Powered by Popcorn

Not really, more like power zapped by popcorn.  This year I had the pleasure (yes I am saying that sarcastically) of fulfilling the role of Popcorn Kernel for our Cub Scout Pack 28.  By choice?  Again, not really but no one stepped up to volunteer and since it is the main source of funds for our pack I picked up the slack.  I’ve ordered popcorn, staffed, and manned what is known in the Cub Scout world as “Show & Sells”.  You’ve all seen them at your local grocery stores – the table out front with one or two parents and a gaggle of little boys in uniform selling overpriced popcorn or as we like to say in our neck of the woods accepting donations and getting a gift of popcorn in return.  This was my first year heading it up and it required way more work than had been indicated.  It started with determining just how much popcorn to order for our two weekends of Show & Sells.  Lucky for me I have a great treasure who keeps immaculate records for our pack and so we were able to tabulate the previous couple of years and come up with an average and then ever the optimist I tacked on another 50% of the recommended amount.  I know, for you Popcorn Kernel aficionado’s you’re probably saying to yourself, BIG MISTAKE.  But as it turns out positive thinking does have its rewards.

I called every scouts family personally to get them to sign up to work a shift or two or three.  The first weekend we sold out of every package of popcorn I’d ordered.  Go Pack 28!  Then on the following Monday began a flurry of calls and visits to Council’s offices to try to secure more inventory for our second weekend that we’d scheduled.  After five days of begging and pleading I had enough, I hoped, to supply our second event.  Again we sold out of all of it except 4 boxes of microwaveable kettle corn and I think we could have sold that to if they hadn’t raised the price to $25.

Keep in mind that while all this is occurring I’m being told by more senior members that I under ordered and must have gotten my figures wrong at the onset despite Council confirming that I ordered over and above what was sold the previous two years.  What’s a girl to do… hold my head high, know I did it correctly and the to the best of my abilities and move on with Take Orders.

Take orders are really the responsibility of the scouts families but all along I was there for support, to answer questions, to provide training as needed.  I dressed up as the Popcorn Queen and carried around my popcorn wares hawking them to the boys at our Pack meeting, sharing with them why it was important for the pack and for their scout accounts to give this fundraiser our best efforts.  And it must have worked because the boys hit the pavement and outdid themselves.

For the last 3 days I’ve been tracking down their orders, collecting funds, tabulating to ensure funds equal quantities ordered, collaborating with my pack treasurer, entering all the orders into the online system, wrangling my hubby into helping me proof that I entered all the orders correctly.  One of my Tiger cubs even made scholarship level, selling in excess of $2,500 which necessitated entering every customers name, address and order so he could receive 6% of his sales in a special college scholarship fund.  It was time-consuming, mind numbing, and a major eye strain but I got it done.  The last 24 hours was tracking down parents to secure the boys prize selections so I could get them in the system in time and when my numberous calls, e-mails, texts went unanswered, guestimating what each boy would like based on what I know of them.  Then having to explain to those same parents what I ordered and why I ordered it because THEY DIDN’T RESPOND IN A TIMELY MANNER.

Did I mention this is all volunteer time on my part?  That I run the Pack?  That I’m a Den Leader for my son’s level?  Yes, yes, and yes.  I like being involved.  I like being able to contribute.  To budget my time and my physical reserves accordingly but it’s all a guessing game since so much of it is dependent on other folks who think their lives, their time, is more valuable than my time with my family.  While I’m super proud of how well our Pack did, they more than tripled previous years results, I’m also a little disappointed that some of our parents aren’t willing to take the initiative and help when help is needed.

While for most of these folks it would just cost them time for me it costs me energy – physical and mental energy that I’m already in short reserves of.  So I’m turning off my phone, not answering e-mails or texts for the next 24 hours while I try to recoup some of that energy that was lost to this process.  I wish all parents would equally volunteer, in some capacity, for the common good of all.  I wish that what would have not even been a blip on my energy radar years ago now blows up the system.  I wish that I could have went to the skate park with my son today to watch his mad skills on his board instead of having to lay down and rest, ice bag covering my eyes, while I tried to gain back some of my energy reserves.

So powered by popcorn?  I think not.  Would I do it again if my sons pack needed me to?  You betcha, because that’s how I roll, limp, walk.

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