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Everything posted by Eagledad

  1. Something I turned around when I was on District was what I called "stealth Scouting for Food". District (council) started streamlining the process by dropping off donation bags at the home mail box or door on Saturday and picking them up at the door the next week. First off, that requires TWO weekends of a unit agenda, not one. Second; the public never met any of the scouts during either days. We found that folks really enjoyed meeting our scouts when they went door to door asking for donations. The community got to actually meet and talk with the scouts. Our scouts introduced themselves with their name and unit number before asking for the donations. And we got a ton of donations. Units that went door to door increased donations 30 to 40 percent. Service projects should be planned so that the public personally gets to meet and observe scouts in action. I'm not sure why, but the Cub Scouts enjoyed the door to door Scouting for Food more than the Troop scouts. Maybe it has something to do with the cute shy 7 year old in a uniform too big for him holding a scouting for food sack half his height. But , packs that went door to door always came back with more donations than the cars could hold. Barry
  2. Eagledad

    Sleeping Bag and Pad

    I guess interim, but this was typical during my scouting years. I used a backpack and duffel bag on weekend troop camp outs and only the backpack on crew trips. I used the duffel bag for the pillow, non-mummy sleeping bag, camp chair, and a couple other items of comfort that I didn't take on crew trips. As you said, easy to transport and handle. I only used two duffel bags (no backpack) for summer camp. I also took a tote box for the Scoutmaster management stuff. But still easy to transport and handle. My ground pad for back country crew trips was a 3/4 length closed cell pad that was just long enough to cover from head to thigh. I use my coat or clothing for my lower legs. It wasn't so much weight that I was saving, but pack space. Inflatable pads are OK, but my 3/4 closed cell was half the weight and space. Of course that was 20 years ago. There is probably some new fangled something or other that is even lighter now. Ahhh technology. Barry
  3. I found that mothers are the hard sell. You will have to explain the reasoning to me, but moms are very skeptical that patrol method does anything toward character growth. So, I learned to develop my sells pitch to mothers. Still, in most cases, they weren't sold on Patrol Method until they saw the results in person. They were Type A converts that were so passionate of what Patrol Method could do for scouts that they went out and marketed the program to their packs. We never had to go look for Webelos visitors because they called us to get our moms off their back. I have several experiences like this. Two of those skeptical mothers became the two best CCs I ever knew. So, since you are a mother who has proven yourself on this forum a passionate believer of this program, you are probably the best marketer for your troop as well. Barry
  4. I like to tell this story to show the perspective of what Webelos are looking for; at our Blue and Gold of my first year as Cub Master, I asked our Webelos why they chose the troop they were about to join in a few minute at our crossover cerimony. They all said because that troop had the best game during their Troop Meeting. The Webelos leader told me six months later that only one of all those Webelos was still in scouting. Make no mistake about it, parents drive what the sons (and daughters) are looking for. I gave the example of scouts who bucked their parents opinion and joined our troop, but those stories are rare compared to the ones who obeyed their parents. Our troop grew from 17 scouts to 100 scouts in six years. That isn't as amazing as the fact that we average 28 new Webelos crossover scouts every year in a district with 22 troops. We could have been a lot bigger, but because we grew so fast, we had to relearn how to run a patrol method program every year for the first few years and as a result, we lost A Lot of scouts. That is why I know A LOT about working with new first year scouts. ANYWAY, we had huge crossover groups because we sold the Webelos Leader our program. If you sell the Webelos Leader, you sell the whole den because the leader will tell the parents where they are going. And one thing else we learned, if you sell one Webelos leader your program and they like it, they will sell the next year Webelos leaders. Once you get that going, you won't want have to market your program, they will do it for you. And I agree about putting it on paper, we develop a visitors guide that was all about the fun we were going have for the next 12 months. I would say that out of all the information that we gave visitors (Parents) to sway them toward our troop, a fun agenda was the top motivator. So, while you are developing patrol method program where the girls do all the planning, the adults need to push a fun fun program agenda. There are ways to influence scouts decisions without being intrusive to the patrol method program. Marketing is very important. Barry
  5. I think your problem is the Webelos parents, not their daughters. We had several parents that didn’t care for our more chaotic appearance, but their son Insisted our troop was the one they wanted. Are these girls at least visiting your troop? Barry
  6. Eagledad

    Chapter 11 announced

    I wonder if this could turn into an international virus (youthorgvirus). I'm sure the BSA is not the only youth organization with victims. Where there is a will, there is a lawyer. Barry
  7. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    A good UC/unit relationship requires openness on both sides. I wasn’t a UC, but I helped a few with my more specific expertises. Every SM has a different personality as well as an idealistic perspective of working towards their vision. I remember when our UC advised me not to go from 1 month PLC meetings to weekly PLC meetings. He didn’t have a good reason other than he had never seen it before. I didn’t take his advise. I was asked to help a new SM work toward a more patrol method program. One of my suggestions was let the scouts run the PLC meetings. He couldn’t believe scouts under 14 had the maturity plan meetings and campouts, so he didn’t accept my advice. Both troops in those examples were the fastest growing troops in the district topping out around 100 scouts. Just how hard do You think district is going to push the SMs when their unit is one of the five largest troops in the district? Our troop had the best and most experienced UC in the district and our families became good friends. He was a very successful SM with a Silver Beaver, but we didn’t agree on everything. Just like with patrols, sometimes you have to let the unit live with bad decisions long enough to find the humility to listen and change. From my experience of working with Scoutmasters, humility is hard to come-by. Barry
  8. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    Sorry, busy morning. I believe the DC is the most powerful and misunderstood volunteer position in scouting. Not only are they responsible for UCs (leadership), but they are also one of the Key 3 (vision).
  9. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    I believe the DC is the most powerful and I misunderstood volunteer position in scouting. Not only are they responsible for UCs leadership, but they are also one of the Key 3 (vision). Barry
  10. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    The best District Commissioner I knew gave his UCs 3 units. A successful one, a medium performing one, and a struggling one. The intention was to use the resources and experiences of the three to raise the performance of all three. But, they don’t have to fix all the issues they see; when I was the District Membership Chairman, the district learned that I had some ability for helping struggling unit adults leadership teams get back on track. So, I got a call once in a while by UCs who identified problems with their units leaders. I think a lot of UCs feel they have to fix every problem they find. More often than not, their time is better spent finding someone who is better for the job. Barry
  11. Eagledad

    Commissioner role

    Rarely do volunteer organizations function with the efficiency of a business because, well because they are operated by “volunteers”. This is by no means a criticism of desertrat, who I have a great deal of respect, but the performance of commissioners is directly under the management of the District Commissioner. The District Commissioner is also a volunteer. Done correctly, the Commissioners duties are not labor intensive. Barry
  12. The GSUSA scouts in our town follow the Boy Scouts every year at the local 4th of July parade and laughs can be heard through the crowd. What I've noticed in movies and TV shows is the girl characters in scouts (not necessarily GSUSA) are typically dressed like the traditional GSUSA scouts so that they are especially identifiable as girl scouts. One of my favorites are the scouts in the movie Dodge Ball. Barry
  13. I'm kind of a big picture person, so I don't look at national standards and flexibility as choices. I believe organizations need a consistent structure that doesn't change from state to state, or even from generation to generation. Scouts across the U.S. and their grandfathers should feel they come from the same program. But, my experience at the council level showed me that there has to be flexibility for different cultures and personalities of members. The education and experience of the average leader in a city is far different from the leaders 30 miles a way in farm communities. So there has to be flexibility for those two cultures to fit in the same program. And, after working at the Council to unit levels, I feel the flexibility is there. I certainly pushed the edges of program. One of the areas that a lot (A Lot) of leaders have complained about over the years is the Webelos program. Most of the critique is pointing the lack of flexibility of the programs for adventure, and lack of development for getting scouts ready for the Troop program. But, after several years as a user, I have always countered that the Webelos program is pretty good and very flexible. It does exactly what it needs to do for the maturity of Webelos ages. Scouts don't need troop program training, they need confidence development for self confidence. Where many Webelos leaders fail is in their lack of creativity for doing the Webelos Activities in the outdoors. I believe the troop leaders who want their crossovered new scouts with more troop experience are actually neglecting their new scout program. It's not the lack of skills that scares new scouts, it the idea they are going into the deep dark woods without the security of adults. The perspective of a new scout is that Patrols are just a bunch of kids, and that is terrifying to a young new scout who has had every decision of their security made by adults up to that point. They need some time to see that a patrol full of kids is a safe place. Where I struggle with National is the communication with the users of the program. I can give a lot of examples, but I will highlight my frustration with this example; During the time I was the Council JLT Chairman, I was invited to be on the National BSA forum to advise changes to the then JLTC course. The forum was advertised as an advisory forum to develop a new Council Level JLT course (NYLT). It was a very good forum with lots of good discussions. I was excited to see what was coming. But what National published was junior level 21st Century WB course. Now, I understand National's reasoning of taking what the adults learn from WB can be transferred to the Scouts. But the WB course isn't really a leadership development course, it is a team building course. Scouts need real leadership development. We could debate whether that is appropriate or not, but there was no discussion on the forum for such a syllabus. National ignored the recommendations from the users of JLT and implemented their own course. If National had any integrity with me, they lost it then. The same thing basically occured with the changes they made to the Tiger program in 2000. The recommendations we gave to National basically suggested less responsibility on the adults. National did just the opposite tripled the work on the adults. National wasn't listening to the users to the level of understanding the situation. So you see, National is not listening. Or if they are, they aren't showing it. I personally believe that the general structure of the BSA is very good. And it works successfully where I've seen it implemented as it was intended. I believe that the bad reputations that have developed were the result of National's drive for increasing numbers. I think to get the program back on balance, the program needs to be scaled back to the 70s program. Then tweak it for todays culture of youth. Barry
  14. My experience is that units, districts and even councils do have some leeway toward a custom structure, but councils motivation depends on what they will get out of it, which often gets in the way at the unit level. I was given the the go-ahead by council to develop a completely new concept of a Council Level Junior Leadership Training Course. The concept and syllabus was completely different from Nationals JLTC/Brownsea courses both in the objectives and the structure of the course. Council was motivated for something completely new because the previous course directors developed such a bad course reputation with the course that Council needed to start over just to get some integrity back in JLT. On the other hand, our District had two Cub Packs that eliminated Tigers from the program because the overhead was to much for the leaders. Council fought (harassed) them hard to keep the Tiger program because they were afraid of loosing membership. I can't say exactly where National draws the line in the sand for letting Council make these kinds of decisions, but their common goals and motivations will certainly drive some limitations that aren't advantageous to units. I believe if National is to give Councils more freedom to customize their structure, they will need guarantees of monetary and membership gains. The struggle has been for some time that National's goals don't fall in line with their Mission and Vision. The saying goes that unit goals of quality don't fit with nationals goals of quantity. Now I know that you don't like this negative talk, but as an innovator, I've learn in my life that maturity and changes come from the fertile soil of humility. If the BSA is to really make changes toward improved program, National needs to display openness to listening and proof of action. Something? Barry
  15. I know you asked Malraux, but I'm trying to understand your question. Doesn't the national structure mandate implementation of all the ages groups in every council? Are you suggesting councils be given a choice to structure units to fit the demographics? Barry
  16. I didn't think a green arrow was enough support of your post. The ideas in your post have been mention several times on this forum for 20 years. And we will just keep mentioning them. Well done. Barry
  17. You just haven't seen a good one in action. But, I understand what you are saying. The expectations (or lack of expectations) of the UCs are set by the District Commissioner. My dream job after Scoutmastering was District Commissioner. But, that job was already taken, so I ended up doing other District and Council responsibilities. When the dream job was finally offered, I was burned out and declined. No regrets, but I don't think we would be stuck in today's political situation if I had taken the job because I had a plan for saving the world. 😎 Barry
  18. Delegate. There is usually someone in the unit that likes that kind of stuff. You just check their work now and then, and praise them in public at a meeting. You might even give them a box of GS Cookies. It's an opportunity to shine a light on someone. Barry
  19. The idea is good, we had someone like this help our troop. Officially he was our UC. This kind of gets back to previous discussions of recruiting the right people for the right positions. Even getting "members of a local college outdoor club, former Philmont rangers and other super scouts, REI employees, graduates from college outdoor education programs, Maine Guides" requires somebody to first find them. The District Commissioner brought up in a District Committee meeting that he couldn't find any volunteers for Unit Commissioners. He wasn't even looking for qualified volunteers, he would take anyone. I met him after the meeting and asked how many he needed. Eleven was the ideal number. I made a few calls to a few troops and 2 days later handed him a list of 11 excited Qualified volunteers. I'm not saying that the UCs should be know all and go all for unit programs, I am just suggesting that the reason we don't see more experts to help units is because nobody is looking or asking. I don't know if recruiting is a skill or it just requires an effort, but a good recruiter can find talented volunteers. Barry
  20. When I look at what District could do to make a cub leaders job easier, it's not so much what district could do, but what National could do. Reduce the program to a manageable level for the "Average" volunteer. Tigers alone requires more adults than the rest of the program. The maturity of the Tiger age youth is closer to toddler than elementary youth. If National believes they can raise membership with TIger age scouts, then create a new program for 4 and 5 year olds that doesn't come under the responsibility of the Pack. Of course I'm not sure the helps with the adult burnout problem, but at least it lightens the load for pack leaders. We could also look at trimming the other end of the program with Webelos, but I believe Tigers weighs down the volunteers more than the rest of the Cub program, so give it 5 years to see where the packs are sitting. Barry
  21. I don't think it's blasphemy, my opinion is that adding more Paid positions is unrealistic. Barry
  22. Agree The problem with COR's is that unless the council puts a lot of effort in educating the COs of their responsibilities, the COR's aren't typical of understanding (or caring) about the Executive Board. The SE needs to develop a relationship with the COs and teach (sell) them the vision and the value of the vision for the youth. Yep, the lack of credible suggestions is the whole of the problem both at the Council and district level. In fact it's common unit problem too. This goes back to if the Council is serious about building a performing board, they have to start at the base and educate the COs. THEN, the nominating board needs to do research to find candidates with the qualifications they are looking for. Too often nominating committees wait for names to come to them from where ever. The nominating committee needs to be led by a dynamic person who knows how to seek out proactive committee members with the talent for using resources to seek and research candidates. The committee must be proactive. Yes, here is the struggle. One thing to say, go out and find these candidates, but it's another thing to find the right nominating committee to seek out the the right candidates. How are they going to get the word out? Who can they personally call, or even visit. It's very much who you know, so who does the committee know, and who do they know, and on and on. The passion of the candidates for the Executive Board is usually reflective of the nominating committee. So, the committee needs to be well respected high performers. 1. know and understand the vision. 2. Train and build a relationship with the COs and teach them the values of the vision. 3. Find the right person who believes in the vision, and knows how to build teams to lead the nominating committee. 4. Build a high qualified and productive nominating committee to search candidates that fit the vision. Barry
  23. We've discussed this a few times, but the good district proactively recruit volunteers with the skills for their responsibility. Finding skilled volunteers requires research, interviews and a bit of salesmanship. Most districts don't recruit well because they tend to fill a position with the first unqualified warm body that says yes. There is always plenty of qualified skilled volunteers if the recruiter goes searching for them. I recruited for qualified volunteers by asking unit leaders about volunteers in their units. I asked specific questions about their abilities, backgrounds and experience. I find that most unit leaders don't mind bragging about their better volunteers. They don't even mind if those volunteers might be asked to give some time at a district position. I think they believe having someone on district committee would give their unit some advantage. But, I should have started my response by saying the primary key to getting good district volunteers is knowing exactly what you want for the scouts in your district. A vision. For example, our district was terrible at membership because they didn't have any real goals except to do Cub Recruiting night. Then we recruited a Membership Chairman that developed training for the Cub units that gave them some ideas to recruiting scouts and adult volunteers. Membership numbers jumped. Recruiting talented district members is challenging if the committee doesn't even know what they want. Barry
  24. So, the nominating committee is responsible for the quality of the board. Who selects the nominating committee? At some point, somebody is responsible for character of the board. Barry
  25. OK, so who recruits these people? Maybe we are looking for the wrong experts. Barry