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What should I expect from a district executive?

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  • What should I expect from a district executive?

    We have a new district executive. The former district executive used to write email to me saying things like: let me know how I can help. I wanted to write back: let ME know how YOU can help. I had no idea what would be a resaonable request. I guess what I wanted to ask of him was to set up a recruitment booth at a certain place and time. Is that the sort of thing that DEs do? I haven't seen him do anything like that. We have done all of our own recruitement (with varying results). What does your DE do for you?

  • #2
    Ours would come by once a year to collect FOS pledges.


    • #3
      The "official" definition and description of a DE:
      A professional Scouter who works under the direction of the Scout executive and is responsible for providing direct service to one or more districts. This is an entry-level position.

      DEs receive their direct taskings from the Scout executive (CEO) of your Council. As you see, this is an appropriately ambiguous definition. You can expect what they are willing and able to give. Ask for what you need help with. The DE may or may not come through but then you'll know what YOUR DE is there for. Hopefully, the DE is out recruiting businesses and organizations to support Scouting and getting more volunteers to spread and strengthen the program. Unit commissioners are the volunteers that provide direct support to (or link you up to the direct support) units. If you have a unit commissioner, explain what you're looking for or trying to achieve and they can probably help.


      • #4
        Yeah, this is going to be a can of worms.

        The good ones will try to build a relationship with ALL their volunteers. They do this by working TOGETHER with you. If I can help my DE with something, I will and frequently do. Same goes for him. If I need help or advice and he can provide it, he will. But that doesn't change the fact that my primary job is to deliver a good program to the 60 boys in my troop. His job is to make sure the district is healthy, primarily from the standpoint of membership and finance.

        As to your recruitment booth idea. You can't expect that he will organize and man the booth himself. DEs like that are the guys who burn out and quit in their first year. On the other hand, he's a FOOL if he doesn't jump at the opportunity you've presented. At minimum -- very minimum -- he may pass the idea long to the district membership chairman, a volunteer position. If he's smart, he will work with you to pull the booth together. For example he could easily provide you with all sorts of poster, flyers and promotional materials -- maybe even a stash of old batches or gimmes you could hand out. Maybe he knows someone who has a contact at the location you want and can help you with the arrangements. Or maybe he can make a phone call to a couple neighboring units who would be interested in helping you with the booth.

        In the end, he's helping you get what you want, but he's also cultivating the relationship with you -- and a new volunteer for the district committee. If your booth generates a lot of new members, don't be surprised if you aren't invited to share what you did at Roundtable and possibly be asked to try and package the program for other unit.


        • #5
          Expect nothing that way you won't be disappointed.

          In years past we would see our DE twice a year. FOS presentation at the Blue and Gold Banquet and then To collect our apps and fees after our school night.

          Our new one hasn't done any of that.......I have seen him only once or twice in the six or eight months he has been our DE.

          Now I am not complaining.....

          Like you I have no clue why we are paying these folks $30k or so a year..... Well I am told he can organize a humdinger of a golf outing........Thats right it is a $100 a head sort of event........


          • #6
            Double post


            • #7
              I have often searched for this same answer and I'm glad to know I am not the only one who has seen the same problem with their DE's. At first I thought maybe I was missing something since the previous CM didn't ever mention any problems at the District/Council level. As the Pack & Troops CC, I've come to realize the old CM was basically guiding the DE to her schedule. And as many of you posted, the DE doesn't come around till FOS and application collection or when they need "volunteers". Hard to respect or want to interact with the District/Council when they seem so disconnected from us Units.


              • #8
                Great topic and question!
                I'm a relatively new Scouter and have wondered the same thing.
                Our DE is new. He's young and full of energy, but so far I've reallyonly seen him visit a few meetings, such as B&G, where he hit up the group for money.....

                I actually think council is funny.
                Last year, I signed on half way through the year as an Assistant DL. This year I wear two hats Assistant DL and Assisitant CM. Several times, there have been folks from Council..... honestly I don't even know who they were, that visited meetings. At some point, they would be in a conversation with our CM or someone and so i would approach. Not wanting to interupt the conversation.... but some times because there was something needed from the CM, or sometimes I was just fishing for an opportunity to network. Every time, I got the feeling form the council person that they built up a wall..... to the point of stopping talking untill I left. Nothing from any of them but direct answers to direct questions.
                I have NEVER been made to feel welcomed by any of them and I'm actually put off by them! It's like I don't belong to the club!
                That is, everyone except our DE. He has been very approachable and friendly. Don't really understand what he "can do for me".... but still a good guy!


                • #9
                  All I can do is be sad for a lot of you guys. I am so sorry your scouting experiences are not very happy ones. I consider myself fortunate in that the Scout Troop my son was in until he aged out was pretty good. I have since left that troop over a philosophical dispute. I thought they should follow the BSA program. particularly the patrol method and the scoutmaster doesnt do it says he does but I digress.

                  I have worked on both Council and District Committees and generally have fun working with other people who are as excited about scouting as I am. The best/worst experience I had was with a DE. She had been a charter member of the Venturing Crew I helped form back in 1998 and she went on to become our DE (its hard on the Advisor when they turn to the Dark Side) When she used to have ideas for Program as a Venturer, I would say , Go Ahead, Plan it and Schedule it and We will support you. When she was DE, I would have great ideas for program, and she would smile and say, Go ahead, Plan it, and schedule it and we will support you. Turnabouts are a not fun...

                  The District I am in has had several DE's in the 15 or so years I have been active in it. They usually last 20-30 months at most. The District really should not rely on the DE to do much of anything because they come and go and its the people in the District that make things happen,. if you expect an DE to deliver scouting, you have no other recourse that to be disappointed as that is not their job. They function in a role of raising money and members, We may all say thats terrible and its not right, but thats the reality. if a DE only comes to you to raise money, I can see why you would not welcome him. He is doing what he is supposed to however


                  • #10
                    Test the DE test.


                    • #11
                      I don't see a reason why units should have a lot of direct contact with their DE to begin with. For most needs/issues they should be utilizing their commissioner and/or the district committee. For recruitment materials, talk to the district membership chair, FOS presentations should be done by volunteers under the direction of the district finance chair, commissioners can be asked to help guide units in solving their problems, etc. Yes, I realize that not every district has the resources to do things in the ideal manner, but shouldn't we be working towards that goal?


                      • #12
                        If he doesn't support the district volunteers.......

                        Then what are their purpose?????


                        • #13
                          I am actually of the opinion that their sole purpose in life should be
                          1) Training the volunteers...... or if they don't have the skill set for a particular class, facilitate training and help a volunteer teach.
                          2) Facilitate things like the round table meetings
                          3) Facilitate district wide events such as derby races, cub camps, etc...

                          IMO, if they did these things, the programs would be more consistant, and potentially better. the result would be increased memebership and more $

                          I think most of us are spread too thin as it is. Volunteer scouters are busy enough putting on the unit level program..... so how can I expect to find a baloo training class that works with my schedule (I've been trying for a year and a half)....


                          • #14
                            The DE position is mainly a Marketing/PR position. They raise money, and members/units, for the council.

                            They do not PROVIDE/RUN district program or activities. They help FACILITATE them.

                            VOLUNTEERS do most of the actual hands on work, and that is how it SHOULD be.

                            There is no need for a DE to attend unit meetings. In the 20 or so years I was with our Pack I think our DE attended only 1 unit meeting, and he was invited to that one.

                            If your unit needs help, you go to your Unit Commissioner (volunteer). If your UC needs further help for your unit he goes to the District Commissioner (or an Asst Dist Commis) (both volunteers). If the DC needs council's help for your UC to help your unit, he goes to the DE (paid council person).

                            1) Training - DE's are not trainers. Volunteers train the volunteers. A DE can use his community contacts to help get meeting facilities, and equipment.

                            2) Roundtable - Again DE's are not trainers. Roundtables are run by the Commissioner staff - all VOLUNTEERS. The DE will be at the Roundtable to talk about district/council stuff. The DE helps the Roundtable staff with any resources they might find they need, including finding meeting space.

                            3) District wide events - All run by VOLUNTEERS, with the DE providing council help with activity space and resources.

                            The MAIN job of the DE is that of marketing/fundraising/PR. They raise money, and members, for the council. They FACILITATE activities that are VOLUNTEER run. They are the volunteer's council contact point person.

                            Yes, most of us volunteers are spread thin. However, many of us realize that if we want that extra BALOO training, or that district PWD, or that Cub Fun day, that we can not just sit around and expect the Scouting Fairy to magically provide them for us. We have to do it ourselves. So we go to Roundtables, talk to other volunteers, talk to DE's, and volunteer more of our time to help get it done. The DE can help, but it is the VOLUNTEER that does the work.

                            The DE is, after all, only 1 person. That one person is often spread quite thin themselves.

                            If you want district/council level activities than you find a way to volunteer your time at BOTH the unit, and district/council level.


                            • ScoutNut
                              ScoutNut commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Perhaps your council is simply different from mine.

                              Our DEs do facilitate community, and council resources for their volunteers. Of course some DEs are better at it than others.

                              Training - One of the reasons that BSA instituted the online training was because in-person training was often not attended well due to the large variety of people's schedules. Folks who could not get to in-person, were able to do it, at their own convenience, online. That said, councils still offer in-person training. Perhaps not as often as before, but it is still available. For training like BALOO, often there has to be a minimum number of folks registered to take it in order for it to be financially viable to put on. I have seen training cancelled because only 1 or 2 folks signed up.

                              Keep in mind that you do not have to ONLY attend training in your own district, or council. If a neighboring district, or council, has the training you want, at a time/location that works for you, you can take it there. Make sure to get a completion card from the Course Director. Give a copy to the Secretary at your Council offices and ask that your training records be updated.

                              If you need a training, like BALOO, and can not find it offered ANYWHERE, you should contact your District Training Chair (call your council, or check your district web page for contact info) for help.

                              Program consistency - Training is NOT nonexistent. It is ALWAYS available online. The BSA program itself IS consistent. Everyone is supposed to be following the published BSA program. However, people are not all the same. Some folks just would rather run the John Doe program version. They think their way is easier, better, what has always been done, etc. Also, Charter Organizations are able to make modifications to customize the program for their members. Bottom line - even with 24/7 training there will still be inconsistencies between your Pack, and the Pack down the road. Keep in mind that this is NOT always a bad thing.

                              District run programs - Adding one, or more, paid persons to just handle district programs is an expense that most councils could not justify. If council had to add paid full time staff, the number of events that they could afford to run would be drastically reduced.

                              I suggest that you might find it interesting to attend one of your District's Roundtables, and talk to your DE, and some of the other key District volunteers, there. They might be able to answer your concerns better than I have as they have knowledge specific to your District/Council.

                              Happy Scouting!

                            • blw2
                              blw2 commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Thanks Scoutnut. Good advice. Unfortunately I have already pursued most of it.

                              Our district has been without a training chair. Only recently at a round table I learned that we have a person that has stepped up. In the interim, I had been in contact with my DE and even others at council re. training....

                              I have attended roundtables, though not as many as I'd like due to wife's work schedule.

                              As i mentioned, back when I was actively searching for training I did scour all neighboring districts calendars too.
                              I did run into the issue you mentioned of poor registration for courses leading to cancelations. I chalked it up to a few points.... at the time, the trining chair was a person volunteering as a stand in, not full time effort in the position, so there was a lack of advertising about the classes. Also, there wasn't classes offered at convenient times, but I was bent on going if I could swing it...... again I chalked it up to volunteer limitations.....

                              Oh well, hopefully things will improve for us novice Scouters grasping for strong mentors......

                            • Basementdweller
                              Basementdweller commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Looking for a mentor, visit other troop or packs programs.....Find one you like and partner or buddy up with the CM or SM...... I have done that and it does help.

                          • #15
                            My new one does a lot! We get weekly emails of the stuff going on in council, district and etc. with the attached flyers. He is making the rounds to each unit this year to personally get to know them. I think he finds Scouting exciting as he is on many events and boards... *laughing

                            I truly LOVE the weekly emails that topics oriented.