Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Re: what to do with older scouter
Re: what to do with older scouter
Sun, 15 Aug 1999 08:45:45 EDT
You have received some wonderful suggestions. Here might be a couple of
I will admit that I am a bit troubled in your post when twice in your post,
you refer to problems with your district and council and your OA lodge and
say "don't go there." While individual personality conflicts can occur, it
is tough to assure that an very senior individual's full capability is used
without the participation of the district and council. At any rate, it is
exceedingly thoughtful of you to think about this older Scouter. The
1) It may be easier to find a responsibility for him in the district or
council if you suggest something very specific rather than asking "What can
XXXX do?" One possibility might maintaining the district Merit Badge
Counselor list. In many district, these lists get seriously out of date. If
he would take responsibility for it, then use his time to phone each
counselor once a year or so and keep them and the district up to date on the
person, contact each unit and see if they have other counselors to add to the
list, then coordinate publishing the list, that would be highly valuable.
The nice thing is that there really is no pressure for time. It can be done
as rapidly or as slowly as needed.
2) A similar task is keeping the registrations up to date. This normally
happens during reregistration for the year, but at the six month anniversary
of reregistration, he could phone the unit, make sure that all the leaders
listed are current, make sure that all new boys are registered, etc.
3) Still another similar task is maintaining district advancement lists.
Taking the advancement reports sent in by units and posting them on a
district master list so that anyone who wants to know about advancement
4) A similar responsibility exists for maintaining training records.
5) Within a Boy Scout unit if he is starting to "lose it" a little and be
less comfortable camping, he can still, perhaps, deal with the new boys. I
would not ask him to be Webelos leader, but he could be Asst. Webelos leader
and help introduce the new boys to Boy Scouting, teach them the Scout and
Tenderfoot skills, etc. Again, this doesn't need to be every week and could
be on the basis of he helps when he is there and when not, someone else
6) One of the most remarkable examples of help by an older Scouter came in
my former pre-merger council. We had one leader, former District
Commissioner, who retired from his job. We were then starting a Scout Shop
in our council office and he worked an 8 hour day, 5 days a week at no pay as
the manager of the Scout Shop. He said that he wouldn't take pay because if
he did, he would be an employee but as a volunteer, he could leave any time
he wanted to. However, he served in this way for over 5 years until the
council merged and the new SE didn't like the idea and we transferred the
Scout Shop to the National council. I figure that his contribution to
Scouting in this way was over $250,000 in salaries which the council didn't
have to pay. That office and Scout Shop are gone and the plaque
commemorating him is too and he has gone home, but I will never forget the
wonderful service of Al Gottschalk and I know that a number of other leaders
in our area won't forget either.
7) Another thing I have seen older leaders do is serve as Provo SM or Provo
ASM at summer camp or else camp Commissioner.
8) There is one very important job which likely ONLY a dedicated older
Scouter can do. We have so many Scouters which over the next decade or too
will go home. Many of these individuals might remember Scouting generously
in their will but they need to be asked and the steps of putting Scouting in
the will need to be worked out. If someone who was their peer and colleague
says "We need to make sure that Scouting continues long after we are gone.
I've put the council into my will. Let's talk a bit about it and maybe you
would like to consider doing the same."
We lost a Scouter last week who had received the Silver Beaver in the mid
'80s but had dropped out in connection with our merger and, to our best
knowledge, said nothing about the council in his will (He owned a very
successful local business.) The situation is particularly challenging
because many Scouters do get bent out of shape as they get older and what
they want isn't the way things are done any more. Also as councils merge,
the institutional memory is lost of what these leaders have done. And if
the man predeceases the wife, as commonly happens, some of the family good
feeling toward Boy Scouting can be lost. But councils that do this kind of
thing right can get a very significant fraction of their budget from bequests
and, in some cases, receive gifts which can even make a large impact on their
Thank you again for your concern for this older gentleman, Jason. You truly
are putting into practice the point of the law which says that a Scout is a
friend to all and a brother to every other Scout.