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What do you want the District to do for you?

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I’ve been asked to serve as district program vice-chair, coordinating the training, advancement, camping promotions, and civic service functions through the committee chairs. I’m enthusiastic but know there is a lot I don’t know.

My question is this: What would you like your district to do to support your units in those areas? (And, conversely, what do you NOT want the district to do? :) )

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Ask them what they want.

I'm now our district camping chair. I've been trying to get a discussion going with the SMs to get them involved with coming up with camporees that help support them. I'm pushing patrol method but other than that I just want events that they want to come to. I've gone to troops and asked scouts for ideas. The response has been a surprise, as in they are surprised that anyone would ask. So far it's worked well.

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Agree with the need to GO and see what they need, not wait at some roundtable or meeting to tell them what they need.  Most leaders could care less about a listening meeting or an input meeting or a conversation and input meeting.  

If truly interested plan to spend some time on the road and go see the units and talk with the leaders at their meetings.   Just listen.  Hear what their successes are and hear what they may be struggling with.  You note you are concentrating with training, advancement, camping promotions, and civic service functions.  That is a target rich environment.  Also go more than once.

While roundtables can play a role, scouting happens at the unit where it is meeting or going camping.  That is where the answers lie.  Not at an adult meeting.

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Better Round Table instruction. Too many times I've gone to RT where the breakout options were: How to score JTE, How to use ScoutBook, or I was assigned to teach X, here is what I found on the internet. Naturally, the instructors treated the class as an assignment rather than an opportunity to share knowledge. If I were in your position, I would visit with Scouters and ask them what they want to learn and also what they would be interested in teaching.

There's a herpetologist in my district that always draws a crowd when he teaches a class. It may have something to do with the three or four venomous creatures he brings or it could be that he has reliable answers on what to do if bitten by a rattlesnake miles away from help (there's a lot of misinformation out there). I've seen breakouts on fly-fishing, homemade CPR dummies, and planning your first 50 miler. I left all of them with new knowledge I could take back to my unit.

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When we are asked this question, in our district, we get a Tom Sawyer response. For example,

Scoutmaster: I think the district should have a STEM event.

District Chair or DE: OK, so you’re hosting the next camproee!

 

Cubmaster: We really need some help in recruitment.

District Chair: Great, we will make you district membership chair.

 

So my advise is to listen to what they have to say, take the good ideas and make a plan, get the help you need and execute. Please don't throw it back on their shoulders of the one who suggested it unless they are volunteering to take it on.

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8 minutes ago, oldisnewagain1 said:

When we are asked this question, in our district, we get a Tom Sawyer response. For example,

 

Scoutmaster: I think the district should have a STEM event.

District Chair or DE: OK, so you’re hosting the next camproee!

 

 

Cubmaster: We really need some help in recruitment.

District Chair: Great, we will make you district membership chair.

 

So my advise is to listen to what they have to say, take the good ideas and make a plan, get the help you need and execute. Please don't throw it back on their shoulders of the one who suggested it unless they are volunteering to take it on.

 

 

And thats why leaders are afraid to speak up.

 

 

As a district program chair myself, I try not to have that approach.

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Posted (edited)

From reading on this forum, many districts do not provide information on special needs scouts. A SM with no experience of how to help special needs scout will run the scout of the troop. 

Edited by ItsBrian
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21 hours ago, scotteg83 said:

 

 

And thats why leaders are afraid to speak up.

 

 

As a district program chair myself, I try not to have that approach.

Out of the blue District called and said it was time for our Troop to plan and run the MB College. I detest our districts MB College because it's run so poorly that it's basically just handing out badges. So, I said OK, and I presented a plan that was completely different from their usual program. The response was, "never mind". 

Barry

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15 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

From reading on this forum, many districts do not provide information on special needs scouts. A SM with no experience of how to help special needs scout will run the scout of the troop. 

As the father of a special needs daughter and a adult unit leader about the only thing the district/council can provide is assistance in advancement changes for the special needs scout.  This process thought the same the changes will be different depending on the special needs of the scout.  Also the accommodations within  the unit for the special needs scout have to be looked at on a case by case manner.

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, ValleyBoy said:

As the father of a special needs daughter and a adult unit leader about the only thing the district/council can provide is assistance in advancement changes for the special needs scout.  This process thought the same the changes will be different depending on the special needs of the scout.  Also the accommodations within  the unit for the special needs scout have to be looked at on a case by case manner.

Some may not even do that.

Edited by ItsBrian

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3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Out of the blue District called and said it was time for our Troop to plan and run the MB College. I detest our districts MB College because it's run so poorly that it's basically just handing out badges. So, I said OK, and I presented a plan that was completely different from their usual program. The response was, "never mind". 

Barry

The guy in our district did that and the scouts really enjoy it. He chucked all the MBs that were school work. They had welding and stuff like that. Some parents freaked out but the scouts enjoyed it. I don't think they went quite as far as what I think you've talked about before.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, MattR said:

The guy in our district did that and the scouts really enjoy it. He chucked all the MBs that were school work. They had welding and stuff like that. Some parents freaked out but the scouts enjoyed it. I don't think they went quite as far as what I think you've talked about before.

Part of what I hate about our district MB College are the scouts are stuck there for 8 hours whether or not (mostly not) they want eight hours of MBs. They had to pay THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS  for lunch and what-not. Some adult  in the past created a huge complex computer spread sheet (probably a WB ticket item) that required filling out all the scouts names, their chosen MBs, counselors and some other stuff. With 400 scouts, that is a ton of work. I redesigned the course to cost NOTHING, the scouts could come and go at their leisure and the only a input for the spread sheet was the counselors information. What's not to like?

Well, I changed a lot more as MattR pointed out, but those are the part District didn't like.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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4 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Out of the blue District called and said it was time for our Troop to plan and run the MB College. I detest our districts MB College because it's run so poorly that it's basically just handing out badges. So, I said OK, and I presented a plan that was completely different from their usual program. The response was, "never mind". 

Barry

What did you present to them?

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Posted (edited)

The other part was the scouts showed up to the college on Friday night to meet all the counselors. They could then learn about the courses and if they decided to take the course, set up the arrangements personally with the counselor. The scouts then had to fill out the Blue Cards and get them signed by the SM or representative adult. Most of the SM's were there so they could sign the cards. The scouts needed cards to get in their classes the next day. The counselors where not required, and actually encouraged, to not complete all the requirements in one day. We would provide two additional saturdays if they needed, and the counselors could set up their own meeting place as well. 

Basically, I just provided a place where the counselors could run their courses. The scouts had to do all the leg work just like they were supposed to do in their own unit. I wanted to switch from treating the scouts like middle school children to adults attending seminars. I also was planning to have district adult training at the same time since we were getting access to the local high school. 

It was so different from their standard MB handout program that District just couldn't buy into it. Just as well, I'm by nature lazy and our SPL would have likely been mad when I delegated it off to him.:laugh:

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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Let's see  now....400 scouts x $35 = $14,000     Call me cynical but I think I know why someone didn't like your program.

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