Monday, 16 February 2015

Things Every New District Executive Needs to Know But Won't Be Told Part 3

Here is the next five of 50 things that every new District Executive needs to know but their Local Council Executive Staff won't tell them. This is list is based off of personal experience and in no way represents what a the BSA at either the National or Local Level would be willing to share. Additionally, each and every person is highly encouraged to add to this list. Please include your name and unit number, otherwise the comment will not be complied and posted at a later date. If you have comments that you do not want to share far and wide comments can be emailed to And now for the list:

Item 11: Memorize the the 6 P's of Planning:

"Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance"

Planning it is one of those necessary evils that will help you to ensure success. Now success is a tricky word to define, so I am going to leave that one up to you to figure out. Planning is especially important in Scouting since the Scout Motto is "Be Prepared". The easiest way to explain the Scout Motto is through the words of Robert Baden-Powell, which are as follows:

"Be Prepared for what?" someone once asked Baden-Powell.

"Why, for any old thing." said Baden-Powell.

Item 12:
Volunteers while occasionally fail to do what they agreed to do. Don't let the occasional volunteer that lets you down ruin the relationship with the rest of the volunteers you wok with. Volunteers do what they do without financial compensation, so expecting the same of volunteers as you would employees, will only hurt your reputation.

For those volunteers who let you down on a regular basis, don't use them as first choices when assigning or delegating jobs. Volunteers who regularly let you down, will not only damage the trust you have in them, it will hinder the functioning of district as well. These volunteers will only hinder progress and must not be given mission critical assignments. Mission critical assignments should be given to the volunteers you can depend on to get the assignment done.

However, volunteers need to be held accountable for their failure to complete an assigned task. This is not to assign blame, it is only designed to show the impact failing to complete the assignment. Don't take it personally but demonstrate how it affects the district as a whole, specifically how it impacts his fellow volunteers.

Item 13:
Occasionally attending a Court of Honor will further solidify the relationship you have with that particular unit. Here I will only address Court of Honors that are do not include an Eagle Rank Presentation. Eagle Court of Honors are a special topic that needs to be addressed separately. The first question that new DE's ask is what is a Court of Honor. Answering this question requires you to learn some history.

Originally speaking, the Court of Honor (COH) was not an awards presentation it was actually the business meeting for the Troop Youth Leadership Team (Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader) where this team would handle issues such as:

  • Scouts with behavior problems and what punishment, if necessary is to be used.
  • To coordinate when the different Patrols were going camping or hiking as a Patrol
  • Determining whether or not a Scout has successfully gained the knowledge necessary to be awarded a proficiency badge (modern day equivalent: Merit Badges)
  • To review a Scout to see if he is ready to be awarded a Rank.
One last important thing to note is that unlike modern day Scouting, Scouts could be striped of their Rank or a Proficiency Badge. If in the opinion of the Troop leadership a Scout acted poorly or has lost the knowledge required to be considered proficient in various different skills. Moving on to modern day Scouting a COH:
  • Awarding Merit Badges earned
  • Presenting a Scout with a new Rank that has been completed
  • It is a youth run ceremony
  • Investiture (bringing in) of a new member into the Brotherhood of Scouting
 So if this is just a recognition event why as a DE should you attend. Well there are basically two reasons:

Reason 1: It shows that you care and are willing to take the time to see how each unit is doing. It also is a time to help and provide support to unit leaders.

Reason 2: Demonstrates that you don't just care about when they are missing paperwork or owe money.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when attending a COH:
  • You are a guest and need to respect what the unit asks you to do.
  • You are there to show support, not to ask questions or make demands.
  • Collecting paperwork or money then leaving is INAPPROPRIATE!
  • Arrive early, there is nothing worse than a District or Council representative arriving late. It shows a lack of respect when you do.
  • Leaving early or darting out right as it ends is disrespectful.
  • Offer or be ready to provide support.
  • Introduce yourself to a variety of different of volunteers.
  • Congratulate some of the Scouts on their achievements. Remembering the names from the presentation shows you are really do care.
  • If a leader approaches you with a question answer it if you can or take contact information and answer the question after reviewing the appropriate resource.
  • Ask leaders if there is something you could do, if they have a question, or if they have concerns that they want to discuss with you.
  • FULL uniform is a MUST that includes PANTS, SOCKS, appropriate footwear, belt, shirt with appropriate patches, and appropriate headgear if worn.

Item 14:

Know the program! Be familiar with the basics of each program division. For a non Learning for Life DE that means you need to be familiar with Cub Scouts (First through Fifth Grade) Boy Scouts ( 11 years old to 18 years old), Varsity (14 years old to 18 years old) Venturing (14 years old to 21 years old), and finally Sea Scouts (14 years old to 21 years old). The two programs to understand in depth are Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as these are the two most common sections you will be working with. 

You don't have to be an expert but not knowing the basics is unacceptable. If you don't know or are unsure about the answer don't guess. It is perfectly acceptable to say that you have to go look up the answer, your human and can't remember everything. Always though if you say that you are going to look something up get do so and respond in a reasonable amount of time. Generally speaking, 72 hours is acceptable.

Item 15:
Memorize, understand, follow, and be able to explain the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Motto, and the slogan. Additionally understand the 3 Aims of Scouting, the Declaration of Religious Principles, and the Mission Statement of the Boy Scouts of America. Other important things to know include:

  • Outdoor Code
  • Principles of Leave No Trace
  • 8 Methods of Scouting

Well that is it for now. Coming up by the end  of the week I will have posted the next 5 items. Hope you enjoyed this and as always feel free to comment or share ideas on this topic or any other topic you would like to see covered.

Yours in Scouting Service
Mark West
Eagle Scout
Assistant District Commissioner
Critical Need Unit Team
Assistant Cubmaster Pack 0125

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, you are called a Scouter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews