Spring is officially here, a perfect time to go camping and a perfectly terrible time to schedule camping trips. Between spring break, Easter weekend, Mothers Day, and Memorial Day, it can be hard to find free weekends to go to the woods. It’s not the smartest career move for a Scoutmaster to take a bunch of boys camping on the one weekend when most moms want their sons at home, clean, and stuffed into nice clothes for church or a Mothers Day brunch.
(And that doesn’t even include local festivities like the Kentucky Derby, which many folks in my neck of the woods assume is a national holiday!)
But celebrations like Mothers Day don’t have to become Scouting black holes. For example, my troop once held an Eagle court of honor on the day before Mothers Day. It didn’t interfere with other festivities, yet it let our three honorees that day give their moms the perfect Mothers Day gift: an Eagle Scout mother’s pin.
This kind of flexible scheduling is becoming increasingly important in Scouting. As kids’ schedules get more and more packed with school and sports activities, we Scouters have to become more and more creative in scheduling activities.
In The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook, I discuss several ways to break the Friday-night-to-Sunday-afternoon outing pattern. One of the best is to exploit dead periods like Thanksgiving weekend, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and three-day weekends created by teacher in-service days—periods that other youth programs tend to avoid. With a little creative thinking, you can even do a Scouting activity on Mothers Day weekend and still keep your job as Scoutmaster!