After a quarter-century in Scouting, why is this Cub Scout leader still training?
Bev Roddy bleeds blue and gold. She has served in most pack positions, led countless Cub Scout roundtables and training courses, taught Cub Scout leaders at the Philmont Training Center, and participated in Cub Scout project teams for the national office. In her spare time, Roddy works as a receptionist for the Capitol Area Council, answering frequent questions from fellow volunteers.
Recently, we caught up with her to get a few more answers.
During most of your Scouting career, you’ve focused on leader training. Why is training so important?
If you’re going to start a new job, whether it’s salaried or volunteer, you have to have training. You can tell the packs that have trained leaders. The boys are advancing; they’re participating in district and council activities; they’re having fun; and the leaders are having a good time, too. It’s important to make sure the program is presented to the boys in the way the BSA intended, not Scouting according to Joe.
Is a leader ever finished with training?
Not really. If you went to training five years ago, it’s probably time to go again because the program has changed. I’ve also found that periodically going to training as a participant and not as an instructor is kind of eye opening. To get in with new den leaders, to work with them as one of their group, recharges the batteries.
Trainers and roundtable commissioners don’t always see the impact of their work. But you did once at the Philmont Training Center.
A lady came up to me and said, “I came to your roundtable when I was a Tiger Cub coach, and it was neat.” Then she started telling me about all the things she’d done in Scouting in the past six or seven years: She’d become a den leader, done a day camp, organized a pow wow, restarted a troop. Then she looked at me with a big grin and said, “It’s all your fault.” How many people did that one roundtable touch through her? It made me feel warm.
You’ve been involved in Scouting for 25 years. How have you avoided burnout?
Several times I’ve taken a step back. I haven’t totally gotten out of Scouting, but I’ve cut way back on what I was volunteering to do. Changing jobs can also help. If you always teach the same class at your outdoor training, try something different. Keep learning.
Changing jobs often involves helping to find your own replacement. How do you do that?
Start eyeing your staff, the ones you have on your committee. You’ve got to know the person, know their abilities, and see them in a bunch of different situations and how they respond. Are they dependable? Are they going to show up every month at the right time and the right place with the program?
How can packs make Scouting affordable for families during tough economic times?
Be aware of what your parents are capable of supporting. Don’t take the pack to Walt Disney World; take them to a baseball game or to the zoo. And remember money-earning projects. Sell your popcorn; you could pay for your whole year of Scouting.
Some packs struggle to get their boys in uniform. Any advice?
The first time I went to Philmont, there was a trainer walking around in half a uniform. But she had split it vertically; she’d taken her Cub Scout shirt, cut it in half, and sewed a flowered shirt on. She said, “It’s half a uniform. Does it matter if it’s split this way or just the blouse and jeans?” That was a very good example.
What else have you learned in Scouting?
I’ve learned that little boys are neat. I’ve learned that Scout leaders are some of the best friends I’ve ever had—a good class of people for the most part. I have faith in the program. I saw what it did for my sons and for others in our troop, and I want it to continue, which is why I’m hanging in there. And it’s fun. If it stops being fun, then I’ll stop. But it hasn’t stopped being fun yet.