By Maloree Anderson
Jul 12, 2018

Understaffed and Overwhelmed?

Want to pull your hair out when dealing with unit (pack, troop, crew, post, ship) issues? Maybe you don’t have enough support from your leaders or you’re understaffed and overwhelmed with Scouting. What can you do? In this article, we’ll share issues many units face and possible ways to solve them.

The ‘Why

Yes, it’s true, Scouting can sometimes be difficult and you may wonder why you are even doing this. Then, when you see a little Cub Scout score a bullseye while shooting a BB gun and their face lights up you say, “Oh! That’s why.” The ‘why‘ is a key factor when engaging in Scouting. It’s the driving force behind the long, hard hours. So, why do you volunteer your time and resources to the Scouting program? Below are some reasons given by Scout volunteers:

  • We are turning youth into future leaders and teaching them life skills.
  • Make sure that the youth know they can accomplish something.
  • The youth know they are loved.
  • We are doing Scouting for the person they will be later in life.
  • We are building character development for Scouts to know who they are.

What causes you to pull your hair out?

Below are some of the top unit issues with their possible solutions:

Complication: Size of Unit
Solution: Small unit? Combine with another ward/unit. Great way to practice/enforce the patrol method. Also, it means recruiting fewer volunteers because you don’t need as many.

Complication: Overwhelmed with Paperwork
Solution: Did you know that you can now submit applications online? Plus, have you heard about Scoutbook where you can record advancements online? And you can skip the lines and order advancement awards online as well! The BSA is working diligently to simplify and eliminate many of the paper processes with these resources. You can spend less time filling out paperwork and more time encouraging your Scouts!


Complication: Understaffed – Lack of Leadership
Solution: This will depend on the situation, but for starters, get the adults onboard with the ‘why’ of Scouting. Mat Greenfield’s “Engaging Parents in Scouting” presentation provides amazing advice on how to tackle this complication. Or you may want to discuss with your bishopric/stake presidency the issues you are facing.

Complication: Lack of Budget
Solution: Financial resources is a major stressor in Scouting. Here are some resources to help you with your unit’s budget:

What are some best practices that you use within your unit to make Scouting simple and fun? Share with your fellow volunteers!

(Article based off the University of Scouting class, “Understaffed and Overwhelmed?” by Kathy Worthen and Annaleis Smith.)

Author: Maloree Anderson | is a photographer, graphic designer, mom of one, friend of Scouting and Marketing Specialist with the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America.

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