Share the load to prevent leader burn-out

As spring turns into summer it is not uncommon to see dragon boats making their way up and down the Willamette River. Some move at a feverish pace with callers yelling out the stokes; others meander along at a leisurely pace. Picture yourself in one of the dragon boats: seated around you are sixteen others with paddles, awaiting instructions from the caller. At the signal you raise your own paddle and thrust it into the water, pulling with all your might. Your head is down, eyes closed in concentration, hearing only the calls as you paddle in unison with your teammates. You’re in a race to beat other dragon boats, but also a race to do more than your best.

After many strokes you glance up to see what progress has been made, As you look you see that you are in the lead, but the other boats are quickly gaining, and beginning to pass you. You paddle harder, but they continue to cruise by as if you were standing still. As you look around your boat you see that some team members are paddling with all their might, but others are just barely dipping their paddle in the water; a few paddlers have yet to even pick up their paddle. You look to the other boats as they pass and see every paddle in the water, working in unison. As you gaze at the other paddlers you realize not a single one of them lookas tired as you feel.

It is in the best interest of youth members that we find a way to share the load.

Compare this with your Scouting unit. Most units rely on only a few people to provide leadership and direction of the unit. Many times these few end up doing the majority of the work but, much like determined paddlers, if they try to do it all it will not be long before they are exhausted by the effort. It is in the best interest of youth members that we find a way to share the load.

Units need to involve parents from every family in the units, and give every parent a small role to play; everyone will feel they are doing their part and not become burned out. 

The common phrase, “many hands make light work” is true in Scouting. Don’t be afraid to volunteer or ask someone to volunteer in your unit, you just might inspire them to begin a lifelong volunteer adventure in Scouting!

[ Originally published in the summer 2007 edition of CPC Times. ]


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