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New Centennial Quality Unit Award

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The first reference to it in these forums can be seen in http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=138786

 

A thread was started to discuss this. Nobody seemed to excited. See http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=140342

 

More was discussed in the fund raising black mail thread. See http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=141025&p=2

 

Also, there was some discussion about the Unit Self Assessment forms it utilizes. See http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=139185

 

I hope this helps,

SWScouter

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Well, as the deadline for submission looms (Feb 07) maybe people will get a little excited. Our DE came right out and said our district was the guinea pig district for beginning to review these forms. I have to say that this form is completely without direction and encourages low-balling. I understand its purpose is to get units to put on an acutal program instead of just hitting some paperwork deadlines like the old QUA, but still, we had absolutely no guidance on this and neither did the DE or the guys and gals at Council. We're winging it this year.

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We just met with our UC for "goal setting". What a joke. You can pencil-whip the numbers any way you want to ensure winning the award.

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There is some guidance on the national website:

http://www.scouting.org/awards/centennial/14-175-2.pdf

 

And the official form has some clarification points on the back of the sheet.

 

I certainly agree that this format is open for abuse, but the abuse must be sanctioned on three levels. The Pack level, the Unit Commissioner, and the District Executive must all sign on the dotted line. If you lowball the numbers to something ridiculous, like 25% retention, hopefully someone at one of those levels will call you on it. I seem to remember hearing something about "A Scout is Trustworthy". Let's also not forget that this is a new program, and invariably new programs will have some growing pains. Eventually, the new system will be accepted and the argument will die down, or it will be rejected and another new system will be put into place.

 

I do question the wisdom of the new format, but if approached in the proper spirit it should be effective. The goal, of course, is to get units to establish goals and strive for something. The old QU approach had its problems as well. For one thing, it was entirely arbitrary, a set group of numbers that never took into account specific circumstances at each unit. For units who couldn't meet the goals, it was not always fair, and for units who could easily meet the goals it promotes laziness (some units would JUST meet those numbers and not strive for anything else).

 

Quality is an esoteric goal. We should all do our best to provide a good program to the boys: if the program is provided and is in keeping with the BSA guidelines, then that should be a quality unit. I can't help it that half my parents think soccer is more important than scouts 4 months out of the year. I still bust my butt to make sure the program is available, and I do what I can to accomodate them. In my book, that's quality.

 

So, who's to decide? If arbitrary numbers don't seem fair to you (as they don't to me), then maybe someone else should just make the call? Not a chance: can you imagine the problems if UCs or DEs were doing a thumbs up/down sort of a thing? Talk about infighting! So that won't work either: so what you have is a system like the new one.

 

Scouter, evaluate thyself!

 

--

Joel Cochran

http://www.justonehouraweek.com

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In looking over the information that National has produced on the Centennial Quality Award, the suggestion is to go back to one year from 10/31/2007 and use those numbers as a starting point. Thus, if your unit had 10 adult leaders, how many additional do you want to recruit, and then that number will be looked at in October to see if you accomplished it. The same works for attendance on outings, advancement, retention and so on. You could low ball the numbers, but in my council, the council commissioner staff is going to be keeping those numbers and will know if low balling has taken place.

David Harrison

Council Commissioner

Lake Huron Area Council

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I agree that increase in numbers DOES NOT equate to quality. My biggest problem is with requirement #5 "At least 70 percent of our youth members had an outdoor experience or one activity per month, or improve percentage over last year". I had to call my district commissioner on this one. Do they really think that we get 70% attendance to all of our campouts EVERY month? Surely I'm not reading this right. He said that yes, that what is expected, but instead of a campout, your unit can just go outside and have a flag ceremony to quality for that month.

 

Seriously, the idea of this new quality unit is pretty good, but the program could be outlines a little bit better. Oh well, four more years of units padding the rosters for a red, white and blue patch. Not good.

 

-AD

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Our commissioner interpreted the 70% requirement this way - in each month we will have 70% of our boys have an outdoor activity. That's still a fairly high bar, but nothing like the idea that 70% of our boys must go on 12 outings a year.

 

You don't have to hit 70%, though. You could just improve over last year.

 

Oak Tree

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If a pack or troop has an engaging and exciting program, 70% should be easy. Attendance is the result of a quality program. One way to measure the quality of the program is by how many boys participate.

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The 70% requirement is still mind-boggling to us. We've had several conversations, and no one really understands what the measure is supposed to be.

 

The way I read it, 70% of your troop/pack must participate in at least one outdoor activity each month. While we routinely have very high participation, it's an unrealistic number. In January, for instance, we had one outdoor activity, our District Klondike Derby. 9 of 23 boys are on the school wrestling team and they had a mandatory tournament. Voila, we've already missed the 70% mark in the first month!

 

Of course, others had different interpretations. The District Commissioner feels that ANY activity (even troop meetings) should count. I think that is a ridiculously easy measure to hit.

 

A third opinion was that the goal is for the scout to have at least 12 outdoor activities, and that the timing (i.e. within the calendar months) is not important. So, if these 9 boys participated in two activities in February, that would make up for missing the one in January.

 

It's an example of a poorly written requirement in that if it is taken verbatim, it's nearly impossible, so people are trying to come up with realistic alternatives.

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Let's take a simple logical breakdown of the statement:

 

"At least 70 percent of our youth members had an outdoor experience or one activity per month, or improve percentage over last year"

 

Means:

1: At least 70 percent of our youth members had an outdoor experience (per month)

OR

2: At least 70 percent of our youth members had one activity per month

OR

3: (the unit had an) improve(d) percentage over last year (of % of members attending a monthly activity)

 

(parentheses indicate my added clarifications)

 

Therefore any of the three will allow the unit to qualify.

 

What is NOT clear, and what remains open to interpretation, is the definition of an activity. Involved in that definition must be an explanation of the scope of that activity (in other words, would a den level activity count, or should it be a Pack/Unit level?) Given that this is the Quality UNIT Award, I will assume for purposes of this discussion that the requirement refers to Unit level activities only.

 

As I see it, there are two viable interpretations:

 

1: ANY activity, including pack or troop meetings.

2: Any activities beyond the cursory monthly meetings.

 

I do not have an answer: I think that National needs to clarify the intent of this requirement.

 

#1 above seems too easy, but in all honesty #2 above seems too difficult. Many good units take a couple of months off during the summer: are they not quality? What if you have to cancel an activity planned for the last weekend of January because of weather? Even a make-up event would not be in January, so now you do not qualify. Many other units simply can't get 12 additional activities on the calendar. And do District/Council level events count?

 

To get around most of these questions, I think most people will fall into option #3, the "we did better than last year" clause. Until we have firm metrics (which will not happen under this system) this is impossible to quantify, so it will be up to Unit leaders to determine for themselves how they did.

 

All in all, I think that National could do a much better job. It seems that they want every unit to determine for themselves what Quality is, which ultimately makes quality meaningless.

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Here is the way our council is interpreting the QU.

1) Direct contact leaders (SM/CM/DL) should be minimum 70%.

2) Retention 80% goal 70% minimum.

3) New adults: +10%. For Cub units this is easy as they are recruiting new boys, for Boy Scout units this is very difficult as existing leaders transferring from cubs are not "New" adults they are just transfers.

4) For Cubs should be easy to hit the minimum of 60%, 80% would be more realistic. Boy Scouts may have to engage the older boys a bit to get them motivated.

5) An activity is anything outside of a Den/Troop meeting. If you have an active Cub program this will be easy. For Boy Scouts it really encourages patrol level events, they can get together easier and do what interests them. With a weekend outing and at least one other activity per month all of the boys should find something that they can get to.

6) Basic planning and review. At the minimum this could be done in an hour. For a larger program a PLC/Committee weekend would be in order.

7) Commissioner visits will be improved / more frequent. As a side note we went over this award at our commissioners meeting we had several turn in their resignations.

8) FOS/Product sale, all we ask is one boy with one sale or donation. Participation is all that is required.

 

Alan

Cubmaster

Unit Commissioner

District Membership Committee

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Maybe it would be nice if BSA spelled everything out in precise detail so there would be no misinterpretations and no gray areas. We could then just follow the detailed procedure and everyone would be happy. But maybe theres a bigger concept here.

 

Consider that the mission of our organization is to prepare boys to make ethical choices over their lifetimes. How can we help boys make choices if we ourselves struggle over something as simple as a participation requirement?

 

With a little thought, every unit leader and every committee should know whether or not they operate a quality unit. The award requirements are listed, and interpreted on the back side. Just make a thoughtful decision. Then continue with preparing boys make theirs.

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