Scoutmaster Musings - Visible Scouting

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Visible Scouting
Scout Popcorn When does your community see Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers?
They don't see them when the pack, troop, or crew goes camping.
They don't see them at pack, troop, or crew meetings.
They might see them at an occasional parade.
They probably see them every year selling popcorn, or other fundraising. Next month, lots of units will be sitting in front of stores and knocking on doors, selling popcorn. The community will see scouts in uniform all over the place, with their hand out.
It's a bit sad if that's the only time the scouts are seen.

You and I know that scouts contribute much to communities. They perform millions of hours of community service across the country, but much of it is isolated and under the radar. The local community's perception of Scouting's involvement in the community is important.

Here are a few service ideas that might provide more exposure to Scouting in your community:

When members of the community see scouts in uniform, performing acts of service, they get a glimpse of what Scouting is really about. Since most people don't attend unit functions, we need to make an effort to represent Scouting well whenever an opportunity comes up.

Too many people only see scouts when they come knocking on the door, wanting something. Even many helpful drives (such as blood, food, clothing) to help others are asking people to give. Scouts performing service that looks like service makes a powerful impression on others.

There's nothing wrong with making the local media aware of the service. Providing service because it's needed is the important thing. Most service projects are just like that - something is built or fixed and then the hundreds of people that use it have no idea it was done by scouts. That's ok, but it's also ok to make the community aware of what Scouting does.

So, how do you make people aware of goblin insurance, hydrant cleaning, leaf raking, and other assistance you're willing to provide to needy individuals? You might make up troop business cards that scouts hand out to their neighbors when going door-to-door doing fundraising. They could be given only to older residents, or only those with hydrants in their yard, or whatever criteria was required. The card (or just slip of paper) has a list of free services and unit contact info. Of course, you need to have commitment from your scouts that any offered service will be fulfilled. Also, providing free work normally done by local businesses would not be appropriate.

How does your unit get noticed in your community for more than just asking for money? Do you have any ideas to share that are not fundraising and that get scouts noticed?

Scout On
Posted: 9:46 08-10-2012 883
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