Getting outside of our comfort zones

We all have our comfort zones – the places where we feel safe, whether at home or work.  So when we are challenged to reach outside of those comfort zones, it can be tough duty until we master the ability to take on these new responsibilities.

In Scouting, when we reach out to bring our mission to underserved neighborhoods, it can be a real stretch outside of our comfort zone, but the results can be most rewarding.

Let me share the story of Troop 112.

Scout Troop 112 Norfolk VA

Scouts from Troop 112 in Norfolk, VA

Troop 112 was recently featured in a television news report in Norfolk, VA.  The troop is sponsored by The New Hope Baptist Church. These Scouts cannot afford uniforms, camping equipment, or weekend campouts. Fundraisers are difficult. Their members are growing up in a neighborhood fraught with gangs, gang-related problems, and very few activities or facilities for children. Read more »

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When parents get their hands dirty

One thing we have learned in Scouting is that parents often find the Scouting experience just as rewarding as their sons or the other Scouts they serve as leaders do. Parental involvement keeps our volunteer base strong and provides a consistent stream of quality leaders to make sure our Scouts receive the best possible training and chances for new adventures.

Here’s a great example of the impact one parent can make by coming off the sidelines and embracing the values and opportunities Scouting has to offer. Rick Strom was recently profiled in his local paper for providing 25 years of service as a Scout leader in his community of Hoquiam, WA.

Rick Strom Troop 100

Rick Strom, Troop 100, Hoquiam, WA // Photo courtesy of Grays Harbor Talk


Rick earned his Eagle Scout award 38 years ago and has been happy to see many of the Scouts he’s mentored over the years also earn the Eagle rank, including six in the past year. Below is an excerpt from the article in the Grays Harbor Talk newspaper that gives you an idea of just how far-reaching Rick’s mentoring is in his community. Read more »

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Through the eyes of a leader

We are fortunate at the Boy Scouts of America to have a huge cadre of trained volunteer leaders – close to one million – to help teach the principles of Scouting to America’s young people – all while having a great time out-of-doors, building adventures, providing service in their communities, or learning new skills.

So when I come across a journalist who can share the real-life experience of what it’s like to be a volunteer leader in Scouting, I like to share his/her perspective. I also learn a lot from their experiences. It’s a good test of our training to see how well our leaders are doing out there and learn how we can help our programs become stronger.

I encourage you to read this first-person account from Scott McIntosh, editor of the Idaho Press-Tribune, titled, “If you have a boy, you should take a look at Scouting.” While not involved in Scouting as a child, he did not hesitate to jump on board when his son reached Scouting age, after his wife “volunteered” him to be an assistant den leader. Here’s an excerpt from his column that will probably sound very familiar to a lot of you volunteer leaders out there:

“I was actually pretty excited about it. I never did Scouts growing up, but my dad had an old Boy Scouts Fieldbook that I read cover to cover, over and over just about every summer before heading out on our summer camping trip. I kind of always wanted to do Scouts growing up. Read more »

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