Commissioner Service… a Cub Masters’ Next Step?

What is the oldest leadership corps in Scouting? The oldest leadership role in Scouting is the Commissioner corps. “Gray Tabs” or I like to tell the story about the “duct tape tabs”. There is a National shortage of Unit Commissioners in America. This is the adult leader, outside of the unit connecting it with the District and Council. They help the Key Three of the unit be successful. Ideally, a Unit Commissioner is designed for up to 3 units. Unfortunately, most units don’t have one or don’t know who is assigned to their unit. In my District, we have 73 units and only 11 Unit Commissioners. That’s 6 or more per Unit Commissioner. On average Cub Scouting represents 2/3 of all Scouting units. A Cub Master or Pack Committee Chairman’s next step is not always into a Troop leadership position. Many of the skills that they have would serve better as a Unit Commissioner with the District that they are in.

Excuses…
1. I’m not an expert Scouter…
✔ Training is included and the job is not intended to be for only experts.
2. I want to be with my youth…
✔ ScouterStan was a Unit Commissioner and Assistant Scoutmaster while his son was a Scout in a Troop.
3. I’m already over-committed to scouts…
✔ You need to find a comfortable schedule. Units without a Unit Commissioner are more likely to fail and your schedule will have lots of free time then.
4. I don’t want to have multiple memberships…
✔ Your primary membership can be with a unit and District service is secondary at no additional charge.

⚠️ Important: Make your next step in Scouting count. Unit Commissioner service is incredibly necessary to the overall Scouting experience. Contact your District or Council Commissioner today for more information.

🔗LINKS:
🌐 BSA Commissioners: https://www.scouting.org/commissioners/
🎬 Burnout Prevention and ScouterStan’s Rule of Five: https://youtu.be/cJPfqkqMeg8

⚜️ Note: When ScouterStan looked at his handwritten notes it looked like Season 4 would start in June 2021. The first episode of Season 4 will post on January 5, 2021. This mistake was noticed after editing so a written date was put on the video. ScouterStan promises to work on his handwriting in the future.

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Running a Good Planning Seminar or Meeting

In a Pack, the planning meeting/seminar is usually a subcommittee of adults. In a Troop the planning is done by the youth members, guided by SPL and the Scoutmasters, and approved by the committee. It’s recommended to make this an all-day seminar. With brakes and sack lunch. It could be broken up into several meetings however momentum might be lost. Tell participants to come with new ideas and surgeons. Bring flyers, articles, and an open mind. Don’t forget to bring something to write on. Have the following items at the planning seminar:

  1. School calendars (Elementary, Middle, and High Schools may have different schedules.)
  2. The Council and District calendars
  3. A copy for everyone, of the JTE for your unit
  4. Last few years of your units past calenders

Make an agenda that covers the following:
Planning – Make sure you have some big event or camping every month. Troops decide on a Summer Camp and which month they plan to go.
Membership – Plan out a recruitment effort every month. Put Den Chief training on the calendar.
Program – Meeting should be planned with advancement in mind. Camping is key.
Leadership – Recognize completed training of leaders at COH or Pack meetings.

Most Packs follow the school calendar and take the summer off. Then struggle to restart every year. Planning day events each month will help keep the Pack together. Schedule a time for Day Camp. In a Troop, the planning is done by the youth and approved by the committee. The committee should approve it or send it back for more revisions or details. The committee can make a budget and fundraiser goals can be set.

💲 Budget & Fundraisers – Scouting should never be a burden on the family’s bank accounts. Communications should be published to all parents, leaders, and Scouts. This is Friendly, Courteous, and Kind.

🌐Planning resources for your next Scouting year: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2020/08/06/download-these-planning-resources-for-your-next-scouting-year/
📄 2020 JTE Cub Scouting (Pack): https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2020-JTE-Pack-Scorecard.pdf
📄 2020 JTE Scouts BSA (Troop): https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/2020-JTE-Troop-Scorecard.pdf
📄 2020 JTE Venturing (Crew): https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-JTE-Crew-Scorecard-Updated.pdf
🎬 JTE Find Out What It Means to Me: https://youtu.be/EHmOmpgJ76Y

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The Patrol Method?

Baden-Powell is accredited with developing the “patrol method” originally for the British Army shortly after his success at Mafeking. His military career was changing into more of a training officer, shortly before going into the “Scouting Scheme” (as he called it) full time.

Baden-Powell’s Definition from “Aids To Scoutmastership”: “The patrol method is working when the adult acts as a guide, mentor, and counselor to the youth, helping them by word and example to lead one another, to influence one another, to encourage competition and excitement so that the Scouts grow as a group and as individuals.”

“The patrol system is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried on. It is the only method.” 

 Lord Baden-Powell, Scouting’s Founder

Things to remember about Patrols:
✔ Troops can have as many patrols as the membership require (6-8 Active Scouts).
    ⫸ The limiting factor is usually equipment.
✔ Patrols will have it’s own name and logo, flag, and patrol yell.
✔ Many troops will have a “Green Bar” Patrol for the troop’s youth staff headed by the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL).
    ⫸ Youth staff in the PLC (Patrol Leaders Council) that are not a Patrol Leader already.
✔ Many troops will have a first-year patrol, that the other patrols can recruit from after 1st Class.
✔ It’s not recommended to restrict age grouping as in “Senior” or “Venture” Patrol. Without constantly mixing in new members. Otherwise, this type of patrol is setting its self up to phase out (age out).
✔ Make sure that tent sharing restrictions of YPT are kept in mind.
✔ The Scoutmaster conference is a good time to find out what the new Scouts opinions on patrols.
✔ The patrol assignment is recommended too and approved by the Scoutmaster or the appointed ASM.
✔ All patrols have a Patrol Leader, Asst. Patrol Leader, Grubmaster/Cook, Logistics/Engineering Specialist (Quartermaster), and my favorite… Morale Officer or Branding Specialist (Cheerleader).
✔ Patrols can go on activities and camp independently from the troop. (Everything must be approved by the Scoutmaster and within YPT of course.)

⚠️ Political Correctness Warning: The writings that are referred to in this video, may contain objectable material. Keep in mind that these materials were developed by individuals from the late 1800s. It would be unfair to put our current day judgment on Individuals and their writings from the past. Using common-sense you can still obtain enlightenment from their works. 

📄 Aids To Scoutmastership PDF: http://www.whitestag.org/files/bsa_pubs/Aids_to_Scoutmastership.pdf

🎬 Who Was Baden-Powell?: https://youtu.be/OY9pv8iF4wg

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A Scouts Next Step – Eagle, is Not an Exit Sign!

You have a scout youth that is turning 18 soon. Scout leaders should have a plan worked out for the scout’s parents leaving. Most Scouters and parents leave the program with their kids. The young adult can stay involved with your troop as an Assistant Scoutmaster. Many join Venture Crews. Eventually, young adults move on to college or start their careers. This will limit the free time available to donate to scouting. Scoutmasters, mentors should make time to talk about plans for the future. As an Eagle Scout, we have a commitment to our community, ourselves, and scouting. Scout leaders & mentors should talk with young adults about their future, but listen carefully and understand before giving advice. Leaders, it’s okay to say “I don’t know”. If you give it some time you can find someone who knows.

Most of the time, its time to leave the nest and get established on your own. Of course, supporting and volunteering should continue threw out your life. Later on, when your kids are ready for the scouting experience you will “be prepared”. Tell them;

  • Don’t feel rushed into making plans for goals you’re not clear on.
  • Not every career requires a degree, but every one of your choices will require experience.
  • Remember to use your resources and thank hard about WHAT YOU REALLY WANT.
  • No matter your path that you can choose you can always change your mind.
  • You’re not alone now or in the future. Others are there to help you on the journey.

Cub Scout Leaders… Hard to believe it but that Webelos scout in your den could someday be a doctor that saves your life. Always listen carefully and seek to understand what scouts are telling you. We troop leaders need to listen and understand our scouts. There the future we are helping to mold today, into tomorrow’s leaders.

⚜️ Note: All adult leaders (over 18) in Scouts BSA must take Youth Protection Training (YPT). If continuing with a troop, leaders must also fill out an Adult Application with a background check. If moving forward to a Venturing crew that application should be filled out. YPT must always be up to date and renewed every two years.

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Flag Etiquette – Flag Ceremony – How Important is the “Opening” in Scouts?

The opening of many meetings is a flag ceremony. Has your unit practiced it? Should an opening prayer come before the flag ceremony? Yes, think about the Scout Oath (“God and Country”). Pledge of Allegiance, Scout Oath, Scout Law, and Outdoor Code. How many non-scout adults in America know how to properly fold the flag? Only 4 to 5% depending on location. Ask yourself, how many former scouts can still fold a flag? All of them? We never just burn flags in scouts. We respectfully retire them by cremation. If the flag touches the ground it’s only accidental or at worst disrespectful. It’s not time to run, and get the matches. Troops and Packs, most parents don’t know all the parts of a flag ceremony. So don’t freak out if it goes off wrong. As long as it’s respectful and you don’t point out mistakes then it’s all good. I was told by a leader that they had a parent tell them that they only get to recite the pledge (Pledge of Allegiance) at Scout meetings.

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The Blue Card Process or Merit Badges Mania?

All rank advancements beyond First Class Scout require merit badges. Everyone should know the system and the blue card process is a big part of that. Blue Cards or Merit Badge Applications are the documents needed to get merit badges. To start this process the unit leader and Scout should meet and go over the merit badge procedure together. The unit leader and Scout select the merit badge counselor; sign and date the blue card to get it officially started. Remember that the two-deep leadership applies to Merit Badge counselors too. That includes online conferencing, emails, text messaging, etc. Merit Badge counselors must be approved by the council, trained, the proper age, and be YPT certified. On completion of the merit badge, the counselor will sign-off the first two parts and remove the part for their record. The Scout then gives the application part of the blue card to the unit leader or the unit’s advancement team. The Scout should retain the “Applicants Record” part of the blue card. Scout Camp and Online Merit Badge Academies may have a different form however the blue card process should be maintained. One of the rumors going around is that Blue Cards are phasing out. As of the date of this filming, it is only a rumor. Eventually, it will become electronic and even moved over to Scoutbook.

🌎 The Merit Badge Program: https://www.scouting.org/resources/guide-to-advancement/the-merit-badge-program/

📄 Blue-Card PDF: http://usscouts.org/advance/docs/34124.pdf

📄 Guide to Safe Scouting: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34416.pdf

⚜️ Note: Cub Scout leaders should not skip this video. Even though the blue card process will not apply to Cub Scouts. Most cub scout requirements are in their book and signed off by leaders or parents. However, Cub Scout leaders should know about the process for future reference and interactions with Den Chiefs and other Scouts. Some Cub Scout leaders are also merit badge counselors.

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Scouting’s New Path… Post-Pandemic?

Welcome to Season 3 of Commissioner Weekly. Season 2 finished filming at the beginning of February. So this is the first time we have been able to address the pandemic. Most of Scouting survived with some needed changes. “BE PREPARED” went into action. The meeting became virtual and campout was held in our own living rooms and back yards. World Scouting had its own World Jamboree online. Scouting handled it all pretty well. All parents learned how to REALLY wash their hands from their Cub Scouts. Parents also got a real hart-to-hart talk about “When your sick, stay home” from their teens.

Things that have changed for the better. We are more aware of how viruses can spread. Today we know to cough and sneeze into our elbows. We should only touch our face when washing it. When you’re feeling ill, stay home. If you get worse, contact a doctor by phone or the internet. Even when you feel well again, you may still need to stay home for some time. What do we do with the old fashion handshake? The “elbow bump” is awkward and strange. Is that part of the “Chicken Dance”? Should this be replaced with a bow? A traditional Indian form of greeting is the Añjali Mudrā gesture or namaste. Currently, we are left with a weird “mime” type of wave or worse. I’m in favor of a scout salute when in uniform. This might be perceived as militaristic in nature as we normally only salute the flag. But we all know how to give a scout salute and it can be done at a distance. B-P saluted scouts and scouts saluted him in return. It’s respectful and meaningful.

🌎 Old Fashion Handshake? http://www.scouterstan.com/?p=291

🎬 BSA Scouting At Home: https://youtu.be/chnOUp2QzLY

🎬 Scouts get creative during pandemic: https://youtu.be/I4wWXrZ3EIM

🎬 Boy Scout troops stay connected amid pandemic: https://youtu.be/p_DVxN5qkFE

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Pandemic Scouting Update

Just an update of the “new normal”? We need to start thinking about getting back into things. Start the conversations now with your charter organization about starting up again.

What is OA? (Compilation of videos.)

The Order of the Arrow (OA) is not a secret society. It is the honor society of the Boy Scouts of America or today’s Scouts BSA. These three videos explain a lot of the mystery without revealing or spoiling the traditions. It observes and preserves the tradition of the order. This video series of “Heinz 57” is intended to help you “Catch-up”. Many new adult leaders are unaware of the organization and traditions within scouting.

🌎 Order of the Arrow Website: https://oa-bsa.org

▶ OA YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/oabsa

🌐 Wiki Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Arrow

🎬 What’s the Order of the Arrow about? https://youtu.be/rK3dULQ-vFM

🎬 I’ve Been Elected to the Order of the Arrow… Now What? Ordeal? https://youtu.be/U1SEax7-51k

🎬 I’m an Ordeal Member… Now What? https://youtu.be/v9w0Dn2Cl_I

What is Wood Badge? (Compilation of videos.)

Wood Badge is the premier training for all adult leaders in Scouting. Understanding the basics will help any adult leader appreciate this training. Here are two critical videos about Wood Badge that explains the basics and how after training beads are earned. This is your chance to pull a “Heinz 57” and “Catch-Up” too us.

🎬 Wood Badge is the Highest Level of Adult Scout Leader Training: https://youtu.be/P9OUM97ux4s

🎬 Working Your Ticket If You Can? – Finishing Up Wood Badge: https://youtu.be/4Nxf5C6xyLM

🎬 Wood Bage Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9OUM97ux4s&list=PLlP1tCTA5P8w9QFlFbRYrnJaF0mcXyvfw