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DE Help or Harm

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Has anyone else had a DE that did more harm than good? Our DE says it's his job to help, help, help but the results are low camp attendance, low recruitment numbers, and continual no shows at district camps or other district events. We've went to council but they tell us just to continue to help the DE and work with him. He's been at this for 2-3 years but the results are getting worse. I'm a little resentful at helping someone else be successful at their job when all their efforts result in decreased scouting in my district. Anyone else with a similiar story?

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The DE's job is not to help, help, help. It is to increase the number of units, increase the number of Scouts and increase the number of dollars donated. That's what they get graded on. Everything else is gravy.


As broken points out, all those problems can't possibly be laid at the feet of one person. How strong is the district committee? What has the camping and activities committee been doing over the last 2-3 years to promote camp attendance? What have different units tried to increase recruitment?


I'm also curious - when you mention "no shows," are you talking about the DE not showing up, or something else?

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The DE is there for the exact reason stated above. Kudos to those of you who understand this - it is difficult for us volunteers to grasp at times. In our district the result of low attendance is a direct result of poor promotion by the volunteers (yes me included), lack of volunteers, and a weak previous district committee. Our new chair is doing a great job of accountability on everyone's part! DE included.


I would also suspect there are some rogue units and volunteers in your district hurting the overall program. Sometimes, we as leaders have to remind everyone our focus on on the boys - not ourselves. Plus, we are trying to get our district to follow the philosophy that we don't care what unit the boy joins - so long as he is involved with scouting.


We are making headway and it is beginning to payoff - mind sets are changing and folks are beginning to put the program first and units later. Take care of the boys first and the rest will come. Including the money councils seek!


Notice this is all about the program - who owns the program THE VOLUNTEERS - not the DE.

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Shortridge - I was meaning the DE not showing up. He didn't even make an appearance at our last district camp in the spring or last fall! Another DE from another district was there and he was fantastic! Wish he was our DE.


Our activities chair for the district is new this year (hence my grief may be for naught) so I'm hoping for the best. Send your prayers!


i must admit I find the field of dreams philosophy for scouting interesting....


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Out of curiosity, what could he have done if he showed up? Was the program for the weekend contingent on him? When I was a pro, I would go out for a few hours on Saturdays when there were camporees. But sometimes due to family obligations I couldnt make it. I would come to basically check in with everyone, see how everyone is doing and hang out. But no part of the program was ever contingent on me being there.(This message has been edited by broken)

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I can only second the comments above.


Our Troop frequently attends an international event in Dorchester, Canada. Thousands of Scouts from the US and Canada are treated to a camporee with so many events and venues that it is impossible to experience half of them in a weekend. 137 events/venues one year. I have seldom seen a paid Scouter there - perhaps two-three times since 1987. The camporee is planned by youth and staffed solely by Scouting youth and unpaid Scouters. Give it a visit. (If your unit might wish to go, there is a website for the Dorchester International Brotherhood Camporee: http://dibc.on.ca/. Apply months in advance; eight or nine months might be wise. Registration is open for 2010. Go see what it is possible for "only volunteers" to do. Then ask how in the world you need or want your DE to do something that is not his job to do.)

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Certainly, it would be nice for the DE to attend a camporee or other district event. But the program isn't - certainly shouldn't be! - contingent upon his or her being there.


Consider that the DE likely had family obligations - or perhaps professional ones, such as schmoozing a prospective donor or attending a council meeting.

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It depends upon the council. In the council I grew up in and first served as an adult in, teh volunteers did the programing. Pros were there for support. Motto was, "if it aint broke, don't try and fix it." So the volunteers organized 99.999% of the program activities. And that is how it is suppsoe to be.


However that wasn't in the case in the council I became a DE in. DEs were expected to run everything and be at all activities in their district. DEs were expected to recruit, plan, and execute the event with Vols basically staffing it. Heck I got into trouble one year as I was only at CSDC for a few hours on the first day to drop off supplies and handle any last minute problems. I was told by my DFS that I was suppose to be there the entire week and that I should have scheduled things accordingly. Yet when I pointed I was not at CSDC the year before due to working summer camp, I was told that was no excuse.


The key to scouting is the VOLUNTEERS. They need to plan far enough in advance to advertise it and make it successful. As my old MSgt. would say, "The 5 Ps: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performances...."

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Volunteer - I have so walked in your shoes.... in fact it sounds like you are in my district! Honestly, I think the concerns you share are very real to you and your fellow scouters.


May I offer this - I would suspect you are fairly new to scouting as I had these simialr feelings when I was new to how it all worked also. EXACTLY the same concerns and feelings.


I learned to deal with it by expecting nothing and then whatever I got was a pleasant surprise. As it turned out this made our DE more beneficial to me as we each had realistic expectations and he didn't feel as though I was expecting too much which kind of pushed him away.


Good luck to you - but I think you are seeing by now that we've all got different expectations - but all of our results are the same - it's really up to us. Have a great day!

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Over the years I have worked with a lot of DE's.

Most of them were new on the job.

The reason why? The District I serve is the smallest in our Council, but we tend to have volunteers who have been around for a long time (Some it seems forever!). So, we are kinda like a Training Ground for new DE's.



Not to change the subject.

Sometime back our Council hired a fellow who was supposed to act as some kind of Program Aide /Manager.

I was at the Board Meeting when the then SE outlined what his duties were to be and introduced him to the Board.

I knew the guy, in fact the son of his significant other had been a Cub Scout in the Pack when I was CM.

After about a year or so it became clear that this guy wasn't doing his job. Myself and a few other board members, were not sure what he was doing? But knew it wasn't what we had been told. Times changed,the SE was fired and it was felt that we no longer needed his services.

Without wishing to seem hard or harsh, I wasn't that sad o see him go. Sure I felt that we hadn't done him any favors. But to me it seemed that he just had never done the job he was hired to do.

One night while shooting the breeze with a couple of Council Vice Presidents, I was told that not long after he had been hired the SE changed his job description.

I felt bad for all the bad things I'd said which were really out of order.


While I think the DE needs to get a clear idea of what he is to be doing and do a better job of communicating it.

It would also be a good idea if the people who seem o want to voice their concerns to whoever it is in the Council they are voicing these to?? Were to ask for a copy of his job description.

If after reading it over, it seems clear that this guy is not doing his job? Then taking steps to have him removed might well be in order.

But my guess is that this poor guy is trying to do too much and maybe has more on his plate than he can manage.


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  • 4 months later...

Your DE's job to your district committee? He's the secretary and advisor. He reports to the SE who in turn reports to the board how your district is doing. The DE sets the goals with the Key 3 and sets the agenda for their meetings. The rest is up to the volunteers.


Your District Chair is in charge of program, membership and finances. No one going to camp? Have you talked to your camping chair? What about a report from each unit commissioner on what the units aren't going camping? Your Commissioner Corps are the quality assurance of Scouting. They go in and check to see the program's being delivered.


Notice that the Commissioner Corps and your DE are the only two offices in your district that wear a wreath around their job patch. That denotes service, and a promise to serve. It doesn't denote "SUCKER" at all.


Volunteers have to take responsibility for their districts and use your DE as a tool, not the fall guy.

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