Toward More Effective District Support

As we often do in Scouting, we occasionally evaluate what are we doing and how well are we doing it. Before the summer break, many of us played the “Start, Stop, Continue” game, where we brainstormed on how well the District Committee supports Units and Families in Scouting. Here is my summary of our discussions, with my editorial comments added.

Post the District Organizational Chart. The Talakto District has many functions intended to support Units and Families in Scouting. These include Activities and Civic Service, Training and Leadership Development, Advancement and Awards, Camping and Outdoor Program Promotion, Membership and Recruiting, Finance and Resource Management, Communications and Social Media, and Manpower and Volunteer Management. Like all volunteer organizations, we seek interested and energetic people to serve in one or more roles in any of these committees. The job of the District Committee Leadership is to select, recruit, and train those volunteers, and replace volunteers who need a break. I personally believe that ANY interested volunteer can offer SOMETHING. The challenge is to match the job with the right volunteer, and match the volunteer with the right job. I NEED YOUR HELP in identifying and recruiting those good people. Please look around at your contacts and bring forward candidates.

Great Training for All. The old saying “Every Scout Deserves a Trained Leader” is true. I like to think that training makes you more effective with less work. Training is also interesting and fun. For many of us, the people we meet and the skills we learn can change our lives. We are enthusiastic and encourage people to have the training experience. However, sometimes we can get too excited. Let us describe the training experience and encourage leaders to attend, and leave the “Whoo Hoo! Yee Haw!” out of it. Taking training is a personal choice, which may be influenced by other factors in a person’s life, including available time and energy. Let us not seem elitist or judgmental. We will also strive to train more than just the on-line content or syllabus, but to learn new questions from new leaders and successful answers from experienced Scouters. We will use realistic training situations and examples to augment the standard sylabus.

Improve Communication. In this connected world, there are so many ways to get and give information. None of us has the time to be on every social media channel, email, web site, chats, texts, etc. So we pick a few and ask you to be tolerant. However, we always need help with picking the right channels. We need your help. What do families use today and can you help us? What content should we put on those channels? We want two types of content: “Scouting is Fun – Watch This” (awareness and promotion); and news updates (operational information). Can you help us?

Great Scouting for All. Scouting is still here. Scouting is alive and well. And growing. The District and Council are embarking on a multi-phase drive to show that Scouting is fun, ask families to join, and support fun activities for them to start benefiting from Scouting. We need to reach out to families and show what Scouting is and does. We need stories and pictures about “Scouting in Action”. Post them on your social media channels or let us post them on this web site. We also need to “be there”. The District is investigating public exposure of Scouting at events like Panoply, Scout shows in local parks or lakes, service projects, or other ideas. What do you suggest? We are also increasing emphasis on recruiting, supporting and training Units to be successful. We strive to be inclusive of anyone who wants to be in Scouting – families and volunteers. We celebrate achievements of Scouts and Scouters, such as being involved in Order of the Arrow or completing Wood Badge training, but we also prize “tenderfeet” who are new on the Scouting trail. There is no elitism in Scouting. Everyone is welcome.

As the chairman of your Talakto District, I thank you from the heart for all you do for Scouting. And all you will do.

— Richard Stone