Creating Engagement for Scouting and Families

Submitted by Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

Somewhere along the way I realized I have to embrace the fact that I am a crusader. For all the good and the bad that term implies – I am not rational. I am irrationally dedicated to making Scouting Thrive. It is way more than my hashtag, or my job, it’s been my life’s mission. The short hand is that parents and kids of this generation deserve the same quality experiences of previous generations and we all need the benefits that come from raising a generation of character.

The crusade is to make Scouting Thrive – I am so excited about the future! Please save the date May 3rd 7PM at EDCO. Share this link and tell your friends. If you can’t attend – log in and watch it, ask questions and participate on line. Let’s work together to provide the council and the programs this generation of Scouts deserve! ‪#‎ScoutingTHRIVES

Participate NOW, by filling out this form and sharing with PARENTS and LEADERS in your UNIT.

Can’t attend in person – please participate on the 3rd from your computer via live stream (the event will also be archived). Thanks to the Key Foundation for providing the internet broadcasting technology!

The program is brilliant, yet the organization has struggled for almost 50 years. The bigger the struggle the more energy (time, money, effort) will be required to repair the problems. Success of the council only matters when it impacts the life of a Scout.

The most rational people involved in the BSA are the folks (typically parents and unit leaders) who understand the program’s value for youth, they have an altruistic calling and they put the program to work for their child and the kids in their neighborhood. They keep all “the council stuff” at arm’s length and take the support they need were they can get it. Sadly, there are less of those folks every year. The council NEEDS to be an active partner – not a bureaucratic entity to be tolerated.

I’m told my crusade is most evident in the techniques and tenacity I employ when I attempt to un-earth the core of a problem. I flatly refuse to accept mediocrity or partial answers – yet from time to time I’m forced to tolerate it and ask others to tolerate it TEMPORARILY as we dig deeper. I ask us collectively to look the problems in the eye, socialize answers and ultimately sequence and enact the answers. This takes time.

Here is an example: For 20 years I hear people say “the Boy Scouts should do more marketing” and for 20 years the organization replies “We’ve done a ton of marketing and it’s too expensive, and non-effective, therefore we think that’s a local responsibility.” That’s NOT the answer – nor is it really the right question. Every organization in America that thrives and grows uses some type of marketing and PR. Who are we to think we can grow without it? Everyone involved in our conversation is motivated to help Scouting, yet these two statements create an impasse. In short no one is wrong – yet no one is right, so in the meantime Scouting limps along. My crusade compels me to unwind the situation. To understand the complexities I throw myself into marketing efforts and opportunities, I learn about PR so I can finally address the situation with the right context. I know that seems like a simple starting point, but it turns out our paradigm doesn’t allow the discussion to start with that sentiment. Therefore it’s very difficult to ever develop a solution. On May 3rd we’ll share the detailed plans.

Marketing is an example: The WAY we discuss marketing is more critical to creating a successful marketing plan, than the energy we put behind the actual marketing. That’s the same for paperwork, program development, unit service, parent engagement, camp program, and district / board operations and on and on. The WAY we discuss it frames the conversation and our current paradigm inadvertently closes us to certain potential solutions.

The great thing about Spirit of Adventure – we’ve already done the hardest work. We worked to alter the paradigm and now we are in unchartered territory. I know it’s a little scary out here, I’ve been on the journey for decades and trust me … we are in the home stretch.


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