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extortion or common practice

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  • #31
    Years ago when I traveled a lot in my job, I would make a point to look up the local council office and pay them a visit...just to buy a CSP, if nothing else. At one of the shops, I struck up a conversation with the lady and she asked me if I were going to Jambo. I said, "no", I couldn't afford it. Then she told me that she was going to serve on some kind of admin staff, but she was being forced to pay her own registration fees, and on top of that, had to use VACATION TIME from her Council job to go! I was flabbergasted! Now that is a local SE decision, as far as I know... Do the Pros also have to use their vacation time if they serve on Jambo staff? I once considered changing careers and becoming a Pro. Glad I came to my senses in time.


    • #32
      We had a DE working in our group as a vounteer at the last Jambo. He had to pay his own way and take vacation time to do it.

      I was actually quite suprised when he told me that, I just assumed that even if he had to pay for registration and transportation, it was giving him a broader set of experiences and that it would be benefitual to his job.


      • #33
        Backup a second... Let's say I'm a manager or director at a company, and I've hired an employee for a given job. Said employee wants to take two weeks to do something related to her job... but not her actual job. Why wouldn't I ask her to use vacation time to, well, take a vacation?

        I know it's popular to bash the council and national level for anything and everything, but, seriously...


        • #34
          I think it depends upon who you work for. I think, stress think, for council employees, you have to pay the national fees and what not. But whether it comes out of your pocket or the council's I don't know.

          I know that my national scout shop boss was assigned to work at jambo in the trading post, so everything was covered: travel expenses, fees etc. Boss was there for over a month with set up, jambo, and cleanup. Wasn't too thrilled about going, and I said I would happily take their place. Didn't happen.

          When they came back, lots of complaints about walking, heat, sleeping in tents etc. Told them that it should not be a big deal b/c I do for summer camp. Boss wasn't happy with that comment.

          What I found interesting at the time is that national policy prohibits national employees from taking off and going to jambo, whether with a cuncil contingent or staff. If you are a national employee, you have to be assigned to work jambo in order to go.


          • #35
            Don't know about Philmont or other HA base advisers needing to cough up cash. Probably won't be long if you are a council lead crew, probably not if you are a troop going on your own, but who knows.

            We have 2 DE/DDs that are acting as ASMs for jambo. This will be their second go around with jambo. Their primary job resposnsibiliy is jambo. Recruit, order equipment, accompany, etc jambo. They are DE/DDs for the time when jambo isn't consuming all of their time. These 2 gentlemen were the first in the council to recieve assistant staffers to cover for them when they are gone or otherwise engaged in jambo stuff. I have a pretty good feeling that they arent paying for jambo or using vacation time to go either.

            I don't think a non-contributing or under contributing scouter will get kicked out of their leadership position, but again it may only be a matter of time. However, if they tried this game they'd loose so many units it'd be scary. The whole Area 2 thing is about growing membership, can't do that if you kick the unit serving volunteers out for not paying FOS to a specified level. We'd have Rich Scouts of Michigan if they try to make every scouter pay the acceptable FOS payment. A majority of us in my district are blue collar, working class folks that are just scrapping by. There are very few scouters that are so comfortable in my area that they could cough up cash at the whim of the council (at least very few I know personally).


            • #36
              I do mission work with operation smile. It is related to my profession and current job. My employer supports my participation. But I have to buy my own plane ticket and use vacation for the mission.

              Same deal for the DE's in my book.


              • #37
                Trainerlady, you just don't sound like you've got all that great a council going on here. Are you sure that you're not in the same place as Basementdweller? :-)

                We have 2 DE/DDs that are acting as ASMs for jambo. It seems crazy to me that anyone would be paid to be on jambo staff. Our council has a jambo committee that is entirely volunteers, and selects all the SMs/ASMs from the other volunteers.

                "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.

                I'm with Twocub. I'm surprised you didn't hit somebody. It is not your job to "help out the local program." It's their job to help you.

                This behavior is not the norm in my council, and it is unacceptable in any council.


                • #38
                  Backup a second... Let's say I'm a manager or director at a company, and I've hired an employee for a given job. Said employee wants to take two weeks to do something related to her job... but not her actual job. Why wouldn't I ask her to use vacation time to, well, take a vacation?

                  Oh, come now. Businesses routinely pay for conferences and events for employees that are "related to [the] job... but not [the] actual job."

                  Yah, I know plenty of employers who grant paid time off for scouting support that doesn't accrue against vacation, or who provide matching grant dollars to organizations where their employees contribute time instead of money. Heck, I might even be one of 'em. Helped write thank-you notes to businesses on behalf of volunteers who received that sort of treatment on a number of occasions.

                  A wise SE would recognize that in terms of generating contacts, good will, and being able to offer stories that help "sell" FOS, sendin' a DE to Jambo is an outstanding investment.



                  • #39
                    the answer is simple:

                    next time the council wants to send a FOS rep to your unit, just say:

                    " You have to cut the unit treasurer a check for $155 ( scout parent level suport in our unit).


                    Next time the council/ district wants to hold a banquet or RT at a unit, trhe unit should ask the council to cut a check to the host unit for $155.00 per attendee who shows up.


                    • #40
                      I'm with Twocub. I'm surprised you didn't hit somebody. It is not your job to "help out the local program." It's their job to help you.

                      Bingo. This is the clue to when a council has gone sideways: they've forgotton who the customer is. I suspect it's one of the challenges of running any sort of business ("non-profit" or otherwise) that relies heavily on volunteer help while also having paid management. The paid folks maybe get confused and think anyone not being paid by the organization is a customer who ought to be paying for the services of the outfit. Then they start to see the volunteers as a potential revenue stream instead of what they really are - the front line staff who sell and deliver the product so that the folks who really pay (parents and deep-pocket donors) feel like they're getting something for their money.

                      "The product" is the unit scouting experience. District/Council/National folks who think the District/Council/National experience is "The Product" are off in the weeds.

                      But, the more I think about it, the more it's just par for the course in any large organization these days. Management types lose perspective on what their role it - they start to think the organization exists to support their job, rather than the other way around.

                      Top notch leadership development outfits know this a huge problem and make sure they train their leadership folks to avoid it.


                      • #41
                        One of my personal aims is to make Scouting an affordable program, not to vacuum out the wallets of families.

                        I have never gone to a national jamboree, Philmont or the other Boy Scout Disneylands. People and units that want to attend are welcome to do so, but it's not an essential part of Scouting to me.

                        So first of all, I consider those optional programs.

                        Secondly, a Scout is Thrifty, and that means we pay our bills --- unit level, council and national. In tough times you may have to do some things you'd prefer not to do to fund your program.

                        So I wouldn't consider this to be extortion. It's not a common practice and I hope it doesn't become so. I am supposing it is an action the council deems to be regrettably necessary to fund their program.

                        Personally I find lots of inexpensive activities provided by our district, and somewhat more expensive camps and activities provided by the council. And inexpensive and no cost activities organized by my Cub Pack.

                        Personally, I'm working to help organize our district Cub Scout day camp and get Cub Scouts signed up for that.

                        I'm also trying to get our Webelos Den to participate in an upcoming Webeloree or Camporee, and I'd like to have Webelos Scouts participate in the Council Resident Camp. So I have plenty of reasonably affordable activities available for Cub Scouts.

                        Boy Scouts are different. Scouts units that want to do elaborate and relatively expensive trips are welcome to do so, but it's not my personal priority. Attending a good summer camp, NYLT and state Jamboree plus good summer outings, 50 miler and such would be my priority.

                        If units and families can raise money to do more, great! But it's really not a core part of the Scouting program as far as I can see.

                        If you can't go on an expensive trip because it's unaffordable, that's unfortunate, but I make that decision every day. I wouldn't make it my job to undermine the fund raising program through a campaign of sabotage.

                        That's the way I look at it, anyway.


                        • #42
                          Thankfully this is not going on in our council. If it were going on, and some of our better (though perhaps less affluent) volunteers were held back from scout activities without people from our district being afforded an opportunity to "scholarship" them it would **rapidly** become penny-wise and pound-foolish for the council.


                          • #43
                            Obvious, to me, where this is all coming from. Most Americans like to help others. Many want to volunteer to go overseas for two weeks or two months to help build a school, lay in a water system. To get to do this, they need to pay the non-profit hundreds of dollars.
                            The non-profit dribbles it back as food & lodging while keeping a big chunk for administrative expenses. The customer gets to do volunteer work while the non-profit becomes a marketing agency seeking to enhance the paychecks it feels its staff deserves.
                            What the "professionals" are doing is right out of the same playbook. Need a signature? Then pay for the privilege.
                            In relation to an earlier question of mine, what would happn if we got rid of all paid office staff except for the secretary? True, we might then have to get rid of some of the real Scoutcrsft programs -- such as having a racing car. This question is not that farfetched. Our county foodbank is run by all volunteers. Has been for years. We serve our clients, meet our budget goals and have zero payroll. All funds go for the program


                            • #44
                              A couple of more thoughts on this. Terrible an idea as it is, there is a small bright side to extorting money this way rather than in some of the other ways council does it. Using this method your shakedown payment is at least tax deductible. Think of all the little profit payments built in to other parts of the program: like training and camp fees. What size involuntary donation do you think is being built in to the fee your scout will pay to be in the council contingent to jambo? Its probably another $100 or so.

                              Which brings me to my next thought. If the FOS donation is required for participation in an event, does that change it to a fee thats not tax deductible?

                              It would seem that that kind of change could be the hammer that could be used to put an end to this kind of nonsense.


                              • #45
                                It makes me wonder. Forget theory, what is the actual, real-world purpose of B.S.A.? Making payroll?