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    • I think the best kind of feedback on program quality (including how the leaders are doing) is objective, meaning:  First, there are concrete standards derived from current BSA publications, and it is easy to determine whether they are met or unmet.  Second, the assessment is done by experienced but disinterested reviewers.  All it takes is widely publicizing the standards, with a year for units to get in shape before the assessments start. The assessment teams could be made up of unit Scouters from other districts.  The written report would grade the unit's compliance with the standards, and would be provided to the chartered organization, the unit leaders and unit committee, and the district Key 3.  Then the district folks can be the "How can we help your unit" good guys.
    • When I became SM I convinced the CC to throw out all troop rules and go by the book the way the BSA said to do things. Almost all disputes are solved by looking up the rules in GTA or GTSS. This allowed comittee members to give feedbook based on the rules and less on personal opinion. I also provide a "state of the troop" discussion on a quarterly basis to let the committee members know how well we are doing at the patrol method, what challenges some of the scouts are having and to update them on what I have learned (or taught) at RT. I always ask for feedback which can be painful sometimes because they have no idea what being SM is like.
    • Just watched the cowboy short movie "Drum Taps," (1933) starring Ken Maynard. It is one of those movies (like those of Roy Rogers) set in present day (as of when it was made), but still involves lots of riding horses, six shooters, and cowboy garb (including gigantic hats). As synopsized on IMDB.com:  "Skinner and his gang are grabbing land from the ranchers. When they go after Kerry's ranch Ken stops them. Skinner frames Ken for rustling but the Sheriff is on Ken's side, and with the help of his brother Earl's Boy Scout troop they go after the gang."  The Scouts are instrumental in helping round up ranchers for the Sheriff's posse, treating men who have been shot, and posing as the Army when riding with Ken to the rescue of the Sheriff and his men, who have been trapped by Skinner's gang.  A key plot point is the use of a heliograph, a signaling device by which sunlight is reflected in flashes from a movable mirror.  The outlaw lookouts in Rocky Pass use it to signal the rest of the gang when someone is coming, Ken uses it to signal the Sheriff that the pass is clear for them to come through, and a Scout uses one to signal Ken that they are on the way.  
    • I think this is the cart before the horse, a bit. First, you get a bunch of scouters to come to RT (or whatever venue you can get scouters to go to) and give them enough time to go over the topics of interest to them. In the process, you have them share how they do things, and over multiple meetings get them in the process of speaking frankly about their programs and giving feedback. Ideally, each troop takes turns with their senior youth leading openings and those scouts will be welcome to chime in about what they like or don't like about how their troop approaches the topic of the evening. Now, ideally that bunch will be the bulk of unit leaders, but that's where the hard work is. RT has to earn a reputation for being the place where good scouters go to get an honest appraisal of their actions. And that has to be sold to the scouters not in the room. It has to be so good that prospective parents ask: "How many of your leaders go to roundtable?"
    • It's not just this.  It is almost every aspect of organization and operations, from the chartered organization relationship to district operations right on down to things like the Webelos/Arrow of Light - to - Scout transition.  BSA dreams up a model organization and process and then just expects that everyone will do exactly what the model anticipates.  Chartered organizations will carefully select leaders; leaders will enthusiastically take training, read all the literature, attend roundtable every month, go to supplemental training like University of Scouting, go to Wood Badge, and conform their behavior to what they have learned; every unit will have a Unit Commissioner with intimate knowledge of the unit and its operations who can influence the leadership.  BSA's models are out of touch with reality, and simply don't anticipate inadequate resources, real-life obstacles, and folks acting in their own self-interest. 
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