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- May 2002
>>"If we decide to sell popcorn at the same time as other troops, does it have to be Trail's End?"
- Dec 1999
Wow, Eamonn, I hope you never get angry with me. But in an attempt to test you, I'll respond to this: "Any professional who isn't bring in enough money to cover his salary plus a whole lot more isn't worth keeping."
You do realize, don't you, that this might be contrary to the spirit of leadership training that some of us argue about? I guess I didn't expect idealism to come from someone in your line of work.
I argue that it is difficult to find ANY such administrative type leader who qualifies under your criterion, not just in scouting. I openly refer to them as 'percentage parasites'. They don't actually produce any kind of product and the best we can hope for is that they won't stifle the rest of us in the process of supporting their worthless carcasses, maybe once in a while actually help make things easier (not holding my breath).
The reality is that their success is measured by their ability to get OTHER people to do this for THEM, measured in $$$, any way they have to. It thus may be unrealistic to expect them to sully themselves with actual scouting.
To use a phrase which has little contemporary meaning anymore, the way to 'break this dog from sucking eggs' is for enough of us to stop selling popcorn. In the real world, these guys derive their power from positions in which they can control the lives of the subordinates. As volunteers, the only source of such power is the guilt trip you describe. It only works as long as we are susceptible to the guilt. We need to recognize that THEY are the ones who are on the dole.
So the answer may be to treat them the same way some of us in these threads would treat the indigent. Cut off the popcorn sales. They'll be forced maybe to find legitimate work instead.
Have a nice day.
- Feb 2011
I hate popcorn too, selling that is. It just seems like an over-priced out dated way for Boy Scouts to raise money. Was always good for our Cubbies, because the Tigers are awful cute. But I was always ashamed by the cost/benefit of the product even when selling to folks that I knew could afford it. I think it leaves a bad taste --no pun intended--in the mouth of folks regarding the BSA "brand". I do not see why they cannot follow Girl Scouts example of a lower price point. Even cheap people like me will buy a couple boxes.
I have mixed feelings about supporting the professionals but have known some good ones. I feel it may be the cost of doing business. In my case I am already too busy doing my bit of running the program and spending money out of my pocket for our Troop to want to spend energy on all the bother selling popcorn. I find it a big distraction.
"5. If a commercial product is to be sold, will it be
sold on its own merits and without reference to
the needs of Scouting?
All commercial products must sell on their own
merits, not the benefit received by the Boy Scouts.
The principle of value received is critical in choosing
what to sell."
So, most have admitted popcorn is not good value for the money. It would be more honest to stand on the corner with a tin cup & beg
"my council doesn't take the 70% profit and split it 35%-35%. It is more like a 40%-30% split with the 40% going to the council. I would be more agreeable to get on board if this was reversed, with the 40% going to the unit."
Is it really a 70% profit? Are you including ALL costs? There are prizes and incentives for selling, as well as different sales contests. There is all of those sample prizes that are passed out, as well as all of the marketing and promotional literature that is printed. Did you have a kickoff meeting somewhere? That building had to be rented. Where do you pick up your popcorn? At a warehouse ... that too was leased. I'm in a large council, so we have multiple warehouses throughout the area. There is also freight costs in getting all of that popcorn delivered to mine and your council.
And those are just the costs that I can think of off the top of my head. Let's face it, though, a lot of these costs are covered by Trail's End. But they are including them in that 70% number. The cost of all those prizes and promotional material are included in the 70% printed on the packaging. The warehousing and other costs are covered by the council in their split.
I think if you were to truly add up all of the costs, the resulting number would likely be closer to that 50/50 split.
"because of the convienience of using a CC, but again, the charge for each transaction comes out of the unit's profit."
My council doesn't have credit cards ... but in this instance, I would agree with you.
"I have mixed feelings about supporting the professionals but have known some good ones."
But its not just the professionals that you are supporting. Have a look at your council's financials. In my council, popcorn sales are a third of their budget. That means popcorn is funding our four council camps, rangers to maintain them, shooting and archery equipment, no fee camping, etc, etc. Not only that, we have multiple service centers so that volunteers don't have to drive a hundred miles to turn in a tour permit or attend a training class. Popcorn sales funds the districts so that we can have camporees, roundtables, district training, etc. There are many more things that councils must pay for besides professional salaries. You do realize that the council has a recharter fee to pay, as well?
"Sorry, but all of the cheerleading in the world is not going to change my mind about how I feel about the popcorn sale.
Sorry, but its not cheerleading. Its taking off the rose colored glasses.
- Apr 2011
Wow. "All commercial products must sell on their own merits, not the benefit received by the Boy Scouts."
Two years ago I found the exact box of Trails End microwave popcorn at Walmart. The box was $2.50 (or cheaper). It was $15 thru scouts. The only difference was the scouts added a paper/cardboard wrapper to make it look right for fundraising. The box and inside product was the exact same product.
When we sell wreaths, we can sell them for pretty much the same price stores sell them for. Makes it hard to argue for popcorn as the fundraiser.(This message has been edited by fred8033)
- Apr 2006
I don't care for the popcorn, but it does pay for our annual program to a remarkable degree. Even with the high price points on the popcorn, we do very well on sales. We could find or do another fundraiser, but the popcorn delivery system works pretty well. I have no motivation or reason at this time to find another fundraiser.
If we do find a better fundraiser, then I will need guidance on how to deal with the political fallout in my council and district.
- Sep 2007
We decided as a pack a few years ago to stop selling popcorn. for us, the little amount of payback was not worth the huge amount of work.
I don't know if national or council sets the amount of money that goes back to the pack, but it kept shrinking every year, with having to sell more and more (they set the goal based on the amount of scouts chartered the previous year, not taking into account cross overs and lost scouts)
- Oct 2002
"Did you have a kickoff meeting somewhere? That building had to be rented."
The kick off meeting normally happens at a local church hall. There is no cost to the Council.
"Where do you pick up your popcorn? At a warehouse ... that too was leased."
Again District volunteers find a place where the pop corn can be stored, normally just over night and picked up the next day. Again at no cost to the Council
"I'm in a large council, so we have multiple warehouses throughout the area. There is also freight costs in getting all of that popcorn delivered to mine and your council."
Trails End pays this.
"That means popcorn is funding our four council camps, rangers to maintain them, shooting and archery equipment, no fee camping, etc, etc. Not only that, we have multiple service centers so that volunteers don't have to drive a hundred miles to turn in a tour permit or attend a training class. Popcorn sales funds the districts so that we can have Camporees, roundtables, district training, etc. There are many more things that councils must pay for besides professional salaries. You do realize that the council has a recharter fee to pay, as well?
Camp budgets if done right should cover the cost of the camps.
Using a fax or email means you can do the Tour Permit without ever leaving your home office.
Hate to say it but in most Councils the Council makes money from District events and Camporees.
Have no idea what a Council might spend on a R/T meeting?
Where I live training is done at the District level, presented by volunteers in a church hall.
Other than paying someone to enter the training's into Scoutnet the Council investment is about zero.
Council budgets are great fun!
You need to really read them and try(Yes try to understand them, as they use a booking keeping that is truly unique.)
Don't be taken in by the pie chart, it covers a multitude of sins.
Take a long hard look at what the SE and the other top guys are being paid, add a nice retirement and benefit package on and you will see where most of the money is going.
I don't have a problem training or taking a newly hired DE under my wing.
The guys who get up my nose are the guys who have titles that end in "Director" or "Executive".
They sit in their ivory towers hiding from the volunteers doing what?
Surely a guy with the title Finance Director should know at least a little about finance?
Surely there is more to finance than finding 101 ways to squeeze more money from the volunteers?
Surely a Finance Director should.
At one time the tiny Council I serve with 4 Districts had a SE, a Assistant SE, along with a Field Director. Two of the DE's who'd been around for a while were listed as Senior DE's.
I'm sorry but a Assistant SE and a Field Director?
It's just overkill and we can't afford it.
Might be a little different if these guys were out and about helping to raise big bucks from foundations and corporations.
But that just isn't happening.
"The kick off meeting normally happens at a local church hall. There is no cost to the Council. "
Around here they rent out a local movie theatre (several actually) and put on quite the dog and pony show.
""I'm in a large council, so we have multiple warehouses throughout the area. There is also freight costs in getting all of that popcorn delivered to mine and your council."
Trails End pays this."
Trails End pays it? Well, sorta .... but they include the cost in that 70% number printed on the packaging. Which was my original point that you need to consider ALL costs when determining what a 50/50 split would look like.
"Using a fax or email means you can do the Tour Permit without ever leaving your home office."
And they had to buy a fax machine and computer just so you could do that. Add to that telephone, internet, and electricity costs ...
"Hate to say it but in most Councils the Council makes money from District events and Camporees."
If you include only the cost of the patch and program supplies ... maybe. If you include ALL of the costs of running a program ... maybe not.
There is a reason CPA's get paid lots of money and the rest of us are left scratching our heads. Figuring out the true cost of a product (or Camporee) isn't as simple as adding up the raw material.
"Have no idea what a Council might spend on a R/T meeting?"
I find that I usually leave roundtable inundated with paper. Copies of everything seem to get passed out. Somebody had to pay for all of that Xerox time. More common with the cub side, but sometimes there are displays showing ideas or supplies used for a game being demonstrated. These materials are usually raffled off as door prizes before the evening is over.
"Other than paying someone to enter the training's into Scoutnet the Council investment is about zero."
No training materials are distributed? No handouts passed out?
"Council budgets are great fun!
You need to really read them and try(Yes try to understand them, as they use a booking keeping that is truly unique.)
Don't be taken in by the pie chart, it covers a multitude of sins.
Take a long hard look at what the SE and the other top guys are being paid, add a nice retirement and benefit package on and you will see where most of the money is going."
No way around it .... people costs are a huge expense to any business or organization. Labor costs is why manufacturing in China is so popular.
Granted, there are some real bonehead people around. And scouting seems to attract more than its fair share. But those council staff employees really do a lot to help out us volunteers. I don't always agree with them, but they do mean well. I can just imagine the chaos if we had no permanent staff at the council service centers.
But lets face it, employee salaries are not the only expense in the budget. And not just the items I've outlined in this thread, but also a thousand other examples not even mentioned. Everything we do or touch costs somebody some money.
It is short sighted to think that all these events and activities are being done at no cost or for a profit.
Or ... maybe I'm wrong and its different in your council.
Maybe I'm just lucky that I live in a well-funded council.
- Mar 2008
KEEP SCOUTING LOCAL
Curious.....you obviously drank the Flavor-aid when you wrote that answer.
Our council is for ever soliciting for office supplies. In a district committee meeting last week our Training chair was racked over the cool because he did not raise any money and meet his financial goals for the district. He was supposed to have raised $2000 for providing training for volunteers. I walked over to the district training chair after the meeting and told him I would have never took that from that short timed punk (DE), I would have got up and walked out, leaving him to figure training out. Gee scouting volunteers as a revenue stream what a novel idea.
Our district provides NOTHING for training. I have run YP and cub leader training a couple of times, the volunteers make their own hand outs and I bought the training cards. My CO provided the building. So for $10 a head the council made $350 for doing nothing.
In courses I have taken in district, you are expected to purchase the manual before you attend.
Popcorn is being delivered to donated warehouse space in donated beer trucks, our popcorn kick off is in Free church space.
Curious, I would be mad they wasted money on renting a movie theater....How are the condition of your camps?????? I wonder is your council in a rich suburban area??????
I am becoming really disillusioned with the financial expectation. Don't get me started on the districts day camp profits.
"Curious, I would be mad they wasted money on renting a movie theater....How are the condition of your camps?????? I wonder is your council in a rich suburban area??????
Three of the council camps are in excellent condition, while the fourth one needs some work. It was built in the '20s ... a fact confirmed upon entering one of the latrines! 8-O
The council services about a dozen counties encompassing close to 10,000 sq miles. Naturally, we have both suburban and rural areas. We have both rich areas, as well as inner-city and dirt-farmer poor.
We volunteers get hit up for FOS and popcorn ... but never office supplies. Although lately they seem to be coming out with new collector CSPs and Lodge flaps on a regular basis.
The bottom line is the units need to support the council in order for the council to support the units. It needs to be a 2-way street ... a partnership rather than an adversarial relationship.
I too dread popcorn season ... for all the exact reasons in this thread. If my boys don't sell it, though, I'll have to pony up an even bigger check in the spring. Or be willing to let the program suffer ... Our units sell popcorn.
70 shared profit? Even 60% shared profit? Most retailers would jump for joy if they could make a 40% gross profit margin.
Scout Law # 13: A Scout is greedy.
Sorry, but popcorn just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
- Jan 2006
Our CSDC a few years back was at a local county park. The county charged us a pittance, we were the Scouts. In essence, we took over the whole park. And it was (is) a BIG park. Lake, 5 picnic pavilions back in the woods, playing field, campfire area, playground (makes good castle battlements). We organized lots of specials and for free often. OA helped clean up and do projects for "thank you" . Always came in under budget, Council made some (dare I say it) profit.
Then the county started raising the rent. And restricting our area. They had some summer camp programs of their own. Didn't bother us too much, we still had 200 plus Cubs and the State police helcopter come land (etc.). The last year we were there, the rent was (Scout's honor) the equal to Lockheed Martin renting the area for their empolee picnic. And we STILL came in under budget. True, the staff was expected to bring their own lunches (we had coffee and donuts for breakfast. See another thread on the uses of coffee boxes) and a "surcharge" was exacted for attending "our" camp rather than one of the others. People still came, such was our rep. I think that year, we had about 235 Cubs, including the ones that the Council office sent us on Monday, cold, check in hand, ten days after the "official" cut off date. (you ever go running around to every Dollar Store in a fifty mile radius to buy 20 more compasses?)
And it came out in the black, but reeeeal close.
The last year, we were told the rent would be 50% again more than the year before, AND the county authorities announced three weeks before camp they had "lost" our contract and we would have to start negotiations over. Our DE and CSDCD said no dice, pulled in some chits and presto, we were at an Izaac Walton League property (free!) . A bit further to drive, but we adapted.
Now, with the same budget, we "hired" some specials, served picnic lunch to the staff, and stocked a camp store(which made more money, charging less than the Scout store for similar stuff). Budget left over! Council made money! CSDCD says she will hold a Thank You picnic for the staff, maybe two hundred bucks for all the burgers and franks and charcoal and such. BYOHS&F (bring your own horseshoes and frisbees). Council PD raises a FIT, can't do that, no one else does, ain't in the plans, not approved.... Senior DE says , "go ahead".... It's next saturday. Council STILL makes money.
"Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women, and Irish whiskey.
The other ten percent I'll probably waste."
- Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw, on his plans for his $75,000 salary, circa 1974.