In the alternate universe that is college football, we stand at the end of one season and the beginning of another. Last season ended with the recent national championship game. Next season has already begun with the hot-and-heavy recruiting of a new class of freshmen athletes.
A big part of recruiting is making promises. Come to our school, a coach will say, and you’ll get to enjoy our great new practice facility … or be our starting quarterback … or win a national championship … or (insert your fantasy here). Great coaches make honest promises; shady ones make promises they don’t necessarily intend to keep.
So what’s the connection with Scouting? We’re in recruiting season as well, working hard to convince graduating Webelos Scouts that our troop is where they should spend the next seven years or so. It’s incumbent upon us to make some promises—honest ones, of course—to them and their parents. Before they sign on the dotted line, they need to understand what they can expect—and what will be expected of them.
If you’re not sure what to promise, re-read pages 7 and 8 of the new Boy Scout Handbook, which I was privileged to write. (You have bought a copy, haven’t you?) They highlight some of the experiences the Boy Scouts of America promises every new Scout. Use those promises as a starting point, then customize them for your particular troop.