Tonight was the District Committee meeting. There were several topics. Training, FOS and Recruiting. Blah Blah, Yadda Yadda Yadda…. One of the Commissioners reported about going to a Pack Committee and asking about upcoming events and if they are going to them. Camporee, Cuboree, etc…. They also asked about training.
What they got back was shocking to me and others. “Our Planning Meeting is soon, if we do not have dates, we don’t include it for the year.” What’s OWLS/BALOO….why do we need them?” The Commissioner told us, They don’t speak Scouting like we do in this room. I got his meaning. He also circled back to the Pack Committee asking “Do you go to Roundtable?” No, they do not.
Now, we all know what BALOO/OWLS is and what it’s for. Granted the Annual Planning Meetings are setup to plot out the coming year and set out goals. Most are events that area standard and generally Pack related.
What also was asked in this swirl of conversation was “Troops think Packs just gravitate to them”. They do not go out and talk to Packs. As I pointed out to the room of Boy Scout Unit people, I have to call Troops for support. No one ever calls me. I pointed out that I have two Troops that I call regularly for support. The Webelos I Den just had one over for a Den meeting for Readyman. Another Troop has helped us out for many meetings. I even pointed out that I get emails forwarded to me from the Program Chair/Cubscout Roundtable Commissioner that should have included me as a Cubmaster that invites them to Webelos/Scout things.
I pointed out that if a Troop does not communicate to a Pack and the Pack plots their year before that communication the Troop is locked out for the year.
The Commissioner and I both agreed that being inflexible is totally wrong. Yes, planning is key. A Troop can help a Webelos Den with advancement or just a hike. That is not a Pack planning issue. That’s a Den Meeting. Nothing to do with a Pack Meeting. Webelos Woods & Camporee is a Webelos Activity. It’s not a Pack Activity. Now, having a Den Chief within the Pack/Den is a Pack activity. But, that’s coördination with the Den Chief, Cubmaster & Den Leaders as needed. Pack Committees need to be flexible.
The point that was getting across to all was this: Effective communication needs to come from the District Committee to the Commissioners to the Units. Boy Scout Troops need to communicate to Cub Scout Units. Communication can happen via email, phone, newsletters, during camping/events, Roundtable and Trainings. This communication is vital between all.
While Training is key, the reason behind it and for it needs to be communicated effectively. If you have gone to Woodbadge, you will know that effective communication is that the sender gets acknowledgement from the receiver that they got it and understand it. Right now, we have ONE-Way Communication.
If the Pack Committee understood what training they needed and able to find support from Troops, they would have a better program. The Troop would have more Webelos crossover and more retention. Out of that, Roundtable and Trainings would be well attended.
Communication is key.