Several years ago, I helped restart the Cub Scout pack at my church. That work put me and other experienced Scouters face to face with kids and parents who know little if anything about Scouting.
One thing that fascinated me was seeing how much we experienced Scouters assumed that people knew. The most obvious example was the way we tossed about jargon without giving any explanation. And I’m not just talking about acronyms (although those are a problem); I’m talking about words like “district” and “council” that have specific definitions in Scouting.
But the problem goes deeper than that. After one of our organizational meetings, I realized that we’d never talked with new pack families about the purposes, methods, and values of Cub Scouting. We’d just assumed people know.
So what’s the takeaway for your troop? When new families come through the door—whether off the street or from a Webelos den—we need to explain Boy Scouting again like it’s the very first time. Tell them about the aims and methods. Show them a troop organizational chart. Refer them to resources where they can learn more about Scouting.
Whatever you do, don’t assume. As the old saying goes, when you assume, you just make an ass out of you and me.
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.