Depending on where you are, school is probably out, or will be out soon. Packs are wrapping up their program year and reminding parents of the summer’s planned activities. Troops are still meeting, though perhaps on a relaxed schedule, and are getting ready for summer camp, the highlight of the year. But in general, the pace of activities steps down a notch or two.
There’s one thing you should consider doing before heading for camp, or for the lake, or hitting the road for that summer vacation: Do a mid-year checkup of your unit.
It’s not as difficult as it might seem. Your unit commissioner might have already sat down with you, or may contact you shortly, to do what’s called a detailed assessment. He or she will send you a checklist to look over. The checklist asks for some basic information – your membership numbers, how many Scouts have advanced, whether you’re having regular unit and committee meetings, and how many of your adults are trained. When you’ve gathered everything up, your commissioner will meet to go over the numbers, get your impression of how things have gone over the last few months, and ask if there are any goals for your unit or areas that you’re having trouble with.
Part of the assessment process is coming up with a unit service plan. an action outline for something that you’d like to accomplish in your pack or troop over the next few months. Don’t worry; it’s not like a term paper or major project – just some simple goals toward the future of your unit. It might be to get your leaders trained, to put together a unit budget, or to find a successor for a key leader who is leaving in the near future. Your commissioner will help you formulate your plan and help you put it into action.
If you don’t have a unit commissioner, another way to do a checkup is to look over the Journey to Excellence scorecard for your type of unit. There’s one for Cub Scout packs, one for ScoutsBSA troops, and one for Venturing crews. You obviously won’t have a full year’s worth of data, but you can fill in the blanks to see how you’re doing so far and get a sense of where you’ll need to improve in order to improve your unit’s score by the end of the year. If you wait until fall, you’ll be behind and may not be able to catch up if you find you’re short in one area or another.
If you don’t know who your unit commissioner is, contact your council office and get the name and contact information for your district commissioner. This person oversees the commissioners in your area and can either put you in touch with your assigned unit commissioner or can appoint someone to work with you on your assessment or anything else you need a helping hand for.
By doing a mid-year assessment, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the summer knowing that your unit’s future is charted and its priorities are set.