Archive for Circle Ten Council

How active is your Council in Religious Awards?

Each year, PrayPub (the outside agency that develops most of the religious education materials and awards) publishes the lists of BSA councils and awards presented:

http://www.praypub.org/god_country/pray_usage.htm

 

For those in Circle Ten, my council, with 57,000 youth … here are our numbers for the protestant programs:

  • 122 God & Me – 1st thru 3rd grade
  • 116 God & Family – 4th & 5th
  • 20 God & Church – 6th thru 8th
  • 10 God & Life – 9th thru 12th
  • 3 Four Star (all of the above)
  • 17 Adult Awards

 

Of course, this doesn’t tell the whole story.  These numbers are only of the Christian-Protestant awards, not the Catholic, Jewish or other recognized faiths.  Still, there are a lot of protestants in Texas and only 288 recognitions for Scouts and Scouters.

Here are a few other observations:

  • It is gratifying to see relatively flat numbers in the first two programs, implying perhaps folks continuing in the program as their Cub Scout progresses.
  • It is equally disappointing to see the fall-off for Boy Scouts with the latter two programs.
  • Only three Scouts received the “Four Star,” meaning all four awards, presumably three of the ten God & Life recipients.
  • Only 17 Adults were recognized, which begs the question … who is teaching the Scouts? Teaching a course certainly doesn’t merit the award, but one would presume that there are far more than seventeen Christian-minded and actively-serving adults. But the adult award is only by nomination and the requirements are relatively steep in most of the faith traditions, usually 5+ years of active service in both the BSA and their home church or ministry.  Still, seventeen seems low.

 

What do you think?  Please leave your comments below.

Commissioner Thesis: Impact of Commissioner Service on BSA Unit Health and JTE Attainment

First and foremost, thank you to the over 1,200 BSA volunteers who participated in the survey, including over 700 in Circle Ten Council and another 500 from the rest of BSA.

CLICK HERE to download the Research Report

This report was intended to quantitatively measure the impact of Commissioners on BSA Units and JTE Attainment, from the perspectives of both Commissioners and Unit Leaders.  Commissioner-DoctorateThe major research sections include:

  • Commissioner Engagement Statistics
  • Presumptions and Realities Regarding What Commissioners Do
  • Journey-To-Excellence (JTE) Enablement
  • The Relevance of Commissioner Service

The report includes 30 quantitative data charts, along with comparative tables, to try to truly quantify the impact of Commissioners in the BSA.  The original project description can be found here for those that are interested.

An Amazing Army Adventure for Boy Scout Troop 845

This weekend, I had the profound honor to spend the weekend at Fort Hood, the US Army Post in Killeen, Texas. Troop 845, including my son and I, had the amazing opportunity to spend a weekend with several of our country’s finest soldiers.

Troop 845 at Fort Hood

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November = Wring-Out and Re-Charter

It seems like we just got done with School Night for Scouting (see earlier Rally and SNfS blogs) and it is time to start thinking about the next phases of the membership process – wring-out and re-charter. And while they are very different, one helps the other (and you):

Wring-Out

Wring-Out is the very simple process of ensuring that everyone that you (the Pack/Troop leadership) thinks is on your rolls are actually registered with BSA and vice versa. It should literally take you 5 minutes to do, because typically, the only request is that you email a copy of your unit roster to your Commissioner or District Executive. From there, someone at the Council office will compare your roster to what is in the BSA system. Inevitably, BSA will find someone on your roster that they don’t have paperwork on but is active in your unit (solution: fill out an app).

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Wood Badge Ticket Ideas

If you are signed up for Wood Badge, you probably have heard of the ticket:  Five tasks/projects/things that you will do that will benefit Scouting and enable you to grow your impact on the boys, while leveraging your new found leadership skills.

WB Ticket items are very personal and will vary greatly between a second-year Cub parent and a ten-year Asst. Scoutmaster.  If you are from the Five Trails District, here are are few ideas of ticket items that the district could really use help with:

1) COMMISSIONER SERVICE — We are in the process of rebuilding the Commissioner Service in Five Trails. Unit Commissioners are the mentors/friends of the Pack/Troop unit leaders, and also serve as the bridge between our District resources and the units. Consider becoming a UC for even one unit (perhaps the unit that your son is currently in). UC’s can be co-registered as Den Leaders, Committee Members, or ASMs (or just be other parents). If you have a passion for “helping” but haven’t found that “next step” role yet, consider being the Commissioner for your unit or a nearby Pack.

2) DEN CHIEFS – Den Chiefs are Boy Scouts who are learning leadership by serving within Cub Packs. We have lots of Boy Scouts who are looking for that opportunity – and Packs, whose Dens would benefit from an extra set of experienced hands. Five Trails District is looking for one or more folks who could take the Den Chief programs that some of our Troops already offer and consolidate it, so that we manage the placement of Boy Scouts within Packs at a district or city (Coppell, N.Irving and S.Irving) level. This would be a huge enabler for our Scouts and a way to bring your organizational and team coordinating WB skills together in an impactful way.

3) RELIGIOUS PROGRAMS COORDINATOR – Many Scouts miss the opportunity to pursue their Youth Religious Awards (purple knots), especially as they grow through Scouting – only because they are unaware of when the programs are being offered. Our district could use one or two folks whose only job would be to periodically solicit the other Pack/Troop-minded religious coordinators – and then communicate when new classes are being offered. Imagine if a boy wanted to earn his “God & Family” knot as a Webelos, and could just go to the district’s website to find out when and where the next classes are being held. Consider being that coordinator for at least a year and help us launch the webpages and communication streams between the various adult coordinators.

4) RELIGIOUS COURSE EVENT-LEADER – Five Trails recently ran “God & Family” (4th and 5th grade) as an overnight lock-in, instead of a typical eight-week meeting schedule. It was a WB ticket item, including leading the weekend (including recruiting the other leaders and then managing the on-site experience) and then developing a guide for other districts to use for similar lock-ins. The district would like to do the same offering for “God & Church” (6th thru 8th grades), including coordinating the leaders, the on-site experiences, and helping develop a guide for others to use in the future. If you are good at leading short-term teams for a big-impact goal or event, this may be a great ticket item for you. Or if you enjoy developing guides to enable others and can imagine yourself dissecting the curriculum to lay out the agenda – and then building it back up for others to use, you could have a big impact on the boys’ and future participants; consider co-leading with another WB participant. Alternatively, consider using the God & Family guide and delivering your own weekend for Webelos.

If any of these align with your passions, please email me for ideas on how you can have an impact on our Scouts through these roles.

Thanks for all you do (and will do) for our Scouts.  Best wishes to you as you enjoy Wood Badge.

August = Annual Planning … don’t forget JTE

As Summer winds down, the Scouting year really kicks off — with an annual planning meeting done by most Packs and Troops.

The annual planning meeting is where you take:

  • The Council program opportunities (click here for C10 program preview materials)
  • The Five Trails’ District calendar (click here)
  • Your School(s)’ schedules

And then look at what your youth want to do.

If you put it all together, you will have an amazing program of Scouting activities that will fill any Pack or Troop with opportunities and rich experiences.

One of the other topics that you should look at during your annual planning meeting is the Journey to Excellence (JTE) — which replaces the quality/centennial unit programs that many of us are used to. Instead of being simply Pass/Fail, you can earn Gold/Silver/Bronze levels of JTE, based on a scorecard.

The JTE scorecard can be somewhat intimidating when you first look at it, but just like the report cards and success metrics that many employees have at work, the JTE scorecard helps you set goals around Scout retention, Leader training, Activities, etc. It doesn’t take long to go through — and your commissioners want to help.

Please consider inviting one of the district’s commissioners to your planning meeting and give them perhaps 15-20 minutes to talk about the scorecard metrics. Many of the measurements are easy to accomplish, if you just know what you are looking for — nothing unorthodox or unusual, just easy measurements of the kinds of activities that your Pack/Troop is already doing. Oh, and for Troops, don’t forget to discuss the Troop’s financials during the planning meeting. Its worth up to 50 points for your JTE. 🙂

Click here to check out the JTE 2014 information — and please let me or the other commissioners know how we can help.

A Coppell Venture Crew in 2014

Over the past few months, there are have been more than a few small discussions (often 1:1) about starting a Venture Crew in Coppell. With that in mind, I am hopeful that we can gather those that are interested and consider launching a Coppell Venture Crew for 2014.

Here are a few topics to help start the conversation:

What is Venturing?

Venturing is an extension of the BSA program, often with a primary focus such as “shooting sports” as well as offering the ability to do consistently more “high adventure” activities than what might be feasible in a Boy Scout Troop. Venture Scouts can be between 14 and 21, including both young men and women.

What is a Venture Crew?

A Venture Crew is the unit equivalent to a Boy Scout Troop. In much the same way that a Boy Scout Troop is more youth-led than a Cub Scout Pack, a Venture Crew is even more youth-led than a Troop — with Venture adults actually being called Advisors.

Why create a Venture Crew for Coppell Scouts?

The primary reason is to offer a more diverse range of activities for older Scouts, who may not feel challenged by just their Troop’s outings. In addition, older Scouts often struggle to stay committed to their Eagle journey with the ever-broadening activities available to teenagers, such as year-round sports or church programs. A Venturing program brings diversity to those Scouts, as a compliment to their Boy Scout Troop experience — and extends their youth-experience from 18 (Boy Scouts) to 21 (Venturing).

Who should join the Coppell Venture Crew?

The ideal Coppell Venture Scout is a 15+ year old Life or Eagle Scout who is looking for more high adventure in order to retain them in the BSA program. Particularly for boys who may have already risen through the leadership ranks of their troop (e.g. former SPLs) or prefer mature activities over leading first-year scouts, again. In addition, for Boy Scouts who may have been through 4+ Summer Camps with their Troop, Venturing activities can provide the diversity to keep them committed to the overall BSA program (and finish their Eagle before the age of 17.5).

What will the Coppell Venture Crew do?

Whatever the Crew decides! (within BSA policy) Most of the adhoc meetings have discussed an interest in shooting sports and high-adventure outings – with secondary interest in supporting the athletic, music and media-arts programs that many of the Coppell teens are already involved in (often in competition with their Scouting participation).  The “theme” of the Crew will be one of the primary discussion areas when the Crew is being formed later this year.

Venturing membership vs. Troop membership?

There is no “versus” — the programs are complimentary. Boy Scouts registering with a Venture Crew will be dual-registered with BSA, and the activities (e.g. leadership service) that they perform within their Crew will count for their Troop advancement requirements. Certainly, there may be cases where a Scout may eventually shy away from his Troop, in deference to his Crew — but that Scout may likely have otherwise shied away from Scouting in general, if not for his Crew membership. One exception to this is for 18-year olds. Instead of transitioning to become an Assistant Scoutmaster (ASM) within the Troop, they can continue their youth-centric experience within the Crew until they are 21 — which can be ideal for college students.

Four more meetings and another weekend?

Definitely not. Venture Crews tend to be less structured than Boy Scout Troops, so they will define their own meeting schedule which will almost assuredly be far less frequently — such as perhaps one planning meeting per month plus a high adventure outing or a shooting-afternoon (or a movie-night) on a monthly basis.

Where do we get started?

While a Crew is typically less structured than a Troop, there is still some parent-led teamwork to create and then support the Crew. If you have a Scout who may be interested in eventually joining the Crew, or if you are other otherwise interested in helping form a Coppell Venture Crew, please email meOur next step is to gather the Scouts and parents that are interested — for an Informational Meeting, so that we can gauge interest and our capability to charter a new Scouting unit in Coppell. We will be gathering interested names in December and will then reach out in January to schedule at least one informational meeting.

If you or your Scout are potentially interested in Venturing within Coppell, please email me so that we can keep you informed on how the Crew is forming.

Wood Badge 98 Interfaith Materials

Each Wood Badge course has two Interfaith services:

1.The first delivered by staff, in order to not only provide opportunities for Reverence but also to instruct the participants in how to deliver an Interfaith service.

2.The second is delivered by the participants, with coaching provided by the Course Chaplain.

I was honored to serve as the course Chaplain for Circle Ten’s Wood Badge 98 course, at Philmont in August 2011. Here are their materials:

 

Staff-led Service — Sermon (only)

Staff-led Service — Sermon and Interfaith instructional info

Staff-led Service — Program handout

Participant-led Service — Program handout

 

 

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