Scouting, Volume 67, Number 5, October 1979 Page: 46
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There's no good reason
why boys from single
parent families can't get
the full benefit of the
that there is a need for help, but reducing
that need to specific jobs is another matter.
No question about it, it's a lot easier to run
a "one-man show," at least for a while. It
takes a certain amount of management
expertise to define jobs in terms of the
Assistance can be obtained from the
booklets, The Troop Committee and The
Pack Committee (available wherever
Scouting literature is sold) and the job
description cards for packs and troops.
Next is the acceptance of the idea that
people want to help; they just don't want to
be overwhelmed. This idea goes against
the often heard argument that, "No one
wants to help!" More often than not the
lack of "help" is the product of a poor job
of asking. The record shows that many
units' parent-recruiters haven't done their
homework regarding job definition. The
record also shows that many parents are
lost for lack of a meaningful job oppor-
tunity. In the case of the single parent, this
has often left them feeling like outsiders.
One single parent comes to mind: For
the first year that her son was in Cub
Scouting, she offered her services to the
Cub Scout pack but was repeatedly put
off. The leader had the pack "well in hand
and didn't need any help, thank you!"
This single mother was vice-president of
her church council, a schoolteacher, and a
certified high adventure outings leader.
What a wasted opportunity for Scouting!
The restrictions on participation of
women in Scouting were lifted by the
National Council a long time ago. Today
there are only five positions not open to
women: Scoutmaster, assistant Scoutmas-
ter, Webelos den leader, assistant Webelos
den leader, and Lone Scout friend and
counselor. Some women functioned for
years as the behind-the-scenes person who
kept the Scout troop together. Now
women may attend Wood Badge, the top
training experience .in Scouting. Once the
needs and job requirements are explained
to them, women can, and have, success-
fully functioned as:
Committee or subcommittee chairman.
What is needed here primarily is a person
with committee management know-how.
Drivers. Nowadays, many women are
just as experienced at driving as their male
Merit badge counselors. Women have
long been active here. It's an excellent way
to introduce new parents to Scouting.
Telephone caller. The job title sounds
strange, but the job importance is clear.
Calling each family to remind them of the
upcoming committee meeting or other
event really brings up attendance. It's a job
that can be done while baby-sitting or
Troop seamstress. I remember one lady
who didn't drive and couldn't get to most
meetings but sure had a willing sewing
machine! Not only did she make all the
troop's neckerchiefs, but she made patrol
flags and even repaired tents. There was
no question about her doing her fair share.
Committee member. Don't sell short this
job. Getting to the monthly committee
meeting and taking an active part in the
discussion of the troop's or pack's business
and performing an essential function go a
long way towards meeting a parent's re-
sponsibility to the unit.
Unit commissioner. This Scouting job is
a district position, but most district com-
missioners would welcome having a unit
leader suggest one of his Scout parents,
man or woman, as a possible unit com-
missioner. It's also the kind of job that a
single parent can do at his own pace.
At any rate, before you suggest a parent
for this repsonsibility, make sure he or she
would be willing to serve if approached by
the district commissioner.
In my own experience as head of the
Sierra Club's Mountaineering Course and
as a member of the high adventure team, I
have met many women backpackers and
trek leaders. They took the training and
gained the qualification simply because
someone invited them to do so.
The challenge for the Scouting leader is
to create an environment in which all boys
and parents can successfully participate.
This may begin with a parent Scout-leader
conference in which there is a frank dis-
cussion which results in an agreement of
what the parent will do and what the
chartered organization and the unit will do
in return. The Cubmaster and the pack
committee may agree to let someone stand
in for the working mother at pack meet-
ings; she may agree to run the pack uni-
form exchange because it is a necessary
job which can be accomplished at odd
hours; they may agree that while she is no
backpacker, that her talent at cake decor-
ating will spark the unit's back sales. The
Cubmaster, an assistant, or a commit-
teeman may be thoughtfull enough to
offer the kind of help for the boy in
making his pinewood derby car as other
boys get from their dad. The resulting
agreement must leave the single parent
with the feeling that she will be a full-par-
ticipant in the program within the limits of
her abilities and that her son is as much a
member of the unit as any other boy.
Scouting for the single parent can be a
very rewarding experience. The single
parent often sees in Scouting a special
opportunity to provide an element missing
in family life. For this reason, it becomes
all the more important for unit leaders to
approach the single parent with care and
consideration, certainly not to give that
person a special deal, just a fair one.
The day my son made Eagle Scout, I
remember how proud I felt. I wished my
wife had lived to see the day. I'm sure she
would have agreed that all the effort had
been worthwhile. ■
Charles L. "Chuck " Fuld is assistant coun-
cil commissioner of the San Diego County
Council and is working toward a doctor of
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 67, Number 5, October 1979, periodical, October 1979; New Brunswick, New Jersey. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth353681/m1/46/: accessed April 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.