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I am very disheartened lately...a few issues

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  • I am very disheartened lately...a few issues

    ~~
    RE: ISA & 2014. Just so I have this right, ISA’s are illegal? Have they sent notification out? Or, has this been the case & blind eyes are turned?
    Our pack implemented them a few yrs ago. The boys do not have individual bank “accounts” their individual earnings are just recorded in an excel worksheet keeping track of $ in & $ out. If they transfer to another pack, or crossover to BS, the $ can be transferred but if they leave, they lose the $. The only fundraiser that goes to ISA is pop-corn. For those who do not popcorn fundraise, the committee comes up with yearly per scout cost & ask you pay that $ in. We have 2 other fundraisers, but that $ goes to the pack. Some people just can’t sell overpriced pop-corn , especially if they are in a deprived area. Many have a few sons or kids in same neighborhood and is near impossible to sell. The other fundraisers: candy bars & a dinner. The candy bars are cheap, so the boys do well with this, but this $ doesn’t go in their “own” ISA. With the dinner, some of my scouts are there the whole day, not just for their 1 hour time slot, make nothing for their ISA. I can’t even begin to tell you how wrong this is. And for those who think scouts are sponging, that’s not very scout like. It’s a joint effort…like the same people who volunteer time after time. It’s not “fair” but they do it because it’s scout like.

    RE: Participation. At the cub level, we have scouts who do not show up for any den meetings, pack meetings, scout activities helping the public or fundraisers. When it comes to awards ceremonies or the B&G, the parents call me at the last minute with a laundry list of everything done & expect to show up & have their scout recognized. Then the advancement chair has to scramble to order stuff. Sometimes the boys who show up routinely & aren’t quite completed, ask me why they didn’t get their badge. One time I had apparent ask how so & so got their wolf badge already since they never see the scout at the meetings. This is heartbreaking for me.

    RE: Lately it seems there has been an increase of extravagance at the B&G and other festivities. I would almost say over the top. The cost to participate is rising, despite the ISA. Parents and siblings can’t afford to attend.

    RE: Boy Scouts. We have some who are not very welcoming of parents who want to become a Boy Scout Leader or merit badge counselor. I was shocked to witness this recently. Since when do we ever turn away help?

    I have attended every committee meeting, every parent meeting, worked with our cub masters and have brought these issues up. It seems to be getting worse. This weekend, I feel like quitting. It is a great program. I love it. I have been doing this many years. I just don’t like the direction we are heading in. I am very disheartened this weekend.

  • #2
    Where are your sons in the program? How long have you been involved? In what roles?

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    • #3
      Involved 8 years. 1st son Hubby,cub den leader, asst cubmaster, boy scout merit badge counselor. Me: various committee chair, parent committee. Attended every cub den & pack meeting from tiger to sr webelo as a parent helper.

      2nd son, hubby & myself , cub leaders. parent committee. help new cubmaster. assist new tiger leaders.

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      • #4
        I was never in Cub Scouts and don't know much about it.
        The Boy Scouts who are unwelcoming towards parents trying to volunteer, are they Scouts (youth) or Scouters (adults)?

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        • #5
          Well, it's hard to handle everything in one status, but here goes ... ISA's have never to our knowledge drawn fines from the IRS, but groups have asked for their opinion of similar incentive strategies used by sports clubs, and recently there have been inquiries more specific to traditional accounts. I guess you can consider IRS opinions as "shots across the brow." "Too late" is a right answer to folks who missed deadlines. Trying to squeeze something in for some "last ditch" advancement burns everyone out. If a boy doesn't advance tell him, "Sorry, would you like to see what you can accomplish so you get an award next month? " If a parent complains, tell them you can talk to the boy at the next meeting. Advancement is just not that big of a deal. Packs go through these cycles of everyone wanting to outdo the previous year. Then they crash because of cost overruns. Try to be the voice of reason. Set a budget. Hold folks to it. Troops are very leery of new leaders. It's like trout fishing. Hang around downstream so they don't catch your sent. Determine the niche where you fit in. Drop your cast lightly. Wait for the fish to rise. Reel in. Wait. Repeat. Burnout. It happens. Set boundaries. Do only what you do best only at the level of intensity that will allow you to do it for a long time. The Good Book says Jesus could do a lot of stuff ... All the time. Instead? He walked into the wilderness. He made campfires to cook his catch. He took naps. On boats. In storms. The rest he let the Apostles take care of.

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          • #6
            Hey, ScoutMom: This winter is getting many of us down. We may all feel better if we have a Spring this year

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            • #7
              RE: ISA & 2014
              As for what fundraiser counts for how much into a scouts ISA, that is totally up to your troop/pack. The ISA is a privilege, not a right, and troops/packs could discontinue them at any time. Tracking multiple fundraisers a year for ISA might just be too much for the treasurer, or they maybe give a lot back to your boys for their ISA in popcorn that they need 100% of the other fundraisers to help run the Pack/Troop. Whatever the reason, it is something that the committee should know and be able to communicate to parents.


              RE: Participation.
              Again, this is up to your committee how to handle this. In our pack we have an Awards Chair. If you earn something outside of a Den/Pack meeting, you let the Awards Chair know and she actually will speak to the child about what was done/earned. Also there is a hard and fast deadline for awards to be handed in for each ceremony. There is no scrambling right before a ceremony to get last minute awards, since any awards handed in after the deadline have to wait until the next ceremony.

              RE: B&G
              I believe this should really be kept as cheap as possible, with possibly even the Pack/Troop kicking in the money to make the event "go". Our B+G is potluck, costs nothing for parents/kids to attend and the pack dedicated $200 of our fundraising money towards it.



              Keep your head up and try to ask for clarification on things you don't understand (ie why 1/3 fundraisers count towards ISA, there may be a very good reason). And committee meetings are committee for a reason. It means you can vote and change things if the majority agree right?

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              • #8
                Volunteers are turned away all of the time in the BSA, depending on your location. Seen it myself. Usually because of an entrenched Good Olde Boys/We Are the Official Old Timers mentality. Tough nut to crack, and usually not worth the effort. Death by a thousand slights. No volunteer should put up with that.

                Just encourage the volunteers to look for another unit or district. They will be welcome somewhere.

                Parents calling at the last minute: this is the way of the world, it baffles me. Everything is last minute. Folks don't RSVP. Everyone has a smart phone, but they won't answer a call, return a call, reply to an email, or a text. But the day of the event, they'll call you and demand the moon. Telling them "no" is okay. And quite liberating. Surprisingly, the scouts will get over it quicker than their parents. Most parents learn the lesson quickly.

                Blue/Gold: I concur. I'm convinced it's the leaders driving that trend. Trying to impress themselves. The cubs don't care, so long as they have a tasty meal, get their badges and have a bit of fun.

                Thanks for making a difference in scouting. Please take care and don't burn out. If things don't improve, don't hesitate to give back some (or all) of your responsibilities and stick with a job that you like. Your well being and that of your family is priority one.

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                • #9
                  Scoutmomof4, when I was CM I faced a few of these things. The key to solution of all of them is to get the parents more involved in all the various aspects of the pack. They are always ultimately in control of everything, either through participation in decision making or else with their feet, or both. The trick is to manage their involvement to avoid, if possible, the drama that seems inevitable with adults. But if this can be done, the system is self-correcting and you'll be able to devote more time to the boys. I really miss the cubs.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Scoutmomof4 View Post
                    ~~
                    RE: ISA & 2014. Just so I have this right, ISA’s are illegal?
                    No, ISA's are NOT "illegal".

                    They appear to be in an IRS "grey zone", which depends largely on what the Pack's CO is, and how it is run.

                    BSA has NOT "outlawed" ISA's. What they seem to be doing is starting (because they have not exactly come out and made a definitive, and obvious statement on the matter) to back off of ISA's. They have re-written a document or two to state that they do not recommend BSA units use ISA's.

                    Personally, I see both the pluses, and the minuses involved. I rather like them for Boy Scouts, but not for Cub Scouts.

                    Originally posted by Scoutmomof4 View Post
                    ~~
                    RE: Participation. At the cub level, we have scouts who do not show up for any den meetings, pack meetings, scout activities helping the public or fundraisers. When it comes to awards ceremonies or the B&G, the parents call me at the last minute with a laundry list of everything done & expect to show up & have their scout recognized.
                    From the 2013 Guide to Advancement -
                    4.1.0.3 Who Approves Cub Scout Advancement?

                    A key responsibility for den leaders is to implement the core den meeting plans as outlined in the Den & PackMeeting Resource Guide, No. 34409. For the Bobcat trail and Tiger Cub achievements, parents (or adult partners) should sign in the boy's handbook; the den leader then approves as progress is recorded in the den's advancement record. For Wolf, Bear, and Webelos advancement, den leaders take the lead in approving requirements, though their assistants, and also parents who help at meetings, may be asked to play the role of"Akela" and assist. Parents sign for requirements that,according to meeting plans and instructions in the handbooks, take place at home.
                    As you can see, the Wolf, and Bear programs have now come closer to the way the Webelos program has been run. Parents are no longer able to sign of on everything, regardless of what it is.

                    If the Cub den leader has not approved the parents signing off on specific requirements, or has not approved the work done, the den leader can say - NO.

                    However - first - the den leader should make every effort to communicate with the Scout, and his parents. To find out why they have not been attending meetings, if they are working on requirements, and how, and, in general try to get the Scouts back to the den meetings.

                    Also, if the Scout never shows up to ANYTHING, the den leader, Cubmaster, and Committee Chair, should be communicating with the family to let them know that the child will be taken off of the Pack's active roster unless he starts to actually participate.

                    Originally posted by Scoutmomof4 View Post
                    ~~
                    RE: Lately it seems there has been an increase of extravagance at the B&G and other festivities. I would almost say over the top. The cost to participate is rising, despite the ISA. Parents and siblings can’t afford to attend.
                    When families stop attending, and the Pack starts to lose money on these over the top activities, perhaps the CM, CC, and the Committee will start to re-think holding them. Until then, all you can do is to let them know what your opinion is.

                    Originally posted by Scoutmomof4 View Post
                    ~~
                    RE: Boy Scouts. We have some who are not very welcoming of parents who want to become a Boy Scout Leader or merit badge counselor. I was shocked to witness this recently. Since when do we ever turn away help?
                    Some Boy Scout Troops are that way. Very insular, unwelcoming, and basically an Old Boy's Club of long time adults (mostly all male groups).

                    It is part of what you should be looking at for a Troop for your son. Encourage him to check out other nearby Troops whose adults are better role models for their Scouts.

                    Originally posted by Scoutmomof4 View Post
                    ~~
                    I have attended every committee meeting, every parent meeting, worked with our cub masters and have brought these issues up. It seems to be getting worse. This weekend, I feel like quitting. It is a great program. I love it. I have been doing this many years. I just don’t like the direction we are heading in. I am very disheartened this weekend.
                    First of all, unless your Cubmaster is also Scoutmaster, CC, or COR, for the Boy Scout Troop, your CM has nothing to do with, can can not change, the attitude of the Boy Scout leaders.

                    Second - don't quit. You have invested lots of time, and effort, into this, and I am sure your boys appreciate it. What you SHOULD do , however, is to cut back on what you do. You are starting to burn out. Pick 1 role that you really love doing , and do ONLY that. Resign from all other positions, and let the Pack take them over.

                    Relax, take a deep breath, and re-focus on what YOU enjoy to do in Scouting.

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                    • #11
                      Wow! Awesome responses.

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                      • #12
                        Burn out can happen at any time to any one. Lions Club, teaching, bus driving, Scouting....
                        Some things to remember:

                        Number one: "The work is done by whoever shows up." If you show up, you can do the work. Show up enough, eventually, you will be one of the one(s) saying "welcome, friend" to the others that show up. Do not allow the present "others" to define who can or who cannot "show up". If necessary, introduce yourself to the Charter Org. Representative or Institution Head (not necessarily the CM or CChair, but might be) and talk about your desire to make the Scout program work. Look up your District and Council websites , and take the training for the appropriate leadership positions. Presto! You have the "credentials" to speak with authority.

                        Number two: "It's for the kids". You will often meet Scouters who have forgotten this, and seem to be in Scouting for their own self aggrandizement. Look at the (often called) south american generals, with more bling showing on their uni's than tan cloth. If you keep that in mind, "KiSMiF" will be your mantra in Cubs and "BoyLed" will be the goal in Boy Scouts. If your kids are not having fun, or are learning what YOU think is the wrong thing, speak up. I once had to speak to the dad of a Scout in my son's Troop about some language I overheard. Guess what? The boy became one of the Troop leaders, and began to set the right example.

                        Number three: "Its the way we've always done it" is a good place to start, but not necessarily the best place to end up. Any program or activity that cannot stand criticism and defend itself as to fulfilling Scouting's purpose and ideals NEEDS to be questioned, and corrected.

                        Number four: "If you don't have a connection with your boy at age twelve, you won't have one when he is eighteen". Remind your Cub parents this. If they are in the "soccer syndrome" ( drop the boy off and come back in two hours), they do not understand this. The Cub program is intended to suppliment the ability of parents to guide and know their boy. Help them to understand this, and the Committee will be more likely to be functional. What kind of a "gang" do you want your boy to be a member of?

                        Thank you for your service to our youth. Years from now, your boy , and many others I wager, will remember these years.

                        YiS

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Must be something in the water. A relative called with similar issues about his pack. Boys are a little discouraged. Not everyone made rank by the B&G. I'm here in snow and ice telling a Floridian, "Don't worry. Be happy." Common folks, it's okay to not advance! Advancement is not a checklist. You don't have to freak out if you can't track it. It's a tool for the boys to use to look at their book and discover a cool thing that they may not have done yet! Bobby didn't get Wolf? Have the boys go through what Bobby needs and see if there's something they want to do that will help him get a sign off. Summer comes and still no progress? well hey, let's make a fresh start and see if we can get Bear this year. Don't worry, be happy.

                          Comment


                          • perdidochas
                            perdidochas commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I was a Tiger Cub Den Leader, Bear Den leader and Webelos den leader. Not once did my boys have their named rank badge by B&G. I don't see the big deal. A few months makes no difference.

                          • qwazse
                            qwazse commented
                            Editing a comment
                            For those who insist on keeping score, the gold level Journey to Excellence advancement benchmark is 75% (http://www.scouting.org/filestore/mi...Pack_score.pdf). This allows for an excellent pack to have 1 in 4 scouts not make rank each year.

                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Scoutmomof4 View Post
                          RE: ISA & 2014. Just so I have this right, ISA’s are illegal?
                          My understanding is that ISAs are not automatically illegal, but the way most units implement them is (it's fundraising fraud among other things).

                          Originally posted by Scoutmomof4 View Post
                          For those who do not popcorn fundraise, the committee comes up with yearly per scout cost & ask you pay that $ in.
                          I believe doing things like this is illegal. As others have pointed out, we haven't heard of any BSA units or their COs getting into trouble from the IRS for ISAs. However, it does look like the IRS is beginning to crack down on non-profits that break the rules. This has been discussed on other threads over the years. Here is the most recent, specifically about the new rules:

                          http://www.scouter.com/forum/unit-fu...nts-part-trois

                          "A Scout is Honest": We shouldn't use the criteria "we won't get caught" to judge whether we should follow the law.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            "RE: Boy Scouts. We have some who are not very welcoming of parents who want to become a Boy Scout Leader or merit badge counselor. I was shocked to witness this recently. Since when do we ever turn away help?"

                            Yep, sounds right. If you were never a Scout, you'll get shown the door pretty quick, usually by the old-fart with the most white hair.

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