Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Tue, 13 Sep 1994 00:39:42 CST
(another "way back then" posting...sorry folks!)
John Oakes <joakes@CARINA.UNM.EDU> wrote:
>Here is the senario... Bill has been assigned as an Assistant District
>Commissioner. However, He has no experience in the ranks so to speak, no
>unit experience in Cubbies, Scouts, Explorers, etc. Bill is also not
>trained in Commissioner Basic... At least not to my Knowledge. But, wears
>an ADC rank patch. How would you other scouters deal with this apparent
First, John, Bill is not holding the "rank" of Assistant District
Commissioner. It is a position, like all of our volunteer positions.
Here's some idealism followed by some realism for you, based on my
personal experience as a District Commissioner and as a District
The IDEAL is to have everyone to serve in a role that they feel most
confortable, in which they have some background or can draw some basis
for the role from. In doing this, because most everyone wants to work
with kids (or so it seems), we have a lot more adults wanting to serve
as Scoutmasters and Assistants and as Den Leaders and Assistants and
as Cubmasters and Assistants. "Jobs I've never heard of" like Den
Leader Coach, WEBELOS Den Leader, and yes, Assistant District
Commissioner don't get filled often because there's not a whole of
folks out there wanting to do it or aware that the job exists.
Which leads me to the REALITY of the situation. Because Scouting in
the USA is heavily dependent upon those chartered partners at the
Council and unit levels, it is sometimes more inportant to "give" a
position or two to key leaders in order to have them see firsthand
what Scouting is all about and why we need their money (or their
firm's money). While a good professional can wax poetic about why
Scouting is so important and the qualities that we are trying to
maintain and what positive outcomes we are expecting from our
membership, a person WITHIN that organization whom is also a Scouting
volunteer can express it BETTER, and more vocally, speaking the
"language of the boss" in getting him or her to support Scouting.
Now, saying all of this, does this mean that we have to "put up with
folks with NO Scouting background" telling us "what to do"? NO.
They have the SAME responsibility that we ALL have, and a GOOD
District Commissioner is going to sit down with the head of Exide
Company or the editor of the Miami Valley Times-Dispatch and say "I
understand that you were kinda thrusted into this role. However, it
is important to our volunteers...it's important to me...that you be
trained in your Scouting role and that we get you a Scouting shirt and
pants that you wear especially when you go out to units with me."
One of the best Commissioners I have ever had, John, was a man by the
name of Mark Frommaire. Mark was a promotable Major at the time, and
a member of the USA Artillery Group stationed in a small military
compound north of Neu Ulm in south central Germany. He was
"appointed" to serve as Assistant District Commissioner by the
District Commissioner, a two-star Navy Admiral stationed in Stuttgart.
The ONLY qualification Mark had for this new role was that his son was
in the Pack on the installation. Admiral Moore needed a senior
Commissioner to replace a Sergeant First Class that rotated back to
the States from Neu Ulm. Like I stated, there's lots of folks that
know something about being a Scoutmaster; nobody wanted to serve as
Mark called me (whom at that time, I was serving as ADC for the
community next to his), and I met with him at the Post Cafeteria at
Neu Ulm, a 60 mile distance from where I was stationed at. I brought
me a copy of "Howdy Commissioner!" for him to have, an extra ADC
patch, and we talked about what the ADC does and whom does he report
to (Admiral Moore). That spring, he attended Commissioners Basic and
also sought out other ADCs to do combined "area-wide youth training"
with, furthering his exposure to other Commissioners. He recruited a
good bunch of guys to serve as Unit Commissioners and he was doing a
great job. When Admiral Moore left, the District was reorganized and
I got to serve as District Scout Commissioner, with Mark serving as my
For me to say that "politics" (let's say it for what it REALLY is;
INFLUNCE PEDALLING) is NOT a part of Scouting in the USA would be
lying to you or anyone else. However, its how we and they DEAL with the
influnce in our District/Council operations that's the true indicator
here. How about ASKING him if he's been able to attend Commissioner
training? How about asking your District Commissioner? As a Scouter,
you NEED TO KNOW, and when folks tell you that you don't need to know,
that's a good indication that they don't WANT you to know!
Sorry that you got smacked in the face with that person, John. Most
of our "political appointments" do work out, as my illustration shows.
Some don't. It's up to you and other Scouters to apply the pressure
on him just like he's supposed to do through his Unit Commissioners to
Asking is the best and simplest way to start a dialougue.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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