By Kenneth Holmes
May 04, 2015

The e-District

snowboundAs a boy growing up in Southeast Idaho many of my Boy Scout friends did not live close to our city.  My high school educated students from the whole county.  Many had long bus rides.  During the winter months these rural students could be trapped at the school due to poor weather conditions.  Often traveling home from school was not an option and they found themselves needing to stay overnight with friends.

Some of my friend’s parents would make a monthly grocery shopping trip into our town filling their large vehicles with food for the family needs.  They travel several miles each week to attend worship services in local church buildings in their community.  No options to visit a local theatre, swimming pool, or shopping mall on a daily basis.  The nearest neighbor was often a mile or more away.

Our district key 3 presides over a geographic area in Utah that covers hundreds of miles.  Do you live in one of our nations less populated areas?  It is the responsibility of BSA districts to provide a quality Scouting program that serves the needs of each community and does not require unit leaders and youth to travel far from their home to participate in district camps, activities, training, and service.

Serving communities is very important to the mission of the Boy Scouts of America.  The standard district operations flow chart is wonderful when administrating the program within populated cities or suburbs.  A neighborhood/small community/multicultural plan is available for smaller geographical areas (The District SKU 614646).  It provides greater flexibility, most efficient use of volunteer resources, and is based on more informal relationships.

Key 3 OutdoorsOur BSA district uses this optional plan to better meet the needs of our organization.  Each community has a volunteer that functions as an Assistant District Chairman and also an Assistant District Commissioner.  This rural district operation has helpers to provide services for the four functions of Finance, Membership, Program, and Unit Service.  The district is made of several similar communities not closely related.

All district volunteers work together as a “committee of the whole”.  Our district finds it more practical to use this plan to serve a smaller number of unites rather than attempt to incorporate all the communities into the normal standard plan of a district that does not adequately meet the needs.  One committee carries out all district functions and projects.  Some committee members are unit commissioners who performs all service for units in their geographical part of the district.  The district is made up of members at large and chartered organization representatives led by their local chairman (Assistant District Chairman) who communicates their needs to the District Chairman.

We have designated our district at the E-District.  We strongly use the technologies of teleconferencing, emails, websites, Facebook, GoToMeeting and the council blog to communicate.   The plan for functioning district (513-622) is carried out using the communication tools available empowering chairs to report during the District Meeting.

Does your BSA district meet the needs of each community?

Kenneth Holmes
Author: Ken Holmes | District Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA


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