Another Storm, Another Snow Day

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School is out again here in Louisville due to the weather. It’s our eighth or ninth snow day of the year (I’ve lost count), and I’ve been thinking about how Scout troops decide to cancel meetings and how they announce their decisions.

The worst way to decide, I think, is to just follow what the schools have done that day—unless you meet at a school and have no choice. After all, weather in the evening can be markedly different than it was that morning. It’s better to poll the key leaders—youth and adult—in the afternoon to make the call.

So what about announcing your decision? These days, troops are blessed with an array of communications channels, including email, text messaging, websites, Facebook pages, and the old, familiar phone tree. While you can use all those channels to communicate your decision, it probably makes sense to focus on one that everybody can access, no signups or logins required. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve never gotten 100 percent of any group to sign up for email or text alerts.)

Two more tips:

  • Far in advance, set a time when the no/go decision will be announced—and announce it: “Any weather cancellations will be posted on this webpage by 5:30 p.m. (for troop meetings) and 3:30 p.m. (for weekend outings).”
  • When you do post a cancellation notice, be sure to include the date. If you simply say “tonight’s meeting is cancelled” and forget to update the website, Scouts may get confused when they hit the site next week.

Finally, always include your key youth leaders in the decision. Or, better yet, let them make the decision with your input. Or, as a wise friend once told me, never send a man to do a boy’s job!

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