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Eamonn

You Are The District.

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Good districts have good volunteer leadership- leaders who can develop a consensus about district goals and can convince others that they - the others - want to cooperate to  achieve the district objectives.

 

Selection of top district leadership in our latest round of reshuffling focused on leadership by "community leaders" (i.e. business executives [$$$$]).  The results for Scouting have been weak at best.   The results for Council have been acceptable.

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Good districts have good volunteer leadership- leaders who can develop a consensus about district goals and can convince others that they - the others - want to cooperate to  achieve the district objectives.

 

But what does this mean? How does any of this help the units? How does any of this further the goal of scouting? From my experience "district goals" have been more around JTE than anything substantial felt at the unit level.

 

I was looking for concrete program ideas and execution by "good districts" which help the units.

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Scouting happens in the unit.  The district cannot replace that, but it can help.

 

In my case, the goals finally agreed-upon were:

 

1. At least two trained commissioned leaders and a trained committee chairman in every unit.  

 

To that end, training to be excellent with staff to be gathered from the NE Ohio area (multi-council) and not just our district.  (As it developed, most of the learners, did not want to go home on Sunday after lunch.  Most stayed for two or more hours beyond the end of the course.)  

 

To that end, recognition of leaders completing training

 

2. Functioning UC's for every unit.

3. All units chartered on time.

4. Day-long JLT twice a year with best possible adult and Scout staff.

5. Recognition of troops using the Patrol Method.

6. Patrol Method training at two or more Roundtables. 

7. Youth-planned and led district camping events (camporee & klondike derby) with all events sponsored, planned, and carried out by units.

8. Back-ups for all key district leaders.

9. Scholarship fund to insure that no leader missed week-long JLT for lack of funds.

10. Outstanding Roundtables largely focusing on unit program.  Savage curtailment of announcement.

 

Our DE wanted - desperately wanted - goals about FOS. (No popcorn then or he would have wanted that too.)  He didn't get a single vote.  We nevertheless led the council in FOS even with honest presentations about where the $$ would go.

 

In fact, we led the council in every metric for three consecutive years.

 

 

 

JTE, IMO, could be a good tool to encourage stronger units but it has been badly implemented by having too many goals, goals administered so as to not reflect actual good Scouting, and reliance on the honor system to keep the junkies in line.  The result is that, in the councils where I volunteer, the results are relatively meaningless.

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<<

2. Functioning UC's for every unit.

3. All units chartered on time.

4. Day-long JLT twice a year with best possible adult and Scout staff.

5. Recognition of troops using the Patrol Method.

6. Patrol Method training at two or more Roundtables. 

7. Youth-planned and led district camping events (camporee & klondike derby) with all events sponsored, planned, and carried out by units.

8. Back-ups for all key district leaders.

9. Scholarship fund to insure that no leader missed week-long JLT for lack of funds.

10. Outstanding Roundtables largely focusing on unit program.  Savage curtailment of announcement.

 

 

So what about Cub Scouts?

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But what does this mean? How does any of this help the units? How does any of this further the goal of scouting? From my experience "district goals" have been more around JTE than anything substantial felt at the unit level.

 

I was looking for concrete program ideas and execution by "good districts" which help the units.>>

 

 

Things that districts should be doing to aid units:

 

 

1. Effective Unit Commissioners

 

2.  Effective Cub Scout and Boy Scout Roundtables

 

3.  District activities units can participate in such as Klondike Derby, Cub Scout Day Camp and district organized Cub Scout activities

 

4.  Assistance with Rechartering and recruiting

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But what does this mean? How does any of this help the units? How does any of this further the goal of scouting? From my experience "district goals" have been more around JTE than anything substantial felt at the unit level.

 

I was looking for concrete program ideas and execution by "good districts" which help the units.>>

 

 

Things that districts should be doing to aid units:

 

 

1. Effective Unit Commissioners

 

2.  Effective Cub Scout and Boy Scout Roundtables

 

3.  District activities units can participate in such as Klondike Derby, Cub Scout Day Camp and district organized Cub Scout activities

 

4.  Assistance with Rechartering and recruiting

 

What do effective commissioners do?

 

What would effective RTs do? What would they consist of?

 

District and council screw up my recharter paperwork. If they stay out of the way I get it done first pass. When they get involved -- which they do only to get what they want out of my unit -- they lose stuff, screw it up or otherwise delay it.

 

Not trying to be argumentative. Just trying to define what "effective" means. I could get behind an organization that provides value to my unit. Those who waste my time, offer things I don't need and require more from me that takes away from my unit are organizations I don't need.

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Purely for the District with no impact on the boys:

 

1. At least two trained commissioned leaders and a trained committee chairman in every unit.

2. Functioning UC's for every unit.

3. All units chartered on time.

5. Recognition of troops using the Patrol Method.

8. Back-ups for all key district leaders.

9. Scholarship fund to insure that no leader missed week-long JLT for lack of funds.

 

A little bit of both:

 

6. Patrol Method training at two or more Roundtables. 

10. Outstanding Roundtables largely focusing on unit program.  Savage curtailment of announcement.

 

Two that will improve the program for the boys:

 

4. Day-long JLT twice a year with best possible adult and Scout staff.

7. Youth-planned and led district camping events (camporee & klondike derby) with all events sponsored, planned, and carried out by units.

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Tough crowd.  

 

I should have mentioned that the goals were selected by the unit leaders assembled at a Roundtable held for that purpose and publicized as such.  (every unit leader and SPL was sent a letter inviting them. Even the lone Varsity type appeared.  My theory was that the "customers" should have the major role in deciding what the district should try to accomplish.

 

1. There is training for many, if not the vast majority of jobs.  Now this may come as a shock to those who know better than everyone else,  but it is generally believed in the real world that properly training a person for the position in which they are expected to perform will result in better performance.

 

Trained Scoutmasters, trained Cubmasters, trained Den Leaders, trained Committee Chairs, trained baseball umpires, trained lawyers, trained carpenters, and trained doctors, in my experience, perform better than those without training.

 

I have just ended five years trying to work with an SM who has taken no training for his position.  No one has ever had the opportunity to try to convince him: a) to use the Patrol Method; b) that advancement is not the sole and only purpose of Scouting; c) that anyone other than him has a single useful idea or experience; d) that there are no BSA policies or practices that he has an responsibility to follow; and e) that the troop should go camping (Summer Camp at a merit badge mill is, of course, the exception).  Nice guy.  Clueless.  

 

For those of you who think that all Scouting and BSA training is inevitably a waste, there is no need for further discussion.  No changing received wisdom.

 

2. The DC decided that UCs should represent the unit to the district and the district to the unit.  They keep units informed of opportunities for program, training, recruiting, fund-raising.and those $1.00 surplus A-1 condition Army surplus duffle bags that appeared why nylon replaced cotton canvas.  They act as resources for the leaders and adults.  They counsel the adults as required ("counsel" being a word of art).  They are especially the primary resource if the unit is having problems rechartering (Council thought the DEs had this job, but they came and went so frequently that we regarded anything they did as a supplement.) They respect the role of the adults in the unit.  Sometimes their job is to just listen.

 

3. Please see point 2 above.  Rechartering is now done annually.  A Roundtable should probably be devoted to that goal.  But the UC should still be the lead helper so the roundtable can be a celebration and time for more program-oriented stuff.

 

 

 

I was looking for concrete program ideas and execution by "good districts" which help the units.>>

 

Strong units have little need for district program.  Program is to primarily take place on the patrol level in Scouts and the Den level in Cubs.  District program is offered to assist the weaker units and to give a view of Scouting as more than just patrols,  The district also directly assists programming in units and their operational components by training their leadership and adults (inclusive of program ideas and leadership of program), by offering program ideas at Roundtables (please see point 10), and by UCs acting as resources and facilitators of networking with successful adults and leaders.

 

 

 

Purely for the District with no impact on the boys:

 

1. At least two trained commissioned leaders and a trained committee chairman in every unit.

2. Functioning UC's for every unit.

3. All units chartered on time.

5. Recognition of troops using the Patrol Method.

8. Back-ups for all key district leaders.

9. Scholarship fund to insure that no leader missed week-long JLT for lack of funds.

 

Your 1 already addressed.  Like others, you must have been bitten by a trainer when young.

Your 2 already addressed.  ditto.  Although old UCs are usually too old to have sharp teeth.  Officious attitudes?

Your 3 - I supposed a unit gets no great joy out of rechartering, but they are no a BSA unit otherwise.  

Your 5 - Recognition of desired behavior is a standard tool to encourage that behavior.  I don't think this is even debatable.

Your 8 - If the district is useless, this does not matter.  If, on the other paw, it is useful, depth in leadership helps insure effectiveness when life interferes with the Happy Land.

Your  9 - For those that have found training of leaders to be useful, insuring that no leader is left out due to financial considerations is a good thing.  For those who believe training is useless, never mind. (I believe one of the bright spots in my oldest council, for all its failures, is consistently insuring that there are scholarships as needed for the week-long leader training, more lately NYLT.)

 

For those with better answers, I wish you had been at the annual meetings when the leaders and adults decided what were were aiming to do.

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Your 1 already addressed.  Like others, you must have been bitten by a trainer when young.

Spit on by trainers ignorant of their subjects and who don't value my time.  Having to re-certify for BBs and Archery every 2 years?  Please.....

 

Your 2 already addressed.  ditto.  Although old UCs are usually too old to have sharp teeth.  

UCs around here are all about checking JTE boxes.  Every now and then they'll answer a paperwork question; but no input that improves the program for the boys.

Officious attitudes?  Our UC is actually a good fellow, or we wouldn't tolerate him.

 

Your 5 - Recognition of desired behavior is a standard tool to encourage that behavior.  I don't think this is even debatable.  

Agreed.  I'm just ranting against the behavior desired by Irving: BSA has become a pyramid scheme.

 

Your 8 - If the district is useless, this does not matter.  You're catching on...

 

 

Tough crowd.  

No way, man!  When you wrote about stuffing FOS, I cheered and high-fived myself.  (Nobody else was around.)
Edited by JoeBob

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@@JoeBob nailed it.

 

@@TAHAWK, I've seen just as many arrogant WBers as I have untrained clueless SMs. Both are condescending as heck. I prefer the latter since the former should know better...but don't. They get off thinking they're the smartest kids in class. They're usually wrong.

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So?   

 

I too have seen clueless WBs.   Reminds me of Carlin's comment about the "average" person.  "Half are worse than that."

 

How do YOU propose to make things better vs cursing the darkness?

 

I prefer to keeping trying.

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What do effective commissioners do?

 

What would effective RTs do? What would they consist of?

 

District and council screw up my recharter paperwork. If they stay out of the way I get it done first pass. When they get involved -- which they do only to get what they want out of my unit -- they lose stuff, screw it up or otherwise delay it.

>>

 

 

 

Well,  an effective district doesn't screw up your recharter paperwork.

 

A couple of years ago,  I couldn't complete my unit recharter because an adult leader's training couldn't be identified on line.  I wound up calling the district Commissioner,  who identified the problem as being multiple BSA numbers,  and he corrected the problem.  THAT was an example of an effective commissioner.

 

I've been a UC for packs and troops. I attend most unit committee meetings and help keep leaders focused on stuff that coming up,  from activities to new leaders that are needed.  I put my shoulder to the wheel to help with understaffed fund raising activities when a need suddenly becomes acute.

 

You know  --- helping leaders be effective and to run an effective program.  Avoiding things that will mature into problems if neglected. 

 

Personally I attend district committee meetings and Roundtables.  I'm well plugged in to what is going on in the district and the council.  I can get the attention of district and council leaders if need be. 

 

I can make those resources available if needed to an otherwise isolated troop or pack as a Unit Commissioner.

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So?   

 

I too have seen clueless WBs.   Reminds me of Carlin's comment about the "average" person.  "Half are worse than that."

 

How do YOU propose to make things better vs cursing the darkness?

 

I prefer to keeping trying.

 

As I have said in the other "district" thread, I focus on my unit. That's my job. When that job ends maybe I will help my district, but the role I have says I need to take care of my boys and my unit, so that's what I do.

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I asked how you "propose to make things better."  We got a lot of good ideas from unit Scouters.  I didn't expect them to focus outside their unit.  In fact, the best ideas came from the Scouters in good units, and in those unis is where we needed them to be.

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I asked how you "propose to make things better."  We got a lot of good ideas from unit Scouters.  I didn't expect them to focus outside their unit.  In fact, the best ideas came from the Scouters in good units, and in those unis is where we needed them to be.

 

I would start by asking units what they need. We need:

  • Less paperwork
  • Faster paperwork processing with fewer errors

That's all we need from district. Others may need more.

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