Seven ways to improve your committee meetings

meeting_f_250The unit committee is where the business of the pack or troop takes place. While the Scouts are busy doing the things Scouts do, the adults are taking care of things like finance, logistics, equipment and recordkeeping. And just like any other committee, meetings are unavoidable. In fact, we’re expected to meet monthly to help ensure that the business is taken care of.

Committee meetings can be a real drag if they’re not conducted efficiently. They can go on and on with little focus, not getting much accomplished other than frustrating the participants. So to keep your committee meeting from keeping the minutes and throwing away the hours*, try the following: Continue reading “Seven ways to improve your committee meetings”

Is your committee on mute?

silently_200Meetings are almost universally despised. For most people, unless they absolutely have to be there (the committee chair, for example), they either attend grudgingly or find a reason to skip out. Unless a meeting is compelling and productive – and participants are engaged in the process – you might as well go home.

So how do you slog through the routine of a monthly committee meeting without causing your committee members to “check out” and put you on mute? Continue reading “Is your committee on mute?”

Get off your high horse

highhorseWhen I started as the committee chair of our troop, one of the things that went through my mind was how many things I’d need to be responsible for. I had a pretty good handle on advancement (or so I thought), matters of finance and the rules of safety and youth protection. But what about the outdoor program? Camping equipment? High adventure?

Sooner or later, I learned that I didn’t need to know every nuance and detail of those subjects, because we had other volunteers who had the know-how to take care of them. I relied on them for a basic understanding of their areas, and let them do what was needed without any interference.

A committee chair who views himself or herself as the ultimate expert on every aspect of troop operations is fooling himself and shortchanging those around him. Continue reading “Get off your high horse”

Belief or learning?

brainlock-lekkyjustdoit_200fA commenter on a story in The New York Times made the observation:

Belief is the conviction that one already knows; learning, in contrast, requires an awareness that one has yet to know.

This is what happens when a mania for belief takes over your life. Eventually, you become incapable of learning. New information goes in one ear and out the other — it literally just does not register, as the mind, addicted to belief, blocks it out.

While the original context of the comment had nothing to do with Scouting, I certainly think it applies to some volunteers in our movement.

Too many Scouters come in to Boy Scouts with the belief that they know how the Scouting program should work, and they apply the beliefs they have acquired in life. Often these have to do with their experiences in areas like business management, sports coaching, and even Cub Scouting. They do not have the awareness that Boy Scouting is different. Continue reading “Belief or learning?”

Making meetings less painful

committee_table_200Scouters seem to be addicted to meetings. In your unit, you either conduct meetings with the youth (den and pack meetings, for instance), or hover way in the background during troop and patrol meetings. We have meetings of our own, too – committee and leader meetings, district committee and commissioner meetings, Roundtable, and all sorts of subcommittee and planning meetings.

It seems as though our “one hour a week” doesn’t begin to include the meetings we attend, plan or participate in.

To be sure, meetings are necessary. They facilitate face-to-face communication and instant feedback from stakeholders and participants. E-mail can convey information and can be a tool for collaboration, but nothing takes the place of an in-person meeting for doing business.

And meetings are sometimes rightfully dreaded by most people who are expected to attend them. Continue reading “Making meetings less painful”