Motivation occurs when an incentive causes someone to move into action. Once a person is inspired, motivation seems to increase the likelihood of success.
Thanks to many committed dads from Harrisburg, who volunteer as Cub Scout leaders each year, the young Cub Scout boys of Pack 173 receive regular motivation not only to "be prepared" but to "do their best."
Since Cub Scouts is a nonprofit organization, the Packs on the local level participate in fundraisers each year. One of the most recognized fundraiser is the Trail's End popcorn sale, held each fall.
For nearly 30 years, Trail's End has partnered with the Boy Scouts of America to help Scouts raise the money needed to fund their programs and activities throughout the year.
Popcorn purchases help pay for Scout activities, awards, trips, camps, equipment and uniforms. Cub Scouts are encouraged to sell popcorn to family, friends and neighbors during the annual campaign, and the Pack receives one third of the proceeds.
This year, the popcorn campaign was led by volunteers Jim and Robin Burke. This is their second year running the campaign.
A high energy "kick off" meeting, coordinated by Cub Master Tommy Warlick, built excitement for the Scouts to head out and sell as much as they could. Trail's End offers one national prize and four regional prizes for the best video of a popcorn kick-off meeting.
Pack 173 parents filmed the event and Cristina Cassidy of Cristina Cassidy Productions donated her time to edit the video. The Pack's video was selected from more than 100 entries as the Southern Regional winner, earning them a $2,500 prize.
"That very strange evening included Harrisburg's own version of the Village People, singing my very bad "Popcorn Man" lyrics to the tune of "Macho Man," Popcorn Ninja Warriors and a surprise inspection by our very own Popcorn Kernel," said Warlick. "To my knowledge, this is the first time anyone in our Council has won a prize in that contest."
Over the years, Warlick has been a great motivator for his Scouts. During the 2008 campaign, he claimed he would shave his head if the scouts exceeded $25,000 in sales.
"In past years, we had sold between $20,000 and $22,000, so I felt like it was an obtainable goal, but that I was probably safe to keep my hair," said Warlick.
To his surprise, they sold more than $36,000, exceeding all previous sales patterns and earning the pack the distinction as the No. 1 selling unit in the Central North Carolina Council, which includes Cabarrus County and six other counties, beating the second best selling unit by some $11,000.
To the delight of the Scouts, Warlick had his head shaved at the holiday party.
With the struggling economy in 2009, Warlick thought the popcorn sale would be a definite struggle but, again, wanted to motivate the Scouts. Warlick said if the Scouts exceeded $25,000 in popcorn sales, that he would do a hula dance on a Saturday at noon at the corner of N.C. 49 and Robinson Church Road, wearing grass skirts and coconut bras. He also said he would shave his head, if they raised more than $30,000.
"I really didn't want to be bald again for Christmas," said Warlick. "I honestly thought that was the best we'd do."
At the last minute, and without checking with the other leaders first, Warlick told the Scouts that all of the other leaders would join him, either by shaving their heads or doing the hula with him, if the boys beat $35,000 again.
"I genuinely didn't think they could pull it off a second year in a row, especially with the economy," said Warlick. "We had 89 boys participate in the 2009 sale and sold $36,616, earning the title of "Top Unit" in the Central North Carolina Council. I'll never doubt them again. Two other leaders agreed to get their head shaved, and the rest of them did the hula."
Because of the number of leaders and the excitement the hula would cause, Pack leaders got permission to move the celebration to the steps of the Harrisburg Town Hall.
At noon, on Saturday, March 13, some of Harrisburg's finest dads, celebrated the Scout's accomplishment by doing the hula dance, proving that motivation can breed success.