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About AvidSM

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    New Jersey
  1. It's not easy explaining how a district functions to a unit volunteer. A district is not run the same as a pack or troop. It's main functions are advancement, membership, finance, activities and direct unit service (via the commissioners staff). A district is organized around those functions and exists to serve it's units, directly or indirectly. Whether a unit leader understands this or not is due to many reasons. As with units, no two districts are alike, with differing manpower, experience and dedication. Units can function without any help from their district and some do by ch
  2. I can see why the BSA is considering this and that it is 100% politically driven. This moral battle is no longer winnable at the corporate level. The BSA has wisely decided to vacate the battlefield and focus its political resources elsewhere. If it is to work on polishing its image, via a new television show or jamboree venue, reducing the number of political tomatoes being thrown at it will help. National is not looking at letting homosexuals in the BSA, because they have been members all along. It has been their own personal choice whether to be open about it. It has also been
  3. I agree with SSScout. Get some experience before volunteering for a Unit Commissioner position. The most effective UC's have the experience that comes with going through the program with their son. They are also more focused on their UC job, since their son is out of scouting. A UC can still help out at the unit level, just not as much as they used to.
  4. "Cub Scouts, in particular, dropped from 2,166,289 in 1999 to 1,583,166 in 2011. That's an average annual decline of 2.58%, for a total decline of 27%. Boy Scouts have done relatively better, and in fact, have increased in the past two years. The overall drop is 1,023,691 to 909,576, for an average annual loss of 0.98%." This data tells me that it's the parents. Older boys are more in charge of their own lives. They can influence their parents decisions and get them to drive them to the meetings. They are hooked into the various social networks and can find out on their own w
  5. Training is important, but practical experience and a desire to do the job right also helps. Most of the units in my district do not have trained committee members. This has been an outstanding issue and it may come to a head if training becomes manditory for all adults in my Council. This is the case already for some Councils in our area. I will also add that a unit committee must meet monthly and all parents must be invited to attend and observe these meetings. This allows the parents to see how a unit operates and gives them a way to bring up any issues or concerns that they may
  6. Step 1 - Tell him up front what his job is and what is expected of him. This does not mean handing him the official BSA position description. Really tell him what his job is in his troop. What he is supposed to do at each troop meeting and campout. How he should be delegating his authority to the other youth leaders. Get him trainined also, but don't skip this step in place of it. Step 2 - Let him do his job. When he does it well let him know immediately. When he fails, talk to him about it (but not in front of the whole group). Ask him why he failed and how he might do differ
  7. "Scoutmasters deal with the individual boy rather than with the mass. I belive this quote from B-P is key to being a strong SM. Do this and everything else will fall into place. If a SM is not dealing with the mass, then he cannot lead them and the boys must do it. If a SM is being a role model, teaching, mentoring and advising each scout individulally, then he is allowing each boy to practice leadership. Weakness comes from not knowing what your job is and not knowing how to do that job. A sure sign of a weak SM is that he is constantly addressing the troop as a whole.
  8. Contact the Scoutmaster of the course and ask for the equipment list. You should recieve one in time to pack. If you course is given over two separate weekends, you will need far less equipment for the first weekend, since you won't be cooking any meals. Be prepared to sleep in a tent outdoors. I would pack an extra uniform. You will wear the one that matches the position that you are taking the course for. For example, if you signed up for the course as a Scoutmaster, you will wear an adult troop uniform with the "scoutmaster" position patch.
  9. Once you get the form submitted, go camping with the troop! There is no better way to get to know everyone involved. You need to see if and how you fit in to the big picture. You will get into a lot of good discussions while sitting around a campfire.
  10. I would limit announcements to five minutes. Just let the people know that there are flyers for it on the table and on a web site. The rest of the meeting should be a mixture of training, presentations and a "roundtable" discussion. Pick an interesting topic and give a quick overview of it. Then let the people discuss the topic openly. The commissioner only serves as a moderator to keep the conversation on track. Letting everyone have a say at a roundtable serves many purposes. It allows the more experienced scouters to pass on their knowledge. Newer leaders pick up some good
  11. If I am sitting on a EBOR, one of the questions I want answered is: did the candidate do the project that he proposed? If there were changes, what were they? If the candidate successfully completed the project with only minor changes and the unit leader and project beneficiary approved it, then my responsibility is to VERIFY that requirement 5 has been met. At this point, I am not looking to approve or disapprove the scope of the project as being "eagle worthy" - someone else has done that already. I believe going back on that decision would be a disservice to the candidate. I w
  12. I agree with most of the posters here (althouth the termonology some of you are using is confusing). The EBOR is not the place to be accepting or rejecting a eagle candidates proposal. That job should be done by the Chair of the District Advancement Committee or a Member of that committee as designated by the Chair. In my district, these people do not sit as a "board" when approving the proposals. Also, there is no Council invovlement with this appoval unless the candidate or his parents appeal the decision. The troop should be doing it's job vetting the proposal as best it can
  13. Imagine a restaurant that fires its kitchen staff every night - including the head chief. Then it rehires some, but not all of them the next day not including the head chief. The menu is the same, but the recipes might vary somewhat. That's pretty much what a Council does with a Wood Badge staff. It is desired that it is made up of one-third new staff members. It has to be diverse, with people from different scouting backgrounds and positions. A different Course Director runs it every time. The best staff members are good teachers and have excellent people skills. They mu
  14. It's not that something is wrong with FOS; it's just misunderstood and sometimes misleading. On the books, the district does not finance themselves. They have individual activity budgets that are closed at the end of each event, such as camporees, training sessions, etc. They are not custodial accounts, like for the OA, which you get to keep your surplus and carry it over year to year. Each district activity must be self-funded - it should not lose money. They are in fact in my council strongly encouraged to make money. What revenue the district collects and what material and
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