Rovers: More than meets the eye

From the perspective of a first time meeting chair

Written by: Stephanie Chan


“What is a meeting chair?”  The typical answers would be that the meeting chair is the person you see standing up front who generally runs the meeting and introduces the next presenter on the stage.  True, but that is a boring answer–who would want to do that?  Little do some of you know, there is so much more.  With the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group, there’s always more than meets the eye.

My first time experience as meeting chair for the October 16th, 2011 Rover Scout Group monthly meeting was a very holistic and inspirational experience.  When I was first asked to be the meeting chair, I eagerly accepted as it is an honour to be the face of the first meeting of the year.  Preparation began from the weeks at the end of September and as the meeting chair, I got the luxury of being in contact with every department head to see what their department is up to.  Keep in mind that I speak from the perspective of a new rover who also does not have any previous scouting background, so being exposed to every aspect of the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group was enlightening and exciting in itself.  Coming into the project, I had no clue as to what I was really supposed to be doing, other than being on the floor welcoming the crowd during the meeting.  Eventually, after some guidance from some fellow rovers, I began to crack down on the duties set before me.  I contacted each department and allotted them a time slot into the agenda.  I did things by the book and it was not particularly interesting.  However, as the days coming up to the meeting date were counting down, the momentum of every department started kicking off.  Finally, energy was rolling, and suddenly our agenda was full and restructuring the agenda was necessary more often than not.  Days leading up to the meeting, hours and even minutes: there was an abundance of information and ideas that felt as if there would be an internal explosion of passion within the Rover Scout Group if they were not expressed.

            Come day of the first official meeting of the year on October 16th, 2011 at St. Francis Xavier school and all the preparation we did could not prepare us for the momentum you could feel circulating the room.  Like I mentioned above, with the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group, there’s always more to it: impressive, even just in the number of people in attendance–a whopping 60 rovers and their guests!  Never before has the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group experienced this volume in their membership!  Though we accommodated our plans for a large turn out, we were pleasantly surprised as we exceeded expectations.

            Yes, because of great enthusiasm from new and existing rovers, there was a lot of last minute additions to the agenda.  The stressful thing about this retrospectively turned out to be a good thing too: as meeting chair I had the opportunity to learn a lot about managing an event with unexpected elements.  However, it is not the process of organizing the meeting I want you to take away in this article.  What I want to discuss is the fact that there is so much more to the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.  Guests and new Rovers alike are in for a surprise when they discover what we have to offer, while existing Rovers are constantly reminded of greatness when they see fellow rovers shine.  For example, the exceptional popcorn success stories we heard from Elizabeth Leung and Clarice Fu were motivational and tickled our creativity on how to reach our goal for fundraising this year; the department heads updating on our 90 day plans so that we can see the bright future in grasp; and in the Scouter’s Five at the very end of the meeting, John Chow reminded us that this Rover Scout Group had roots that began with people who believed in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group, and with their commitment, they allowed the Rover Scout Group to do great things for them in return.  As a result, they let the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group take them places and in their lives, these individuals are experiencing success.

            There are always pleasant surprises with the Rover Scout Group, and when I first committed to being the meeting chair, I was expecting to be that person that simply moves the meeting along and ensure everything runs smoothly.  I don’t know about you, but that job description I just gave sounds boring to me and it was the description I would had given before.  Now, however, the answer I would give to someone who asks me what the meeting chair does is this:

The meeting chair gives one the opportunity to organize a meeting of sixty-plus incredible minds.  On top of the hard and soft skills that you practice along the way (such as organization and management skills), the role of the meeting chair is fulfilling because you are given the chance to cooperate with and understand multiple aspects of the Rover Scout Group when putting together an agenda.  Finally, the most important point of meeting chair is that you are the one that creates a forum of opportunity for existing and new rovers and guests to be surrounded by greatness and reminded of the reason why they are there.

            There is more than meets the eye with every Rover Scout Group member and Rover Scout Group opportunity.  People step up and impress you, and opportunities present themselves so that you can learn and give back.  Given the chance behind a seemingly boring job, I found a diamond in disguise: I was honoured to present others with a means to see that being a part of this Rover Scout Group means you are surrounded by greatness, and being surrounded by greatness give you the responsibility to push yourself so you are able to return that greatness to the Rover Scout Group and realize your potential, innermost shine.

Nick Pearson

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