Campfire Guy is Bad at Math, but Good at Getting Trained
Campfire Guy here. Four score and six years ago….wait, that doesn’t sound right. Zero score and six years ago, I began walking the path to become a trained Cub Scout leader. While the infographic below starts a little more formally, mine started with chopping onions on a Cub Scout campout.
From the Couch to the Woods
If you’ve followed my antics on this site for any length of time, you’ve probably figured out that in addition to being an avid outdoorsman with limited intelligence, I’m also pretty involved in Scouting. I am currently Cubmaster of one son’s pack and an Eagle Advisor with another son’s troop. Scouting got me off the couch and into the woods and has been a great way to spend more time with my kids.
Baseball Leads to Scouting
Scouting came into my family’s life by way of baseball. I started coaching the neighborhood elementary team when my oldest son entered Kindergarten in Fall 2010. About half my team had older brothers already in Scouts. In the Fall of 2011, when first grade rolled around, we signed up, because that’s what most of my players were doing. It sounded fun. Prior to that, I had not slept in a tent since 1997 and had no experience with Scouting.
During our early years in the pack, we had plenty of excellent leaders, whose coattails I was only too happy to ride. I had no idea how much work went into putting on a fun, organized program for our boys. Sometimes I’d help out at a Den meeting. Other times I’d explain to the pack leaders why I thought it was a good idea for me to have bought 12 gallons of orange juice for a campout. I’d usually help with food prep on our outings because hanging out around the grill is what the cool kids did. At least that’s what they told me. The coolest kid always got to clean the pack’s big flat top grill.
It Only Takes an Hour a Week
Heading into Fall 2015, our pack was without a Cubmaster. Since my oldest son was only playing Spring baseball, I had some spare time and I volunteered to take on the role. Outside of heading up the planning of a few campouts, I’d never held an official position with the pack up to that point. I can freely admit now that I thought the pack Committee was asking, “Who wants this roll?” I like bread. See… limited intelligence.
My journey as Cubmaster has been similar to the creation of this website. Measure once, cut three times. I’ve learned by jumping into the deep end and making mistakes. Some Scout training I took twice because I didn’t know any better. Other training, intended to only take a few hours, took me a year because SHINY OBJECT!
When I took on the role of Cubmaster, I knew that to be any good at it, I needed to get trained. We try to instill the Cub Scout motto, “Do Your Best” into the boys. Getting trained was my way of doing my best. Unfortunately, there’s so much info online, it’s a little hard to figure out where to start and what should come next.
So, I’m a New Leader, Now What?
One of the most common questions I’ve been asked by new leaders is, “So, I’m a leader, now what?” I created the infographic up top in hopes of making that answer easier. After some fantastic feedback from Circle Ten Council, Wood Badge 120 staff and participants, and the Mighty, Mighty Bobwhite Patrol, the included infographic is ready for your pack’s use. You can also find it here.
Be it Cubmaster, Den Leader, Treasurer or Committee Member the steps are the same. Though the info you get varies a bit by position, it’s all geared towards helping you provide a better experience for your boys. Approach the process like you would trying to eat an elephant, one bite at a time. The first five steps build a solid foundation. BALOO (Basic adult leader outdoor orientation) is one I still need to take, though I’m told it’s a really fun course. I’ve taken both IOLS (Intro to outdoor leader skills) and Wood Badge. They are both excellent and will turn your training up to a solid eleven. Get involved, it can be a lot of work but the payoff is worthwhile. As the photos above have reminded me, our kids grow up way too fast.
If you’d like a PDF version of the infographic with hyperlinks to email out to your pack, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to share this with any Scouters you think may benefit.
For additional, expert advice on Scouting, check out Bryan on Scouting’s blog.
Good luck on your journey!
Yours In Scouting,
Mack “Campfire Guy” Paradowski
I’d like to thank fellow Scouters John DeGroote, Daniela Rios, Gail Lux, Chris Gaston, Brian Borowczak, Leigh Anne LeBlanc, Chad Fisher, Joey Greenaway, Trey Otte, Joel Porter, Brandy Pryde, Karen Thunert, Nicolas Esquivel, Mike Zolton, Kate Ogden and John Slaughter for the valuable feedback throughout the infographic design process!