Philmont delayed

I sent this letter to those within the BSA National Commissioner Staff and my course instructors for the week of Philmont Training Center. I also included our new National Commissioner.  It is a letter that deals with the recent news that Philmont has had to make several tough choices.

There were several people who were supposed to travel to Philmont during the sametime as I and we are all disheartened, but understand.  I believe that this was all of our first times to Philmont.

Because of the fact that Cascade Pacific Council through the Executive Board granted Scholarships for this to happen, I felt it only right to return the Scholarship.  It is the right thing to do since it was not my money.  I have already informed those at Council that this will be happening.

Good news is that I already have plans to go next year.  I am hoping to go as part of the District Key 3.

Here is my letter:

All:  I am truly sadden that I will not be able to attend Strengthening District Unit Service course during Commissioner Week at Philmont Training Center.  As we all collectively prayed that nothing would happen to those in and around Philmont along with Philmont itself, it was not to be in 2018.  While the forest fire itself is being fought with all the great efforts of the firefighters, the safety and logistics of those who would be at Philmont was too great.

As I sat watching from Portland Oregon, Cascade Pacific Council whatever Social Media source I could find, I saw how wonderfully the Community of Cimarron, Ute Park and Philmont came together.   Equally the same is the Philmont Staff.  From videos posted from non-scouters and official BSA Social Media, they lived the Scout Oath and Law.  Demonstrated what Be Prepared for Life is all about.  We train for events like this and then to actually use that training.  It made me feel good from so far away.  My brother and sister scouts did what they knew to do. The community of those who were not physically there, also showed great support and Scout Spirit.

Therefore, while I am disheartened that I am not able to finally come to Philmont, I know that I will next year.  I have already made plans.  I am comforted that people are safe.  When I got my official call from Carrier (I think that was her name) to inform me about the cancelation, I told her that I am glad she is safe and that I fully understand.  I told her to keep doing great work.  I wanted to reach out and just let her know that it was OK.

The courses, knowledge, friendship and memories would have been great to experience this summer.  I know those instructors have worked very hard to create a wonderful course.   Thank you for putting in all the time and effort, it is very much appreciated.  A week of Wood Badge is a lot of work.  A week of Commissioner must be even MORE FUN!

Scouting is a journey, and I will see you on the trail sometime soon.  Thank you for all that you have done and do for Scouting, the Youth and those in the community around you.   I am working on going to the Phoenix Impact session in October.

Yours in Scouting:

Posted in Commissioner, Philmont, postaday | Tagged

CPR:Unit lifesaving

AFRZHWMMBeing a Commissioner is much more than sewing on a Patch and taking the training.  The fun part of being a Commissioner is drinking Coffee and telling stories.   Within Unit Commissioner Training one of the items you get to be is a person who is not only a friend to a unit, but there as a First Responder.  As the CPR graphic shows, you call for help.  You start support.  You deliver advanced care and then you help restore the patient back to life.

Tonight was just that.  Advanced Care.  Even though I have reached out many many times via email and phone calls, tonight was the first face to face.    Historically within the District the Commissioner Corp has not visited many units.  For awhile, that is ok, but the health of a unit can turn quickly on you.

Working with the District Director of the District is vital.  I got the tools I needed to make this happen tonight.   The unit know what it needs and is getting it done.  Support from the Troop has been offered.

When I came to the District about six or seven years ago as the District Training Chair, I had no real clue what was going on.  I know what I wanted done and I have learned a lot since then.  I have rotated through Cubscout Commissioner and Ast Council Commissioner and now District Commissioner.  The CSRT was easy compared to this.  Had I been told that I would be going out and meeting with units and performing CPR to keep it alive I would not have believed you.  It is rewarding.

My goal when I was a Cubmaster was to make sure that Scouts had Fun.  That they kept coming to meetings and outings because it was fun.  If it was not fun, then they left.  I left as a Wolf Cubscout because I was not having fun.  Just think if someone cared enough to keep those putting on the program at the unit level fun.   Being a District Commissioner, it is my job to help ensure that the Pack is going and the fun continues.

I will not see the end result or the rewards of what happened tonight.  But, I know the fun will continue and they will learn skills needed.  I am also grateful of the person who stepped up tonight to be the Committee Chair.  He kept saying, “whatever you need, here to help.”

Now, I have a story to tell when I drink coffee around the campfire.  That is reward enough for me.

Posted in Commissioner, Goals, postaday, Skyloo District

Happiness is a fresh Charter


Yes, Happiness is a fresh Charter that is just posted by Council.  It means that the unit can continue to deliver the promise of Scouting.  It means that the Scouts have have their advancement recorded and then awarded.  It also means they are covered by insurance and actually can meet as a unit and go out and have fun.

I am close to wrapping up my first year at District Commissioner of Skyloo District in Cascade Pacific Council.  What a year.  I have learned so much and I am just getting started.

Re-Charter is just one of the areas that Commissioners are to focus on, but the charter cycle is so encompassing and time consuming.  It is that one time of year that a Council will know when units implode, explode or are just fine.  Yes, a Unit Commissioner would be the warning system, but when there are only 5-6 Unit Commissioners for 85 units, it’s hard to keep a pulse on the Units.  The goals of Commissioner’s are simple.

Skyloo is not unlike many other Districts within Cascade Pacific let alone other Councils nationwide.   Looking at the Commissioner Tool reports of other Council’s, there is a lot of work that is either not happening or not being recorded.  Our Council is behind in Commissioner Reports, but so is the next largest Council in Western Region Area One.  So, I do not feel so bad.

Being a District Commissioner takes vision and organization.  It also takes others to help deliver that vision.  It is a slow process of finding and recruiting these volunteers and on-boarding them.  Working with those who have been a UC for years and even a Ast District Commissioner and District Commissioner is fun and rewarding.  One of my Unit Commissioners has been it all.  He is logging calls.  But just as important and even more so, he is out there being a service to the units.

Skyloo has a long way to go.  But, we are getting new Commissioners from the Stakes and community. They are getting trained for their position.  And Charters are slowly getting posted.  It has been a great year.  This next year is going to be even better.

This year also includes going to Philmont Training Center for Commissioner Week in June.  I am taking the District Commissioner course.  Of which, Council has granted me a gift of paying for the course.    It is only getting better!

Posted in Commissioner, postaday

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. 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.    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 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