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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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  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 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 ,

Semper Gumby District Commissioner

img_3749Another chapter within my Scouting journey has taken place.  I was recently approached and asked if I would consider being the next District Commissioner of Skyloo District within Cascade Pacific Council.  I talked to the District Director,  District Exec and Council Commissioner.   After awhile, I did decide that I would accept this position.  I did call the former District Commissioner and speak with her to let her know that I accepted the new position and that it would be announced at the upcoming District Committee meeting.  I did not want a surprise like that to come out of no where and have her taken by surprise.

Also, at the sametime I resigned my positions as Assistant Council Commissioner for Commissioner Tools and Communications.  I also resigned as Skyloo Cubscout Roundtable Commissioner.  To which I basically assumed due to the fact the District also need a Roundtable Commissioner.  I still go to the Council Commissioner meetings due to my new position.  I will also be the Commissioner Tools Champion for the District.

During the District Meeting and after, I was asked what my goals were and what does a District Commissioner actually do.   Looking at the National BSA website for Commissioner’s , the motto in part reads “help Scout units succeed”.    I took that phrase and put that on the back of my new business cards that I just ordered.  The image is above and I also used it on the Skyloo Twitter and Facebook Header Image.

My goal is simple and straight from National.  In the end each Unit within Skyloo District will have a Unit Commissioners that helps and guides them to be the best unit possible.  Each Commissioner will be fully trained for their position. To focus on the four areas outlined by the National Commissioner program.

I will also have a Roundtable Commissioner and staff for each breakout to have an inviting and energetic monthly Roundtable.
I will have four Assistant District Commissioners (ADC) within Skyloo.  Two of the ADC’s will each other their respective Stakes.  The other two will cover the East and West side of Skyloo.   This will allow easier support of each section of Skyloo.

We will work to get the Packs connected first to a Unit Commissioner and then the Troops.  It will be a little different within the LDS Stakes since all units are tied together within a Ward.
The other goal for all the Units is  to use and complete the 2017 Journey to Excellence and to log Service Hours.  While these are metrics that bubble upwards, theIMG_5304 information helps the District, Council and National understand what is happening within the Units.
Overall, I have another Wood Badge ticket before me that will help the units put on a good program for the youth that they serve.  If you look at the Wood Badge coin, one that I carry with me, you will see the five goals of Wood Badge still being used to this day.



Posted in Commissioner, postaday | Tagged ,

Fundamentals of Training

img_3758I took the Fundamentals of Training in the Calapooia District.  It is about 60 miles from my house and I drove through another District to get there.

Fundamentals of Training is part one of a three part series of helping the Trainer become a better Trainer.  It is part of T Cubed.  The second course is The Trainers EDGE.  I have taken this course several times for since 2010.  I am taking it again on April 1st since it is due to get renewed.  But also because I am staffing W1-492-17-2 Wood Badge course this August.  It is a weeklong course and one of two this year.  This course is ” to introduce teaching techniques and skills to new Scout trainers as well as help those Scouters, regardless of their experience, present effective training.”  While I have taken EDGE and other courses, I had never taken this one before.  It is a good refresher and helped me remember a lot of the basics of training.  I did get a lot out of the course and the length was just perfect.

Trainers EDGE is “trainers develop their training skills, Trainer’s EDGE provides an additional opportunity for trainers to enhance their abilities.”  Trainers EDGE really digs into how a person presents training and offers a lot of feedback.  This is something that I use just about every day at work and in the field.

There is a Master Trainer edition, which I hear is available at Philmont Training Center.  You do not need to attain that to earn the Cascade Pacific Council Trained patch and nameplate.

Our Council has created a program that will allow the Scouter who completes all the requirements to wear a special “Trained” patch and Nameplate.   The fun part is that when I was a part of the COMIT95in15 program, I helped come up with the patch and nameplate sans requirements.

That being the case, it was on my list to complete.  I basically had all the requirements except the Fundamentals of Training.  It took me awhile to take the course due to other commitments.   Looking at the requirements I have taught at Commissioner College 2015, University of Scouting 2010-2016, Wood Badge 2013 and EDGE in 2014.  Plus Cubscout for a Day Oct 2015 for Skyloo District.  I will be on staff for Wood Badge W1-492-17-2, University of Scouting 2017 and Commissioner College 2017.  The only sticky point is that our District Training Chair is new by two months, so he could not have given permission.

Overall, the Fundamentals of Training is a good course to take.  I liked going to a District that I have never been to officially.  I have img_3757driven through there for work and vacation, but not for anything Scout related.  I had seen and meet Scouters from there and it was good to re-connect.  One of the great things that I learned was that there is a Trainers Creed.  That will be something that I will hang onto, use and remember.


Posted in Blogging, Goals, postaday | Tagged ,