parents?


What are examples of how you have seen that done well?





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Definitely yes. And that fun can be directly tied to getting more adults to participate and get the Scouts to step it up a notch.


At a recent "pay it forward" event our Troop had, the boys ran a weekend camping program for the Cub Scouts after the Crew had taken the Boy Scouts Rock Climbing. The parents and leaders were seperated from the boys in both proximity and facilities. One of the dads (who was immediately promoted to ASM after dinner!) had volunteered to cook the adult meals with the SM.


The dinner for the adults ended up being mini pizzas cooked on portabello mushrooms instead of bread dough along with great chili and a bunch more. The next day breakfast was a mexican breakfast burrito like nothing I have ever had. I think I gained 10 pounds that weekend.


At the next camp out I expect it to only get better and I expect we will have more parents volunteering to assist (trust me, it was that good and we have not stopped talking about it!). It isn't as if the kids suffered or we got carried away, for our SM, that is just how he cooks and camping is something where he does it (I had a clue as I had gone with him to other events and it is always excellent but when our new ASM joined in the cooking it went up more than a few notches (he used to be a chef).


There are many ways to make it fun for the adults and we really do try. BTW, here is a picture I took at our rock climb, those are two of our adults up there!



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Hmm.. Yes Food always a way to a volunteers heart !


I have also a "food" story..


At a Jamboree, some adults got there early before the rest of the unit got there and had picked up chinese food for a quick bite.. Well our Districts DE.. saw the take-out and just started razzing them big time..


So the next day around lunchtime, when the Jamboree was in full swing over the PE system comes a big boomining announcement.. --Name of DE Here-- the Delivery man has just come with your pizza!!! --Name of DE Here -- Please come over to pick up your pizza!!!...


The DE turned 5 shades of red, and knew right away who had set the announcer up to the joke..

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So--- should leaders look for ways to make meetings and activities fun for parents?


Not just no, but hell no.


I think you're missing OGE's point, S.P. Scouting absolutely needs to be fun for the the folks who are there, volunteering their time to offer the program for the boys. If it's not, they won't be volunteering for too long.


But as an adult leader do I need to invest time and effort to make it fun for the uninvolved parents? Heck no. That's not even remotely our purpose. Yes, I'm drawing a huge line between the volunteers and non-volunteer parents.


As a unit leader part of my job is looking out for my people, just like we teach patrol leaders. If I want them to keep coming back, on balance they better feel appreciated and draw pleasure from their time in the program, whether its the satisfaction from the altruistic service to the boys or the fellowship and comraderie of associating with like-minded individuals or enjoying camping and the other outdoor activities. That enjoyment should be intrinsic to the program for those folk who choose to volunteer. If it's not you would be better coaching little league or joining the Lion's Club.



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I had a District Executive who maintained that it was important for parents to have a good time when they attended activities. He illustrated that by suggesting that Pack Committee meetings should consider having a wine tasting event at the end of business.


I actually did that with a pack committee maeeting. Parents contributed a couple of bottles of wine and those interested got a taste or two.


In my current pack I schedule Pack Committee meetings at a Starbucks coffeeshop on the last Monday of the month. Those who want to treat themselves to a drink do so, and those who don't do not. I don't, myself.


Even though this is a small pack, I always get 4-5 parents turning out.


How about Roundtable and District Committee meetings?


We used to cap Cub Scout Roundtable and sometimes District Committee meetings with a visit to the Dairy Queen a couple of blocks away for those interested. Just some additional time to chat with the aid of some ice cream.


Our Boy Scout Roundtables usually conclude with a sample Boy Scout Dutch Oven desert.


What other things would make it fun for adults to attend meetings or activities of various kinds?



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As twoCubDad says you are just looking for fun with/for the other volunteers.. But, if you are hoping to get others to volunteer, that is your hook to them.. If those who volunteer are having great fun, then others will feel left out of the fun and wade in to volunteering also..


The only thing is you have to know your limits.. You can't get so much fun that you have more adults going on the events then the scouts, and the adults loose track of the fact that the first thing is to make it "fun" for the scouts, or make sure the scouts have organized and are enacting on their own "fun" (depending on the age of your scouts).. Then to have a fun time also..


Our troop had too many adults getting in on the fun and we had to put limits on it.. There a fine balance you have to maintain.

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First, I want to be sure I understand the real question begind this post and not necessarily the OP it was spun from - just in case this post is spinning it into a differrent ( although re;ated) question.



So, should adult leaders of the pack/troop/crew/ship have fun?


WEll. yes! The day we quit having fun..it becomes work. The day it becomes work with out a paycheck...it becomes a burdon. The day it becomes a burdon is the day that our little bit of a contribution actually burdons the unit and starts dragging the unit down.


Now, I am not saying that we should develop smiles that plastic surgery can't take off, but we ought to enjoy doing what we do - so that we do it more and do it better. Thus it benefits the unit.


Should it be more enjoyable to parents of Cub Scouts?


Yes. No, we shouldn't bend over backwards or kiss their buts or change the program for others to suit "demanding" or "Needy" parents..but they should at least enjoy the hour they spend at meetings or event so that they continue to bring Jr ...who is the whole purpose of the program.


Again, don't change the dynamics or purpose of the program, but try to make mom and dad enjoy it more.


Now about parents of Boy Scouts?


WEll, not being in Boy Scouts or having any experience myself with BOY scouts...I'm thinking that the parents fun isn't so much a big deal as having them understand and approve what is happening. I am assuming that parents who are active will already understand the whoile boy lead thing and having sepperation, so it's really having the ones who don't do anything be happy with what they are paying for.


Again, if mom and dad aren't happy, Jr wont be getting permission to be there and wont be there until he's 18 - and then it'sa moot point , right?


Now, if the question means making a program that is planned around mom and da first, what their idea of fun is or ought to be ..and working from there?


Then HELL NO! Because you are starting out with an inheirently flawed idea and program and it's only a matter of time before it implodes! Then it'a all for naught and a TOTAL wste of our ( meaning adults leaders and volunteers) time!

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Note I have been at troop level, so this won't work for cubs, because you can't leave the younger kids at home..


But, we have had a barbeque just for the committee members for the last committee meeting before summer break..


We got our SM pink flamingos & yellow & blue pinwheels which for a while he would set up camp and place them around his tent.. Including the IOLS training..


And then there is the white water trip where the Adult leaders that went cooked up lobster and corn on the cob and had a feast..


But normally fun is just a natural thing, without working at it too much, humor and digs, with people you have a good time with..

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Adults participate when it is fun for them.


Every person has different things that they find fun. You can't make something fun for someone else unless they are already inclined to enjoy that activity.


That's why I never require parents to take on some role, perform a service for the troop, or otherwise participate. Those who want to will volunteer, and we'll all be happier without annoyed, grumpy, or unenthusiastic adults around.


At the same time, for the folks who are inclined to enjoy themselves doing Scouting, it is easier to draw them in and keep them in if you take care to make it as much fun as possible for them. One of my fondest Scouting memories is how much fun we had at pack committee meetings in my first pack. We had a great group of people who really had fun AND got things done, laughing all the way, and I know of similar environments in other units. Friendship and camaraderie are a big part of it.


Dan K.

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Fellow Scouters,




I considered posting in the previous thread Scouting As a Program for Adults, but withheld.


I could not find it on Scouting.org, but on some council webpages you can find that Cub Scouting is a Family Based Program. Cub Scouting seems to be about 75 percent of our population.


On the Scouting webpage, there is a recent flyer "Scouting Builds More Than Just Campfires". On page two it states Scouting Builds Families (along with Character, Values, and Community). Though there is not much literature, that states it. The Scouting Advancement program is for the boys (and Venturing/Explorer girls), but I personally feel that the width of Scouting is for the whole family.




Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Its not the current adult leaders job to make scouting fun for parents and other adults.


Their job is to make sure there is a program for the youth to have fun.


When the youth have a good program and are having fun then the adult leaders will be having fun right along with them.


The most fun I've had is just sitting back and watching the youth perform. There is always something happening that puts a smile on my face and makes me laugh.

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1) One of the wisest senior Scouters I have known said "We say that Scouting is a youth program, and indeed it is. But truly successful Scouting is an adult program run for the benefit of youth. If the adults are having a good time, and enjoying themselves and each other and having fun and it is clear that good things are happening, the youth will come."

2) I regard Scouting for adults as something like an emotional bank in this area. When we have a good experience and have fun or are rewarded, it puts "chits" in our personal emotional Scouting bank. When we have a negative experience, it takes "chits" out of the bank. Over time, "chits" can get old and stale and need to be refreshed. When our personal emotional bank bank balance is nice and positive, we stay around and are active Scouters. But if the balance gets close to being negative, then we start to ask "Why am I doing this?" and consider quitting.

3) Ordinarily a new Philmont Training Center (PTC) course takes years to get going and fill up. But the most successful new PTC course in recent years is the "Philmont Leadership Challenge" which is essentially the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (an experiential fun course) run for adults. It is adults acting and experiencing youth like activities for a week with no youth involved. The course was first announced in October, filled by January and has continued to be very popular. It does teach adults how this kind of experiential learning works for youth.


If adults don't have fun and enjoy themselves and aren't rewarded and don't feel good about themselves, why volunteer to be unhappy? "Doing good work" and grim sense of duty only can go so far and for so long.


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The last two posts by NeilUp and Gary Miller seem to contradict each other at first glance.


But Gary Miller too talks about Scouting bringing him personal pleasure, just by watching boys having fun with the program.


Personally I think NeilUp's post is wiser. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts too is demanding on adults, even with "Boy Leadership" in Boy Scouts.


And I see quite a few parents with a lot of demands placed on them, and not obviously with a lot of pleasures in their lives. If I can find ways to make meetings and activities fun for parents I think it's wise to do that when you can.


Being self sacrificing is fine and necessary often enough in Scouting. But I'd like to keep the "chits" NeilUP describes positive when I can.





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