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Interviewing for DE position....what should I expect?

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  • #16
    If you have a good job that you are happy doing and it provides the standard of living that you are looking for, I would urge you look deeply and think seriously before leaving it to be a DE. It is a very difficult job that, IMO, is going to get even more difficult....even impossible. Schools are cutting the scouts out from doing Cub Scout recruiting and United Ways are cutting the scouts out from their allocations. Bad press is hurting the scouts ability to get an audience with new potential givers. In short, the job is not one that most sane people would want.


    • le Voyageur
      le Voyageur commented
      Editing a comment
      Have to agree here ... the DE job can be boiled down to two key elements which is fund raising, and recruiting. In our District here which is rural and poor, DE's come and go like the change of the season because they fail to reach their goals of bringing in the bucks and bodies. Do think twice before leaving a good job....

    • ProScout
      ProScout commented
      Editing a comment
      This is helpful. I'm thinking more and more that this is not going to be the opportunity for me that I had hoped. Please know that the reason that I am seeking to leave my current job is that it is 60 miles from home, one way. That said, I think patience may be important here in terms of finding the right fit. I have the second interview and personality test tomorrow. I'm going to move forward with it, but unless I hear some earth-changing news, I think I'm going to have to pass.

      I appreciate everyone's candor on the topic.

  • #17
    Instead of quitting your job, why not volunteer for your district or Council? The happiest DEs I know are the ones who have retired once and no longer have kids at home.


    • #18
      Ya I am cynical......

      We had a number of troops without packs associated and a number of packs without troops associated. It worked for the units and the boys, the boys would visit the unit and find one to their taste.

      So what did our then DE do.......He created a number of new troops to associate directly with Packs that did not have them. End result three years later all of the troops with out packs directly associated with the troops are folding. We have lost three troops this year from this, the last unit folded Monday last week.

      I can hear old Bando, In his best rah rah scout voice," Why didn't those lazy scouters go and create a Pack directly with their Troops?" Good question, Because every single school that could support a Pack did, and the Units that had multiple schools refused to give one up to a new unit.

      So the DE screwed several 40 year old troops for greed. Sure he met his numbers, but the poor new guy, is hosed, with more units folding than that idiot created. What about all that local scouting history he flushed down the toilet.

      I have had 4 DE's in the last 4 years, NONE of them has keep their word or delivered on the councils obligation to provide books and shirts as requested. I am not even going to get into the money one DE stole from me.

      Buy you guys think it is great and be it. I know a number of retired scouters who would make fantastic DE's.

      Life long scouters, these guys have 40 years in scouting and are completely selfless. They would do the job because they love it not because of a paycheck.

      Scouting in this country is in big trouble, If you guys are too blind to see it I am sorry.


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Nike has it nailed.

        I never vent to parent or the boys. They have no idea of the problems our district has, ZERO district functions beyond round table, They have no idea of the Games our DE play with providing yard signs and free flyers to specific units. The recruiting games played, the re assignments of elementary schools.

        The Scouting world is very rosy for many of you folks, consider yourself lucky.

        We get ZERO support from district or council and it used to be the only time they would come visit was for FOS and to Pick up the cub apps and money after sign up night. They provide zero service.
        Last edited by Basementdweller; 10-28-2013, 07:25 AM.

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh my personal favorite, was a friend who is on our district committee is telling me that our District is in the hole by $50k.

        You have gotta explain that to me. The church that hosts round table is free, Presenters provide their own handouts, No day camp, No camporees, No training, No shirts, No awards dinner,

        So explain to me how this is possible.

      • dedkad
        dedkad commented
        Editing a comment
        Maybe the deficit stems from their share of salaries distributed to them by Council? Someone has to pay the salaries of the Council and District employees. I imagine it is probably distributed based on size of each District.

    • #19
      So the glass half full perspective......we are on a short list to get some canvas and some additional cook boxes. and such.


      • #20
        I try to remember that a DE is a paid staffer for what is essentially a non-profit, volunteer organization. Organizations like that still have to pay the bills & keep the lights on. With that in mind, I'm not surprised that a DE's focus is heavily on membership & fundraising.

        For our units, we don't really put the DE in our critical path, but don't really ask him for permission to do things. He's more like an adjunct leader we interact with for assistance than someone we have significant expectations of. I don't mean that to sound harsh or negative, it's not. Our unit leaders control our own destiny. For example, we plan our own recruiting campaign and build our own strong program. We get great recruiting turn out from a proactive campaign and good word of mouth. So, in turn, our DE works with us as he recognizes it's good for him and the district to do so.

        For the district, my rule of thumb is that we shouldn't complain about district operations unless we're willing to contribute to making them better. If we're not willing to contribute, then we just participate in other ways. For example, there are not a lot of district level service opportunities right now, so we're planning our own. There's no district cuboree, so we found a neighboring council with one and attend theirs. On the flip side, we needed unit leaders trained, so we significantly staffed local district trainings.


        • #21
          A 60 mile commute, an hour each way sucks. However, if it's "normal hours" that's a big plus. DE is a management job, exempt, from overtime, and involves a LOT of overtime. You have a dual-role, with hazy metrics on it.

          Goal one, marketing/sales. In this role, you are out promoting Scouting, finding Charter Organizations to start up new Units, helping arrange recruiting at your district level. It sounds like you have a positive view of scouting from your youth and the background for this.

          Goal two, support role. The program is delivered by volunteers, so your job is to support them. This means committee meetings, liasoning to council, arranging whatever special treatment is necessary for units. Sometimes units need special help. It's a long job with long days, since you have 9-5 office time, where you are driving around, setting up meetings, etc. My DE is at District Events, Council Events, Day Camp, etc.

          So you need to work Sunday night (to prep for a Monday morning meeting), M-F 9-5, one night/week for meetings District/Council Meetings, one night/week for FOS type presentations, 1 weekend/month for activities. That's a pretty substantial commitment for a job, IMO.

          OTOH, if you take the time being a volunteer scouter takes and add it to your day job, that's about what you're looking at as a day job.

          If you have a good job, and it's a salary hit, and you think it'll be fun and cut down on your commute, I think you're out of your mind. My DE works 60-80 hour weeks, makes crap money, and has watched his personal life implode because of all the time Scouting takes.


          • #22
            I hear everyone saying there is a bunch of over time.....Really?

            Explain to me again what they do all day while the units are not meeting and there are no events going on?????

            Ours doesn't do boy talks, Doesn't attend District commisioners meetings, Doesn't attend day camp.

            So what do they do during the day?


            • qwazse
              qwazse commented
              Editing a comment
              Correspondence (letter, phone, or in-person):
              E.g., to/from scouters like who mist roundtable and need a rechartering packet.
              To potential corporate donors regarding how to support scouting in their neighborhood.
              To unit FOS coordinators making sure they have what they need.
              To potential chartered organizations to ask if they are interested in starting a unit.
              To youth who may have never heard about the programs available to them through scouting.

              Or they should be meeting with adults/youth who volunteer for any of the above.

              Really and truly, DE's job is to be meeting. It's only a matter of whom.

            • Pack18Alex
              Pack18Alex commented
              Editing a comment
              Meetings with their superiors in BSA, reviewing spreadsheets, looking over reports, dealing with the antiquated IT of BSA to get information out.

              Our DEs are all at work at 9 AM and there until 5 PM, whether that time is productive or not I do not know. Add Roundtable and any Council Committees they advice, plus events, it's a ton of overtime.

          • #23
            I see this thread is still popping back up.....
            No more posts from ProScout
            ..... so I'm guessing he didn't turn pro after all.

            Yeah, I'm sure all that tedium adds up a good bit more than I see..... but I'm with you Basement, I have a hard time wrapping my head around full time.
            I do see a lot of after hours and weekend need, but not 40 hours a week x 50ish weeks a year.
            That is why I contend that the position really wants to be more involved with the stuff it's hard to expect from already stretched-too-thin volunteers.... such as training and 'direct' support of the units and volunteers.


            • #24
              Originally posted by blw2 View Post
              I see this thread is still popping back up.....
              No more posts from ProScout
              ..... so I'm guessing he didn't turn pro after all.
              And you would be correct. I withdrew myself from contention, mainly because I was concerned that they were telling me one thing about the time commitments, while everyone outside of there seemed dead-set on the idea that you would be working 80 hours a week (and if so, I can't reasonably do that and still give my own kids the attention they need). It stinks a bit. This is something I keep looking back at and wondering if I should have gone forward with it. As it were, they have finally gotten around to advertising for the job again. It's been open since last July and he was pretty clear that they were taking their time looking for the right person to fill the job. I gathered that they haven't had to turn the position over too terribly often, though the last guy in it apparently got caught in the midst of job searching (and I assume let go).

              Here's the ad text with specific identifiers redacted:

              __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _XXXXX XXXXX Council, Boy Scouts of America, is accepting resumes for an Executive Staff position. Candidates must have at least a Bachelor's degree along with an outgoing personality and strong communications skills. They must be willing to live and work in either XXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX or XXXXX. This is an entry-level, professional position that requires day travel and occasional evening commitments. Salary is $36,000 per year plus benefits.
              Experience in sales, marketing, fundraising, and public speaking is desirable.
              __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _

              So there you have it. Are they straight-up lying about the time, because I don't take "occasional" evening commitments to translate into 60-80 hours a week. What am I missing?


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                Unfortunately your are not reading "Executive" for the full weight that it carries. I think you would like it to be something like "Manager" and the salary makes you think that. But when it comes to non-profits, what's expected of an executive would cost roughly 3 times that in industry.

            • #25
              There will be weeks where you are working less than 40 hours (not many of them; I can count on one hand), there will be weeks where you are working more than 40( the bulk of them), and there will be weeks when it will be 80+, it all depends upon the cycle of the year you are in.

              When I was a DE, during the fall, Mornings and Evenings were spent at schools talking to students and doing the evening round ups. In addition, I was meeting with different district committee folks , and prospective COs. as well as prepping for FOS season.

              Towards the end of the year, if membership goals were not where they were suppose to be, you hauled butt to find any unregistered scouts. That could be interesting. I still remember my now wife waiting at the office for my last minute membership applications to be inputted into the system so I could take her to home to meet the family for Christmas. She had a nice little nap, and we were able to drive non-stop, taking turns driving. We got there in time for Christmas Eve, barely.

              Spring is FOS season and you will be beating the bushes for money.This could get interesting as you got to be available whenever potential donors are. So you had no set schedule.

              Forgot to add that this is in addition to any district or council events you may be working like camporees, banquets, leader training etc. Because of the drive time from the HQ city to some part of the council, I had a few friends who would just sleep at the office when we had some nite time activity like council board meeting, and a staff meeting the next day. By the time he got home, he would only be able to get an hour nap before leaving to get back to work.

              Summer time can vary depending upon what is going on. My first summer as a DE, I was sent to camp for the entire summer, and yes I was doing 80+ hour weeks. Those DEs with camp expereince usually were working hard, actually teaching classes, training, or providing logistical support. Those DEs without camp expereince usually had it easy as they had no duties but to be seen by their units. My second summer was kinda like that. My week of summer camp duty was pushed back until a week after my wedding. The camp director was not happy as he had 5 days to find HA trek leader. He was not informed that I would be at camp the week after I was married, so he did not have anything for me to do. Since A) I had no units in camp that week, and B) I was told in no uncertain terms by my boss that I HAD to be at camp that week despite nothing for me to do, I stayed in the staff cabin all week, hogging up the one "public access" the staff had, and did all the paperwork I had planned to do at home to prepare for the round up season. Only time I was off camp property was for an already scheduled meeting.

              NOW, the situation has changed somewhat. With the reduction in DEs and keeping the same number of districts, the pro's are very much stressed out. One pro, was covering 6 large counties that would normally be 3 districts. He put over 120K miles on his brand new car within a year. We've had 2 pros that I personally know quit because of the current situation of not enough DEs for the number of districts.


              • #26
                One more comment. My wife dated me while I was a DE and knew a little of the stress that was involved. It wasn't until about 2 weeks before had to be cut short (national policy is that they are only required to give you 2 days off for getting married, and I had to come back to work on the Wednesay after I got married) that it her her. After 6 weeks of marriage, she gave me the ultimatum: her or the job.

                So to quote the 9th Doctor (or is he the 10th now )

                "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"


                • qwazse
                  qwazse commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Or, if you take the job, "Don't even blink!"

              • #27
                Two of our DEs have dropped dead on the job. Just saying.


                • #28
                  Our DE's often look like they just stuck their finger in a wall socket! I know from talking to them that the time commitment is significant, including most nights and weekends. I am glad folks want to do the job as it is needed, but why they would for $36K a year is beyond me. I only know one that happily did it for an entire career and retired (he lived and breathed Scouting and never failed to have a smile on his face, what a great guy!), but most I have known tend to do it for a few years and move on. There is a lot of pressure to meet the various goals that are placed on the DE's, and some Council's are quite aggressive in dismissing DE's who do not meet their goals, whether they had any way to actually make it happen or not.


                  • #29
                    I'd do it!