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  • District Realignment, How Long to Implement

    OK folks, I found out a week ago my council will be realigning districts in the very near future. Economy is hurting, and they are letting go 2 DEs. My district is one of those on the chopping block. My questiona for those who have been through the process are the following:

    1) How long did it take to implement it?

    2) How did it affect programming, i.e. the folding district's events that have been planned and are on the calendar?

    3) What were the results.

    I admit I've only dealt with one merger; the district I was in absorbed part of another. So the merger didn't affect me and my district except to A) move the location of meetings about 15 minutes further out to make it more accommodating and B) one of the folks in for the D.A.M. was replaced by one of the folks from the merged district.

    I'm curious because we have events scheduled and being planned, but with merger, have no idea what to expect.

  • #2
    Not exactly the kind your thinking of, but our "consolidation into service areas" and subsequent merger into Laurel Highlands Council proceeded on the scale of years.

    Far as I can tell, programming was largely unchanged. Most of that is really dependent on volunteers anyway. Pros got spread pretty thin, though.

    I know a few pro's who quit. For the workload, they could simply make more $$ elsewhere. Others found their niche. My personal "jury" is still out on the consolidating of all venturing in council into its own district. However, one plus is that we have more than just one pro who knows the program!

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    • #3
      My district has done that twice in the last 10-15 years. Didn't seem to cause much of a problem either time. The most recent one had the effect of moving district meetings, roundtables and such to a location inconvenient for me, but they seem to be gradually moving them back to where they were originally.

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      • #4
        West Central Florida recently went from 4 to 3 Districts. The realignment took place January 1, 2012. On a Council level, program pretty much remained the same. The Districts seemed to have some pains keeping things organized, but that could be more about the leadership that was chosen rather than new boundaries. I do know that the Districts had major shifts in FOS leadership and we struggled mightly with fundraising.

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        • #5
          The implementation was immediate.

          From this point forward you will attend roundtable here.... Which meant for me a 45 minute drive in rush hour traffic to a place outside the urban area...... While this was the geographic center of the district it was not the scouting center. I took the time and did a plot of troop locations and determined that the round table should be 30 minutes north and a little bit to the west of its current location.

          One troop would have to drive an hour to roundtable......but that's right they don't attend ever even at the new location or in the previous district.


          Problems.....

          The DE had worked for the other district and had his personal favorites......

          The GOBC from both districts have fought and are still struggling for power after 3 years now.

          The country folks don't like the city folks and vice versa.....I get tired of the city kids trying to milk a bull jokes. They especially like the follow up question of well do you actually own a cow and have you actually tried to milk one or so exactly where does your milk come from??? Walmart or Krogers?

          Still no district program to speak of....



          Results from my perspective.....

          a number of my old district antagonist quit/retired from scouting. You remember the ones, you will take woodbadge to put on district cub events.....

          My old district had no program, it destroyed the other district that had a reasonably active calendar.

          Roundtable attendance has dropped significantly because of the location, day and time change. I struggle to make it on time and it really is a long drive.

          So Eagle, I keep asking what is a district supposed to do beyond roundtable???? Never experienced a functional district so no clue.....But I know that our merger took one that appeared to be functioning and destroyed it.

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          • #6
            Previous district.....

            District was basically chopped in two. Half stayed in the old council, the other half went to another council. (This happened a couple years before my arrival.)

            Result: lingering angst.

            Big differences between the districts/councils in programming, resources provided by the council, etc.

            The half of the district that stayed with the council (the one I was in) was clearly the council step child, even before the reorg. Became even more apparent when the other half that went away got a big jump in support. Best thing that ever happened to the half that went to the new council.

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            • #7

              Scouting is a volunteer movement, yes? As such, the volunteers are what make or break the idea. The Pro's job (theoretically) is to help the vol's get it done. However...
              Lots of pros see their job as THEIR job, and often despite their initial idealism (if they had some), they get mired in the bureacratic necessities, hence the creation of Districts.
              Districts allow the pros to better keep track of numbers. If the vols are up to it, Districts are a good framework to hang multi - unit activities on. Just don't depend on the pros to do it.
              I have not moved in the past 20 years, but in the last 10 years my Scouting has been in 5 Districts (if I count the "service areas" and "sub-district" they tried, make it 6). We (the vols) have had to regroup and redefine ourselves that many times. But even so, we insisted on keeping the same CSDCs and Camporees, and even added some new things.
              We now have 3 Districts where two years ago we had one BIG one. Same problems, same solutions, same folks I worked with before. Different patches and neckers for the Commishers. I do training in two Districts, write newsletter bits for all 3. Help at two of the three CSDCs. Commish for the same four units, which have been in three different Districts and the church hasn't moved. Scouts still go camping, Cubs still race PWD cars. They don't care, so long as the adults pay the bills and drive to the sites.

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              • #8
                Saw two district changes. One just before I became a leader but I saw the results. One while I've been active at the unit and district level.

                The 1st was a split. It went smooth but there was lingering problems as neither district had sufficient quantity of units to put on a really good roundtable with good breakouts. Other issues too such as friendships not seeing each other. Generally, life went on. Those who grumble, grumbled.

                The 2nd was a merger with another district. The other district was most of the old broken off district and part of another. Those districts had been re-aligned again. It was fast and quick, but handled well with sensitivity. Again those who grumble, grumbled.

                One memorable problem was that the OA chapter which had been once one chapter, but had since split, was again one chapter. The OA advisor claimed it would be too big of a chapter. It worked though. I think the OA advisor was more concerned with his position and having to deal with change then anything else.

                The biggest problems were with people. Change leads to two questions. #1 What job will I have in the new district? #2 Is this a good time to step away? From what I saw, if two districts had each 15 committed volunteers, the new merged district will have 20 committed volunteers. Not 30 volunteers.

                BUT, now you have more units to pull help from for roundtable and camporees. IMHO, it's been a huge success and the new district is much better then the smaller older district.

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                • #9
                  Eagle, don't know if you read my email I sent you but my council is realigning districts again. What a mess.(This message has been edited by abel magwitch)

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                  • #10
                    The biggest problems were with people. Change leads to two questions. #1 What job will I have in the new district? #2 Is this a good time to step away? From what I saw, if two districts had each 15 committed volunteers, the new merged district will have 20 committed volunteers. Not 30 volunteers.

                    What he said.

                    My experience was a "merger" of two districts, one very strong, the other failing. Clearly, this was a take over by the stronger district. Biggest downside I saw was the escape hatch the merger provided, as described by Fred, and some level of ill-will due to one set of volunteers being asked to do all the heavy lifting yet plum appointments and stuff like Roundtable location being divided out of some sense of "fairness." BD's experience with Roundtable is almost identical to mine.

                    In the end, it was all about numbers. If success is 75%, we had one district at 100% and the other at 50%. So after the merger there was one district operating at 75. But 75 was good enough to make quality district, so DE's made their numbers, the council make quality council, everyone got their performance bonus and all was right with the world.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the input.

                      To be honest, the writing was on the wall, I had been thinking for a while that this would happen.

                      Program wise our attendance is low AND on the CS side, council makes $0 as all the CS events have local sponsors who have been doing the same activities for years. Plus we only have 1 activity for Boy Scouts.

                      Membership is down. We had some traditional units through a grant, as well as LFL groups. When the grant went away, as well as the key volunteer behind the program, we lost those units.

                      Financially the district has had it's ups and downs, mostly downs though. FOS tends to do OK, but popcorn not so good. And this year we didn't meet either goals.

                      I doubt that they will move the other district will move the RTs as 3 districts will be merged into 1, and they are the mostly central location, both geographically and Scout population wise. That district has the most units, is the most active, and is in between the two districts that are merging into it.

                      I have a feeling a lot of people will be ticked. We still have folks ticked off from when the council moved from this town to its current location. And that was 30+ years ago.

                      And yes some people will probably bow out. I admit I'm thinking about it as I am doing too much. My pack has just had a change in leadership, and we still haven't fully completed the switch over. The old leaders are waiting to get the final OK form the CO, which has a general hands off approach BUT does their job in vetting the top leaders as they are the only ones who get the keys to the church. Plus the folks taking over do not know all the ins and outs yet. Basically they are getting on the job training, and I need to help out in addition to the DL duties.

                      @ Abel,

                      No I didn't get your message.

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                      • #12
                        This happened to us, about 2 years ago. There were 5 old councils, merged into one, back in the early 90s. Each became a district, and each still had their old council camps. Three of the camps were eventually sold.

                        There are diverging opinions on what happened two years ago, but there was a committee put together late in one year, plans were "socialized" starting in January, and by June the new plan was implemented. Five districts were combined into three.

                        But here was the actual: two smaller districts were combined into one. Then my district was cut in half. There was an impassioned last-minute plea by an old timer, who reasoned that the four towns in the district were historically linked and should not be split apart (rather, the guy was arguing all four should be moved together). Fell on deaf ears. The only other result besides combining two districts into one and splitting our district in half was to move one town from one district to another. This move made sense because it was part of a regional school district with a town in the other district. In other words, putting the two of them together because there were linked school-wise.

                        So the "realignment" really irked the volunteers in my old district.

                        Two interesting things happened: one of the receiving districts (my new one) welcomed the new volunteers with open arms. Couldn't have been nicer. The other district basically told their new volunteers, "well, we're pretty booked up, but here are a few slots you can fill" and then proceeded to show them who calls the shots.

                        The council executive board did enforce renaming of all three districts. The old historic council names are no longer in use as district names. Three "thematic names" were chosen by each of the districts.

                        It took about a year and a half, but 5 DEs eventually became just 3 DEs, and I think only one of them is a holdover. In other words, four DEs left in the last two years, and two new ones came in. I've come to the realization that DEs come and go. In fact, I think we're on our third SE since my oldest joined Cubs.

                        Guy

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                        • #13
                          fred8033 Seems to have hit the nail on the head.

                          While many of us, especially some of us old timers, don't like it when this happens. Most of us do see the writing on the wall long before it happens.

                          Basementdweller you post:
                          " what is a district supposed to do beyond roundtable????"
                          Finding the "Book Answer" isn't that hard.
                          Still my feeling is that what a District should do? Depends a lot on who you are and what position you hold?

                          I served as a Key 3 member of a District for a good many years.
                          For most of that time I worked hand in hand with a DE that I'd trained, worked well with and for my part I wanted to see do well.

                          There is never any way that a District can get away from the goals that come down from above.
                          For the most part these goals have to do with Membership and Money.
                          How a District goes about reaching the goals depends a lot on the people who sit on the District Committee.

                          A little while back I started a thread about Troop Culture.
                          This "Culture" Thing is very evident in how Districts go about the job at hand and how they meet their goals.
                          When I get more time I'll start a thread on this!

                          Eagle92
                          Last year the District I served went bye-by.
                          The District was bringing in a lot of money, mainly from the Community FOS.
                          However membership just wasn't there and there was no sign of it improving.
                          The District Committee was a real shambles.
                          So the District was split 3 ways. Units going to each of the three remaining Districts.
                          The disbanded District is now gone. - End of story.

                          Youth members really don't care that much what District they are in.
                          The new adults that will come along will accept that this is the way things are.
                          So that leaves old timers like myself.
                          Wondering what to do?
                          Already some people have walked away.
                          But if the truth be known, they weren't doing that much anyway!
                          I've been offered a seat on the board. - I'm not sure why?
                          I'm thinking of maybe just getting involved with the Scouting program that my church has in place. The program isn't that strong and the Pack folded a few years back.

                          I suppose if asked by the right person to do a job that I had the time to do and was interested in doing!! I might be tempted to step up to the plate of our "New" District.
                          I know that my "Glory Days" are behind me.
                          I'm never going to fall into the trap of attending meetings five nights a week and rushing off to training's and Camporees ever again.

                          I have some real concerns about where the Council is heading Membership wise?
                          It is falling and failing.
                          The SE really is a nice fellow who is doing his best.
                          But with less members and less money coming in?
                          I think that our days might be numbered.

                          Maybe now is the time for me to walk away?
                          Ea.






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