Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1999: Evaluations
Thu, 9 Sep 1999 09:09:04 -0500
I have read with some disdain the posts on "pro-bashing" over the last
few days. While I strongly agree with those who support our
professionals, I find it curious that there is no effective outlet for
volunteers to "vent" their suggestions, complaints, problems or
concerns. Putting this another way, there really isn't a way for a
volunteer to participate in measuring the effectiveness of the support
delivered by professionals to our Scouting program.
Major business, schools, governmental entities (including the U.S.
Postal Service) and small business routinely employ questionaires, etc.
to gauge the effectiveness of the services and products they provide.
In Scouting, volunteers (at least in my Council) are required to utilize
evaluations after major activities (Pow Wow, Camporees, Basic Leader
Training, etc.). Wood Badge also emphasizes the importance of
Wouldn't it be a good idea for the Boy Scouts of America, its local
councils and districts to evaluate the performance of their
professionals in the same manner?
Wood Badge is being changed to reflect "contemporary leadership
concepts." Wouldn't the written evaluation be one of the best ways to
measure the effectiveness of the support furnished by our professionals?
I am sure there are those out there who will remind me that we have
"procedures" through "volunteer committees" as a way to evaluate the
effectiveness of support. However, it is my understanding that
recognized "contemporary management practice" rejects the committee
approach for several reasons. Results are skewed when someone does not
"represent the group." Changes may also be implemented as a result of
"squeaky wheels" and vocal minorities. It is also considered to be more
expensive and time consuming. Written questionaires can be included
with product delivery, e.g. newsletters, magazines, charters. Results
can be published in the same manner.
The committee approach is still important to the concept of written
evaluations. The committee writes the questions and determines what
needs to be evaluated. The committee oversees the tabulation of the
results and publishes same to the volunteers, etc. The committee is
evaluated by the respondents based upon the questions posed. If the
committee writes silly questions, respondents can say to themselves, "We
need to replace the committee. It's not writing the right questions."
If somebody wants to "bash the professionals," then they would have
their opportunity. For the rest of us though, we would get some needed
relief and some genuine statistics that we could use to put folks in
their place. Such as . . .
Well, seventy-six percent of all Scouters think our District's
professionals return their phone calls. I think that's pretty good.
Well, ninety-three percent of all Scouters like the uniform. I guess
you're just going to have to live with it.
Well, only thirty-three percent of all our volunteers think the current
youth protection tape is effective. I told you we needed to change it.
Well, only thirty-three percent of our volunteers think that our
Council does a good job of communicating. I guess we need to work on
The list goes on and on.
Is there a "professorial type" out there in marketing, public relations
or business administration that can set me straight?
Now, before somebody has the urge to use this post as a springboard or
soapbox to advocate fundamental changes to Scouting, be warned. I will
publicly flame you (if allowed by the listowner) and privately scold
you. I'm merely asking why we don't use written evaluations on the
little stuff. You know, like General Motors, "Was your oil in the
little Chevy changed promptly?" If you don't like General Motors, you
shouldn't have bought a Chevy. Standard Motor Company does not ask
questions such as "Do you approve of our use of small children as slave
labor in Haiti?" If you do not like Standard Motor Company, you should
not have bought one of their cars. I am posing a narrow question to the
list. If you are a professor and know something about this subject,
respond. Otherwise, please be courteous and save some band width.
Likewise, if you have intimate knowledge of the "volunteer committee"
procedures employed by B.S.A. and its subdivisions, please refrain from
responding. Most of us are aware of these procedures already either
from serving on one or from previous threads on this list.
If B.S.A. has employed a questionaire in the past that I may have
missed, I'd like to be set straight. If your Council or District does
use questionaires, I'd like to know something about the questions posed.
I'm going to write a questionaire for the Scouts and parents in my
Troop. I may not like the answers.
See ya round the bend.
Mud Dogs 54