As many of you know, Scouting is unique in many ways. We are blessed with so many strengths and magical assets. Foremost, is the “volunteer model”. I can’t think of another organization that quite leverages the “good works” of volunteers as well as the Boy Scouts of America. We have more than 11,000 registered volunteers currently in Baltimore Area Council, each giving an average of 20 hours (probably more) a month of their time.
We talk about that, and about the concepts of volunteer ownership of this program. For a rare moment, I want to share a word about the Professional Scouter…the staff member who works in a ratio of about one staff to every 400 volunteers.
For sure, I would not single out just any staff member, all of whom are good people doing work that requires paid staff to ensure it happens, but I would like to single out the District Executive.
Most Scouters only ever know the District Executive, out of all the different kinds of staff our Baltimore Area Council employs. In our staff of less than 40 full time employee, 15 part time employees, and 140 seasonal employees, there are 15 special professionals who hold the title of District Executive, Senior District Executive, District Director or Field Director. These are men and women, sometimes fresh out of college, who are called upon to demonstrate the widest array of skillsets and knowledge of any of our staff.
This professional Scouter is the direct liaison between almost the entire volunteer hierarchy (11,000 persons) that deliver Scouting to children, and the governance of the organization, in partnership with a District Chair and District Commissioner. This professional Scouter is expected to master our sales strategies; our curriculum for nearly a dozen different primary fundraising programs; build relationships with very diverse sets of volunteers and stakeholders; tap into community-wide leadership networks; manage constantly changing technology platforms that are patched together; learn target market strategies for different cultures; and the list goes on.
They are called upon to work many evening a month, if not every week – they are needed on the job most weekends – and their work week is much longer than their salary reflects.
Thank you for helping District Executives to learn their craft. Thank you for helping them to succeed in their assigned tasks. Thank you for being their partner, their friend and their mentor.
They depend upon you, just as the children we seek to serve through Scouting depend on us all.
*Thanks John Andrews, Scout Executive, Northern Star Council BSA for the inspiration for the article