Do you know what this is? It's plastic, less than an inch across, and weighs hardly nothing. But, without it, I'm unable to complete my current sewing project. It's a top vertical gear from my sewing machine. Actually, it's a replacement that's on its way. Mine currently has a crack in it. The gear still works, but that small crack makes the gear a bit wider which causes the needle and bobbin to get out of sync. The sewing system is broken until a new gear shows up.
Every system is made up of individual parts. Without just one of those parts, sometimes ones we don't appreciate or even consider, the whole system collapses. We pay attention to the obvious parts - the needle, presser foot, bobbin, spool in a sewing machine; the key, gas pedal, turn signal, speedometer in a car; the SPL, ASPL, and Scoutmaster in a troop. It's all those other parts that really need some attention occasionally.
A good system can last decades if it is maintained. My 1989 Mazda 323 refuses to die. I've cared for it for over 20 years by changing oil, checking fluids, and keeping the unseen pieces in good shape. My sewing machine is also over 20 years old. Once I replace this broken gear, I'll lubricate it and expect it to work another decade.
It's important to pay attention to all the parts that keep a system running. If a minor piece stops working, the system may struggle along for some time until you fix it. Or, worse even, you may just get used to that squeek, rattle, or misfire and do nothing about it until it all falls apart. In most mechanical systems, you monitor, lubricate, and replace parts to keep the system running.
A scout unit is a system, too, isn't it? By paying attention to all the pieces the risk of catastrophic failure is minimized. So, how can we keep all the pieces working well? Here's a few ideas, I expect you have more:
- Monitor Regularly ask for feedback. Find out from each person, individually, what's going well and not so well. Use the BSA monitoring tools, such as Journey to Excellence, to track performance.
- Lubricate Regularly thank every person for their contributions. In a large group, a list of names with date and reason you recognized them helps ensure no one is missed. It doesn't need to be a big deal; just a "Hey, Bob, thanks for that great flag raising" counts. An occasion celebration of the group's accomplishments also helps the whole group stay satisfied.
- Replace Regularly switch people in roles. Having different scouts, and adults, take on roles reduces wear and tear on individuals, gives more people experience, and gets new ideas into the unit.
Similar to a machine, monitoring, lubricating, and replacing can help keep a scout unit in top performance for decades. If you have the same people in the same roles year after year after year, something's bound to break.
Posted: 16:34 02-03-2012 742 Previous Post Next Post
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