Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Important Role of the COR

In the BSA handbook, the COR is characterized as being "the head of the Scouting department... responsible for the success of its Scouting units." This mandate clearly extends beyond completing paperwork and collecting FOS money. In fact, the COR's role is so important, that it cannot be abdicated to anyone else, and the absence of a committed COR will be sorely missed.

In LDS units, the role of 'Chartered Organization Rep' (COR) falls to a counselor in the Bishopric. The specific responsibilities are found in section 4.2 of the Church Handbook on Scouting and the BSA's Chartered Organization Representative handbook, and include logistical elements such as dealing with rechartering and registration, conducting the Friends of Scouting campaign, and ensuring that Tour Plans are completed. However, the COR's logistical role is overshadowed by the critical role of fostering a Scouting culture within the ward.

There are several areas where the COR fulfills the 'higher law' of building culture and success. For example, setting the correct expectation when extending callings, ensuring that all adult advisors attend the appropriate training, and being actively involved in the District.

As a Unit Commissioner, I have had the opportunity to observe a number of COR's, and have quietly compiled a list of COR best-practices. While not exhaustive, I think this list might spark some ideas for bishopric counselors seeking to magnify their COR responsibilities:
  1. Carefully lay out expectations when extending callings. Specifically mention attending training and roundtables, as well as camping commitments to provide an accurate sense of what is expected. No more "one hour a week" callings!
  2. Follow up with new advisors to ensure that they have attended training. Also, encouraging them to work towards the BSA's training awards will keep them continuously learning.
  3. Appoint yourself 'Roundtable Czar' with a goal of 100% attendance from everyone with a ward Scouting calling. Consider making reminder calls or flyers, organizing car-pools, etc. Following up with Scouters that miss a Roundtable, will reinforce the importance of attending.
  4. Hold a monthly Key Scouter meeting to provide training, insights, inspiration, and encouragement, as well as providing a forum to coordination and sharing between advisors from the four Scouting families.
  5. Constantly reinforce the message that Scouting is important to achieving the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. No one should doubt your commitment to making your ward Scouting the best it can be.
The Priesthood authority brought to the COR role by a bishopric counselor, provides an incredible opportunity for building a Scouting culture within a ward. So while rechartering paperwork is important, it's the COR's informal role of setting the expectation for Scouting excellence that magnifies his assignment.

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