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Sometimes Scouting volunteers really bug me...

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  • Sometimes Scouting volunteers really bug me...

    So I'm one of those horrible people who work at the council offices...

    In my council, it's extremely common for a unit to accept someone into their ranks... and never have them fill out the registration form. Or, if the form is filled out, no one ever brings it me. Almost a year later, someone will storm into my office wondering why he isn't on the unit roster.

    Most people make it feel like it's my fault for not magically knowing who is supposed to be registered and no one wants to hear it's the unit leaders' fault, not mine.

    What's a good customer service way to avoid this drama? There's only so many strings I can pull.

  • #2
    As a member of my District Committee I get to work with quite a few of the professionals and have gotten to know them well. The volunteers that come in disgruntled are often the ones who have had many things disappear into the black hole of the Council office. Registering for Wood Badge this year, they were able to process the application and the check but the med form in the same envelope was lost??? Had a popcorn check of $20+ K dissappear for a week in the Council office. It is from experience that most of us look to the Council office when paperwork SNAFUs happen. The experienced among us just make sure we have copies, of everything. . .

    Comment


    • #3
      One of the most common complaints I hear is "Council Lost it" when it comes to missing paperwork. I know I have taken forms to the Council Office and that form ends up "missing" to the point I always keep a copy so when Council tells me they cant find it, I can send them another. I don't know why, it happens. If you want to decrease the "sceamers" see if you can gain the reputation that your office never loses anything. It may be impossible to please everyone, but if enough people know that COuncil doesnt automatically lose paperwork as a matter of course, you may earn yourseld a pass.

      So, Someties Scouting Professionals really bug me ...

      is this the beginning of a vicious cycle?

      Comment


      • #4
        We actually do have a pretty good reputation for not losing stuff (at least in my department--we log everything and anything), so we rarely have the accusation "you lost it". Rather, we have "why didn't you go get the registration forms from our unit or make sure they registered us?"

        These ones are frustrated at us that their units didn't know they were supposed to bring in the application. They want to know why they aren't registered, why the unit didn't bother to register them, and what I will do right then and there.

        I suppose I just don't understand why a unit gets off scot-free and I have to fix what they neglected to do. So often I have a sheepish CR wander in with 9-month-old registration forms.

        Sorry, this is really a rant.(This message has been edited by Backroads)

        Comment


        • #5
          I often wonder if I hold the record for paperwork snafu. I earned one of my knots, can't remember which one, but I submitted my paperwork three times over the course of 5 years before I received it.

          I have no idea how many of my boys, over the years, participated in the program unregistered, but there were quite a few.

          Granted, when all the council's charters all come due at the same time, it is nothing more than an accident waiting to happen.

          Stosh

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          • #6
            "I have no idea how many of my boys, over the years, participated in the program unregistered, but there were quite a few. "

            And yet, from my perspective, shouldn't you? (Unless it really was a nasty case of the office losing it, in which case it wouldn't be your fault--Believe me, I'm not making any excuses for faulty work in a council office).

            But is it really ethical for leaders to accept boys into the program and never bother to get them registered, all the while informing the boys and parents the kid is in fact registered? Shouldn't you as a leader be regularly checking the roster to make sure it's accurate?

            When does it become my job (I'm not a professional) to make sure the units to do theirs? Am I really supposed to weekly call every unit in my council to ask if they are up-to-date on their registration forms?

            Comment


            • #7
              "I suppose I just don't understand why a unit gets off scot-free and I have to fix what they neglected to do."
              The answer is: in a market like this you tend to get what you pay for, sometimes less.
              The great thing about being a volunteer (aside from getting to have fun with the unit) is the knowledge that you have the freedom to ignore stuff without worrying about pay cuts.

              Edit: I almost missed this one, "When does it become my job (I'm not a professional) to make sure the units to do theirs?"
              If you're paid to do the work, you're a professional. I suppose it's just too bad that unpaid volunteers don't make your work easy for you.
              I have to tell you...you're not exactly covering yourself with glory with comments like that to the volunteer force.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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              • #8
                This might be a red flag Backroads, it's my observation that whining professionals don't last very long. It's not going to get better.

                Barry

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                • #9
                  "This might be a red flag Backroads, it's my observation that whining professionals don't last very long. It's not going to get better. "

                  Actually not a professional, by the way. At least not in the DE terms. I'm just the registrar. And you're right that it won't get better.

                  But what is the best reply to give when someone wants to know why his unit never had him registered? As in, didn't potentially lose an application, but never gave him one in the first place? Saying anything along the lines of "It's up to your unit" or even giving them the application and showing what signatures they need to get, is often not good enough.

                  Those of you who are volunteers... what sort of response would you want?

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                  • #10
                    If we bug you then maybe it's time to look for another job where you don't have to work with the public.

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                    • #11
                      Here's one useful response:
                      "Sorry, I have no idea why that scout is not registered. But if you will please fill out an application at your earliest convenience, we'll make sure he is registered right away."
                      or something along those lines. Repeat as often as needed.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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                      • #12
                        First perhaps we need to define our terms, from MacScouter who says:

                        If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a Professional.
                        If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer.
                        If you pay to do Scouting, you are called... ... A Scouter

                        So, you love people, its the public you can't stand?

                        Other than saying, we can only process the paperwork we receive, I don't know as there will ever be a solution

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                        • #13
                          Backroads, sometimes there is nothing you can do other than keep your poise and be polite.

                          But the others who have posted are spot on--council offices, universally, have a horrible reputation. Lousy office management is the common denominator.

                          Council offices routinely lose correspondence, or fail to act upon it in a timely manner.

                          Correspondence prepared at council--and national--is often low quality.

                          So you've got a long history to deal with, even if you are right and the unit didn't turn the form in.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            "If we bug you then maybe it's time to look for another job where you don't have to work with the public."

                            I actually find my job quite pleasant most of the time, thank-you very much. However, like many of those who work in public-sector jobs, I don't appreciate being a scapegoat or being treated like a lesser being.

                            If you're teaching the Scouts under you that being rude, irresponsible, and unprepared is not only acceptable but ideal, perhaps you should find another hobby.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And yet, from my perspective, shouldn't you? (Unless it really was a nasty case of the office losing it, in which case it wouldn't be your fault--Believe me, I'm not making any excuses for faulty work in a council office).

                              But is it really ethical for leaders to accept boys into the program and never bother to get them registered, all the while informing the boys and parents the kid is in fact registered? Shouldn't you as a leader be regularly checking the roster to make sure it's accurate?

                              When does it become my job (I'm not a professional) to make sure the units to do theirs? Am I really supposed to weekly call every unit in my council to ask if they are up-to-date on their registration forms?

                              I wasn't going to respond, but this post struck a nerve. I know what the office staff go through and the hard work they do. Heck I even offered to help out one time back when I was a pro.

                              But maybe it IS the office's fault. I'll give you a few examples.

                              Kid registers for CSDC, and the paperwork, check, and an FOS check are sent in together. FOS check is cashed, CSDC paperwork and check is missing.

                              Leaders are A) listed in the wrong positions despite repeated attempts to fix it or B) Not showing up at all on roster despite repeated attempts to fix. We had one guy fill out 3 apps and all hand delivered to the DE. Still have 1 DL after 2 years, I don't know how many apps, and I don't know how many calls still not on the charter.

                              Scouts that I have personally removed from the charter at recharter time still remain on it yet, and scouts added to the charter not being on it afterwards.

                              Cub Scout advancement not being put into the SCOUTNET records. Thankfully we now can do that ourselves, but we do have some units with poor/ no internet access.

                              Training records not being recorded. Try telling the training chair that according to the records, he is not "trained." Worse still, try telling the PTC trainer that he is not considered "trained" a few months aftter getting back from teaching at PTC and scheduled to teach basic training.

                              Shall I give more?


                              Personally I am hoping and praying that INTERNET RECHARTERING will fix those problems. BUT as I mentioned, we do have units that have poor or no internet access. Heck I did the YPT online version at a commissioner training out in the boonies, and it took over 4 hours to download the training!

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