Kelly Parker (kelly_parker@MESAQM.SPS.MOT.COM)
Tue, 26 Aug 1997 15:32:26 -0700
Kris Swank wrote in asking for help with a difficult situation at
the local elementary school. Often it seems that a bad experience or a
misconception can cause real problems when we need the help of the local
schools. My own unit draws from a number of public, private, and charter
schools in the area, and is chartered to the local Catholic parish.
Overall, we have had very good relations with all the schools--except
for a time when our charter partner kept scheduling mandatory religious
ed. on our meeting nights.
First, I recommend that you approach this with a patient, friendly,
and helpful attitude. What is your unit doing to show the school (and
the principal) the good parts of Scouting? Have you ever volunteered to
do a service project there? Do your boys show up in uniform to help out
at school carnivals or other social events? Do members of the local
troops attend the school board meetings periodically (to work on Citizen
in the Community) and to tell what thye have done to serve?
Is there an Open House or Back to School Night? Rather than send
fliers home, why not set up a table at these kinds of events and talk to
parents, pass out information, and then ask if your boys can help clean
The middle school is on your side--so make an appointment, go in, sit
down, and talk to the principal there about the problem. He/She may know
what the story is, and may give you some good clues as to how to
The key thing is to make Scouts a friendly, useful member of the
school community. Who knows--the principal may have been a Scout who was
hazed and humiliated, or maybe was a kid who thought all Scouts were
nerds to be bullied. By showing up where you are needed, by making sure
that parents in the Pack talk up the positive role of Scouting, and
working in and with other organizations (such as the PTA), you can
overcome a lot of prejudice.
If worse comes to worse--run for the school board, and change the
school policy. I haven't had to do that--but I do serve on our local
school board. Believe me--stick with Scouting!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City