As we have been working to rebuild the district committee, I have learned how the Boy Scouts of America structures their committee system. It is a little bit unusual, so it is worth sharing more broadly.
Each committee in the BSA system is interlinked with more than one committee outside of itself. What does this mean?
Let’s look at one example. Since Cub Scout recruitment is going to be a major issue in the next 90 days, let’s look at the membership position on a pack committee.
Each pack committee chair appoints one adult to be the pack’s Back to School Night Coordinator. That person will be the pack committee member to receive communications from the district about planning for back-to-school night on August 27, 2015. This person then shares that information with the pack committee at meetings or as needed.
When the district holds meetings to explain the plan for recruitment on August 27, 2015, this pack member is also member of the district recruitment committee. In other words the pack committee member is automatically a member of the district committee. One person serves on two committees as a result of the pack committee chair’s appointment.
The dual committee membership occurs between the district membership committee and the Council membership committee. When the Council membership committee meets, the chairman of the district membership committee is automatically a member of the council committee.
This dual membership is designed to encourage information flow. Information can move back and forth easily between the council and specific units. One person at the council meeting is able to inform all of the units in the district.
For this system to work effectively, the BSA relies on pack committee chairs and troop committee chairs to appoint an adult for that function and have them registered as a scouter.
Often the person needed for this job is only going to be busy for a few weeks of the year. For back to school night, the obligations begin in mid July and wraps up in the second week of September.
The best way to guarantee participation is not to recruit a person to hold a title. It is to recruit a person to attend a meeting or attend a particular function. Once they go to the meeting and have the information, they will naturally want to pass the information along to the cubmaster and committee. Most people are more than happy to work with a small group of people. They get nervous about being given a title or a long list of responsibilities.
In the next several weeks, unit chairs will be contacted by their unit commissioners and the membership committee. They will be seeking the contact information for the unit’s Coordinator for back-to-school night.
This process will be made easier if each unit has a particular person already assigned to receive those communications and to attend the July 15 or 16 rally for back-to-school night at Victory Field.
Unit committee chairs can speed the process by sending that person’s contact information to either Jeff Heck or membership committee chair Tom Sugar.
As other opportunities for district assistance to units arise, we will continue to ask for a specific person to be the point-of-contact for the unit. Asking a parent who has not been actively involved with the unit to accept those communications and to attend an introductory meeting would be very helpful. It would also help lighten the load on the unit Key 3 (Cubmaster, Pack Chair, and Chartered Org. Rep.). Once the information is collected and shared with the committee, the unit committee can then decide how they wish to proceed in delegating responsibilities.
The moral of the story is that the district is relying on units to be prepared for the cub scout back-to-school night push that will be beginning soon.