Thank you for sharing this template! I already use OneNote for my personal life and keeping up with meeting notes for jobs so I am familiar with the application ....now off to continue my preparations for our new troop starting in two weeks....
@dkurtenbach, this is probably the closest to what I was thinking about. A bit vague but a place to start. The sad thing is I'm on the district committee and my sense is the commissioners are mostly fighting fires. Financial irregularities, people not getting recharters done in time, CO's enacting revenge on SM's. They don't have time to improve the quality of units and there aren't many of them. But I agree that there is no formal method to continuously improve quality. That's what JTE is supposed to be but it seems to miss the mark.
@Chris1, while that's not the case in my district (SM's are not to be recruited for anything) I can see it happen. What is it about being an SM that can trash humility? Does every volunteer organization have this problem? Others that I'm involved in don't, but that's just my small sample.
@David CO, good point, but most CO's I see know less about scouting than the SM. My guess is you are on the CO side of scouts and you're the only person I know of in that position that takes an interest in how scouts work. It seems to me that positive reinforcement for the SM would come better from someone that understands scouting.
I hate to say this but for an organization that prides itself on leadership development, it doesn't really work for their own volunteers. The BSA tends to lean on training as opposed to on the job improvement. Training is one and done. Continuous improvement gets much less emphasis.
Just to be clear, I have no dreams of changing anything at national but it would be nice to create a round table topic that I could get the bulk of SM's and ASM's to go to.
I was a UC several times, several locations.
The most common response I received from units was shock. Shock that I actually showed up, visited with them, went camping with them (always offered, a few accepted), and that was a fan of their unit. Some units responded to this, others didn't. The latter usually had a longstanding, intense dislike for all commissioners in general, and nothing I did could shake them from that belief.
Not that I blamed them. Rather, I sympathized with them. I recalled my days as an ASM and SM, and I felt the same way about most commissioners. Some were gold, most were all show/no go. Fancy uniforms, active in anything district or council related, pompous know it alls who had zero interest in unit level scouting.
For the units that had challenges, I always drove away from each meeting with the thought "If I really wanted to make a difference for this unit, I'd resign as a UC and put in my app to be an ASM or committee member."
All said, I believe in the commissioner concept. But the BSA would be better off having 2 squared away commissioners in a district who really care about unit level scouting than 12 who don't.
Related, a story of preventative measures at a scout camp done by the Job Corps forestry program. Job Corps is the nation’s largest free education and job training program for young adults from ages 16 to 24.
In the late nineteen eighties my Scoutmaster was a rather jolly fat man with a curly beard and a chew-can ring in all his back pockets. He found laughter in most everything as I recall, appropriate or not. When I hear things at Scouting U like, "if you can't act like a 10 year-old, then you shouldn't be in scouting," well he comes right to mind.
He had a brown with tan stripe truck that hauled scouts and equipment every direction for a few years. Inside that 80's Chevy Scottsdale of his at all times was a cassette tape of Chuck Berry's greatest hits. The last song on the B side was My ding-a-ling (2 bells on a string). There wasn't a hike, camp-out, camparee, or outing where he didn't manage to squeeze in at least one play. And if one of the boys riding with him was quick enough to hit the repeat button on the tapedeck before his hand got smacked, we might hear it an extra time or two. It always started us off with a laugh or lolled us to sleep smiling on the drive home. I still sing it now and again when camping or flirting. Or showing off for my son.
Now the Scoutmaster was far from Santa and the song is equally distant from anything that could be called a carol, yet as the end of the year draws near and the holiday cheer comes around...some of the coincidental similarities have my brain humming that old Chuck Berry tune. Any time I hear a Salvation Army station outside store fronts ringing thier bells, or clanky bells on doors. Happy Holidays to all my friends in scouting, new and old.