Minding the minutes

As the old joke goes, meetings are the place where the minutes are kept and the hours are thrown away.

But meeting minutes – the written record of the business conducted – are probably the most important, yet the most ignored, aspect of our meetings. The secretary diligently takes notes – some even record the audio and transcribe it later – writes up the report, prints or e-mails copies, and distributes them to committee members, where they often go unread.

Minutes are an important chronicle of the business of any meeting. Continue reading “Minding the minutes”

Family Scouting Early Adopter program

In October 2017, the Boy Scouts of America took the historic step of deciding to allow girls into our Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting programs  The introduction of Family Scouting, as it’s known, into Cub Scout packs was to begin by the fall recruiting season in 2018, while the parallel program for girls of Boy Scout age is due to start sometime in 2019.

Now, under the Early Adopter program, councils which opt-in are allowing packs to begin recruiting girls this winter. Continue reading “Family Scouting Early Adopter program”

No more CSVs, and other advancement news

Time marches on, and technology comes along for the ride. It’s true of the Boy Scouts of America, which a couple years ago unvelied Scoutbook, a unit recordkeeping software package initially developed by a Scouter who had a better idea. Available to units at a reasonable cost (or free in some cases), Scoutbook is a step forward in terms of integration with the BSA’s own databases.

For the past several years, paper advancement forms took a back seat to Internet Advancement, which allowed units to enter advancement data directly online instead of having to complete forms in triplicate and hand-carry them to the council’s service center. Continue reading “No more CSVs, and other advancement news”

The One-Three-One approach to presentations

As we roll over the calendar into the new year, councils will be beginning their fundraising efforts for 2018. Our part as volunteers and Scouting families is participation in the Family Friends of Scouting program. Most of us are familiar with the need to help fund our Scouting programs above and beyond the direct fees that we pay, so many volunteers also choose to help support this effort by giving presentations to our packs, troops and crews inviting familiies to become Friends of Scouting.

Of course, this means giving the dreaded FOS pitch. Facing a room full of parents who just want to have dinner, watch their son receive his awards, and get on with the program, an FOS presenter gets a lot of blank, impatient stares. It seems like everyone has their hand out, and we’re trying to convince them why our hand needs to be filled. Continue reading “The One-Three-One approach to presentations”

Comfort and joy

Over the last few weeks, our offices at work have undergone some renovations, including removal of the 25-year-old wall coverings, painting, general cleaning and rearranging of the furniture. The good news is that I get a new office cubicle with more space and a bit more privacy, but the downside has been working in the interim in temporary quarters, jammed into a small room with several of my co-workers. (But let me be clear that my co-workers are not a downside – I happen to work with a great team that gets along very well.)

During the process, the painters had their obligatory boom-box going in the next room. Ordinarily you’d hear rock and roll or country music, but they usually had the radio tuned to the station playing Christmas music. I thought “oh brother, here come the same twelve Christmas songs over and over” and spent the rest of the day with echoes of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You rattling in my head. Six weeks of that, I told myself, is more miserable than waiting for the groundhog’s prediction to come true.

But then it occurred to me why we embrace the holiday season. Continue reading “Comfort and joy”