Jump to content

How does your Council reach out to new Leaders

Recommended Posts

I've found that our council does not reach out to new leaders within the first month or two of signing up. It seems that the only one talking to these people is the Cubmaster and maybe another Den Leader, and often these guys are very content to work in isolation. Does anyone use a system that lets these new leaders know that they are not alone, and part of something bigger than their own Pack?

Link to post
Share on other sites



We have a little postcard with the adult applications at School night that get mailed to the district training chairs within a week of registering. We then call these new leaders and let them know about basic training and University of Scouting, Rountable, etc.


They also get a bunch of flyers. The council newsletter for Oct or Nov also goes to the family of every registered scout.


Seems to work okay. In my particular district, my Vice-chairman of Training calls all untrained leaders 2-6 weeks prior to a training and registers them for training or helps them find another districts training date that might fit better. This fall is the first time we've done that and attendance is up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I joined as an ASM back in early august still have not heard from my district or anything. My dad's been a leader and the only they send him is our nespaper from the council. Right now our council has some issues and not a lot of volunteers like our districs or councils and we're mad the payed professionsals. Heck it 1 month for a guy from district to come down and get one little thnig signed off for my eagle (just came down yesterday) so in other words i'm not to ohappy with my district or council at this time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As Officer Tooddy would say:


0ouuuuu ouuuu,


When we talk about Council and District, lets be sure we talk mention if we are taking about professionals or volunteers. I like our District Executive and the Council Exec, its the Volunteers I would like to administer a few wake up calls to. When we post here, it would help if we differentiated between problems with the Pros or the Vols.


So Fotoscout, what would help you feel more welcome, contact from the Pros or Vols?(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been an ASM with my troop for a little over 2 years. The only communications I recieve from council are email newsletters from the council exec. The only reason I get that is because one of my former OA advisors forwarded it me when it had some useful stuff in it and I signed up for it. Many entire units have no one that knows of this e-letter and it is the only regular communication from council that I know of.


As for training, I know there are some forms of training available. However, my district seems to only conduct cub related training. (In fact my district doesn't even have anyone in charge of training last I knew). Council isn't much help because they expect the districts to handle all the basic training. Council is, however, good at putting on the advanced training. Wood Badge is done almost every year. (Also, they hosted a Powder Horn this year with another council.) I have been told that I should probably just sign up for Wood Badge one of the next couple of years and ignore the basic training requirements and no one will care.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to agree that "We" could, should and really ought to do a better job of welcoming new adults into Scouting.

I really like what Overtrained and his District is doing.

As Council Training Chair. I have a few problems.

First I don't know that you have joined.

No one tells me.

There is a fact sheet that we hand out to all the leaders it has all the information about who to contact about what.

If the unit leader doesn't pass this on or share it. Nothing happens.

When I was District Commissioner, the Unit Commissioners would let me know if one of the units had a new leader. Sad to say I done nothing (Ok I know.) We would and still do encourge all new leaders to attend Roundtable.

If they came we would make a big deal of welcoming them.

When you get right down to it most adults join a unit. The unit is the important part of Scouting. The Unit is served by the Unit Commissioner. He or She is commissioned by the Council. So when he or she reaches out the hand of welcome he or she is the represntative of the Council.

Maybe we rely a little to much on the unit leaders to communicate what is going on and where it is going on.

We do have Pack Trainers, who ought to be pushing training for the Cub Scouters.

One thing that would be a great help would be if more Charter Reps. attended the District Committee meetings. They all ought to have a standing invitation. I send all of ours a post card each month and never get more then two.

One place that we could try to voice our concerns would be at the "Fireside Chat" that each district is supposed to hold each year.

This might be worth mentioning to the DE, or even the Scout Exec.

While there are a lot of Units that for some reason don't like the idea of a unit commissioner. I think that if I was in a unit where I hadn't seen the Unit Commissioner for a while (A month) I would be on the phone to the Assistant District Commissioner or the District Commissioner. This is a service that your unit is meant to have.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really do not think you can ask for the council to do much in reaching out to new leaders. The council has specific responsiboilities and some serve huge numbers of units and volunteers, often over vast areas.


Districts and units are far better suited for this. First what is the unit doing. Has the Charter organization rep sent a letter to the family welcoming them to scouting, telling the family members ahow important the new leader's participation is to the unit and how much they are aprreciated? Has the unit held an informal reception so that the parents can meet all the volunteers? Was an induction ceremonmy performed at the earliest pack meeting or Court of Honor?

Are they given a specific responsibility and the resources needed to be successful? Did the unit tell the District Training coordinator about the new leader? Did the unit notify their unit commissioner (if they have one)?


From the District. Are new leaders recognized at the District Dinner, Are they welcomed and introduced around at Roundtable? If the units notify the training team did they get an invitation to participate in training? Did the training team warmly welcome the new leader when they arrived for training? If a unit commissioner exists did they come to a unit meeting to welcome the leader.


As you can see the unit has the ability to do more than anyone else to make the leader feel welcome, and their cooperation is needed to get the most from the District as well.


Hope this helps,

Bob White

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Link to post
Share on other sites

WARNING, this is going to go very deep into RANT land. Just skip it if you don't won't to hear me complain about things. It will also probably get way off topic.




I notice there is an expectation by both Eamonn and Bob White that the district has its act together. I can say that certainly doesn't appear to be the case in my district. Maybe it really is, I don't know. My district usually has alot of blank spots in council publications where different contact persons are supposed to be listed. My unit's commissioner is non-existant as far as I can tell. I have seen a DE at a troop meeting maybe once or twice while I have been involved with the troop, and the DC a little more than that. Last I knew our DC was acting as the UC for all troops in our town because there was no one else to do the job. Needless to say that doens't really work well. The rountables I attended were a joke from the Boy Scout perspective. The entire thing seemed to focus on cub scouts. At one of them I was the only Boy Scout representative in attendence. At another I had information on an upcoming event that the DC didn't yet have. The fact that Scouting works in my district at all is nearly a mirracle. The really sad thing is I don't even know who to blame for it. Those that are involved seem to be trying to do their jobs. Generally most people say it is somehow the fault of the paid people, but I am not even really certain that is true.


Now, despite all of these problems I have a pretty good idea of training and other opportunities available. Also, if keeping me informed was the number one goal of anyone in the council or district that would be a serious problem. After all, I am just a "part time" ASM going to college 2 hours from home. The only time the troop sees me is during vacation and for special purposes. Finally, the scariest thing I know about training is that I am supposed to teach a session at a council wide training event in a few weeks. All I have seen is a schedule of the event and the title. I have been told that someone else is writing the lessen, they just need me to teach it. The real problem is I didn't find out about this through "official" channels, but rather it happened by accident while talking to another trainer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Proud Eagle,


Sorry to hear that your District is having problems. I'm sure at some time in history things worked better, and sometime in the furure it will work again. Just like some scout units go through highs and lows so do districts. Why are they the same? Because they both rely almost entirely on volunteers, and volunteers are not always available and they don't always get the job done because while you are a part-time volunteer so are the rest of us. We all have other responsibilities besides scouting. Good District volunteers are tough to come by and tougher to keep. Which is hard to believe considering all the benefits like only hearing from units with complaints, but I digress.


Don't look for the DE to come to your unit, that's not their job and they have lots of other responsibilities that come first, and if they don't get those done then they lose their paychecks that cloth and feed their family.


Know any scouters that know and LIKE the scouting program who are not unit leaders who would be willing to volunteer to work with units in trouble that's usually caused by adults who never learned how to play nice together? If so your DC is loking for unit commissioners.



So what will get your District committee back on track? First, your COR is an officer of the District. When was the last time your COR attended a District meeting or did anything to help support the responsibilities of the District that he or she are responsible for?


Second, remember that there is no "them and us" in scouting. It's just all US. every District volunteer spends time and energy away from there work and family for one reason. to help the scouts in the unit you serve. Don't worry about them not being at your meetings. When was the last time you went to theirs?


Bob White

With appreciation to the tens of thousands of men and women who volunteer their time to scouting on the District and council levels.



(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent posts all around. I agree that most districts are not perfect and that the BSA as a whole is volunteer run and volunteer dependant. It's easy to blame professional scouters when there are problems or holes, but that blame should come from professional to professional and volunteer to volunteer. I firmly believe that.


With the exception of the Scout Executive.


Scout Executives are employed by the executive board of the local council with the permission of the naitonal coucnil. IF there is a problem with the Scout Executive, you take it to the council president (a volunteer.)


If there is a problem with another member of the professional staff, you take it to the Scout Executive. He/She is the employer of the staff.


On most levels, it is up to the volunteers to make Scouting work and I encourage you to contact the volunteer closest to your unit position for guidance and support. If you can't reach a council counterpart or district counterpart for your position, call the distriact or council chairman equivalent for your position.


Help is there.


I can sympathize with the Assistant Scoutmaster who wants to be recognized and welcomed by the council to his/her new position, but I do ask that you please realize a couple of things:


1) if you expect the recognition to come from a District Executive -- there is an average (on the low side) of 50 packs, troops and crews nationally per District Executive. That would require the DE to just visit 1 unit per week all year (they get 10 days vacation) to see every unit. Change ASM's at the wrong time and you're missed. It just isn't feasible. If they mean a welcome by a district/ council person -- it's possible, but 50 units is a lot. It ain't easy.


2) As much as we (professionals) want to be welcommed, we're not always wanted. This does hurt us, both personnaly and professionally.


3) We don't always know who you are or that you're new.


4) If we don't come see you that means there hasn't been a problem with your application and all is well.


Having said all that, I love the way Overtrained's Council (ownership explicitly implied) handles new leaders and will strive to see that the council I'm currently involved with tries to fall into line with his.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, the old training complaint.


It would be nice to send out an post card to every new leader. I'll suggest that to the District Training Chair although she migh shoot me because she's having enough trouble getting enough staff to do training.


I guess that we depend mostly on a top down approach. The Cub Master and Committee Chair do the rah-rah for training, everyone gets motivated and goes to training. The system breaks down because so few Cub Masters or Committee Chairs do anything themselves.


I go to Roundtable on a regular basis and I'm always amazed at the poor turnout, especially on the Cub Scout side. I was helping out by stuffing papers into the mail folders and one pack hadn't picked up any announcements for nearly a year.


I happen to know the Cubmaster of that pack and when I used to mention things that my pack was doing that the Discrict or Council had set up, he'd be astounded. "How did you get hooked up with that?" was the regular question.


For some reason, too many people in Scouting, especially Cub Scouts, just want to "get by." "I get by, I don't need any training," is their anthem. These same people then complain about having to come up with ideas for activities and meetings. "Hey! I say, look in your Program Helps and other literature. You're re-inventing the wheel."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob White, dsteele,


Thank you for coming through with level headed responses after having read a somewhat unhappy rant. The point I was trying to make about DE and DCs wasn't so much that they weren't showing up enough. Rather I was trying to demonstrate the lack of connection between units (at least mine) and the district. I really don't expect the DC or DE to stop by very often. It would be nice to see them around for a friendly visit from time to time. (Instead of the "why isn't your recharter done yet?" visits [answer, because council says it isn't due for a month and a half, and no we haven't heard about the districts goal of getting everyone to recharter early]or some such thing...) I know that the professionals have many things to do. On those occasions I have been able to have conversations on the subject with them, most lamented the fact that they spent so much time looking for money or doing paperwork. The volunteers are in short supply. I can't really fault the DC for not getting it done without help. I have not been to any district meeting in quite some time. As I said, I went to a few rountables, but I realised I had better things I could be doing with my time. Other leaders in my troop had learned the same lesson years before. I also realise that not going feeds the same cycle, because in the future there will be fewer BS participants and so more reason to focus on CS related things.


I really don't expect to see any great effort to reach out to new leaders. I personally don't want special outreach or recognition, because time spent on that is time that could have been spent making the program better in my local situation. I would like to see a council or district newsletter, or some type of mailing at least a couple times a year. I also know the only way that will happen is if someone (more than likely a volunteer, with limited time) decideds to step up and make it happen.


Also, I think I may have given a less than complete explanation of my Scouting experience. I think someone could have thought I have been an ASM for 2 years and that is all. I have been involved in Scouting since I became a Tiger back in 1st grade. I went through all of Cub Scouts and earned the Arrow of Light. I then migrated to Boy Scouts. I worked my way up through the ranks and the leadership positions of the troop with some of the best mentors I could imagine anyone having. I became heavily involved in OA. I did ceremonies, chaired chapter and lodge committees, and became chapter vice-chief, treasurer, vice-chief again, and then chief. Finally I was elected to be Lodge Chief, and served out a full year term. At about that same time I finished up my Eagle and became an ASM with my troop. (note: my screan name is the translation of my Vigil Honor name, Wulelensin Woapalanne) So, all totaled I have at least 13 years in Scouting. I can safely say that during all that time my most enjoyable experience was my 2001 Philmont expidition, of with I was the crew chief. I can say my most challenging single leadership test was being a Jamboree contingent troop SPL that same year. From having held leadership positions in the OA I have a vague idea of what those at the district and council face, and I certainly know enough to be glad I don't have their jobs.


Speaking of which, I just realised the local lodge here where I go to school is having a fall fellowship as I speak about 30 minutes away. So I hope everyone has a good weekend. I am off to go do something I should have been doing already.


Keep up the good fight. Don't give up just because a few unhappy volunteers come looking for someone to vent to.(This message has been edited by Proud Eagle)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Proud Eagle, excellent post. Don't worry about your rant. I was a Field Director for four years and Monday will mark the first day of my 16th year as a Scouting professional -- I've been ranted at a whole lot worse than yours.


It's Saturday morning and I just got back from slinging show and sell popcorn with the DE's. We had a great time. Time to shower and rest up -- 95% of our sale is take order and we'll be loading that in three weeks.


Enjoy your weekend!



Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Proud Eagle,

Ditto to DS's post. Everyone deserves a good spleen venting rant from time to time. Loerd knows I take full advantage of that.


Thanks for being willing to consider the other side of the coin on this.


Bob White

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, its nice to see that we are not alone in doing less than we should to welcome our new leaders. OGE, Im surprised to see that you had some potential expectation that this function might fall onto the professionals. I would not have thought that this would fall into their scope, however it would be a VERY nice touch.


The welcoming letter seems like a great place to start. I think Ill ask our Council Registrar if she could send out a letter to all our new leaders, maybe it could even include a training schedule. Our registrar is a paid staffer in the council office, why the registrar you may ask? She is the first one to see and process all of our new registrations. It seems to make sense, and I think that this could be a very easy computerized function. If not , it would be great upgrade to ScoutNet. Yes Bob, I agree that this is better suited to District and Unit levels, but for reasons that Ill explain, I dont think that in the short term that will happen in our council. For us I think that this might be good first step beyond what the units might be doing!


A small digression and explanation


Our council has five districts plus a division for Special Needs kids. In the past year we have lost 3 DEs, and they have not been replaced. The SE is a guy who has garnered absolutely no respect from the Executive Board or the vast majority of other volunteers. In fact some believe that National placed this guy with us to implode the council and facilitate the merger of our council with the adjacent one. All of that aside, we continue to provide a quality program at all levels. So when someone here in this forum comments that its the volunteers that make the program, they are without a doubt correct.


Going back to the letter for new leaders, as you can guess our district volunteers are up to their eyeballs, another task for them to do would not go over very well.









Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...