When I took Wood Badge 30 years ago this spring–wow!–the syllabus was much different than Wood Badge for the 21st Century. In fact, it taught a completely different set of leadership skills, among which was Knowing and Using the Resources of the Group.
I’ve always thought this was one of the most important skills for Scout leaders to learn. After all, our troops don’t have the budgets to hire the experts or to buy the physical resources we need. Instead, we must rely on the generosity of people and organizations to get our work done. We use the dad with a pickup truck to haul our troop trailer, we use the mom who’s a CPA to serve as our troop treasurer, and we rely on our chartered organization to put a roof over our head and provide us space to store our gear.
But chartered organizations are good for much more than that. This spring, I’ve been helping plan a week of local service projects for high-schoolers in my church, and we recently hit on the idea of connecting with adult church members who are already serving in our community. The list we’ve come up with is impressive, from volunteers who take meals into strip clubs to volunteers who provide tutoring and personal care kits to grooms and hot walkers at Churchill Downs. Connecting with these folks will give us easier access to places we want to serve and will strengthen ties within the congregation.
Your troop could enjoy similar benefits by connecting with projects that your chartered organization supports. How cool would it be to work side by side with Rotarians on their community cleanup day? And how valuable would that experience be the next time the Rotary Club is considering whether to renew its Scouting charter?
Your chartered organization is probably full of resources that could make your troop stronger. All you need to do is figure out what they are and then put them to use.