Simplifying our Boy Scout Flag Service

I was talking to a co-worker the other day about the 70 flags I just bought for the flag service we’ll be starting in a little over a week.  Here’s how our conversation went:

Bob: “You’re not planning to pound in that piece of rebar for every house, are you?”

Me: “Well, yeeeeah.  How else do you do it??”

Bob: “John, John, John…  We’ve been doing this in our neighborhood for many years now.  Let me tell you how it’s done!”

Me: (anxiously awaiting to be schooled on the tricks of this trade)

Bob: “Get a landscaper in your neighborhood to help you insert a pvc sleeve into every subscriber’s lawn.  Then each time you perform your service, all your boys need to do is sliiiiiiide the flagpole into its sleeve….. Quick ‘n easy!  You guys will have each flag service done in no time.”

Me: “Hmmmm, I LIKE IT!”

Bob: “Just think – no pounding in rebar and waking up your neighbors at the crack of dawn eight times a year.  They’ll apprecaite you for it – trust me!”

Me: “…and it’s cheaper than the cost of 70 pieces of rebar.”

Bob: “Exactly!  Now go return that rebar and get your landscaper lined up.”

So now I have a few more things to add to my “To Do” list.  However, it is very easy to see that the effort spent up-front inserting these sleeves is well worth the time and hassle saved throughout the year.  I’m all about simplifying the process and eliminating one more piece of equipment to coordinate, manage and keep track of.

See also:

Flag Service Problems and Solutions, part 1
Flag Service Problems and Solutions, part 2
Flag Service Problems and Solutions, part 3

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7 Responses to Simplifying our Boy Scout Flag Service

  1. Phil says:

    How do we install the sleeve in the ground without a landscaper? That is not in any of the instructions.

  2. Trent Sparrow says:

    Hi I live in Illinois and I would like to do this fundraiser with my Scout Troop. Do you have any instructions or tips you could provide me? (Size of PVC pole for flag, how to attach the flag to the pole, what size of PVC you use to create the sleeve, how deep does the sleeve go, where do you buy your flags?) Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am new Scoutmaster and new to the fundraising stuff.


    • Scoutmaster says:

      All the tips and answers to your questions can be found in “Flag Service Problems and Solutions” parts 1, 2 and 3. Let me know if you have any questions after reading all those, including the comments.

  3. Axel says:

    I’ve thought about doing this, but how do you keep the pvc sleeve from filling up with lawn clippings/dirt and other debris? Maybe I don’t need to worry about it.

    • Scoutmaster says:

      I wouldn’t worry about it. We’re up to 110 flags now and haven’t had any problems and today begins our 4th year using pvc sleeves like this. The grass does grow over the hole making it hard to find, but painting a location symbol on the curb helped with that issue.

      • Axel says:

        Thanks, I also had a question about how you distribute the responsibility (and money) among your scouts. We try to just make all the work and money even among everyone, but some scouts are much more helpful than others. Have you worked out a good system?

        • Scoutmaster says:

          Yes, participation is the 2nd problem I alluded to in this post. The system I’ve been using for 2 of the past 3 years works like this: Scouts who plan on attending summer camp are asked to pay $80. The first $40 is collected by their family subscribing to our flag service. The second $40 is out of pocket so they have some skin in the game too. The remaining expense for camp registration and food has been paid for by this fundraiser thus far (which amounts to about $100 per boy). I like this arrangement since the scout still needs to come up with cash for craft kits, targets and personal trading post spending.

          To address the issue of ongoing involvement, I offer the boys an incentive to earn $40 back. In other words, if they come and do the flag service 12 of 16 times (assuming 8 service dates), I will refund them $40 on November 30th. I have some boys who are very diligent about this offer and others who are not…and it’s obviously their choice. Every boy is given multiple opportunities to be involved, and if they still won’t, that just gives me a little more money to buy/upgrade troop equipment in the end.

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