Hello Scouting Friends and Family –
First, let me tell you what a great honor it is to be selected as your Scout Executive. I do not take this responsibility lightly. I know we need to work on and address some things to make Scouting in Montana the best it can be. It will take all of us – each and every person reading this and beyond will be responsible for some part of the puzzle.
I look forward to the challenge and I will do my best to make it fun. In my opinion, we sometimes get so bogged down in the goal that we forget to enjoy the journey.
I talked to a parent recently about their child’s summer camp experience and whether it was a successful week. After listening for a while, I had a question:
“What I hear you say is you feel the success of your Scout’s week is related to the number of merit badges they earned while at camp. Is that correct?”
The answer I received was yes.
I followed up by asking, “So, if your Scout went to camp, came back, and told you how much fun they had, then also told you they couldn’t wait to go again or wanted to be on staff some day, you would think their experience was a failure if they did not complete any merit badges while they were there?”
The answer again was yes.
You might disagree with me. However, while I believe one hundred percent in the Scouting program and what the whole program does for our youth, I also believe that we will not have Scouts in the future if they do not enjoy what they are doing.
As we start our summer camping season, I want to remind everyone that we may have goals for our Scouts and units, but the number one goal should be to make sure our Scouts have fun and remain safe while doing so.
If they do not complete a merit badge this summer, is there still time to complete it later? In most cases, I think yes. I also know people in Scouting who love the program because of the experience they have. And while most never became Eagle Scouts, they believe in the program and what it does for our youth. If they can talk for hours about the great times they had while in the program, did we do our job? I would say that we did.
What I’m driving at is, that we all need to enjoy what we do in Scouting. If we, as leaders, enjoy what we are doing, I believe our Scouts will also enjoy what they are doing.
I love seeing our youth as they go through our program. I have many great memories of Scouting from summer camp experiences throughout my life. The funny thing is none of them are related to advancement. They relate to my experiences with fellow Scouts and Scouters and the relationships that we all built over those times. Please go out and have a great, fun-filled Scouting summer!
Lastly, a special salute to our recently retired Scout Executive Dirk Smith. Dirk has been instrumental in guiding our organization through some challenging waters over the past three years. I learned a lot from Dirk and always appreciated that he was a steady leader who wouldn’t let anything derail our efforts. Dirk, I wish you the best of luck in retirement and thanks for all you did for the Montana Council.
Thank you for your time and energy, and if there is anything that those of us that work at the council can do to help you, please let us know. Stay safe!
Yours in Scouting,