Scouting: Lost Time

Maybe I am making up for lost time as an adult since I never made it out of Cub Scout as a youth. While I enjoyed my 2 years in scouts during 4th and 5th grade, sports took precedent with me, when I moved into junior high I didn’t return to my pack. Now, 37 years later it appears I am making up for lost time, taking an active role in BSA Troop 93, located in Brentwood, California. Since March it’s been a busy transition period, learning how our troop functions, compared to that of a Cub Scout pack. With hours of leadership and training course now under my belt, I have years of scouting to look forward to.

Spending 3 years at the Quartermaster in Pack 1155, almost 2 years as a Den Leader I crossed over with my son earlier this year to Troop 93 with the intention of becoming an adult leader. It seemed to be a natural progression. I knew the Scoutmaster and one of the assistants from my days in Pack 1155, but what I didn’t know was how the troop function. I had taught my boys the essentials of gaining their Scout badge in the last few den meetings we had to finish the scouting year. We built our Arrows of Light and each scout began a new journey.

I felt I had a solid scouting background when my son and I joined Troop 93, but I felt like a fish out of water during the first few months. The Scoutmaster knew I wanted to be involved, but I didn’t take an active role, sitting back and watching how the leaders interacted with the boy led troop. I attended a committee meeting and was surprised at just how much work was coordinated behind the scenes. Unlike being a scout leader, committee duties looked too much like work.

It took the Scoutmaster to approach me, before I got on board (unofficially) as an Assistant Scoutmaster. Spending hours on My Scouting, completing basic adult training, prepared me for some of the duties I would fulfill. Paperwork was filled out to become a Merit Badge Counselor for aviation, cooking, digital technology, game design, geocaching, personal fitness, personal management, radio, signals, signs and codes and traffic safety. I saw this as the “first step” in developing myself as an adult leader.

With the exception of Summer Camp and canoeing at Don Pedro, I have attended all the camping trips this year. I have gained some practical experience while on these outings with the help of other adult leaders. However, I felt more training was required. It was my intention to enroll in Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills (IOLS) earlier this year, but it never fit in with my work schedule. It would actually be Wood Badge (W3-23-17) that would indoctrinate me, driving me to “do my best” in life, as in scouting. Wood Badge was amazing! You can read my experience and that of our patrol, as we took flight at Camp Herms during our session. Last weekend I completed IOLS to finally earn the ‘Trained’ badge on my uniform.

As a trained leader I look to the future and further training to make me stronger, more competent leader. Currently I have my eyes on becoming a Leave No Trace (LNT) trainer, as well as enrolling in some high adventure training (HAT). Now, after 6 months the boys have warmed up to me and I have found myself starting to help them in their rank advancement by signing off requirements. As part of my Wood Badge training, I wrote a few troop related tickets.

The first was to give our long standing troop their own identity. With the consent of the adult leadership I put together a Troop 93 Logo Design Competition. Final submissions were taken last week and this Wednesday the scouts will vote on what design will represent them on the back of their neckerchief. In order to become more “involved” with the troop, another ticket had me take responsibility as the Merit Badge Coordinator, responsible for maintaining the up to date list of counselors for scouts in our troop.

Another WB ticket was to facilitate a 20-mile hike for Troop 93, but with a few caveats. Three weeks ago we put in our hike to Los Vaqueros Reservoir, which took the better part of 7.5 hours, but 4 scouts finished the hike and were able to sign off their long hike for their Hiking Merit Badge. However, I am still short 3 items to complete this ticket, requiring attendance at the council roundtable, creating a flyer for distribution and inviting neighboring districts; Briones and Chief Solano.

After discussing this with another patrol member from Wood Badge and consulting the Scoutmaster, this ticket might be amended with the approval of my Troop Guide. I would like to plan a 20-mile hike to be held annually, as an option to the Fages Hike that takes place in early June. It would provide Scouts in the East Bay and surrounding districts a second opportunity to fulfill requirement 5 for their merit badge. It was also discussed that Troop 93 could sponsor the event, allowing the boys to manage aid stations along the 20-mile route.

Lastly, I developed a program I nicknamed COAL or Crossover Orientation for Adult Leaders. Not the most catchy of names, but it will allow new adults an overview of the troop, our expectations and give them a chance to get involved with Troop 93. There has been a good response from the adult leaders, as well as some of the committee members I have shared it with. Hopefully I will work with the New Member Coordinator to share this information with, as well as the new adults who will crossover to Troop 93 from Pack 1155.