Dude, where is my Recharter Packet?

It is that time of the year for Units within our Council to Recharter.  While I have gone through the process while I was a Cubmaster, I physically have never be in charge of it for a Unit.  All I had to do is sign paperwork and someone else turned it in.

Now, I am the head guy for the District and have taken the bull by the horns.  Since I took over in late Febuary of this year, I have learned a lot.   I have also created a vision of not being second to dead last within the Council.  Note that there are 18 Districts and including Sea Scouts and the Community Units.  Yeah, dead last.

What I also experinced was sitting on an Eagle Board of Review, signing off on the now Eagle Scout on both his book and Council paperwork only to find that his Unit was not posted and Chartered.   While it got resolved very quickly, I vowed for that to not happen again.

With the help of a neighboring District Commissioner I created a set of requirements and policies that will help our District process Charters.  Below are some of the ideas.
PRINT your completed charter- 2 copies is good, 1 for District (Me), 1 for units reference that they really did it (you know computer glitches) I expect to see

  • All the pages of your charter (even blank ones)  with sig if you didn’t do the electronic signature
  • Annual charter agreement (1 page) with sig of CR and Executive officer (lines 1 & 3 signed)- one per ward, so not both pack and troop have to bring this.
  • Any ypt you are having issues with showing up of reports
  • Cubs- training doc for DL or CM (you can do a screen shot of member manager tool in my.scouting.org by organization list) 
  • Any new apps required- youth or adult (include disclosure and YPT for adults)
  • $ for boys life
  • JTE scorecard filled out

While the BSA has updated the Recharter System and what I can see thus far, it is a vast improvement.  Couple this and the Online Registration it has improved.  There are issues, but we are wading through them.

The District has 121 units.  34 of them are dropping due to the LDS choice of dropping their Team and Crews.  That will get us to 87 units.  Thus far 34 units have already logged in with four already submitted.  All but 8 units have their Recharter Codes.   I started handing them out on the September Roundtable.

For those outside of Cascade Pacific Council, we have adopted an Annual YPT and that all Cubscout Direct Contact positions be fully trained for their position.   Our Area has adopted the Annual YPT several years ago.  As it helps cut down units not re-chartering and keeping YPT current.  The Training Mandate came in 2015.   The Troop version has not yet been announced, but I know it is coming.

Posted in change, postaday, Recharter | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wood Badge W1-492-17-2 “The Wave”

0-Woodbadge 2017-3036September 18th marks 30 days after I first reported to Gilwell for the W1-492-17-2 course at Butte Creek.  It was time for the Gilwell staff to come together for pre-course and transform Butte Creek into Gilwell for our 43 soon to be friends.

As the admin staff, we knew our parts and what needed to happen.  Butte Creek had not been used as Gilwell for 10 years plus.  However, we quickly transformed it.  The Troop Guides had only known Wood Badge as participants, but were more in sync than they knew.  It was evident after the participants arrived.

As a whole staff, we jelled just like mandarin oranges in green jello!  It was awesome!  Meaning, we found our groove and it was pure magical the whole nine days we were there.1-Woodbadge 2017-3588I was the Assistant Scoutmaster for Logistics.  I had not been on course since W1-492-11
as a Troop Guide for the Bobwhites.  I went through Wood Badge on WE1-492-09 and I am a Beaver.  While I was a guest presenter for W1-492-13, it had been awhile since I staffed and had to learn a lot of what I needed to do.  While the course really did not change, nor the games or what I needed to do.  What I was respondsible for on course was making sure the items needed were there ahead of the participants and staff.    I was the stage manager.   I played my part and did it well.  I had one job.  I found out later that I did it very well even though I kept second guessing myself.

The whole Wood Badge experince is unique to each course.  There is no one flavor that moves from course to course.  The content and objective of Wood Badge is the only constant throughout the process.  It is the staff and the participants that make the magic of Wood Badge happen.  Good, Bad, Ugly and whatever.  This course, was different.

I have seen patrols and staff turn into a high performance group.  I have not seen a whole course of both patrol, staff and then Troop become a high performance group.  As this was a weeklong course, we had a lot of time to be together.

I made many new friends, deepened long standing friendships and felt the power, weight and uplifting energy again of Wood Badge.    While I knew the course and what it would teach, to see it unfold and envelope the participants and staff, it sucked me i n as if I was walking into the front gates of Disneyland for the first time.

I saw our Course Director give the best ever talks that he pulled from his soul and spirit.  I heard our Senior Patrol Leader give a great talk on Servant Leadership, and Dark Sucker Theory.  The Troop Guides gave the funniest and best Leave No Trace presentation ever.  The Kitchen staff made some of the best food ever and we ate quickly without lines.  I saw patrols deep in thought as well as participants on what Wood Badge was doing to them.  Making them THINK.

In the end, I saw 43 Scouters become seven patrols and one Troop.  Troop 1. The Wave has started.  Each participant has a 5 ticket items that will better themselves, their unit, their family and those they know.  That is 215 items making waves within their community that they serve.  I look forward to attending as many Wood Badge Beadings as I can in the coming 18 months.
4-Woodbadge 2017-5156

Wood Badge 2018 course is now open.  I urge you to take one of the two courses offered. You will not be disappointed.

Posted in postaday, Ticket, Training, Wood Badge, woodbadge | 1 Comment

Setting the Record Straight: Presidential Visits to the BSA National Jamboree

Just in case people wanted to know more about POTUS and the National Jamboree. This is a great blog post.

Scoutmaster Scott's Scouty Stuff

In reading some comments on a Bryan on Scouting blog post, someone lamented that President Obama did not attend that National Jamboree while “every other President attended Boy Scout Jamborees while in office.” I was curious as to how accurate that statement was, as I’ve heard it several times prior to that comment. In doing some quick searching, I found that there is no one site that has all the information. I started a step-by-step search (each Jamboree and each President of the United States) to compile the following information, using Google search results that included BSA National’s website, Wikipedia, Youtube and various other sources. What I found is that the assertion that “Every other President attended Boy Scout Jamborees while in office” is inaccurate. It is true that President Obama has not attended a National Jamboree, but neither have several sitting Presidents of the United States (POTUS)…

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Posted in postaday | 5 Comments

District Re-Charter

recharter now(1)Ah yes…Re-Charter season never ends.  Those poor District Executives hate the administrative paperwork.  They thought the Units were all done, but now it is time for the District Committee and Commissioner Corp.  Ok the Merit Badge Counselors have to as well.  What is the big stumbling block?  Yes.  It is the Youth Protection.  Cascade Pacific Council out of Portland Oregon now has an annual YPT mandate.  We follow the Western Regional Area 1 policy that also calls for Annual YPT instead of the National policy of every two years.  That is because the major hang-up for Re-charters is YPT.

Tonight I spent several hours crafting emails to the District and Commissioner Corp as to what is happening and what is needed.  I got one person to reply 45 minutes later that she was done!  I checked and yes….she was!

My big question/issue circles around the District Member at Large.  National BSA has a few things to say about this position.  :“District members at large (registration code No. 75) are voting members of the district committee. They are nominated by the district nominating committee and are duly elected by the voting members of the district. They may be elected either at the last district annual meeting or during the interim at a regular duly called, monthly district committee meeting.”  

Currently our District is going through a re-building period and I am taking it upon myself to administer this function.  Our Council also uses Scoutcommunity.com.  Read more about it here and why it was created.   It and Scoutnet also automatically add District Member at Large to several positions.  Not exactly sure why, but it does.  So, with all of this, I realized that there were several members of the District that do a lot of work for the District and Units but do not have a position.  To which there really is not an official position for what they do.  For example, Eagle Board Chairs.   Our council also has a training program for those who want to be an Eagle Board Chair.   Best two hours in the District!

With all that said, working through the District Re-Charter is a big deal.  Just like chartering a unit, you need to make sure that the people you have on the team are ones that want to be there.    I am also setting the tone for the upcoming Re-Charter Season of 2017.  Yes, all forms will be done correctly and the administrative work will be a lot lot less.

Besides, one of the main things a Commissioner is suppose to do is to ensure a timely re-charter.  It does not matter if it is for a Unit or District.



Posted in postaday

Help scout units succeed

UnitCommissioner_4kA Commissioner is according to the BSA Commissioner website is “Commissioners are district and council leaders who help Scout units succeed. They coach and consult with adult leaders of Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews. Commissioners help maintain the standards of the Boy Scouts of America. ”   Commissioners are also a friend, representative, doctor, teacher and counselor to the unit.

There are four primary areas that Commissioners are to focus on as well.

1) Support Unit Growth through the Journey. to Excellence.
2) Contacting units and capturing their strengths and needs in Commissioner Tools
3) Linking unit needs to district operating committee resources.
4) Supporting timely charter renewals.

So, what does all that mean for me as the District Commissioner in Skyloo District?  It means that as Commissioners we are there to “help scout units succeed”.    The Scout Units need support, even if they are the best unit ever, on a routine basis.  Even if we check in several times a year and see that the program is working.  We are there to help ensure that there is a program and that it is working.   If the unit has issues, the Commissioner can provide the support and/or reach out to the District and gather support.
It could be as simple as contacting the Training Chair and scheduling Merit Badge Counselor Training or a Unit Leader training for new Den Leaders.    Also, the Unit Commissioner could reach out to a Troop to introduce the new Cubmaster to the Scoutmaster so Den Chiefs could be engaged.  On the Troop side, maybe a Scoutmaster asks questions about the Order of the Arrow and how to get more involved.  Having a OA Troop Rep on the PLC  is just like having a Den Chief at a Pack.  It helps the flow of information and creating a better program.  Which all leads the Unit to have more fun.

Being a Commissioner also helps in the administrative side of Scouting.  Yes, applications, forms and other boring tasks that get pushed aside because the Scouts need to be OUTSIDE making memories and learning how to pitch a tent and make fires!

Journey to Excellence, logging service hours, re-charter process and logging visits into Commissioner Tools.  All of these processes, data entry/data dump and things that boil the metrics into great dashboards and other reports are needed.  These are items are here for several reasons.  They are to help the unit understand what is needed, how they are doing and how to show others outside the unit what is happening within.  And yes, someone figured out how to create a pivot table out of all of it.

So, within Skyloo District, Commissioners are going to be there to help scout units succeed.  We have not done a great job of that over the years, but that is changing.

Posted in Commissioner, Journey to Excellence, postaday, Skyloo District | Tagged

Commissioner Conference 2017

904877_514151261983222_1851288104_oThis weekend was the 2017 Commissioner Conference for Cascade Pacific Council.  We had 33 Commissioners register and about 15+ showed up day of the event.  This was great since last year only 10 were signed up and it was canceled due to low numbers.

This year it was called a Conference instead of a college as it was held in the style of a Ted Talks.   The conference also offered both the Unit Commissioner and Roundtable Commissioner training.  About 5-6 Commissioners took each course.  It was a great turn out and a lot of training and information was presented.

A vast array of topics were offered.  How to be a Commissioner, What is Commissioner Service, Commissioner Tools, Roundtable and LDS Commissioners.   We also heard from Kevin Baker that Western Region Area One Commissioner, as he was our guest of honor.

Dolly Olson, the CPCBSA Council Commissioner gave her State of the Council speech.  In which she dived into why she is passionate about being a Commissioner and her reason for being where she is today.  Dolly tasked us to go out and visit Scout Units, make contacts and to log them.  Our council is incredibly lite on recording visits.

We also heard from Mike Volz, the Cubscout Roundtable Commissioner for Sunset Trails.  His main message is to keep promoting events, make the content different, meaningful and fresh, have a full calendar published for the year.  He also made a very good point of making people feel welcomed.  Greet them at the door, follow up with them directly and ask for input.  The program you put on at Roundtable should be an example for what is put on in the units.

Eric Pond who recently became the LDS Council contact and a longtime Scouting Volunteer  put on a great session on Scouting in the LDS Units.   He provided a great overview for those outside the LDS as to what goes on within the Units.  I have taken several courses at the University of Scouting over the years and talked to my LDS Scouting friends to learn more about this topic.  Because of my new position within the District as District Commissioner, this was very helpful.  Eric explained who the Commissioners and Charter Org Reps are based upon their position within the Stake and Wards.  He explained the how Stakes and Wards are set-up and how it relates to Districts and Units.  A lot of good information.

Sheryl Shake, our Commissioner Conference Dean, provided not only the whole coordination of putting this event on, but also provided on where to go for more Commissioner information on the Scouting.org website.  There is a lot to know and learn.  The tools are there, but a lot of the time hard to find.  This was good information to share.

I gave a 60 minute presentation on Commissioner Tools and many of the reports that can be created.  I went through the basics of how to assign or change a Unit Commissioner and how to make Unit Contacts.  I also had one of the District Commissioner’s login to show her account since mine covered the entire Council.  We walked through more basics of logging calls, why to log a call and what a call could be.  She also shared what reports she uses and why.

Finally, Kevin Baker our Western Region Area One Commissioner spoke.    Feedback is a gift and it was good to hear his comments about the talks.  He helped validate many of the same issues we see in CPCBSA, is the same in the other councils.  He is also the recently former Area Training Chair and said that Commissioner Service and Training go together.

Circling back to what Dolly talked about for Commissioner Service, Kevin  went further and added Commissioner Image.  Service and Image.  Commissioners are there to help the unit succeed and also provide the example of how the face of Scouting. We help get the word out about Scouting from the National, Council and District levels to the units.  We also help get the word back to the District, Council and National level through reporting via Commissioner Tools, JTE and Service Hour reporting.

This conference just reaffirms several things to me about being in the position that I am in and always have been.  I provide and connect people to resources and others to help them enable themselves and units to be better than they are.  This is through my positions of Trainer, Cubscout Roundtable Commisioner, Assistant Council Commissioner and District Commissioner.  It was also the case as the Troop Committee Member and Ast Scoutmaster. Sometimes it is through Guided Discovery and other times it through basic explaining of the rules and functions of what needs to happen.

Time to get busy in the District and bringing service to the units.

Posted in Cascade Pacific Council, Commissioner, postaday, roundtable, Training

The Key to the Position

arrowheadWithin in anything, there is a KEY!  Something that helps you unlock the answer or help that you need to do the job or complete the process that is being worked on.

With all the positions I have taken within Scouting, I have looked to the training is required for the position and what recognition are available.  The recognition will have a lot more details as to what needs to be included.  Within the Commissioner Corp, this would be the Arrowhead Honor Award.

The District Commissioner Arrowhead Honor Award has a lot requirements that are to be completed within one year.   Most of the requirements are administrative and tracking goals within the District for Units and Commissioners.  This process will include Journey to Excellent, Commissioner Tools and Service Hours to be updated.

The other part of this recognition is to have face time with the District Executive, District Chair, Commissioners and Council Commissioner and understand what is needed from each party.  This process is vital and will allow District and Council resources to understand the issues within the Units.

Understanding what is needed to perform within the position will help enable everyone to put on the program as desired at every level.  Commissioner support for the units that are headed to failure will help stem the tide of loosing Packs.  Currently within Cascade Pacific we are down a lot of Packs and even the new Packs that are started are failing.  This will help them and help the youth be successful.

Recognition is not just something to obtain for a job well done.  Working through these types of recognition will help stablize units and districts, but also make them flourish.

Posted in Goals, knots, postaday | Tagged ,