From Chief Commissioner, Richard Sowdon
Our quarterly campfire falls right in the middle of the holiday season. And while I am developing a resemblance to Santa Claus in a red necker, you all have more festive things to do than be on a zoom with me. I give you all the gift of time and we will skip straight to blog version of the Campfire. If anyone has any questions you would like to chat about I am always available at HQ@OSG-US.org.
Rover Proficiency Badges
Last Campfire we announced we were looking at ways to improve the Rover Program to provide more options for young Rovers. Through the process we learned surprisingly that young Rovers are not that different than old Rovers. The young Rovers that participated in the process conveyed they wanted to be fully included in the bigger Rover community. Their ask was for there to be special proficiencies similar to Pathfinders to give them some more structured goals to work on and develop their skills while they ponder what quests they may want to take and their path to becoming a Rover Knight. It turns out this idea sounded really good to a lot to older Rovers as well. You can find the badges and requirements on the website. QM has the newest purple Rover badges, and they should be available at the QM store soon. The ones that are shared with the Pathfinder program are already available as Senior Pathfinder Badges. We are open to adding more badges in the future that align with our program.
These badges are intended to supplement the existing Rover program; not replace any aspect of the current Handbook. Also as previously announced, Sue is working on a more holistic review of the Rover program to among other thing ensure the program is as inclusive as possible.
Unfortunately, you all voted to have a professional bureaucrat as Chief. One of the goals I have asked HQ to work on is distilling our core beliefs in to written policies. This does two important things: One, it helps keep as all on the same page as an organization and gives new groups with less tribal knowledge more framework to establish their groups, and two, it communicates to the outside world want we believe and hold ourselves to. While our beliefs may appear clear, we get a good amount of questions and concerns. Recently the Board approved the Scouting Accommodations Policy which formalizes our long-standing practices and promulgates the OSG Guide for Accessibility and Adaptive Scouting.
I hope to have more polices to announce soon because I like using the word promulgate.
To better reflect the membership and try to ensure a diversity of thought the Board voted to create two new Board seats, for a total of five, per the process laid out in the updated bylaws. The Board requested that Jillian Tate serve in one of the new positions and she has accepted. Jillian is well known, well respected, and fierce in her support of our mission. The Board wanted to move quickly to add a person to help ensure we could achieve the organizational stability that was one of the goals of the bylaws updated.
As a reminder on how the new bylaws work:
- All Board seats are elected by membership, excepting the provision that allows the Board to fill a vacant seat
- Board seats are three-year terms, divided into three groups to attempt to avoid complete turnover in Board membership
- Cycle A, Term ends 2023: Mathias and the vacant fifth seat
- Cycle B, Term ends 2024: Richard
- Cycle C, Term ends 2025: Aislinn and Jillian
The Board’s thinking was to add the fourth seat (Jillian) to “C” for stability and add the fifth to “A” so it would be voted on in the next election cycle to ensure the Board is accountable to membership. If the Board expands in the future the next seat will be assigned to “B”. The Chief, Secretary, Treasurer, and any other officers the Board may see the need to create in the future are no longer elected positions. Officers are appointed by the Board and may be dismissed by the Board at any time. Additionally, officers may be, but are not required to be elected Board members.
All that said, you may have noted we are due to have an election soon. The plan is to have the election in February as is traditional. Please start considering anyone you would like to nominate to be on the ballot (any member may make a nomination, per by-laws). More to come on the process when we start the official nominations.
A Scout is Courteous
This has been a busy year of coming out of Covid hibernation. I want to thank everyone that is still with us for persevering. We also have had many new people volunteer to help the headquarters team, which I am very grateful for. One of my goals is spread out the work of running the organization to more folks doing smaller more manageable jobs. Overall, I think this is going well. The downside to this approach is it puts a high demand on communication which as we all know is and has been a challenge for the organization.
I believe the communication challenge comes down to we are all volunteers doing our best to give what we can give to OSG. We all have families, home Groups, and life in general competing for our attention. It is okay to not be able to be all things for OSG at all times. I know I cannot be. My ask is for us to be purposeful in our commitments and communications; think of it as New Year’s resolution. If you are committed to attending a meeting, please put it on your calendar, set an alarm on you phone, do what whatever you do to keep up with things. If a conflict comes up, please send a quick note to the organizer to let them know. To be clear, this is also a growth opportunity for me too.
I titled this section a” Scout is Courteous”. As well-meaning as we are having aspirational goals of getting to everything, when a Rover hosts a meeting and folks don’t attend it is very demoralizing. If you cannot take something on, it is okay and courteous to say no. Please be courteous to your fellow Rovers by letting them know what to expect from you. If something comes up, just let folks know; we all understand life happens.
Happy Holidays to all of you!
~ Richard Sowdon, Chief Commissioner, OSG