Re: District/Council Event Organization
Mark Wilson (mwilson@POLARIS.ORL.MMC.COM)
Thu, 9 Feb 1995 11:18:39 EST
There have been several posts on poorly organized Council and District
events. Two of note were "organized" by the OA. I have seen the same
thing in my Council as well. I think it points to a number of problems.
Throw the boys in the frying pan syndrome. A group of otherwise rational
scouters decide that the program should be entirely boy run and by fiat
make it so. That's generally what happens when the camporee is handed
over to the OA. The problem is that the boys have not had to organize and
operate anything of the scale of a camporee before. Sure they may have
been to a bunch of them and know how to do the events but, it is a big
step from planning a troop campout to planning a camporee.
The cure is to grow the boys into positions of leadership much as we should
be doing with adult leadership for the major programs. Start them off
with responsibility for a part of the program (say, events) then, the
next year add another (campfire and "Scout's Own) then another (site judging)
and so on. At each level there should be an adult advisor with experience
in the area (remember what I said above). Over a few years you will have
developed a cadre of boys who will have the experience to put on a
successful camporee. I know that method will work. I was part of a program
that used the same approach to turn over a primative camporee to the boys
back in the 70's.
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Somehow we get into the mode of
believing that we don't need to spend a lot of time planning major events.
I've fallen into the trap myself. A council-wide camporee requires at least
a year for effective planning and preparation, no matter what the Camporee
Guide says. The same goes for any Jambo style district camporee. Yet the
last two council camporees we had here were thrown together in six months
or less and it showed.
The cure is to form planning committees early and for those committees to
meet regularly. I also think that the early meetings ought to hash out the
details so everyone has input and are on the same sheet of music. Later
meetings should evolve into status updates. The other operative word is
'committee.' The initial group starts out small and grows as the plan
develops. Just as in your unit, the committee can't get too big, in my
Poor unit scouter support. There is a tendancy to overload the commissioner
staff and council/district committees with planning and preparation for
major events. Quite often they bring it on themselves by refusing to
relenquish control. The end result is a small group of folks who approach
the next event just after the last event. When the event is over, they
declare a success and move on to the next activity with little or no real
input from those expected to participate.
The cure is to involve as many unit level scouters as possible. In my district
alone, if each registered adult volunteered to support just one district
run activity (including council mandated activities such as Scouting For Food)
we would have 30-40 staffers for each activity, more than enough. There are
other benefits both to the unit and the district. Unit level scouters are in
regular contact with the boys and have a pretty good idea what that like and
can provide feedback on the ideas. Unit scouters involved with the activity also
become part of the PR process. Involvment of the unit scouters frees up
commissioners to, as the Camporee Guide says, 'commiss.' Finally, unit scouters
will start to see the district program as the important adjunct to the unit
program that it should be.
We owe it to the boys not just to provide a good personal example but, also
to provide good examples of programs and preparation for them to emulate. We
need to be sure that they are prepared for the responsibilities we hand over.
We need to guide them through smaller successes to larger, unqualified, success.
Mark Wilson email@example.com
Eagle Class of '74 863 Trumbull Street
SM, Troop 565 Deltona, FL, 32725
WL, Pack 565, but not for long
I used to be an antelope ....
My opinions are my opinions. Martin Marietta can speak for itself.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City