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extortion or common practice

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  • #16
    Haven't heard anything like that in our council.

    Basementdweller, it's just hard to tell on the basis of anecdotes how widespread the problem is. We have a pretty small sampling here on the forum.

    I do think that it's ridiculous to tell people to pay a Friends of Scouting fee in order to volunteer. If you just want to increase the price for the activity, then just increase the price. This just seems like an ill-considered ploy to tick off all of your volunteers.

    Part of the problem with the model is that councils aren't allowed to charge an annual fee. I'd personally be much happier if they did charge a fee and just laid off everyone who spends most of their time fund-raising. I think the annual fee would be a lot smaller than what they quote now ($150 in our council).

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    • #17
      sounds like extortion, and seems to be more prevalent. Since the CO owns the unit, I'm wondering if all the COs could get together to create their own alternate Council? Would National go along?

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      • #18

        This really sounds like a National idea passed down to the SE's from the CSE himself, bleed your volunteers, give National a cut, dry then transfer to another council before the volunteers force you out of town on a rail.

        boomer- the only problem with your idea is that the SE for the new council would still have to come from National's list of candidates, so you would still have that corruptive influence present.

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        • #19
          Philmont is not much more expensive than two weeks at some summer camps. It's the getting there and back, the side trips (river rafting, scenic train ride, etc), staying in motels,special tee-shirts & souvenirs that jack up the cost. Biggest mistake is buying all that new gear.
          Somewhat cheaper if you go as Trail Crew, etc. & work while there
          About the same for Northern Tier as long as you stay out of Canada.

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          • #20
            Pack wrote: Really, this is a case where the vendor (BSA) thinks their product is worth a certain price and they are telling you up front what that price is. If the price is too high (and that's what I'm getting here) then simply decline (as seems to be the case) and devote your resources to another investment, such as your own unit and the boys in it.

            Nah, this is just extortion. There is no fee for service as there is no service involved. All Trainerlady is looking for is a signature on a preprinted form which attests she is a volunteer in good standing with the council. And you're telling me the coucil -- the very people for whom she has donated substantial amounts of time and probably money -- can't take the time to pull a pen out of their pocked and sign their name? That is a shameful way to treat good, honest volunteers.

            How many points of the Scout Law does this violate?

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            • #21
              The earlier Eamonn comments sound very sound to me, as does the Basementdweller "BS" comment (assuming here that "BS" meant "bovine scat" rather than "Boy Scouts"). Shaking down parents and volunteers is shameful. We should be embarrassed for those that do it. But we shouldn't be shy about telling them "No." And when they become insistent, persistent, and expectant we should proportionally become more emphatic up to the point of telling them "Not only no, but really... NO!"

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              • #22
                Just got home from roundtable. Spoke personally with the other field director, at least that was what he was before Area 2 passed. Now that the whole state of Michigan is one mega council not sure of the guy's new title. Anyway, he claimed he knew nothing about it at first. All he wanted was my friend's name. Told him that wasn't happening. No sense in getting my friend in trouble. After pushing the issue for a couple of minutes and a crowd gathering nearby he confessed about hearing about the proposal.

                Turns out that the suggestion across the new council board (possilby all of Michigan) is that if you don't sell popcorn, give at least family level FOS, and support any other council fundraisers to their expectations you won't get the needed signatures for volunteering at the regional or national level. The reason - you are not a good supporter of local scouting therefore you can't play at a higher level.

                Asked him point blank - do I stand a chance of getting the needed signatures since my troop doesn't do popcorn? Was told to call or go downtown and meet with the powers that be and explain my situation. See if something could be worked out. I stated that I was unemployed and looking at sending 4 of us to jambo and that we were tapped. He said maybe we should rethink how many people in the family should go if we couldn't help out the local program first.

                Was going to do FOS at some level, definitely not now. Guess hubby and I will have to follow jambo online and daughter can do a Girl Scout or Girl Guide high adventure program next year instead of being one of the first female Venturers at jambo. Contemplating asking for a refund for son's fees paid to date. Maybe we'll go on a good family vacation to West Virginia and cave, white water raft and zipline as a family with the money BSA would've seen.

                Or better yet the kids can go to the local YMCA camp for a couple of weeks and hubby and I can have a second honeymoon.

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                • #23
                  "He said maybe we should rethink how many people in the family should go if we couldn't help out the local program first. "

                  Okay, that's the point I would have gone flat-out, ape-flippin' Bee-zerk. What an arrogant SOB.

                  So I assume not everyone in Michigan is holding hands singing Kumbaya the way they let on in the last issue of Scouting.

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                  • #24
                    HHHHMMM.

                    Let me get this straight, the purpose of the volunteers is to support "local scouting" i.e the council, and not provide a quality program to the youth now? WOW.

                    I know of units that do not attend council and district functions. I'd probably be in one if those units if that happened.


                    As for this being wide spread, I haven't seen anything like this ever.

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                    • #25
                      Turns out that the suggestion across the new council board (possilby all of Michigan) is that if you don't sell popcorn, give at least family level FOS, and support any other council fundraisers to their expectations you won't get the needed signatures for volunteering at the regional or national level. The reason - you are not a good supporter of local scouting therefore you can't play at a higher level.

                      Yah, hmmmm....

                      Seems like they suddenly realized that most businesses when they merge cut executives, rather than add lots of executives as the new Greater Michigan Council did. Then, when yeh add lots of executives, yeh actually have to pay them. And when you're so big that yeh don't necessarily have local contacts/presence, it can be hard to raise those funds.

                      Most of us here in da Central Region are just lookin' at old Area 2 and shakin' our heads in wonder. Wonderin' how long it's goin' to take before da whole thing just implodes.

                      Beavah

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                      • #26
                        Time to call your COR and ask him to step up to the bat for you. Give him your council president's number. Make it clear that this could leave volunteers deciding if they can put $ in the offering plate or if they need to make an FOS contribution to be considered a scouter "in good standing". I'm pretty sure most CO's would have problems with this. Most of them don't have membership fees, and they would expect your council to play by the same rules.

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                        • #27
                          Would this "donation" apply to Philmont crew advisors in your council too?

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                          • #28
                            trainerlady - I agree with your post. Volunteer "fees" is the reason I am not going to Jambo as a volunteer, even though I would really like to, and feel I'd have alot to contribute as well. So then who ends up participating in these events - those who can afford to! Not me, and not our Troop. When our Scouts heard how much Jambo costs, with all the extra fees, including the volunteer fee like the one you described, they said "Forget it!! We are just fine camping on our own at State Parks, Wilderness Areas, and on District events. Why go to Jambo when we can use our hard earned money doing what we want!"

                            But is does make me think... what if Troops were to implement an FOS "fee"? Say $200 into the Troop Treasury for the District FOS person to come and speak to the Troop? Of course speaking at a premium event like a Court of Honor or Troop Anniversary where parents would be present would be double the normal Troop FOS processing fee. After all, we have expenses too!

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                            • #29
                              So, if you just dont pay, and continue to do the job, what can they do to you? Do they have fully flush people chomping at the bit to replace you?

                              Sorta of a What if they gave a war and nobody came sorta vibe

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                              • #30
                                When they gave the Area 2 project presentations here in Toledo one of several incomprehensible slides showed an in increase in revenue -- this after they had just detailed how it would be a decade plus before Michigan got back to where it was economically before the recession. I asked where they thought they were going to get that revenue. Now I see their answer. Thank goodness we opted out.

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