Being a better Scout Leader this year is important as every year. Not only for yourself but for the scouts that you work with. You could only do this in a team leadership environment. Putting something together with the troop, crew, or ship. You must work as a team. We’ll discuss more what can be done to put this team together, and give it some momentum. Understanding what it means to Leave a Legacy is a lot like “Pay It Forward”. In Scouting, there are three big parts to Leaving a Legacy but always keep in mind that every Scouting youth you work with gains something from you just being there, and then has a lot to do with mentoring and coaching and helping the youth succeed.
- Be the best leader you can be. By being the best-trained and the best-informed leader. Make sure that all your certifications are up to date.
- Remember, not to become burned out. Now a while ago I did a Video/Podcast about “Five Things that you can Do to Prevent Burnout”. As Scout leaders, we want to give it our all, but a lot of times that just leads to a burnout situation. We have to balance everything and in that it’s very hard.
- Part of leaving a legacy is understanding if your long-haul leader or a short-term leader. The long-term leader is looking at the long-game generations of Scouts. That their helpfulness is admirable but you have to have the dedication to do it. Short-term leaders are working with their own youth within Scouting, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with that, they just are going to be working their way to the exit. Make sure that you have certain goals in mind that you want to progress with and that you want to help other Scouts with. When that day comes and you’re retiring from scouting, it can happen with no regrets.
Now in Scouting, we do a lot of stuff for the youth. Most of the stuff that we talk about, we work on is for the youth. We need to think a little bit about ourselves. As Scout leaders are our needs being met and are our concerns being addressed? That’s the real key. It’s very difficult to dedicate time to Scouting if it’s not appreciated. It’s one of those things that it’s a two-way leadership type of situation. That is the biggest thing that a lot of adult leaders lose sight of. They work really hard, they dedicate time, and they give up their vacation (their paid vacation time) to go to Summer Camp or Day Camp or something like that. This is stuff that if it goes unrecognized and that can be very wearing. It could be as if you’re being taken advantage of and you don’t want that feeling. Most successful units come up with a system where they kind of reward the adult leadership. They not only make sure that they are getting recognized for all their dedication and all the time they’re doing, but they also have events that they do that come up for just the adult leaders.
One of the great things that a unit can do is have these planning seminars for the adult leaders. Now often this is just the Scout Facing part of Scouting that is not a good mix. We need to get more involved with the parents and backstage. A lot of the time Scout Facing; Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, Den Leaders, and Assistant Scoutmasters… are Scout Facing, and a lot of times they are excluded from a lot of the Backstage stuff. Whether it be Troop or Pack committee, treasury, or all of those things. All the adults that make up a unit should be part of a planning seminar. Getting parents involved is a great way to start recruiting. Because they see where something is needed and they can jump in and help. Now some of the best units out there do this four times a year.
The first one in the spring is what I call a “Unit Leaders Summit”. This is usually during the day, you know 10 AM to 2 PM and it’s a time for you to talk about the schedule for the coming year. What summer camp you’re going to? What day camp you’re doing? Those are very important things for different units. You also need to talk about upcoming challenges to the leadership. Is there going to be a vacancy soon in a critical position? That is something that needs to be addressed. This is kind of a serious meeting and what’s neat about it you will start to see a lot of getting along as a team and that’s the key. You want that fellowship to develop as a team.
The next big one is kind of fun! I call it the “Summer Camp Survival Party”. This is a party, it’s in the summer… it’s right after you come back from day camp or summer camp or some long adventure. It depends on your unit and it’s a time to get together and just have a laugh and talk about the stories that came up. Something interesting happened at camp. Keep it light it could be a potluck. It could be anything. It’s a party, but keep it light, don’t make it too serious. This is a way for adults and parents to address issues in a light situation and develop even more of that fellowship as a team.
The next one is in the fall. That’s really when you start to recruit I call it a “Recruiting Retreat”. Now, this can be done as a campout. It could also be done as a one-day thing, but it’s really a way to get together and talk about the upcoming recruitment. Recruitment is not just schools. We’re talking little leagues, we’re talking other places where youth meet. Say it’s a youth center, that’s a wonderful beautiful place. Also, think about all the churches that have schools and that maybe they would be willing to be a good place to recruit from. Recruitment should be year-round. We’ve talked about it but this is a chance in the fall to concentrate on helping youth join Scouting and when you do that you’re helping the adults. You’re talking directly to the parents they are the ones who signup for their youth. They’re the ones that you need to work with. They’re the ones you need to have. All this paperwork you gotta have, and your schedules are really what they are looking for. A lot of times this turns into sort of a brainstorming event. It’s really amazing how it can go. Having snacks and coffee around that that always helps. It is just one of those things that a lot of leaders need to do.
Now when winter comes around, I call it the “Christmas Leaders Party”. That is so important, you need to have a holiday party of some kind. The leaders know that they’re being appreciated and this is just leaders. There’s no youth… there okay. It’s a party. It’s totally fine to have a potluck, you could even make that into a campout. You could do it at someone’s home. It is all up to you, but the neat thing is that you get together and you really talk about the year that happened. That’s the important part and that is a wonderful way for fellowship during the time of the holidays. Talk about all of the fellowship that the team has given to the unit. The unit will do better if it works as a cohesive group of adult leaders. This team can do just about anything. It’s amazing what they can do and the work that they put in for their youth is astounding. The success of their youth the ones that are going to move on from Cub Scouts into a Troop. The ones in a troop that might go into a crew, that’s a possibility.
These are things that they can do and it’s amazing to me all the work that adults like ourselves voluntarily put ourselves through. We need to recognize that we need to make sure that adults don’t think for a second that they’re being taken for granted. We want them to be appreciated… and we do appreciate them! We just need to let them know. That’s the key to Leaving a Legacy. Making sure that your team works together. That fellowship is so important! You gotta have that and that’s true for the youth as much as it is for the adults. Keep up that good work, you are amazing. All the stuff that you’re doing and I truly do appreciate it. I will see you on the trail. YIS⚜