Often parents of new scouts look for a spot to fit in. Sometimes those parents aren’t interested in the camping or being actively involved in the day to day running of the troop but still would like to find a place in the troop. We have a saying: if everyone does a little, then no one does a lot. All the adults you see at meetings are all volunteers and are happy for added support. You’ll notice at scout meeting nights that do not have a parent meeting, many adults “hang out” in the hallway outside the room. Some of it is socializing, and much of it is sharing information with each other and getting the “behind-the-scenes” stuff done. Here are some specific ways you might think about volunteering.
Any time a scout has completed the requirements for a rank advancement, and requests a board of review, the troop needs several adults unrelated to the scout to sit in on a board of review. By sitting in on a board of review you will better understand the board of review experience for the boy, you will get to know other scouts in the troop, and you will be better able to help your son prepare for his next Board of Review. The person who sets up the Board of Review (BoR) will balance the level of experience, so you won’t need to feel like you need to be an expert in scouting. You will also be provided with example questions. If you are interested in helping with a BoR, please see the Advancement Chair.
Another way to volunteer is to become a Merit Badge Counselor. Registering to be a MB counselor is as easy as completing an application, and explaining why you would like to take on this role. If you have a particular hobby, experience, talent, or interest you could look at the list of merit badges on Meritbadge.org to see if there is a merit badge that fits. Another idea is to look at the list of merit badge counselors to see if there is a merit badge that does not have a counselor, and then determine if this particular badge holds an interest to you. If this is your first time being a Merit Badge counselor, there are many adults (hanging out in the hallway) who would be happy to walk you through how to work with a boy to complete a merit badge.
Now if you ARE the person who likes camping, know that you are welcome to join the scouts on the monthly campouts. You will find that the other adults are a great group to camp with and the campouts are a very enjoyable time. To give you an example of how important parents are to the boys succeeding, my son’s patrol had one parent in particular who camped every campout with the boys. While he didn’t at the time have any type of specific leadership role, he was always available to drive the boys, and he was always checking in with the patrol as to how things were going. He was great at giving them independence while also helping them problem solve, and was good at giving them packing advice. He really got to know each boy. I am confident that this entire patrol may not have stuck together and have every single one of them complete his Eagle Rank if not for this dad “gluing” them all together.
Of course these ideas are just a start, and there are many more ways to volunteer within the troop. If you have an idea of a way you can help, or want to help but just don’t know how, please talk to someone (hanging out in the hallway).