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CNYScouter

Why attend District/Council events?

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Why attend District/Council events?

 

Most Troops in our district do not attend any of the District/Council events including the Troop we just joined. I have not seen the Troops calendar for the upcoming years but I am pretty sure these types of events will not be on it.

 

What are some reasons why a Troop should attend District/Council events?

 

I can think of a few but there are probably more reasons:

 

1) to show that there is a brotherhood of scouting and that our troop is not alone.

2) they can help plan your yearly calendar if you use troop meeting to prepare for these events.

3) To show your stuff to other Troops.

4) To meet other scouts to exchange ideas about programs.

 

Any more?

 

CNYScouter

 

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I think the answer depends on how good the events were. The last camporee I attended with my troop was so poorly run that we vowed never to return. The kids were unhappy, we were unhappy. The "campfire" was an overcrowded event under a shelter to which chairs were not allowed (sitting on concrete is not for me). So we left and occupied ourselves with other activities. BTW, this was not in the Aloha Council.

 

On the other hand, Makahiki, the oldest Scout Show in America, is a great experience and I never miss it. It accomplishes all the things you list as positives for the kids, plus it gives the general public a chance to see Scouts in action. It's held in the main downtown show venue for Honolulu.

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Hello CNYScouter,

 

 

You have listed a number of good reasons.

 

District events ought to offer challenges, opportunities and learning experiences that a troop by itself generally can't provide.

 

Den Chief Training might be an example.

 

District and Counsel events ought to provide examples of EXCELLENT scout programs, which can help Scouts and Scouters understand how troop events should be conducted, and give them a standard to measure against

 

At summercamp last week, I made a point of explaining to the Scoutmaster how activities were used to capture and hold the interest of Scouts, and usually changed every 15-20 minutes to keep ahead of the boredom and bad behavior than lurks behind a poor program. He started to notice examples of that after a few days.

 

District events can give Scouts an opportunity to learn that practice pays off with expertise that can be measured and wins recognition. This spring, we had a monthly theme of First Aid that was a part of each troop meeting and the theme of our monthly outing. This was followed up by the District First Aid Oree, where our lone patrol won third place overall, a very commendable performance.

 

Then again, I'm fortunate to be in a district that has very good to excellent events consistantly. If they were poor quality, I'd look for another district to visit and participate with.

 

Just as SCOUTS tend to drop out of Troops that have a poor program, I suspect that Troops tend to drop out of District events that aren't of very good to excellent quality.

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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{Required statement of disclosure: I am NOT a big fan of many aspects of districts or councils.}

 

I would schedule district or higher events based SOLELY on their value to my unit. Our district ran some pretty cool things.

 

We owe a certain debt to the district and council, but that does not include blind attendance at events- including the unending meetings you can easily get sucked into.

 

At one point we looked at our calendar- and noticed how much time was getting sucked up by district/council events- fall camporee, Popcorn sales, food drive, winter camporee, spring camporee, conclaves, sporting events... all good and worthwile- but did we need or want to plan our calendar around the 'left-overs'?

 

Other than the food drive, we left the rest of it up to the Scouts to determine. Generally, it gave us a great back-up plan if we could not come up with another good monthly activity.

 

 

 

My view is that THE best reason for Camporees is the inter-unit element- show and tells, bonding, competing against other troops (with ought to build comaraderie in yours!) One of my FAVORITE things to do on a camporee is to wander from campsite to campsite just before a meal and see what others are cooking and how. Incredible ingenuity and skill out there!

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The stock answer is simply to ask the Scouts in your Troop. Another way to get a good answer is to ask your Scouts what they want to get out of their year. Another way is to ask the Scouts what kind of events they want to attend. A last method is to let the Scouts decide for themselves, of course, with committee approval for their support. I cannot think of any other reasons that don't include the Scouts in figuring it out. Other than the reasons listed, it looks like the Scouts have the best answers because I am positive we don't.

 

I hope this helps,

FB

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The old troop we were with never attended these, as the SM planned all the trips and he didnt like to attend Camporees so we never went. As he had been the SM for 12 years, there were no Scouts in the Troop that had ever been to one, so even if they were asked to set up a yearly schedule no one knew what they were anyways.

 

When asking the scouts in our new Troop about these events I got this answer form an older Scout who had been in the troop 5 years: We stopped going to these for 2 reasons -

1)We felt out of place because we never wore our uniforms and everyone else was in full uniform.

2)They never won anything.

 

He also went on to say that troop meeting used to be a get together to play football and once in a while to work on a Merit Badge. Right now, there are only 2 or 3 older scouts that have ever been to a Camporee in the Troop. The SM was not a Scout as a boy and he has never been to one either.

 

I know when I was in Scouts we spent Troop meetings practicing the skills we needed to compete at the Camporees and usually won some type of award. We were usually one of the better Troops in attendance. (at least we though so). I do not see this going on in most troops today.

 

I feel that these are a great part of the Scouting experience and my son is missing a great deal in not attending. I was very disappointed that neither his old Troop nor his new Troop made any mention about the National Jamboree and no one from either Troop attended.

 

I also see that when I ask what are some the better Troops in the area, they all seem to attend district events. From what I see is that because instead of spending time trying to come up with ideas on what to do, they are spending time presenting Scouting skills and how to better present the scouting program.

 

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The troop I serve "used" to have a tradition of going to camporees but never winning anything. We had problems that ranged anywhere from not knowing how to build a fire to having scouts quarrel amoung theselves.

 

I made a challenge back in 97 that if any patrol placed First, or Second, or Third in a Camporee the patrol leader of that Patrol could throw a pie in my face at a meeting. The only condition I had was that I would supply the pie, i mean, wouldnt you?

 

Any way, three pies later the scouts know what it takes to win and they prepare. Another scout leader in our district was well known for his almost waist length hair. His pony tail was his signature. Last Klondike (2005) he told his troop a 1, 2, 3 finish by a patrol would mean he would cut it off. His Patrol's finished 1 and 3.

 

See if you can get the PLC to make a committment to attending a Distirct events and not stop at the first "bad" experience. Stay at it, have them critique their experiences and improve, I might be fun, and a pie in the face actually doesnt hurt

(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Ah, the old pie in the face trick. Nothing motivates a scout more...

 

I believe in supporting district or council events, if they are well-run and offer an opportunity to do something that would be hard to do yourself. We let the boys decide, but I encourage them to participate if I think it will be a good experience. They've talked about not doing Klondike next year, but I tell them that they'll have to replace it with some other outdoor activity. They will probably end up going again.

 

As for troops who never go because they had a bad experience 10 years ago, I think they are doing the district and their scouts a disservice. Give it a chance, maybe it will be a great experience for the boys.

 

Finally, one reason I haven't seen mentioned on this thread, is letting the boys get to know other scouts and find out that some of their classmates are actually scouts in other units. Every time we go to one of these, I hear a scout say something like "I didn't know Billy was a boy scout, he's in my Algebra class". Billy goes from being just another kid in class to a fellow scout.

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District events are only as good as the amount of effort your unit puts in to it. The district "staff" after all, come from the units. Don't like the campfire at a camporee? Volunteer your unit to set up and run the campfire at the next camporee. Get a member of the troop committee or an ASM to volunteer to serve on the event committee. Challenge the district to do something different and come up with some ideas.

 

Not all camporees need to be competitive - one of the best camporees I attended was themed around the cooking merit badge - every station corresponded to one of the requirements - at the end of the camporee, every scout had earned the cooking merit badge. Those that had the badge served as junior instructors at the stations.

 

The competitive nature of the camporees were always somewhat of an issue. There are always some "powerhouse" troops that seem to go in fighting to take it all. I doubt that can ever be solved - except by the attitude the leaders take - in our unit, the leaders didn't make a big deal out of winning - they made a big deal out of having fun - and if we weren't having fun, we had the option of returning to camp and planning our own activity/hike for the rest of the day.

 

Just my two cents (sorry, 3 cents - inflation ya know).

 

Calico

 

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Sad to say there are Troops in the District I serve, that if it wasn't for District and Council events would have no program what so ever.

Trying to get the District Committee to judge an event on its merit and not by the attendance has long been an up hill battle.

I see District events as the District supporting the unit. If the unit is busy doing things elsewhere or following a theme that the District isn't, the unit should do it's own thing and us District types ought to be giving the unit a pat on the back.

Of course the trick is having District events that everyone wants to attend. Having the SPL's attend R/T meetings and plan Camporees has worked wonders in our District. Even some of the miserable old goats that hadn't attended a District event in decades are now participating.

Boy Power really works.

Eamonn.

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My boys like District events. We also take part if some Council Events. Most of those get to big though.

 

My suggestion is, if you go to a District Event that you think is poorly planned, step up to the bat and help. District Events are planned by leaders just like yourself. There is, in most cases very little if any help from Councils for these activities.

And like many other things when the same people have to keep planning the events they begin to run out of ideas and energy. They simply get stale.

 

 

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As a "blue-tab" who recently crossed over to the "red-tabs", I find it appalling that so many Troops ignore district and council events.

 

Many SMs and ASMs complain they don't have enough Webelos joining their Troops every spring, the same Troops who go out-of-council for summer camp and who avoid local events at all costs.

 

So just how do they expect to "show their stuff" to local Webelos if they go to events where local Webelos normally don't go?

 

I have absolutely zero sympathy for those who whine about declining membership (as a result of fewer Webelos joining them) when those same Scouters do nothing to encourage their Troops to participate in local events.

 

So why attend local events? To showcase your Troop to those Webelos you want to attract and who can't afford to follow you out-of-council to see your Troop.

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Linda J-

The way Districts events are run in our district is that Troops are asked to Host and run the Camporee.

Since the Troops I have been with have no desire to even attend District events there is no way they are interested in hosting or running an event.

In fact, I am going on 3 years being a Troop leader I have not attended a single Boy Scout District event as the Troop usually schedules their own trips opposite the District events.

 

If no Troops come forward (about 2/3 of the time) our "old timers" run the event. To become one of the "old-timers" you need to be in scouting at least 20 years in Scouting and then be selected to join the group.

 

fgoodwin - I have to agree. I saw the same type of thing when I had Troops tell me they hadn't had a new scout in over 2 years but I never saw them represented at School recruitment night (there are 3 Troops drawing from the same 3 or 4 schools)

 

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