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Council Activities Overbooked

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My question to the scouters out here. What is your busiest month for scouting in your district/council. Do they break things down pretty good and have a good year of activities, or do they overbook their weekends.




The month of April for us has something EVERY weekend. Some things are double booked. This makes it hard for those of us to do certain things that we want because of other committments that we are required to do. Example, UoS is the first weekend, that is also the same weekend of Webelos Weekend by the OA, and I won't be able to attend either due to attending a paramedic class that is mandatory. THen there is our District PWD, Conclave, and Camporee.


So there is just so much going on. This is the first time that I have seen UoS in our council, and I will not be able to attend.


Not to mention we have NCS coming to our council and it is booked with like 3 other things that weekend.


Who shold we talk to about this. There has got to be something that can be done. Or do we as leaders keep being forced to choose one thing over another.

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What would the solution be SctDad, to schedule activities only on days when no one has any conflicting plans? I don't think that is possible.

Life is full of choices, and there is no reason to feel you have to go to everything in a years time.


It is not unusual for councils to have multiple events on any given day, especially on weekends.

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I think most every Council struggles with this.


Unlike BW, though, I think there's an agency which should be setting policy on activities scheduling: The Executive Board. The Council President should be giving guidance, on behalf of the Board, to the COO of the Council (the SE), as well as the chief program volunteer (the Council Commissioner). They in turn can have talks with the Professionals.


Springtime, though, is the busy season for a Council: It's time to get camps ready for the season. One of the big missions of a Council, by the Charter Agreement with the Chartered Partners, is to provide program activities (this means day camps and LT camps). There is much to be done, and managing the resources available (partuclarly the volunteers available to do things) isn't the easiest chore in the world.


Now, please understand, there is virtually no way on earth once you have Councils' part of the calendar down, not to have conflict when you lay Districts' calendar down. It's just gonna be busy.


My best suggestion for the moment? Have a friendly cup of coffee with your District Chairman. Share your concerns. Be ready to be part of the solution, though... you may be asked :) .

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Around here it tends to be May that gets a little hectic. People want to jam everything in before schools let out in early June.


I'm with John on this. Our district committee tries very hard not to schedule things in conflict with big council events. If all of the appropriate district folks are touching base with their district chair, then this should be avoidable. Sometimes people goof, or something gets over-looked, but we try. The other thing to keep in mind is that often, you are aiming for different crowds. For example, I have no problem with the council pwd and (most) OA activities being on the same day because you probably aren't going to have that much overlap in terms of audience.


As for UoS, well ok, probably best if nothing else is scheduled by district or council on that particular day. But, if this is the first UoS your council has had in a number of years, they are probably still working out the kinks. The UoS folks may not have even had much contact with the OA leaders who scheduled their webelos weekend on the same day. Next year, hopefully they'll know to work that out.

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It seems April and May are the busiest here.


With our Pack, Troop, OA Chapter and District calendars, along with the Council and Lodge calendars I don't think there are too many free weekends available at any one time of the year. With popcorn sales, summer camp, service projects, campouts, hikes and other outings there is always something to attend or do.


This month is busy; Lodge winter weekend, Pack PWD (same weekend), District Klondike, and University of Scouting.

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BW, I did not say I had to do everything in a year. I have already made the decision to pass on Wood Badge for this year, and wait until it is offered in my council again. It is being offered in a neighboring council and my schedule would allow for it, but I am going to wait until I have more time to complete the other things involved.


What I am saying is that there seems to be large gaps of activities like in February and March, and then everything crammed into Arpil and May. THose are the things that I am talking about. I see how most of the people herre say Training Training Training, but when there is training, there is something that our Webelos should be doing for their advancement.


Those are the things that I am looking at.

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I am not saying you I am saying ANY leader. There are always going to be schedule conflicts. There will be times when there are two things you would like to do but you can only do one. It happens in and out of scouting.


In your particuar case you are concerned that a webelos event and a Univefrsity of Scoutig are on the same date, when in fact your not going to either because you have a third choice outside of scouting that you are attending. So what does it matter to you whether there are two things scheduled that day or twenty?


A Scout council serves a variety of subgroups so overlaps are commeon and they are a consideration of any activity committee.


If I were the University of Scouting chairman and saw that of the weekends availbel for the venue I wanted that it meant booking the same day as a Webelos event, I would weigh the potential loss of participants to what I gain over choosing another date. Since the UofS serves a wide range of volunteer positions having a conflict that only effects one of those positions is not a big concern to the overall success of either event.


To John who wants to hoist this task onto the executive committee rather ta the indvidual event chairs....good luck with that. This is not a task that belongs with the executive committee nor one they are likely to accept.





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No, I want the Exec Board to do its job: Give broad guidance to the COO, the Commissioner, and the District Chairs, so they can manage the resources (VOLUNTEERS).


VOLUNTEER man-hours offset a huge amount of funds that would be spent in a Council, in both professions and trades. Managing to minimize double/triple-booking of volunteers is a good thing.


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Multiple bookings rarely effects the exact same group of people. Multiple events on the same day has liitle to no effect on a council's budget, poorly managed events do, but double booking is the least related factor in a badly managed event.


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Yes that is a problem nationwide, but with good planning it can be minimized. I remember once upon a time the VP of Program took a VERY active role in the planning process, deliberately spreading out activities throughout the year, etc. If any type of double booking did occur, it was usually a district event geared to another segment of the Scouting population. Some volunteers, usually those in multiple units, did have some tough choices to make at times, but overall it was a well oiled machine. that VP was the one who implemented the EXTRAVAGANZA where everyone recieved all the info on the upcoming year. Only problem with the Extravaganza was that it occurred in September, and units really need the council and district calendar in MAY for planning. When she passed away I don't know who took over or what happened. But I do agree the council has the 'cramming " problem.


Hopefully things will improve, in spite of the increase in programming that I hear is coming our way. The new SE appears to be a "program freak," and it looks like more activities are headed our way. :) Don't know the details, But I know that he wants more OA camperships, despite not all the ones we raised last year being used, and 2) it appears he wants the OA even more involved than it is already on the district and council levels. It appears that he wants to utilize ALL of the council's assets, instead of possibly selling them off, and has asked that the OA do the May Ordeal at Camp Charles, with a hint that more programing was on the way for that camp.


Trust me I know it's frustrating having to pick which ones to go to. Last year i had to pick between Conclave one weekend or Council camporee the next weekend. Since I was asked to advise the camporee show, the decision was made for me.

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My main question is why do we constantly overbook. I feel that if we were to look at the overall program and spread out the training days and things then we would probably have a better turnout.


Example: If they were to hold the UoS the Month before (March) on a weekend when there was not a lot of other things going on in the council, then they would probably have a bigger turn out by leaders. If training was offered more than once a year, (NLE only once per district/per year from what I have seen) then you would have more leaders that go out and get the training.


This would be my suggestion for the training (Program training starting in September)


Sept - NLE, Pos Specific

Oct - BALOO Outdoor skills Ect

Nov Thanks Giving Holiday (Our District Banquet is this Month)

Dec Christmas Holiday

January/Feb - UoS/Wood Badge (Alternate Years)Maybe also NRA Courses

March/April Lifeguard/Safeswim/Safety Afloat

April/May - Program Extravaganza


That is just a quick on the fly idea for training.

Also work with neighboring districts/councils to keep a variety of training.

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Some of that comes from a failure on the part of Professional Staff and Council Committee Chairs to hammer home a key point:



It's rather hard to serve the youth if the training isn't available.


Our District offers NLE, YPT, MB Counselor every RT Sept - June. Every single one. Position specific is offered at least twice a year for each of the programs. If there is demand (such as a new LDS Stake President asking for help in training his leaders), our training committee will do something out of cycle to get it done.


I'd start with a friendly cup of coffee with your District Chairman. Most of the training you described should be local within your District.

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Now all you have to do in get in Pow Wow, Camporee, Klondike Derby, District and Council Pinewood, Scout Sabbath, Scout Sunday, Council Dinner, Eagle Recognition Event, Popcorn Kickoff, Summer Camp Kick-off, EVERY Major Holiday weekend, All the outdoor training courses you didn't nake, Train the Trainer, commissioners college, OA Conclaves, OA Workdays, NYLT, Staff development weekends for all kinds of events, Scouting for Food, popcorn pick-up Days, local major events such as parades and festivals that may involve units, Plus trying to avoid consecutive weekends for the same sub-groups.


You left out more events then you calendarized SctDad.


In addition you have restrictions based on avaible dates for your venues. Then you have staff availanblilities to consider.


And the list I offered just scratches the surface of the total that make up all the possible activities that take place in a calenda yesr for scouting. Heck those aren't even all the weeeknds ones. Then you have Roundtables, uniot meetings, commitee meetings, leader meeting, junior leader meetings.


There will always be multiple events some days. It just cannot be helped.


It isn't just the activities committee that schedules events, it's also training, and finance, and commissioners, and units, and the community.


Shoot, the unit I serve has days where we have three of four different things going on just in the unit.


I'v got 60 dates on my unit calendar for 2009 and we haven't even added District and Council events yet, that's just unit activities. I guarantee you there are gonna be several days where there will be event conflicts. Some of us will go one direction some will go another. It depends on what we need and what we want, And then some days I will miss them all and focus on the wife and home.


The choices are mine to make it seems silly to me to blame the choices or the people that made the choices available. It doesn't matter how many activities are booked the same day, All I have to do is pick ONE, and then the rest do not matter.


(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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In our area May and October seem to be the months with the most Council and District activity.

Having been a District Chairman I know how hard it is to avoid over-booking.

We start with the 52 weekends in a year.

Lose about five for Holidays. (Easter, Mothers Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year) - 47

We have cut back on the length of summer camp from eight weeks down to only six, but have a week set up and a week for tear down. - 39

The OA has 4 weekends. -35

Wood Badge takes two more -33

Scouting for Food one more -32

Training weekends 4 more - -28

NYLT -2 more -26

The council doesn't have anything going on during the School summer break except summer camp . School is out by the end of May and returns about the start of September 20 more less the 8 for summer camp making it 12 leaving 14 free.

The District has four sometimes five Camporees - 9 free.

District First Aid Competition - 8

District Pinewood Derby -7.

District Day Camp -6

District Cub Scout Olympics -5

Council Religious Retreat -4

Troops doing one outdoor activity a month = - 8


Sad thing is that very often the same people seem to get tied up and involved in many of these activities (I know, been there, did that and incurred the wrath of HWMBO!)

No one seems to want to do anything in December, January.

I was always busy in February, rushing from one B&G Banquet to the next also this was when we did the Community FOS kick off. Everyone is busy in September with recruitment and restarting full activities after the school break.

Most Executive Boards and in our Council the past few Council Presidents have no idea what is going on at the program end of things.

Overbooking is just something that is a fact of life. Even though we try to avoid it.

No one is expected to be at every event and really doesn't need to be at all of them.

Just as I'd never tell anyone how they ought to spent their hard earned cash, I'd never tell them how to use their free time.

Each of us has to choose what we want to do.

Some events are just good fun and I'd rarely miss them!

I used to try and get to as many as I could. Now I try and avoid as many as I can!


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The problem comes when the fun ones, say a conclave, occur the same weekend as a work event, like a district Webeloree, in which Arrowmen are expected to staff and raise $ for camp improvements via the trading post. Grant you that was a district event, but I believe it was 1 major reason for the downfall of the OA chapter. Luckily after several years of begging to get it change, it happened. ;



I'ld talk to both your district chairman AND your good buddy, the steak stealer. The DC represents the interests of the district to the council folks, and that's part of his job. As for the steak stealer, well I bet he's going to get some new responsibilities in reference to program. Had a quick conversation and was WOWED at the stuff that is being planned for the 2009-2010 school year.



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