Be a Scouting MythBuster


It’s recruiting season for packs across the country–and for smart troops that realize many families are looking for new activities as the school year kicks off. And that means it’s time to put on your Scouting MythBusters hat.

What do I mean? Consider the experience of one of my old Eagle Scouts. He recently took his 1st-grade son to a pack signup night—much against the boy’s will. Brandon tried to reason with his son and finally played the dad card by insisting that they at least check the program out. When they went up to meet the Cubmaster, the boy ran away and hid. Brandon eventually found him and discovered what his problem was: he was deathly afraid of having to sleep in a tent by himself. As soon as he heard that wasn’t going to happen in Cub Scouts, he was ready to sign up.

After I posted this story on a Facebook group for Cub Scout volunteers, I heard a couple of similar stories:

  • “We had a boy at our den meeting Monday who came with his sister. He didn’t want to join because he doesn’t like to wear shorts. I assured him he could wear pants. His mom signed him up online on Tuesday.”
  • “We discussed Scouts who became astronauts with my oldest (then a Tiger) son. My 5-year-old thought that he would have to go to space if he became a Scout. Once we cleared that up, he was all about signing up to be a Lion!”

The lesson, I think, is that those of us who’ve been around Scouting a long time assume new families know more than they do. And often they have problems that can be easily overcome if we just figure out what they are.

Need more great troop program ideas? Check out The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook, which is available in both print and e-book formats at

One thought on “Be a Scouting MythBuster

  1. Allan Green

    When I was a Scoutmaster, we had three fifth grade boys sign up. They never went camping and were in the troop for six months. One night after a meeting I went out to talk to the mom who had dropped them off, and told her about the coming camping trip. She said that they would not be coming because none of the dads of these scouts could go camping with their sons. I realized that this woman was under the assumption that a parent had to go on camping trips with their children. This was a Cub Scout requirement at the time, but no a Boy Scout requirement. My explanation that the parents did not have to go camping fell on deaf ears. All three of these scouts dropped out a month later. How could it be fun and adventuresome to be a scout and not go camping. sigh.

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