It’s a bird … It’s a plane … It’s SUPER SCOUTER! These seven volunteers find time for Scouting, family and a whole lot more — and you can, too.
Whether your Scouting role requires an hour per week or an hour per week per Scout, finding enough time can be a challenge. Yet countless Scouters have figured out how to balance their Scouting jobs and “real” jobs.
Job: Self-employed outdoor educator who (along with his wife, Casey) teaches scuba, wilderness first aid and much more
Scouting Role: Advisor, Venturing Crew 505
Superpower: Duplication (Able to be two places at once) Avery Chipka’s work takes him all over the world — often during the summer, Scouting’s prime season for adventure. Yet he maintains an active schedule with his crew, including such events as a 16-day backpacking and canoeing trip to Alaska last summer. How does he manage? “The biggest part is the team we have of adult leaders,” he says. “Our crew functions not only around us but also the other adult leaders that are part of the program.” On the plus side, Avery’s schedule helps when, for example, his Venturers have a three-day weekend. “If we want to leave Thursday night, we don’t have to struggle with taking a day off work,” he says. Another plus: he never has to worry about having trained adults — or Venturers — on hand for high-adventure activities.
Advice for Busy Scouters: “At first, it seems like a time commitment. Over a short period of time, it turns into part of your life.”
Final Word: “In my work field we deal with college students a lot. The Venturing crew has really helped us develop our skills with that.”
Job: Third-shift manager at a hotel, working 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. four days a week
Scouting Role: Scoutmaster, Troop 337
Superpower: Night Vision (Able to get things done late at night) As third-shift manager, Daniel Grondin monitors the hotel, handles paperwork, sets out breakfast and greets the occasional late-arriving guest. That leaves five to six hours a night when he can — with his boss’s permission — work on Scout projects. He spends a lot of time reviewing Scouts’ advancement statuses and researching merit badge opportunities online. “Researching merit badges sounds easy, but you’ll get 2,000 hits and maybe 50 of them will be worth anything,” he says. Troop 337 meets on Sunday afternoons, so Daniel manages to get half a night’s (make that half a day’s) sleep between work and the troop meeting. “Then I’ll go home and basically get a nap before work,” he says.
Advice for Busy Scouters: “I know people are busy, but in today’s world with all the technologies that we have available to us, a parent can hop on an iPad while they’re watching TV and do some research for the Scoutmaster.”
Final Word: “My schedule is very positive in terms of being able to do Scouting. It’s almost like being a Scoutmaster and getting paid for it.”
Job: Stay-at-home mother of two boys
Scouting Roles: Acting Cubmaster and advancement chair, Pack 232
Superpower: Enhanced Agility (Able to be a mom and a Scouter) When her husband, Arron, began a six-month deployment in late 2012, Pamula Stanley hoped someone would step into his role as Cubmaster. That someone ended up being her. While Arron was gone, Pamula’s life focused on her boys, Arron III and Chris, and the other members of Pack 232. “I know that on Scout nights my day will revolve around Scouts,” she says. “I do my household chores and duties first thing in the morning; then the rest of the day is devoted to Scouts.” Despite her busy schedule — and the occasional forgotten doctor’s appointment — she loves her time in Scouting. “Scouting has definitely made me a better mom,” she says. “It has connected me to other moms who Scout and stay at home in the area.”
Advice for Busy Scouters: “Excuses are easy to come up with, regardless of your situation. I encourage every single adult in a troop, pack or crew to volunteer for something. Start small and see where your skill set fits.”
Final Word: “Scouting has shown me how much I want to be with my kids more and not worry about the business of the world. Kids will be kids for a short time.”
Scouting Roles: Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 108; unit commissioner
Superpower: Enhanced Communication (Able to be reached, whenever) Jason Hicks stays busy as an attorney, so he can’t attend every meeting of Troop 108. A good relationship with the troop’s Scoutmaster — they grew up together and shared a tent at Philmont — helps keep the lines of communication open. “We have an understanding that my commitments will keep me away but that I am always available for advice or
a discussion via phone,” Jason says. Being an attorney also has its perks, including office space and an assistant. “For a number of years I have been a counselor for a couple of different merit badges, and my assistant can schedule time for those Scouts to come meet me at the office,” he says. “That is one way I have stayed involved.”
Advice for Busy Scouters: “Find a role that fits. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘That’s just going to be too much.’ Know your limitations.”
Final Word: “Scouting has helped me stay involved with youth, which helps me in my juvenile cases and my domestic cases where there are kids because I can understand more of what they are going through.”
Job: Corporate executive
Scouting Role: Committee chair, Troop 999
Superpower: Super Organization (Able to improve troop function) As vice president for customer intelligence and analytics at Zale Corporation, Rick Chambers works 50 to 60 hours a week and deals with a 45-minute commute each morning and evening. Yet he still finds time to play a key role with a 99-member Scouts BSA troop. “We do make time for what’s important to us,” he says. “Busy people are busy because they’re able to organize activities and order their lives in such a way that they can address a myriad of things.” Organizing is second nature to Chambers, who has spent much of his career in quality engineering and operations research. Today, he applies that expertise to improving everything his troop does, from mobilizing for outings to communicating with families. “There is no process that works good enough for me,” he says. “It can always be improved.”
Advice for Busy Scouters: “It sometimes follows that the more active you are, the more active your kid will be. Stay connected to your unit in whatever way (large or small) you can. Take adult training. A nice byproduct is that you are more informed, your kid is more active and both of you have more fun.”
Final Word: “The qualities of courage, honor, justice and a readiness to help those in need still have a place, and Scouting is a youth organization that teaches these values to our young men and women. I like spending time helping shape the future leaders of our world.”
Our Cover Scouter: Chambers appears on the September-October 2014 cover of Scouting. And although the cover image appears to be a drawing, it’s actually an edited photograph taken by W. Garth Dowling, Scouting‘s director of photography. Imaging Artist Marcie Rodriguez created the comic-like portrait for the cover. On set, Chambers was asked to channel his Super Scouter personality, and we think he did a great job. Watch him in action, at right.
Job: Restaurant owner
Scouting Roles: Cubmaster and Webelos den leader, Pack 153; Advisor, Crew 2014; Cub Scout day camp director
Superpower: Time Manipulation (Able to cook up Scouting fun) Liz Yaron works 85 to 100 hours a week at Home Plate Bistro, the restaurant she opened in January 2012. Yet she still finds time to lead two Scouting units, run a Cub Scout day camp and pursue a bachelor’s degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Oh, yes, and raise six kids ages 3 through 16. “On my breaks, I might be doing three different things between school and Scouts and work,” she says. Liz’s units meet on Tuesday evenings at two different churches, although the crew sometimes meets at the restaurant if she can’t get away. Tuesdays are pretty slow in the restaurant trade, but weekends aren’t. “On weekends when we’re doing a Scouting event, I end up having to bring in extra staff,” she says.
Advice for Busy Scouters: “You make excuses for what you don’t want to do, and you make time for what’s important.”
Final Word: “The time I put in at work makes me appreciate the time I get to spend with my kids and Scouts on our activities.”
Job: Senior IT manager
Scouting Role: Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 452
Superpower: Intuitive Aptitude (Able to use Wood Badge training in life) Wayne Ho’s job at a Silicon Valley tech firm keeps him hopping, but he still finds time for Scouting. Balancing the two means using his breaks and daily commute to handle Scout communications and relying on other troop adults to back him up when he can’t get away. “I appreciate our troop’s very good teamwork to support each other,” he says. “I really enjoy helping others, the same as others help me.” Good troop planning helps him avoid most schedule conflicts. “We do pretty solid planning for the year, for the month and for each of the activities,” he says. Wayne adds that Scouting has benefited him professionally. After he used skills from Wood Badge to help his boss be more efficient, he was promoted to manager and later to senior manager.
Advice for Busy Scouters: “You may not help like a Scoutmaster or committee chair, but you can do a little job. And even a small job will help a lot.”
Final Word: “My Scouting experiences have not only improved my personal growth but my professional life as well. Sometimes you get from what you gave.”
HELPING PARENTS FIND THEIR POWERS
People who are new to Scouting often assume they can help out only by serving in a time-intensive role like Cubmaster or Scoutmaster. But there are roles in Scouting that take far less time and that require vastly different skills.
- You can help parents in your unit find their niche by asking these questions:
- How much time can you commit to Scouting?
- Which times of the day or week work best? Which don’t work at all?
- Are there seasons during the year when you have more or less flexibility?
- Do you prefer to work with young people or adults or both?
- Do you prefer to work alone or on a team?
- Do you have hobbies or professional skills that would benefit Scouting?
- Would you like to use your existing skills or try something new?
- Is there anything you don’t want to do?