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Modern scouting a For-profit business

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  • Modern scouting a For-profit business

    Is it me or is scouting becoming more like K-mart? Slowly losing market share, sells off assets to pay exec salrys, closes stores, offers new things nobody wants, etc

  • #2
    Touche.

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    • #3
      Hey, @baggss, I think many would argue that this corporate attitude you describe came along in 1972 when the BSA thought it would be better for the biz if we shifted away from the outdoors and focused more on the inner city. Green Bar Bill was called up in 1979 to fix it and get back to basics...but I think we've veered off course again and need another GBB to come along and re-energize us.

      Just this morning I heard an NPR spot on how the Chipotle board voted strongly against increasing the already bloated salaries of the top two execs. I think we need to find a way to keep the costs down and, at the same time, keep the eyes focused on how basic Scouting is. We have a pretty core set of fundamentals but we are seeing more and more attempts to appeal to today's youth when we might be better off just getting back to basics...

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      • #4
        As a former pro, I can tell you I saw both the good and bad. I saw some things that I shook my head at, and I saw some things that made me very proud.

        The problem is this: we do need a small, stressing SMALL, cadre of professionals and support staff to run the organization. Compared to other scouting associations, we are very fortunate in a lot of what we had. The first camp I worked at in the UK was so small, that 230+ camps that size could fit in the Salmen Scout Reservation outside Kiln, MS.

        And we do need to compensate them justly, Trust me, I had friends double, and in one case triple, their salary when they left the profession and went into the private sector.

        That said, we do need to trim the fat, since National is using BMI , and get back to the basics, Some divisions are just out there at times.

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        • #5
          K-mart has not been a for-profit business for a very long time, BSA is not a for-profit business, it is just a very poorly run business and has been for some time,

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          • #6
            Let's see.

            Mostly work with adults, not youth.

            Low salaries.

            Long hours.

            Metrics.

            Big turnover as most of those who can leave do leave.

            Other consequences?

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            • #7
              I think baggs is correct. The BSA has taken a turn for the worse starting with the 1970's urban scouting, as a former DE myself in the late 80's seeing some of the internal corruption on the council and national levels first hand, and watching the continuing and increasing trend of closing councils and selling camps to cover up severe financial mismanagement by council scout executives while on the other hand seeing scouts proud of receiving badges they have worked so hard to earn, and enjoying learning outdoor and leadership skills, makes me wonder where and why the disconnect. Why has the BSA continued to lose the respect of both scouters and the public at large and can it recover from the hole it has dug so deeply for itself.

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              • #8
                Even back in the 60s my school mates who lived in a more urban area would comment something along the lines, "The 'Y' has a basketball court and swimming pool and we can go there any time we want and it doesn't cost anything and all 'you' do is go camping."
                I was speechless. I even went with them to the 'Y' for a while. The pool was great but I sucked at basketball. So I went camping.

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                • #9
                  Does anyone know how much Seton, Beard and Hillcourt were paid by the BSA? How did their salaries compare with comparable positions in retailing of the time?

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                  • #10
                    BSA has always been a "for-profit-company" in the eyes of many of the volunteers. I remember Scouters talking the same way about it 40 years ago. The execs always had high salaries. Nothing new here.

                    Scout execs used to remind us that all the stuff we paid for, with the exception of a very minimal registration fee, was completely voluntary. BSA did not require units to buy uniforms, badges, etc.. BSA councils did not require units to use their camp grounds or participate in their fundraisers.

                    They made a good point. Has this changed? I think it has. BSA is becoming much more coercive than they used to be.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by David CO View Post
                      BSA has always been a "for-profit-company" in the eyes of many of the volunteers. I remember Scouters talking the same way about it 40 years ago. The execs always had high salaries. Nothing new here.

                      Scout execs used to remind us that all the stuff we paid for, with the exception of a very minimal registration fee, was completely voluntary. BSA did not require units to buy uniforms, badges, etc.. BSA councils did not require units to use their camp grounds or participate in their fundraisers.

                      They made a good point. Has this changed? I think it has. BSA is becoming much more coercive than they used to be.

                      used to be
                      And what is your prospective? Twenty years? Thirty years? Forty Years? More? Less?

                      At least in the three councils where I Scout, no unit is required to buy uniforms, badges, etc, or to use council camp grounds - not even pressured. Encouraged? Sure.

                      B.S.A. specifically orders that a unifform is not a requirement for boards of review, including for Eagle.

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                      • #12
                        BSA is like every corp out there in that those at the top receive ridiculous compensation, and those at the bottom have trouble making ends meet.

                        Knowing a bit about how BSA is set up, and who is making what, I'd say start at the SE level, which need a 25% pay cut, to be divided equally between every paid employee of the council. From there, working toward the top, cut all staffs by 50%, and all executive salaries by 50 %, putting the savings into property budgets. The CSE could do with a 60% cut in total compensation, and a 75% cut in allowable expenses, these funds could be used to offset the participant cost of national programs.

                        There ya go, all fixed ... now who's going to get this passed?

                        BTW, the same plan could be applied to nearly every US corporation, and in doing so nearly every issue in this nation would vanish in a few short years.

                        Greed is bad, and has no place in BSA.

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                        • #13
                          A for-profit or not for-profit entity is not defined as to how they pay their employees. What people think it means and what it really is often times are no where near in the long run.

                          It would bode well if people actually discussed the issues rather than the myths of what they think are the issues.

                          Okay, the SE and DE get paid too much. So what. Business entities are in the market to acquire talent. They pay for what they get. One could hire college grads and put them into the SE and DE positions at a lot less than what they have now. Oh, you want experience? Well, there's a cost involved with that, how much are you willing to pay for experience? Oh? successful experience, costs more than just showing up for work. We had a guy like that but someone else snatched him up for $20,000/year more. He had a wife and kids so he couldn't afford to come in at your offer.

                          Business talent is a marketable commodity, but very few take that into consideration when they complain about the costs. If your car breaks down and you go to the cheapest repair shop, do you get the same results as you have had you gone to a more expensive one?

                          And the ones at the bottom of the payroll? No, they don't have to work for the BSA. If their marketable skills are such, the can move on to a bigger and better job at any time. Are we to pay them a better salary because they are married and have kids? Or are they hired to do a job for the business. A person is offered a job at a certain pay. Then immediately they begin to complain about not getting paid enough? Why were they so stupid as to take the job in the first place?

                          I got a solution. Take the council secretary who's getting paid pittance and make them the SE and the SE can go and get a job that pays better anyway. That should take care of everything and you can sit back and let the complaining begin!

                          Stosh

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                          • #14
                            Stosh,

                            I create corporations every day, this isn’t a question of legal definition, it’s a question of being held accountable to those who your organization serves.

                            “Business talent is a marketable commodity”, you’re buying into the corporate myth. Headhunting the “top gun” for your position is huge mistake, a train wreck you pay a premium to experience. These “top guys” have no loyalty to your organization, it’s purpose, or goals, they only care about the money. The top talent are looking to catch the next head hunters attention the day they go to work for you, creating a short term plan that will translate into a better pitch for a better job, while wreaking long term havoc on your company, creating a deception destined to implode at some future date, when they’re long gone. The problem is the people making these hiring decisions are the same type of pinstriped pirate as the guy the hire, playing the same game, and the steaks are the future of the organization and its employees and members.

                            I’m talking about BSA, but this sad story translates to nearly every type and size of American business today.

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                            • #15
                              Oh, I wouldn't disagree one bit. But we have DE's moving up in the ranks to SE's all the time. Cream rises to the top. The good ones eventually realize this and they're gone. A lot of non-profits run their businesses for altruistic reasons and not good business sense and so for the most part they are the training ground for "real" jobs. Those that can't get better jobs outside of BSA stay on and garner annual salary increases over the years just like anyone else. A 5% raise each year compounds rather quickly over a 20 year career and the SE is only 40 years old, another 25 to go. Yes, the salary can be substantial. Of course they all move up to the big councils that are financially able to support the better salaries and the less financially well off can't afford them anymore and are continually drained of any good talent they might have developed over the years. In the 20+ years I have been with this council, every position has changed multiple times.

                              Couple that with the Peter Principle and there you have the BSA in a nutshell.

                              Stosh

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