Scenario # 1 – Commissioner’s Nightmare
Here’s a good one for your positive pondering: You’ve just received a letter from the Council Scout Executive congratulating you on your selection as the new District Commissioner for the Damocles District. As you open the letter a note in neat hand-written script falls out. Curiosity prevails and you lay the letter aside, scooping up the missive inked out on the Council Commissioner’s personal stationary. As you read the note you feel just like you’ve jumped into a cold mountain stream on a hot day. The note says:
As indicated in Scout Executive’s formal letter of congratulations, we were very pleased to find your name submitted for the position of District Commissioner. You have established an excellent track record as a dynamic leader who can get results. When you recently received your Wood Badge beads after completing your ticket in seven short months, you again demonstrated that you are the type of Scouter that can turn challenges into successes. And after reviewing your District’s record, its clear to me that we desperately need someone of your caliber to turn things around.
While your successor was a wonderful, warm and conscientious commissioner, his long illness before his death last month prevented him from taking an active leadership role in the District. I know that he was very disappointed that he couldn’t do much to help in a very troubling situation. .Just to help you get started with the proper focus, I thought it would be worthwhile to give you a run down on your District’s biggest challenges:
1. All five of your service areas have at least three or four units with lapsed charters, representing a loss of nearly 550 Scouts out of the 2300 Scouts that were registered the year before.
2. Service area five is in the worst condition. Two Troops and two Packs have lapsed charters. The remaining eight units were scheduled to recharter last month, but we haven’t heard or seen anything from any of them. I think that you should make it a priority to replace Lazy Larry the Assistant District Commissioner. He’s asleep on the job. I’m really concerned because the lapsed units in his area all were 50 year veteran units.
3. You know how important it is to get Scouts to go to long-term resident camps to retain their membership. In your District most Scouts come from families that can’t afford the fees and we have relied heavily on them earning part of their fee through popcorn sales. This year has been particularly alarming. Popcorn sales have fallen off 50% and we’ve only got two months left to make up the difference.
4. You probably saw the article in the Tabloid Tantalizer last week about a Troop that lost six Scouts on a hike in the mountains. That was one of your Troops. That article on top of the earlier one about hazing in an older Troop have really hurt our membership efforts. I took the opportunity to review the training records in your District and was surprised to see that the most recent training report is two years old and that it showed less than 35% of your Troops had a Scoutmaster or Assistant who had completed Scoutmaster Fundamentals.
5. I’ve also seen a number of letters from parents sent to the Scout Executive complaining about the Scoutmaster of Troop 1, Stinky Simons, who has been adding his own advancement requirements to each rank. In Troop 1, our largest Troop, the records indicate that only 35% of the Scouts advance in rank each year. I think you might also want to look into the allegations that the Troop is being used as a para-military training unit complete with camouflage utility trousers, marching drills, and activities like self-defense training. Apparently all of the Scouts in this Troop are wearing the “Big Red 1” patch instead of the standard troop number on their left sleeves. As you know all too well, we are not here to create military units. .I know you’ll take on these problems and with your leadership that your District will show marked improvement SOON! Let me know how it is going in about a month.
Okay District Commissioner, its your baby. What are you going to do now?
1. Identify the problems.
2. What additional information do you need?
3. What are your alternatives in each case?
4. What actions would you take?
This scenario could as easily have been written for participants to play the role of an ADC with a non-performing Unit Commissioner as Lazy Larry. But, I thought you deserved a promotion.