Earlier today I received an email from a “fan of the blog and podcast”.. his email is certainly appreciated and I am glad that he took the time to express his thoughts, but…
I will not post the email here, but let me share with you the part that got me to write this post.
“OK Captain Obvious, we all know the ‘Methods of Scouting’ and use them, please tell us something we don’t know.. after all, if it isn’t broke we are not going to fix it”.
Really now.. it isn’t broke. Well good timing my friend. Last night at the Top Team meeting our Scout Executive presented the 2011 Progress review to the District Chairman. I was floored by the results of the audit at both the National level and our Council. Let me tell you that we have work to do.. at both the National Level… and the Council level. Now our SE said we are going to “Celebrate our short comings.. and work to fixing the issues”.. I would suggest, strictly from “Captain Obvious’s” point of view that we need to work and work hard to get some of these things fixed. So, tell us something we don’t know he said. Let me tell you that the discussion on Methods is exactly what we don’t know.
Let me share some National numbers with you..
MEMBERSHIP- In my last post on the Outdoor program, I suggested that PROGRAM, PROGRAM, PROGRAM, and working the Outdoor program method was a key point in getting Scouts to join and stay in Scouting. It is what gets Webelos to cross over and invite their friends to join. When I was at the National Meetings last year in San Diego, Rex Tillerson the BSA President talked to us about “the Main thing”. that Main thing is delivering Scouting to young men. They can’t do Scouting if they are not in Scouting.
In our Council we are seeing a terrible trend in Cub Scout market share (market share is how the BSA measures growth). Our Council is pretty much average with the Nation, but here are the numbers from 2007 thru 2011. In 2007 we had 15,022 Cub Scouts in the program, 14,465 in 2008, 13, 902 and 13, 303 in the next two years and in 2011 we ended the year with only 12,600 Cub Scouts. That is a significant loss. The reason that I find this alarming is that without Cub Scouts you drastically reduce the ranks of Boy Scouts.
Boy Scout membership in 2007 in our Council was 11,960 and in 2011 it dropped to 11, 731. Now this may not seem significant but long term, the Cub Scout numbers will catch up. Boys are in the Boy Scout program longer than their Cub Scout years, so we have not felt the impact of the dropping number yet.
I would suggest that this is broke and the question first is why? Could it be programs? Could it be the lack of leaders not trained.. we will get into that in a second. Could it be that methods are not being followed? I wish I had the answer.. but Captain Obvious here knows broke when he sees it.
Now the good news is that our Retention numbers are looking pretty good.. but only pretty good. The National Average in retention is 70.6%. We have way too many Scouts going out the back door. Our Council’s retention rate is 76%.. still not a great number.. so why are they leaving? Is it that they don’t agree with our values? are they bored? are they not getting the bang for their buck?
The average size of a Boy Scout Troop in America is 21 Scouts and we recruit about 9 a year on average… so where are they?
Ok.. lets move on to Advancement.. yeah.. remember that’s one of the methods also.. How are we doing?
Only 39.8% of the Boy Scouts in the Nation advanced a rank last year. Need we say more? Captain Obvious says we need to work a little harder on this.
Now get ready to treat for shock.. TRAINING!
Only.. and I hope you are sitting down for this.. ONLY 34.4% of Direct Contact leaders, that’s Tiger Leaders, Den Leaders, Webelos Leaders, Cub Masters, Scoutmasters, and Venturing Advisors are Trained in their positions! As my daughter would say OMG! And we are taking these boys in the woods and asking parents to feel good about it. I would not allow my sons to be in a unit with untrained leaders. 34.4 % is the National Average of trained leaders and I would suggest this needs immediate fixing. There is no excuse what so ever for an adult to be un trained. NONE. In an age where the BSA has made Training easier than ever to access, District and Council training committees are holding multiple training events annually… why are we not trained? How do we have “Adult Association” and mentoring for “Leadership development”. How does an adult who is not trained teach, coach, train and mentor a Scout? Captain Obvious is shocked.
So once again, I would like to thank the reader for the email and suggest that we revisit the “Main thing” and the Methods of Scouting. maybe, just maybe we can fix some of these issues… nay.. we have to fix these issues and the methods will help you and your unit fix what you think is not broke. Here is what I think. Those that don’t know.. don’t know. Those that are untrained, will not know. There are no excuses for this. We all love Scouting and for the most part will do what ever it takes to deliver the promise of Scouting. Scouting is alive and well, but has some work to do to deliver that promise. It’s obvious what we need to do. ON MY HONOR I will do my part!
What are your thoughts? I am curious to know what you think. drop an email, leave a comment, or send me smoke signals.
Have a Great Scouting day!
Earlier today I received an email from a “fan of the blog and podcast”.. his email is certainly appreciated and I am glad that he took the time to express his thoughts, but…
Over the last couple of weeks Scouter friends and I have had numerous discussions about Scouting in our District. After the last Scoutmaster training session it became pretty clear that many Scouters have heard about the methods of Scouting, but do not really put them into practice in their units. Kind of like knowing that the BSA has a mission statement, but really it only applies at the National Level.. ahhh right? Ahhhh.. No.
We got to talking last weekend about the methods of Scouting and how we should be using them in our units. During the outdoor skills portion of the Scoutmaster training, it was unclear to many participants that the methods needed to be used to have a well-rounded program.. for that matter.. a Boy Scout Troop.
So I thought I would discuss the methods of Scouting over the next, lets see, 8 blog posts.
To quickly remind every one of what the methods are, they are: Ideals, Patrols, Outdoor Program, Advancement, Association with Adults, Personal Growth, Leadership Development, and the Uniform.
Those eight methods are the steps that we take to reach our goals of Citizenship, Character, and Fitness. The Boy Scout program (or the achievement of the goals) are dependant on all eight methods working at the unit level.
To start off the discussion we will dive into the IDEALS of Scouting. The ideals of Boy Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Boy Scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and, as he reaches for them, he has some control over what and who he becomes. These ideals are the foundation for everything that follows in the Boy Scout program. Without the ideals, it is just a club that goes camping. The building blocks for the Scouts character is directly tied to the ideals found in the Oath and Law. It is extremely important that every Scout learns the Oath and Law and practices these ideals daily. As a Scout advances it is a good idea for the Scout to do a self check on where he is in his character development. This is tough at times and some Scouts will understand or mature at a faster rate than his peers. That is why the self check is important. The Scout is not measuring himself against his peers, he is measuring himself against the Oath and Law which are lofty, but simple concepts that grow with the Scout as he negotiates his life. The basic understanding that he must be a person that strives to achieve those ideas outlined in the Oath and Law is important and should not be taken lightly by the Scoutmaster. It is ok to call out a Scout that is not demonstrating those values.
The other part of the ideals of the Boy Scouts of America are that they are not only an individual responsibility, but they are ideals, values, that are shared among the group. We all know and believe that the values expressed in the Oath and Law are good and true. We can all agree that every Scout, no matter what his background, education level, learning capability, or social status, can live up to the Oath and Law. It is hard, but it is attainable. Expecting that from every Scout and Scouter is reasonable.
These shared ideals are the foundation for the rest of the program. If they are modified or removed, there is no reason to continue. Character development hinges on the values found in the Oath and Law.
Dictionary.com defines Character as:
1. the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.
3. moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
4. qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.
5. reputation: a stain on one’s character.
The Boy Scouts of America in setting one of its goals to develop men of Character considers this in its values. Time tested, tried, and unwavering values that shape a mans character.
The qualities of being someone who can be trusted, a man who is loyal to his family, friends, School, work etc. A young man who is helpful and works with a smile on his face, friendly, courteous and kind. Someone that is obedient to our laws, parents, employers and faith. A man with a cheerful spirit not someone who belly aches and brings down the morale of the team. A man who is thrifty with his money, time, and resources. This is the man who will develop a sound attitude of stewardship. Brave is not just for standing up for himself, it is standing up for other people, ideals, values, and that which the Scout believes in. Being Brave is important in the world we live in where our values are tested daily. And then the part of a man’s character that keeps him clean and reverent. These are matters of the mind, heart and body. The Scout should stay clean of mind and body. Spiritual health is important to for a well-rounded man of character. These values, when put in to practice demonstrate the attitudes of character. They are if you will.. the characteristics of character. I think we all can agree here that without them Scouting is not Scouting.
The method of our Ideals is the foundation of Scouting and the launching point for all of the rest of the methods. Everything ultimately comes back to the Oath and Law and as a Scoutmaster we need to continuously teach these values, not only with our words, but our actions.
St. Francis of Assisi said; “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” We should do the same with the Oath and Law.
Let me know what you think. Leave a comment or thought.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
At last nights Roundtable I was pleased to see a great turn out in the Boy Scout break out. Last nights attraction was Camporee and what units can do to get ready for it. We had about a half hour left so I thought it would be worth our while to talk a little District talk with the leaders that took their time to be at the break out.
Now first of all.. I have said it before, and I am sure I will say it again.. at Roundtable we typically are preaching to the choir, but there were plenty of newer faces in the room, so putting on my District Chairman hat, I stepped up front and spent a few minutes sharing some district news, reported back a little on the District Journey to Excellence Score card, and made myself available for questions.
Summer camp. This became a big subject last night. There are way to many units that still have not reported a summer camp sign up for this year. It is a fact that Scouts that attend summer camp stay in Scouting longer. We looked at the numbers. Only 1/3 of the scouts signed up for our council camps are from our council. That means that lots of units from outside of our council are flowing into our camps. That’s a great thing, except to say, that means that lots of Scouts in our council are not going to summer camp.
Retention. Summer camp leads us to retention. IF lots of Scouts are not going to summer camp, then its no wonder why they are not staying in Scouting. Our numbers show that we are doing well crossing Webelos into Boy Scouts, and we are doing a great job getting boys to join Scouts “off the street”. But we are not doing the best we can to keep them in Scouting. It is no surprise that boys leave the program when they are not engaged. If they are not having fun, or participating fully in Scouting, they will leave. I mean, why stay?
Program. Back when I was a new Scoutmaster, a mentor of mine shared with me that regardless of everything else the key to a successful unit is the program. He said Program, Program, Program! I have shared this here before to, my “Field of Dream” philosophy. If you build the program, they will come.. and stay. Monthly camp outs, Summer camp attendance, advancement focus, service opportunities all add up to great program. Youth leadership that is driven to lead to the next adventure keeps them excited and wanting more. A solid program at the unit level is the answer to most if not all of the problems we face in the Scouting movement.
Which brought me to the final point of the evening. What is the role of the Council and the District? Resourcing. It is not the role of the Council or the District to run units. They are there to assist in the administrative tasks, financial opportunities, and resourcing of program (materials, camps, etc). I think too many people wait around for the Council or District to do things for them. The unit is where Scouting happens. It is where Scouts become men of character, good citizens, and discover fitness. If you wait around for the council to do that, you will never be a successful unit. The council and district can not build you a program that is successful. They can assist with the resources that will help your success… but wait around and you will fail.
A question came up about the DE and his role. Again, he is a resource manager. He is there to raise funds, develop relationships in the community to build and grow scouting. He is there to assist units in training, growing, and ensuring that the promise of Scouting is being delivered in those units. But wait for him to do the work at the unit. You will fail. This is not a bad thing. This is the way Scouting was designed. Scouting is owned and operated by the volunteers that care to serve our youth. Bottom line. We are Scouting and we Deliver the Promise. We, the volunteer. Our District committee is made up of volunteers, our Council committee is made up of volunteers, but more importantly, our units, Packs, Troops, and Crews are made up of thousands of volunteers that every single day do something to deliver the promise of Scouting to the great kids that come seeking fun and adventure.
It was great to be able to talk with some of those volunteers last night. As I looked at the room and saw the faces of the BSA, people that really care. I know that all is well. The numbers are the numbers, and they will come around. The people care and will do what ever it takes to develop those programs to make Scouting the greatest.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Last weekend I sat down with a rather large group of brand new Scouts. Most of them came from the ranks of Cub Scouts, but some had not and so getting into the habit of saying oaths and pledges for the most part is something to get used to. We pledge to do our best, we say the Scout Oath and Law, and we learn and pledge to be good stewards with the principles of leave no trace and the Outdoor code.
Now, the fellows that had earned their Arrow of light did a real nice job with the Oath and Law, new others picked it up alright, but they all struggled with the Outdoor code.
Some told me that they never heard of it, while others said that they just did not spend time learning it. That’s ok I told them, in Boy Scouts not only will you learn it, but you will live it.
It’s a simple pledge, that I fear to many Scouts and Scouters take either lightly or not at all. I have heard Scoutmasters that say, we have leave no trace, why do we need the Outdoor code.
Well for starters, its simple and easy to learn. IF it is simple and easy to learn, it’s more than likely something the Scouts will use.
I teach the Scouts the 4 C’s. Careful with fire, Clean in my outdoor manners, Considerate of others, and Conservation minded.
OK.. Careful with fire.. we all get that. Clean.. yeah, we know to pick up after ourselves and leave it better than we find it, Considerate of others… that can be a challenge sometimes, but we know when quiet time is, and we know how to camp in smaller groups etc. But Conservation minded? This is a concept that many of the young men did not seem to grab ahold of. They know about the environment, after all, that’s all they hear about in the Schools and on TV. How we are running out of water, there are no more trees, and that we are all going to fry because of global warming.. errr.. climate change.
Well that is a real hard sell here in Oregon.. lots of trees, plenty of water, and it seems that the temps are never going to rise. Anyway… we all know about being Environmentally aware, so what is with this conservation minded thing?
I consider myself a conservationist. I believe that the outdoors is there for us to enjoy… but we need to take care of it. I believe in being a good steward of the land and our resources. Like the loggers here in Oregon and around the US.. for every tree they cut down they plant 11 more. This is good stewardship. Instead of blazing trails, we stay on established trails and we do not create new trails by cutting through switch backs. We stay out of sensitive growth areas, we do not harm the land with fires when we don’t need them, we pack it in and pack it out. We take fewer cars on outings. Yeah, we fill every seatbelt before we add a car to the list, does this mean that some adult do not get to go.. sometimes, but it is all apart of how we can do our share to be conservation minded.
And then there is the service. We repair trails, we clean up our nature area, we learn about the land we camp in and how we impact it. Conserving what we have and not wasting our land, water, and other natural resources is being conservation minded.
It is when I sit with the new Scouts that I have an opportunity to share the BSA’s view point on this and teach them the outdoor code. It is simple and easy to use. I learn alot about them, and they learn alot about why we pledge the things we pledge.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
In this show I have a lengthy chat with a fellow Scoutmaster and great Friend Bob Pierce. Join us as we talk a little bit about everything. Jamboree, Dutch oven cooking, Troop Guides, JLT, Anuual planning, Parents and Philmont just to cover some of the bases. It’s what happens Scoutmasters get together and shoot the breeze. The show was recorded on location at the Annual rendezvous of the Order of the Arrow at Camp Meriwether, so the crashing of waves and other camp sounds fill the background of this nice talk with my buddy Bob.
Hope you enjoy the show.
Please leave some feedback, drop us an email, or leave a comment in the comments section. Thanks for listening.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
There is a big push in the BSA, and our Country right now to get fit. Why? Because it makes sense. Fitness leads to longer, happier lives. This has been at the fore front of our Troop now for a few months as we are preparing for our first trip to Philmont.
In 2010, I was active with the National Jamboree contingent for our council. There was a big push for fitness in getting all of our youth and adults in shape. It was important to us as Oregonians heading from a very temperate climate to the hostile humidity and heat of Virginia. We started a walking challenge. Every adult leader was required to wear a pedometer and record mileage walked. The goal was to walk (in miles) to Virginia and back. The 4 adults leaders of my Troop walked the equivalent of 3 trips to and from Oregon and Virginia. We were all concerned about the health and well-being of our Scouts and what a better way to help them than to set a good example.
Well, now Philmont is right around the corner and as we prepare, I can’t help but notice that I have let myself go a little. Today I took the Physical Wellness online training at the e Learning site on Scouting.org. I had to renew my Youth Protection anyway, so while I was there, I thought I would see what the BSA had to say about Physical Wellness. I have to tell you that the training information was good. I enjoyed the training until I got to the part where they ask you to check your BMI. Yep.. reality check.
So I took a look at myself on paper.. then went to the mirror and decided that enough was enough. Heading back to the Scouting.org website I revisited the BSA Fit site. There I checked out the blogs of many of the leaders of the BSA and how they are doing in the Walk the Walk challenge. This lead me to the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award. I found that in the ScoutStrong program, most if not all councils are encouraging members to join the challenge.
I created an account with the Presidents challenge and set up my challenge to earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.. along with my friends from the council. The ScoutStrong PALA+ is a neat way to track your progress and get fit.
I need to lose 10 pounds before I get to Philmont. Today I am within the guidelines and my BMI is just over where it needs to be, so its time to lose the fat and get fit.
Now I am not going to update every piece of bread I eat and each ounce of sweat I drop. It drives me nuts to read about everyone loosing or gaining an ounce here and gram there. But I do want to share my journey to getting fit and more importantly a life of being well. I consider myself in ok shape and certainly not fat. But I can stand to get in better shape and get to a weight that my body will like better. We are not getting younger and I see myself very active in the years to come.
I would encourage you all to take a look in the mirror and see whether or not you are fat or fit. It was a wake up for me to see that if I did not start now.. I would be heading in the wrong direction.
You can download the ScoutStrong PALA log from the website. Join up and track your progress. Personal Awareness and accountability are keys in successfully accomplishing your goals.
Join me and let’s get fit!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
During this last years recharter we had an extremely disappointing turn in of the Journey to Excellence form. As a District committee we chalked this up to a couple of things.. perhaps it was that many people were not aware of the change in program. Maybe some Scouters did not receive proper or inadequate training on the subject. It could have been that the program was not communicated effectively. Another reason may have been that some Scouters just don’t care enough to fill it out. Then again, it may have just been that there are units out there that really are not delivering the promise and would not fill out the form for any reason.
I will go on record and say that the answer is All of the Above. (In my opinion).
So rather than simply complain about it.. I figured that the right thing to do, because I love Scouting and believe in the program, would be to tackle the issues and start with training.
So I volunteered to teach about the JTE program and give out all the tools that would make a unit successful in at least getting the 2012 form in with their charter in November.
So back in January, I announced that we would hold a JTE session at the February Round table. I made arrangements with the Round Table commissioner and we decided that this would be a great class. We could have all levels of Scouting attend and present the information in a clear and easy to use format.
I made copies of all of the materials and even used my own Troop as an example. I made copies of our spreadsheet JTE tracker and our goals for this year. A sample budget was included as well as the Pack, Troop, and Crew requirements for 2012.
Last night at Round table, the room was set and I prepared to teach this subject of which I have developed a passion for. 7 people showed up for the training. 7. 2 of them were Assistant Scoutmasters from my Troop, 1 was a Scoutmaster of a high performance troop that is using the JTE tools and is delivering the promise of Scouting. 2 were Cub Scout leaders that I assume got a lot out of the class. They had great questions and seemed to be very interested in getting this ball rolling within their Packs. 1 was an Assistant Scoutmaster of another Troop that is always in the hunt for Troop of the Year, and finally a committee member from on of the LDS units in our District. She had never heard of JTE and took lots of notes. She informed me that she thought that this was all done at the Stake level.. but wanted to know more so she could get the program started with the Troops she worked with.
85 units did not bother to fill out and turn in the form during the last recharter process.
So essentially last night I preached to the choir… again.
As I drove home from Round table last night my mind was filled with disappointment which of course drove me to thinking about the other areas in which we fall short in our District, Council, and of course the BSA.
Mostly I think it comes down to training. We do a fantastic job of getting people to help. Just look at the numbers.
1.1 Million volunteers currently serve the youth of Scouting. 1.1 Million. Now I am no fool, and I know that in any population you will never get 100 % of the folks to do anything, but we need to try right?
So we have lots of Scouts that deserve the best, and we have lots of volunteers that have at some level made a commitment to give their best, and yet we don’t.
Lets assume that my District (which I consider a real great district) is representative of most if not all districts in the BSA. First, lets throw out some numbers again… bear with me here. Remember that I said 85 units in my district did not bother to turn in the JTE form. My district has 129 units in it.
In 2010 the BSA reported that there were 47,259 Cub Scout Packs, 40,099 Boy Scout Troops, 8,539 Varsity teams, and 18,856 Venture Crews. That would be a total (in 2010) of 114,753 units in the BSA.
So assuming everything is equal, 40,000 units within the BSA did not turn the JTE form this last year. Now I do not know this to be true.. I am just looking for a solution. IF that big a population within an organization that makes it its business to deliver the promise of Scouting to the 2 million (plus) Scouts that come to us allows this to happen.. then I think it is worth a review. Not a change in the Journey to Excellence program. It is rock solid.. after all its all about making every unit the best. It follows the methods and places its focus on what is important.. serving Youth!. No, it does not need to change. What needs to change is how we present, train, and work with units to ensure that the program (both the Scouting program and the JTE) are being followed. Units that are in need of help need to get it.
I think this is where the commissioner service comes in… and there again.. we are preaching to the choir… assuming again that your district is like mine.. where are all the commissioners? We are in need of good commissioners that are dedicated to making every unit a great one.
There are many ways that we need to attack this. I think that we have a huge disconnect here and it will not get better as long as we keep preaching to the choir. The choir is fine and is singing loud and clear. It is the folks that don’t want to sing that we need to reach. It is the people we never see, it is the countless applications that come through the council that never get a hand shake or a visit. It is the volunteers that are not reached by hands on training or a friendly invite to Round table.
As much as I am a big fan of computer based training.. I think we may have lost some of the contact by going away from class room training. We need to connect with the 1.1 million volunteers, or what ever that number is in your District and not only fix this JTE problem, but get more leaders trained, active, and taking on rolls that complement their skills, attitudes, and level of committment within the District. We need commissioners that actually pay visits to their units. Commissioners that do not wear multiple hats in Scouting. Commissioners that can take the time to work with and mentor unit leaders.
We need to get a bigger choir! I’ll have more to say on this later… I am curious to hear what you have to say about all this… leave a comment!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
As with many of us we wear multiple hats in Scouting. First and foremost we wear the Dad (or Mom) hat, then the hat appropriate to our unit, like Scoutmaster or Committee Chair. Then there often times is some District level hat, whether that is part of the District Training team, a District event, or serving on the District committee. Some are active within their Order of Arrow Chapters or Lodges, and so another hat is hung there. And for some, and the numbers narrow here, the Council comes a callin’ and more hats are added to the hat rack of Scouting. This is all well and good as long as the person wearing all of those hats can A. balance and manage the time, B. give full attention to all the positions that he or she has volunteered for, and finally C. Remember that this is Scouting and it is still a game with a purpose.
All of that to say… I am putting on my District hat right now for this post.
Thursday night at our District committee meeting I was asked to take on an additional responsibility, that of the District Committee Chair while we are looking to replace our retiring District Committee chairman. I currently serve as the District Program Chairman, so this was not to far a stretch and so I accepted the interim role.
That is neither here nor there when it comes to the subject of this post, other than to say that in the role of both the District Committee Chairman and the Program Chairman one of the reports that our District Commissioner gave disturbed me to no end and I am looking for solutions.
That report was on the Journey to Excellence status of units within our District. I’ll jump right in.
In November our Council wraps up it’s rechartering process. This way all units are good to go heading into the new year. If done right by the units, this is a nice way to end the year and start their Scouting calendar year off clean. Maybe it’s because I do not know anything else, but this works well for me.
In November we also close out our now Journey to Excellence (Former Honor unit, Quality unit, Centennial Quality unit) report. Now of all the programs listed in Parenthesis.. I like Journey to Excellence a lot. It is a fair way to rank and rate your unit. It is a good measure of how your program is delivering the promise of Scouting. In the Thunderbird District we have 129 units that rechartered this November.. well 124 actually turned them in on time.. we are still waiting on 6 of them… which will add to my point here real quick. Out of the 129 units only 35% of them turned in the paper work for their Journey to Excellence. That’s only 45 units (Packs, Troops, and Crews). 45!
So the question has to be WHY? The score card is easy to use, the goals are fair and offer a sliding scale from Bronze to Gold so that units have a way of stepping up their programs with rewards for small and large success’s. But why would only 45 out of 129 units report how they are offereing up the program?
Is it a lack of knowledge? A lack of training? A lack of buy in? Or does this tell us that the 84 units that did not report are not providing quality programs and do not want to tell that to the District and Council? I sincerely hope that this is not the case. I know that there are great Scouters out there in our District and I see the units around doing activities, service projects, and outings. So why not report.
My thoughts went back to the Good turn for America program. Our District struggled in getting units to report there also. We asked a volunteer to chase down units and assist with their reporting.. read.. do it for them. And amazingly, or not, the numbers went sky rocketing. Now I am not suggesting that this is all about numbers. I certainly am not, what I am hoping is that the Promise of Scouting is being delivered in the 84 units that have made the choice not to fill out the form.
In talking with one Scouter, I came to the conclusion that he just did not know how the process worked. So a lack of training on his part led him to not being able to go through this with his unit. I call BS on this to a certain degree. The program is not that tough to just figure out. He asked about tools that could be used to help with the process. I told him to go to Scouting.org and look up the Journey to Excellence. There he would find an easy way to set the goals of the unit, track the progress of the unit, and print the final report. Along with definitions, Frequently Asked questions, and support. I also reminded him that the number one function of the District is to support units and he could always call us.
Here is what I like about the JTE program. If you use the tracker, and I mean break it out monthly and see how you are, as a unit progressing through your program based on your goals. You will achieve success. The tracker allows the unit to see potential problems or short falls before they happen. It allows Troop committees to make adjustments, it is a nice tool for the Patrol Leaders Council to stay on track with their program. After all the main emphasis of the JTE is in program and participation. Most of us have a competitive gene in us. Our Scouts certainly do. So the Journey to Excellence plays on this part of the game. There are incentives within the unit to continuously improve. Better Performance means better Scouting for youth! Better Performance can earn a higher level of Recognition, and Key requirements are tracked and improvement can be quickly identified so they can see where they are on the field. It’s kind of like being in a 3rd and long and waiting to punt or 3rd and short and know you can score!
I also like that each year the requirements will change. Each year, the requirements will be reconsidered to reflect the improved performance by units. This is why it is important that ALL units report. Right now in my District 45 units will set the performance measurement for the rest of the District. New standards for 2012 are already out. You can see the Troop score card here.
So I am looking for solutions to this problem. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment or drop an email.
Share your Journey to Excellence success’s also in the comments section of this post.
Like I said. I know that there are good Scouters out there doing the right thing. But the Journey to Excellence program will help make Scouting better. Better for the main thing… Scouts.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
Welcome Back! In this show you will listen in on a class I taught at our Councils Program and Training Conference. This class is on the Scoutmaster Conference. I used the National Supplemental training on the subject and if you would like to follow along with the slides from the class you can download them HERE.
The Program and Training Conference in our Council is a great event to improve your leadership skills, find new ways to provide a Quality program and learn more about our Scouting world.
I was asked to teach this year, as were most of the folks on Wood Badge Staff. It was a great experience and I hope to be asked again next year. It was a great opportunity to meet more Scouters from within our Council and expand our network.
Thanks for all the feedback and comments lately! I really appreciate it. As we get closer to show #100 I can feel the excitement growing in me to get more out and keep up the work of both the blog and the podcast!
Thanks for listening. Leave us some feedback and enjoy the show.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
SMMPodcast # 96 Download
Scoutmaster Conference PowerPoint Download
Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a trainer at our Councils Program and Training Conference.. PTC. I was asked to help teach a class on using Social Media and Websites with my Wood Badge buddy Adam. Then Jackie this years Coordinator asked if I would want to teach something else. I taught two sessions on the Scoutmaster Conference. A subject that I am not only familiar with, but passionate about. My good friend Larry helped me out with that, in all honesty, all I did was the talking. He did a great job getting the material from the National syllabus and putting it all together in a Powerpoint presentation.
Both of the classes went real well and were very well received. The social media class went a lot better than I thought. It seems that as we discussed the options out there and how we use social media the audience seemed to warm up to the idea that social media and electronic communication is here to stay.
When it comes to social media and electronic communication I always go back to what Bob Mazzuca, our Chief Scout Executive said, ” We have to take Scouting where the Scouts are.” And they are on the internet, on their smart phones, and communicating rather effectively with other media outlets.
Our media class centered on communication to and within the unit. It was nice that Adam is a Cub Scouter and so he brought the Pack perspective to the discussion. I on the other hand represented Boy leadership and how the Scouts use social media in the daily function of the Troop.
We talked about the Do’s and Don’ts of using Web sites, Twitter, Google + and Facebook focusing a lot of attention on who should and should not use these outlets. Most of this discussion came down to permissions and monitoring of the communications being sent at every level.
We did two sessions of this class and in both, the participants had great questions and moved the discussion along with enthusiasm and interest. It was nice to see the diversity of the groups meaning, participants from every level of Scouting, ages, and genders. I hope that we made everyone comfortable with social media and how it can be used in Scouting to not only communicate to each other, but to tell Scouting’s Story in a positive light.
The class on the Scoutmaster Conference was equally received. A lot of interest among the Scoutmasters and soon to be Scoutmasters that attended. I recorded one of the sessions, so I will see how that turned out and post it as a podcast.
So until I get that cleaned up and ready, I think I will leave that subject for another post.
All in all I had a great time at the PTC this year and will be an instructor again next year. It was really great to see all my Wood Badge friends… almost like going to a family reunion. We had dinner together last night and my head still hurts from laughing so much.
I like the idea of combining the Cub Scout Pow Wow and the Advancement extravaganza. I don’t know what the turn out in numbers was yesterday, but at a glance it seemed as if there were at least 400 participants yesterday. As this program grows I can see the numbers go up also. It is a great venue for training, fun, seeing program ideas, and fellowship.
Good job Cascade Pacific council! We’ll do it again next year!
You can read another perspective on this at Scouter Adams Blog. He’s my Troop Guide buddy and we had a ball yesterday together teaching fellow Scouters!
Have a Great Scouting Day!