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Eamonn

Tough Love

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"Sad to say some of the volunteers in the district think that the DE is at their beck and call and is there to deal with anything and everything that could ever and does happen. This is so wrong. We are trying very hard to get everyone to follow the correct course of action. Mostly to understand that in most cases a volunteer goes to another volunteer. If there is a problem in your unit your first port of call ought to be your unit commissioner. Not a call to the DE."

 

Eamonn, some of us don't know any better, and noone is telling us differently. I would love to be less of a burden on my DE, but I had no clue who to go to, other than the UC who simply was never available. What next? I asked, but the DE told me to call him for all things. Do I agree with that? No, I don't, particularly as our unit was in pretty bad shape and we needed a lot of help. However, what else was there to do? What I did was to attend every roundtable and every district function and every training offered. In doing that, I met may volunteers--truly awesome people too who were kind of hidden away somewhere!--who held roles in between that of DE and UC. It was there that I got a bit of an idea who to go to, and I'm still learning. But as a volunteer, I do wish it weren't so hard to know who to go to for what. My desire is to be a team player, not to be an "us and them" person. You said you are working on this; that's super! As a volunteer, I thank you for addressing this important area and wish that I was there or you were here :)

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Buffalo -- don't give up on this thread. Let's turn it around and get back on course.

 

Laurie, you've taken the most important first step -- finding out who to talk to about what is an important first step.

 

Eamonn is on the right track. The volunteers can make life much better for their DE than most DE's realize. I've been supervising DE's and District Directors for over 10 years and most burn themselves out in their first three years, mostly because they bring too much on themselves in their fear that, if left to volunteers, things won't get done.

 

In fact, over the years I have learned that if the DE does the job of providing the right tools, information and motivation to the right volunteers things are done and done well. It takes a certain amount of trust and the ability to follow through, but the volunteers are what makes Scouting work.

 

In that sense, I agree with FOG that I work "for" the volunteers. By in that sense, I mean that in the way a waiter at a restaurant works "for" me. They need to bring me the food I request in a friendly, timely, professional fashion. Just as I need to provide the council commissioner with timely information, and other things he needs to do his job in Scouting.

 

I feel for the DE who feels he/she has to run the Roundtable because "no one else will." How is the DE supposed to find the time to assist the district commissioner in identifying and recruiting a volunteer to do the job if they're spending their time worrying about what craft to teach and what songs to lead?

 

DS

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Sad to say I did write a posting which has gone somewhere???

I thanked Laurie for her kind words.

Said that the DE was not doing the job that he/she is being paid for.

Gave a long story how I had managed to get a Unit Commish when the one we had when I was Cubmaster. We send the IR to the District Committee meeting.( Yes I know he was to have been there anyway.)

Please forgive me I have to rush off. Her Who Must Be Obeyed has us all headed for W.V. To look at some lights. Boy Do We Know How To Have Fun???

Dave it seems clear that this DE is not doing his job.

I know that the Twit that we have for a FD, would make his life a living hell. How would you go about bringing him up to snuff?

Eamonn

These are Xmas lights and the cash we spend goes to some good cause. Think I will start to charge people to visit my yard.

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" By in that sense, I mean that in the way a waiter at a restaurant works "for" me."

 

Nah, the waiter serves you. Other than ruining your dinner, he has no impact on your life.

 

One of the folks that work for me at Symantec works for me because I have an interest in the company. What he does effects the value of the company which has an impact on me.

 

Dues paying members of an organization are the organization, each and every one, for without them, the organzation wouldn't exist. Hence, the employees of that organization work for the members.

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Eamonn works with a Field Director who seems to come from the "old school" of BSA management. The "Old School" BSA managers tend to beat on the DE until the DE produces the desired result.

 

I was trained by "old school" BSA management and vowed not to do that.

 

What do I do to bring DE's up to snuff? Coach. The DE and I would have a chat about the difference between working hard and working smart.

 

In the case of the DE who feels they have to be the Roundtable Commissioner, it must be a case where I inherited the DE when I came into the position. I would have trained the new one "out of the box" that such a thing is not their role.

 

I would ask the DE if he/she had discussed the problem with his/her District Commissioner -- the volunteer responsible for Roundtables. If not, I would help the DE to understand who is responsible for what. If the District Commissioner had been consulted, but tossed it back in the DE's lap, that's a different problem and my next step would be to talk to the Council Commisisoner who is responsible for unit service, including roundtable, in the council.

 

Now, 10 years ago, when I first became a supervisor of a district executive, my confession is that I would have told the DE, "You can't run the Roundtable. You've got other things to do!"

 

Then I went to a BSA training cource called, at the time, "Coaching Skills." I learned that there's a positive way to let people see a problem, identify the ways to solve it, find a win-win and get people to feel good about a job.

 

Danged if it didn't work.

 

DS

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I didn't think the thread had gone sour, at least not for the most part. Thanks DS, I try. Eamonn, you are always kind, and I follow far more of your threads than I ever respond to because I learn so much from you. By the way, just in case you or anyone though I was disagreeing with you, I was not--just stating how I am trying to find out where the heck I fit into things as a volunteer at the unit level. So, now that most of us seem to agree that the DE (whichever DE it may be) may often be doing too much, how does a volunteer like me--recently trained, very involved, with a desire to work on district and council committees where help is needed (yes, I've said so--but only to that poor DE) actually help out the DE? Can you give some practical ways? Eamonn started with his first post, but I'd like to hear more ways please. For instance, our DE has cited me as a resource to other cubmasters looking for local places of interest in meeting achievements. Would I be out of line to ask him if I could help lighten his burden by giving him some help for roundtables? He seems so tired at times. Having helped with the day camp staff as a staff member, I learned how very hard the work is that is involved, and I'd rather be part of the solution that the problem.

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First of all, to FOG -- all professionals of the Boy Scouts of America are required to pay their annual registration fee out of their own pocket each year. We are dues paying members of the Boy Scouts of America and have to meet the same membership requirements as any volunteer. Our employment is contingent upon our membership in the BSA. Evidently you thought otherwise.

 

Professional BSA scouters that are OA members also have to pay their OA dues out of their own pockets every year if they wish to remain members of the lodge.

 

Laurie:

 

I'm sure any offer of help you make to your District Executive will be appreciated. Especially things like running Roundtable, etc.

 

Sometimes you need to shove them out of the way. I remember one time that very thing happened to me. I and my volunteer popcorn chairman were at the distribution site. I kept wanting to help load vehicles. Finally the chairman got frustrated with me, grabbed me by my shoulders and said, "Look. We need you to lead us. Stand over there with your clipboard and the orders and make sure we load these vehicles with the right popcorn. We'll load us, but you tell us where it goes."

 

I felt guilty at first, but after a while realized that I served better by getting out of the way and supervising.

 

DS

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"First of all, to FOG -- all professionals of the Boy Scouts of America are required to pay their annual registration fee out of their own pocket each year."

 

So? That just means that you work for yourself. Think of it working for IBM and owing 1,000 shares of Itty Bitty Machine Corp.

 

 

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" all professionals of the Boy Scouts of America are required to pay their annual registration fee"

 

This is pretty cheap on BSA's part. I know people that work for other larger organizations and they get their memberships for free.

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I was mistaken when I said that all professionals must pay their BSA registration out of their own pockets each year. I should have said that all BSA employees must pay their own registraiton fees, except camp staff and a few other employees.

 

Every secretary, professional, and pro-tech has to pay their own registration fee.

 

I don't call that cheap on the part of the organization. I call that dedication on the part of the employee.

 

DS

 

PS -- if anyone makes the choice to quote me, I'd prefer it if they do it accurately and attribute the quote to me. Don't just use quotation marks on their own for me or for anyone. That's just plain rude.

 

Schlameel, Shlamazel . . .

 

DS

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Laurie,

Her goes for a first post:

The sad fact is many districts lack the individuals that fill those very slots (people)that you are looking for, specifically, the Commissioner's Service.

Your Unit Commissioner should be reporting to an Assistant District Commissioner who in turn reports to the District Commissioner. The DC is the volunteer counterpart to the District Exec. The Assistant District Commissioners are in charge of recruiting and training Unit Commissioners who are in charge of supporting and maintaining unit QUALITY. In fact, the District Commissioner should recruit and train a specific Roundtable Commissioner who then recruits and trains their own Roundtable Staff. That would relieve the DE from that work.

I think that the simple fact that you, as a Unit level volunteer, are not aware of these folks lets me know that either they do not exist in your district or they are not communicating properly. A great Roundtable topic for every district would be to plot out the entire volunteer and professional position tree WITH VACANCIES highlighted, in addition to the names and #'s of the people who do fill positions and the descriptions of those positions. With your enthusiasm, I think you would be a great Commissioner if you ever choose to go into it. Check out:

netcommish.com

Great site for Commissioners and those that should be!

LfL

 

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You bet they still make cars in Dearborn...and Warren, and Ypsilanti, Highland Park, and Flint. Dearborn is the home of the Rouge plant, which at the time Ford built it was the largest single industrial complex in the world -- freighters still unload iron ore at one end, and over a mile away at the other, finished cars (Mustangs)drive out.

 

My DE's a great guy; half my age, first DE assignment, and working his tail off, recently married, with a future DE on the way -- everybody at Council here seems to understand their lanes and work well with each other (haven't seen them run with scissors, either).

 

Please forgive me if I can't get worked up over whether or not DSteele pays his registration fee each year. As I often do when I think I may be getting distracted, I asked my 13 year old Boy Scout if it mattered to him whether the adults thought the DE worked for the volunteers or the other way around. He looked at me with that look your dog gives you when you talk to him in a funny voice, then he scampered off to find some aluminum foil to chew on. Hmm. I think I'll get back to scanning our Troop Meeting plans into our web site...

 

KS

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I read this thread last night and woke up this morning thinking about it. (OK, that's kind of scary!) I don't really understand why at times there seems to be so much hostility towards the DE.

 

Now, before there's a response that lists all of their faults, I don't know any volunteers (and our district has some incredible volunteers) that at one time or another hasn't made life difficult for another scouter. Since I've been involved in scouting (9 years now) I've viewed DE/volunteer relationships as a team. You don't necessarily have to be friends or get along all of the time, you just need to be focused on providing the best program for the boys. -And just because I use a paper daytime planner doesn't mean that my DE has to. Where I see the most conflict are "seasoned scouters" that dictate (or try to) to the DE how to do their job. I know that most of the time they're well meaning, but sometimes I seriously think that if we had the Good Lord as our DE they would still be complaining about his service! Also, when I have a problem or disagreement with my DE, I talk to him. - Not to his boss. Why would I talk to his boss without trying to work the issue through with him first? I think it's very disrespectful to go around others without trying to work it through first, and I don't see dictating to someone as working it though.

 

Life For Life, I think you had a great idea, which I'm going to pass on. The one area that my DE really needs help with is referring problems back to the correct volunteer source. I think that's why he's overwhelmed at times. There have been a lot of great responses on this thread, so thanks to everyone. There were a couple of other ideas I'm going use, too. Also, thanks Dave! I appreciate your time and presence on the Forum.(This message has been edited by Gidget)(This message has been edited by Gidget)

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" I asked my 13 year old Boy Scout if it mattered to him whether the adults thought the DE worked for the volunteers or the other way around."

 

He probably doesn' care who's on the School Board either does that mean that it shouldn't concern you?

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