Tag Archive for Commissioners

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.

DDCC – District Den Chief Coordinator (idea)

Here is an idea that I would like feedback on: a district (or sub-district) den chief coordinator (DDCC).

As a former Cubmaster/ASM and current Commissioner, I am a huge fan of Den Chief’ing, when it is done right:

  • The Cub Scouts see an ideal example of what staying in the program looks like
  • The Cub Leader gets an extra set of hands and ideas
  • The Troop gets an ambassador to the Packs that may join them
  • The Boy Scout learns leadership

But there are challenges that have to be managed:

  • Ensuring that the Boy Scout acts as a “leader” and not just “a big cub to be handled”
  • Ensuring that the Boy Scout participates and is able to receive coaching, just as they would if they were serving within the Troop
  • Ensuring that every Den gets a Den Chief (that wants one) and that every suitable Boy Scout gets an opportunity to serve/lead/learn.

As an Asst. District Commissioner, I serve 5 troops and 9 packs. At a minimum that would be 36 Dens (Wolf, Bear, Web1 and Web2 times 9 packs) that need Den Chiefs, but there are likely more like 45 dens in my service area. While I have helped many boy scouts find packs and vice versa, and am sure there are lots of other 1:1 matchups going on, I’d like to try something new:

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How should Packs re-charter Webelos II scouts?

Every year, as part of re-chartering, Packs ask about whether they should do the re-charter paperwork for their Webelos II scouts. Typically near the end of February, most Webelos II (W2) scouts will cross over from their Cub Scout Packs and become Boy Scouts – so why should the Pack pay for their entire annual dues?

Recharter Them: The question isn’t whether to recharter them, it is who pays for it

To be clear – YES, the Pack needs to renew the memberships of those W2 scouts.

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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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I love Merit Badge Colleges

I really do !

There are a lot of folks out there that think that Merit Badge Colleges (MBCs) diminish earning the Merit Badges (MB), and they certainly do when the MBC is delivered with the intent to “Spend a Saturday, take home two badges.”

Similarly, there are folks that treat MBCs kind of like the summer community college where you took hard (aka Eagle) courses in an accelerated way, so as to avoid doing them during the traditional way. And that is equally bad.

Like most things in life, the problem is in the intent and the execution, not in the thing itself.

MBCs are not the problem – expecting to earn one or two merit badges in a day is.

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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.

How to rally boys during Cub Scout recruiting (video)

Most Boy Scouts begin as Cub Scouts … and most Cub Scouts first learn about the program from a School Night for Scouting (SNfS) or Join Scouting Night (JSN) recruitment event. While your Pack may already have a very effective recruiting mechanism, here are some ideas on how effectively recruit within your school.

1.  Meet with the Principal — reminding them of the value of Scouting in their school

During my five years as a Cubmaster, I was blessed to be in a school district that recognizes the value of Scouting within their student body, as an extracurricular activity and as a character building program for the students. As such, recruiting always starts with meeting with the Principal.

2. School Open House (optional)

If you are able to meet with the principal before your school’s fall Open House, then ask to set up a table – perhaps nearby the PTA sign-up table. Your only goal is to ask, “Can we send some information about Scouting to you?” with a sign-up page with email address, child and parents’ name and email and phone number. This will let you do an email blast when you are ready for recruitment night. Inevitably, someone will ask you about girl scouts, so have a second sign-up sheet so that you can pass their information to your peer (if you can find them).

3. Establish a 7-day countdown to your recruitment night

I personally like Thursday nights for recruiting. Fridays are tough for parents to commit to, when they are not yet enthusiastic about the program. Wednesdays are church nights for many. And Monday/Tuesday doesn’t give you enough consistency for message/momentum.

4. Send a letter to the Teachers … Thursday (7 days before SNfS)

Say something similar to what you evangelized to the principal, and in fact, consider recapping that conversation. Let the know that you are excited about the adventure for their kids and that you will be sending a letter home for all the parents on Thursday. Also, ask if they know of any kids in the class that they believe would especially benefit from the Scouting program, give them your email address or phone number. Let them know that next week, there

5. Send a letter home with every 1st thru 5th grader … Monday (3 days before SNfS)

Many schools send home packets on a Monday or Tuesday, which is great because the parents are used to looking through it for actionable information. The best option is to just be included in that stack. The letter/flyer should include the meeting time for your SNfS.

If your Council office is doing the printing, you will need to confirm the SNfS night — first with the principal, so that you can use their facility, and then with the Council, in case your District Exec is able to support the event

Note, while it is slightly more expensive, I highly encourage you to send with every child, not just the boys. While Johnny might have not received his flyer for some reason, his sister may have hers. A few extra dollars in printing vs. doubling the chance that a boy learns about Scouting, is worth it.

6. School Rally — during lunches or assembly … Tuesday (2 days before SNfS)

This is where you get them excited!!! This is not so much about putting out information/education as much as getting them totally jazzed for the fun of Scouting. Tell them that their parents received the informational brochure, but have lots of extras and send it with them again. Consider asking your existing cub scouts to wear their class-B t-shirts on the day of the rally.

Check out this video, as an example of how you amp them up. Your goal is simply to have them go home to tell their parents “I want to be a Cub Scout — did you read the flyer?”

 

7. School Night for Scouting (SNfS) … Thursday !!

This is it!! Consider asking two Cub Scouts, ideally a Cub and a Webelos (in Class-A uniform), to deliver the morning announcements, or at least encourage everyone to join the Scouts. Potentially, you might also offer for all existing scouts to wear their Class-A’s (possibly over other clothes, if they do recess). It is just one more way to get those new kids excited. Will post a second blog post on delivering SNfS itself.

As always, thanks for reading/watching.

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