From Troop 343 Assistant Scoutmaster Andrew Himebaugh:
“The Clique”Word has been received that the Troop is run by a clique. Upon investigation we find that this statement is TRUE.Furthermore, we find that this clique is composed of faithful members and loving parents who are present at each meeting; who willingly accept appointment to committees; who freely give of their time to teach skills to the Scouts; to look out for each other; and to serve in a wide variety of ways.They are those who sincerely believe that the more one puts into his Troop, the more he gets out of it.The strange thing about this clique is that it is very easy to get into.All one needs to do is demonstrate a lively interest in the organization, make constructive suggestions and accept responsibility when asked to do so.Show a continued interest in all the affairs of the Troop and before you realize it, you will be a member of the clique. . . . And you will be surprised how very happy they are to have you!
Boy Scout Base Camp at the Indiana State Fair is making a comeback from August 4-20! The site needs lots of manpower to promote Scouting to potential and current families. Earn volunteer hours with your unit, family, or friends and help by sharing what you love most about the program. Volunteers will get free fair admission so that they can explore before or after their shift. Learn more and register.
Did you know that #Basecamp17 at the Indiana State Fair is right around the corner? Running the site to promote the Scouting program to potential and current Scouting families takes serious manpower and we could use your help! Register today to volunteer at Base Camp with your family, unit, or friends. Volunteers will have free fair entry so that they can explore before or after their shift. Learn more and register.
As the academic year winds down, many scouting units are thinking about leadership transitions and upgrades.
Transitions occur when Cub Leaders leave their packs to follow their son(s) to a boy scout troop. They occur when Scoutmasters retire when their son(s) reach Eagle of 18 years old. They occur when a scout leader has health issues.
Leadership upgrades occur when a handful of scout leaders seek to fill the many vacancies in their unit’s committee. Upgrades occur when leaders switch roles to refresh their own excitement and engagement or move into positions better suited to their individual talents: a banker moves into a treasurer’s role, a teacher moves into a scoutmaster corps role.
Some units are in communities where there are few adult volunteers available or few scouts to recruit. We informally call these areas “scouting deserts.”
District is looking to build teams of experienced scouters who can help offset some of the problems with scouting deserts. These experienced scouters are being asked to serve as part of our new “oasis teams.”
In our ideal vision an oasis team would be a semi-permanent team of scouters who would work together for a year or so. In that period of time, they would work together to rebuild or refine existing units or serve as an organizational committee for new units. In the vision, the oasis team would consist of 4-6 members per team. They would serve as a temporary unit committee or supplementation to a beleaguered unit committee.
The oasis team would assure that the unit has an annual calendar of activities and meetings; a unit budget that identifies the cost of a year’s program to a scout’s family; a fund raising plan to make sure all scouts can afford scouting; and a succession plan for the unit’s families to take over full time management of the unit with 4-6 months.
The transition plan would have the annual calendar and budget done in the first 60 days with the Oasis Team taking the lead. The plan would have the Oasis Team identify successor for each key position in days 61 through 120 and implement a training plan to have those successors 100% trained by Day 120. The successors would shadow the oasis team member who is mentoring the new volunteer. From days 121 to 180, the oasis team would switch roles. The oasis team mentors would shadow the new volunteer’s first steps in the role. At the end of six months, the oasis team would be replaced with a New-Unit Commissioner to advise the entire unit.
Ideally, North Star could use three Oasis Teams right now. That means we would like 18 experienced scouters.
Please contact Jeff Heck if you know a candidate for serving in this role. We would love to build these teams and begin implementing them before the end of May 2017.
Don’t forget that tonight at 6:30 pm is the night that Council will hold its first ever Facebook Live session. The subject will be Cub Scout recruiting for the back to school cycle of 2017.
I do not have the direct link to the event. I cannot find it on the council’s Facebook page.
I would recommend simply going to this link.
Please note come on a previous Facebook share, I had indicated the wrong time. The actual start time is 6:30 PM.
At Council’s Semi-Annual Operations Meeting on Tuesday, Director of Field Services for Council’s Eastern Section Marilyn Lopez announced a Latino Outreach Initiative.
Marilyn is bilingual. Part of the reason Council hired her is with a view to her being instrumental in building a successful Latino outreach. That program is now under way.
North Star District has been named as one of the three (3) traditional districts to receive the focus of this effort. We were chosen because we already have a significant Latino population within our borders. A parallel effort will be pursued in the after-school units.
The outreach will begin with a specialized committee. The committee will consistent primarily of persons with existing connections to the Indianapolis Latino community. In addition, Council will work with local colleges and universities to staff interns with bilingual skills to serve as a support network. Some of these internship positions will be paid; others will be unpaid.
The goal of the program is to build three new units in each district that are majority Spanish-language families with a total of 100 new scouts. These units will market to the Latino families for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as a family affair, and not just an activity for a boy.
Along with the new units, the initiative will seek to serve existing units with Spanish language support. These bilingual scouters will be an invaluable resource in the success of the initiative.
If you know family or friends who are bilingual or are currently studying Spanish, this is a great opportunity to build your language skills. One way to prepare for this effort is to buy the Spanish lanugage material. Then read the English and Spanish language material together. For example, read one chapter of the English Cub Scout Leader guide, then read the same chapter in Spanish. Compare the vocabulary and syntax. You will quickly learn the Scout-specific language in both languages.
This initiative is intended to have a major impact in the fall.
Please let Con, Marilyn, or me know about any Spanish outreach resources so that we can Be Prepared come fall.
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.
The new membership recruitment program for Fall 2017 is already starting to roll out from Council’s office.
Simply put the theme is going to be “Catapult into Scouting.” Each new recruit will receive a miniature catapult, pre-cut by the Indiana Woodworkers Association.
The IWA through its representative and Pathfinder District’s new District Commissioner Stan Jewula will provide the Council with 10,000 catapults. These will be hand cut in Central Indiana.
Each boy will receive a bag with all the necessary parts. The new Cub Scout will then assemble his own catapult. He may decorate it as he sees fit.
Then there will be an activity for each pack or district to have an event using the catapults.
The Council is also rolling out plans to try to have scouting units re-introduced to public school districts. Much more information about these plans will be rolled out at the semi-annual operations meeting in April 2017.
As I have noted earlier, our recruitment numbers for Tiger Cubs are down for Washington and Pike Townships.
Thinking about ways to increase our free-marketing opportunities, I realized how few times in the modern era that scouts are seen in uniform outside of scout meetings.
In my review of the history of scouting in Central Indiana to track the history of my home troop (which was founded in 1915), I learned a lot about scouting practices in the early 20th century.
What caught my attention is how often the scouts were out at public events in uniform. Some at neighborhood events. Some at scouting events open to the public. Some of these are antiquated ideas, but I find old things a great means of sparking the imagination and brain storming.
In the pre-WWI era, a common neighborhood practice was the “Yard Party.” A family or group would hold a party in the yard of a member’s home or the local church. They would publish an announcement in the local paper and invite the neighborhood. It seems the only idea was to entertain and socialize. No fundraising. No other complications.
For scout troops, this was a way to be seen as actively participating in the local neighborhood. Houses were in walking distance of each other in the city, and neighbors would see the neighborhood boys working together for the good of the community.
Now we look at the activities we do. How many times are your scouts in public without their “Class A uniforms” on? Would non-scouts know that you are doing scouting from a distance? How many times do you do activities away from your usual secret-hideaway meeting location?
These are all opportunities lost to market ourselves at no cost.
We need to be finding ways to put on our uniforms and be seen near our neighborhoods – near our meeting locations. That will start conversations and introduce us again to our neighbors.