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ParkMan

Making District Committee meetings useful

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I've been helping out a bit on our district committee.  Our meetings are efficient enough - just not much happens there.  We have some status updates, discuss an item or two.  We resolve communication issues or discuss chronic problems.

I was hoping this group might have some suggestions for making these meetings more impactful.

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Sounds much like the districts I've been a part of in years past. 

My current district is rural.  Some folks drive 30 - 60s minutes to get to the monthly district meeting.  Several folks wear 2 hats, district and unit.  So here's our MO:  we have no round tables, no RT commissioner or staff.  Everyone--district and unit level alike--gathers for one meeting a month and it's a hybrid RT/classic district meeting.  One hour long.  The socializing afterwards is just as valuable as the meeting itself.  I realize this probably won't work for big districts, but it works for us.

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I despise meetings that have more than a few seconds dedicated to reports and status updates.  Send those in 10 days in advance of the meeting and disseminate to the attendees a week in advance.  At the meeting the chair asks "any questions or concerns on the reports?  No? Next item."  They rank right up with announcements as biggest time wasters.  If I'm going to drive an hour to a meeting don't waste my time with something that can be handled in an email.

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I hate to say this to those with a bad experience, but that monthly district committee meeting can be most useful and needed.  Our district commissioners have their meeting the hour prior to the committee meeting, so we knock out both meetings on the same day of the month.  It is not the place for roundtable or a council meeting, that is mentioned above.  The district committee meeting is for district business and not a whole lot of just talk.  Like any meeting in scouts, there should be a meeting plan and stick to it.  With over 15 people on our committee serving 40 units, our meeting stays on district business.  Whether a district with 40 units or 13, keep it on task and be done.  We manage to keep ours to one hour.  Most sidebars are held elsewhere and other times.  The district meeting is when individual program chairs can update on their piece.   

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Thanks for the feedback here.  Much appreciated.

In our case, we do collect reports ahead of time and similarly distribute those ahead of time.  We then try to use the meeting to discuss issues of importance to the group.  But, I struggle with what those are.  Usually they end up being specific problems that the one or two people need to focus on.  Those problems also could be handled outside the meeting.  It's not uncommon for us to have a 60 minute or less meeting.

In terms of making it useful, what kinds of district business do you discuss?

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4 hours ago, Double Eagle said:

I hate to say this to those with a bad experience, but that monthly district committee meeting can be most useful and needed.  Our district commissioners have their meeting the hour prior to the committee meeting, so we knock out both meetings on the same day of the month.  It is not the place for roundtable or a council meeting, that is mentioned above.  The district committee meeting is for district business and not a whole lot of just talk.  Like any meeting in scouts, there should be a meeting plan and stick to it.  With over 15 people on our committee serving 40 units, our meeting stays on district business.  Whether a district with 40 units or 13, keep it on task and be done.  We manage to keep ours to one hour.  Most sidebars are held elsewhere and other times.  The district meeting is when individual program chairs can update on their piece.   

This sounds almost identical to how my district operates. As far as what is discussed, well, everything from budget issues, upcoming events, scheduling & managing Eagle B'sofR, special unit needs, leadership roles, policy changes, et cetera. We often just manage to squeeze everything into the one hour we allot ourselves, thus it's all business and always relegated to relevant, important topics. We have to keep on task or we'd end up being there all night, and while our district team is very close and friendly one with another, we try to keep all our socializing for after, or simply wait for other events more conducive to fellowshipping. 

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