Lydialice Rodriguez’s husband, Hector DeLeon, was a Scout for a few years, but she never had any exposure to Scouting. In fact, the couple didn’t talk about Scouting until 2008 when their son, Sebastian, came home from school wanting to be a Cub Scout. “We gave it a try, and we fell in love,” she says.
Two years later, the couple and another family launched Pack 277 at their church. Within a year, they added a Boy Scout troop and a Venturing crew, both of which had lost their previous homes. Today, Scouting is a family affair. Hector is Scoutmaster, Sebastian is senior patrol leader and daughter, Paloma, is crew president.
What’s it like having your whole family so involved? It’s awesome. We all enjoy learning! We have been going to University of Scouting for many years, and we are working toward our degrees. This year, I will teach a class designed by me. Being a Scouting family gives us the opportunity to do many things together: campouts and outings all over the country, Scouting for Food, soapbox derbies and Christmas caroling. The sky is the limit.
Seems like family is an important theme in the units at your church. Being in a family is like being on a team; you work together for the benefit of all involved. Once or twice a year the three groups in 277 go out on campouts, do something for the church and celebrate Scout Sunday. Every December around Christmas, Pack, Troop and Crew 277 go caroling at a retirement home. When the pack has its crossover ceremony, we make sure the troop and crew are there helping them.
How do you maintain a strong relationship with the church? We do two gardening and cleaning service projects at the church, and when they have an activity for raising funds, we’ll manage a booth for them. They let us sell popcorn, and they’ve even started giving us donations. I think it’s a very nice relationship on both parts. In addition, we have been blessed to have a deacon, who also happens to be an Eagle Scout, as our chartered organization representative.
You stay busy in Boy Scouting and Venturing. What about Cub Scouting? Cub Scouts are the roots for our Boy Scouts. Every year my daughter, my son and I work one week at Lake District’s Cub Scout day camp. I get my group of Scouts and go from class to class singing and teaching them good manners and Spanish. I have been doing this since 2009. I love it!
Your units regularly achieve silver or gold status in the Journey to Excellence program. How? We know that training is a key to success, so we make sure everybody has been trained for their position. Many of us already have completed Wood Badge training, and a few of us are involved in the council and have helped with training for the council. If you know what’s expected for your position, you’re going to be good. You’re going to feel like you know what you’re supposed to do.
Aside from training, how do you get new leaders up to speed? Mentoring. For example, I was the troop’s outdoor activities coordinator. When the new leader came on board, both of us planned summer camp in North Carolina. Now he knows what to do; now he is ready. He is flying on his own, and I have an open space beneath my wing.
Tell me about your Philmont Training Center experience. Philmont is the pinnacle. I took Building Stronger Troops, my husband went to the STEM conference and my kids did the STEM trek. I love the fact that PTC has qualified and prepared people giving you the information. The STEM trek was fantastic. The kids had fun, but they learned. They applied science in each activity they did. Nature was their classroom.
What’s your biggest advice to other unit leaders? Scouting is like chess. You have to think what is going to be the next move to improve your ability to keep the unit running smoothly and healthily. Be smart when deciding who will be doing which position. Even before Webelos Scouts cross over, some of us on the committee look and say, “I think this parent would be good for this position and that one for that position.” So immediately when they come to the troop meeting, we say, “We think you can do this, and we can work it together.”
Fact Sheet: Lydialice Rodriguez
Years as a Scout volunteer: Seven
Current city: Mount Dora, Fla.
Current positions: Committee chair, Troop 277; Advisor, Crew 277; district discount-card chair
Day jobs: Full-time mom and volunteer
Proudest moments in Scouting: “When I saw my son leading a court of honor for the first time and when my daughter rocked in a team-building course at the Florida Institute of Technology. She was better than many of the boys!”
Favorite camp and why: Philmont Scout Ranch, where she attended a conference last summer. “It really is God’s country.”