The weekend of November 13th and 14th 25 volunteers and professional Scouters attended Training at Camp Thunderbird just outside Olympia, WA for Western Regional Area 1 Training.
I was invited by the Cascade Pacific Council Commissioner Dolly Olson to attend. It was my first time going. I attended due to my position as Assistant Council Commissioner in charge of Commissioner Tools and Communications. Others attended due to their position as Training Chairs, Commissioners, and for upcoming Course Directors for NYLT and Wood Badge.
One of the other main reasons to go was that the Boy Scouts of America’s National Commissioner Tico Perez would be attending and speaking at the conference. Over the two days, I was able to have several conversations with him. Which proved to be incredibly informative. He did listen to what I had to say, and had great insight as to what is happening at the National Service Center and also within other Councils. Since I was in the Commissioner break out where he was speaking, the conversations I was able to listen to, helped me understand more about how we are all the same.
During the time set aside for the National, Regional and Area Commissioner talk, it was brought home again on how we as Commissioners are here to be a service to the unit from the District, Council and on up. Each level of Commissioner is there to help the level below it. Tico talked about how he came into the National Commissioner role and his journey.
He talked about how the National Commissioner was really just a title before he assumed the office. Tico explained that while each Unit Commissioner should visit three Units a month, he sees three Councils a month. Looks like he got in 15 that weekend. His main point when talking to Wayne Brock, Bob Mazzuca or Rex Tillerson every time he went past the pictures of the Chief Exec and National President he said Key 2? It was lost on some of them, but in the end they got it. Key 3. Bob, Rex and Tico. Bob, Wayne and Tico. Tico runs the unit that is out listening to the Scout Units via Commissioners from the Unit to Regional Area. The higher up people get, the less they hear.
Tico and others, including Dolly Olson, spoke about how having a Subject Matter Expert is essential in providing Service to Units. Both Tico and Dolly explained that they have Commissioner Tools experts, Service, IT, Membership and other Experts on their team. These people allow them to do their job better. In Tico’s case, he said fly around the US and have fun.
There were two questions that I asked to Tico and the Area and Regional Commissioners. The first was one I asked at Top Team with the Council District Commissioners. How to do you explain why Journey to Excellence is needed to a unit that says they do not need to fill it out because they are already doing it? The answer is what I generally expected, but I got more. Tico explained that JTE was his idea. JTE is crafted to listen to the Units and understand what they are doing in a measurable way. Something that the District, Council, Area and National could track. Tico stated that the questions change every year based upon feedback. He stated that if any person had a good suggestion, that he wanted to hear it.
My second question dealt again on JTE, but in the world of Commissioner Tools. I explained that I am the Council Commissioner Tools Champion and that a lot of the information provided does not make sense, hard to read/input and how does the JTE info bubble up into the reports. Where is the Dashboard widget that shows Bronze, Silver, Gold status.
The answer Tico and others provided was good. A lot of the tools are coming, but should have been implemented awhile ago. However, the one bit of news that was dropped was amazing. National will be releasing a Mobile App that is downloaded via Apple iTunes and Google Play by the National Meeting in May 2016 in San Diego. This will allows everyone to download an App and create a Unit Contact either Simpler or Detailed and upload later. All Commissioner Tools. Myself and another Assistant Council Commissioner from Cascade Pacific got all giggly about it. Tico went on to say that all the legacy Infrastructure will be gone by the end of the year. This was confirmed by the Bob Timmions who helped bring out the Build an Adventure and supports Scoutbook.
So, how does all of this tie together?
I really got the sense that from Tico to me, people are listening. The tools put in place are to help National listen to the Units. Yeah, it is boring administrative work. Reporting on how a Unit is doing. But using Journey to Excellence, Unit visits, Commissioner Tools and providing Training to “everyone” the program of Scouting will be supplied to the Nation, Region, Area, Council, District, Unit and to that Scout. If everyone does their part, the Journey will be a lot less bumpy and a lot more fun will be had. Do you part, visit the Scout Unit assigned to you. Do not have one? Go ask your District Commissioner for a couple of Units.
Current Skyloo District Commissioner
Current Skyloo District & Council Trainer
Current Council Member at Large (Cascade Pacific Council)
Former Tiger DL & CM of P221 in Pioneer District
Former Skyloo District CS Roundtable Commissioner.
Former Ast Council Commissioner for Commissioner Tools and Communication
Former Pioneer District Training Chair
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