10 Reasons (Other than Money) Why Your Scout Should Sell Popcorn

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Life SkillsWe all know that Popcorn Sales help provide funds for Scouts to help them with their program, but there are many life skills a Scout learns by participating in the Popcorn Sale. Here are the top ten:

1. Self-Confidence
I believe this is the number one reason a Scout should participate in the Popcorn Sale. As I have traveled around the country, I consistently get comments from parents as to how the Popcorn Sale has helped their son overcome their shyness. They see the growth in a Scout from the time they were a Tiger being cute and just asking if someone wants to buy popcorn to the Webelos Scout that knows everything about the product and is not afraid to talk to a stranger.

2. Teamwork
Many Units offer bonuses for the top seller den or patrol. Units may also set up their own Unit Incentives where if the Unit achieves a certain sales goal, the Unit will get additional supplies like a new Pinewood Derby track or ‘Class B’ T-shirts. In addition, many Councils have extra commission incentives if a Unit reaches a pre-determined sales goal. All of these incentives center on all the Scouts participating in the Popcorn Sales and doing their part for the team.

3. Goal Setting
Most Councils have a prize at different levels associated with the Popcorn Sale. If a Scout wants a certain item or dollar amount they have to reach a certain sales goal. By working backwards, Scouts can determine that total amount of items they need to sell to reach their goal.

4. Time Management
With Goal Setting also comes time management. Once a Scout knows how much they need to sell to reach their goal, they should determine the average sales per hour. This will help them figure out how long it will take to sell the number of containers to reach their goal.

5. Salesmanship
Whether people want to admit it or not, everybody has to sell. They either have to sell a product or service to a customer or sell themselves when trying to get a job. Knowing how to approach a person they do not know and explain with confidence their product is one part of salesmanship. The other part involves understanding how to overcome an objection from a customer and cross sale additional items. As with everything else in Scouting, the Popcorn Sale provides an opportunity for Scouts to make mistakes in a safe environment and learn from them. In addition, there is a Salesmanship Merit Badge Boy Scouts can earn by doing multiple aspects of the Popcorn Sale.

6. Promotes Scouting
Seeing Scouts in uniform throughout a community lets people know that Scouting is still relevant in their area. While we still want people to know about the service projects and other activities Scouts do throughout the year, for many, the Popcorn Sale is the only time a person will see a Scout face-to-face.

7. Counting Money
Take it from a former Bank Manager, counting money is a skill. I have fired my share of people because they could not balance their till. The Popcorn Sale is a time that allows Scouts to count currency they may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. It teaches basic math and identification skills. In addition, it teaches Scouts that they can be trusted with money.

8. Proper Manners
Selling Popcorn is a perfect opportunity to teach Scouts how to introduce themselves. Saying “Excuse me ma’am/sir”, “Please” and “Thank you” are attributes associated with the brand of a Boy Scout. In addition, there is a Good Manners Belt Loop and Pin Cub Scouts cam earn.

9. Public Speaking
Being able to look a person in the eye with a prepared, memorized script is vital to being successful in many areas of life. However, it is more than that. Public Speaking is about presenting yourself to others. Having a clean, maintained uniform is important as well as proper hygiene. Taking pride in your appearance is part of Public Speaking.

10. Self-Reliance
It is one thing to have the money to pay for whatever you need. It is another to know that you have earned the money yourself. Scouts take pride in knowing they can ‘fend for themselves’. Scouts also value items more if they have to pay for it themselves. My son seems to take care of stuff that he paid for with “his money” more than the items I buy for him.

Scouting is designed to develop youth into functioning members of society. It is important for all Scouts to learn these life skills

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