This will be a continuing series of articles on various aspects of the properties we own, lease, care for, and look to make better. As we all know, the program of Scouting is valuable to the growth of youth in this country and around the world. Where we deliver that program needs to convey that value and the coming articles are intended to assist us all in making that conveyance to our current users, as well as all of our future users and their families.
This series will be focused around three themes, notably Stewardship, Sustainability, and Conservation. To some the latter two are a part of the first but in time you’ll find some issues that will separate the three themes from each other.
The first theme is Stewardship. Our former teammate John Stewart and myself presented The Properties Course for several years before splitting it into two courses, the Business of Running a Camp, and Facilities Management. We both engaged the late Honorable Brad Haddock to begin our weeklong courses with an hour discussing that first theme, Stewardship. Brad always delivered a heartfelt interpretation and gave us a great start to our learning sessions.
Think about what that word means for you for a moment, Stewardship. Think about what that means from your position within the Scouting movement. Think about how you in your position can influence Stewardship within your council. Are you effective? Do you employ principles of Stewardship in how you approach the issues that come at you each and every day? Does your team engage Stewardship principles as they solve all of the issues that come at them every day?
What is Stewardship? As a noun in a dictionary the meaning comes as “the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.” According to Merriam-Webster, “the office, duties, and obligations of a steward.” Further, “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something.” Further still, “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” You read further and find words like, manage, supervision, fiscal agent, directs affairs, and so forth. As a verb steward is one who manages something, or performs the duties of a steward. All of this to say someone who takes care of something he/she has been entrusted with.
That’s a powerful statement! Many of us through our years have performed as a steward of something many times more than likely. You probably are thinking right now about how many different ways that has come through.
So, we ask again, were you effective? Do you employ good principles of Stewardship as you solve issues? Does that even cross your mind to consider?
As this series is titled, “Let’s Do Better” we should do just that! Let’s all be better stewards of all that we manage and oversee. Let’s give a bit more consideration next time to a solution versus the quick, let’s-get-past-this-and-on-to-the-next-one approach we may take so often because its just that, quick and easy. But, if we reflected further and asked ourselves if we’re being as good a steward as we can be, would that solution stand up? Would a better solution come to the table simply because we were better stewards?
This team has performed over the past seven years or so about a dozen area-wide assessments of camp properties within our camp system.
We’ve developed a scoring system by which we can evaluate each property on now 19 criteria and ranked the properties visited within an area of study. We divide the rankings into quintiles so we can readily see the properties that ‘rise to the top’ and those that don’t score as well. Given some of the conditions observed on our properties one could easily say our stewardship of the lower scoring properties is not where it needs to be. We need to be better stewards of our properties and the capital necessary to maintain those in order for our appearance and perception to be better!
Next month we’ll take a look at two structures within our properties where our users put a lot of use as they attend camp, pavilions and restrooms. You will see how our three themes come into play in each of these structures and how you can bring about better Stewardship, Sustainability, and Conservation.
The Outdoor Programs / Properties Team is ready to assist and guide in any respect to making the program of Scouting the best youth program! Reach out to any member of the team and we’ll endeavor to provide quality answers to any issue you may have and/or facing. We look forward to working together to make the program the best ever!