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Stosh

Hey District, Are You Listening?

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A friend of mine really screwed up and got himself appointed district camping chairman.  He sent three years trying to crack the Ol' Boy network and effect changes to the district camporee.   He had some great ideas -- a SPL council to get input from the Scouts, not making the weekend wall-to-wall skills competitions, but breaking it up with some interesting demonstrations (like military stuff, the swift-water rescue team or outdoor equipment suppliers), non-traditional campfire featuring Scouts' garage bands, etc.  More of a jamboree feel than a straight, 12-hour day of endless scoutskill competitions.   No dice.  The Ol' Boys felt any change to their camporee format was an assault on the monument -- um, I mean program -- they spent 20 years building.

Edited by Twocubdad
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A friend of mine really screwed up and got himself appointed district camping chairman.  He sent three years trying to crack the Ol' Boy network and effect changes to the district camporee.  

 

I'm sure he was frustrated and he'd probably alienated a few people too.   Camporees are under the district activities team.  District camping chair is about promotion of camping and making sure everything is good to go for camping.  See pages 11-13 of the district committee book.       http://www.scouting.org/filestore/commissioner/pdf/34739.pdf

 

I'm sure your friend could affect change, but he'd first need to demonstrate he was doing his own job well and consistent.  People won't trust you to do their job too if your not doing your own really well first.  And telling them how to do their job takes real skill, more skill then knowing how to run a good camporee.  

 

Volunteers often do this.  They take one job wanting to get involved to see something else change.  

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I'm sure your friend could affect change, but he'd first need to demonstrate he was doing his own job well and consistent.  People won't trust you to do their job too if your not doing your own really well first.  And telling them how to do their job takes real skill, more skill then knowing how to run a good camporee.  

 

Volunteers often do this.  They take one job wanting to get involved to see something else change.  

 

While this is true, there are also the entrenched districts where they disregard this very same manual as much as they cite it for why certain roles shouldn't be helping in certain areas. Can't have your cake and eat it too.

 

Not really adhering to the Scout Law if they slam the door on someone wanting to help even if it is outside of his assigned area.

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Not really adhering to the Scout Law if they slam the door on someone wanting to help even if it is outside of his assigned area.

 

Agreed.  But from what I've seen, scouting has more than it's fair share of quirky adults.  On all sides.  So when I hear two sides are not getting along, it's as often the accuser as then accused.  

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Agreed.  But from what I've seen, scouting has more than it's fair share of quirky adults.  On all sides.  So when I hear two sides are not getting along, it's as often the accuser as then accused.

 

Not sure I agree with the last bit. Old boys networks are a problem and unless you join them you have no shot at changing them. Once in, changing them is darn near impossible until you get more guys like you to join. Waste of effort IMHO which could be re-directed to making your unit and your boys better.

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Hey @@Stosh, just curious but how many units are there in your district and what % participate? In my district there 34 units and less than half participate; mostly because the larger units plan, manage and control the camporee and district. It has gotten so ridiculous that those units have their patrols *practice* the allegedly secret skill competitions a few months prior to camporee so they can sweep the categories. Very scout-like, huh?  :rolleyes:

 

I'm curious what % of other folks' units participate in planning and attending their camporees.

I think there are a couple over 20 units in the district.  4 Troops and 1 Crew showed up for the camporee.  District just north of us has about the same and ALL BUT 3 showed up for their's.

 

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I'm sure your friend could affect change, but he'd first need to demonstrate he was doing his own job well and consistent.  People won't trust you to do their job too if your not doing your own really well first.  And telling them how to do their job takes real skill, more skill then knowing how to run a good camporee.   

 

Fred,

 

We're neither that stupid nor naïve.  My friend was a Scoutmaster for more than a decade, Silver Beaver, jamboree SM, Wood Badge staff, etc., etc., etc. In fact, at one time he ran the camporee under the long-held format.   I'm not 100% sure about him being Camping Chairman, may have been program chairman.  Either way, he was given the job with the mandate from the district key 3 and committee to improve attendance at the district camporees. 

 

The structure of camporee committee is interesting.  Every year at the camporee a new assistant camporee chief is recruited from those present, generally ensuring the leadership is supportive of the current camporee format.  That assistant becomes camporee chief the following year.  But the real power behind the throne are the two old guys who started it in aught nine.  I learned everything I need to know one Friday night checking in.  Another friend of mine was running things.  When we met I noticed he had a cool ball cap with the current camporee patch on the front, scrambled eggs across the bill and "Camporee Chief" across the back.    The two old guys had identical hats.

 

Bottom line, changing the camporee will be full out nuclear war.  Change isn't a possibility only annihilation.  The district was unwilling to stand up to the Ol' Boys and back the guy they appointed to make changes.  So they putter along with a quarter of the troops in the district participating.

 

This is why my Scouting career stops at the door to our Scout house.  Who wants to put up with that sort of mess?

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"This is why my Scouting career stops at the door to our Scout house.  Who wants to put up with that sort of mess?"

 

Twocubdad, well said.

 

The special camporee hats?   Priceless!

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I've seen special "Staff" hats used before, but those were ti ID the folks working the event, you could ask questions about the event, and enforce some of the policies ( "WHATCHA MEAN I CAN'T KEEP MY CAR IN THE CAMPSITE.?!?!?!?!"and the caps are for being screamed at.)

 

Why can't folks realize that the program is for the Scouts and not the adults. :unsure:

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I wonder if districts with poor attendance at camproees ever reach out to the non-participating troops and ask why they don’t attend?

 

Now I don’t mean what the district “has heard†but really reached out to Scoutmasters and PLCs to get their take. There may be information maybe hard to hear for those who have but their heart and sole into events but there is also a chance to improve.

 

It might also be a way for a district to band together.

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Why can't folks realize that the program is for the Scouts and not the adults. :unsure:

 

Vanity. Control. Power. Low self-esteem.

 

Oddly enough I find there's a high correlation between the number of knots, patches and sashes an adult wears and their incessant need for recognition and power.

Edited by Bad Wolf

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I wonder if districts with poor attendance at camproees ever reach out to the non-participating troops and ask why they don’t attend?

 

Now I don’t mean what the district “has heard†but really reached out to Scoutmasters and PLCs to get their take. There may be information maybe hard to hear for those who have but their heart and sole into events but there is also a chance to improve.

 

It might also be a way for a district to band together.

 

Even when we do council-wide camporees, my district still doesn't show.  The council calendar is put out in August, spring camporee is always the first weekend in May and yet two units couldn't attend because they had major fundraising going on that weekend.

 

I do have to admit that the council has done some pretty stupid planning.  They hold a Cub Scout Spook-o-ree in the fall instead of a fall camporee and the Boy Scouts get to come and work it for the Cubs.  That went well the first year and they have been begging the boys to come again and help out.  Even then the boys have to pay for the privilege of volunteering.  That didn't last long.  Eventually the other districts started holding their own camporees and ended up too busy to help with the Cub program.  There are plenty of cub leaders that could step up, but don't.

 

My boys get the district flyers from all three and then pick the one they want to go to.  They will even watch the websites of neighboring councils to see if there is anything interesting there, too.

 

As SM I support my boys and if anyone wants to know what's going on in my troop, they need to be talking to my PL, which you have pointed out, they don't do.

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I wonder if districts with poor attendance at camproees ever reach out to the non-participating troops and ask why they don’t attend?

 

 

Nope. All district cares about is getting info from us. Where do we go to summer camp (already asked and answered two years ago)? What are our JTE numbers? How many people did we recruit? What are our training stats? 

 

I have never seen a UC. I have never heard from my DE. My DC doesn't use my name in emails, just generically refers to me as "Key 3 member". The RTs are a waste of time. The training is a joke and has not changed in decades.

 

I get 10 times more from reading this forum than I have EVER gotten from district.

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I wonder if districts with poor attendance at camproees ever reach out to the non-participating troops and ask why they don’t attend?

 

 

I've been in districts like this--these district staffers won't reach out to the troops.   After all, the district staffers know best, and anything that runs counter to district dogma and tradition is viewed as sedition. 

 

The staffers would rather have 25 percent of the district attend and conform to their (the district staff's idea) of scouting, and not deal with the 75 percent that won't kowtow.   And the district will still insist that the camporee was a runaway success anyway.

 

Many of these district staffers have nothing but disdain for the missing 75 percent anyway.  Why, the SM/ASM that may not have been to WB!   They wear blue jeans instead of official pants!    They won't attend RT!    Why would a silver-looped district staffer stoop to associate with unit scouters like that????? :)

 

So it's an impasse till the old district staffers retire.   The troops do their thing, the district does theirs.   Fortunately, real scouting happens at the unit level.   The sand castle that the district staffers build really doesn't have much bearing on real scouting.   But it sure can be annoying to many unit level scouters.

Edited by desertrat77
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