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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/11/20 in all areas

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 3 points
    Maybe that silence tells us where people see the issues.
  4. 2 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.
  5. 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
  6. 2 points
    We've discussed this a few times, but the good district proactively recruit volunteers with the skills for their responsibility. Finding skilled volunteers requires research, interviews and a bit of salesmanship. Most districts don't recruit well because they tend to fill a position with the first unqualified warm body that says yes. There is always plenty of qualified skilled volunteers if the recruiter goes searching for them. I recruited for qualified volunteers by asking unit leaders about volunteers in their units. I asked specific questions about their abilities, backgrounds and experience. I find that most unit leaders don't mind bragging about their better volunteers. They don't even mind if those volunteers might be asked to give some time at a district position. I think they believe having someone on district committee would give their unit some advantage. But, I should have started my response by saying the primary key to getting good district volunteers is knowing exactly what you want for the scouts in your district. A vision. For example, our district was terrible at membership because they didn't have any real goals except to do Cub Recruiting night. Then we recruited a Membership Chairman that developed training for the Cub units that gave them some ideas to recruiting scouts and adult volunteers. Membership numbers jumped. Recruiting talented district members is challenging if the committee doesn't even know what they want. Barry
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 1 point
    Budgetary belt-tightening in councils over the next couple of years should lead to reemphasis on the centrality of district operations. Here are my suggestions: · The staff of district executives should be prioritized in number and salary. Our finest credentialed executive staff members should be deployed into field service and a reasonable part of the Scout Executive’s evaluation should depend upon whether the council has a top-flight staff with the results to match. Every council-paid staff position unrelated to directly supporting units or essential to program operations should be very closely considered for downsizing or elimination. Development professionals should be given clear-eyed evaluations. If they raise appropriate multiples of their salaries and are producing a funding flow competitive with the local market, they should be retained. A period of financial reorganization or a Ch. 11 bankruptcy will provide the BSA one-time extra flexibility to outplace habitual under-performers who have accumu · Districts should have a full volunteer District Committee with equally-full subcommittees. We should limit the practice of assigning multiple tasks to volunteers, such as a commissioner who is simultaneously a training chairman. The bulk of these volunteers should expect to stay active at the district level and not move to a council level. We should build the prestige of these positions and have people move-around within district assignments – rather than lose this top talent to less impactful and episodically busy council assignments. For example, I believe that it would be better to have district training chairs rotate the responsibilities to convene idea-sharing opportunities and even conduct what are now regarded as “council training events”. The same concept could be applied to the other substantive responsibilities of districts. · District and Unit Commissioners should likewise be increased numerically and the presence of “upper level” commissioners kept at a bare minimum to perform only those functions that cannot be executed at the district level. Council-wide camporees might sound great from a PR standpoint – but they can wipe out the more-important accessibility and localized nature of district camporees. · Carefully evaluate the current positions of a District and trim those functions that are not essential to establishing, maintaining and building units. People are most satisfied when they are engaged in the “productive” side of above-unit volunteer roles. We should rely on larger numbers of commissioners and district subcommittee members to do the business of scouting locally and not have excessive one-off officerships. · Re-orient the priority of District Committee meeting to building units. The Commissioners and Membership chairs should report at a very granular level about how individual units are doing and seek – right on the spot – the assistance needed. · A 3- or 4-person group of volunteer “unit formers” within the district membership sub-committee or commissioner staff should be tasked to form a few new units each year, perhaps with the expectation that 2/3 will survive for the long run. My late father led this in the Chicago south suburbs years ago and I did it myself in a central Illinois council in the 1980’s. I got on BeAScout.org and found a bunch of these units still in existence. We somehow transitioned unit formation work to professionals in the 90’s. Let us face it; even the better new DEs do not have a clue about how to access the local influencers and leadership to form units at the right places with the right support. We need to take back that responsibility and run with it. Side story: 10 years after I moved away from that Central Illinois council I got a call from the then-Council President telling me to come back to their annual recognition dinner to receive the Silver Beaver. It was because they had calculated that over 2,000 youth had experienced Scouting that decade because of the units our 5-person committee formed over a three-year effort. 10 of those units are still going after 30 years. This is where the productive action is in a council – a district membership group that knows how to form new units and a solid district commissioner staff that knows how to service them. Yes -- making sure a lot of young people are actually experiencing Scouting in units is what districts are all about.
  11. 1 point
    Good Council Executive Boards result from finding good people and recruiting them, not changing election or voting systems. Financial restructuring will provide an opportunity to recast ineffective boards. Start now to recruit and promote outstanding candidates. We have a representative republican for of government whereby we select people to represent us and repose in them the ability to make decisions and govern. It is an imperfect system but seems to work for our society. Having regular society-wide votes on policy matters would have an occasional advantage -- but for the most part that system of governance is really problematic. Our Council Executive Boards play a similar role. The COR's elect them and delegate the responsibility and authority to govern. If the EB gets entirely out of line, the CORs can effectively recall them at the next annual business meeting and install a replacement Board. That has happened several times. Before it gets to that point CORs and their similarly-minded volunteers can usually take effective action if they are factually accurate, thoughtful, economic in approach and persuasive. Many of the suggestions seem to be calculated to limit the influence of dominant SEs. The route to address this problem is to be direct and assure adequate COR representation on the nominating committee. I have been a nominating committee chair several times. The challenge in that position is … follow me here …. a lack of credible suggested new board members! After all of the disappointments expressed about voting systems, current boards and members, the complaining folks rarely had great people to suggest as new board members. The suggestions tended to include very upset people who were dug-in on a narrow issue (often a sub-issue about a camp facility or camp program), or others who had deep personal disagreements with certain staff or volunteer officers. These people disqualify themselves for failing to satisfy the basic qualification of board membership (see Parkman's many suggested criteria, above). To the issue of Bankruptcy and financial tightening -- This will provide wholesale opportunities to replace ineffective Board members. My belief is that if you want to be an effective part of recasting your local Council Executive Board, do a service for your Council and begin now to think of names of who would be effective members. Think about those Scouters who are the finest, selfless individuals. Think of business leaders who are well-regarded and know how to operate sophisticated enterprises. Think about a few people that are role models for our youth and ourselves -- whether they have Scouting experience or not. Think of principal economic leaders who are good-hearted, active in promoting civic life and capable of helping the BSA restore its financial health. When the annual meeting approaches, contact the nominating committee chair and ask to be on that committee. Or, ask to present a number of your candidate suggestions to the committee - live and in-person. Building a better Council Executive Board is not about figuring out how the election voting process can be recalculated to favor one type of voter or another. It is all about finding the very best people to serve Scouting recruiting them to our Boards.
  12. 1 point
    Oh, I believe that Scouts change the world. Usually not by big dramatic actions (though we did have a bit of a heyday with that space program thing back in the 60s), but little bit by little bit over months and years and decades. If only one percent of Scouts currently in the program take the Scout Oath and Scout Law to heart, that's 20,000 American youth who will grow up opening doors for people carrying packages, and standing at attention when the Star-Spangled Banner is played at ball games, and contributing to flood relief, and doing CPR when a stranger collapses on the street, and voting, and teaching their platoon members how to set up tents on a rainy field exercise in basic training, and dealing honestly with their customers, and serving on the HOA board, and shuffling around the care home greeting everyone and cracking jokes and taking time for the residents who have no family. Sure, maybe they would be inclined to do those things anyway. But one of the great things about Scouting is that it not only gives youth a code, it gives them lots of opportunities to practice.
  13. 1 point
    ^ This ^ For all our griping about executive salaries, this is the key point. If the CSE could end the lawsuits, could turn membership around, could grow funding, clean up trouble councils, they'd be worth 1 or 2 million a year.
  14. 1 point
    I'm not entirely certain that COR's would behave parochially. A well-managed board would encourage partnerships across CO's in the narrow domain of scouting ... even if they otherwise compete with one another in other spheres. A council who successfully engages COR's will likely have them encouraging other organizations to consider fielding troops. In the failed motion to get my church to sponsor a unit, it the CORs of other churches in the denomination encouraged our board to adopt the motion. Perhaps where I fell short was in not getting a COR to present his/her experience. Building use was the primary concern, and a COR testifying that their scouts left the facility better than when they found it would have gone a long way.
  15. 1 point
    Boys and Girls club receives significant federal funding (at one point $600M+ per year) and big grants from various corporations. They pay their CEO nearly $1M per year. https://www.forbes.com/companies/boys-girls-clubs-of-america/ They dominate inner city programs and I don’t see the BSA with the funding to compete. It’s sad as I do think the BSA has a great program. I’ve seen the Boys and Girls club camps in my area ... they are impressive and well funded when compared to BSA. I think we need new BSA national leaders who are able to mobilize youth, parents and organizations in a belief that the methods and aims are needed in today’s generation. I believe they are, but the message is being drowned out by STEM and abuse cases.
  16. 1 point
    Districts are a reflection of the council. I've been in six councils and can't recall seeing a top-notch district in a substandard council. Either the district suffers from neglect or the council empowers a clique of like-minded district volunteers to make a hash of things with the units.
  17. 1 point
    I think there are different types of people needed. Those that understand bureaucracies, those that understand scouting and those that understand the kids in their community. I wish luck to anyone looking to change their board.
  18. 1 point
    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.
  19. 1 point
    Cub leader guides are free PDFs now, at the new Den leader experience in Scoutbook. i have yet to be unable to find anything out there with a little searching. Our Council gives out flash drives with everything available if you take any training course.
  20. 1 point
  21. 1 point
    Yep, same old debate. I think we have two much bigger Uniform Method issues. The BSA has somehow managed to produce a "field" uniform that BSA itself says is for indoor and ceremonial use, not really for outdoor activities. Beyond that, BSA is producing Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA members who look like Christmas trees. Both of these developments discourage the use of the Uniform Method where it would be most useful: out in the world, while doing Scouting. If uniforms are just "for showin', not for blowin'," what good are they really?
  22. 1 point
    I agree with @dkurtenbach As retired military, my observations about uniforms: - People will eagerly wear a uniform they are proud of - People will readily comply with uniform regulations that make sense and are not a bunch of "thou shalt nots" Granted, the military must wear the "uniform of the day" or suffer consequences. But looking back over three decades, there were certain unpopular uniforms that folks tried every which way not to wear if they were the UOD. The BSA uniform is an overpriced, frumpy, dumpy looking thing, designed by a committee of hand-selected gold loopers. Needlessly complicated styling. Too many dangles, gimcracks, geegaws.
  23. 1 point
    I dont agree with you. Also, another in service training for those who think that it is their responsiblity to criticize how others wear their uniform. The red jackets are a personal item and can be decorated however the owner desires. So, like I said, my uniform, my money, my choice, so I'll put on it what I want. If you are that stuck on "proper uniforming" I would suggest that you study the rules, look at the pictures in the OFFICIAL publications including BSA catalogs and magazines, look at photos of area, regional, and national volunteers and ask yourself if it really is your business to correct, criticize, or comment on another's uniform. I couldn't care any less about somebody's uniform because I'm just glad to see them. And if this disappoints you or keeps you up at night I suggest you add some adventure to your life, loosen up, and enjoy scouting for the fun of scouting.