Article contributed by Ashton Ballard of the Lincoln Heritage Council.

One of the most important characteristics a district executive can possess is the ability to build and maintain strong relationships.  With every hand we shake, every conversation we have, and every connection we make, lies an opportunity to improve and cultivate the Scouting program. The communities that we serve are full of people, who, given the opportunity, would love to volunteer their time, talent or resources towards the betterment of our programs. As district executives, it’s our job, not only to make these connections, but to maintain them.  Here are some helpful tips for making connections and cultivating relationships in your community:

Making the Connection

  • Visibility is important. When you’re out in public, wearing the Scouting uniform, Scouting polos, t-shirts, even a nametag with the Scouting logo, can spark conversation and interest. You will encounter people who want to know more about what you do or who want to tell you about their personal experience with Scouting. Listen and be prepared to connect them with opportunities to get involved.
  • Join a civic club. Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs are great ways to build connections. These clubs are packed full of influential and motivated community leaders. Once you’re in, GET INVOLVED. It’s important for people to see that you care about the community. The more time you spend attending meetings and volunteering, the more time you have to get to know your fellow club members, gauge their interests, and get them involved.
  • Attend community events. Better yet, don’t just attend them, ask how you can get involved.  Look in to upcoming events and find out if there is a way to set up an informational booth about local Scouting programs. The more that people see you are willing to be active and support the community, the more likely they are to take an interest in what you do and want to become involved.
  • Take time to get to know them and help them volunteer where they feel most passionate. While we often have a need or goal to fill certain volunteer roles, it is important to remember that volunteers are most productive where they are most passionate. Take time to learn about the persons skills, hobbies and interests and offer them roles that best fit their passion.

Maintaining the Relationship

  • Send snail-mail. While texts and emails may consume less time, nothing says you care more than a hand-written note. Write thank you cards regularly. Keep up with birthdays, other holidays or special milestones and send a card or letter to let people know you care about what is going on in their life.
  • Communicate regularly, not just when there is a need. If you always approach someone with your hand out, over time, they become less likely to help because the relationship feels one-sided. Make the effort to call volunteers just to check-in, catch up and see how things are going.
  • Ask how you can help them. Getting involved in things your volunteers or potential volunteers care about, can go a long way. Whether it’s a play, a street fair, or volunteering with the local soup kitchen, be there to show your support and let them know you’re happy to help them out in any way you can. Remember, relationships are two-sided.

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

Article contributed by Virginia Molina, District Director of the Cascade Pacific Council

Thanks to technology, people remain more connected through phone calls, texts, and emails than ever before. For those of us who serve rural areas, we can use these tools to engage our volunteers and provide great service. In doing so, we keep our outlying areas feeling recognized, validated, and in-touch with district and council activities. Though we may not see some of our more geographically removed volunteers on a day-to-day basis, we can use technology to remain relevant.

Outlying areas may not be in the heart of the council, but we can easily make them feel like they are through information sharing and dedicating our time and attention to them. Information sharing is all about keeping people connected – connected to ideas, solutions, and resources; the more we can do that for our volunteers, the more they see us as someone who creates value. A professional in Scouting relies on relationship building – we create cachet with our volunteers – and leveraging those good relationships to help us achieve our goals; be it within membership, fund development, or volunteer recruitment. Our positive relationships with our volunteers are tantamount to our success as professionals.

Become a Friend

Some of the best relationships we have in our lives are with people we share common ground with, people we care about and that care about us, and people that we are in contact with weekly, if not daily. Our volunteers are no different. Share information, show genuine interest in what the district volunteers care about, listen to what their struggles are and what their needs are, then share tools that will help them manage the issues they face within their units, recruitment efforts, and fundraising efforts. Provide aide to what ails them; be a person of your word and follow through with what you promise!

Communication isn’t rocket science, it’s a social science! Distance can easily make someone feel left out, so find ways to continuously tie them in. Communicate often. Sending out a weekly e-newsletter with valuable information for upcoming events and up-to-date tracking on current campaigns can help people feel connected to the bigger picture. It keeps them regularly informed and they appreciate the inclusion.

Be active on social media – post daily and give shout outs to successes in the district. This helps to create a team environment and keeps everyone together on the happenings within the district and council. Extend your messages to all registered adults; don’t simply rely on the main leaders to disseminate the information. Spread your messaging to as many people as possible in a continuous and uniform practice. Engage people at every avenue whether it be through social media, e-mail, or on the phone and in person. Just as we have varying preferences and aversions, so do our volunteers. It’s important to provide a varied menu of communication so that people can give and receive information how they like best.

Finally, stay consistent and make good on your deliverables. Relationships are built on trust and building trust takes time so you have to be consistent with your efforts. Set the precedent and live up to the expectations you set for yourself and hold your volunteers to the same standards. Be reliable and stay connected!

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

Please join us in congratulating Stuart Williams, who will serve as Scout executive of the Central North Carolina Council in Albemarle, North Carolina, effective January 16, 2020.

Stuart began his Scouting career as a district executive at the Gulf Ridge Council in Tampa, Florida. He moved on to become the program director and later field director of the council. He was promoted to assistant Scout executive of the Cherokee Area Council in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and then selected to serve as Scout executive of the Shenandoah Area Council in Winchester, Virginia.

Stuart is an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow who enjoys the beach, spending time outdoors, cookouts and time around the fire with friends and family, fishing, and watching his children compete in baseball, cheerleading, and volleyball.

Stuart and his wife, Jennifer, have three children: twins Bryce and McKenna, and Addison. Bryce is an Eagle Scout class of 2017.

In the comments below, please help us congratulate Stuart as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Central North Carolina Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

By now, you’ve probably caught word of Scoutbook’s Den Leader Experience, the free web app that makes it easier than ever for den leaders to prepare for and lead meetings, track advancement and attendance, and more (if not, just check out the video at the end of this post). So, how could preparing for a den meeting possibly get any easier?

Leave it to the Scoutbook team to find new ways to streamline and simplify the den leading process—because they’ve now introduced a video series to help you navigate the Den Leader Experience app and get the most out of this terrific new tool.  

Based on the top questions the Scoutbook team received since the launch of the Den Leader Experience, these videos were created in the spirit of continuous improvement. The video series uses quick, to-the-point snapshots that will help any den leader get started, whether you’re a tech novice or an app aficionado.

From home screen how-tos to den invitations, check out the list below to see how these videos can offer you the best Den Leader Experience possible. You can also find all 17 videos at Scouting.org/DenLeaderTips, or on the YouTube playlist here.

Getting Started:
Adding Scoutbook to Your Home Screen

Dashboard:
Accessing Your Account
Navigating the Main Pages
Taking Training
Finding Resources
Preparing for the Next Meeting
Selecting Your Den
Setting Up a Den

Meetings:
Understanding the Calendar View
Editing Your Calendar
Taking Attendance

Roster:
Finding Parents
Finding Your Scouts
Inviting a Leader to Your Den
Inviting a Parent to Your Den
Inviting a Scout to Your Den
Viewing an Adult’s Profile

 

Check out the Den Leader Experience for yourself through Scoutbook and be sure to head toBryan on Scouting’s story to learn more about the awesome features! 

For questions on the Den Leader Experience or Scoutbook in general, you can always contact the Scoutbook support team at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also read answers to frequently asked questions here.

As always, keep an eye on Scoutbook.com for updates and stay tuned to Scouting Wire for details on another new video series featuring den leader tips and Cub Scout rank overviews!

Congratulations to Michael R. Marchese, who will serve as Scout executive of the Sequoia Council in Fresno, California, effective January 1, 2020.

Mike began his Scouting career as a district executive, district director and then assistant Scout executive at the Oregon Trail Council in Eugene, Oregon. He moved on to become the director of field service of the Grand Teton Council in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and was later promoted to director of field service of the Grand Canyon Council in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2009, Mike was selected as Scout executive of the Trapper Trails Council in Ogden, Utah, and in 2012, was promoted to area director for Area 5 of the Western Region, which later merged into Area 2. In 2016, Mike was selected as Scout executive of the Las Vegas Area Council in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mike was a Scout in California and Oregon, is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, and has served on staff of the last four National Scout Jamborees. Mike enjoys old cars, outdoor activities, shooting sports, being with his family, and church service.

Mike and his wife, Cherylann, have two children: Katie and Christian, a Life Scout.

Please join us in the comments below in congratulating Mike as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Sequoia Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Please join us as we congratulate Dana Kuhns, who will serve as Scout executive of the Rip Van Winkle Council in Kingston, New York, effective January 13, 2020.

Dana began his Scouting career as a district executive at the Bucktail Council in DuBois, Pennsylvania. He was promoted to senior district executive at the Pine Tree Council in Portland, Maine, and then to district director at the Keystone Area Council (now known as the Birth of Freedom Council) in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He was later selected as Scout executive of the Chief Cornplanter Council in Warren, Pennsylvania. He moved on to serve as district director at the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council in Moosic, Pennsylvania, and then field director of the Washington Crossing Council in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Dana is an Eagle Scout who enjoys spending time with his wife and family, getting outdoors, and finds satisfaction in being a volunteer firefighter.

Dana and his wife, Joanna, have four grown sons. One of Dana’s granddaughters is currently registered as a Tiger Cub Scout.

Send Dana your well wishes in the comments below as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Rip Van Winkle Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Tanya Acker, a judge on the hit television show Hot Bench, recently talked with major national media outlet Parade.com about her involvement with Scouting and her excitement about the opportunities available to young people as part of the Scouts BSA program. 

She offered her thoughts on the addition of girls to multiple Scouting programs, including the fact that girls will now be able to earn the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout as part of the Scouts BSA program. She shared the following with Parade.com:

“The Scouts is an incredible organization because it’s one of the few organizations and one of the few institutions where kids from a variety of economic backgrounds can have access to the sorts of activities and the opportunities that we provide. It’s an incredible leadership organization. And the rank of Eagle really means something; it means that you’ve achieved something that not very many people do and not even very many Scouts do. It’s a very small percentage. And so for me to see that young women in the program are now going to have the opportunity to compete for that and achieve that, I think it’s just incredible. I think that these opportunities and what Scouting has to offer kids is as valuable to young women as it has long been to young men. So I’m absolutely thrilled that we’re doing this.”

Be sure to check out the entire Parade.com article for all of Acker’s thoughts on the Scouting program as well as details on how she navigates an extremely busy schedule and maintains a healthy work-life balance. 

Acker can be seen on weekdays on the nationally syndicated Hot Bench, where she deliberates with fellow judges and rules on a variety of unique cases. 

(Photo courtesy of Hot Bench

Congratulations to Kenn Miller, who will serve as Scout executive of the Baltimore Area Council in Baltimore, Maryland, effective January 15, 2020.

Kenn began his Scouting career as a district executive and then field director of the Northeast Illinois Council in Highland Park, Illinois. He was promoted to director of field service of the Lincoln Heritage Council in Louisville, Kentucky, and then selected as Scout executive of the Black Swamp Area Council in Findlay, Ohio. He moved on to serve as the Scout executive of the Greater Cleveland Council in Cleveland, Ohio, before joining the Central Region staff as deputy regional director. Kenn was then selected to serve as the Scout executive of the Heart of America Council in Kansas City, Missouri. Since March 2018, Kenn has served as the director of program & operations at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia.

Kenn is an Eagle Scout from Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and enjoys camping, golf, sporting clays, and being involved in community activities.

Kenn and his wife, Laura, have three grown children, two daughters and a son who is an Eagle Scout. Kenn and Laura are expecting their first grandchild in January.

In the comments below, please help us welcome Kenn to his new role in the BSA as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Baltimore Area Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

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