Commissioner Service

What makes a healthy scout unit? Roundtable has the answers

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Programming is the key to a successful scout unit. April is the time when programming becomes overwhelming in scouting, too. Summer camp is coming up. Units wrap up their winter advancement efforts. Cub Scouts prepare to advance to the next year’s program on June 1st. Families are in town before they disappear over summer vacation.

When school starts back up, scout units need to be ready with their next program calendar for the recruitment season that will begin.

As a result of this, scouting oriented websites and Roundtables all turn to planning better programming.

First, Thursday’s Roundtable will be on Dreaming Big on Programming, at St Luke’s UMC, Luke’s Lodge. We will talk about how to make the plan more exciting for scouts. More excitement drives better recruitment. More excitement drives more adult participation. We will have pizza beginning at 6:45 p.m. We will start at 7:00 p.m. We will welcome our new Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter. Bill will lead the Cub Scout breakout after the general session.

Second, National Council’s ScoutCast did a short piece on planning and budgeting this month. It is worth a listen.

Third, National Council’s CubCast did a short piece on retention of scouts and the role that good programming plays in retaining scouts. Listen it, too, not just if you are a Den Leader.

The podcasts are great for stimulating new thoughts, but they don’t offer you feedback. Attend roundtable to hear from veteran scouters who are looking to help you improve. They have the experience to help stimulate your thoughts and help you build toward success.

Come see us Thursday!

REMINDER: district meetings in next 2 weeks

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NOTE: one date ROOM CHANGE!!!!

Tomorrow Thursday, April 6, 2017 will have two meetings at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, GREAT ROOM, 2nd FLOOR, Indianapolis, IN 46260. This is a change due to the church’s conflicting events.

  1. District Committee at 7:00 pm.
  2. District Commissioners at 6:00 pm.

Roundtable. Then next week we will introduce our newest addition to the Commissioner Staff at Roundtable, our new Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter. Bill is the immediate past Cubmaster of Pack 830 and its current Chartered Organization Representative.

Our Roundtable title is inspired by Rocky & Bullwinkle:

“Programming: How do we make Big Dreams Real,” or “Planning for Unit Growth and Success.”

We will be focusing on how to make your unit more successful. We will have a short presentation and — with your help — lots of good discussions. We are planning for separate discussions of troops/crews and packs.

Please invite to participate your

  1. committee members,
  2.  unit leaders (e.g., Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, or Crew Advisor),
  3. Crew Presidents, and
  4. SPLs (might be worth inviting, too).

If your unit has a history of success, we need you to help mentor other units at the meeting, so please come support our newer leaders.

All attending units will receive a calendar of upcoming events to assist your unit’s planning.

April Roundtable Focus on Great Program Planning

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Our April Roundtable will focus on having great and memorable annual plans. We will start at 7:00 pm at St Luke’s Luke’s Lodge (the outbuilding on St Luke’s Campus), 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

We will have ideas. We will have discussions about past successes and failures. We will have calendars for all upcoming district functions through 2018 so that you can plan way ahead.

All units should send a representative . . . or three!

Watch this site for more information.

REMINDER: No March Roundtable – Annual Recognition Dinner

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Don’t forget that we will not hold a March Roundtable. Instead we will be attending the Annual District Recognition at Palomino Club in Zionsville.

 

Magic of 5% Improvement

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At the recent Unit Key 3 Conference, I spoke about the need to work with your Unit Commissioner and your Unit Key 3 (i.e., Chartered Org. Rep., Chair, and Unit Leader) to do a Unit Service Plan.

A Unit Service Plan is a six-month “business plan” for your unit. It examines your annual planning & budgeting, your programming (like camping and meetings), your leadership succession plan, your adult leader training status, and your recruitment and retention status.

If your unit is not examining these departments on a regular basis, it is easy to allow one part or another to slide. The worst case scenario is you ignore the slide until the slide is a death-spiral do you stop and try to fix it.

The goal of doing regular Unit Service Plans is to prevent this scenario from occurring.

If your Unit Key 3 meets with your Unit Commissioner in the next 90 days, we would help you define ways to succeed in a predictable and healthy manner.

One trick is building your unit is to set goals of 5% across the board improvement. Five percent does not sound like much. But it is.

If your unit has 30 boys and it grows 5%, it means that you have replaced boys who have aged out or dropped out, keeping your retention at 100%, then adding an additional 2 boys (it is hard to have 1.5 boys, so I rounded up).

In programming it means moving from 10 monthly events to 11 events (rounding again). If you have 20 events, you move to 21. More opportunities for more scouting leads to more opportunities to find the one event that sparks the passion of one more scout. With the spark ignited, he is easier to retain, even when his parents are offering different extracurricular activities.

A five percent increase in fundraising, for example by adding camp cards to your existing practices, means that you have more money to use in programming that one more event mentioned above.

A five percent increase in trained adults means one more volunteer to staff events.

A five percent increase in advancement means you are less likely to lose scouts because they are progressing and are actively engaged in the program.

Now has your unit improved by 5%? I would argue not. You have add more financing, more capacity for adult leadership, more boys, more events. You are a much healthier unit.

When your next recruitment cycle hits, you will likely gain more than just 2 boys, because you have that much better of a program to pitch.

Schedule to sit down with your Unit Commissioner and see where you can plan a 5% improvement plan. Your Unit Commissioner’s job is to help you find the resources to make your plan work. You will be amazed at how quickly your unit will grow in a short period of time.

 

Roundtable Reminder: Nova Mentor Program (STEM)

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A quick reminder that tomorrow Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm (yes, new time!) will be our next Roundtable.

After we discuss general announcements and upcoming events, including the Unit Key 3

Nova patch picture
Nova patch

Conference and the Annual Awards Banquet, we will turn our attention to discussing the Nova Program for Cubs, Webelos, Scouts, and Venturers and its contribution to promoting STEM advancement topics.

Earning the Super Nova recognition requires some significant effort and will likely grow into a prestigious attainment along with the Eagle Rank and Hornaday Conservation Award.

To register as a Nova Counselor, the counselor must (1) be trained in a class or (2) (a) use the self-study guide, and (b) review the self-study PowerPoint presentation. Then the applicant must submit an adult application on paper or through the applicant’s home unit. (Have your unit chair use the Invitation Manager in my.scouting.org to speed the application process.)

 

Resources from January 2017 Roundtable

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Tonight we discussed Webelos-to-Scout Transition from the Cub Scout and Boy Scout perspectives.

Some of the resources that we referenced or planned on discussing are as follows:

Year Round Recruiting Guide for Troops

Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner PatchJanuary 2016 Cubcast (podcast from BSA focused on Cub Scout topics) and January 2009 Cubcast (an evergreen topic in January)

How to host a Troop Open House

Since it is true that, “History has shown that more Webelos Scouts join Boy Scouting when an entire den joins the troop together,”we need to find ways to make this happen. BSA has material on making stronger patrols. Part of this is den recruitment.

2017 JTE Scorecards

This document is for District and Council planning but is useful for units to learn how they fit in a larger prototypical plan.

 

Cub Scout Commissioner Recruitment

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Council’s Commissioner Rick Tardy and Director of Field Services Nathan Young has asked the districts’ commissioners to put a special emphasis on recruiting and placing Unit Commissioner with Cub Scout Packs.

District Commissioner Jeff Heck is actively seeking Unit Commissioner recruits to help in this mission.

Perfect candidates to consider are any past Scout whom you would turn to as a reliable source of wisdom about scouting. Scouters with special skills in recruitment, fund raising, programming, teaching camp skills, or similar experiences are all perfect for serving as Unit Commissioners.

We need to place Unit Commissioners with seven (7) Cub Scout Packs to fully complete our  goal of fully staffing Packs.

Some scouters are more comfortable serving Boy Scout Troops or Venturing Crews. That is welcome, too.

Please let Jeff know as soon as possible.

New Roundtable Time

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Please note that our District Roundtables will remain on the second Thursday of each month at St Luke’s UMC’s Luke’s Lodge (outbuilding).

imagesThe key change is that the meeting will start at 7:00 pm.

All Den Leaders, Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Venturing Advisors, and Unit Committee Members are invited to participate.

UPDATE: Tonight’s Roundtable will focus on Webelos-to-Scout Transition and building relationships between Troops and Packs.

Roundtable tomorrow

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Reminder that tomorrow Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 6:30 pm (yes, 6:30 pm) is roundtable.Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Patch

  1. Scout Roundtable will address how to use Junior Assistant Scoutmasters to engage 16- and 17-year-old scouts.
  2. Cub Scout Roundtable will address Preparing for the Pinewood Derby and Blue & Gold Banquets.