Master’s Moments

Does anyone have a scout that is in middle school that is also involved in sports? Could you tell me how you balance the two activities?

There are lots of challenges to a young person’s time.  Sports, music, academics, church, theater, social life and family plans come to mind Many of our Scouts are and have been involved in many time-consuming extracurricular activities.  Many of them have also become Eagle Scouts.  Whether or not they are involved in extracurricular activities perseverance is a key to maximum achievement in Scouting.

It is my hope that several of the other families who had to come up with the “balance” issues chime in on the discussion too.  It is a common issue that is handled differently by each family Several of our current Scouts are involved in sports as well as the other activities listed above and others.  Joyce and I are blessed with three Eagle Scouts who experienced the wide spectrum of these activities.  Two of them are Eagle Scouts from Troop 338.  S’s, M’s and B’s also have multiple Troop 338 Eagle Scouts who were involved in much more than Scouting.  Virtually none of our Eagle Scouts are single dimensional to Scouting.  We have had a number of Eagle Scouts and some who did not reach that level participate in a wide variety of non-Scouting activities. 

 Summary: Whatever you make a priority to your Scout will be his priority.  Troop 338 is there to help you provide him with a variety of life experiences and does not “compete” with his other activities.  Rather we provide opportunities for him to develop skills that enhance his life including his other activities, whatever they might be.

 This is where the rambling extension comes in.  Clearly I am a believer not only in the Scouting movement and program but also to Troop 338’s application of the vision and goals.

 Troop 338 is an extension of your family and your son’s growth as a person.  His experiences with Troop 338 will enhance his life and give him many life skills that may not be developed in other activities.  It is also seen that life skills grow in ALL activities through participation in a variety of things.  Of course there are some requirements of Scouting for advancement but not many requirements for having a good time and developing.

With 15 plus years honoring the second point of the Scout Law (Loyal) as an “active” member of the troop’s adult leadership, I will list some of the things that make this a special troop to be with, especially for active Scouts.  These can be elaborated on by other troop leaders as encouragement to our new and not-so-new Scout families.

 1.      Camping

a.      We camp often, usually once a month.

b.      We camp at a variety of places often not returning to weekend campout sites for three or more years.  Our Scouts get to see lots of places up close and do lots of different things. 

i.      Wright Patterson coming up is one outing to consider. 

ii.     Warther’s Carvings has always been one of my favorites. 

iii.    Some others like the Troop 360 Invitational on South Bass Island or canoe trips or hiking adventures.

iv.     Summer camp is a week-long experience that Scouts love.  Troop 338 has been alternating in recent years between Camp Berry and other Scout camps outside of our area.

v.      High adventure activities like Philmont, Sea Base, National Jamboree are very special for those participants

vi.     Just ask around about some of the favorites.

c.      We usually camp inexpensively.  You might be able to have your son (and perhaps a parent) go camping with us less expensively than you can feed him at home.

d.      Many of our campouts are within a fairly easy drive of Findlay.  If a scheduling conflict prevents a Scout from attending the entire activity, often they can come to one night or some other part of the event.  If necessary they can usually be picked up early too.

e.      Skill sets are developed.  Many first time campers get help setting up our troop tents the first time then do not ever need help aside from their tent mate.  Also, the camping experience gets them a chance to be the troop cook including leading the menu development, food acquisition and lead preparation with the cook staff for a weekend.

f.      By offering a variety and frequent opportunity to camp, if a Scout misses one month due to scheduling conflicts he can usually take the next campout to gain the camping experience.

2.      Friends

a.      Many middle school students need to expand their circle of friends.  Troop 338 provides that opportunity that might not be found in other venues and possibly not another troop in this area.

b.      Troop 338 has members from multiple grade, middle and high schools (four plus home school) as well as home-schooled students.  This diversity is an asset to our troop.

c.      Making additional friends through Scouting is a way to develop a beneficial circle as life continues.  It also provides confidence that in any situation a Scout can find some common ground with another person.

3.      Scheduling/Communications

a.      This troop has traditionally put together a schedule of weekend outings in late summer or early fall.  This is so we can get on your calendar FIRST so you will see when your other activities might conflict with a Scout activity.

b.      The Yahoo group has been a terrific addition to our communications tool set.  You asked a great question in good forum for feedback.  Use other internet resources to ask this same question. 

c.      Parents Meetings held monthly are also a good resource for responses to your question. 

d.      Keep in mind that the other activities besides sports offer the same competition for a Scout’s time as sports.  Show choir members and band have provided major competition along with the sports scheduling.  Troop 338 is extremely diversified with what our members participate in.

i.      Troop 338 has had several members of the Findlay First Edition (FFE) show choir.  This is a time consuming activity right through the middle of our troop activity season.  Several members of FFE are Eagle Scouts.

ii.     Troop 338 has recently had two band majors for Findlay High School band who became Eagle Scouts.  So have several band and orchestra members.

iii.    As for sports, we have had football, basketball, baseball, hockey, swim team, wrestling team members also become leaders in Troop 338.  It can be done.  Our troop has an Eagle Scout alumnus who was an All-Ohio linebacker from FHS who is now at ONU playing at the next level.  Joe P is very proud of being an Eagle Scout and is an example of the perseverance it takes to succeed in sports, Scouting and life.  We have other great examples too.  Scott S is competing on a national level (Bob can elaborate if he wants) in Frisbee golf type of activity.

iv.     Hockey, swim team and others schedule right during our major camping seasons.  Yet several of our Scouts have continued to achieve at a high level in Scouting while being on these other teams that are important to them.

4.      Leadership

a.      It is important to realize that wherever a young man develops his leadership skills, those are transferable to other venues.

b.      National Youth Leadership Training is a Scouting activity that focuses on providing introduction to and development of a variety of leadership skills like planning, communications, conflict management.  These skills apply to everyday events and other “teams” they are a member.  They also prepare our Scouts for a lifetime of interaction at work and play.

c.      Troop 338 elects new officers on Election Day each spring and fall.  This is a chance for each Scout to assume a leadership role in the troop and gain an understanding of what self-governing is about.  It is a very important aspect of our troop’s character to continually have new Scouts become troop leaders.

d.      Patrol Leader’s Council (PLC) is the troop leader’s method to providing the program and where the elected troop leaders perform their functions.

5.      Priorities

a.      Keep in perspective the importance of the activities your son participates in.  Middle school is where young men start to decide where life will take them.

b.      The recent NCAA tournament had a TV ad showing many different college athletes participating in a variety of sports.  The bottom line of the ad was that nearly all of the athletes turn “pro” in something other than the sport they played.  We all do.  It puts into perspective what the participation helps them achieve.  Not many of participate in the sports we played in middle school but several of us continue to participate in Scouting activities, some as “pros.

c.      You can keep on top of the schedule and any potential conflicts.  You can also be creative about ways to have your son be a part of multiple activities.  Keeping them busy can keep them out of trouble. 

d.      Parents can also participate in the Troop 338 activities.  We have often had parents help us out or just go on an outing because they want to.  Not just dad’s either, so if moms want to go camping we can usually accommodate that too.  Just let the troop adult leaders know what your wants are.

 Certainly there are numerous responses to your question that are not included above.  Extracurricular activities are important to each Scout and should be participated in fully.  In middle school there are lots of things being “tried out” to see where the Scout’s interests really lie and where he wants to develop more fully.  We believe in the team concept and are here to assist with your son’s development.

You never know…some of us have even been known to show up at middle school football games, Gray-Y basketball, high school football, basketball, and baseball, show choir cabarets, quiz bowls and the like to support our Scouts in their other activitiesit is fun to see them and let them know they matter to us there too…not just at meetings or campouts or canoe trips…

 Keep asking these great questions.  You can do it.  You and your Scout can have it all.  Troop 338 will help!!!

 Brian B

Former Scoutmaster/Assistant Scoutmaster

Proud (self-declared) patriarch of Troop 338