Boy Scout troops are so different from Cub Scout packs. Every February we get a new batch of scouts into the troop, along with their parents. Suddenly they find themselves in a program which is completely alien to them. And it usually comes as a surprise, since most have been involved in the Cub Scout program for years.
I’ve been thinking lately about how we can help make this transition easier from them. We do a new parent orientation, but there is so much information to absorb. And with the troop continuing to grow, it is difficult for my husband and I to keep track of what the new parents do and don’t know while taking care of many of the other aspects of the troop. This seems to be a perfect job for one of the other parents.
So I am pitching the idea of a New Parent Liaison position. I’ve floated this idea with our Committee Chair. The New Parent Liaison would look at the information the troop sends out and, if there might be something which would be confusing or unfamiliar to the new parents, would send out a clarification to the new families. Ideally, the person in this position would be proactive. But she could also be a go-to person for when the new families have a question about something. If she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll know who to ask. And if one parent asked the question, the other new parents might be wondering about it too, so she could share it with the whole new parent group.
I already have the perfect parent in mind to do this. She was the den leader for the group who just crossed over, but she also has an older son in the troop. So she knows how the troop works but she also knows the parents involved. But if she can’t do it, I have several others in mind who would be good candidates.
It is easy for Scouters to burn out. We need to be willing to share the load. We need to ask others for help. And we need to let the others who are helping do it in their own way with their own talents. Sometimes it seems easier to do it ourselves, and we do get it done exactly the way we want, but how long can a Scouter keep up that pace?