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fred8033

Kudos to my council - Northern Star

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Kudos to my council - Northern Star ... centered in Mpls / St. Paul, MN. 

I listened to a presentation last night about pending district changes and re-aligning how the council / districts serve units.  Re-engineering to serve units first.  Re-aligning districts.  Though few precise details were given, the right words were said and the presentation was very good.  The timing was right to ease into a significant change.  The right change processes seem to be happening.  ... I trust the delivered changes will rise to the level suggested in the presentation.  

I'm proud to be in the council.  I've always been extremely impressed with the council leadership and staff.  My family and I are very lucky to be in such a great council.

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14 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

Kudos to my council - Northern Star ... centered in Mpls / St. Paul, MN. 

I listened to a presentation last night about pending district changes and re-aligning how the council / districts serve units.  Re-engineering to serve units first.  Re-aligning districts.  Though few precise details were given, the right words were said and the presentation was very good.  The timing was right to ease into a significant change.  The right change processes seem to be happening.  ... I trust the delivered changes will rise to the level suggested in the presentation.  

I'm proud to be in the council.  I've always been extremely impressed with the council leadership and staff.  My family and I are very lucky to be in such a great council.

I have often heard good things about the Northern Star Council. Several years ago a couple of districts in that council set the gold standard for Unit Commissioners Corps. I've been told over the years to look at Northern Star Council for good examples of several projects I was on. I will be interested in hearing what they do with this re-engineering.

Barry

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I own only one council patch of which I am not or was not a member. 

On 7/27/2012 at 9:31 PM, RememberSchiff said:

Well a very small step of support, I ordered my Northern Star Council patch. I will sew it on when it arrives.

 

My $1.60 + $0.45 postage :)

 

Edited by RememberSchiff
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The "most notable changes" from the web page:

  • District functions will be narrowed and re-focused on building strong units through two things only: coaching, and recruitment/membership support.
  • All other current district committee members will be invited to be part of a centralized council committee - activities, advancement, camping, communications, FOS, OA, popcorn, roundtables, or training.
  • All 16 district boundaries will shift to create 13 new Scouting districts that coincide with school districts.

That first point really gets to the heart of what is (in my opinion) the single greatest problem for BSA:  unit program quality.  All Scouting is local -- recruitment of new Scouts, the program provided to Scouts that leads to desired outcomes, and retention of Scouts through interesting/challenging/fun activities.

The slide presentation linked from the web page has a set of "Findings," including:

  • Commissioner role is not commonly understood; Approach to unit service varies in performance and effectiveness
  • Not all units are healthy – and we want them to be
  • Units are looking for increased support in recruiting youth and parents/volunteers 

While it is easy to say that these findings are obvious to anyone paying attention, what is striking is that so many people are apparently paying attention.

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6 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

 

That first point really gets to the heart of what is (in my opinion) the single greatest problem for BSA:  unit program quality.  All Scouting is local -- recruitment of new Scouts, the program provided to Scouts that leads to desired outcomes, and retention of Scouts through interesting/challenging/fun activities.

 

Self-inflicted.  Local Councils once had Neighborhood Commissioners whose job was just that and they had the  power to make corrections with no reluctance about confrontation.  

 

 

Edited by RememberSchiff
Typo
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1 minute ago, RememberSchiff said:

Self-inflicted.  Local Councils once had Neighborhood Commissioners whose job was just that and had they had the  power to make corrections with no reluctance about confrontation.  

So very true.  Somewhere along the way, someone decided that unit commissioners would be "friends" of the units and could only try to persuade with words, not arm-twisting, and would be "doctors" of the units but could only diagnose, not treat.  But you can't have all units meet at least a minimum quality standard without the power to fix things in units, and if necessary, shut them down or merge them.  Perhaps this initiative will take the pressure off district officials to keep units on the rolls regardless of their condition.  

There used to be a commissioner publication, Commissioner Helps for Packs Troops and Crews, No. 33618, that actually listed performance standards for units in 38 categories.  I think the last edition may have been 2011.  It would be a good starting place for "Start, Stop, Continue" coaching discussions with units.

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18 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

Self-inflicted.  Local Councils once had Neighborhood Commissioners whose job was just that and they had the  power to make corrections with no reluctance about confrontation.  

I've read and learned a lot about scouting.  I've never heard of the neighborhood commissioner approach.  When did that change?  For the last 20 years, I've only seen rather ineffective commissioner corps.  

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25 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

I've read and learned a lot about scouting.  I've never heard of the neighborhood commissioner approach.  When did that change?  For the last 20 years, I've only seen rather ineffective commissioner corps.  

In my old Council,  I think the change occurred  with the Improved Scouting Program so early 70's. 

I believe @TAHAWK  and some other members here were Neighborhood Commissioners. Their recollections are likely more accurate than mine.

Edited by RememberSchiff

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18 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

So very true.  Somewhere along the way, someone decided that unit commissioners would be "friends" of the units and could only try to persuade with words, not arm-twisting, and would be "doctors" of the units but could only diagnose, not treat.  But you can't have all units meet at least a minimum quality standard without the power to fix things in units, and if necessary, shut them down or merge them.  Perhaps this initiative will take the pressure off district officials to keep units on the rolls regardless of their condition.  

You can't do that with the Chartered Organization structure. Councils (and thus council volunteers/pros) do not, and should not, have the authority to shut down or merge units. 

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8 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

You can't do that with the Chartered Organization structure. Councils (and thus council volunteers/pros) do not, and should not, have the authority to shut down or merge units. 

The only problem that I see is an unwillingness by Council to  confront and use their authority. Our CO has not provided us a meeting place for years but Council ignores our concerns, surely the unit can find a meeting place in the community. 

 

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11 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

You can't do that with the Chartered Organization structure. Councils (and thus council volunteers/pros) do not, and should not, have the authority to shut down or merge units. 

In the Annual Unit Charter Agreement, chartered organizations agree to (among other things): "Conduct the Scouting program consistent with BSA rules, regulations, and policies."  If a chartered organization is not living up to its end of the bargain, the council can decide not to recharter the unit.  So yes, the council can shut a unit down and make arrangements for its members to transfer to another unit.  

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15 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

So yes, the council can shut a unit down and make arrangements for its members to transfer to another unit.  

No...they can't. What you are talking about is a CO abiding by the guide to safe scouting and ensuring YPT policies. Nothing says a unit should get should get shut down by the council for running a poor program. 

Edited by carebear3895

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@carebear3895 It doesn't work the other way either.   A poorly run council or one that violates the charter agreement doesn't get shut down by National and units are trapped to move to other councils by the geographic franchise rule.

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3 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

No...they can't. What you are talking about is a CO abiding by the guide to safe scouting and ensuring YPT policies. Nothing says a unit should get should get shut down by the council for running a poor program. 

They can, but they don't.  There's nothing in the Annual Unit Charter Agreement that limits the chartered organization's obligations to following safety policies, and nothing that excludes performance issues.  Granted, many (if not all) councils would consider it unthinkable to exercise the power to shut down a unit for something as trivial as poor performance.  Which is why poorly-performing units persist as obstacles to membership recruitment and retention.

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