Saturday, 31 December 2011

Summer Camp Planning Series: Reviewing last years summer camp

Scouting Thought of the Day: Is it too early in the year to start thinking about summer camp plans?????

I personally believe that a month after you conducted summer camp for last summer you should at least at the very minimum do the following.

1. Adult camp leaders: Each adult fills out a evaluation on his performance and the performance of one other person. Scoutmaster or primary adult in charge should evaluate all leaders and see if there are leadership issues that need to be resolved or training be conducted to allow for continuous quality improvement.

2. Youth Leaders: Each youth should complete a evaluation for themselves, the senior patrol leader, and one other youth leader of there choosing. Also youth will have a discussion forum to see how other youth leaders did and what they thought about the adults for that particular week at camp.

3. Youth Participants: Evaluate the senior patrol leader, how they themselves did at summer camp, and if they have a patrol leader they will evaluate him also.

4. Scoutmaster: compiles all data from the adult evaluations, evaluates it by noticing patterns, change that need to be made or this that worked great at camp.

5. SPL: Compiles data gathered from the youth leaders evaluations and all information given out at the youth leadership forum.

6. Scribe: This is not the regular scribe it is the person appointed to fulfill these duties during that week of camp if there isnt enough people to have another boy fill this position this duty ultimately falls on the SPL to ensure its completion.

7. SPL and Scribe: Evaluate both of their data sets and prepare to present the information to the Scoutmaster and the Summer Camp Chair.

8. SM, SPL Summer Camp Chair, and Scribe: Determine the most important information that was collected to prepare for a presentation to the Troop Committee for them to see where the Committee should lead the troop during the next 12 to 18 months.

9. After all presentations are made all information is combined together even that, that wasnt presented to the Troop committee in the form of a evaluation paper and even review.

10. Start planning next years summer camp at the very minimum be at least 9 months out from the day you are going to camp.

Obviously this seems like a lot of work to do this process right but I can ensure you that if this process is followed or a similar process is used that is of equal caliber you will learn much about yourself, your Troop, peoples abilities, peoples limits, strengths, weaknesses, and areas that are working great or need to be worked on.

But lets just say that you dont have the time to complete a extended evaluation process like this, I think at the very least it would most definitely be appropriate at a Troop Meeting to conduct a evaluation and review process in these groups listed below: Adult summer camp leaders, youth summer camp leaders (Minus a ASPL or a Patrol leader for summer camp, he will lead the other youth), and the final group of people being the actual youth participants for that years summer camp. Dont set a agenda or make sure that you hit every point you want to, just let the review run itself by interfering as little as possible and only interfering in case people start the blame game, pointing fingers, become all negative about the experience, or get way off track.

obviously this is not a complete or perfect system that is guaranteed to work, completely evaluate the experience, or to guarantee a better summer camp program next year. The main idea behind this post is to get the gears flowing and point out several critical points that would help to create a beneficial and positive evaluation and review process.

Next up for this summer camp series will be discussing at what time you should ideally start planning, the norm for most troops, and finally the worse case scenario of not planning at all or waiting till it is so late that on the final day before camp you are trying to resolve hundreds of issues. My first post for this will start with forming a ideal planning situation(obviously I realize that the ideal situation is not a option but the idea is to get you to strive to have a better summer camp experience). After that post I will discuss observations and in my opinion(not guaranteed to be unbiased) what is the norms for most Boy Scout Troops and help to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of how it normally works. Finally I will lay down a guide that would be able to help you pull through and possibly get out of the worse case scenario situation.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark West
Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1316, Troop 1616(aka 669), Troop 125
Tustumena District/ Denali District/ Eklutna District, Great Alaska Council 
NSJ '05 Youth Participant '10 Subcamp 7 Youth Staff '13 Subcamp Staff
WSJ '07 Youth Participant '11 International Service Team(IST)
Eagle Scout OA Brotherhood Member Big Horn Denver Area Council NYLT QM Philmont AA '08

If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a Professional. If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer. If you pay to do Scouting, then you are called a Scouter.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Troop 125 Meeting on December 12, 2011 Review

First before I share my thoughts on how the Troop meeting went, I need to introduce you to this unit since I have never posted a post about this unit. Troop 125 meets at and is chartered by Faith Christian Community Church located in Anchorage, Alaska. Bob Barton serves as the Scoutmaster of the Troop while I serve as a Assistant Scoutmaster for the unit. In this unit there is approximately 40 boys with 3 patrols. Of those 40 boys 20 to 30 boys are active on a regular basis. I joined this unit on December 1, 2011 and this is currently the third unit in the Great Alaska Council that I serve. Denali District of the Great Alaska Council which covers southern anchorage, Indian Girdwood, and whittier is the district that this unit belongs to.

Now back to the main purpose of this post which is to give you my thoughts, feelings, and ideas and also to evaluate how the Troop is doing in several different Boy Scout Methods that are most applicable to the meeting. The Troop meeting that I will be discussing is that of the meeting that occurred on Monday, December 12, 2011 which was our last meeting for the 2011 year for Scouting. We will continue meeting during the second full week of January 2012. In the Boy Scouts of America this will be the hundred and second year of Scouting in the United States, while in regards to the original Scouting Movement known now as the World Organization of the Scouting Movement it will be the one hudred and fifth year of world scouting.

Purpose for this meeting was to work on finishing planning for the campout and to discuss the specific details important to this particular upcoming campout which will be held this coming weekend December 16, 2011 to December 18, 2011. Planning for the campout involved putting together a patrol menu, determining who the grubmaster is, and finally putting together sleeping arrangements for the patrol. Patrol menus did not include all meals from friday dinner to sunday breakfeast because some meals are being provided to the Scouts. In particular this includes friday dinner and saturday dinner with the exception of saturday dinner. Saturday dinner is in a potluck style format and the only thing the Scouts have to prepare for this meal is that of a single side dish. In regards to meal plans for the weekend overall went great and quickly, and also for the most part meals were balanced and appropriate to the conditions of the campout especially since this is a winter campout in Alaska. Winter camping in Alaska has always and will always be a interesting venture to say the least. A few observations that I made during this time was that as the patrols had more and more older Scouts, the more complex the meals became. After that I noticed that while some meals on each of the patrols meal plan included a well balanced meal that took most of the food types in the food pyramid into account. Even though most were well balanced a reminder needs to be given to the Patrol Leaders or to the entire Troop is that all meals should be balanced with all the food groups. Finally maybe one suggestion that would improve performance for the patrol and help with a more balanced diet is to create a meal plan worksheet that includes some of the following things:

  • Each meal during the weekend should be labeled with the day the meal is to occur and what type of meal is given whether it be a breakfast, lunch, or a dinner.
  • Under each meal there should be a place to include the central part of the meal.
  • While below the central part of the meal answer box there should include room for including the 7 food groups listed on the current food pyramid.
  • In another column or section there should be listed individually every ingredient that is needed for that meal and the next to the individually listed ingredient there should be a space to fill in the desired quantity wanted including the unit name.

In regards to assigning grubmasters for the outing most Patrol Leaders were aware of who needed to this job for rank advancement and made the appropriate assignments. This regard for looking out for there Scouts best interest in regards to rank advancement shows the current Patrol Leaders are clearly demonstrating good leadership to their Patrol Members. Finally for sleeping arrangements one thing that surprised me while listening in to the discussions about this campout planning was the high number of Scouts wanting to sleep by themselves. To me when I was a youth member I pretty much always preferred to sleep with a tent buddy especially during the winter because it allows more body heat to be held in the tent. One explanation for this fact could be due to the worlds changing view on how two males sleeping together can create conflit, trouble, and political issues which is primarily because more and more younger people are starting to think that just because you sleep with another guy makes you according to the current world view a person that participates in homsexual behavior. Homosexual behavior while gaining more and more mainstream acceptance is also pushing people to more and more extreme views on how this issue should be handled.

Yours in Scouting Service 
Mark W 
Assistant Den Leadeer/Assistant Scoutmaster
Troop 1316, Troop 1616(aka 669), Pack 100, Troop 125 
Tustumena District/ Denali District/ Eklutna District, Great Alaska Council 
NSJ '05 Youth Participant '10 Subcamp 7 Youth Staff '13 Subcamp 7 Support Staff
WSJ '07 '11 International Service Team Member
Eagle Scout OA Brotherhood Member 
Big Horn Denver Area Council NYLT QM Philmont AA '08

If you are paid to do Scouting, you are called a Professional. If you are not paid to do Scouting, you are called a Volunteer. If you pay to do Scouting, then you are called a Scouter.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

status update

hello my name is Mark West. IAM currently a assistant scoutmaster for 3 years. Currently I am with the great Alaska Council with headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska, which is where I am currently living. I am active with 3 different units with 2 being in Anchorage and the 3rd in soldotna, Alaska which is located on the Kenai Peninsula. The 2 units that IAM in Anchorage include troop 125 and troop 1316. Troop 125 meets at faith Christian community church and is currently a part of the Denali district covers South Anchorage, Girdwood Whittier, and Indian. The other troop located in Anchorage is Troop 1316 which is located in the Eklutna. this district covers North Anchorage, Eagle River, Chugiak, and Eklutna. Troop 1316 is located and meets that Anchorage Christian Schools. Finally, the 3rd unit that is located on the Kenai Peninsula. The unit number is 1616 but due to changes in the charter organization the troop has been renumbered as unit 669. In all 3 units I am in the adult leadership position known as a Assistant Scoutmaster. the highest rank that I reached as a youth member is Eagle Scout and I am currently involved in the order of the arrow in nanuk Lodge as a brotherhood honor member.

One of the reasons I have not been able to post regular posts is because of the fact that I have had multiple serious medical issues that resulted in multiple stays at Providence Alaska medical Center. Hopefully now that I have resolved the medical issues I will start posting new posts on a regular basis. My ultimate goal is to create posts 2 to 3 times a week.

This current series of posts that I will be working on will include leadership skills relating to basic skill development, how to be a youth leader, how to be a effective adult leader, and finally adult to scout and Scout to adult communication and interaction skills:
1. The 1st post will focus on youth leadership expectations, behavior, and adult interactions.

2. Second I will discuss basic styles of leadership that work effectively for leading youth members including the coaching style, the guiding style, the explaining style, and finally the problem solving style of leadership.

3. Third I will give a brief introduction to the 11 skills of leadership.

4. Fourth, I will in a series of posts explain the 11 skills of leadership in posts that have 2 to 3 skills described in detail per post.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark West assistant Scoutmaster for troops 1316, 1616, and 125
Eagle Scout/Order of the Arrow brotherhood honor
world Scout jamboree 2011 and 2007 national Scout jamboree 2005 and 2010
nylt 2009 youth participant and 2010 quartermaster youth staff

If you are paid to do scouting you are called a professional. If you are not paid to do scouting you are called a volunteer. If you pay to do scouting then you are called a scouter.

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