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Council Commissioner Letter to Members

August 21, 2018

As we bring this scouting year to a close, I wanted to take a minute and give you an update on some key items. I hope your summer adventures created some lasting memories.

Scouting organizational changes:
Scouts organization continues to evolve to better meet the needs of the youth and the communities it serves. Fiona Nicholson, our current Executive Director, has taken a new position as the Regional Director (RD) for Western Canada with responsibilities for councils in BC, AB, NWT and Yukon.
The current role of Council Executive Directors will become the Council Relationship Managers and the Area Support Managers will become the Scouting Experience Managers. Tonille Mallette is now in the CRM role and John Androsoff and Regan Coyne are transitioning to the SEM positions for Northern Lights Council.
We have a number of vacancies for Area Commissioner and Area Youth Commissioner that we will be trying to fill over the coming months so that we have a full complement ready for the new scouting year this fall.
Area Key 3:
We believe the best way to support the groups, scouters and ultimately the youth that we serve is through an effective Area Key 3 model. This leadership model has the Area Commissioner, the Scouting Experience Manager and the Area Youth Commissioner working together on key goals to support the area. The group should work together as equal partners to accomplish the objectives (Wildly Important Goals or WIG) to help the group communities, scouters and youth run fun and adventurous programs that are youth led.
Scouts Tracker:
Many members of our Council use Scoutstracker for managing information related to group and section program. This tool is a third party solution that is not integrated with MyScouts. The Council has supported through funding to encourage groups to take advantage of the efficiency the program offered and because Scouts Canada didn’t have an alternative. The intention for funding the tool was limited to one year, which we extended to two years to support groups with the introduction of Respect In Sports.
We have received feedback questioning the sponsorship of the product and reminding us that the sponsorship of this program is not consistent with Scouts Canada policy. The Northern Lights Scouts Foundation made an extraordinary offer to fund ScoutsTracker for one more year. It is not within the Northern Lights Foundation mandate to direct funds towards operational expenses. Groups are reminded to make budget plans for next year to continue to use this service.
Another fabulous Scouter development is underway from August 19-26 this summer at the amazing Camp Woods on Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Chinook and Northern Lights Councils again are jointly hosting the annual Family Training Event. This, like other development sessions is done in an Indaba style.
There will be several other Indaba sessions held throughout the year. These are highly interactive sessions designed to enhance and help integrate Scouting skills. Keep your eyes open for additional in-person sessions to network and develop your skills as a Scouter.
These sessions are put on thanks to committed Scouters who want to support our Scouting community with great learning and networking events. Remember to “Thank” a fabulous volunteer.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church departure from Scouts Canada in January 2020:
In May 2018, the Church announced they will be ending their 107 year relationship with Scouts Canada and setting up their own program for their youth around the world. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints groups are encouraged to stay active in scouting until the new program starts in January 2020. Scouts Canada will find room in Community groups for youth and adults that want to continue in their Scouting adventure beyond December 2019.
Group Commissioner Training:
Our Alberta Scouter development team is hard at work developing the soon to be rolled out Group Commissioner training. This enhancement to WBI for Section Scouters is being designed to help our Group Committees and to give them even more tools to take our programs to the next level. More details to come in the fall.
Combined Chinook and Northern Lights Council Leadership Team Meetings dates are set:
We will be holding a combined Council Service Team meeting on September 28-29, 2018 and on April 26-27, 2019 at Camp Woods. Save the date... mark your calendars.

Who should attend?

  • Council Leadership Team
  • Area Key 3 (Area Commissioner, Area Youth Commissioner, Scouter Experience Manager)
  • Council Youth Network Leadership Team
  • Others may be requested as the agenda is developed
1000 New Volunteers:
We have just started a campaign to recruit 1000 new scouters in Alberta. Last year in Northern Lights we had over 400 youth that wanted to join scouting that we could not place in a program. It was usually because the local groups were at capacity with either volunteer support or physical space. We want to try and eliminate the volunteer support capacity issue by recruiting new scouters or scouters that have stepped back from scouting to step forward again.
When I talk with parents, friends and people I meet about scouting they get excited about what the program has to offer. I ask them about volunteering and the usual responses are...
"I don't have time".
There are lots of ways to serve. It may not be possible to serve every week, it may be every other week or to sit as a member on group committee or take on a project such as a bottle drive or an outing or... there are lots of ways to serve and help youth prepare for the future. We want to try and change the idea of STP (Same Ten People) where we have a volunteer serve as the cub scouter, registrar, fundraiser and camp specialist for the group. Yes we know people have that ability and we welcome their expertise but a healthy group shares the load.
"I don't have any children in scouting"
There are lots of scouters that do not have children in the scouting program. We can use your expertise if you are young and single or an experienced grandparent. The beauty of scouting is that it is not limited to one age group.
"I am not really into the outdoorsy thingy"
You do not need to have man-tracker skills or like to camp. Scouting involves all kinds of skills and we need your expertise to help make a well rounded program successful. The Scout Mission is...
"To Help Develop Well Rounded Youth,
Better Prepared For Success in the World"
Everyone has the skills to help make this happen.
Talk to your family, your friends and people that you meet in the community about Scouting. Ask them to help in your group and let's get their scouting adventure started.
There is lots to do as we prepare to bring one scouting year to a close and begin a new year full of adventure and fun.
I appreciate all the time and effort you put in to make a difference in the life of our youth. Through your kind acts of service, we not only help our youth on their journey, they help us on ours.
Keep up the great scouting adventures!

Dan King

Council Commissioner

Northern Lights Council