The dreaded data dump

dumptruck_250You know the routine. It happens every month.

The committee gets together for the monthly committee meeting. The meeting gets off to a late start because the chairman waits for stragglers (not a good idea, and the subject of another article). The treasurer goes into great detail about who has paid for camp and who hasn’t, how much last month’s groceries cost for each patrol, and who owes what.

The advancement coordinator goes down the list of each advancement item that was signed off, who earned merit badges last month and how many Scouts haven’t advanced in the last six, nine, or twelve months. (Or in a Cub Scout pack: Johnny earned a belt loop. Jorge earned a belt loop. Rajiv earned a belt loop….)

Then, someone joins the meeting late and everything gets repeated. Continue reading “The dreaded data dump”

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?”

Course correction for your journey

JTE-White_250A few weeks ago I answered a question about whether a unit should rearrange its adult roster to take advantage of points available on the Journey to Excellence. By registering a den leader as an assistant Cubmaster instead, the pack would qualify for additional JTE points and possibly a higher level.

It’s not a good idea to fudge the numbers this way, because it doesn’t accurately reflect where your unit stands, and takes away an opportunity to realize where you can improve your service to your youth members.

While you shouldn’t try to optimize your JTE score this way, you can certainly use it to suggest a course correction for your Journey in the coming year. Continue reading “Course correction for your journey”

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”

Ideas for better meetings

meetings_250Hopefully you’re rested up and ready to head back into another year of active Scouting. Along with it comes our monthly committee meetings – pack, troop, crew, district – there are lots of meetings we have to endure and survive!

There are ways to make meetings run more smoothly and be more productive. Here are a few ideas from the experts, along with some of my observations and helps. Continue reading “Ideas for better meetings”