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Editorial: Reorg's Impact Upon Us

By Al Opdyke 

Part 2:      The new organization creates a few  additional demands and/or constraints upon our pack parent/leaders and our families.

The Lansing Scout Service Center/store has reduced hours. Families need to adjust the timing of their visits to the scout store. The pack can still take  registration money to this office.  That money is then forwarded to national headquarters or to Flint.

 All the computer programs which contain our existence (charter) , rank advancements, training, event attendance, etc. must be inputted and run by our unit parents. This makes involvement and our parent meetings more necessary than ever before. We need parents who know computers well enough to get our work done. Since everyone has a full time job other than scouting, I think we need two or three parents to help do this. The business group ( committee ) of our pack cannot remain at two or three people. Burnout and dissolving the pack are the natural results. As you are aware, in the last few years, some longtime local units have been unable to continue. As when one of our den leaders is sick  -  not much gets done. The boy's program suffers. A strong nucleus and back up is necessary.  Our size and your past involvements have kept us going thus far. But, we need more.

Incomplete paperwork might be months in arrears, before Flint or National Office return them to us, for corrections. This means proofreading by our parents is imperative. Insurance  coverages (etc.) are  questionable, at best, when not  recorded as being a scout or registered volunteer or on tour/trip  permits, even if money was submitted.

Scout rank advancements cannot be purchased without a computer download that indicate requirements were satisfied. Units are responsible for timely input.  tragically , this month we did not make the Webelos  Woods advance computer sign-up timeframe. Several of our families have suffered.

If and when the Lansing scout store closes, the volunteers will just have to get used to driving to Flint. I believe some Lansing merchant may carry scout uniforms in their inventory. A flaw in this is that scout uniforms are fair trade items. Therefore, a merchant would have to contribute shelf space out of community concern and welfare, not for profit. I think Grand Rapid's Scout Store being on the south east side of GR, may be the easiest for us. The current Lansing property is paid for, but,  maintenance and taxes are on going concerns. Awards, derbies, books and more, also continue to be a part of our support.  Merchants would much rather have a community of scouts, than gang bangers, it is better for us all.

Monies raised for local scouting has a new meaning to me. Rogers City, Alpena and Grayling, Gladwin etc. are just as important to the council's vision as Lansing and Pack 386 and we also contribute to Flint's funding.  The council governs 1/3 of the State of Michigan's lower peninsula. Lansing, as another out state region of Flint, cannot possibly receive extra for our particular needs.

It is obvious there are less paid scouting jobs in Lansing. These may have gone away or they may be located in a different city. We have been assured our support will be better. The pack now writes checks to Boy Scouts of America,  not to Chief Okemos.

There seems to be less local camporees lately, and, there was no spring camporee in any of our "old" districts. The miles to the new "council" events has been greatly  increased. Some Lansing based Boy Scout Troops indicate they wish to hold events and invite cubs. The problem is their parent/leader resources are not much better than our cub pack's, so burnout is a concern.

Pack 386 will continue to finance its own program.  and each year we must decide on how to do this best. In the past, we have not had much extra money to support our scout office. As a normal pack,  we deal with 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders for the most part. Which really equates to young families - just starting out in life, not knowing the whys of scouting.

These reorganizational impacts are more significant for cub scout packs. Packs deal with families who are completely unaware of scouting's grand potential for their sons. Scout troops have people who have had scouting as a part of their lives for four or five years or more and have seen their sons & friends grow into Eagles. Pack families, being new, aren't even sure that they want to be a scout family.  Getting parents to be active is very difficult, usually relegated to those who were boy or girl scouts in their youth. Packs are training grounds  for lifetime ideals of scouting.    I will tell you it is worth it. I was never a scout, but seeing my children and their friends and my grandchildren plus many  many more, has kept me involved, and be in a position where  I can be of most service to you, my friends, for about 30 years now.

I hope to continue to transition great scouts and great families to Boy Scouts.    But I need your help.      Scouts make great citizens!

This is not all the impacts which will trickle down. I will communicate more when  more is known. But it is obvious, volunteers in scouting, must be more dedicated and more committed to become involved. Our efforts to control this "business end" of our program and make it transparent to our sons depends upon us all.   This is the direction of the wind!

As always, your input is welcomed and needed to run our pack.         These opinions are my own....   Al Opdyke