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Questions and answers for parents and leaders new to Scouting.

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    • Part of my job as a Senior Attorney, General Attorney, and Council at Bell and its successor entities involved ensuring compliance with the consent decree by which the System ceased to exist.   I was, for a time, the  Corporate Secretary for the Bell entity in Ohio, The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, and officially reviewed hundreds of pages  of the documents involved in the breakup and signed and sealed the company's acknowledgements of receipt.  I then helped draft "how to" memos to management to help them comply.  The anti-trust case had gone on since 1974  and  had been before three successive federal judges, and the decree judge, Judge Greene, retained jurisdiction for years more.   I am not guessing or "interpresenting" even slightly.  It's all in the court record should you wish to look.   The myths had not been invented then. I also drafted hundreds of pages of legal memoranda and court briefs on post-breakup legal issues from 1984 to 1999., such as some of those those considering the issue of the circumstance under which an operating company, restricted to "supplying telephone service" by the consent decree, could build a cable television system for an independent entity. (as it turned our, by retaining "bare legal title" to the facilities,.  Thus, Cleveland got cable TV at long last.) AT&T had been barred from "general trades computing" for almost three decades under a 1956 consent decree in a 1949 case and literally expected to replace IBM if freed from that decree.  After all, AT&T was BIG!  Bell Labs largely invented AT&T Unix programming language and Bell was the largest manufacturer of super computers in the World.   We all had to view a film whose message was that IBM was trembling over the prospect of AT&T as a competitor. Strange that, given that the vast majority of the viewers already knew that we were not part of the minority who would stay on the mother ship post-break-up.  Instead, we would be working for the "regional bell operating companies, groups of the twenty-two Bell operating Companies who, post break-up, would be AT&T's competition for several markets, such as long distance service (for those old enough to recall "long distances charges [revenue"]).  The assumption of automatic triumph seemed arrogant. and it was in hindsight. Meanwhile, Asia increasingly priced Western Electric products, even when not black, out of the market for customer-premises equipment, and retaining Western was no small part of what AT&T had traded for giving up its twenty-two operating companies back when $80,000,000,000 was real money. Von Auw left AT&T at 65 in 1981 - before "TPC"  decided (in 1982) to offer the settlement that it did.  He wrote in 1983, before the break-up took place  on "the end of history, 01/01/1984.  He therefore missed an event of great relevance to his thesis that service was the great driver that would continue to push AT&T, now long dead, to greatness - the decision  by AT&T shortly after the break-up to slash the budget of the half of Bell Labs that remained with AT&T (The other half became the transient  BellCore - supposedly to equally serve seven competing Regional Bell Operating companies (the "Baby Bells') AND the simultaneous decision to require that all research show a likelihood to generate added revenue in a few years.  These steps would have been unthinkable to the System prior to the new regime.  "Labs" was the premiere "pure research" institution in the World.  The brief of its scientists was to think deep thoughts and let management know if the found anything useful. - such as lasers and semi-conductors.  I read many books by insiders least I be surprised in court by their supposed disclosures.  I did not read Van Auw's book all those years ago because it was not informed by the decisions during the critical years after he retired, or the changes to AT&T's proposal by Judge Greene, and no one thought he might "spill" anything critical.  Now that I have read it, I see that he pointed out that there was no drive to break-up the System, from Justice or the public.  The drive was to allow competition on supplying "stuff' to the telephone business - largely meaning the System - breaking the culture that almost everything purchased by the operating companies and Long Lines came from Western Electric, "the supply arm of the Bell System."  I note that he died at 95 in 2011.  it would have been interesting to learn what he made of the death of AT&T values of service uber alles and the course of events that led to the death of the original AT&T, but he just wrote the one book Interpretation: AT&T did not "get" that being a monopoly is one thing and being in a  competitive marketplace is another.  Almost all those with customer contact experience were left behind. and it showed.  Then there was the infamous failure of the AT&T desktop computer.  It was a fraction of the product line but its awfulness was all over  the front page of InfoWorld every week.  AT&T was like the ocean liner - unable to maneuver quickly, partly due to government interference that saw AT&T as a bottomless well to subsidize its emerging competitors, one of whom,  SBC, bought it in the end after buying Bell South, Pacific Bell, Ameritech, and other bits and pieces.. As I taught history at Ohio State from 1965 to 1970, before Law School, I too recall the old days -  copying one page at a time on the new miracle Xerox machine with the big rubber mat and no mechanical feed.  Typing.  Correcting typing mistakes with Wite-Out or Liquid Paper..  Key-punch cards.  Questioning Master's candidates on their dissertations.  When I joined Bell from a few years of private practice,  I assumed it was for my working lifetime.  Instead I experienced constant downsizing ( "resizing" and "rightsizing!) from a department of  twenty-eight of all titles to a mere five souls before I retired.  "But look on the bright side.  There's more work than ever."   😉  
    • Just a reminder, our bankruptcy is because BSA waited way too long to install hearty youth protection from abuse.  Many of us (myself included) used to laugh at that … then a co worker of mine, an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member, got to visit Club Fed for child pedophilia.  I remember calling the Council Director of Support Services as the word of the arrest (it was at work and public) filtered through our workforce.  When I got him, he had been tipped off by the US Attorney, and was already preparing the severance letter. I've never laughed about YP since.
    • The fears are real and founded.  We need to be empathetic to the kids.   In my experience, what is needed is to pose the problem of not having meetings being a problem that needs to be solved.  Let them know the problem and maybe even some solutions that have worked for other units.  Ask and listen to their ideas and solutions.  I am not doubting that your husband is already doing this BTW.  In my experience if they feel they own the problem they will come up with a solution that they will fight for. We are much smaller than a troop but we have been able to meet in small groups, masked, socially distanced, and activities following CDC guidelines. Zoom meetings every so often.  So I don't pretend to say our situations are the same.  but there are ways forward.  All our units are hurting and recruitment is almost impossible.  Honestly the biggest problems with people following guidelines have been the adults complaining and not following them.  I pull them aside and have private conversations, normally there is denial and grumbling but they come around. Here are things I have seen that have worked: Small group camping, youth stay in their own tent. Hikes, masks on whenever they are six feet or closer. meetings in camp chairs in a circle chairs six feet apart learning a scout skill.   Playing scout games like charades.  canoeing, sailing, bicycle rides Just some ideas.  good luck
    • A hike or a bike ride are both great ideas. Do keep in mind temps are dropping below freezing at night, thus beginning the winter cycle, as far South as Kansas City to St Louis.  Be prepared
    • I live here in Kansas City, and used to know a National VFW player in their youth serving support.  Regrettably he has since passed, but I think you'll find VFW National will be informing VFW local Posts.  Cannot speak for other organizations.
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