It is a wet and windy Thursday night in Mesa, Arizona. I was able to get the Scouting Heritage booth setup at the Family History Expo. A big thanks to all those who helped this idea become reality.
About a month ago I got the idea of doing a Scouting booth at the Arizona Family History Expo. After all, it is Scouting’s 100th anniversary and I couldn’t think of a better group of people to share it with than those attending the expo.
The first contact I tried to make with the Boy Scouts was the Grand Canyon Council. I mistakenly thought that there was already a group at council that would be interested in such an event and would already have the resources to make it happen. Now it was already the first week in January.
I next tried the Mesa District since the expo falls within their boundaries and it would be easier to get local volunteers. The timing must have been bad as they couldn’t offer any assistance.
I was about to give up on the whole idea, but couldn’t let it go. I live in North Phoenix which is 40 minutes from where the expo would be held. I decided to contact the Thunderbird district executive, Carol Chacon, to see if there was anything she could do.
This week started and I had to make the go/no go decision. I decided to go ahead with the booth even if I had to do everything myself. Fortunately, I didn’t have to. My wonderful wife was there with a huge vote of support. She outlined the 10’ x 10’ booth space in our living room and helped me gather items from our family & troop. I can honestly say that without her, this would have never happened. Thank you!
There were still 3 things that we needed: a “Boy Scouts of America” banner, posters, & brochures. Carol was able to gather some brochures and we stopped by the Scout shop to buy some posters. There was a great 100th anniversary banner that cost $70 that would have been perfect. As a thrify Scout, I couldn’t justify paying for it for this one event. Too bad there wasn’t one available from council that they could rent out for $10 to any district that needed it. I ended up in a storage room looking through old banners to see if I could find one that would work. I finally found the one that I ended up using, but the bottom half of the banner said “POW WOW”. Being resourceful, I folded it in half and shortened one end so that it would fit in the booth.
This is what an empty booth looks like:
Early this week I called Holly Hansen, President of Family History Expos, Inc. to ask if there was any way the Boy Scouts could get some help with the booth fee. She said that she would make it happen. When I arrived tonight, I found that Scott Wilson from OneGreatFamily.com had a booth next to mine and that he paid the full cost of booth space for the Scouts. What a wonderful thing to do. I can’t thank him enough.
I also contacted some staff and attendees from the Woodbadge course I took about 4 years ago to see if they could volunteer at the booth. Thank you to those who will be coming to help.
So one guy with a crazy idea and a wonderful wife and a small group of supporters can pull together a Scouting Heritage booth for a family history conference in less than 1 week.
The back of the booth has a banner, Scouting shirts, and posters:
Along the right side is a table with various Scouting books including a reprint of the original Boy Scout handbook, a book of Norman Rockwell Scouting illustrations, current Scout handbook, Fieldbook, and a book about dating Scout memorabilia. At the end of the table and on the floor are Pinewood Derby cars. There are also pamphlets to visitors can take.
Starting on the left side in the back is a camp table showing knots & lashings. It also contains various patches I’ve collected. On this table is another reprint of the original Scout handbook that will be one of two prizes given out on Saturday. This is where the visitor fills out an entry form.
Next to it is a Dutch oven hanging from a tripod. This is where the entry forms will be put. Completing the booth are two camp chairs and a small peach tree. The tree is the 2nd prize and is there to symbolize the outdoors as well as the centennial tree-planting campaign.
It is going to be a very busy next two days. I am excited to see how the Scouting Heritage booth is received at the conference. Maybe if it successful enough, someone else will take the challenge to have a Scouting Heritage booth at each of the Family History Expos in 2010.
What have you done that is similar to this? What do you think of Scouting heritage booths at family history conferences? Any ideas on how to make these more successful and more of a team effort? What is something that you learned as a Scout or because of the Scouting values?