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Fuzzy Bear

The Top 10 for a Qaulity Unit

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Untrained leaders are a symptom of the problem and worse are Trained Leaders that simply ignore what they don't like. Fines and/or incentives for training would hide other problems found in poorly run units. A few years ago at a Philmont Training, we discussed what 10 items should determine a Quality Unit. We wound up with a long list with little agreement. If we discussed it here, I doubt we could achieve consensus on 10 the Top 10 of Quality Units, so let's give it a whirl...

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Troop level Top 10.

 

1. Trained Leaders

2. Boy lead using the Patrol method

3. Planned program

4. Meaningful Advancement

5. Outdoor program

6. Participation in Roundtable and Dist/Council events

7. Fundraising tailored to the needs of the Unit

8. Functioning Committee

9. Unit Leader Succession Plan in place

10. 100% Boys Life

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1. Trained leaders

2. Boy Led

3. Patrol Method used

4. Good outdoor program

5. Leaders participate in district/council programs

6. All PL's, SPL's & ASPL's attend JLT

7. Good rapport with CO

8. Good relationship with local Cub Packs

9. Planned program

10. Have fun!

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Good topic.

 

For what it's worth, here's my list of what I'd like to see as requirements for Quality Unit for a Cub Scout Pack:

 

1. Dedicated, enthusiastic, and inspiring leaders;

2. Family support/involvement;

3. Pack membership reflects diversity of community;

4. Year-round, planned program;

5. Fun and challenging yet age-appropriate/safe activities;

6. Activities develop good character and good citizenship;

7. Regular (yet meaningful) recognition and advancement;

8. Outdoor Activities;

9. Service Projects; and

10. Strong relationship with one or more area Troops.

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I dont think there can be one generic list for all units.

I think a Pack, a Troop, a Varsity Team and a Venturing Crew (or Ship) each need a different list.

 

Back in 2002 Bob White started a thread Some Common Traits of Successful Troops

http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=14781#id_101270

 

I know there is more than 10 but I think this gives a good indication for a Troop that is running a successful Scouting Program.

 

Some Common Traits of Successful Troops

 

Currently trained adults

 

Leaders wear correct uniform

 

Scoutmaster concentrates on training Junior Leaders, and knowing the needs and characteristics of each scout.

 

They use the Patrol Method for everything

 

They follow the contents of the Boy Scout Handbook

 

The committee supports the decision of the scouts, they dont make decisions for them.

 

They have at least 2 Assistant Scoutmasters

 

They recognize scouts 3 times for every advancement

 

They DONT use troop meetings as merit badge classes.

 

They plan everything in advance and put it in writing (The difference between a wish and a plan is a plan is written down)

 

The only rules they have are that scouts and leaders follow the Scout Oath and Law.

 

They get outdoors once a month (even if just for a day event)

 

Troop meetings are filled with hands on activities

 

New scouts make First Class, First Year

 

They keep in contact with Webelos Dens year round

 

They select leaders they dont recruit them.

 

They participate in District and Council events

 

They attend Roundtable

 

Adults smile and play nice together. (If you are not enjoying yourself then neither are the scouts.)

 

I think 1 more should be added-

 

- The Scouts are having Fun.

 

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I like a lot of these - from personal experience I can tell you that Baden's #9 - succession planning - should be there in bold with caps (IMNSHO, of course). The troop my oldest son is with had its SM leave and a couple of active ASMs age out with their scouts and they have been scrambling ever since. OTOH, when my youngest and I were looking for a new scouting home, one of the questions I asked was about succession planning - yep, plan in place, two individuals in mind for SM after the current one retires, they're all set.

 

Seems to me to be a really important aspect that helps ensure the continuity of a good program.

 

Vicki

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I will give it a whirl, this one needs more thought BUT to keep this thread going here is my thoughts on for Boy Scouts.

 

1. Boy lead using the Patrol method

Monthly PLC meetings, Twice-yearly PLC Planning meetings, Patrols are not picked by anyone except the scouts in the patrol, EXCEPT New Scout Patrols. Adults can only be heard saying: Have you Asked Your PATROL LEADER. Any troop using the huge carports for dining flys will be automatically excluded from being a Quality Unit. (Unless every patrol has one and is used)

 

2. Outdoor program

At least one High Adventure a year. Camp every month even if if is in a cabin. Every campout has a theme.

 

3. Troop Sells popcorn OR donates to the council from other fund raising.

 

4. All PL's, SPL's & ASPL's attend JLT

Troop has a least 2 JLT per year. This assumes a 6 month term on POR.

 

5. Troop meetings are filled with hands on activities, patrol competition, patrol meetings not merit badges. Scoutmaster seems like all he does in the meeting is to whisper occasionally in the SPL ear.

 

6. COR is the one selecting leaders and making sure the program is being followed.

 

7. They attend their councils summer camp at least every 3 years.

 

8. The follow the Methods and AIMs of Scouting, they knew these are not suggestions.

 

9. All leaders trained in YPT. And they do not discuss what MAY means.

 

10. SPL ASPL are not in a patrol.

 

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Wayne Bishop, Council Commissioner for the San Francisco Bay Area Council, said,

 

There are several good measures of unit success, rank advancement, percent of Scouts in summer Camp, training status of leaders, uniforms but most important is Quality Unit attainment and high youth retention rate.

 

Also:

Do the leaders find it rewarding?

Is there a membership growth plan?

Will the unit reregister on time?

Are they going camping regularly?

 

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The BSA says that a Qaulity unit has:

 

2006 NQU Award

 

Training- The SM trained- Fast Start and BLT for SM.

Two-Deep Leadership- one or more ASMs that are registered, trained and active. One supervises YP training.

Patrol Method- JLT and monthly PLCs

Planned program, published and presented

Outdoor Activities- 6 highlight activities and attend one LT BSA camp.

Service Project- 1 annually, preferred to the Sponsoring organization and then report it on the good turn web site.

On-Time Charter Renewal.

Membership with an equal or greater number than last year.

Advancement- 60% advances one rank

Boys Life- 100% Scout homes or 10% over last year

 

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Rick Cronk stated that the role of the Unit Commissioner is:

 

We handle the annual charter renewal and help the unit earn the Quality Unit Award.

We help the unit replace its leadership.

We work to assure active unit committees.

We work to strengthen the relationship between the unit and its chartered organization. We do many other things common to all units.

 

The chronology of dropped units is simple and well known to all commissioners:

Poor unit leadership leads to uninspired program.

Uninspired program leads to Scouts "voting with their feet" and walking out of their last Scouting activity.

Scouts walking out of Scouting leads to troops, packs, crews, and teams closing their doors.

Units closing their doorsdropped unitsleads to our inability to empower kids with the self-confidence and self-esteem that comes from understanding and living by the principles of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.

 

I quote from page 10 of the Commissioner Fieldbook: "The only reason for having commissioners is to help units succeed."

 

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I modified this from an old BW reply.

 

Commissioner Service help:

 

To help evaluate unit health, there is a detailed monthly report available to District Commissioners that gives all the info to see if a unit is in trouble. It has adult and youth membership numbers, Boys life registration, training info, quality unit info, add Roundtable attendance and advancement info so you get a good picture of the unit.

 

What it doesn't tell you is who the culprit or culprits are when there is a problem. That would require the appropriate Mentor to discover. The unit leaders and Charter Organizations need to know that the use of the Mentor program is their choice. BW

 

I would also like to add that since Tour Permits are required it can be determined who, where, how often that a unit camps or has activities. FB

(This message has been edited by Fuzzy Bear)

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Quality

Quality

Quality

Quality

Quality

Quality

Quality

Quality

Quality

Quality

Although, I should now have it, in a matter of minutes it will wear off. My lack of selected spelling ability along with my inability to pick up on details, such as letters within a word or sentence seems to work against me ever getting it all correct. I also don't check my work sometimes, making it even worse. Enough said about my disability, let's take a closer look at the Quality of Units and what makes them tick.

 

I have been looking at some other features that are kind of exciting.

 

This one is a BW follow-up to CNYScouter's search regarding unit problems, the following are:

 

Just as there are common elements in successful units there are also common traits of units in trouble. Maybe these sound familiar to you in your unit, I hope not. rarely will you only find one of these traits alone.

 

- Leaders are not trained

 

- Scoutmaster runs the committee

 

- Most parents are unwilling to help (think about it, its not that they don't want to work with their children.)

 

- Leadership distain for district, council, and professional Scouters.

 

- Troop meetings are merit badge classes

 

- They don't get outside once a month

 

- They don't have quarterly Courts of Honor

 

- SM doesn't train junior leaders

 

- New scouts do not advance to First Class near the first year

 

- greater than 10% drop off rate

 

- Poor troop meeting attendance

 

- Adults cook for scouts at campouts

 

- Scouts are punished by unit leaders

 

- Adults hollering at boys

 

- SM who doesn't trust the boys to elect their own leaders

 

- No monthly Patrol Leaders Council meetings

 

- Leaders do not follow the policies of the Guide to safe scouting, Advancement or Uniforming.

 

-Parents participation is a by product of other elements not an element in itself.

 

-Parents don't want to be a part of a program that is disorganized, poorly lead, poor communications, and appears like too much work to do, or where they are not appreciated for their individual skills.

 

-They don't want to volunteer their time to be miserable.

 

-Everybody is willing to stand around and watch a train wreck...but nobody wants to be on board.

 

-If you want adults you need to do whats on the list and the adults will come to you when you invite them individually.

 

 

 

 

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Responding to BW's list of Quality Unit Items, ScoutPerson:

 

I would just say that some are more important than others while all are important these are the ones that I feel are fatal. The number one reason is 1 and 2 on my list. The others are just listed in the order I cut and pasted them.

 

1. Leaders NOT TRAINED

2. Adults hollering at boys

3. Leaders do not follow the policies of the Guide to safe scouting, Advancement or Uniforming

4. Scoutmaster runs the committee

5. Troop meetings are merit badge classes

6. They don't get outside once a month

7. greater than 10% drop off rate

8. Poor troop meeting attendance

9. SM doesn't train junior leaders

10. Scouts are punished by unit leaders

11. SM who doesn't trust the boys to elect their own leaders

 

Each item on the above list, I believe has enough merit to break a program individually, whereas the following are mistakes but individually will not be fatal (in my opinion).

 

Most parents are unwilling to help (think about it, its not that they don't want to work with their children.)

-- I would say not having enough parents willing to help; just trying to distinguish the difference between Cub Scouts which needs more parents.

-- The key is can you get enough parents to help. If not, then this moves to the other list.

 

Leadership distain for district, council, and professional scouters.

-- Important, but in some councils the driving distance between troop and office may make it difficult to achieve.

 

They don't have quarterly Courts of Honor

-- Or any at all. If you have semi-annual youd be ok, if this was the only thing on the list you did. But often I see many not doing them at all or yearly.

 

New scouts do not advance to First Class near the first year

-- I would say new scouts MUST have the opportunity to get to FC within a reasonable amount of time to ensure FCFY is obtainable.

 

Adults cook for scouts at campouts

-- I would say not allowing scouts to cook at all. We do patrol cooking and troop cooking with a scout kitchen too. I do believe in always allowing the scouts to cook and/or help. But, we focus this around the activities. So sometimes the adults cook while other times a patrol or individual scouts cook. But, if every time you go the adults cook then you need to rethink whats going on.

 

No monthly Patrol Leaders Council meetings

-- Again, based on your council this may or may not be as feasible as youd like.

 

ScoutPerson

 

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