Why YOU Shouldn’t Decide When to Cancel Troop Meetings

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Here in Kentucky, a winter storm warning is in place and local schools are closed. That means countless other organizations have automatically closed their doors or cancelled their meetings.

Mirroring the schools’ decision is an easy call, but it’s not always the right one. We’ve all seen instances when schools close out of an overabundance of caution or when roads that were snow covered at 6:30 a.m. are clear and dry by 6:30 p.m. What’s more, the factors that lead to school closings–especially bus safety–don’t always apply in other situations.

In my opinion, Scout troops should make their go/no go decisions independently of local schools. That’s not just because of changing weather conditions during the day, however. It’s because making this decision is good practice for your patrol leaders’ council.

And that’s really important. If our mission is to help young people make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law (and it is), we need to take every opportunity we can to let them make important decisions. Now, obviously we aren’t going to let them make those decisions without guidance, but we still need to let them make the call.

Case in point: My Eagle Scout project was to plan a winter blood drive. Because I lived in a small town, that meant bringing in a blood-services crew from three hours away. It started snowing as they were setting up that morning, so I asked the leader of the crew whether she was going to cancel. Her reply was the highlight of my project. “You’re in charge,” she said. “You decide.” (I ended up canceling and rescheduling, by the way.)

As Scout leaders, we need to say those words to our Scouts every chance we get–including when snow threatens a troop meeting.


Need more great troop program ideas? Check out the new edition of The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook, which is now available in both print and e-book formats at https://www.eaglebook.com/products.htm#scoutmasters.

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2 thoughts on “Why YOU Shouldn’t Decide When to Cancel Troop Meetings

  1. Dean Whinery

    As a troop leader, at different times, Boy or Girl Scouts, when the PLC would ask “Can we…”, I’d usually answer with a question, “Well, can you?” Even for an obvious need for correction, I did this. Like the time the PLC was planning for the year and decided to have a snow camp on the Fourth of July, “when the weather’s warmer.” They rescheduled it for January when I asked, “What happens to snow when the weather gets warmer?”

  2. Jack

    Cancellation of Meetings also depends on where the unit meets . If it’s school there may not be anyone to let you in. Always check with the meeting place to make sure if it is open or closed. Not all units meet at their sponsors site for various reasons, usually it’s space problem.

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