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.
The U.K. Guardian, a strongly leftist newspaper, ran this favorable article about being a scout leader. We don’t often hear from scout leaders about the value to the adult leaders.
Please send me your experiences and benefits from being a scout leader. Or share your thoughts on the comments below. I would like to run our own Indiana version of this article.
Previously, we posted about a training video for online registration.
Now BSA National has rolled out a dedicated webpage for training on the new online registration system. Take a look. Make sure your unit’s ready for the new system.
This will be extremely handy in preparing for rechartering.
Remember all new application that have completed processing prior to October 1, 2016 will be automatically entered into the Internet Rechartering system. That cuts down on a lot of risks of error in the rechartering process. The electronic registration means that the October 1, 2016 deadline is easier to meet with less paper-flow management.
A quick reminder that the District Committee will be meeting August 4th at 7:00 pm at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, Rm 407, Indianapolis, IN 46260.
Fall Camporee planning is full swing. Please work on your troop’s event. Some ideas are available on a previous post.
We are also working on finalizing basic information about the Winter and Spring Camporees, so come with your thoughts.
Membership subcommittee is in full swing preparing for Back to School Recruitment. Your packs and troops plans to participate (yes, troops helping packs recruit) is crucial for our success. We already know that some packs are spread thin on manpower. They are small and cover many schools on August 25th. Your help is needed for their success.
Fall also has many special events like a Rocket Launch in support of membership recruitment, Cub Scout leader training, Battle of Belzer, Cub Family Camp and many others. We need your help in planning for their success.
I am beginning a project that I want to complete by May 30th. I am looking to design a prototype of a new parent handbook.
I am asking for your help.
First I am asking each unit to email me a copy of their current handbook, annual calendar and handout on costs of membership by May 5th. We will use these as sources of best practices. Documents in a word processing file are preferred.
Second, I am looking for a panel of editors to assist in assessing the result and focusing on simplification and clarity.
Some of the concepts I will be building come from Scouting Magazine’s article last spring. They had to be more generic nationally. Ideally we as a district can put in more specifics in a prototype.
The great Bobwhite Blather has some hints on making sure that Unit Committee meetings are held and effective.
Here are a few key comments:
So how do you slog through the routine of a monthly committee meeting without causing your committee members to “check out” and put you on mute?
With people saying they’d prefer almost anything to sitting through a boring meeting – eight percent reportedly would rather have a root canal than endure a litany of boring status updates – it’s vitally important to engage your participants so they can share the essence of their knowledge. And being a volunteer organization, we can’t compel them to attend, like your employer can, so we need to make them want to attend.
- Most of your meeting should involve tasks in which participants are dependent on each other to advance the outcome. If only one or two people are involved, the rest of the attendees will either be sitting there silently watching the clock or contributing in ways that may not be helpful.
- If your meeting has no purpose or agenda, you’re doomed to waste your participants’ time. They don’t know what to expect…and you don’t know where you are going next – or even why you’re there.
- Expect a solution to arise out of the discussion. Don’t make a habit of putting off topics until the next meeting. Make it a priority to resolve issues and make assignments. The old adage applies: Nothing gets done in meetings – the action takes place when everyone leaves the table.
- Everyone attending should have a stake. Anyone who leaves without something to do probably shouldn’t have attended in the first place.
Frank goes on to explain when emails would be more effective. It is worth a quick read.
UPDATED 10/17/15 to add videos.
UPDATED 10/20/15: boards for November and December have been fully staffed. Thank you for the willing participation from so many units!
North Star District has a joyous problem. We have more Eagle Candidates than our regularly scheduled boards’ capacity.
District is planning on holding extra boards on November 11th to meet the demand.
We need board members to volunteer that evening, and possibly again in December. Please contact Jeff Heck if you can serve on a board or two that evening.
Please encourage new scouters in your troop to volunteer. This is a wonderful way for scouters to learn about Eagle process. Jerry will give new board members instruction on their duties. They can also learn more from the Eagle Board of Review YouTube video from the BSA, with this blogger’s favorite scouter on the internet Clarke Green as one of the presenters. Since Eagle Boards are nothing more than specialized Boards of Review, it also pays to listen to this YouTube Video from National on Boards of Review in general. More specialized topics on the subject are available on advancement from Scouting.org.
We may need nearly 20 volunteers to serve on these November boards.