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  • #31
    Of course there are some small rules that people ignore and are not a big deal. I recognize this and use common sense. Those are rules and not policies.

    However, I am not really talking about the small rules here. The mandate that Commissioners "must" not be unit leaders seems to be a big deal to National, and frankly is a big deal to me as a District Leader. If you look back through the threads on this topic, you will see that my position is it is too easy for the leadership simply to say...hey this guy does a good job with his Unit let's use him as a UC, SRTC, etc. in addition to his job as Unit leader then when he does a good job as UC adds membership chair to the mix, and it goes on and on.

    The district uses this guy up because he does everything that he is asked. The outcome is wrong. The district leadership needs to step up and do their job of recruiting the right people so Unit leaders do not have to be commissioners. The rule that started this debate is a good one and is one that should not be ignored. Ignoring this rule is really a failure of leadership and the leaders wanting to take the easy way out.

    Comment


    • #32
      Yah, johnponz, what I reported was da actual corporate structure and relationships, eh? In some things, at least, there is objective reality. Yeh have part of da correct understandin' in terms of corporate members being COs, but you're gettin' mixed up on da rest of da corporate structure.

      Who said yeh can't subtract from da requirements? Just about every summer camp and half da counselors out there do. :P There isn't any supervision; no retesting is allowed. There aren't any penalties. There's just a communal recognition that da system works best for everyone if we try to maintain a modicum of voluntary standardization.

      In truth, though, there's also a subtle difference in that da BSA owns the copyrights and trademarks on the awards, and it is the BSA (not the unit) that technically issues the awards, eh? So they properly control da criteria.

      That's not true of any other program element.

      As for support structure, there are thousands of organizations that have local support structures, includin' book publishers. These days, your school district can get professional development for teachers from a book publisher in da same way the BSA provides training. That doesn't mean da textbook publisher controls what goes on in the classroom; the teachers work for the school. However, if the textbook publisher offers an award, it can set da criteria for the award.

      This is a very common structure in U.S. not-for-profit corporations, eh? Local Chambers of Commerce provide service to member businesses, while da National Chamber provides materials and national lobbying. Local Red Cross chapters provide services, while da national organization provides materials.

      Da boss of the SE is the council executive board. They hire and fire. Just like the boss of the SM is the COR/IH. The DE or commissioner might be more involved with the SM, just like the Area Director might be more involved in helpin' da SE, but that doesn't change the real reportin' lines.

      Beavah

      Comment


      • #33
        "Because rules are for the guidance of leaders. They may be useful ideals, guides and goals, but they may not be necessary all the time, or there may be exceptions that will benefit the Scouting program.

        Take the "Counselors in Training" (CIT) program in many Scout Camps. Very likely it is a program that can be used well or poorly. Used well it provides additional manpower at low cost to Scouting that provides useful teaching and leadership experience to Scouts and benefits everyone.

        Used poorly and it can lead to poor quality experiences for the CITs and for the young Scouts they teach, or fail to teach.

        The difference is the leadership of the Camp Director and Program Director --- and the Scout Executive that appoints them."

        Have you given any thought to the possibility that there is a poor quality CIT program affecting both the CITs and the Scouts because the Camp and Program Directors DIDN'T follow the rules and made up their own because they have a local perspective that no one can understand?

        Rules aren't guidelines for leadership - they're the parameters of leadership. Leaders that follow the rules rarely get in trouble for following the rules - Leaders that don't follow the rules, for whatever justification they make to themselves for it, are the ones that get into trouble. A good leader knows how to accomplish his goals within the rules - a leader that finds a need to ignore the rules because their circumstances are different is a poor leader.

        There is a famous top tier university that has a football program in shambles and is warned that they could lose their accreditation which could cause the university to shut down because people who were once praised for their leadership didn't follow the rules. Waiting until someone is hurt to rein folks back into following the rules is way too late.

        As for authority of the BSA versus the Council's and CO's and who gets to make what decisions? It's just my opinion, but I would suggest that given that National has the power to revoke individual and council charters, the ultimate Boy Scout authority rests with National. During the fight over the direction the Chicago Area Council was taking while the Owasippe struggle was taking place, National came in, sat down both groups (the board in charge and the folks that wanted to replace the board) and told them flat out that National would disband the board and name their own slate if things didn't cool down, and that neither side would be happy. That's real power - so go ahead and answer the question about who has authority and know that ultimately, National, by virtue of being the folks that control charters and the brand, is the top dog.

        "Centralized decision making has been the downfall of companies and countries."

        Do I have to point out that this is a truism that is just as true for decentralized decision making? Every company and country is destined to fall - it's as inevitable as biological death.

        Unfortunately, I think the BSA is caught between two rocks. The first being they have to provide ever-more detailed rules because there are people that can't seem to understand the rules in the first place - how often have we been asked when the 6 months in rank starts? The rules always said, quite clearly I thought, that it was when rank was awarded and rank was awarded effective at the end of the BOR - yet we still got folks saying that it was after the court of honor, or when it was entered into a computer program, or it started on the 1st of the month following the BOR - no wonder the BSA writes a new advancement book that reads like military specifications for making fruitcake.

        The second being people reading things and wondering if they're rules? JM gives us a great example of this when he talks about his swimming hole issue - he wants to know if they broke the rules by not creating a non-swimmer area for an impromptu swimming activity when all the participants were swimmers, and for not using buddy tags. The answer is no rules were broken - safe swim defense says you create the zones non-swimmers, beginners and swimmers - but there is a caveat (and in JM's defense, the BSA has the caveat elsewhere) and that is that you have to set up the zones for each PARTICIPATING swimmer group - if you have all non-swimmers, you only need to set-up a non-swimmer area - if you have all swimmers, you don't need to set-up non-swimmer and beginner areas. No rules broken - no worries. Not using buddy tags? Not required - using the buddy system is, but buddy tags are not - they're a summer camp tool - used by summer camps to monitor access because they don't know the 20 people in your Troop - they might count 20 people coming in and 20 people leaving but they'll have no idea if one of those 20 is a lad from another unit leaving. But even if it was a rule, as an example of a good leader working within the rules - there are creative ways to do it without taking a lot of time - for instance, if each Scout has a walking staff with their name on it, they pair up their staff with their buddies staff on shore - viola, instant buddy tags.

        I can't help but ponder that one of the points of the Scout Law is relevant to this discussion: A Scout is Obedient. I think most of us agree with the BSA when they say that means that a Scout follows the rules, even those he disagrees with, and when he does disagree with, he works to change it, not ignore it.

        Question - Do folks think that the Scout Law applies only to the Scouts and not the Adult Leaders? It seems to me it takes more energy to justify not following a rule than it does to follow the rule.

        Comment


        • #34
          Beavah,

          I have said all that I can say on this topic. I know that there is no enforcement mechanism, and I am really not advocating for one. It would be a waste of BSA's time to try to police these policies. You are correct regarding the actual on paper reporting relationship. I know that the SE and rest of the Council staff works for the Council Executive Board with a dotted line to BSA. However as was pointed out on a different thread the reality is a little different.

          The leadership of individual Council's should do their best to implement the major policies of BSA, the "have tos", "musts," must nots" etc. That is part of their jobs and is why we have a quality system (JTE) in place. It is a shame that unit leaders are serving as Commissioners no matter how good of a job they are doing.

          It is the Council leadership's (Council Commissioner, District Commissioners, and ADCs) duty to find people who can do just as good of a job who are not unit leaders. I do not include the professional staff in this because I believe they should be working on professional things and leave the volunteer stuff to the volunteers (for the most part-the world is not perfect).

          As to the small rules, it is up to the individual's conscience whether or not to follow them. I choose to try up to and including the Insignia Guide. However, I usually do not directly confront those who choose not to unless I believe they do not know the rule in which case I will gently advise them of the rule. If they choose to keep violating the rule, that is their choice.

          As Commissioners we have to rely on diplomacy and tact which is easier done in person than on a chat board. Also admittedly, some of these solutions do not comply 100% with all of the stated rules.

          I guess what I have been talking about is an ideal of trying to follow the rules. The reality is it cannot be done all of the time so judgment is needed. That is why humans do these jobs instead of computers.

          (This message has been edited by johnponz)

          Comment


          • #35
            Leaders that follow the rules rarely get in trouble for following the rules - Leaders that don't follow the rules, for whatever justification they make to themselves for it, are the ones that get into trouble.

            Yah, and this CMA form of "leadership" is what leads to da worst sort of abuses, eh? Like kids being expelled for butter knives.

            Leadership involves makin' the priority what is best for the group, usin' experience and judgment. The priority for a leader should never be to minimize the risk to himself/herself. Leaders who lead from the back while hidin' behind subordinates or rules are da worst sort.

            There is a famous top tier university that has a football program in shambles and is warned that they could lose their accreditation which could cause the university to shut down because people who were once praised for their leadership didn't follow the rules.

            This is both true and not true, eh? Yeh aren't seein' any criminal charges. Da issue is civil liability. Civil liability is incurred when yeh do not use reasonable judgment. Loss of accreditation happens when fellow professionals feel yeh have not exercised proper professional judgment.

            And therein is the trap, eh? In da real world, society can find yeh negligent for not usin' reasonable judgment, even though you "followed the rules" in the BSA. And rightly so. Being a leader, and being responsible, and havin' a duty to another means that yeh must exercise judgment. If yeh fail to do so, yeh are negligent in your duty.

            Beavah

            Comment


            • #36
              In da real world, society can find yeh negligent for not usin' reasonable judgment, even though you "followed the rules" in the BSA. And rightly so. Being a leader, and being responsible, and havin' a duty to another means that yeh must exercise judgment. If yeh fail to do so, yeh are negligent in your duty.

              Hear, hear.

              I'll repeat a couple things I already wrote. One, the means don't justify the ends. You usually hear that the other way around, eh? But it's more true the way I wrote it. You've got a better chance of justifying dubious tactics with a decent result than you do justifying a tragic result by saying you were just following the rules. In a bureacracy, you can often escape blame for minor failures by hiding beind "the rules," but if the screwup is big enough and causes enough damage, you're still going to be on the hook for it.

              Don't believe me? Scenario: your son is two days in on a hike when he gets stung by a bee and goes into anaphylactic shock. He doesn't have an EpiPen, but his SM does. Are you more concerned with rules or results at this point?

              And two, it's fine to teach youth how to successfully interact with bureaucracy when they encounter it, but we should not teach them to encourage it or accept it as normal.

              Comment


              • #37
                >


                In this case there are detailed laws that govern such situations, at least in this state. People really aren't free to just use what seems like reasonable judgement.

                Although what you do for your own son is quite different from what might happen if you take action involving someone else's child if you don't have the permission of the parents.





















                Comment


                • #38
                  First rule is no one dies on my watch and it supersedes all other rules. In this case you give the kid the epi and deal with the fallout later assuming the situation is dire enough that it is too late for a cell phone to help. The epi pen is probably the last resort but at least the Scout will be alive to sue me.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    In this case there are detailed laws that govern such situations, at least in this state. People really aren't free to just use what seems like reasonable judgement.

                    Of course they are free to use reasonable judgment. Free will and judgment are things with which we are endowed by our Creator, and with which no state has the power to interfere directly. And it is to da Great Scoutmaster that we are ultimately responsible for our free will choices, not the state.

                    Yeh do that with eyes open, of course, knowin' da risks. But if a scout was in trouble and da rescue meant I had to trade my life for his, I'm a scouter, eh? There's just no question. So some lesser thing like a choice between watchin' a lad die in front of me and da risk of some over zealous prosecutor trying to make a case for practicing medicine without a license, I'm goin' to give the lad the injection every time. Partly because I know good prosecutors would never try the case, and bad ones deserve to get thrashed in both courts. . And because I trust da judgment of my fellow citizens.

                    But ultimately because as a scouter, I'm content to risk whatever I have to to keep a lad from serious harm.

                    Beavah

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      John and Beavah both presume that dosing a kid with an adult dose from an epi pen will save his life, not kill him.

                      But it might kill the kid. The diagnosis of a layman can easily be wrong. Suppose Beavah doses the kid with the adult dose from an epi pen and that kills him when Beavah's diagnosis proves to be in error and the kid is suffering from something else.

                      Sorry, I wouldn't dose the kid. I don't know enough to know what's going on and the law is loudly saying "DON'T DO IT!"

                      One of the risks of passing a lot of laws is that people might pay attention to them.

                      Sorry, not me.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        In this case there are detailed laws that govern such situations...

                        Why, yes there are, and that's my entire point. There are rules and those rules say the kid dies.

                        Which is why I ask my question, which is more important, rules or results?

                        The point isn't to debate the merits of the law as it governs EpiPens or other medication, but the general idea, is it okay to accept a guranteed lousy result in order to follow the rules?

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          And the answer is...it depends. In the situation you describe you save the kid. In a less dire situation such as a football game, you follow the rules. The relative consequence of following the rule matters and that is where judgment comes into play. It is hard to contemplate all of this on a message board when you are trying to make an argument one way or the other, but shades of gray always exist. Life is a continuum.(This message has been edited by johnponz)

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            I going back a bit because the epi-pen scenario hits a little close to home.

                            John made the comment

                            It is the Council leadership's (Council Commissioner, District Commissioners, and ADCs) duty to find people who can do just as good of a job who are not unit leaders. I do not include the professional staff in this because I believe they should be working on professional things and leave the volunteer stuff to the volunteers (for the most part-the world is not perfect).

                            One of the responsibilities of the DE that is taught at PDL-1 IS (emphasis)to find volunteers to do different jobs. As they constantly repeated to my class, "You can't do the job by yourself, you need to multiply yourself."

                            Yes the district and council leaders need to find folks, but the pros also work with them, help train them, etc. Trust me, without a DE to provide the info you need and assist you as needed, you can have an awesome program set up, but without the tools to do it, the activity will stink.

                            Also another reason why pros are responsible for selecting leaders is that ultimately the pro will be reaping the benefits of, or taking the blame and being penalized for, the actions of the volunteers.

                            As the old saying I learned at PDL-1 goes

                            Ashes to ashes,
                            Dust to dust,
                            When volunteers don't,
                            The professional must.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              It's been several years since we reviewed the canonical list of reasons to follow the rules vs. reasons to use your judgment. So for any new people to the forum, here is a summary of the arguments for and against rules.

                              Reasons to follow the rules:

                              R1. Obeying rules set by legitimate authorities is a moral imperative in itself.
                              R2. Rules are set by persons with greater knowledge and experience and thus should be followed.
                              R3. It's important to show respect for rules in order to set a good example for others.
                              R4. Breaking small rules will lead to less respect for more important rules.
                              R5. If you agreed to follow the rules, you are obligated to follow them.
                              R6. If everybody picked and chose what rules to follow, there would be chaos, and dumb people would ignore the wrong rules.
                              R7. If you violate the rule, you may be punished.
                              R8. Once you've decided you can break one rule, what's to stop you from breaking any and all rules? If its ok to break a rule, its ok to break all rules. You either obey rules, or you dont.
                              R9. If it's ok to break a rule, people will break rules just to do what's best for them.
                              R10. Rules allow for consistency from time to time and place to place. It allows you to know what behavior is expected, to predict how others will behave, and how to interpret some results (e.g. what earning a rank represents.)
                              R11. Not following the rule makes you more likely to be sued.
                              R12. Following the rule is not a big deal.
                              R13. If you voluntarily join a group, you should voluntarily want to go along with their rules.
                              R14. Rules that come from God are good and should be obeyed by definition.
                              R15. An imperfect rule is better than no rule.
                              R16. Following the rules builds character. A key part of maturing is realizing that the motto "If it feels good, do it" is not a good way to live.

                              Reasons to use your judgement:

                              J1. The rule is unjust. (Favorite example - failing to turn over Jews to the Nazis and lying about it).
                              J2. The purpose for the rule clearly does not apply to the particular situation. (Scoutmaster wants to talk to waterfront director but doesn't have a buddy with him to enter the waterfront. Another simple one might be the requirement to "take a number" when there is nobody else waiting.)
                              J3. The rule is routinely violated and rarely enforced. (This is probably the true reason most people speed a few mph over the limit.)
                              J4. The rule is silly. (Tot'n Chip is not supposed to be worn on the pocket flap of the uniform, although it is shaped like a pocket flap.)
                              J5. The rule is inconsequential, and the consequences of violating it are too small to matter. (This is in the eye of the beholder, of course--perhaps wearing green socks that are identical to Scout socks, but without the red stripe, under long pants.)
                              J6. The rule is inconvenient. Following it would cause negative impact for one or many people, and the benefits of the rule are not enough to outweigh this. (Your one BALOO trained leader can't make the pack camping trip.)
                              J7. You just think you know better than the people who make the rules. (Taking Scouts to play laser tag or paintball, maybe.)
                              J8. You really do know better than the rulemaker, because of unique personal expertise, or insufficient time/attention paid by the rulemaker.
                              J9. Following the rule will cause one person to be singled out/embarrassed.
                              J10. There will be substantial negative consequences to following the rule (maybe, in Cub Scouts, one family's tent collapses during a rainstorm in the middle of the night, and they move in with another family who has a large tent.)
                              J11. It's the spirit of the rule that matters, not the letter of the rule (maybe allowing a couple who has been together for 15 years, but isn't technically married, to share the same tent)
                              J12. There is an overriding reason of a health or safety emergency (often comes up in these discussions, but is non-controversial in reality, as everyone tends to agree it's ok to break a rule to save a life - assuming that you know that breaking the rule really will save the life)
                              J13. The rules suck all the fun out of the activity. (maybe the rule is you have to listen to a one-hour safety lecture before firing a bb-gun. Or, at a local camp-o-ree, the local rules appear to have been thought up by someone who seemed to have no experience with actual Scouts)
                              J14. The rules, as written, appear to be bizarrely complex.
                              J15. The rulemaker exceeded his authority in making the rule.
                              J16. The rules are in service to a greater principle, and the greater principle is what matters (e.g. service to the kids)
                              J17. The rule is very general and does not (and can not) take into account all of the specific situations it may apply to. The situation may allow the rules intent to be achieved through alternate means.
                              J18. People in authority indicate the rules are flexible.
                              J19. Freedom is a moral imperative in and of itself. Its best to give people as much leeway as possible in interpreting how rules apply to their lives.
                              J20. The rule is utterly impractical (e.g. no driving after dark).
                              J21. Other general principles or rules override the rule in question. (e.g. brothers and sisters can share a tent on a Cub family campout even though the G2SS says male and female youth may not share the same sleeping facility).
                              J22. Autonomy is an important motivator for people. It can keep them involved and it can empower them. (Some people seem to intentionally violate a rule for this reason - wearing non-standard socks solely because they want to violate a rule.)
                              J23. It's important to teach people not to blindly follow authority.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                John and Beavah both presume that dosing a kid with an adult dose from an epi pen will save his life, not kill him.

                                Well, yeh have to remember that Beavah is an EMT-W, eh? I feel pretty comfortable in makin' a decision under protocols that I have used in the past.

                                Da fact of the matter is that epinephrine is a natural hormone, and da risk of death to an otherwise healthy young person is negligible. So faced with a specific case of severe respiratory distress which can genuinely cause death (and is causin' systemic problems) compared with a "rule" that was designed for much broader application and has no significant risk in da specific case, the choice is clear.

                                Which raises an interestin' question about rules, eh? As a well trained and practiced fellow facin' an emergency situation, why should a change in jurisdiction or supplier matter? Am I less capable because I crossed an administrative boundary? Is da medicine any less efficacious because I took it from another fellow on the trip instead of from da supply in da ambulance?

                                This is why yeh need to have informed judgment, eh? It's why rules should come with rationales, eh? What matters isn't da rule, it's informing the judgment of the folks in the field.

                                And yep, if a lad dies on my watch but I can honestly say that I did my best, I'm OK with that. That's all I promised parents, and all I can expect of myself. I acted with honor. It's a lad dyin' on my watch when I can't say that which would be devastatin'.

                                Beavah

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