Samoset Returns to District Operations

We are rapidly moving forward into yet another exciting and challenging year of Scouting in 2023. Some of you may have already heard, however, we would like to announce a significant change to council operations and organization.

Approximately six years ago, Samoset Council shifted its organizational structure from what were at the time, six districts and moved to a more regional organization consisting of two regions, North and South.  Then, shortly thereafter, we found ourselves facing an unforeseen, global challenge with the recent pandemic which significantly impacted much of life as we knew it, and changed the landscape for everyone and everything, including Scouting.

As we now continue to re-emerge from that storm, we are looking for ways to rebuild and improve how we can best operate the council in the future. During the process of developing a new strategic plan for Samoset, several listening sessions and planning conferences were held over the course of several months. The council leadership, board of directors, committees, and staff listened. This effort resulted in several new strategic objectives we are now in the process of implementing. 

One of the major areas that emerged during this strategic planning process was this overall council organization/structure of two regions and multiple service areas. It was noted that many members of the council at all levels were interested in exploring the possibility of moving back to a more conventional district model.

The main reasons provided were to bring back more community-based Scouting, enhance local Scouting identity, ensure optimum representation of all geographic areas in council governance, administration, and operations, and bring back a sense of ownership more locally. It was also clear that the majority of folks who provided input did not want to return completely to the old district model which required an unrealistic and unachievable number of district-level committees and associated volunteers.

Based on what we have learned over the last six years and listening to the feedback from the volunteers of Samoset, I would like to announce that the decision has been made to return to a modified district operational structure. This change will be implemented in phases and will certainly evolve along the way.  As of April 1, 2023 the five current service areas will be officially redesignated as districts as the start of phase one. The intent and goal of this phase is to identify district chairs to represent their district interests on select operating council committees. The initial committees identified most in need of district representation are membership, activities, advancement, training, and development.

There are several current members of these committees from the various service areas already, but the goal is full representation from each of the districts by August 31, 2023. The commissioner staff, mainly the assistant council commissioners, will continue to serve as the key volunteer for the districts during phase one, and unit serving executive from the council staff will continue in their role of unit service as district executives.

It is expected that the five districts will evolve on slightly different timelines, which is OK. Once each district reaches a level of full representation on these five council committees, we will re-evaluate progress, and may realize that additional committee representation is appropriate and desired. This may lead to implementation of a phase two which could include the addition of one overall district chair and district commissioner for each district. The timeframe for a phase two will depend on the availability of required volunteers from each district.

Another issue that has been heavily discussed is the naming of these five districts. The intent is to conduct online surveys of each district during the month of April 2023, and give all members the opportunity to take part in the naming process/selection. At the end of each survey, results will be tallied, and the top three names submitted will be voted on through one last survey. Names for these districts must be appropriate, culturally sensitive and be representative of the district itself. 

More to follow as we strive for continued improvements in all aspects of the Scouting experience for all members of Samoset Council.

Dave Schult, Council Commissioner

 Samoset Council, Boy Scouts of America
 3511 Camp Phillips Rd, Weston WI 54476
 715-355-1450 (phone) | 715-355-9849 (fax)

Samoset Vision: Every youth prepared for tomorrow's challenges.