To answer both your questions as far as the DE/SE are concerned the answer is simply yes. It is standard practice in professional scouting. The reality is that some units are just thrown together by both volunteers and DE's without a solid foundation or commitments by leaders and parents during recruitment drives, and they usually start disintegrating within 3-6 months. It is much easier to start a new unit than try to resurrect one at deaths door, that is basic business management 101.
The strong units are those with committed leadership who develop a fun and enticing program for their kids. Whether they have 10 or 50 kids is unimportant because they will always surpass all the units with apathetic leadership who gives no effort to developing a fun or interesting program and they will quickly die out from their own apathy, survival of the fittest is the way of nature and the world.
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Your view, while admirable, is highly unrealistic. A unit whose leadership fails to live up to what they agreed to do and what is required of them as leaders, committee members, and scouters, and allowing the unit to fall into chaos and infighting resulting in the youth leaving en masse has set themselves up to fail, not the DE or the council. No DE worth their salt would ever intentionally set up a weak unit. I never did and twenty years later all the units I helped to create as a DE are still active, even though the council has been merged into a larger one twenty miles away.
From what I have observed as a unit leader, committee member, and as a COR since then is that the scouting profession has become much more cutthroat and dishonest with the volunteers and in the handling of the councils assets, such as camps and other property. There also seems to be an evergrowing attitude of less than minimal effort on the part of scouting professionals in dealing with or even caring about the needs of the units or leaders in delivering the program in the field. To me this is the biggest tragedy of all and IMO are pivotal reasons why quality leaders are leaving the BSA, quality unit programs are becoming harder to find, and why more youth are becoming bored faster and leaving scouting sooner than ever before.
I thank God every day that our Venturing Crew is so rock solid in its foundation with a diverse, highly dedicated, and high quality group of adult leaders. Our membership is still growing rapidly with over 85 active youth at last count. Our crew has become the go to place for other crew leaders in our council to come for advice, support, or help with their own programs. We are basically self sufficent enough to where we do not even need the council, nor do they have anything to even offer our crew. The council though does come to us frequently for help with training and other council events.
So for me it begs the question DO we even need councils or professional scouting anymore with their total mismanagement of all the council resources?
...So for me it begs the question DO we even need councils or professional scouting anymore with their total mismanagement of all the council resources?...
My council has just announced a reorganization of its districts. We will be going from 8 to 3. But here is the kicker - there will be no downsizing of the professional staff. In fact more professionals will be hired. The new districts will have multiple DE's. The city district will have 4 - 5 DE's. The other two 2 - 3. Council has effectively gotten rid of the volunteer district leaders of 5 districts while adding additional pros to the payroll - to better serve us.
Funny, but several years back when the new SE came to town, we went from 5 districts to 9 - to better serve us. More pros had to be hired to man the new districts. Membership supposedly grew by leaps and bounds though you never saw the youth. And now after several years with a new SE, we are downsizing to 3 districts but keeping and adding to the professional staff.
My council is also big on school packs. easy to start, constant influx of new members at the beginning of the school year. In fact, in many school packs, the DE is the Cub master. All the while, many traditional units have been allowed to die.
- Jun 2012
What do you expect the DE to do? They cannot make families join your pack, aside from flyering the schools, doing boy talks, what else can they really do?
I guess if the DE is motivated, he can be the Cubmaster for "many" packs.
Sounds like a formula for a lot of weak units to me.
If I were a DE and wanted to help get weak packs going and growing, I might be looking to expand the number of district level volunteers --- Unit Commissioners and Membership Committee in particular.
Throwing your hands up and saying "It's not my job" doesn't sound like it would be of much help.