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Fireside Chat ? Self - Evaluation District Guide. Help.

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Finding myself with a few extra minutes, I dug up "A Self -Evaluation Guide For Successful District Operation.(#34207C)

Have to admit that it has been a while, in fact the last time I looked at it, I was the District Commish, and really only looked at what I thought pertained to me in that position. Anyway this time I did the Whole thing.

While there are areas that need work, some more then others. When I got to page 7: District Finance, item 9 it states: " Fireside Chats are held annualy and involve representation from at least 75 percent of the units."

I'm not sure, but I have been around for a long time, and feel sure that we have never had one.

In fact I have no idea what it is.

Please let me know if you have these Fireside Chats, and what you do or what topics are covered. Yes I know it has something to do with Finance, but why are 75% of the units needed to attend ?

I do have two really great looking dogs, but no fireplace !!!


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At Pow Wow last fall the council had what they called a "Fireside Chat". Units submitted questions prior to lunch and the Council Exec. answered as many as possible. There was no "fire", "side" or "chat". It was informative and you could have asked a question about finance, but most questions were program related. I recently read that they are going to do it again at Pow Wow this year. I don't see how the Boy Scout units have any input in this though as it was strictly Cub Scout Units present.


Hope this provides you with any insight...



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I have been in 4 councils in 26 years and they all had "Fireside Chats" in each district at Roundtables once a year.


The intent is to have unit level leaders and council leaders (ie board members and executives)get together to discuss Scouting in their council.


As commander in the military I was always taught to talk to soldiers two levels down to see what filtered down to them from my level and to hear what never filtered up to mine. It makes good sense then, it does in my business today and it does in Scouting too. As to why its listed under finance, I quess someone had to do it.

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Who represents Council at these "chats"? The Scout Executive? I have seen the SE exactly twice in 12 years. Once at summer camp about 5 years ago when he came up on Weds night to meet with the unit leaders (he got such an earful, I heard he never did it again!). Camporees? OA Events? Univ of Scouting? Forget it.

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A fireside chat is where the council key three (in most cases) goes somewhere into an open forum and takes questions from whoever asks and answers them the best they can.


Boy, that ain't easy! :) My Scout Executive actually does these, and it amazes me how often he has to do them alone. We're not a big council (185 units and 7,500 youth including 2,000 Learning for Life.) There's no way that at any given time everyone is happy, so he goes in knowning he's going to get an earful. I'm not surprised that most councils don't do this. Enough people call to complain in a given day that to go out and ask for questions is a burden.


I'm only an Assistant Scout Exeuctive and haven't done a fireside chat, but let me give you an example that might help you undersand why you don't see your scout executive on a day-to-day basis.


First let me tell you that it isn't his/her job to visit district events. It isn't even his/her job to visit council events -- that's why he appoints a staff advisor. His/her job is to manage the council's finances, follow BSA policies and procedures, and increase membership through his/her staff.


Now to the example -- I once supervised a district director who had parental requests to start a new pack at their school. The problem was that the school was one of three served by a single pack. The leadership of the pack was unhappy that this DiD was starting another pack so close to theirs. They literally hounded him day and night by phone. He finally gave up and I stepped in.


The Cubmaster of the existing pack called me and asked if I would meet with himself and the committee chairman to discuss ways they could survive with another pack so close to theirs.


I agreed to the meeting, thinking that we were making progess. I'd heard the argument not quite a thousand times, but I've heard it a lot. It has always born out that more kids were served and no unit has died because of proximity to another. When I was a Scoutmaster I had a troop literally on the other side of the street. Their boys would never have joined mine and their boys would never have joined mine. (Presbyterians are philosophically different than Pentecostal.)


Anyway, I agreed to the meeting. When I got there, I expected to have a nice meeting with the cubmaster and committee chair. They were there, but so were SIXTEEN parents. (Before anyone dives in, I did try to take a volunteer with me, but the 12 I asked were all busy that evening.)


I was a field director at the time and field directors are defined byh skin thick enough that they don't need bones. But when they offered me a chair and I had to answer all questions from 18 p'oh'd people, it made for a tough day.


End of story -- the existing pack's membership stayed about the same. The new pack started with about 15 kids and has grown. The private school (existing pack) and the public school (new pack) basically share the same parking lot.


This professional . . . ain't about to have a fireside chat and take on a district. Not without a council president and commissioner by my side.


Just a few thoughts and one ugly memory.


DS(This message has been edited by dsteele)

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Many Thanks.

Being as this is in the District Guide, it looks to me as if the key 3. ought to handle it. Not sure why it is listed under Finance?

Think the poor Scout Exec. Might act as a red rag to a bull, so I will leave him be.

I had this nice idea, of me acting out my role as FDR - Oh well.

This will take some doing. It is not on the calendar, and I hate to add more stuff. I feel that Scouting does at times take people away from home and family too much.

If I'm not careful, it could turn into a " **** Session," where the ony thing that will happen is that someone will end up with hurt feelings.

The two dogs are a very lazy English Setter, and a Lassie look a like Collie.

Where can I get a Pit Bull on loan ?

This will need a little thought.

I'll get back to you.

Hey !! Can you use a Collie on Leader Sheep ?

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