Remember that one of the most important parts of any scouting his boys in tents. Boys will not remember much of the meetings that they attend. They will remember many details of campouts.
The lessons we seek to impart are about finding a scout’s part in a community. Campouts are where they have the best chance to look at themselves and how they fit together with their buddies in their unit.
Often it is not the scout that we need to persuade to attend the camp out. It is the reluctant parent who finds excuses why the campout is not a necessary part of their son’s participation in scouting. A confident scout leader will always address concerns with the parent about why a Scout is not attending the camp out.
This is often an opportunity to teach a reluctant parent about why scouting works and what makes it unique as a program. It is often the best chance to explain how campouts teach citizenship and leadership better than almost any other opportunity in the child’s extracurricular activities. Confident scout leader will not look at this discussion as a problem but as a chance to build retention. Educating parents about the program is one of the best ways to make sure the scout stays in the program for an extended period of time.
This means that we, as scout leaders, need to be confident in offering camp out programs in the fall and asking questions of parents when their sons cannot participate. We need to be understanding when there are athletic or family conflicts on the schedule. But we need to help the parent find alternate opportunities to participate.
The district offers Camporees and Pack Overnights in order for units to have an easier time offering campout opportunities. Take advantage of this opportunity not just for your unit but for each of your boys.
If you take the time for sleepy boy’s parents that their attendance is important, your participation rates will increase dramatically. In larger units this can be a time-consuming proposition for a cup master or scoutmaster. It becomes very important to delegate those responsibilities to assistant cubmasters or den leaders or assistant scoutmasters to make the Ask more successful and timely.