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fred8033

Kudos to my council - Northern Star

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4 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

The JTE is not at all what I am envisioning as it is simply a checklist. There is no quality continuum. There is a vast difference between a troop that has 20 camping nights a year all planned and executed by the adults where the scouts basically show up unload stuff from the trailer and maybe cook their own food. vs a troop whose patrols plan independent camping trips on their own (in accordance with ypt) where each patrol member is responsible for some aspect such as patrol qm getting/returning gear from the troop qm. 

You're right, but I see those as separate program elements, each with its own performance criteria:

  1. How many nights does the troop together do short-term camping?
  2. Does each patrol (other than a New Scout patrol) go on independent overnight camping trips without the rest of the troop?  How many nights?
  3. Do the adult leaders and senior youth leaders train other youth leaders on how to plan and execute camping trips and other outings? 
  4. Are trained youth leaders actually in charge of planning and executing camping trips and other outings?

If not broken down into separate program elements, there are too many variables at play to get a good assessment of performance.  If nights camping was the only metric, it wouldn't tell you much.  But break it down and you can get a much better picture of a troop's performance.

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2 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

You're right, but I see those as separate program elements, each with its own performance criteria:

  1. How many nights does the troop together do short-term camping?
  2. Does each patrol (other than a New Scout patrol) go on independent overnight camping trips without the rest of the troop?  How many nights?
  3. Do the adult leaders and senior youth leaders train other youth leaders on how to plan and execute camping trips and other outings? 
  4. Are trained youth leaders actually in charge of planning and executing camping trips and other outings?

If not broken down into separate program elements, there are too many variables at play to get a good assessment of performance.  If nights camping was the only metric, it wouldn't tell you much.  But break it down and you can get a much better picture of a troop's performance.

Exactly! Which is what I was attempting to describe as a better alternative system than what currently exists.

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Where this gets tricky is in how you compare the criteria against other aspects of the program. 

For example - what's better:

  • a troop with 20 nights of camping at the same local campsite, but all planned and executed by Scouts
  • a troop with 20 nights of camping of varying types and at interesting locations, but where adults are doing some of the planing.

Where I struggle with the idea of giving commissioner's the power to enforce change.  What makes a commissioner's judgement any better than the unit leaders?   A troop decides it wants to be a backpacking troop - the unit commissioner disagrees.  Who wins?

Again - I'm all for creating a clearer set of expectations for what a successful program looks like.  I think this is a wonderful idea.  Such expectations can then be used to hold roundtable discussions with unit leaders and can form the basis of more advanced training.  i.e., what are effective ways to educate scouts on how to plan and execute camping trips.

But, creating a system where we try to institute some sort of top down control of units seems problematic.  I'm dubious on the idea for commissioners to have that authority.  I sudder at the idea for professionals to have that authority.

 

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3 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Where this gets tricky is in how you compare the criteria against other aspects of the program. 

For example - what's better:

  • a troop with 20 nights of camping at the same local campsite, but all planned and executed by Scouts
  • a troop with 20 nights of camping of varying types and at interesting locations, but where adults are doing some of the planing.

Where I struggle with the idea of giving commissioner's the power to enforce change.  What makes a commissioner's judgement any better than the unit leaders?   A troop decides it wants to be a backpacking troop - the unit commissioner disagrees.  Who wins?

Again - I'm all for creating a clearer set of expectations for what a successful program looks like.  I think this is a wonderful idea.  Such expectations can then be used to hold roundtable discussions with unit leaders and can form the basis of more advanced training.  i.e., what are effective ways to educate scouts on how to plan and execute camping trips.

But, creating a system where we try to institute some sort of top down control of units seems problematic.  I'm dubious on the idea for commissioners to have that authority.  I sudder at the idea for professionals to have that authority.

 

I don't think there would be any option but to select program elements that are considered universal (things every unit at that program level -- Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouts -- should be doing regardless of geographic location, unit size, girls/boys, etc.) and can be objectively measured (are they doing it yes/no; how many; how long) so that the criteria are not subject to interpretation or judgment calls.  Then sort that list into levels, as @DuctTape described, from basic to advanced.  Then select a finite number of those elements as the ones that will be used as indicators of program quality.  In making those selections, there will have to be some judgments made about what to include and what not to include, and there will be elements considered significant that will be left out just because the list is too long or because it is difficult to pin down an objective measure or to decide how much or how many indicates quality (What distance to a campground is considered "local"?  What ratio of local to non-local camping is considered adequate for a good program? What if the unit camps at a local campground overnight but goes off to interesting places for adventures during the day?).  

Edited by dkurtenbach

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One thing to remember is that determining quality is most often subjective, hence descriptors not numbers. Quantity is easy to determine objectively, as it is a number already. 

Subjective measures are not bad, in fact they are usually found where quality is the highest. Michelin stars for chefs are solely from subjective analysis for example. 

Thus we should not shy away from subjectivity, but embrace it. 

 

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Sea scouts has a national flagship nominated every year. Maybe Scouts BSA needs a national  flagtroop nominated every month.

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On 12/2/2019 at 4:46 PM, 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.  

 

BSA isn't concerned with program.  Their focus is on finance.   If commissioners had the power to "make corrections" in a unit, they would very quickly start using that power to mandate fundraising.  The commissioners job would be entirely about $$$.  

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1 hour ago, David CO said:

BSA isn't concerned with program.  Their focus is on finance.   If commissioners had the power to "make corrections" in a unit, they would very quickly start using that power to mandate fundraising.  The commissioners job would be entirely about $$$.  

Good point. The difference in council mindsets between then and now. 

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On 12/24/2019 at 10:25 AM, David CO said:

The commissioners job would be entirely about $$$.  

It already is.  When I was a UC, FOS, Popcorn, and Camp Cards were the first agenda item on 9 of 10 monthly meetings during the scout year.  Maybe 8, charter renewal fell in there a couple of times as well, but, that's also about cash.

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

It already is.  When I was a UC, FOS, Popcorn, and Camp Cards were the first agenda item on 9 of 10 monthly meetings during the scout year.  Maybe 8, charter renewal fell in there a couple of times as well, but, that's also about cash.

Did you all ever revolt?  If I were a UC and it was just about that every month I think I'd go batty!

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5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Did you all ever revolt?  If I were a UC and it was just about that every month I think I'd go batty!

Most of us just quit, so yeah I guess. 

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