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Providing useful feedback for adult leaders

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1 hour ago, David CO said:

Nope. They can just ignore the district and council leaders, just like most of us are already doing. 

This is the root of the problem, in that units can choose to completely disregard BSA regulations and policies without any real repercussion. 

Obviously all units operate a bit differently and there can be some gray areas, in how programs are administered, but conversely, there are also clear, black and white, cases of ethical wrongdoing (perhaps not illegal, but unquestionably unethical) in which the BSA needs to step in, take action, enforce the GTA and GTSS and if necessary remove scout leader(s) and/or unit charters of leaders or units who prove to be detrimental or willful towards the youth that they are supposed to be serving

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6 minutes ago, SSF said:

This is the root of the problem, in that units can choose to completely disregard BSA regulations and policies without any real repercussion. 

Obviously all units operate a bit differently and there can be some gray areas, in how programs are administered, but conversely, there are also clear, black and white, cases of ethical wrongdoing (perhaps not illegal, but unquestionably unethical) in which the BSA needs to step in, take action, enforce the GTA and GTSS and if necessary remove scout leader(s) and/or unit charters of leaders or units who prove to be detrimental or willful towards the youth that they are supposed to be serving

You need to remember that these are their kids.  BSA didn't give birth to these kids.  BSA doesn't feed them, or clothe them, or educate them.

The kids belong to the parents, and to some extent, to the churches/schools/organizations in which the families freely choose to associate.  These are the Chartered Organizations.

This is the root of the problem. Some over-zealous BSA supporters have come to feel that the Chartered Organizations are merely sponsors, and not the true owners of the units. 

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1 hour ago, David CO said:

Nope. They can just ignore the district and council leaders, just like most of us are already doing. 

 

44 minutes ago, SSF said:

This is the root of the problem, in that units can choose to completely disregard BSA regulations and policies without any real repercussion.

This isn't the root of the problem.  The root of the problem is unit quality.  Many units out there just don't have the combination of desire/skills/talent to have quality programs.  BSA rules and regulations have little to do with it.  It's a strength of the BSA system that units are independent of the BSA.

There's a secondary problem observed here in dysfunctional relationship that exists in many parts between unit and district.  Districts shouldn't have let the relationships get so poor that it's considered sport to dislike the district folks.  Similarly units have exasperated the problem by disengaging from the district.  Putting aside the FOS part of the district, it's essentially a volunteer driven group of experienced volunteers who should be there to help units succeed.  That this relationship is dysfunctional is a problem for Scouting.

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I'd rather the Districts/Council not have an inquisitorial staff. Rather this shouldn't be something adversarial in nature. It shouldn't be a performance review like at work. Rather, the BSA requires the basics (YPT, SM Specific, IOLS). Those need to be made stronger and more impactful. Beyond that, the leadership of a troop should desire self improvement. The resources are honestly in place in many places. Wood Badge can be part of that. Participating in Round tables if your district has ones that are useful. Participating in forums like these. There a number of wonderful books to read about Scouting that can make us better at what we do.  Just like at work, we're at our best when we continue to grow, take on new challenges and learn new things. 

Is it unfortunate that some Troops run terrible programs, cause Scouts to leave Scouting and burnout otherwise excellent volunteers? Sure. But remember, Districts and Councils are equally capable of achieving that too. I generally think a soft power approach for this would work more effectively than a hard power approach.

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10 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

I'd rather the Districts/Council not have an inquisitorial staff.

Absolutely.  

I think it's equally important for district/council scouters to receive feedback as well.  Not from peers (the mutual admiration society) but from the units they serve. 

Those outbriefs would be interesting.

 

Edited by desertrat77
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1 hour ago, desertrat77 said:

I think it's equally important for district/council scouters to receive feedback as well.  Not from peers (the mutual admiration society) but from the units they serve. 

Of course.  Constructive feedback should flow to, from, and within every organizational component and the people and organizations they interact with.  It is the only way to get data needed to improve.  And sometimes, unusual feedback, or feedback back from an unexpected source, is what sparks improvement when nothing else will.  Receiving feedback per se is not a problem for most folks -- we love positive feedback. No one likes feedback that points out mistakes or below-par performance, especially from folks who think they know everything, or aren't getting critiqued in return.  That is a reason why mutual or 360 degree feedback is important -- that we know that those giving feedback are also getting feedback.  As Scouts, our feedback must be given with the Scout Law in mind.  And while we should receive feedback as a gift, it is also true that gifts can vary widely in quality and value; so all feedback should be examined by the one who receives it to pick out what matters and what is actionable, what can be immediately discarded and what should be put on a shelf for consideration later. 

Yes, Scouting is a jolly game.  But it has a serious purpose that can continue to have a major impact on our society.  It is up to each of us to decide if that is something we care about more than the temporary sting of the occasional critique.

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15 hours ago, David CO said:

You need to remember that these are their kids.  BSA didn't give birth to these kids.  BSA doesn't feed them, or clothe them, or educate them.

The kids belong to the parents, and to some extent, to the churches/schools/organizations in which the families freely choose to associate.  These are the Chartered Organizations.

This is the root of the problem. Some over-zealous BSA supporters have come to feel that the Chartered Organizations are merely sponsors, and not the true owners of the units. 

The CO owns the unit, however, they are still chartered under the BSA and are therefore obligated to run the BSA program as intended.  

If the CO doesn't want any limitations on what they can or can't do then they should establish themselves as something other than a BSA unit; i,.e. the Charter Org Youth Group or the Dads and Sons Camping Club, rather than a legitimately established BSA unit.

Also, the vast majority of CO's tend to be far removed from the operations of their units and take a very hands off approach to how those units are being run.

I realize this may not be the case for your CO and unit, but the majority of CO's don't get involved with their units, are not aware or interested in what the units are doing and I think the majority of CO's like it that way. They don't want to get involved and just think of themselves as providing a place for the unit to hold meetings and store equipment. 

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4 hours ago, SSF said:

Also, the vast majority of CO's tend to be far removed from the operations of their units and take a very hands off approach to how those units are being run.

If so, why don't we fix this problem first? Then we can let the CO improve the unit.

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16 hours ago, David CO said:

If so, why don't we fix this problem first? Then we can let the CO improve the unit.

Yes, that's a very good point.

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On 1/20/2019 at 10:02 PM, Sentinel947 said:

I'd rather the Districts/Council not have an inquisitorial staff. Rather this shouldn't be something adversarial in nature. It shouldn't be a performance review like at work. Rather, the BSA requires the basics (YPT, SM Specific, IOLS). Those need to be made stronger and more impactful. Beyond that, the leadership of a troop should desire self improvement. The resources are honestly in place in many places. Wood Badge can be part of that. Participating in Round tables if your district has ones that are useful. Participating in forums like these. There a number of wonderful books to read about Scouting that can make us better at what we do.  Just like at work, we're at our best when we continue to grow, take on new challenges and learn new things. 

Is it unfortunate that some Troops run terrible programs, cause Scouts to leave Scouting and burnout otherwise excellent volunteers? Sure. But remember, Districts and Councils are equally capable of achieving that too. I generally think a soft power approach for this would work more effectively than a hard power approach.

Really, I feel like there should be a person in each District who runs around and tells all the volunteers, THANK YOU regularly.  So many Scouters are underappreciated.  

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On 1/19/2019 at 4:10 AM, Chris1 said:

The bigger problem is the power and influence Some of the SMs have at District and Council levels. They are above the law, and fill course staffs and programs with like-minded friends. 

If anyone has the audacity to give them any type of feedback, or point out policy, you can be sure to be blacklisted and retaliation will continue for some time. Oh and don't expect to ever get an award at District or council level. 

I wish someone would take action, but council seems to look the other way.

I have wondered how many good scouters drop out due to these self centered SMs. 

 

Change.

Recognizing that some will wish to go their own way, might we start at the National level?

If BSA wished to promote actual use of the Patrol Method, what might they do?

After the message is clear through words and deeds over a reasonable period of time, it might be  appropriate to discuss how to discourage refusal to use/or ineptitude in providing the Patrol Method.  

Example, "Journey to 'Excellence'" might be amended to provide points for actual use of the Patrol Method, rather than merely having youth with certain titles.

All this would, of course,  require someone(s) at National who know what the Patrol Method is.  Six years ago, there was such a person.


 

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