Most every third Tuesday of the Month, Council has some meetings scheduled. This month there was confusion about what needed to be covered. For those District Members and Commissioners who responded, thank you!
To avoid future confusion for the rest of the year, Con Sullivan provided me with the formal schedule. Click here to download a copy for your own records
This is the time of year that it is so important for a pack chairman to recruit a pack membership coordinator.
One of the hardest parts of recruitment is explaining the nature and duties of the position. Units that have had the luxury of having one parent assist in year one and then do the job in year to have the advantage of on the job training.
For most other packs, most of the training has to be done using other resources: classes, literature, or on the job experience.
BSA has put together a wonderful website for all packs, troops, and crews to be able to use for different recruitment purposes. There are even YouTube videos for the membership coordinator to learn their job. This is different than the usual E-learning process because there is no login required.
Take a look at this website to find out what you can do to improve your recruitment this fall.
UPDATE: 11/5/15: District is working at updating its list of MBC’s right now. If you see the draft and find that you are not included on it, please read this article about why and how to proceed.
For all of the blog’s information about Merit Badges, click here.
If you want to add or subtract from the Merit Badges that you counsel, please complete this North Star MBC Drop/Add Form. The form must be on file for all counselors. It is required along with the Adult Application.
Please have your troop’s Merit Badge Counselor Registrar contact the District MBC Registrar Mike Yates with any questions about a counselor’s current registration.
The District records are the authority on who is properly a Merit Badge Counselor. Troop registrars are for the convenience of the troop and its members to have a sole point of contact who is familiar with the system.
When a Merit Badge Counselor turns in his or her Drop-Add Form, please encourage them to offer their services to the District or Council, not just your unit, especially if they offer a rare badge. They will not often receive many calls.
For recent history on the MBC registration process and why changes have occurred, please read this blog article. To see options for bringing counseling into the 21st Century, read about the BSA’s acquisition of Scoutbook.com. Regardless whether your unit uses Scoutbook.com or not, it has some invaluable tools for Merit Badge Counseling that are not available elsewhere. Encourage your MBC’s to enroll. Their list of badges offered will then be added to the District list.
If you are retiring from serving as a MBC for the new year, make sure that the District MBC Registrar Mike Yates is aware. Your Troop and Crew leader, committee chair, and chartered organization representative were emailed his email address in October 2015.
If your troop does not have a person listed on your troop’s roster as the MBC registrar, please contact your Troop Committee Chair for more information.
Lake Monroe is a bit high this week.
One of the most important benefits of the new system is that it delegates more control over data to the volunteer corps.
This means that it is important that each unit be aware that it can update information. Once aware, the unit needs to update the information.
To begin the process, you need to know your username and password. It is the same one that you used on myscouting.scouting.org. (If you do not have an account there, you will need to register there first.) If you have never logged in to my.scouting.org, you will have to complete the registration transfer process first. Once you are logged in, continue with the instructions below. (For a slightly older video showing the process, click here.)
Remember that all Cub Scout Packs should have a representative attend the Recruiting Rally at Victory Field downtown west of the Convention Center on Maryland and Missouri Avenues this Thursday, July 16, 2015. Food is served but that required an RSVP last Monday. Now it is an open house, but no additional food reservations are being accepted.
Your Pack representative will receive the recruitment package that you will need to run the August 27th sign up including paperwork, yard signs, and rockets.
Scout Troops and Venturing Crews are encouraged to send a representative. While the bulk of the recruitment goes to Cub Packs, Troops and Crews can learn how they can help support their sister Packs. We have over thirty elementary schools to staff on August 27th and only 18 Cub Packs. We need Troops and Crews to help cover the balance of the schools that night. We also need volunteers to present “Boy Talks” at the elementary schools. Troops and Crews would be wonderful in this effort.
Remember, Troops, most of your future recruits come from Webelos. If we don’t recruit Cub Scouts aggressively today, your Troop will fewer recruits in the near future. Your help is critical now. For more information on the plan, read this article.
The District Executive Con Sullivan, District Chair Steve James, District Commissioner Jeff Heck, many Unit Commissioners will be in attendance. This is a great opportunity to ask questions.
Merit Badge Counselors are a unique animal in scouting. They often focus on working with only one troop or crew, yet they are members of District Staff. District Staff is a group that serves all units in the district. So, Merit Badge Counselors are under the auspices of District and not their home units.
The significance of this is that it is District’s job to maintain an adequate roster of trained and qualified Merit Badge Counselors. To do this, we ask each Scout Troop and Venturing Crew to have an adult leader responsible for maintaining the unit’s roster of Merit Badge Counselors. Then that registrar should be in regular contact with the District Merit Badge Counselor Registrar Mike Yates. Mike maintains the official list.
This week I am sending out a request to all merit badge counselors enrolled but who do not have their Merit Badge Counselor Orientation completed. This email will point out the need for training and offer them various dates and times to complete the training. Council offers the orientation the first Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. We will offer the training at Roundtable in August, too. Unfortunately that means that it will be offered at exactly the same time.
We are currently planning the upcoming District training schedule. Merit Badge Counselors will be one of our primary points of emphasis.
If you would prefer to offer a Merit Badge Counselor training within your own unit’s meeting schedule, we will be happy to assist you in setting that up. This is often the best way to recruit new counselors: have a parent-training session covering YPT and MBC training in one sitting.
There is no online training for this training yet.
Please review your unit’s Merit Badge Counselor training status at my.scouting.org. Encourage your counselors to be trained. If you expected someone to be a Counselor but they are no longer registered, refer to this article for more information.
This past spring, my nephew joined a troop in Cincinnati’s Dan Beard Council. Since it was his first troop summer camp, my son and I drove over to surprise him.
It was a very interesting experience. It was my first time visiting Camp Friedlander. In fact, most of my scouting experience has been in the Crossroads of America Council, especially North Star District. This visit allowed me to see some new takes on scouting.
One of the surprises was a simple system for encouraging advancement. My nephew’s troop has an advancement board. The entire free time after lunch, scouts were hovering around the board, adding their own white tiles, moving the white tiles to reflect in-camp boards-of-review completed, and otherwise planning their advancement plans for the week.
The scoutmasters had encouraged the new scouts to take a white “tile” (a small piece of wood painted white) and use colored Sharpie pens to customize their tile. Hooks and eyes were set into the tiles to allow them to hang properly.
No adults were prompting advancement conversations, but the campsite was buzzing with plans. The troop had made clear that Scoutmaster Conferences were being held Wednesday and Boards of Review on Thursday. This chance for immediate advancement and the privilege of moving the tiles quickly helped further the drama.
In the electronic age, we tend to forget old tools sometimes work best. Our own Troop 35 has the privilege of a dedicated room for scouting. As a result, they have one of the old-school advancement charts hanging on the wall. (Generic and Cub Scout and Boy Scout specific charts are available.) Each boy can easily see his own progress. In my short visit in June, I saw several scouts go over and read the chart to find out where they and their fellow scouts stood.
If you want to encourage advancement, find a way to put advancement before the boys in writing. They will tend to think about advancement more often.