Sunday, July 1, 2012

Evaluating your Boys' program

Twelfth and final in a series of monthly Ward Scouter Training Topics.

Every once in a while, it's a good idea to take a step back and make an assessment of your work. In our professional lives, we get evaluated based on goals and expected outcomes. Naturally, we expect to be recognized and, hopefully, compensated for our improvement and contribution.  New goals are established, and the cycle begins again (if the boss is happy, that is). This assessment process encourages one to strive to be better than before, and to be an active contributor to the group's success.

A few years ago, BSA had a program called Quality Unit that measured particular metrics to assess the effectiveness of individual units.  That program has been replaced by Scouting's Journey to Excellence. The objective is the same: to encourage excellence in providing a quality youth program, and provide Committees with the tools to assess their programs' effectiveness in the lives of the youth they serve. Amongst the evaluated criteria are such diverse elements as:
  • Advancement
  • Retention
  • Trained Leadership
  • Patrol Method
  • Service Projects
  • Camping program
There's a score card for each Family of Scouting (see last month's training topic for information on Scouting families), and each provides three levels of recognition, based on meeting established benchmarks. In breaking with BSA tradition, Gold is the highest achievement level (instead of silver). Decide which one to shoot for, and then go out and do it.

And now for something completely different.

In the last year, I have attempted to provide my Unit committee with information and training to help improve our boys' Scouting experience. However, I recently realized that we never really asked the Youth what they thought of their program. Since LDS boys and their leaders are automatically assigned to their troops, et. al. (hey, that solves the JTE retention problem, right?), rather than joining an organization that interests them, we have boys at all kinds of commitment levels. In an effort to analyze why they do or do not participate, I developed a survey to assess their attitudes toward Scouting in general. It's intended to be used by the adult Troop/Team/Crew leadership (or a ward/stake Young Men Presidency) and asks boys to honestly assess their experience. Based on an analysis of their responses, it should tell you where your unit's strengths and weaknesses are, thereby providing a road map for improvement.

One last idea regarding unit evaluation is for your Committee to identify which awards the adult leaders qualify for, like the Trained ribbon, On My Honor for Adults, or the Scouter's Training Award (green square knot), among others. A leader who meets the various qualifications and is publicly recognized for his commitment likely already has a "quality unit." Youth who see their leaders recognized will hopefully see it as emblematic of a personal commitment to individual improvement, but not as grown-up badge-chasing.

(Bonus Arrow Points if you can identify the TWO Monty Python allusions in this post.)

Tools for assessing your Troop/Team/Crew:


Anonymous said...

Not so much alluded to in this post, but through many of your comments about LDS scouting... "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

Mike Ball said...

"And now for something completely different."

I'm not sure what the other Monty Python allusion is...

Thank you for your blog and the resources you have added to it! I just found it recently, and it's awesome!