Congratulations to Jeff Whitten, who will serve as Scout executive of the Abraham Lincoln Council in Springfield, Illinois, effective October 16, 2020.

Jeff began his Scouting career in 2006 as a district executive at the Miami Valley Council in Dayton, Ohio. He was later promoted to district director and then in 2012, moved on to the Crossroads of America Council in Indianapolis, Indiana, to serve as a district director and then field director of in school/after school programs and STEM Scouts. He most recently served as a director of field service at the Michigan Crossroads Council in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jeff is a fellow Wood Badger and proud member of the Buffalo patrol. He enjoys participating in Cub Scouts with his son, a Bear, and his daughter, a Lion. He also enjoys hiking, fishing, watching his older daughters play softball, and spending time with his family.

Jeff and his wife, Lisa, have five children: Victoria, Sophia, Lauren, Jace, and Vivian.

Please help us send Jeff our well wishes in the comments below as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Abraham Lincoln Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Please join us in congratulating Owen McCulloch, who will serve as Scout executive of the Yocona Area Council in Tupelo, Mississippi, effective October 1, 2020.

Owen began his Scouting career in 1993 as an exploring executive at the Cascade Pacific Council in Portland, Oregon. He was later promoted to senior exploring executive and then senior district executive at the council before moving on to serve as district director at the Longs Peak Council in Greeley, Colorado. In 2002, he was promoted to director of program at the Florida Sea Base, and then in 2006, to director of field service at the North Florida Council in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2009, he became the associate director of program for base camp operations and seasonal personnel at Philmont Scout Ranch. In 2014, he moved to the National Service Center to serve as the corporate partnerships manager before being promoted to national director of Venturing and Sea Scouts.

Owen is an Eagle Scout and member of the Order of the Arrow. He received the National Venturing Leadership Award and is a graduate of Wood Badge and Sea badge. He enjoys hiking and camping, motorcycle touring, sailing and scuba diving, and is a competitive bagpipe player.

Owen and his wife, Julia, have three children who are all active in Scouting: Maggie (21) is a senior at the University of North Texas and has worked at Philmont, Florida Sea Base, and the Summit; Colleen (18) is a freshman at the Colorado School of Mines and is a Life Scout (with her Eagle project completed!) and active in NYLT and NAYLE staff leadership; and Declan (14) is a high school freshman and Star Scout working towards Life rank.

Please help us send Owen our well wishes in the comments below as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Yocona Area Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve in northern Mississippi.

Sunday, 30 August 2020 21:33

Churchill Project Actions Moving Forward

As we recently shared in Scoutingwire and during the All-Staff Conference, several Churchill recommendations will continue to be considered, based on extensive input from the field and our subject matter experts.

The evaluation process also included the following filters:

  • Does the action help the national organization emerge from bankruptcy?
  • Does the action aid in gaining more membership or revenue for the Scouting Movement?
  • Is the action already in progress, partially completed, or easy to facilitate/complete with little resources of time/funding?

Based on these filters, the following Churchill recommendations will continue to be evaluated and possibly implemented if it is in the best interest of the BSA:

Keeping Youth Safety at the Forefront

  • Reinvigorate the onboarding program for new Scout families, members, and volunteers with a key focus on “Safe Scouting” and “Keeping Young People Safe”
  • Streamline all Safe Scouting resources and consolidate them in one location
  • Instill a culture of timely reporting, sharing, enforcement, and transparency of safety incidents

Engaging and Empowering Volunteers

  • Establish a volunteer corps for young adults ages 18-35
  • Greater reliance on volunteers to offset National staff reductions while rotating national-level volunteers back to local councils, areas, and regions

Streamlining to Enable Council Success

  • Streamline the unit rechartering process
  • Replace Areas and Regions with one streamlined organization support structure that is focused on council sustainability and effectiveness
  • Consider a fee-based structure for councils in place of BSA National collecting membership fees within a greatly reduced overall BSA budget
  • Focus National BSA efforts on providing councils with support pertaining to areas that are best scalable or not efficiently done on a local level, such as, but not inclusively: program standards, legal, insurance, IT, brand/PR management, HR, and asset management
  • Establish minimum standards to be considered a council
  • Create a Membership Executive position within councils that is focused on growth and paid on performance, for those councils that desire it
  • Update and enforce BSA’s national brand standards
  • Combine the National Annual Business and the Annual Top Hands meetings
  • Leverage High Adventure Bases in our overall marketing communications strategy & to also increase attendance at the bases
  • Transition to digital merit badge resources

Importantly, although we are not currently moving forward on the following recommendations, they will be considered in the future, most likely after the national organization emerges from bankruptcy:

  • Provide tools and resources for councils to deliver Safety Seminars with a Youth Protection Safety focus
  • Hire a youth adolescence expert on the national level to guide program development
  • Evaluate program methods and age parameters to provide an engaging option that enables youth members to transition to adult leadership roles and remain active in Scouting with an ongoing commitment to safety
  • Establish a national Chief Communications & Marketing Officer and prioritize National BSA strategic communications and marketing and make additional investments in related efforts
  • Create a membership category that is more family-centric with no advancement programs

It should be noted that all Churchill-prompted actions moving forward are subject to change, pause, or termination if such action is necessary due to bankruptcy demands.

As the national organization continues to prioritize and focus our services, we have made the difficult decision to streamline certain services at the National Service Center to best position the organization and the Scouting movement for the future.

Beginning September 1, 2020, the Member Care Contact Center will no longer directly serve volunteers and will shift to exclusively serving council employees so that they can address local volunteer needs. As a result, volunteers that contact the Member Care Contact Center will be directed to their local council for assistance. 

In addition to taking steps to provide councils with the tools and training needed to facilitate this transition, we are also streamlining processes that previously required significant support from Member Care, including:

  • Making it easier to create a new password via My.Scouting.org using your member ID
  • Instituting a Google Sign-on
  • Enabling members to correct ID numbers through the “Manage Member ID” tool in My.Scouting

Additionally, members with questions related to Scoutbook are encouraged to visit https://discussions.scouting.org/categories, where the Scoutbook User Advisory Council can answer a wide range of questions about functionality and troubleshooting.

These are a few of the steps we are taking and will continue to take to help ensure that we are able to support members as we take the necessary steps to streamline our organization.

While we work hard to navigate these challenging times, we remain dedicated to empowering councils to bring the Scouting program to life for youth, families and communities, and we believe that these steps will enable us to continue providing Scouting to millions of youth today and in the future.

Article Submitted by Scot Fuller, Director of Field Service, Longhorn Council

Back in June, the Longhorn Council held a focus group targeting our highest performing units when it comes to recruitment. One general theme came out of this meeting: it takes the entire Scouting unit and their network engaging the families in their community to be successful. This was true for Cub Scout packs and Scouts BSA troops alike. As we heard this feedback, we put together plans on how we could do this in a new virtual world that we live in. We have worked to engage multiple networks to deliver the same message: Scouting continues, and we want you and your family to be a part of it.

  • We need our packs and troops having a social media presence. One of our council membership committee members and an assistant council commissioner does marketing for a living. He understands the complexities of social media and that every platform put together a different message to get the word out. He put together a great two-month guide for units to be able to market their message through multiple platforms. You can download the guide here: Growing your Scouting unit – Social media
  • We have more friends of Scouting than just current Cub Scout families. In discussion with our council VP of Membership, we talked through the idea that we typically only engage Cub Scout families on a fall recruitment campaign. We knew we needed to break this trend. We have networks in other program levels, in alumni, and especially our NESA members in our council. We put together a communication asking them to help us advertise for the BSA Family Fun Fest by simply adding the Family Fun Fest Facebook frame on their profile picture. It was a small ask, but it goes a long way. We are currently putting together a BeAScout.org frame as well to continue our marketing push.
  • Engaging our former Scouts. 2020 has been like no other year in Scouting. We saw very early that we did not have the same number of cross-overs that we have had in previous years, and we knew we needed to get on that. We put together our Save a Scout plan to reach out to former Scouts and re-invite them to the program. Besides our personal phone calls and emails, we also are inviting these Scouts back to our membership recruitment events in the fall. In addition, we started building relationships committees to re-engage our former Scouts of different religions and backgrounds and inviting them back to Scouting at a grass-roots level.

These are all things that are new to the Longhorn Council in 2020. We have not stopped pushing our traditional marketing tools, i.e. Scout talks, fliers, yard signs, geo-fencing, etc., but we realize that they may not have the same impact this year as they have in years past. We are working to ensure that we have as many asks out into the community as possible and that if someone does not join Scouting, it is by their choice, not because we did not invite them to join.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Scot Fuller for submitting this article. 

Article Submitted by Tim Hays, Senior District Executive, Longhorn Council

By the time October hits, there are a few things that we, as unit-serving executives, should be doing and aware of as we continue to recruit new youth for our districts.

During October, many of our first rounds of sign-up nights are done, so at this point we should be looking at where we are membership-wise and where we need to be to reach our goals by the end of December. After we have done this, we can look at which of our units could benefit from holding a follow-up joining event. Many parents are not aware that if they miss that first sign up night, that they are still able to join the BSA at any other date. If you haven’t already, I would suggest putting something along those lines into your flyers and other advertisements to parents. 

There are so many tools at your disposal to find the numbers to track your goals through mybsa, DTR’s OPR’s etc., that you should be able to find what you need fairly easily. 

You can also be working on starting or finishing up more of those new units around this time to grow Scouting and reach the under-served areas in your district. Working through the 12 steps to starting a new unit should help you to be on pace to have at 2-3 new units in your district by the time December hits. That will not only help your goals, but also put your newer units on the same recharter calendar as the rest of your packs, troops, and crews in the district. 

Either you can start a unit fresh with the help of your commissioners, pursue the full family of Scouting with some of your troops who don’t have feeder packs, or focus on your packs who don’t have troops for their youth to cross over into.  Also, keep an eye on the troops who are exceptionally good at helping their youth to reach Eagle, then have a conversation with that Scoutmaster and some of those parents and figure out what the right kind of Venturing Crew would be to start with that troop. 

While, we’re on the topic of interests, you can also use this time to do some career interest surveys at your local junior high and high school to see what kind of Clubs and Explorer Posts could be in your district’s future. Exploring is an important part of membership, and it can make an impact on your membership numbers at year end.

October is also the month where I like to start on my unit inventories. We all have leaders who are busy and sometimes take a little longer to get information to us than others. That’s why you want to start a little earlier before December hits to make sure you have time to get rosters from units, compare to the roster in your Council’s database, identify any missing youth, then get the applications and money from the unit before those youth leave for their winter breaks and vacations. 

Remember that this is going to be a very busy time, so be sure to manage your time wisely and keep up with your calendar and back dating. Friends of Scouting will be in the beginning phases, and popcorn sales will also be happening in many councils. You don’t want to neglect any volunteers, but don’t spread yourself too thin either.

Be on the lookout during your sign-up nights for potential new volunteers that are already established in the units or joining that night. Of course you don’t want to recruit new parents to your district committee while they’re signing up their child, but make those mental notes of where you think those individuals can help you in the future. October can arguably be one of the busiest times of the year, so be sure to utilize your volunteers and let them know how and where to help you succeed in growing the Scouting program in your district.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Tim for submitting this article.

As part of the ongoing process to identify how to optimize the Boy Scouts of America for success in the future, the National Executive Committee (NEC) recently asked the National Management Team to facilitate the evaluation of the 26 primary proposed recommendations that resulted from the Churchill Project. In addition to receiving survey input from Scouting stakeholders, the Management Team also evaluated inputs from individual Action Teams, whose work helped explain the efforts that would be needed to implement each recommendation should it be approved by the NEC to move forward.

Late last week, the National Executive Committee reviewed and agreed with the recommendations of the Management Team to move forward with 15 of the 26 proposed actions, which can be characterized by the following priorities.

  • Keeping Youth Safety at the Forefront – Keeping youth in our programs safe is a priority, and recommendations that seek to bolster the processes surrounding youth safety, including onboarding, incident reporting and easy-to-navigate resources, are moving forward so that we can continue evolving and improving upon our youth safety programs that experts agree are some of the strongest among youth-serving organizations.
  • Engaging and Empowering Volunteers – Volunteers continue to be vital in our ability to deliver an engaging and rewarding Scouting program in communities throughout our organization. Recommendations that help engage and empower more volunteers to deliver and support Scouting locally will move forward, which will be vital to our Movement’s sustainability since financial challenges prevent us from being able to meet demands with professional staff alone.
  • Streamlining to Enable Local Council Success – In addition to moving forward with recommendations focused at streamlining our structure, events and processes, we will also move forward with the recommendation to focus the services that the national organization provides to what local councils need most and cannot effectively or efficiently handle alone so that councils can focus on bringing Scouting to youth, families and communities with the support of local volunteers.

Recommendations that were paused for possible consideration of implementation in the future, include:

  • Establishing a fee-based structure for councils in place of the National BSA collecting membership fees from councils, and
  • Creating a non-traditional membership category for families that is focused on experiences, rather than advancement.

The Management Team will be reviewing those two recommendations while they are on pause for how they may be beneficial to the Movement in the future.

The NEC also agreed that the following three recommendations will not be considered at this time:

  • Combining Sea Scouting into Exploring,
  • Ending all youth programs at the age of 18, and
  • Sunsetting the Learning for Life curriculum

Although we are not moving forward with these recommendations, we will continue the dialog that prompted the recommendations to ensure that we continue to benefit as a Movement from the evaluation and analysis conducted by the Churchill teams that studied those areas.

We continue to extend our gratitude to the teams of volunteers and professionals that worked hard to evaluate the important areas of the Churchill Project, an important initiative that engaged local, regional and national volunteers and professionals to create the catalyst for positive changes that will propel the BSA forward. These steps chart a continuous improvement process for the organization that will benefit youth, families, communities, and the entire Movement.

As the namesake of the project, we turn to Winston Churchill in closing,

“There is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.”

Let us all embrace this thought as we forge ahead, knowing that change is never easy, but let us be bold and daring in our decisions both locally and nationally to ensure we emerge from this challenging time poised to serve even more young people in this great Movement we call Scouting.

What’s the easiest way for potential members to join your Scout unit?

BeAScout.org!

It works even better if your unit information is up-to-date. Now, if you update your pin, your Scout unit could win!

Just make sure your unit BeAScout pin is updated anytime between June 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020, and your unit will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $500 Scout Shop Gift card, or one of five $100 Scout Shop Gift cards. See the full rules for the giveaway here.

Need help updating your pin? Find a complete set of step-by-step instructions on how to update your BeAScout pin in this guide, and/or watch this “Setting Up Your BeAScout Unit Pin” instructional video.

As we move into join-Scouting season, now is the time to be Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind by doing a Good Turn and updating your pin so people who are looking for a great Scouting unit can find you! You just might win something in the process!

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