Old Man Winter and Old Reliable



As I write this post, the mid-Atlantic states are still digging out from a historic snowstorm that dropped at least a foot of snow on communities from Kentucky to Virginia to New York. Not surprisingly, countless Scout outings over the weekend were cancelled as a result. (See my previous post for ideas about cancellation policies.)

In most cases I’m sure the decisions made sense–health and safety should always be our primary concern–but in other cases I’m just as sure the decisions were made in haste. Here in Louisville, for example, we only got a few inches of snow, half what was predicted. The roads were easily passable by Friday afternoon and dry by midday Saturday. My troop took its annual ski trip as scheduled and got to enjoy more real snow than usual in southern Ohio.

Are unnecessary cancellations–whether due to poor weather or poor planning–a big deal? I think they are. As Scouters, we are in constant competition with other activities that our Scouts could be participating in. The more we can convince them and, more importantly, their parents that we have our act together, the more we’ll become their activity of choice.

When I was Scoutmaster, I promised parents that we would stick to our published calendar if at all possible. That sometimes meant replacing one type of activity with another or turning a campout into an overnight at our meeting place, but that was better that moving an outing to another weekend and messing up people’s plans. We found that if we respected families’ schedules, they remained more committed to us.

What about your troop? How consistent is your calendar? What have you done when Mother Nature has rained on your parade? The comments section is open.


One thought on “Old Man Winter and Old Reliable

  1. I strongly disagree here. If one of our leaders (adult or youth) objects, we don’t do it.

    There is an old pilot saying, “I’d rather be on the ground wishing that I was in the air, rather than being in the air wishing that I was on the ground.” Note that this is not an “old saying” from pilots, it is a saying from “old pilots”. If you don’t believe and live this, you don’t last long enough to be an old pilot.

    Backup activities? Maybe your SPL can plan two complete outings for each scheduled outing, but ours never did. The youth are planning the outings, right?

    The youth leaders and other Scouts learn a lot from a canceled outing. Scouting is learning, not outing.

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