**Warning – Rant Alert**
I began writing a monthly newsletter for the troop soon after becoming the scoutmaster. In those early days it was literally a “cut and paste” method to create the newsletter. You see, those were the days before home computers. I would type the articles using a typewriter, cut them out, and then tape them to a blank sheet of paper with some pictures or graphics. The look of the newsletter changed dramatically once I bought a home computer in the late 1980′s.
I began writing a newsletter for one simple reason – the information given to the Boy Scouts during the troop meetings was not making it home to the parents. You could say the newsletter was a way to keep parents informed more then the boys. The newsletter would usually take two to three evenings to write, organize, print, and mail. The look of it changed over the years as computer programs changed, allowing for bigger and better things to be done.
During the last three decades I have had to deal with newsletters “lost in the mail”, families losing their mailings, Scouts who would grab it before their parents see it and hide it in their rooms, and other problems. But the one thing that irritated me the most was when parents and Scouts admitted they did not read it. After all the work I did to create a newsletter I discovered that for some people it was not even worth the time to read.
So, in 2005, writing and printing the newsletter became a low priority on my schedule. In 2006, I pretty much quit writing them. Why should I if no one reads them? After 25 years I finally decided that if this troop wants a newsletter then a parent, or even the troop scribe, could start writing them. Besides that, I was tired of doing them.
Well, the troop has gone for one year without a newsletter. No one, parent or Boy Scout, has stepped forward to write one. The troop has fallen back to having parents in the dark about troop functions. It looks like if there is to be a newsletter I will have to write it, even though I really do not care to do it. I did break down the other night and put a newsletter together. The troop has several important functions coming up that the parents need to have information about.
Should the scoutmaster be in charge of creating the troop’s newsletter? As a scoutmaster myself, I would answer, “No!” The scoutmaster does need to assist in the preparation of it but he should not be expected to do it all. He already has enough to do between troop meetings, troop functions and outings, training sessions, and district events. I understand the parents and Scouts are also busy, but a troop works best when the work load is spread around to several people. When a scoutmaster is expected to do most everything you will end up looking for a new scoutmaster when he burns out from doing too much.
I ask you, is it easier to assist a current scoutmaster then it is too find a new one? Is it important for parents and Scouts to know all the information needed to carry out a successful program?