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Direct Service vs. Being Beyond the DEs Radar

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  • Direct Service vs. Being Beyond the DEs Radar

    We are headed to the land-beyond-the-commissary where the current troop is defunct. We'll still be in TAC, but I'm wondering if anyone has any pros or cons to being a direct service troop or a troop that is almost off the radar. Our CO would be the American school or local English church.

    (And if this posts I will be sooooo happy!)

  • #2
    Nike, congrats on your new assignment--can you say what part of the world you're heading to?

    Can't speak to first hand experience with DS troops, but I can offer up some thoughts on currently belonging to a rural district that is a long ways away from the council (or anywhere, for that matter), I think there are parallels.

    Pros: strong sense of belonging and cooperation...cranks and nay sayers are minimal...less deadwood at the adult level (professional coffee drinkers/meeting attenders/meddlers)...greater flexibility in programming...less "oversight" by council...scouters wear several hats and gain greater experience....

    Cons: tail end of the council's fiscal chain...cranks/naysayers, though fewer in number, are a greater irritant and require more immediate action than in a big scouting community where their baloney has less negative impact...

    Having experienced both ends of the spectrum, I prefer to be in the far away district. When we make the trek to council training and other events, we're greeted as pioneers from the hinterlands, "Wow, you guys are from X district, welcome!"

    As a career military guy, I've known many folks that served in DS units, and they uniformly loved the experience, because it was challenging and in a unique part of the world, which only added to the list of things they blended into the program and added to the overall scouting experience.

    I see it as a return to scouting of yesteryear, when the pack/unit/ship/post was the primary focus of scouting.

    Best wishes and safe travels, please keep us posted!

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    • #3
      Depending upon where you are, access to supplies like ranks, books, uniforms, etc can be a challenge. When I was in national supply at a scout shop, we had 4 units, 2 packs and 2 troops that was getting their stuff from the shop I worked at. One had it kinda easy: Email from the unit to corporate HQ caused a call to be made to the shop. Order was filled, paperwork collected, and a company employee would pay and pick it up. The order would then be sent on the next company flight.

      The other unit was a bit more challenging supply wise. Shipping would be more than most daily orders. So they would do one lump buy every year: uniforms, books, ranks, etc. Kinda funny to see their new scouts earn their Bobcat and Wolf, or Bear, or Webelos and Arrow of Light badges on the same date according to the paperwork they submitted We had top bulk ship it.

      Every now and then. someone visiting would pick up stuff for them, but that was maybe once a year.

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      • #4
        Wow, that's a tough question and given your circumstances I'm coming up with a blank. So all I can offer is my hope for your success. Keep us posted.

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        • #5
          This begs the question, can you ever be beyond the DE's radar (especially during FOS)?

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          • #6
            Thanks for your replies. We've had a heck of a week with movers and such. We are very lucky that in addition to the pouch, we have access to APO. The troop we are looking to re-invigorate doesn't seem to have had a lot of care and feeding from the DE, but it may have been a mutual thing.

            My biggest concern is how the Fair Share assessed from non US gov families in TAC will affect our ability to put together a troop since there are many non-gov US expats in the area. Currently, USA Girl Scouts Overseas serves our new home via the New York office and not the North Atlantic office in Italy, obviating the need for GS to pay the Fair Share, which is $125 this upcoming year. Instead, New York served GS committees members can pay a $75 surcharge to attend North Atlantic camps and conferences.

            So, if you hear about some wild Venture/Boy Scout/Girl Scout confab in North Africa the next few years: That's us!

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            • #7
              Nike, I hate to mention this because they can be either very helpful or simply ignore you, but have you tried a call to national? The Transatlantic Council is based in Italy and should be able to help. Their HQ is actually located in Dallas and they have a new head. Could try there to get some questions answered.

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              • #8
                We're already plugged in to TAC, and I don't want to go behind anyone's back just yet. Since we won't arrive in country until late summer, I'm just looking for general advice. We have some GS committees in North Atlantic served countries that choose not to be part of NA due to Fair Share costs. I don't know if this will be a problem or a possibility until we get there.

                I've called out to National before and they can be really helpful!

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