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You are wasting your time trying to be all things to all people. You WILL NOT make everyone happy.


So, how do you handle all the individual requests? Be honest even if it's not what they want to hear, work hard and be available, return all phone calls and emails - even if you don't know the answer say you will find it and be sure to get back promptly.


Some people will just complain - ;isten and file it away - make notes that reassures them you are listening and take thier complaint seriously - but decide if it's valid later. Again - some people will just complain - they are also likley doing the least.


Be yourself have fun and FIRST AND FOREMOST - always put the boys first and seldom will you go wrong.

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1. Keep an open mind and open ears. No matter where you are, there will be intricate district politics at play - long-standing relationships and antagonisms that began years ago - and getting in the middle is only going to wear you out. Don't join sides.


2. In making your fundraising pitches, avoid generalizations and cliches - "The economy is bad," "we're all feeling the pinch," "do more with less," etc. Your audience knows that's tripe and trite. Instead, use specifics... A donation to FOS will help send 10 more Cubs to day camp, allow the council to lower weekend camp fees, keep a COPE course open, etc. Keep the pitch positive without sounding like you've drunk the Council kool-aid.


3. Set aside family and personal time for yourself, inviolate and untouchable, on a weekly basis. A professional has a difficult job, and you need to recharge.

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Don't try to snow anyone with BS. If you don't know an answer, just say so and that you will try to find the answer. Protect your scouters form other 'professionals' who will say anything (even wronge things) just to prove that they know more than a 'volunteer'. 

Be honest and listen. Sometimes the volunteers have been there before.

Remember, no one knows everything so keep learning.

Don't keep changing a discussion to FOS. Most of us are all tapped out and so our our families. I have been having trouble getting problems solved for boys because the 'professionals' don't want to deal with the boys - just 'when are you going to do FOS?' I need help fixing the problem so the boy has a good scoutting experence. I don't have time to try to do FOS when I need help keeping a boy in scouting.  Do NOT make ever talk about FOS.

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DE's,come in all shapes and sizes, some come fresh out of college. Working for the BSA is their first real job. Some have been around for a while and have served elsewhere.

By far the best DE I have ever had the pleasure to work with was a female who was in her forties when she first started to work for the BSA and her only experience of Scouts and Scouting was that her son was an Eagle Scout.

He had been in a wonderful Troop with an outstanding program. Sad thing was the SM (A pal of mine!) Was the type who was very much a one man band, liked things done his way and had no time for the District or the Council.


Many new DE's who are young and have been Scouts come along thinking that in some way they are going to fix the units programs and save the world.

This Lady was old enough and wise enough to see that the volunteers didn't sign her pay check or write her evaluations; that was down to her bosses. She seen that from the get go that she did need the volunteers to enable her to reach her goals or the goals that others had set for her!

When she first started she was very fortunate to have a guy as District Chairman who was well respected by just about everyone in the area, who knew and understood how Scouting and Councils work. (No it wasn't me ! -I learned a lot from this guy and he is my best friend.)

The District Commissioner at that time was a female who I think suffered from hyperactivity! While she had spent most of her time in Cub Scouting, she did know a lot about Boy Scouting. In the real world she worked as a music teacher in an elementary school. She took her knowledge of working with kids and the sense of fun she had from working with music and used it in Scouting. She seemed to be everywhere and doing everything. She had two sons in a local Troop.

Both the District Chairman and the District Chairman had a deep and great love for the District. More than anything they both wanted the District to do well, look good and both were very competitive wanting to come out on top of the other Districts.

The new DE was wise enough to see that she could learn a lot from this pair and could tap into their experiences and knowledge.

At PDL Training's she became very friendly with the presenters and again used them as a resource to help get what needed done.


Having been born and brought up in the area where she worked was a very big advantage. As was coming from a very well to do family. She knew who to ask? To do what? With the knowledge that the person or people she'd asked would get it done.

She was very much aware of the things that she had no knowledge of; especially when it came to program. In this area she was willing to offer the support that she could relying on the experience of the volunteers to get the job done.

It didn't take any time at all for her to learn the importance of returning phone calls and that faxing the office worked better than calling! Sometimes one way communication does work best!!


As volunteers, we all were very aware that we were being used! We knew that by us doing what we were doing we were making her look good.

I have a filing-cabinet drawer full of Quality District plaques, that now have very little meaning to me, but Quality District was a very important part of her job.


So to answer the what would I tell a DE?

1/ Always remember who signs your pay-check!

The District is only part of the Council and if you get fired? Or quit, you are not doing any good for anyone.

2/ Share your critical achievements with the other members of the Key 3. They really can make it happen.

3/ Never ever interfere with the program that a unit is offering. Leave that to the Commissioner Staff.

4/ Let the District Chairman fight with the Executive Board, about things that don't seem right. He is a volunteer and has nothing to lose by making her boss look bad.

5/ Support the volunteers.

6/ Be polite return emails and phone calls ASAP if only to let the person who called or sent the email that you are going to pass "This one" on to the people who know how to deal with it.


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As a former pro, here's my advice.


1) If you feel uncomfortable about what your council leadership is asking you to do, get clarification, document, and trust your feelings. If you think you need to leave the profession, DO IT! If you are being threatened with losing your job, document it.


2) Make photocopies of everything you turn in to the council office. EVERYTHING, and know wher you keep copies.


3) Document everything, takes good notes during your staff meetings and write up summaries of any meetings with your bosses..


4) DO NOT JUDGE ANY COMPETITIONS, i.e. uniform inspections, cook offs etc. They do become political.


5) Stay out of the district and council politics as much as possible. IF they rear their ugly head, be firm, fair, and remind everyone that we are in it for the boys.


6) Do keep the rest of Key 3 up to date with what is going on.


7)Be active and enthusiastic. If you start getting negative about the program, it will spread to the volunteers.


8) If you are single, do not let your volunteers set you up or date a volunteer/ vol's family member. Trust me on this one ;)


9) be on your best behavior at all times. People WILL come up to you at the grocery store, movie theater, restaurant, etc and tell you ' Hi Mr. Scout man" or talk about their unit's latest activity.



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Thanks for all the replies. I was just curious. I hear things about what the DE's are supposed to do, but never what the volunteers really think. I am recently returning to scouting. I am an eagle, but i was never overly invovled in council politics.

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Best advice I can give you is follow a DE around on the job. Best learning experience I ever had. Even though I was on the district committee and was very active on that level once I turned 21 and had numerous meetings with DEs and a FD to talk about the profession, I took one day to follow my DE around. Heard the negative and the positive. I fell in love with the profession having a very good understanding of what would be expected.


BUT mt caveat is that every district and council is different. growing up and being active in a metro council, was very different from my rural council I eventually was hired at. If you are invited to an interview, take the time to find out about everything: the council, the district cultural activities, life in general. And make sure you visit the district you will be working in! I thought that the district I would be like the city I was interviewed in. Definitely not the case.


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You ask what what you would pass onto your new DE. I was talking with my DE one day and we had a discusion about the things that I saw (Even as new as I was) in the program that may have become issues.


I told her that I had heard about a DE needing new units. I also told her that in our small rural county (yes VERY RURAL) that there was not room for more units. I said that I would much rather see quality units rather than quantity of units.


To better explain that. I would rather see two packs in our county with 50+ boys in it, we will say with 8 Dens throughout the ages, then 5 Packs with 4 boys in each. I would rahter see a quality program with the boys activities and enjoyment in mind, rather than a rag tag program in which no one "participates in Council/District events." and yes I have heard this from one of the other pack leaders in my county.


We currently have 4 packs in our county that I know of. 2 are medium size, I have 22 in our pack and I think that the other has about 15-20. The third I tyhink has maybe 10 - 15, but I hardly ever hear from them. and the 4th, they don't participate in council events, because there is just too much restrictions, they will just do thier own thing.


There is just too much for the council/district to offer. I have seen where there are camps that are being closed and sold left and right. We have a local camp that would be perfect for Cub Camoing, it is on a still water lake and could be great for all boating activities. I think that it would make a great summertime camp for the Cub SScouts.


Anyway Like I said, quality over quantity.

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