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Eagle732

Is Your Unit Rated?

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In our District units are rated Green, Yellow and Red depending on wether the unit is in good shape, bares watching or needs major help. Your UC will tell you if you ask, what your rating is, other than that the ratings are not public information. Is this a standard practice?

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I don't know how widespread the practice is, but I think it is becoming more common. It's being used in my council now. Here the ratings are based on how the unit measures up to Journey to Excellence standards, as reported by unit commissioners. The units are told up front how they fare in the ratings -- they don't need to ask. But, as in your district, Eagle732, I don't think the unit ratings are public.

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As District Commissioner, I have my own spreadsheet where I keep track of the health of each unit. This is a tool that I made up myself and have only shared with my District Director. It's a means for me to direct my staff resources where they are needed most. I would not make it public information, even if a unit knew about it and asked what their rating was.

 

I don't know if this is a formal BSA tool for commissioners. There is nothing about it in the Administration of Commissioner Service. I don't use Red/Yellow/Green, but now that I think about it, it sounds like a good idea.

 

 

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Years back, in my early days as a UC (late 70s) there were such things, but I am sure they were local in scope.

 

Currently, as an ADC, I rely on a variety of information I collect from reports and the UCs in the area to determine how units are doing, and if they need some extra help.

 

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never heard of such a rating system with troops, packs, and/or crews/posts.

 

Now I have heard of Sea Scout ships being rated, depending upon if they were traditional Sea Scout, non-traditional with a sailing focus, or non traditional with a non sailing focus ( i.e. scuba, oceanographic, etc)

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I heard about this type of rating system in a class at Commissioners College.

The person teaching the course said that some Districts have a large chart at Roundtable showing what each unit status is. (Green, Yellow, Red)

I am not 100% convinced that this is the way to go (yet)

Like AvidSM, as District Commissioner, I have my own spreadsheet where I keep track of the health of each unit. I came up with each units status using the same items as UCEagle72

I just started sharing this list with the other UCs. I would share this to a unit leader if asked.

I use the above color system except with another category black for a unit that is not going to recharter.

There is a Pack in my District that wont be rechartering. When the current Pack leadership took over 3 years ago they decided that they would get their sons thru the Cub Scout program and then fold the Pack.

This pack hasnt recruited in 3 years (and refused to do sio again this year) wont have any Cubs or leaders left this spring.

I like the idea of doing a preliminary Journey to Excellence form to see where each unit is.

 

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Hold it, isn't the Journey to Excellence itself a graded or multi-level system? Our Assistant Council Commish was telling me that it was a tiered system, but maybe that isn't right.

 

I know our pros and commishes use some sort of color codes on the spreadsheats they print to show unit status. I don't know the details as I am neither a professional nor a commissioner.

 

I would think this process would also be tied into the (sometimes functional, sometimes not) unit visit tracking system used by unit and district commissioners.

 

p.s.

At our last council coordinated meeting the advancement committee was reviewing each district's advancement numbers and found out the ScoutNet reports don't add all the columns correctly, so the advancement totals by district and by unit can at times be less than exact.

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Our council uses this system. It's not scientific, but more of a guage of expectations. Each rating is pretty broad to allow flexibility for each program.

 

Green is a healthy unit with minor issues.

 

Yellow is cautionary - something we need to watch. A recent example would be we have a CO that is under investigation by a government agency. The 2 scout units attached to the CO are not under investigation, but because the CO is, the units are classified as yellow. Not necessarily in trouble, but definitely worth watching.

 

Red indicates major problems, usually meaning a unit on the verge of collapse, restructure, etc.

 

Some councils also add at least 2 more colors for id. I also use these in my district.

 

Orange for new units. These units are not considered good, bad or in between until they've established a history (typically 3 years). We use "new unit" commissioner teams specifically responsible to helping develop leaders with at least a 3 year commitment to the unit before the unit would be placed with a regular UC.

 

Black - dropped units. We keep these on record as black for 1 year and are considered by the professional staff and commissioners as opportunities for reestablishing the unit if possible.

 

These indicators help the SE and board to get another snap shot of the level and status of the programs within the council. Consider for the majority of board members, all they ever see is reports, with little or no direct contact to any of the programs. A color code is a quick visual indication of what's going on.

 

 

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The JTE system does allow each unit (district, council) to be either "bronze, silver, or gold" in each of their respective categories.

 

So, you "might" be able to call that a rating, PE, but not in the sense of what is being discussed here.

 

This is what we refer to as a "health rating" in the process improvement biz.

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Different rating names, red, yellow, green or bronze, silver, gold. One rates problems, the other rates strength of program (maybe, I'm not sold on this yet). Still both are ratings but only one will make the information public and can be used by potential new members to judge which troop they will join.

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E732 --

 

We have made "quality units" public as long as the program (in all of its various names and forms) has existed. And many of us have worn the "distinctive patches" on our uniform.

 

However, I can honestly say, that in my years as CM or SM, I was never once asked by a prospective scout, or their family, if we were a "quality unit."

 

You'd really need to be down to some tight decision making if you were asking that question!

 

"Good units" with "good programs" are known. This year in our District, 75 Webelos of the 90 who were in Webelos II transitioned to one of two troops -- and they are the troops with the best program.

 

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UC,

What makes these two units so special? Do they have the resources that the other units don't have so they can do more? How will the other units improve if they can't attract new members? You have two units in your district that are "good". What does your district do to help the others become "good" units? Will your district be better off with only two good large troops after the rest fail. It's easy to label units, harder to actually help them.

 

And yes, which units are Quality is no secret, just look at the patches on the boys shoulders. However earning the "Quality Unit" in the past was largely determined by a set of goals your unit set to improve their program. With a little thought and effort most units could achieve it. Now we have BSA HQ setting our goals. And many of their goals are not in line with ours.

 

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Units setting the goals only happened with the Centennial program -- in the past, and again in JTE, National set the standards.

 

The two units excel because the have a boy run program. The PLCs make the decisions, and honestly, they both do a fine job of getting parents involved as ASMs or CMs. They are proud to be scouts, and they stick with a traditional program. Heck, they do multiple weeks of summer camp at different locations -- and no, the SM does not attend them all -- that's what ASMs are for.

 

And for all the necker proponents out there -- they both wear neckers as part of their troop uniform, and they make their own, so they are the "proper size" (although triangles, and not squares).

 

They have scouts who are den chiefs, they both actively support our Senior Scouting programs, as well as OA.

 

So, what do we, as Commissioners, take from all that?

 

We work with the other units to "get the leaders out of the way" and let the young men lead. When we visit, we ask the SPL questions, we encourage the young men to take the reins. We also ask the SPL about Den Chiefs, and if they have ever thought about a Venturing Crew. We give them "program" ideas.

 

Are there other good troops, you bet ... but they have only "gotten in the groove" the last couple of years. Where the large troops have been doing this for a generation (both units are just over 25 years old).

 

Will the other units succeed? Some will, some won't. Like many other parts of the country, we are seeing a decline in population due to the loss of jobs (Kennedy Space Center predominantly), but we don't let that get in the way of delivery.

 

No Commissioner "ignores" a unit that is "not performing." They just take more of our attention that the thriving units.

 

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Well if the only thing that determined troop size was if they were boy led or not then we would have 100 kids (not that I want that!) and the nearby mega troops would be folding. Including the one with over 100 Scouts where the SM teaches a merit badge every week and the ASMs teach new Scout skills.

 

You touched on one very important point about recruiting, Den Chiefs. Even a poor program can put Den Chiefs in Packs and a DC can have a great influence on where the Webs go when they cross. With 16 boys we occasionally have a Scout who can essentially double his Scouting obligations by being a Den Chief but not too often. Nearby mega troop has several spread out between the nearby packs.

 

On his last visit during a discussion about recruiting I asked our Unit Commissioner what we were doing wrong since we have not been able to attract many new members. He just laughed and said "nothing, your doing it right! You've done 3 Scoutmaster Conferences tonight for 2nd Class, mega troop's SM only does Star through Eagle, the ASMs do the rest because he doesn't have time. You have a more active program (we camp every month, sometimes twice a month and we meet all year) and a better relationship with the boys".

 

I've always said I would rather have 10 boys who want to be in Scouts than 50 kids that don't really care about Scouts. That's just about where we are.

 

Funny thing about our troop, we seem to attract kids who's dad's are Eagles. All my ASMs and myself (SM) are Eagles along with several of the MCs. We are very fortunate, we have a great group of Scouts, a very supportive group of adults, and great support from some major industry in the area that allows us to provide for the ones who can't afford it otherwise. Too bad local boys drive right past our meeting place to go where everybody else goes.

 

 

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One thing that always amazes me, is Troops who only look to Webelos for new members.

 

You *need* to do school nights -- and your scouts need to be the ones who talk to their friends about the fun things they do, not so much the adults.

 

In fact, one of the best presentations I saw this year was from a PL from a "regular" troop [not one of the 100+ member troops] - he talked about the things he learned, the places they went, and the fun they had. Never once said anything about rank advancement, uniforms, or anything else of the like, but they had 15 new scouts sign up that night!

 

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