Over the this last weekend was the 2016 Cascade Pacific Council’s University of Scouting. Yes, a lot of people in Scout uniforms coming together to learn more about what they like to do, because their kid brought home a flyer from School.
Wauna La-Mon’tay Lodge also held their Leadership Development Conference at that same time and place. Both were well attended and everyone got a patch for attending.
This year my son, Elliot attended LDC for the first time.
He said that the classes were good, but loved Dodgeball. He asked if I was there all day. I reminded him that I was at the University of Scouting and teaching a few courses. He asked if I had the lunch, to which I said yes. He told me that they had Clam Chowder and a Ham Sandwich. He was quite impressed with the Clam Chowder. Funny, that kids key into.
We did talk about the classes that he took. He said he would never use Communication or EDGE in real life. Oh really? I went on to explain that do you not ask and explain how to do something in the video games he plays. Yes he said. Well, it is much the same in video games as it is in Scouting, School and other places. I then asked, did you not learn how to be a better Scout within a patrol. He always complained about how the PL and SPL/ASPL just yell things and no one does anything. He keyed in on a few moments at past outings and summer camps. He started to get the idea, slowly. Scouts just like Adults need Leadership Training so they understand the program to help make their Patrol and/or Unit better in every aspect. Without training, failure is the only option.
While I do not know what exactly went on within his class, I can only believe that it is much the same in many of the Leadership and Wood Badge courses I have taken.
My time at University of Scouting was great. I reconnected with Scouters that I have not seen in a while and also got some business done for Wood Badge, District and Council based items. Oh, and a lot of bad bad horrible jokes were told.
The one course that I took was taught by Nathan Wood and it was about Ham Radio and Scouting. I missed his course last year due to my own course I taught was at the same time. Nathan’s course is based upon his hobby of Amateur Radio and his desire to get more people involved in it. It was also one of his Wood Badge ticket items for his course. The Staff at University of Scouting asked him back since a lot of people really liked it. While, I have been an Amateur Radio Operator for many years a lot of the info was geared towards the people who did not know anything.
He covered a lot of subjects, but what I liked a lot was the Fox Hunting. I knew about it, but he had two Fox Hunting units and held a demo of how it works and what parts it took to make a unit. Very interesting and I look forward to doing this.
Both courses were lightly attended, which is fine. All the participants did state that they were looking for information about the position and JTE as it pertains to their Units.
I spent just over half the time explaining the basics of who and why the COR is and their position. I explained that the COR is a member of the Unit, District and Council. There were a lot of questions about “Whatifs” and “What about this” that were very enlightening. I wanted real world issues and we got them. Each person got the COR Training handout via the link above and my contact info if they had questions.
The Journey to Excellence course was my first time teaching it at the University of Scouting. I was asked by our Council Commissioner Dolly Olson to put it on. Main in part that I was at last years Western Region Area 1 Training and on a National Conference Call with the National JTE folks. I wrote about it in the Insight to a National Process post awhile ago.
My goal was not to go point for point over each area of the JTE, but to explain how the data gathered gets filtered up from the District to Council to Area to Region to National so the program can be tweaked for the better. JTE is used for those people who cannot be at the Unit. It is not a spying tool, but to see the improvement of that unit.
I explained that the JTE is a tool for each unit to use in their Annual Planning and for the Scouts in the PLC planning. It is a just like having a quarterly or annual review with your manager at work. It is to help guide you to where you want to go. It also helps you understand where the weak points may be.
I explained that even if your Unit is GOLD, there can be sections that are Bronze or Silver. I explained that while the Council and my District got Gold this year, there were areas that were not GOLD. I pointed out that Unit Commissioners is a huge sore point within both. To which, several of the Skyloo people chimed in that they have never had a UC visit them.
I explained that Unit Commissioners are needed within every District and that if you have Registered Scouters who are looking to stay connected and help out their unit, another unit or the Pack that they came from, we want them. This lead down the path of Trained Leadership and finding people to step-up. All good conversations.
I was asked if it was too late to fill out for this year and how to make it exciting for the PLC/Scouts or how to drive excitement for JTE. First, I explained review what you have done for 2016. Find the outings, service projects and contact the DE for Youth Membership levels if unknown. Then it is plugging in dates and numbers in the Excell file. Print it out and have people sign it and turn it in.
Make it exciting for Scouts. The PLC is not going to get excited over Excel. Explain it to the PLC that based upon what they are doing they may need to add another outing, or service project or incorporate Troop Meetings with Webelos. I pointed out that NYLT and OA Conclave/Trainings will count on JTE. Again, use it for planning meetings along with the Troop Planning 1,2,3 Guides to help better plan good meetings. As for the Packs, work on Summertime Pack Events that may include a Troop for Cooking or helping with a Bike Rodeo or a Ivy Pulling at a local State Park. Invite the Troop to help run a First Aid Pack Meeting. Get Den Chiefs. If you work together the JTE for both Units will be filled up!
How to drive excitment for the Scouts for a Patch. Within the Pack that I came from as Cubmaster, I ran the whole program as to JTE and other Pack items. I plugged in the data and filled out the Excel spreadsheets. Once I knew things were ready to be awarded and were turned into Council, I did it at the Closing Circle of the Pack Meeting. I reminded the Scouts of what they have done over the past year. The outings, summer camp, Scouting for Food, Popcorn Drive, things they did in the Den and overnights. I explained that with all they have done and the ranks they have earned, they helped the Pack earn the JTE Gold. I made them feel that THEY did it. They helped the PACK GO.
Much can be the same within the Troop. The Scoutmaster at the COH or a meeting after confirmation can hold his Scoutmaster’s Minute (or 5 in this case) saying much the same. The fun that they had as a Patrol and Troop went to earning this award.
This course was a real eye opener for those who attended. It does not matter what type of unit JTE helps them and helps all those upstream understand how to better understand and provide the program at every level.