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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/18/20 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    However strong our current youth protection program is, we still have three weak links: the overwhelming predominance of volunteers operating in highly autonomous units, who are certified to work closely with youth of all ages after taking a two hour internet course. To provide assurances to parents that Scouting is no longer the horror story they have been hearing about, and that it is as safe as their neighborhood schools, one or more of those weak links may have to be replaced.
  2. 3 points
    Concerns on fee increase: families are going to have a tough time with increases to annual membership fees, though it seems likely it will go up. I am more concerned that National is going to think they can raise the Chartering fee, and assume that that fee is paid by the CO each year (for us, nope- it is coming from our bank account, and I see that as the norm in our area). Assets: I would argue that as lovely and wonderful as Philmont, Sea Base, Summit are, they are not essential for program delivery. We made do without them, and sooo few Scouts ever actually visit them. The problem is they are so mortgaged to the hilt at the moment, their actual value is diminished- but, I would at least get ourselves prepared they could be gone before the BSA comes out of this Chapter 11. If the issue is to sacrifice those to save local council assets, sign me up.
  3. 3 points
    Not very scientific on my part, but I just scrolled through 150+ comments regarding this story on the Wall Street Journal website. In summary, many commenters that support (or used to support) scouting feel bankruptcy is the death knell of the BSA. Not a single comment about about sunny skies and clearer sailing in the future. Even pro-scouting commenters stated in so many words that the BSA was a moribund organization previous to the Chapter 11 announcement. No doubt recruiting, fundraising, and public support will be difficult in the future. Unit level volunteers will carry the water and face the brunt of public opinion, while "commissioned BSA professionals" will conduct meetings and luncheons with attorneys in their headquarters. And when times get tough, fellow volunteers, we can continue to be encouraged by the rallying cry that National issued last fall: "Sell More Popcorn."
  4. 3 points
    The optics are going to be the hard part. The group that BSA needs to sell (and continue to sell) is the new families that traditionally join as Cubs. Those of us in units that are functioning, this is sort of a non-event How do we (BSA as a whole) bring in new Scouts (Cubs / Scouts BSA / Etc) when the families not invested in the BSA see the Bankruptcy of the Boy Scouts and the driving reason for Chapter 11 is sex abuse cases. That is going to be a hard sell....just saying
  5. 2 points
    My suspicion is that they thought about it from a fairness perspective. Do we want abuse victims to have the ability to seek restitution in perpetuity? It is certainly the compassionate case to say yes. Similarly, I believe the BSA leadership looked at it similarly. "Are we compassionate people? Yes - so let's support victims claims forever." So, we have a whole lot of compassionate people wanting to be support victims without recognizing the policy impact of that - money is finite, abusers are long gone, and the people paying the bill are kids. Do you see another solution to the who pays question? Abusers are gone and those remaining have insufficient funds. BSA funds come from selling assets and from new members. Who else? My proposal has been that we nationalize this problem. We recognize that non-profit, nationally chartered organizations like the BSA are quasi-governmental groups. It's in the best interest of the country to create a national fund to compensate victims. In return, the federal government appoints an inspector general to monitor the youth protection program of the BSA and to make sure it is taking appropriate measures such that this never happens again.
  6. 2 points
    National employees did a lot of flying.
  7. 2 points
    I'm curious as to the relative value of the 4 HA bases. Northern Tier is a medium sized outpost. Not a lot of real estate. BSA does not own the Boundary Waters. (Sorry lawyers.) I can guess that Seabase would have about the same value as Northern Tier, for the same reasons. Bechtel, because of the mortgage , may be a negative. Especially since BSA paid more than the land was actually worth. But Philmont... That is acreage. Who wouldn't want to retire to the 'Tooth of Time' retirement community, where age really bites?
  8. 2 points
    The decision by National is most definitely intended to throw themselves on the sword here, and be a shield to keep councils and COs as protected as possible. Are their councils already involved in legal action? Undoubtedly. I know a lot of people are upset today that the BSA has tarnished the image and the youth with this decision- simply because they see it as a cop out to staying the course as an organization, that though flawed, was viewed as a moral organization fighting to instill moral character into the youth we serve and is now hiding in the court to avoid paying victims.
  9. 2 points
    I appreciate it, thank you. I'm actually pretty candid like this out in the field too. I find being open with Volunteers and being able to poke fun at myself as a Professional is a great way to build relationships. Like you, I hate the "need to know" culture in the BSA
  10. 2 points
  11. 2 points
    @carebear3895 This needs to be said: LOCAL COUNCILS ARE LEGALLY AND FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT FROM THE NATIONAL COUNCIL. The Chapter 11 financial restructuring will not affect your local scouting experience. A little disingenuous . While "separate" there is a cause and effect here. Let's see what the restructuring looks like and how much affect on council ops there is. Guilt by association will effect councils membership and fundraising as in the long term properties going to seed. A number of National Scout shops will likely close. Any hint of a council sending any funds to national for the victims fund will not go well. If you are talking about our troops ability to go on a hike this weekend, then there is no affect. JMHO I appreciate your insight from the internal side. The rest of us are guessing due to the top secret nature of the professional community and executive boards.
  12. 2 points
    Way Way back in the day we bought them for Fraternity fundraising. We had to buy like 200 dozen, and we paid $1 per dozen and sold them for $2 per dozen. Not sure we ever sold the entire 200 but we did sell about 175 or so, thus turning a pretty good profit Also if you leave the remainder in the chapter room for a couple of days they get hard and you can have an epic donut war....
  13. 2 points
    or you know.....the sexual abuse cases. Which is literally in the bankruptcy filing document.
  14. 2 points
    No amount of money, nor tombs of protective rules can keep a few of the deviants from their goals. All we can do is use the tools on hand and find better ways to strengthen them. Meanwhile, maybe we can create a miracle and bring common sense and societal responsibility back; but do not hold your breath. One thing that would help, but because we live in a greedy, egocentric society, likely will not, is to fix the legal system to be fair but not destructive.
  15. 2 points
    Our council has one too. @carebear3895 is 100% correct - we have it to make ends meet. Our council does not have fancy buildings or nice office chairs. It's a pretty frugal non-profit. We can certainly have a discussion about whether to pay the salaries of professionals - but that's about the level it's at for us.
  16. 2 points
    Except that it's not. A program fee is strictly a council fee, none of that goes to the National Council. Program fee's usually come when FOS starts to dry up. Got to keep the lights on somehow. Please, stop pushing hysteria and false information. A Scout is trustworthy, sir.
  17. 2 points
    Here’s my question Can the National Council earn Journey to Excellence Gold while its in chapter 11? 🤪😜🤣😂😳😱🤦‍♂️
  18. 1 point
    Greetings: I'm a '06 Eagle and have been involved with a great troop in Chicago for the past 1.5 years now as a committee member. At first I was brought on as a database-management guy who would just keep track of all our electronic recording mechanisms (TroopTrack, uploading advancement to Internet Advancement, etc.) Now I've found myself as the Advancement Chair for what our chair has termed one of our big committees: Finance and Advancement. It's challenging because of the size of our troop, but I'm getting there. Because devoted Scouters can be found here, I am confident I'll find excellent advice, experience, and stories from these forums. Thank you for all you do and all you share. Yours, Daniel Robbin
  19. 1 point
    well, the ScoutingU staff flies all over the country for advance Pro training and at least once a month to the Summit for Pro Basic training (which is a horrible, horrible waste of money and resources). It would suck to try and have a family (or even a personal life) if you work for ScoutingU. All 4 regions have their staffs based in Dallas, so they leave periodically to be in their regions and visit councils. I think Area Directors are based in Dallas too, but to be honest with you, I have no idea what they do.
  20. 1 point
    There is so much to unpack here it is hard to keep up. Council liability question: The prevailing view seems to think Councils that do not have abuse cases are likely "safe" from litigation. However, many of these cases happened years ago, and so many councils have been merged or moved around, how does anyone know what the liability trail is and if you are "safe"? Frozen payments: If Chapter 11 puts a lid on court cases and insurance pay outs for abuse cases, what happens to run of the mill claims for things like injuries, negligence, etc.? Our insurers seem rather cranky. I would be interested in data on where or in what setting or type of CO most abuse cases occurred. There's some in the filing but it doesn't get granular enough. There are a lot of bad optics here that will continue for the next 2 to 5 years at least, with an ensuing effect on membership. According to the lawyers, the bankruptcy hearing portion may conclude within 2 year but the aftermath, if there is anything left of scouting, will take quite a bit more time to deal with. We've all been watching from the outside but now that the thing is here, the guts of it seem a lot uglier than imagined. I"m hopeful for a complete restructuring, but by then it might be hard to do a reset.
  21. 1 point
    Do we know if insurance covers the past victims? From Wikipedia: The annual report states that the BSA may have "to pay damages out of its own funds to the extent the claims are not covered by insurance or if the insurance carriers are unable or unwilling to honor the claims. Accordingly, the BSA hired a law firm in December 2018 to investigate filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Such a bankruptcy could stop litigation of at least 140 lawsuits and prevent further lawsuits. In October 2019, a substantial membership rate increase was announced related to increased operational expenses, especially substantial increases in insurance costs. If not, then why the rate increase? They claimed rising insurance costs. And if bankruptcy can possibly prevent further lawsuits, then the lawyers will have no choice but to go for the local councils, who will in turn also file for bankruptcy protection.
  22. 1 point
    That is the key question. Whether they should or not, I think many families in the near future are going to say good bye to the BSA and find something else to do. Many believe the fees are already too high in relation to the perceived value, and they either can't or won't tolerate more increases.
  23. 1 point
    Not out of the realm of possibility. The professional training center already moved there. The only thing that would prevent that is the lack of a major airport close by. National employees do a lot of flying.
  24. 1 point
    Joe Bob, I think Philmont would be toughest to lose, and the very property the legal and banking folks will go after first. About 214 square miles of prime wilderness. I just don't see any creditor, attorney or judge excepting it from the long, expensive legal battle ahead. As for Summit, I'm on board with the suggestion someone (sorry I forgot who) made earlier: National should have to relocate all of their headquarters and personnel to the Summit. Sell everything in Irving TX, pack the UHaul, and start driving NE. If Summit is indeed as special as advertised, it should be a positive move.
  25. 1 point
    This from the Washington Post today: A key question will be whether the Boy Scouts of America will be able to protect the assets of the local councils, which own camps and properties in prime real estate throughout the country. The local councils are incorporated separately but hold 70 percent of the Boy Scouts’ wealth, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Pfau and other lawyers bringing abuse lawsuits against the Boy Scouts said they were skeptical the organization would be able to shield the local councils. “That is wishful thinking, because in every Boy Scout case we file, the local councils are named,” along with the local sponsoring organizations, such as churches or schools, Pfau said. Many of these institutions could be implicated in the claims, making for an even more complicated bankruptcy case, said Pfau, who specializes in representing victims in abuse cases against institutions such as the Boy Scouts and Catholic dioceses.
  26. 1 point
    I read somewhere that councils and chartered organizations have already been sued along with BSA National, which the claimants would want to do whenever possible. It appears that part of National's plan is to have one bucket of money available for all claims against all BSA organizational defendants. Of course, the attorneys for the claimants will want that bucket to be as large as possible, so I expect that they will push for contributions from councils.
  27. 1 point
    Ahhh, a scouty question There are quite comfortable backpacking pads. Get an insulated one. That and a down quilt and you should be quite comfortable with little weight. And, when you finally get your troop backpacking, you'll have the right gear.
  28. 1 point
    Except money is fungible. Implement a program fee to replace FOS. This then allows money from other sources that might have been spent on program for councils to invest in the BSA's victims fund.
  29. 1 point
    First - rarely hear Summit / Lovely / Wonderful all in the same sentence...😀 That may be the one that BSA can kick to the curb and there will be little angst among the minions. You pour $750,000,000 into a BSA National Vanity project, you sort of reap what you sow. You lose Philmont, you've lost the legacy of 80 + years of multi-generational High Adventure. That would be a gut punch to the organization
  30. 1 point
    Well...you want to be comfy during the long lunches with the attorneys. You cannot put a price on that
  31. 1 point
    John, no doubt they are a JTE Gold team! A special commemorative patch should be made for this occasion!
  32. 1 point
    I hope this isn't the case. I don't believe a council, say in Indiana, should be forced to sell some of it's assets to pay the victim of an abuse case that occurred in California.
  33. 1 point
    Great day. I am more hopeful now that real reform can happen.
  34. 1 point
    Lets use the official BSA announcement, rather than one tied to news sensationalism and skewing. https://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/press-releases/the-boy-scouts-of-america-files-for-chapter-11-bankruptcy-to-equitably-compensate-victims-while-ensuring-scouting-continues-across-the-country/Insert other media
  35. 1 point
    Sad day indeed. I participated in 4 BOR’s last night for 4 Scouts. The program and the scouts are what I am going to try to focus on during this time.
  36. 1 point
    Then you are very, very lucky and have done a very good job managing all of the food and utensils to prevent cross contamination. Having lots of experience on both the Pack and Troop level dealing with several food allergies (peanut/tree nut, gluten, dairy) I've seen more often than not it leads to very picky eaters. In my son's case (peanut/tree nut), the Troop we're in now has been exceptionally helpful, and was one of the reasons we chose it. In the Troop, he's been integral to menu planning on the campouts he's participated in and that's been a huge help. It also helps that there's a maturity in the older Scouts that is generally more respectful and understanding of the allergy, and that there are other Scouts that have allergies as well. In Cub Scouts, we had great support from the other leaders in the Pack, and they really did their best to help, but the allergies were looked on as no big deal by the other parents that would "help" from time to time and it became an issue. There was no concern over cross-contamination and meals were a free for all. The "peer pressure" to try new foods often backfired and made kids feel more excluded. The Bear Picnic Basket elective was usually problematic because GORP was almost always made by well-intentioned, but misinformed families because the allergy Cubs couldn't eat it and the Cubs that brought it would get offended they didn't. Day camp wasn't a problem because everyone usually brought their own, but the chow line at family camp was a big issue. They would try to have the Cubs with allergies go first through the line, to minimize cross contamination and to get first shot at the allergy friendly entrees, but this would lead to hard feelings (why do they go first!?!). Then the rest of the kids would eat the rest of the allergy friendly food and someone inevitably got left out. I leave that on the management from Council.
  37. 1 point
    Welcome to the virtual campfire!
  38. 1 point
    We tell the scouts their book is the record. When they tell us it's in the computer we tell them to ask one of the many adults that have access to the database to help the scout update their book. It doesn't take more than a few minutes. Often, someone in the BOR can do it right there.
  39. 1 point
    A good UC/unit relationship requires openness on both sides. I wasn’t a UC, but I helped a few with my more specific expertises. Every SM has a different personality as well as an idealistic perspective of working towards their vision. I remember when our UC advised me not to go from 1 month PLC meetings to weekly PLC meetings. He didn’t have a good reason other than he had never seen it before. I didn’t take his advise. I was asked to help a new SM work toward a more patrol method program. One of my suggestions was let the scouts run the PLC meetings. He couldn’t believe scouts under 14 had the maturity plan meetings and campouts, so he didn’t accept my advice. Both troops in those examples were the fastest growing troops in the district topping out around 100 scouts. Just how hard do You think district is going to push the SMs when their unit is one of the five largest troops in the district? Our troop had the best and most experienced UC in the district and our families became good friends. He was a very successful SM with a Silver Beaver, but we didn’t agree on everything. Just like with patrols, sometimes you have to let the unit live with bad decisions long enough to find the humility to listen and change. From my experience of working with Scoutmasters, humility is hard to come-by. Barry
  40. 1 point
    @yknot's, @desertrat77's, and @MattR's comments hit upon a common theme. This theme permeates about 50% of the posts on this forum. Today, the organization that is the BSA - whether through volunteers or professionals is one that is largely focused on operations, rules, and safety. We spend so much time and effort on how. We have structures in place that when they work are great - G2SS, commissioners, professionals, Districts & Councils, Wood Badge, etc. But, when they are done poorly probably end up doing more harm than good. Bans on water guns, the wheelbarrow rule, bad commissioners, professionals who take over, the preachiness of LNT, well known Wood Badge cliques, uniform police, bad roundtables, etc... How many topics have we had which end up in a discussion of "how they are supposed to work" vs. "bad examples we've all seen". If I look at the most successful packs & troops I know, they do so by knowing how to smartly leverage the resources provided by the BSA. We all know which professionals and volunteers are worth working with. We all know how to work with the system. The BSA provides them the resources to be successful, but the BSA doesn't make them successful. Those units make themselves successful. If I read through some of the good ideas on this page: Volunteers to have more national access points Recruit more from the outside Remove the national silos Focus on the fun silo To me, these all point to a national structure that has the wrong focus. Volunteers feel controlled by the BSA, volunteers feel like the structure is more of a burden than a help. We have to be "the" go-to activity for outdoor youth fun. We have to be "the" go-to activity for youth development. We have to be focused on doing, on saying yes, on pursuing fun. An example Permit me a side example. Sears, Roebuck and Co. vs. Amazon. Sears and Amazon started essentially the same way. Sears had a catalog that people bought the products they needed. The catalog was large, broad, and it made it easy to buy what you wanted. The goods were shipped to you. People all of a sudden had easy access to all kinds of goods. Amazon has a website where people bought the products they needed. The website was large, broad, and it made it easy to buy what you wanted. The goods were shipped to you. People all of a sudden had easy access to all kinds of goods. Along the way Sears got encumbered with all kind of infrastructure that supported a certain way of doing business. They built stores, they built a supply infrastructure, they hired staff, etc... They even made their own credit card business. Eventually that infrastructure became too out of date and unwieldy. Sears became bloated and slow. Later, Amazon came along and provided the exact same service that Sears originally did. Last year Sears had revenue of $14 billion, Amazon $280 billion. Sears currently has about 90,000 employees. Amazon currently has about 750,000 employees. What's the connection? It feels to me a lot like there is a similarity here. It's not that we have to change our program. The program is largely fine - kids want to get outdoors, kids want to have adventures, kids want to have fun, kids enjoy being with other kids. We don't have to replace all that with video games merit badges and sedentary activities. The challenge for the BSA is to have a positive, results oriented focus. We need to be looking for innovative ways to say yes. Let's look at the issues keeping units from being successful and let's go address them. Recommendations Structurally how do we do this? My take is that we start by listening to unit/district leaders. Help them provide solutions instead of forcing a one size fits all approach. At what seems like every turn now, nationals response to challenges is to impose more and more central control. It's as if the national mindset is "we know the right way, if only everyone listened to us we'd be fine". I do not doubt that there are utterly brilliant people in national, but that's not a positive, results oriented focus. We've got to be focused on delivering the core idea here. We've got to look at where the infrastructure has added on a life of it's own and be willing to remove it. If that means shifting or roles and responsibilities so be it. If it means changing hiring practices, so be it. Some specific proposals: First, focus more on success stories and help build vision. Proposal: Create a marketing team that is really out there talking about what we do. There have been some bright spots lately in marketing, review those and do more of that. Second, increase hands on training for unit leaders. A perfunctory online intro class is not enough. If you have to partner with REI to give canoeing lessons - do it. More content, more training. Make those trainings 21st century absorbable - short evening classes, short Saturday morning classes. Less weekend trips to camp. Proposal: Create a national, subject focused expert training development team. Have them generate content and materials that can be absorbed and delivered locally. Make that content about doing, not rules and structure. In that content allow for local innovation. WHen innovation occurs that results in success, learn about it, absorb it, and utilize it. Thirds, focus the professional staff on enabling and day to day problem solving. Proposal: Align the national professional goals and structure such that they drive ground level problem solving and action. National HR needs to be supporting this. National hiring practices need to support this. National staff development needs to support this.
  41. 1 point
    Prayer is not banned in schools, prayers led by the government, i.e. the school and its employees, are banned. To add a little historical perspective, OUR PRAYERS, that is Catholic prayers, were always banned. No child was allowed to say the Pater Noster or Ave Maria. Catholic children attending public schools were made to pray in a way that was inconsistent with the teachings of their own faith. The rise of Catholic parochial schools in the US was largely driven by a fear that attendance at public schools with their compulsory Protestant religious indoctrination would lead to a weakening of the Catholic faith in our children..
  42. 1 point
    I never even entered that argument, Barry, let alone came close to anything you're saying I said.
  43. 1 point
    @Eagledad Let's for a minute take your belief as fact that in order to have morals you must believe in god, since all morals are derived from god. How do you reconcile when 2 opposing religions have differing moral beliefs? Religion 1 says abortion is a sin, Religion 2 allows it. Religion 3 says homosexuality is a sin, Religion 4 allows it. Religion 5 says eating shellfish is a sin...or premarital sex is a sin...or being in a room alone with a member of the opposite sex...or allowing a non-relative to see your hair... But it doesn't matter, for you right? As long as they believe in any god it's fine. But people like me who simply believe we shouldn't take actions to harm others and should treat others as we would want to be treated have no place in Scouts because our morals aren't derived from a believe in a god?
  44. 1 point
  45. 1 point
    You might want to let Google know, since it's the first listing when you type "Reverent". I don't think we get to define the points of the Law for other people though.
  46. 1 point
    Disagree. I don't need to believe in a god to be respectful to others.
  47. 1 point
    I had a scout in my troop who is now a town police officer. He loves donuts.
  48. 1 point
    I was talking with a scout family whose son recently completed his Eagle Scout Project. He raised the money for his materials by organizing a "Parents Night Out" where parents could drop off their kids and go out for the evening and the scouts baby sat. Apparently it was very successful. Thought is was a great idea to pass along. Could be a good way to promote your unit, as well!
  49. 1 point
    Found this form of release on Pace University's website for a similar event: In consideration of the above named student being permitted to participate in the Pace XXXXX Kids Night Out Program, the undersigned does hereby agree to assume all the risks and responsibilities surrounding such participation or any activities undertaken as an adjunct thereto; and further, for myself, my heirs and personal representatives, I hereby agree to defend, hold harmless, indemnify and release forever, and forever discharge Pace and all its officers, agents and employees from and against any and all claims, demands and actions or causes of action, on account of damage to personal property, or personal injury, or death which may result from the aforesaid participation and activities incident thereto. It is hereby certified that the above-named child has no medical or psychological conditions which would preclude such participation, and I authorize XXXX through its authorized agents to secure for the child any necessary emergency medical treatment.
  50. 1 point
    One thing that my Council did that I thought was helpful was we had an intro to WB class at our University of Scouting this past January. The CD presented it, offered a good overview of what was going to happen, told some personal stories of his WB experiences and offered some insights then opened it up for questions. In the class were a couple of folks who had been through WB before but hadn't completed their tickets and were back to finish it up. They asked a few questions and then others felt comfortable enough to ask more. We ended up with a full course (yea Buffalos and Antelopes!) and a waiting list long enough to justify a 2009 course. As to not knowing BS from CS from Venturing stuff, my course book had enough info in it to make that a moot issue if I hadn't had some clue ahead of time. The training experience was very good and while much of it was a review of previous leadership training I've had over the years, it was a good refresher and I picked up some new things to put into practice. For me it was an easy course and not overly taxing, for others in my class it was hectic, frustrating and then the a-ha's happened. For each person it's different, for each patrol the experience is uniquely their own. I was blessed to be in a patrol with 5 great people from around my Council. We gelled immediately, had a terrific troop guide and breezed through the course. With two chefs in the patrol, the second weekend was one huge food-fest and I learned new ways of preparing and cooking food that I will use with my Pack. I also gained three pounds! Should I have taken the course with only two years experience as a trained Cub Scout Leader? Yes Could I have waited another 2.5 years for my boy to cross over and get some ASM experience? Probably, but the opportunity came now and I didn't feel like waiting to see when they would offer another course. Are my ticket items geared more towards Cub Scouts? Yup and I'm already working on them and hope to finish in time to staff the 2010 course, won't make it for the 2009. Can you be a great Scout Leader without WB? Absolutely, it's up to you. That said, I'm glad I went and had a great experience. YiS, John Collins Cubmaster Pack 13 Shenandoah Area Council I used to be a Buffalo, and a good ol' Buffalo too... SR-893
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