A Year with Helen


IMG_3707Well, my year with Helen is basically up.   Helen is Helen Howells.  She was a Commissioner within Cascade Pacific Council many many years ago.

This is an Annual Award that is given to the Commissioner for outstanding service within the Council.  Much like the District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver Award, people submit names to the Council Commissioner for selection.  It is up to the Council Commissioner to then figure out who is worth of having Helen in your house for a whole year.

IMG_6108I recieved the Helen Howell’s Award for my work as the Ast Council Commissioner in charge of Commissioner Tools and Communication.  It was my job to help roll-out and train Commissioners on Commissioner Tools.  I also helped in many Social Media outlets and getting the word out as best as possible.

I stepped down to accept the position of District Commissioner of Skyloo, which is it’s own adventure.  To which, it has almost been a year of being in this position.

So, as a part of living with Helen, as she was in my office at home this whole year she watched me do Commissioner things.

I had several key items that I needed to make happen within Skyloo.  Skyloo needs Unit Commissioners.
To that I found and signed up four Unit Commissioners.
I also needed to re-charter the District.  Which, getting everyone updated with YPT and figuring out who is staying and who is going, took a bit of doing.
I even figured out how to get District Members at Large in the system!
I helped with the 2017 Re-Charter process and learned a lot about that.
Helped create a Roundtable Schedule of Speakers (still ongoing.)
Friendstorming process (still happening)
Laid groundwork for the 2018 Re-Charter Process (Underway)
Worked on communication with Units.
Worked on getting Unit Commissioners to actually log Unit Visits.
Staffed and presented at the 2017 Commissioner College
Staffed and got two Unit Commissioner Trained for Basic Commissioner Training.

I also staffed the University of Scouting for 2017. Taught Charter Org Rep Course.
Staffed W1-492-17-1 Wood Badge Weeklong course in August as ASM of Logistics>

I also got asked to be on a few committees within Scouting that is proving to be very insightful.  Along with meeting more Executive Board members that help me gain insight into this Game of Scouting.

Overall, 2017 is wrapping up to be a very good year.  I have learned a lot and actually helped several Units and Scouters understand more about the program.  I have a long long way to go.  I still need to get more Commissioners.  Unit, Roundtable and Ast District Commissioner level.  I still need to have meaningful Commissioner  Meetings with Commissioners.   This next year is going to be challenging due to Family Scouting, but only in getting the word out, getting people trained and working to help those put on a great program as needed.

Though out the year, I would see Helen looking at me.  I asked myself, What Would Helen Do?  Would she approve?  Who is Helen anyway?  Does she like Root Beer?  Do I still deserve this Award?  Am what I am doing actually anything different from other Commissioners? Having Helen reminded me that what I learned in Wood Badge, can be used each day, each position and each situation that crops up.  I do not know if Helen ever went to Wood Badge.

In a recent email conversation with our now Past Council Commissioner, Dolly Olson, I found someone to reccomend for the next Helen Howells.  I hope this person gets it.  It was good to see that my constant message of doing what Commissioners do, actually worked.

I gave Helen back the other night.  She’s now living there looking over a fellow Beaver in the outside office of the Scout Executive.  I know she will enjoy the change of view as my room is messy and a wall full of Scout patches.  She will be there till the next Council Court of Honor.  If only Helen could talk, what would she say.

 

Posted in postaday

What is a COR?


What is a Charter Organization Rep (COR)and what do they do?  Are they older guys that you never see?  Do they just sign an application and the Annual Charter Agreement during Re-Charter season?  How much coffee do they drink?

Well, since you asked and I know you did, the BSA says this: “The chartered organization representative is the direct contact between the Scouting unit(s) and the chartered organization. This individual is also the organization’s contact with the district committee and the local council. The chartered organization representative may become a member of the district committee and is a voting member of the local council. When a chartered organization has more than one unit, a single chartered organization representative serves them all.”

Since 2014 at the Cascade Pacific Council’s University of Scouting I have taught the Charter Organization Representative class.  Each year the basic information is provided and the attendee’s get credit for Course D72 within Scoutnet.  So, they are now fully Trained for their position as COR.  This year was no real different except that I got questions about what the COR actually does.  Good question as I thought that I had explained that very basics of the COR duties.  In my presentation I pepper it with a lot of situations based in real life that I use.  I do this because not all units operate or have those issues happen.

I do go over, follow and hand out info from the Training that the National offers. http://www.scouting.org/home/media/relationships/trainingthecor.aspx In the past, I used to have several Scout friends sit in and heckle me and provide great info as well.  No such luck this year.  However, it got me thinking afterwards about what I could do to up the info and provide better training to those who attend.

Enter my Google-Fu skills.   I found this link. http://scoutingwire.org/marketing-and-membership-hub/new-unit-development/chartered-organizations/    Also:The Charter Organization Resource Guide is a great resource as well.  One, that I just found on the Scoutwire website.

The COR is a person who should be very active within the Committee of a Unit.  Using the Org chart for a Pack, you can see where person fits into the Unit.   The COR works together with the Unit Leader and Committee Chair to help support the Unit and Youth.

The COR is an active liaison between the Unit and the Chartering Organization.  The COR is NOT just a person who signs paperwork.  While many units will have the Executive Officer as the COR, and/or also the COR a Committee Member, that really is not the real workflow of the entire process.  If you have a Charter organization that is set-up with the Executive Officer is also the COR and Committee Member, then you may also have the Committee Chair and Cubmaster/Scoutmaster as Married Couple!  Recipe for Destruction! Each position fulfills a specific set of tasks.  It also sets up the unit to not overload the Cubmaster/Scoutmaster for being all things to all people. If a Church or synagogue establishes a unit, their ideals and values are used in accordance with the Scouting program to help the youth they serve flourish.

The Charter Organization Representative is not just a person who signs paperwork.  They are a vital position within the Unit, District and Council level that helps guide and vote issues.  They are a partner within Scouting and the Community that they serve.  Not, just a signature at Re-Charter season.

While, this post does not dive deeper into what a Charter Org Rep does, it does help re-start my look into how to better encourage their involvement at the District Level.  I am the District Commissioner and I am their liaison to their unit through the Commissioner Corp.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Charter Org Rep, postaday, Re-Charter, Recharter | Tagged , , ,

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

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