Just an Hour a Week
Just an hour a week. Now that’s a phrase that’s as synonymous with the scouting program as “Be prepared”. We’ve all heard it. It’s the hook used to get the unsuspecting “leaders to be” to start becoming full time members of a pack or troop. It’s kind of like seeing “low calorie” or “1/2 the fat” on a box of cookies and not really realizing that you’ve already scoffed down the entire contents and have the bag upside down shaking the remaining crumbs out pretty much like that fabled cookie monster of legend. Yep, just an hour a week. Don’t get me wrong, I fell for it years ago myself when I became a Tiger parent. My young son looking up at me with his wide, wonder filled eyes, pleading for an eventful, fun learning experience to help make him into a man, at least that’s how I remember it. Truth is, he was probably bored and had to go to the bathroom for the fifth time like the other Tigers in the downstairs hall of “any church USA”. Oh yeah, just an hour a week. Love that phrase, used it too. We all have, be honest. Show of hands, how many of you reading this have a resume of volunteerism like mine? Tiger coach, Wolf Den Leader, Asst. Bear Den Leader, Asst. Webelo Leader (both years) Committee Chair, Asst. Cubmaster, Blue and Gold Committee, Pine wood derby committee…That’s it, just an hour a week. But in the end, your boys move into their next stage of scouting and cross over into being a full fledged, card carrying, tan shirt wearing, Merit Badge earning, winter camp enjoying Boy Scout! Pride sweeping across our face as we did it. The boys made their way through all of the years of popcorn sales and pinewood derby races. And we both made some great friends along the way. But this is it, your boys are moving on and you’re out! Life is great! Dropping your son, now fully on his way to manhood and waving back as you watch him go to HIS meeting, while you and another “ex-cub scout leader” head off for coffee with the satisfied, goofy grin of a couple of guys that did their time and are now retired. … … And that’s when it happens… You get approached… Trying desperately to hide behind the rapidlyly chilling coffee cup without any real success. The troop needs just a little help. No big deal, shouldn’t be any more than … oh no, here it comes… an hour a week. And before you know it you’re back in your tan shirt with a scout sign in the air wondering how another year went by. Just an hour a week. Now that we are all veterans, we love to see the new parents get hit with the phrase. If for no other reason, just to remember when you had the wide, wonder filled look of “How bad could it be?” After all they only want an hour a week. Sure, we love the new guys, all full of energy and confusion, looking for bacon stretchers and tent extenders, that stuff really never gets old, does it? So, here I sit with 7 or 8 years in the program, actually have lost count, not really worrying about how much time I’ve put in, but wondering if it was really worth it. Have I really made a change? Would these boys even notice if I was here or not? Will they actually remember MR D in years to come? Maybe, maybe not. I mean, like most parents, I’ve got to fight my own kid sometimes to show up for an event or two. An even the patrol I work with to pay attention and contribute without having 8 bazillion side conversations about the latest death metal, video game or various sounds that they can make with their own body parts. Why bother? My time could easily be much better spent trying to grow roots from my behind into the couch while watching an hour of TV a week. In fact… as I write this… I’m realizing that this hour a week thing may just be a myth…. A cosmic joke. I’ve really never overly thought about it. How much time do I spend with these guys? Hmmmm… Yeah, maybe it really is time to retire. In fact, one of my boys came up to me just last Thursday, one of our one hour a week meetings which are actualy an hour and a half, and said….. “Ya know MR D, Tonight was kinda cool! Thanks!”……hmph. …………………… …………………… …………………… …………………… Awww, Nuts! Maybe another year won't be so bad…. We do have a lot of fun…. Both my son and I have made some great friends…. Besides, it is only an hour a week. Best Wishes Mr. D Troop 603 By the way – It took me an hour to get this writing done.