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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/10/20 in Posts

  1. 6 points
    Rather than hijack @Cburkhardt's thread(s) on restructuring councils I'm starting a new thread. Between those threads and my recent trip to Rwanda visiting a kid my wife and I sponsor, it just seems to me that the BSA has bigger problems than how to deal with scout shops and the annual membership fee to national. Kids in Rwanda don't need scouts so much as they need a full meal every day. The organization that connected my wife and I to the kid we sponsor are focused on these poor kids. They constantly ask: what do we need to do to help these kids? The BSA, on the other hand, is not asking what do the vast majority of kids in the US need? They're asking how do we get more kids in scouts? Essentially, they've got a hammer and they're looking for nails - and communities have shifted to wood screws. The kids that could really use scouts aren't in it. When we compare the cost of scouts to elite sports teams we exclude all those kids that can't afford elite sports teams. In the meantime I saw estimates of 20 million kids that are waiting to enter an after school program. The BSA model is expensive in both money and parental time, neither of which a broad section of our society has. If the aim is to help kids grow then those 20 million kids are low hanging fruit compared to the 2 million currently in the BSA. The problem is those kids don't have money. While there has been some attempts at including these kids, like Scoutreach, they gave up. (Go to scouting.org and search on scoutreach and it's a ghost.) They likely gave up because they wanted to keep the same scout model of parents running programs in the evening. Why the evening and why parents? After school and with retired adults along with high school and college students sounds much more appealing. Rather than the goal be eagle, how about helping run a unit at a local middle school? Certainly money is an issue. Donations have dropped off. Some people blame it on membership rules. Maybe it's also because, being an elite youth organization, donors don't see it as helping the kids that need help. We've all noticed that CO's typically don't participate in units, either monetarily or in decisions. They provide a place to meet and that's about it. If, instead, scouting was directed at the kids that these CO's are more interested in, is it possible donations would start going up and participation would increase? Churches? Schools? United Way? What kids are they interested in helping? I don't know what the answer is, I just see a problem. Or maybe I'm just ready to move on.
  2. 4 points
    Sounds right. So how do we get Scoutmasters to influence the Scouts towards exciting program? The answer used to be training, but the training materials seem less oriented towards adventure, less and less time is allocated to training, and little is done to encourage exciting program or to discourage unexciting program. E.g.: a weekend "lock-in" indoors to watch movies is a "weekend campout" for scoring Journey to Mediocrity," a principle tool, we are told, to promote "good program." 😍
  3. 4 points
    I stand by my point. Americans are getting out doors plenty. The people who are interested in getting out in nature and doing fun things are there. The average BSA Troop doesn't execute an exciting or compelling outdoor program most of the time. Some of that is the Guide to Safe Scouting, but I'd say more of it falls on the leaders of those troops. My Troop isn't all that special, but we do plenty of adventurous outdoor stuff: backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, caving, shooting sports. All that stuff does cost money, and even the fairly well off families in my unit can't afford 8-12 expensive weekend outings a year, especially across multiple kids. So we always do a few local, close, low cost activities each year as well.
  4. 4 points
    I'm thinking district roles really need to change. We keep looking at restructuring from a top down perspective. I think we need to start from a CO/unit level up perspective. Everyone is talking about recruiting good volunteers, more volunteers, any volunteers. Well, volunteers are disappearing or at least morphing in the Millennial generation. This may be blasphemy to some but I think more district roles may need to be paid resource positions. I think more district roles will necessarily need to be in direct support of unit volunteers, making their lives easier and providing resources that are becoming scarce at the CO/unit level. Other youth organizations have had to make this transition. Once we figure out what districts need to do to keep the local programs running and expanding, then we can decide what Councils should be doing. That's how I look at it. A lot of these traditional top down roles people are talking about may not be relevant in two years. For example, what is the point of worrying about Council level fundraising and Fortune 100 board influence if our youth numbers continue to decline?
  5. 3 points
    The 2019 Guide to Awards and insignia version (page 13) says: "when engaged in scouting activities, members may wear the neckerchief with appropriate nonuniform clothing to identify them as scouts". So, looks like the we will see more worn like those world jamboree photos.
  6. 3 points
    Agree some Scoutmasters need help with this. What if District had two or more experienced, enthusiastic, fit , young adult outdoor guides available to units at no cost? Maybe members of a local college outdoor club, former Philmont rangers and other super scouts, REI employees, graduates from college outdoor education programs, Maine Guides, ... Like a Council Philmont visit, they would visit a troop , talk about their adventures, answer questions, hope scouts and adults take hook....Ok lets start planning this trek...and help provide two deep leadership for weekend trek. My $0.01,
  7. 3 points
    I disagree with the top down approach to scouting. Anyone who takes a top down approach, I disagree with. Let's start at the beginning. A group of boys want to go camping. They belong to an organization. So, that organization charters a boy scout troop. Members of the Chartered Organization volunteer their time to the troop because they love and support the kids. This is good. Let's look at something else. A council employee gets evaluated based on the number of kids who sign up. His job depends on numbers. So, he pushes to charter new troops and new scouts. Many of the scouts and scout leaders don't really want to go camping. They have other motives for joining. But they boost the employee's numbers, so he's fine with it. He even encourages it. This is bad. I am one of the people who love and support the kids. I don't care about the numbers. I have no great desire to promote scouting. I want to help the kids to go camping and have fun. A game with a purpose. No other motive here.
  8. 3 points
    No! No! No! I was joking. The one time people agree with me here, and I was joking. Aaargh.
  9. 3 points
    Non-Scout people go outdoors to be active -- to hike, to hunt, to fish, to explore the landscape, to take photographs, to find and learn about the vegetation and the animals. All too often, Scouts go outdoors to be largely inactive in the open air (unless they have cabins or pavilions). They may do a hike or activity (geared to the younger Scouts) for a few hours during a weekend, but they spend a lot of time in their campsites working on advancement requirements, sitting by campfires, having Scoutmaster conferences (and even Boards of Review), laying in their tents or hammocks with their phones, cooking and eating, playing games, and just goofing around. Many Scout camps and campgrounds frequented by Scouts are quite tame, with campsite parking spaces (and spaces for troop trailers, too) and restrooms and water spigots and charcoal grills and benches around a concrete or metal fire ring. Oh, and leave the fallen tree branches on the ground -- you can buy cut firewood at the camp store. It is really easy to make the outdoors boring - both for the youth and the adults.
  10. 3 points
    The BSA is entering a five-year partnership with 1in6, a national nonprofit that provides various resources and support services to male survivors of sexual abuse. The organization’s name derives from studies which conclude that about one in six men in the U.S. have experienced sexual abuse. The BSA said the partnership will enable 1in6 to expand its 24/7 web-based helpline chat service, which helps survivors connect quickly to a trained advocate for abuse victims. The BSA said the partnership will allow 1in6 to expand the number of online support groups for men who were sexually abused from two to five each week. For years, the Boy Scouts have offered to fund in-person counseling for any current or former scout. Michael Johnson, the Boy Scouts youth protection officer, said he became convinced that 1in6 could offer a broader range of survivor support after hearing about it from an abuse victim, Jason Lee. More at source: https://apnews.com/c86a6362e667b47b5835b8b910291e9d https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2020/feb/12/boy-scouts-to-expand-abuse-help-service/
  11. 3 points
    Absolutely spot on. I'd like to add an additional call for meeting minutes. I've been a volunteer off/on since the mid '80s and have yet to see EB minutes posted, distributed, or even discussed.
  12. 3 points
    If he's pulling in $650M in taxpayer money and another $1.2B in donations then $1M/year salary is a bargain! That's a pretty good ROI.
  13. 3 points
    Ideally yes - the nominating committee would select people of proper experience to fullfill the responsibilities of the board. Taking a step back - we have to come to grips with a governing concept for the councils. Do council board function more like a non-profit board or perhaps something else? I believe that you treat them like a non-profit board. My prior recommendations are in that regard. If I sat on the national governance committee, my recommendation would be: The council board has a clear mandate to fulfill the mission of the council. That mission needs to be clearly articulated. The board can determine it's own structure and self-nominate to fill vacancies. The stakeholders in the council (chartered organizations) should vote on the board nominees. COR cast these votes but can delegate as appropriate. A majority of CO's can demand a recall of board members. A majority of CO's can overrule decisions of the board. Because we are a volunteer driven organization, the board president serves as the "executive" chair of the council. This is a non-paying role. The Scout Executive serves on the board in a non-voting role. The Scout Executive's duties and compensation should be determined and reviewed by the board. The Scout Executive determines structure of the staff. The Scout Executive serves as the executive director of the staff. Some staff are assigned to different volunteer "executives" - Council VPs, District Chairs, etc. Those volunteers provide some duties to the assigned staff members, though they are managed by the Scout Executive. For example - it is clear that the program staff works at the overall direction of the VP of Program though day to day they report to the Scout Executive. A member of the professional staff can be allocated to assist the board. However, for the purposes of that work, the board sets those responsibilities and determines compensation. I don't think this is far off from what we do today - but I think it would clarify things quite a bit.
  14. 3 points
    Maybe that silence tells us where people see the issues.
  15. 3 points
    A mark of good leadership is the ability to communicate and inspire even at times of crisis. I am sure Mosby is very busy. I am sure legal advisors would muzzle many of the things he might like to say, but this near total silence over nearly two months is concerning. At the very least, he could talk about something very innocuous, such as some of the scouts he must have met since he took on the role and how they inspire him as he's taking up the reins... anything that would give the organization a sense of getting to know him, give him visibility, and at least create the illusion there is someone competent at the helm.
  16. 2 points
    The idea is good, we had someone like this help our troop. Officially he was our UC. This kind of gets back to previous discussions of recruiting the right people for the right positions. Even getting "members of a local college outdoor club, former Philmont rangers and other super scouts, REI employees, graduates from college outdoor education programs, Maine Guides" requires somebody to first find them. The District Commissioner brought up in a District Committee meeting that he couldn't find any volunteers for Unit Commissioners. He wasn't even looking for qualified volunteers, he would take anyone. I met him after the meeting and asked how many he needed. Eleven was the ideal number. I made a few calls to a few troops and 2 days later handed him a list of 11 excited Qualified volunteers. I'm not saying that the UCs should be know all and go all for unit programs, I am just suggesting that the reason we don't see more experts to help units is because nobody is looking or asking. I don't know if recruiting is a skill or it just requires an effort, but a good recruiter can find talented volunteers. Barry
  17. 2 points
    I know experiences vary by region but in our area the CO relationship is troubled. I'm not sure the traditional structure is viable long term in some if not many places, and I think it could be argued that failures in this franchise style relationship have allowed some of our worst abuse scandals to fester. I think it's something that has to be corrected going forward. I think this is where a district level resource might be needed, either to do more hand holding with COs, to work with a differently structured CO relationship or, in some cases, maybe even replace them. Which would require more than volunteers. Another area is in outdoor experience and leadership. Nationally, we can't ignore downward trends in hunting and fishing licenses, increasing loss of family farmers, the fact that children are increasingly being raised by parents who have spent little time out of doors and are very uncomfortable in it and are even more uncomfortable in volunteer roles connected to it. The experienced older scout volunteers who would train and safely guide younger volunteers in these life skill areas are getting harder to find. A few weekends of training can't do it. I don't know how we're going to run an outdoors based program in the future without a lot of volunteers who have this expertise. The only way may be to pay for it. I think a model for this exists in youth sports where a lack of volunteers has led to hiring coaches and other paid staff. Such resources, if they were ever able to be provided, would to me most logically be placed at the district level. I don't think a volunteer district staff can pull any of this off. I don't have an answer for where the money would come from. But I do think looking at some of these functional issues should inform national what it needs to be looking at as opposed to whatever navel lint contemplation they do. On the one hand, we can decide not to focus on growing membership and instead focus on delivering our legacy program to declining numbers of families who are able or interested in accessing it. On the other hand, we can look ahead to solving some of these problems and trying to discern what Millennial families and even Gen Z families in the next 2 to 10 years are going to want. This is all complicated by the fact that we are possibly looking at least two to five years of unpleasant publicity related to lawsuits and bankruptcy that is going to make us toxic to a lot of the entities we might want to reach out to for help. I am not trying to be doom and gloom, I am just trying to be realistic. I think our best strategy to counter this is to focus on the unit level and making the program as inviting as we can to both potential scouts and their parent volunteers and to do that more resources need to be available.
  18. 2 points
    When I look at what District could do to make a cub leaders job easier, it's not so much what district could do, but what National could do. Reduce the program to a manageable level for the "Average" volunteer. Tigers alone requires more adults than the rest of the program. The maturity of the Tiger age youth is closer to toddler than elementary youth. If National believes they can raise membership with TIger age scouts, then create a new program for 4 and 5 year olds that doesn't come under the responsibility of the Pack. Of course I'm not sure the helps with the adult burnout problem, but at least it lightens the load for pack leaders. We could also look at trimming the other end of the program with Webelos, but I believe Tigers weighs down the volunteers more than the rest of the Cub program, so give it 5 years to see where the packs are sitting. Barry
  19. 2 points
    Agree The problem with COR's is that unless the council puts a lot of effort in educating the COs of their responsibilities, the COR's aren't typical of understanding (or caring) about the Executive Board. The SE needs to develop a relationship with the COs and teach (sell) them the vision and the value of the vision for the youth. Yep, the lack of credible suggestions is the whole of the problem both at the Council and district level. In fact it's common unit problem too. This goes back to if the Council is serious about building a performing board, they have to start at the base and educate the COs. THEN, the nominating board needs to do research to find candidates with the qualifications they are looking for. Too often nominating committees wait for names to come to them from where ever. The nominating committee needs to be led by a dynamic person who knows how to seek out proactive committee members with the talent for using resources to seek and research candidates. The committee must be proactive. Yes, here is the struggle. One thing to say, go out and find these candidates, but it's another thing to find the right nominating committee to seek out the the right candidates. How are they going to get the word out? Who can they personally call, or even visit. It's very much who you know, so who does the committee know, and who do they know, and on and on. The passion of the candidates for the Executive Board is usually reflective of the nominating committee. So, the committee needs to be well respected high performers. 1. know and understand the vision. 2. Train and build a relationship with the COs and teach them the values of the vision. 3. Find the right person who believes in the vision, and knows how to build teams to lead the nominating committee. 4. Build a high qualified and productive nominating committee to search candidates that fit the vision. Barry
  20. 2 points
    BSA up and got itself pegged as faith based, so it does not have access to the federal $ that B&G clubs do.
  21. 2 points
    It's not rough, it's accurate and it's part of the problem. In our unit, parents no longer pay by check but online, they use social media, text rather than email, want apps for everything, and won't pay for some of the more obvious BSA merchandising. There's no patience for the kind of happy chaos that has been scouts. Families are tightly scheduled and need to know what they are doing 6 months or at least 3 months out. We've got to have leaders that understand these challenges or we won't see membership growth.
  22. 2 points
    This may be a bit rough, but... Why are our key 3 all retirement age and UK’s head honchos look to be in the prime of their careers? Just one example... Check Twitter... Our new CSE is the only one that seems to have an account and he has 11 followers and one tweet in 2013 about a car accident. Bear Grylls ... very active on Twitter with 1.4 million followers Matt Hyde... 8,000 plus followers, active on Twitter Tim Kidd... 7,000 plus followers, active Twitter is just one way I would expect BSA leaders (as individuals) to connect with parents and youth today. Instead, BSA is run by the individuals that do not know how to connect to scouts in this generation and they send out their messages is website newsletters that probably never reach the youth. Where is our energetic leaders, out there making news, taking charge of engaging youth and local volunteers? Where is the aggressive media arm retweeting the great work of scouts? I see good work out of Bryan... perhaps he should be one of our key 3 (he has over 5,000 followers on Twitter). I question if they really do know millennials (parents) and gen z (scouts) or if they are just relying on surveys. The absence of any communication from our new leader is sad.
  23. 2 points
    I think your recognition of the low hanging fruit is spot on. Scouting doesn't have to be expensive at all. Very little in donations is needed, those would supplement but the scouts could do things to earn their own way for a campout. At its core, Scouting has little $ cost. We (BSA) has taken the easy, yet expensive approach. To buy high end tents for a troop is expensive. It is cheaper for scouts to make their own. Boys Life used to have plans for all kinds of camping gear to make. As did the Fieldbook. A new patrol comprised of scouts gathered from the "low hanging fruit" mentored by a Scouter with vision can help deliver a high quality scouting program at very little cost.
  24. 2 points
    Not really council, but unit. With national not paying rent to councils and councils needing to reduce overhead ... and with more sales on-line (reduce overhead) ... maybe there is the slightest chance patches, advancement, uniforms and printed materials could become cheaper. I understand $10 for a scout handbook, but the leader materials should be free as PDFs.
  25. 2 points
    I think you treat this at face value. We are here to serve the Scouts. If a Scout calls you up and says he'd like to visit your troop and even join, you tell him the time and place and welcome him. While I understand the feeling that you should tell the other Scoutmaster, I would suggest that you do not. This is not a situation where you actively pursued the Scout. As such, a change of troop is hard enough. If you tell the Scoutmaster, that may result in added pressure on the Scout. This is the Scout's journey and it's the Scouts choice who to tell and when. Now, after the Scout joins your troop there is nothing wrong with a courtesy call to the Scoutmaster to let them know. At that time, if you learn something as a Scouter you can certainly pass it along - that is assuming it was not shared in confidence or you were asked not to share it. Discretion is important here. I'm reminded in this discussion that retention does not lead to a healthy troop. Strong program and recruiting lead to a healthy troop. Retention is a byproduct of a strong program. But, even the best troops lose Scouts. Troops are all different just as Scouts are all different. Better for the Scout to stay in Scouting in a troop they love.