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by mark r ay illustr at ions by mike byers

(the required child-abuse pre- vention and detection course), This Is Scouting (an overview of the Scouting program), and position-specific training. Learn more, including which courses are available online, at Remember, you must complete Youth Protection training before you can register as a leader.


YOU ARE HERE. As a volun- teer, you can earn all sorts

of awards, most of which are represented by those knots you see on veteran leaders’ uni- forms. Find out which awards are available for your position and start tracking your prog- ress. Learn about all the knots by visiting


KNOW THEN SEW. When you’re properly uniformed,

you set an example for your Scouts and have a place to display the awards you receive (patches aren’t just for the boys). Yes, uniforms can be expensive, but many packs, troops, and crews have closets of “experienced” uniforms that you may use. Before you start sewing on patches, grab a uniform inspection sheet from and get things in the right place the first time. Don’t like to sew? Try Badge Magic ( badgemagickit).


GET TO KNOW YOUR SCOUTS … You’ll be spend-

ing lots of time with them, so find out where they go to school, what they like and dislike, and how you can best contact them (phone, e-mail, Facebook, etc.).

8 9

… AND THEIR PARENTS. What are their hobbies and talents? Who can haul the boys to camp? Any Eagle Scouts in the group? Give every parent a little job and your job won’t seem so big.


of parents, surf over to for extensive information on how Scouting benefits parents and families, not just kids. There’s even a free e-book about the subject on the site.



where you’ll find a bunch of Scouters who’ve been in your shoes and are eager to help you be successful. Some of the best discussions happen after the closing, so plan to stay late. Check with your unit leader or council office for dates and locations.


SITES FOR YOUR EYES. Another great source

for Scouting information is the Internet. You can find Scouting magazine online at Ask people in your unit or dis-

trict for their favorite online discussion groups, blogs, and podcasts. And be sure to bookmark Scouting’s blog:


LESS TAXING. If you itemize your taxes, you

can deduct the cost of your uniforms and the miles you drive as a volunteer. You’ll need good records, so start a receipt file and mileage log. For more information, visit or consult your tax adviser.


GET A LIFE—or snag your son’s copy when he’s not

looking. Boys’ Life magazine content aligns with pack and troop programs, and the jokes are always good for a laugh. For a quick game, create a scav- enger hunt where boys look for specific words or pictures in the current issue. Learn more about BL at


who oversees Scouting at your chartered organization (the school, community group, or religious institution that sponsors your unit). Ask how Scouting supports the organization’s mission and what your unit can do to help. This is especially important if you’re the unit leader or committee chair.

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STEP 2 Seek out your district executive and unit commissioner. The DE is the

professional Scouter who oversees Scouting in your community; the commissioner is an experienced volunteer charged with support- ing your unit. Their goal is to make your unit successful, and they have access to lots of useful resources.

for coffee to discuss any challenges you’re facing, then visit one of your mentor’s meet- ings to see him or her in action.

16  ¿ SCOUTING 43 STEP 3

Find a mentor in your district who holds the same position as you. Meet


Seek out your chartered organiza- tion representative, the volunteer

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