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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/25/20 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    He turns 18 in a couple of months. I watched him go up and receive a couple of MB’s that he has earned. The SM asked him to talk about his Eagle Project that he is going to try to get completed over the next two months. He is such a confident and well spoken young man. Scouting had a big part to play in that...leadership roles in the troop (including SPL), weekends camping with his troop, weeks at summer camp, working a summer at summer camp, a trip to the National Jamboree, relationships with his adult leaders. I am positive that these things have been net positives for him in his growth to being a young man. I am so happy that he came home with the “flyer” in the 1st grade. It has been a wonderful journey....one that I was with him on through Cubs and one where I have been more behind him in Boy Scouts. He is not a gung-ho Scout...honestly, if I had said “Hey, you are busy....you don’t have to be a member if you don’t want to” he would have quit in a heartbeat. But he stuck it out and hopefully will make it to Eagle....but if he doesn’t that is ok too. I used to read you guys posting that statement and I would think no way but I get it now. It really is about the journey. But....I really do hope he makes it. 🙂 Thank you guys for providing this opportunity for the youth of your nation. It matters.
  2. 4 points
    1000% agree. Unless I'm missing something, it would be incredibly stupid for councils to start merging now. Why would any financially strong council merge with a weaker one in the face of litigation? Depending on how the national bankruptcy shakes out, I could see lawyers going after councils and a series of bankruptcies there (or perhaps councils brought into the National bankruptcy). Now, post bankruptcies, I think it really depends on what is left of the BSA. If, as rumored, a lot of work will transfer from National to councils, then it probably makes sense for many council mergers. However, it seems too early to even consider given the litigation we are facing.
  3. 3 points
    Yeah, wonder why. But at least there was a guise of local autonomy , per By-Laws, merging council executive boards had to approve even if those boards were badgered to repeat voting until they did approve. Merger Suggestions. Consider, if these sudden, proposed council mergers are or perceived as National orders This will be happening , such actions IMHO will discredit the BSA statement "Local councils are legally independent, separate and distinct from the national organization. " Another concern, Council X has liability lawsuit(s) pending and is merged with neighboring Councils Y and Z which do not. Now, the combined assets of new Council XYZ are in play. Another $0.02
  4. 2 points
    The premise of a council merger is that the standard council organizational structure and "business lines" (types of activities and programs conducted by councils) are all necessary. It is just that for whatever reason (declining membership, declining revenue, declining donations, debt), the structure and business lines have become financially unsustainable in one or more of the merging councils. Through the merger, the organizational structure and business lines will be preserved, but economies of scale and cutting specific excess or burdensome elements within business lines (such as an assistant registrar, a low-attendance golf tournament, or a camp that perpetually operates in the red) and other adjustments within the existing structure (number and size of districts and professional staff needed for them, for example) will result in financial stability for the merged council. Overall, the merged council looks pretty much the same as its predecessors, it is just geographically bigger and names have changed. What doesn't happen is a re-thinking of the whole idea of a council, what we need it for, what we don't need it for, what it should be doing, and what it shouldn't be doing. Many of the ideas we have been discussing would fundamentally change the organizational structure of a council (and its districts) and how it does business. But there is no incentive in the councils, areas, regions, and national office to venture into the unknown if they believe that fundamental council organizational structures and business lines ain't broke, and they can they can remedy financial problems with just enough tinkering.
  5. 2 points
    I have been a part of a council merger that had strengths and weaknesses in both councils. My old one had a strong central council while the one merging had strong districts but weak central council. The merger was rough for some but I think it really came out well for everyone involved in the long run. The leadership of both councils wanted to get a single vision for the new council and all move towards a common goal. They had brain storming meetings within every district that was open to everyone. I attended one in a different district and was amazed how well everyone was looking for the future. Everything was done in the open and information was easily available. If we start seeing councils merge this trait needs to be there. Information and feedback accepted and given. Make everyone part of the process, don't just do it behind closed doors. You will get a strong focused and directed towards a common goal will help councils thrive.
  6. 1 point
    Yes. It distracts us from nationals talking points, and brings us directly to the main issues of the discussion. We certainly can't have that.
  7. 1 point
    As a related aside, for years we have heard the refrain regarding summer camps as advancement focused (mB mills in worst cases) because "that is what scouts and their parents want". At the same time we see camps struggling to stay afloat due to steady decreasing attendance. It appears that the common refrain is not an accurate reflection of reality as scouts/parents are voting with their feet. So, to stay on topic councils should reorganize with a focus on shoring up attendance and financials of their summer camp (and other offerings). First recommendation is to begin operating camps which "may provide advancement opportunities" but are primarily "a weeklong adventure for scouts with their patrol; emphazing fun, leadership, and doing things for themselves and others."
  8. 1 point
    I would agree that there needs to be an evaluation process (though, for all we know that has been completed already in the lead up this process National began) on how many will be kept, how many are retiring by year end, etc. The quality of the personnel should dictate to a large extent just how you can allocate them.
  9. 1 point
    @ALongWalk thanks for posting. Even if you don't consider your son to be a gung ho Scout, or as I joke "A Super Scout", I'm glad he's benefited from his time as a Scout and you and your family can see how it's helped him. Eagle or not, that is our goal.
  10. 1 point
    The only qualification I've seen for service stars is the word "involved."
  11. 1 point
    The top-down comes in after the bottom-up council restructuring. National or Regions lack the overall picture of council performance that units experience. How many times have units said if only they could be in another council? Another $0.01,
  12. 1 point
    "Top down thinking" has been restructuring councils for as long as I can remember. The promised economies (locally), service improvements, and increased membership and resources have not been proven, but let's get it right in the next merger, e.g., The Spirit of Adventure Council (unless they merged again and changed their name since I started writing). I expect all Mass will be one council as neighboring NH is (except for one or two counties). Remember how councils were required to develop strategic plans? JTE? If a council met their five year plan or is a Gold Council, why merge it or was all that top down thinking flawed? How about bottom-up thinking based on the service needs of units, units satisfaction with that service, and council financials? Say a more market- driven approach. Camps should be financially independent of councils. My $0.02,
  13. 1 point
    While I agree that councils should be merged and downsized, I think there is an important step that must first take place. Rather than focusing initially on the poor performance of ABC and XYZ Councils, a centralized board should first examine the records of all executives above the DE level. Only the top performers should be retained, say 30%. These top ranked execs can then be divided into regions and develop a game plan for merging councils. As important as the merger exercise is, it would ultimately prove fruitless if bottom tier execs were allowed to continue in any position of authority.
  14. 1 point
    This is really an inaccurate and unfair characterization. Any hammock out there designed with camping in mind is designed so that the sleeper lays nearly flat. Obviously some folks might still be uncomfortable in a hammock, but it's not because they are bent into the shape of a taco or banana or anything else like that. At least, they wouldn't lay like that if they actually read the instructions that tell you to get in the hammock and then shift your body about 30 degrees of the centerline of the hammock.
  15. 1 point
    My concern is that strong, healthy councils may eventually be forced into adopting weaker neighbors that could hinder their continuing success. For example, my council (Orange County Council in CA) is actually doing pretty well - we are financially stable, we have strong and healthy volunteer numbers, a good reputation in our community, and all of our districts earned gold or silver in their JTE scores (save for one bronze district). Last year we served more than 17,000 youth, and almost 43,000 Scouts attended the various camps in our council last year. We have more than 10,000 adult leaders in our area, which encompasses less than 600 square miles of populated suburbs. We get strong support from our council, and since our geographical area is very small despite being densely populated, we get a lot of meaningful council support. We are having a lot of success. So is it worth it to the powers that be for us to adopt a weak, struggling council next door if it means we lose these supporting advantages and sacrifice the close sense of fellowship we feel with fellow Scouters in our area, just to stretch ourselves out to fix problems not of our making? I do not know, and I am poorly qualified even to opine about such things. The combination of protectiveness for our special situation and compassion for those who aren't as fortunate causes a lot of mixed feelings, and I don't know how our neighboring district are doing. But that's the kind of question that comes to my mind when I hear talk about these kinds of things. I have been lucky to spend my entire Scouting career in a strong Council, and in its strongest district at that. But it makes me wary of outside problems coming in and negatively affecting the good thing we have going. If such a discussion is to be had, such things will need to be seriously considered.
  16. 1 point
    I can see how merging councils can result in financially stronger entities. I don't see how merging councils can result in better unit service.
  17. 1 point
    For that reason I have some trouble with some of the cases being pursued as noted above and as stated in the new reports. Many were in fact never reported to family, police, councils. Sadly that is the truth. Did this happen, we have to believe the account of the abused. Is the Scout leader still alive? If so pursue criminal charges. Does the abused person deserve counseling and support, absolutely and that does appear to be happening if media reports and BSA National releases are accurate. Does this make the abused one eligible to get a large cash settlement? Not sure about that. Many factors are in play. If the BSA and the local council was aware and did not prosecute, maybe. But as many of these incidents show, some were reported but the authorities did not prosecute. It is incredibly hard to look back 40 to 50 years and make the case that it was handled incorrectly based on 2020 standards. There is the actual rub right there, one group wants nothing more than to dismantle and sell of the valuables of the 100+ year old organization for profit and one group really wants to continue the mission. As we have all noted, this will not and cannot end well.