In an earlier article, Kevin introduced the 10 Keys to Successful Scouting which, when used, can greatly improve your programs. Here’s what he has to say about the key of teamwork:
The next three keys to successful Scouting require a team effort. So, now we are introducing the Key of Teamwork and doing it together. The next two that follow it are Resources and Calendaring. Great things can happen as everyone works together as a team, utilizing all of their resources for advance planning and program development.
THE KEY OF TEAMWORK:
Dear Scoutmaster (or Cubmaster, Varsity Coach, Venturing adviser, Den Leader, or whoever you might be), I hope you know that YOU’RE SUPER! If you weren’t super, you would not have chosen to serve where you now find yourself. With your superiority, there are two ways you can approach your Scouting job. One way is to be SUPERHERO and try to do it all yourself.
You may think that since you’re so super that you can do it all—and perhaps you can!
Chances are, though, with a grand solo performance, you’ll go with a spurt and soon run out of steam. In the process, you’ll probably lose your voice, your hair, and either burn up your car or run out of money.
The better way to be a real superhero is to develop a capable and effective team to support you. You can be the catalyst to motivate and train this team. In the long run, you’ll be much more effective, you’ll accomplish more and you’ll build a solid structural foundation that can carry on, even if you’re not there for some reason.
The team effort will also be more healthy for you personally. You can save your voice for quiet friendship and counseling of boys. The stress on your vehicle and equipment can be shared with others. And finally, you’ll have the resources for an exceptional program and you’ll be able to put your focus and emphasis on programs and boys rather than on logistics and equipment.
Your use of the Teamwork Key, combined with the Key of Resources (since manpower is a great resource) will open to you more time to develop expertise with the Keys of Youth Motivation, Friendship, Example, Scouting Ideals and the Patrol Method. Through Teamwork you can implement the Key of Calendaring and you can bask in the Joy of Service, together!
People are generally willing to help but are often apprehensive because they don’t know how or what to do. That’s way it’s important that you ask for specific help and then train people for the job. Let them know that you do need them and will in fact use them.
Let the folks on your team help in a way that they already enjoy. Use their interests and abilities to your advantage. Be sure to teach each member of your team how their particular function fits with those of others on the team and within the overall organization.
In one pack where I was the Cubmaster, I virtually did nothing except made a clown out of myself at pack meetings. Conducting the pack meeting was my thing. Everything else was someone else’s thing. Although we didn’t have a huge committee who met together every month, we had a lot of help and support. Essentially, every parent was a member of our committee. They did not all attend committee meetings, but were there to be used as needed.
At the beginning of the program year, we held a parent’s meeting and listed all of our pack meeting dates and their themes, and also other activities where help was needed. All of the parents knew that they, as well as everyone else, would coordinate one activity or program from the list. Before the parent’s meeting ended we had a different parent in charge of every pack meeting and all major events for the entire next year.
The parent in charge for a given month worked somewhat independently, but still under my tutelage and that of the committee chairman. Parents knew that they were to organize the basic program activity including special recognition, promotion, and necessary equipment and supplies. The month before a parent’s scheduled activity they’d attend our monthly pack planning meeting with the committee chairman, the den leaders, and me.
The system worked magnificently. The den leaders did their thing in the dens and I did mine at the pack meetings. The parents filled in all of the gaps. At the pack meetings, I conducted, led crazy songs, the pack and den yells, and then gave out awards. With that part of the program completed, I introduced the program chairman (or family) in charge of the activity for that evening. Every one of the parents and families took their turn and were all involved. We all had a great time and no one was overburdened from doing too much.
For some reason, however, I got too much of the credit. Superman! “Oh, yeah! I did it all!” As superman, I just created the inertia or opportunity for it all to happen. That job of Cubmaster was one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever had, and one of the most enjoyable for me as well. Everyone else in the pack seemed to enjoy it too.
It has been fun and rewarding over the years to learn how to develop the team spirit of Scouting. Scouting naturally lends itself to the team effort. There’s more fun for everyone as many people jump on the wagon together.
In my early association with Scouting, my initial reaction was to try to do it all myself. I’ve learned a great deal since then. I now know the extra thrill that can come through a group of people all pulling together. I’ve learned that some of my greatest friendships and associations have come through working with others.
I think of Mr. Johnson, one of my former Scoutmasters. I thoroughly enjoyed working at his side in the troop. By giving and sharing we were able to keep each other “psyched” up most of the time. It was fun to see all that we could accomplish in tandem.
I think too, of my associations with my three District Chairmen with whom I served while a professional Scouter. We not only worked hard at Scouting but we had some fine times together also.
Lowell Clontz (1923-2001) was a dedicated District Chairman who had a great deal of enthusiasm. He and I worked together to develop the team spirit within other key members of our district committee. Once Lowell hosted all of us, the “Key-8” as we called the group, along with husbands and wives, at his mountain cabin. It was winter and snow was on the ground everywhere.
After a delicious meal of hot soup, we gathered around the fireplace for a short meeting. We discussed our district goals and basic plans for the coming year. We all enjoyed the fun and fellowship in that rustic but cozy atmosphere. We left unified and anxious to really do it for the boys of our district.
At least once a year we’d expand the mountain retreat to include our entire district committee, including the commissioner staff. At these “Top Team Conferences”, as we called them, we reviewed job descriptions, handed out our new calendars, organizational charts, our goals and their status, and all other pertinent information.
This annual meeting was generally held in the retreat setting and it proved to be very beneficial for all of us. The experience really pulled us together as a team and we left full of the Scouting Spirit and ready to make things happen.
With our group of about fifty people we usually met at nearby Camp Kiesel. Again it would be snowing and the white stuff would be piled up everywhere. The beautiful lodge was warm, comfortable and inviting. We again shared a delicious meal together and then had everyone introduce themselves and their partners. The Scouters (from all of the various programs of our district) stood and briefly stated their role in the total district organization. Most of the time, each program worked somewhat independently, so it was great on this night to have interaction between them all.
After the introductions and business we then played some crazy games, including our traditional Christmas gift exchange game. We certainly had our share of laughs! And again, we left united as a team and proud to be a part of the great Mount Ogden District!
We also enjoyed other parties and social activities and these all helped to develop the team spirit.
One other thing that Lowell was known for was his corny jokes at our district dinners. He was quick to admit that they all came direct from the “Think and Grin” in the “Boy’s Life” magazine.
I was sorry when Lowell needed to resign to fulfill increasing church responsibilities. Richard Moyle soon took over the reins as Chairman. I had a few reservations about Dick at first but I soon found that those reservations were unfounded. He proved to be a real work horse and one of the greatest Scouters. He was truly awesome!
Dick was willing to serve wherever and whenever he was needed. He gave up a lot of time to the leaders and boys of the district. He was generally out Scouting about three nights a week. He continued in the tradition of team building, as set up by Lowell.
Though we never bragged that we were the number one district, we soon rose to that distinction. We were the leaders, and I think our team building efforts was the reason we were number one. All of our district committee members were dedicated to the cause and committed to the team.