Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Getting Your Parents a Little More Oriented . . .

For about ten years I lived in a small community with residents whose ancestors had lived in that area for generations upon generations. It didn't take long to realize that, although we spoke the same language, we really didn't. There were several terms or explanations that left me mystified. Reminders in the church bulletin would regularly encourage people to get their stuff in for "DOTS." (What on earth is that?!) And if a church event was held at someone's home (which happened quite frequently), they would simply announce that it would be at so-and-so's home Thursday evening at 7:00. When I would sheepishly ask -- yet again -- "And where does so-and-so live?" Their answer always began with, "Well, you know where the Barnhills live . . ." The who? Is there a beacon at their house? Or maybe a giant arrow?

When families join Cub Scouts, they come into a culture that has been around now for more than 100 years. And just like my experience in that small community, they are sometimes startled to discover they don't "speak the language" of Cub Scouting.

For this reason, I'm convinced the way to get everyone on the same page -- and speaking the same language -- is to plan an annual orientation meeting or "Parents' Night" for families in your den or pack. The payoff at your end is that you then have parents who understand what is expected of them or needed from them, and who are more involved and supportive of what's going on in your unit.

My sermon is over, but I offer my own "support" for your cause: I've just finished updating the Cub Scout Orientation booklet I created several years ago. (Check it out on the left-hand side of this page.) I've tried to make it generic enough that you can use it as it is, or at the very least, use it as a springboard for all the stuff you'd really like to tell your fabulous Cub Scouting families.

I've also added a few more things, including a couple of pages of "Boaty Fun," now available in the Fun and Games section, also in the left column of this blog. The tinfoil boats were a blast at roundtable, and I learned that soap boats that remain in the water too long . . . well, like most soap in life, they eventually get reduced to slivers!

Have a great remainder of the summer and may it be followed by a glorious fall and a fabulous orientation meeting for your Cub Scouting families --