One Mother’s Day, when I was a Senior Patrol Leader, I sent an email thanking all the mothers for their contribution and expressing appreciation for all they do. I was surprised by the number of appreciative replies I received!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized more and more how much mothers and fathers do for their families, a lot of times without getting thanked.
I know I wouldn’t have gotten much out of Scouting without the support of my family. They encouraged me, shared valuable leadership lessons, and gave me great advice that helped me be the very best Scout I could be.
Of course, like any young person, I had disagreements and arguments with my family. Over time I learned a family is a a lot like a Patrol. You have to work to develop Patrol Spirit and you have to work to build family spirit.
Scouting affects your whole life if you let it! Scouting can strengthen your family and the families of your Patrol members, and strong families will help your Scout Patrol grow and thrive.
You and your Patrol can show your appreciation and build spirit by hosting special events for your Scout’s parents.
Get together with your Patrol and put your cooking skills to the ultimate test! Naturally, you won’t cook in a kitchen but in the outdoors. You can arrange this at one of the Scout’s houses or at a small local park.
Pick your very best recipes: a mouthwatering beef stew, delicious chicken fajitas, a scrumptious dutch oven peach cobbler. Practice the recipes with your Patrol to ensure there aren’t any mistakes.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busy grind of day-to-day life and not take the chance to talk with people close to you. Believe it or not our parent’s were once our age! They had to deal with most of the difficulties you struggle with and the problems you run up against; their wisdom and advice can be a big help.
Invite parents to come along on a Patrol hike planned so everyone can spend some time together. It doesn’t need to be far away, or cover a lot of ground.
Before you set out ask all the Scouts to learn something about both their parents and the parents of at least one other Scout. Where did they go to school? What was their proudest, or most embarrassing, or memorable moment growing up? If they could share one piece of advice with young people what would that be?
At the end of the hike you can all share what you learned, maybe even sitting around a campfire if that’s possible.
Start a tradition that many Scout Troops have had in the past. Every three or four months, invite parents to a special meeting where each Patrol puts on demonstration of Scout skills, presents a skit, or prepares a Scouting display.
This is a great opportunity for a court of honor, and a great way to keep parents informed.
A Parent’s Night will work better on a larger scale but the program should still be Patrols based. Plan some free time afterwards for everyone to talk and maybe supply some refreshments.
Demonstrations – Build a pioneering tower, tying a series of knots, whipping up a meal in a matter of minutes, etc… Get together with your Patrol and get their ideas, plan activities that the whole Patrol can do together, and practice them thoroughly before the meeting.
Skits – Skits are always popular during Scout presentations. If you come up with your own, make it something short, interesting, and funny.
An awesome Parent’s Night presentation will take some work, but they’re a great way to keep parents informed, involved, and build Patrol Spirit.
There’s value in holding specific father-son and mother-son events as well as generic ‘parent’ events. For instance, you could hold a ‘moms’ dinner, a ‘dads’ hike, etc.
Make sure you are aware of the different situations of the Scouts. For instance, one of the Scouts in my Patrol lived with his grandparents, some Scouts may have a single parent, some may have a stepparent, etc. If you have a specific ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ event, make sure a Scout who may not have their mom or dad around doesn’t feel excluded.
Next time you get together to plan upcoming events and activities, include something for the family. Supportive and involved parents help you get that much more out of Scouting and does a great deal to ensure regular participation and attendance from the members of your Patrol.
Has your Patrol ever helped host a family event? How did it go? If not, which one would you like to try first? Leave a comment below and let me know!