Re: A Little Advice
Ed Darrell (EDarr1776@AOL.COM)
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 00:19:22 -0400
Mr. Cudney sez (edited much):
>We have been having troublee with the school we meet in as far as
>scheduling. Last fall they took away the two rooms we have been using for 15
>years. . . just a secretary who felt that the
>mini-cheerleaders deserved the gym on our regular meeting night. . . We at
>time protested, but acquiesced. Now the district has decided that they will
>take over the scheduling of all the schools in the district(large district).
>. . . Since the fall, our
>program has suffered because of the lack of space. We have also seen cubs
>move to other troops because of the lack of space. We have done a good job
>of keeping both older and younger boys in the troop, so we need more space
>on meeting nights. We have regular attendence of about 25 each Monday.
> . . . ( Our PTO spnsor will do nothing to help us
>in our problems and won't even answer phone calls)
Time for a friendly heart-to-heart with the PTO president (Does she really
not believe the Cub program is useful? Can she give some help?), the school
principal (Does she really want those kids who NEED Cubs to have no outlet?
What will that do to school discipline, student achievement, etc.? Surely
she supports goals of Scouts -- surely she can lend at least a small hand . .
.), an appropriate person or group at the school district offices -- the
superintendent, the president of the school board, for example (Do they
support Scouting? Of course! Well, Scouting needs some help. Are they
aware how the new scheduling program is hurting activities that help kids
succeed? Can they look to make sure that programs that help kids aren't
chased out unintentionally?).
We need to remember to keep our CO muck-a-mucks informed of the wonderful
work our kids do in Scouting. Very few good citizens will turn their backs
on that. If there is core support for the program, there should be core
Stress how Scouting gets parents to volunteer -- make notes on parents you've
recruited who later volunteered in other ways to help the school. Count how
many kids are helped. Note mournfully that it would be sad to cut off this
opportunity for parents to support the school and its kids. At some point
talk about the training required for all leaders, two-deep leadership, and
well-crafted training designed to prevent abuse of children -- quietly,
quietly point out that no other organization offers such training to parents
and volunteer leaders at school functions, and ask whether there isn't some
insurance break for actively working to prevent child abuse . . .
Do all of this with a smile and in good spirits.
Don't be disappointed if it doesn't work to rescue the relationship. If the
school and PTO don't come around quickly, run (don't walk!) to other groups
who will volunteer. When we faced a similar situation a year ago we had
four local organizations who volunteered to sponsor the pack within a week
of our decision to seek another sponsor. The PTA president is still active
in the Pack, as is her son, and the school still calls the Cubs for help at
flag ceremonies, etc. It will all work out well, most likely.
My darker thoughts: It's sad when PTOs do not feel compelled to stand up for
a youth organization, or for kids' activities. Avoiding liability is easy if
you avoid child abuse; avoiding child abuse works best with active vigilance;
avoiding liability is almost impossible without active vigilance. Dropping
sponsorship of Cubbing for liability reasons is cutting off one's nose to
spite one's face, in most cases.
Find the space you need and enthusiastic sponsors. You can do that either by
making your present CO come around or finding a new one. You pick.
Ed Darrell, Duncanville, Texas
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City