The West Central Florida Council of Seminole, Florida, attributes its leadership success to two primary factors: a year-round nominating committee and the process of identifying council priorities and profiling the types of leaders needed before recruitment is attempted.
Calling All Eagles
Spearheaded by Vice President of Administration Pat Jennings, the West Central Florida Council's Eagle Search is in the works. Funds are being raised for a search tool to identify area Eagle Scouts to tap for leadership, as well as the media campaign that will be involved. Two adjacent councils have also enthusiastically joined the initiative. Jennings projects that upward of 5,000 Eagle Scouts will be identified.
Leadership in Action
San Leandro, California
As one of the successes of its stalwart leadership, the San Francisco Bay Area Council boasts a strong camp program. President Don Sullivan comments, "We have a very active program. One of our five-year plan objectives was to make our three camps more self-sufficient economically. We've raised capital dollars to build a lodge and cabins that we can lease out in winter and for corporate retreats."
The year-round nominating committee means the council's "radar" is always searching for leaders to meet its goal of adding five board members yearly. When it was "a one-shot, end-of-year committee, potential leaders were lost," Council President Scott Payne comments. "The committee's in constant communication by e-mail, phone, occasional lunches. It doesn't meet physically all the time, so it isn't perceived as a burden," remarks committee member Angelo Cappelli.
The prioritization process has further fueled the council's leadership success. Vice President of Administration Pat Jennings, involved in both Scouting and professional executive recruiting for over 30 years, says, "We looked at how the council recruited board members and decided to 'back' in to finding leadership after first identifying council weaknesses and priorities from operating and program perspectives." One advantage to identifying priorities up front is that the council can determine needed expertise and approach prospects with specifics, which leads to easier buy-in.
This method has resulted in new volunteers who have helped overcome school access challenges, tap into urban community leadership, and make inroads into many of the top 25 publicly traded and privately held area companies, which previously had no Scouting contact. "We pursue people with the desire for community involvement, whether through monetary support or service in a volunteer position. When looking for new leaders, we look for the ability to organize and motivate others," comments District Chair John Yanchunis, a 41-year Scouting veteran.
According to Jennings, the council's leadership success is best illustrated by the recent development of the five-year strategic plan. "We got nonregistered Scouters in the planning who brought a business process and fresh perspective. We targeted individuals who built formidable strategic plans for their own businesses, so they really know how to do it."
The San Francisco Bay Area Council of San Leandro, California, also sought to infuse new energy into its leadership. As Vice President of Operations Judge Ron Sabraw states, "Some of our volunteers have been around for 30 years. They're a wonderful resource, providing an institutional memory, but we needed to bring in the new."
Duty to country is emphasized by the Boy Scouts of America through its tireless volunteer leaders, wide-ranging programs, and time-honored traditions. Youth learn about and practice patriotism as they tread the Scouting trail.
The council accomplished this goal by reaching out to volunteers, parents, and the community. Current Council Commissioner Wayne Bishop visited every roundtable and became familiar with volunteers at the district level. As Bishop explains, "We looked for those moving the program forward" and invited these individuals to serve on the board. "Out of 50 board members, now 10 have Scouting experience, whereas prior to recruitment, there were only one or two." As a result, the board is "much more accessible and visible to volunteers, and more involved from a program standpoint." Although this meant some long-time leaders stepping down, President Don Sullivan points out that these individuals are invaluable "in an advisory capacity."
In its outreach to parents, the council "emphasizes that the program doesn't run by itself. This message has led to an influx of new leaders," Sabraw reports. Part of the council's pitch is that there are myriad opportunities to serve at a variety of levels. "This is also stressed while recruiting community leaders," Sabraw points out. The council "looks for people with a demonstrated character who believe in Scouting, are civic-minded, and have a sense of responsibility to the community." Sullivan reports that it "isn't hard to get the right kind of talent."
Recruiting the right kind of leadership talent has led to the council's growing membership, enhancing programs, and renovating all camp properties. The council has enjoyed a 14th consecutive year of continued membership growth, increased attendance in camping and activities, and community and special event fund-raising support at all-time high levels. As Sabraw declares, "We're very proud of what goes on in our council."