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Eamonn

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The District I serve is not very big.

Back when I was a member of the Key 3, we had about 40 units and just over 1,100 youth members.

The Crews we had were all spun off from Troops.

The SM's of the Troops, seemed to have been around for ever, nearly all of them were WB trained.

The Packs for the most part had groups of hard core volunteers who really put the interests of the little fellows before anything.

Like many big groups we had a few people who for one reason or another just didn't get along, but for the most part everyone knew everyone else and even those who didn't always see eye to eye were willing to put their differences aside for the good of the Scouts.

District events were always well attended and seemed to be getting better organized.

The Boy Scout R/T meeting was a hard meeting to run, mainly because the Boy Scouter's had been around for so long it was at times like preaching to the choir. Still they came out and if nothing else drank coffee and shared war stories.

The Cub Scout R/T was always fun. Silly songs, skits, craft ideas. Just a group of about 30 - 40 Cub Scouter's having a blast.

Every year in August the District holds a Corn Roast.

This is the kick off for the "New" year.

Every unit used to be there, families were invited. I have seen as many as 200 or 300 people attend.

 

As you might know when Her Who Must Be Obeyed became ill, I went into semi-retirement.

About the same time the District lost the best DE we have had in a very long time. Her replacement was about as useful as pockets in your underwear.

We now have a new DE.

He is a really nice fellow, who is really trying to do a good job.

Things in the District looked so bad that the Council President stepped in, replaced the District Chairman, with a friend of mine who had served as Chair 3 or 4 years before I had the job.

The Chairman is trying to rebuild the District Committee.

He asked me to serve as Membership Chair.

Sadly the people needed to fill all the positions, just aren't there.

The Training Chair. Who wasn't doing a very good job has decided to jump ship. The Advancement Chair resigned at the start of this year.

Things just don't look good.

The corn roast this only seen a handful of units.

I went to R/T this month to do an Eagle Scout BOR. (Because we didn't have an Advancement Chair.) I was saddened to see only eight Cub Scouter's on the Cub Scout side and less on the Boy Scout side.

We had our School Sign up night this week.

All the units were asked to bring the paper work to a central location or if they were unable to make the trip call me on my cell phone.

I sat in this central location for 3 hours, only four units made the trip and no one called.

I wasn't a happy camper.

I had been at the District Golf outing on Monday, this BOR on Wednesday and at Sign-up on Thursday.

Three events in one week, is more than I want to do.

I talked with the Chairman on Wednesday. He is losing heart and is saying that is time for the District to merge.

I can and do see lots of good reasons for merging with another District. Our membership is way down, filling spots needed on the District Committee is a real challenge. But I think a merger will only mask the problems that we have and the end result will be that units receive less service than they have at present.

There has been a rumbling that some members of the Nominating Committee were going to ask if I would return as Chair. The chair we have now also serves as the Council Camping Chair. And that really is his first love.

I have made it clear that I don't want the job.

I don't want to fall back into having meetings 3 and 4 nights a week.

I do think that there must be a way of rebuilding the District and bringing back at least some of the District Spirit and fellowship that was once there.

I'm just not sure how.

I'm also not willing to put the time in that it might take.

Maybe just working away with membership and doing what I can to help is all I can do?

Maybe it's best to let the chips fall where they fall?

Eamonn.

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I don't know but your other issues but I think that having pocket in my underwear could be very handy to foil pickpockets. :-)

 

You've done your time and it is always alright to say "no."

 

It is time for someone else to pick up the ball and run with it.

 

 

Move on and don't let them drag you back.

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Eammon,

 

I feel for you sir. I started Roundtable here at the Army base because no one wanted to travel the one hour plus trip every month (each way) to a District Committee meeting labled "Roundtable". The locals say they want training and RT (but don't want to bother even showing up). I now fill the Resident Camp Program Director, district Roundtable Staff, Unit Commissioner for six units, as well as general go to-it person.

 

It is time for others to step-up for volunteer positions. Otherwise they can lament the loss of opportunity for a program they wanted but didn't have time for. They are NOT the only ones that are busy. We have lives too.

 

My $0.02.

 

Rick

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>>There has been a rumbling that some members of the Nominating Committee were going to ask if I would return as Chair. The chair we have now also serves as the Council Camping Chair. And that really is his first love.

I have made it clear that I don't want the job.

I don't want to fall back into having meetings 3 and 4 nights a week.

I do think that there must be a way of rebuilding the District and bringing back at least some of the District Spirit and fellowship that was once there.

I'm just not sure how.

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Just went to our Councils UC basic training yesterday. One of the biggest things that I heard said by some really hard working Scouters, over and over again and from many of them, is that personally asking for help and participation is the biggest thing that a leader can learn. Our District, like all of BSA I learned yesterday, is down a goodly percentage of Commissioners. One question I had yesterday, which I never actually asked, was Who has been asking whom to do the UC jobs?

 

Seems relevant to this discussion. Who has been asking folks in the District to meet for coffee and then asking them face-to-face to help out? What about your OA group? What about getting a list of all the WB trained folks in your District? How about asking any Eagles registered in your District?

 

One last note from a newbie to Scouting - one thing that has been obvious to me is that there are LOTS of terrific people associated with BSA. Many have been with BSA for a LONG time. Those who have tend, tend I said, to be a bit insular. New blood is a good thing. Think about some of the people who are accomplished, energetic, and appear dedicated but who might not already have a gazillon knots or beads around their neck to help out. From your story it seems that folks in your District are staying with the same cast and returning to the same list of folks over and over again without considering new blood, but considering it thoughtfully.

 

Just my thoughts - best of luck.

 

YIS,

 

Robert

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You could be describing our district. The chair quit, the R/T chair was asked to quit then to not quit. "To be named" appears next to many positions in the district. For some reason the district re-organization of a few years ago went horribly wrong. We even had one of the professional scouters get "released" last month. Other districts in our council appear stronger with many volunteers, their own web sites, regular news letters and so forth. For some reason our district has run dry. We could use you. Want to move to Florida?

 

 

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by Its Me)

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Barry,

As ever you cover a lot of ground.

I have never been one to suffer in silence. So asking people to come on board is not a problem for me.

The District Chairman is a wonderful guy who is very kind and generous, he is willing to take any new members under his wing and help train them. I know this because years back I was under his wing.

I think maybe both he and to some part me are guilty of wanting things to be as they were. While we both say things that might sound like this is not the case, I do believe that deep down we yearn for the way things were and the dedicated volunteers we used to work along side.

The DE who only started working for the BSA in January, is one of the best that I have met for still being new and still being a very young man. He is learning a lot very fast and is really doing his best to do a good job. Of course being new he doesn't know that many people and he has been buried in managing FOS and all that good stuff.

I have suggested that a small group of us meet and have a brain storming meeting to come up with names of people who we could invite to serve.

 

Talking with our Chair, last week he also seems a little upset with the changes that are happening with Commissioner Service. The Council Commissioner, who is also a really nice fellow had a meeting and announced that the Council would be implementing the changes. The idea is that each District will have Commissioners that oversee many of the areas that District Committee members hold (Training, Camping, Membership,). This seems a little silly at this time because we just don't have the manpower to do this. We only have a handful of Commissioners and without wanting to come off sounding unkind most of these are old-timers who come from failed units.

Rebuilding the District Committee would not be an unsurmountable task. It would take time and effort. But I do believe it could be done.

My problem is that I at this time don't want to end up back where I was running from meeting to meeting.

The bigger problem is the lack of community and District Spirit within the District.

We of course have always had the couple of units that have opted to not have anything to do with anything the District does. One or two of these were in the past really good units, with strong membership who offered a great program. (Sometimes I think they did this as a way to rub my nose in it! But the truth is I respected them for what they were doing.)

I'm not sure why things have fallen apart? We now have less units, the ones we have seem to be struggling and we are in a catch 22 situation. These are the units that need the help of the District, but are not asking. The District is falling apart and while maybe it could help these units it (The District) is also struggling.

I am of course aware that I don't have the pizazz I used to have and the ideal answer is new blood and fresh ideas. But as of right now this just isn't available.

Merging might be an answer, but from a geographical point of view it would make the District very large with a wide mix of rural units, mountain units along with units from run down small towns that we seem to have a lot of in our Council. Some units would have to travel about 2 hours to a central location for a R/T meeting and with gas where it is? I just don't see that happening.

Also while it seems that everything is falling apart we as a District have over the years build up about the best Community FOS Campaign, which continues to do well. I very much doubt that anyone in their right mind would want to mess with it.

The District Chairman is a by the book sort of fellow. Where as I might be willing to ignore or put all the changes that are coming down the pike on a back burner (The changes in Commissioner Service.) I think he might be willing to go with them, even if deep down he knows that they are not going to work at this time. He will then use them as a reason (Excuse?) for things not working out.

For now I'm willing to do what I can with membership and help out when and where I'm able too.

At times this doing your best can be a real pain. Working out who gets what when time is in short supply!

Eamonn.

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