The entire district committee meets on a regularly scheduled date, usually monthly. The purpose of district meetings is to build momentum, assure good coordination, assign specific tasks to individual committee members, and check up on the progress of their previous administer specific assignments. The district chairman and district executive plan the meeting, and the district chairman presides over it. The district commissioner reports on the special needs of units and requests the help of operating committees to meet those needs.
To help coordinate efforts, districts devote a major portion of district meeting time to simultaneous meetings of each of the operating committees (membership, finance, camping, etc.). This is also a time-efficient meeting pattern for busy district volunteers.
Each operating committee checks details on progress made by its members during the month, makes decisions on plans for the months ahead, and updates specific assignments for each committee member. The district chairman, district commissioner, and district executive sit in where needed.
All Scouters reassemble together. Each committee chairman reports on plans and progress so that everyone knows the big picture. To help build commitment, the district meeting also provides moments of fellowship and inspiration.
The pattern of district meetings must be right if it is to attract and hold members. Build these dates into the council program a year in advance to include:
- A monthly schedule. A monthly meeting is necessary to maintain continuity and momentum. A strong healthy flow of plans, projects, reports, training, and inspiration cannot be effectively maintained on a less frequent schedule of meetings. The June and August meetings can be held outdoors. The June meeting might be held at the council camp for planning the coming year’s program, and the August meeting in connection with a picnic, barbeque, or other outing for all Scouters and their families.
- A standard date. Pick a standard day and week of the month and stick to it except when it falls on a holiday. Scouters should be able to write a regular date into their calendars and plan on it. Meetings should be held at the same place; a central location is usually best.
Planning the Meeting
Preparation for the district meeting calls for advance planning by the district chairman, district commissioner, and district executive; and most important of all, a conference between the district executive and the chairman of each of the district operating committees to check on progress and develop a work plan for the coming month.
Following are some ideas to choose from in planning meetings. Obviously, time will not permit all of them to be used in any one meeting.
Special guests. A great deal of fine relationships work can be done by inviting people to come as honored guests to a meeting of the district committee. This may include heads of chartered organizations, Scouting officials, public officials, and community leaders.
Opening ceremony. This should be brief but inspirational. It may be a prayer, the Scout Oath, the Pledge of Allegiance, a new ceremony, an inspirational poem, or a good Scouting story.
Any volunteer movement such as Scouting is peculiarly dependent on emotional motivation. It is important to every district meeting to add fuel to the fires of interest and enthusiasm, and to strengthen people’s will to carry on this cooperative venture in serving youth.
Introduction of guests. Have someone introduce the guests (be sure the names are pronounced correctly and clearly.)
Introduction of new members. Any new members should be introduced with a simple ceremony. Tell who they are, express the welcome of the group, shake their hands, and pin a Scouter button on each of them.
Training. Every gathering of Scouters is an opportunity to add something to the individual’s understanding of Scouting, and of his job and how to do it. Brief discussions, videos, demonstrations, charts, and literature displays are some of the tools that can be used.
District commissioner’s report. Before the operating committees meet, the district commissioner will request operating committee assistance for specific unit situations.
Operating committee meetings. This is the bread-and-butter part of a good district meeting. Each committee must have an agenda worked out by the committee chairman and district chairman. The agenda includes specific plans, assignments, and follow-up on assignments. The major purpose of these meetings is to make assignments and to follow up on assignments previously accepted.
Report of the operating committee chairman. Keep this brief and result oriented.
Reports of chartered organization representatives. They may be called for occasionally.
Other business. Any items of district business that have not been fully covered in reports of the operating committees should be covered here.
Open forum. The principal reason for holding the forum nearer the end of the meeting is that it permits keeping the earlier parts of the meeting on schedule. If questions or problems are brought up in the earlier parts of the meeting, instead of stalling the meeting at that point, the chairman notes them for discussion during the open forum.
Executive’s remarks. A short period at the close of the meeting should be reserved for the district executive. This is an opportunity to sum up, to recognize progress, to point the way ahead, to bring news from the council and the Scouting world, and perhaps to end on a note of inspiration and challenge. The district executive may profitably use charts to show the standing of the districts in relation to others or to the council as a whole.
It is up to the Key 3 to see that each meeting has the following results:
- The principal outcomes of each meeting should be the quality operation of units, the organization of new units, and the fund-raising efforts of the council.
- Notes related to the work plan of the district should be kept by each operating committee chairman and copies shared with the district Key 3.
- Significant outcomes of the meeting can be reported in the local news media, informing the public and further committing committee members to carry out announced plans.
- The district chairman and the district executive should be in frequent contact with operating committee chairmen over details of committee member assignments, encouraging, helping, checking on progress, and promoting the steady flow of district work until it is time for another meeting.
- The district commissioner takes details of the meeting back to the commissioner staff.
Use the DVD Meetings of the District, AV-06DVD07, to train the district Key 3 and operating committee chairmen in how to have productive district meetings that achieve the objectives of the district.
Work Plans and Sample Agendas
- District Committee Meeting Work Plan (Sample Agenda)
- Membership Committee Work Plan (Sample Agenda)
- Finance Committee Work Plan (Sample Agenda)
- Camp Promotion and Outdoor Committee Work Plan (Sample Agenda)
- Activities and Civic Service Committee Work Plan (Sample Agenda)
- Advancement and Recognition Committee Work Plan (Sample Agenda)
- Training Committee Work Plan (Sample Agenda)
- District Committee Work Schedule