Re: Required Parental Involvement
Anthony J. Mako (ajmako@APK.NET)
Sun, 8 Feb 1998 03:55:01 -0500
<QUOTE From="Mark Arend <arend@CENTURYINTER.NET>">
I don't see how you can require parental involvement. What are you going to
do--kick the kid out? The boy with uninvolved parents may need Scouting
more than many of the others.
First of all, we shouldn't be using words like "required" or "mandatory"
when it comes to parental involvement because words like those tend to give
the parents a negative view of what we want. They see it not as something
they want to do, but as a task like taking out the garbage or going to work
in the morning. What's more, it is easier to slough off "required"
involvement in Scouting than the garbage or going to work.
What we should be talking about is "expected" or "encouraged" participation.
Letting parents know that they are expected to find some way to be involved
and encouraged to do so is the best way to find new adult leadership.
Letting parents know up front that they may get a phone call some day asking
for help makes it _their_ choice. When they can choose how they will
participate in the unit, they will be more likely to be there when you need
There are also many valid reasons why a parent can't be involved. What's
the job & family situation like? If dad is working 2nd shift with manditory
overtime on weekends & mom is watching little brother & sister at home you
won't see them around much.
Yes, there are valid reasons a parent may not be able to attend every
meeting, or activity, but even working 2nd shift etc. parents often find
ways to be useful. I have even been on campouts with parents who would have
to get up Saturday morning at 4 am so they could drive home and get ready
for work. On several occasions they returned to camp Saturday night.
Some parents are willing to be there every week, every campout, and use
their valuable and limited vacation time for summer camp. Some parents can
only manage one meeting a month and the occasional campout. And there will
always be those parents who simply don't have the time to do more than drive
Scouts to the occasional activity. All of these types of parents are
involved in some way, doing what they can. The parents you need to
concentrate on are the ones who barely slow down when dropping their son
off, never seem to make it to parents' meetings, and don't even have the
time find out how their son is doing.
Most of the parents I deal with are suprised to learn that I'm not out to
find someone to take my place. When they find out that the average committee
member attends an hour and a half committee meeting once a month and
whatever time it takes them to complete their assigned tasks they are
usually more than happy to assist. Of course I start with the most time
consuming jobs; those are the hardest to fill. But not every parent can be
an assistant Scoutmaster. If they can't fit being a committee member into
their schedule, they go on my list of "drivers".
So, you see, Scouting isn't mandatory for the Scout, and it shouldn't be for
the parent either. If you let them know they'll be asked for help, they may
just volunteer. If you tell them that they HAVE to help, they'll be looking
for ways to get out of it.
Anthony J. Mako, email@example.com http://junior.apk.net/~ajmako/
Scoutmaster, Troop 381 http://members.aol.com/Scouts381/
"Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout Desktop Theme!"
Great Trail Council - Akron, Ohio
"I used to be an Eagle (C-7-97), but I'll always be an Eagle (1981)"
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City