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MattR

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MattR last won the day on February 22

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About MattR

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    I try to be cheerful, it's all I'm paid

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    Scouts. Why else would I be here.
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    Born and raised. Now old.

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  1. One very bad example: my council. Through the wisdom of one staff they had one council property put into a conservancy (they can't add or increase any structures) and were paid around $750k to go into a trust. The council spent all that money. Recently, they did create a $6M endowment. They have already started spending it. To add insult to injury our CE got his job (some 10 years ago) because he was going to clean up the financial aspects of the council. Incompetent or corrupt? I understand the sentiment from people that say councils should have a lot less to do. This is why I think the purpose of the council has to be figured out. Our council's budget divided by the number of youth served is around $350/youth (and that was before the LDS departure). What do we get for that? Volunteers do the training. We get no marketing. Volunteers put on our own events. Our camps are not being improved nor used. We have a handful of DE's that are stretched to the limit and paid garbage (one is entirely paid from taxes on event fees that the volunteers put on). I always wonder what percentage of that cost per youth goes into the overhead vs how much directly impacts each youth. This is kind of an ultralight backpacking thing. The more stuff you carry the more you need to support carrying it the more stuff you carry.... Anyway, my guess is our DE costs less than $50/youth. I don't know what our camp costs are. I have no idea what a reasonable number is, but $350 + $60 to national is too high for each youth to pay. I honestly don't know the answer but taking a hard look at the core purpose of the council might enable some needed change.
  2. I was going to write something about council camps and management and all that good stuff, but I stopped. There really is only one problem that needs to be solved at the council level. The person running it (and this includes the board as well) needs a very unique set of skills. For one, they need good, real experience running non-profits. Balancing budgets, hiring good people, replacing bad people, working with volunteers and poorly paid employees, drumming up donations, solving problems and, most importantly, making a positive impact in the area of the non profit. This does not come from an EDGE based training video. This doesn't even come from WB. Second, they need skills in making scouting work. How to help units thrive, how scouting really works and outdoor skills. Related to the once council level problem is a national level problem. National needs to make councils successful and listen to them. Give them the tools they need. They also need to review councils by people that also know this business. Check the books. Ask why council troops no longer go to the council camps. Finally, they need the real threat of revoking franchises of failing councils. While there is claim that this review exists my guess is it's superficial at best and done by some guy that really doesn't know what to look for. If this were in place then we wouldn't need to be having these discussions here because they would have been going on a long time ago between councils and national. Council level problems are people problems. Hire the right people and let them do their job. What's preventing this are national problems. Boards that don't do their job, inbreeding, a top down culture and just being so far from scouting that they don't understand their own product or their own customers. Compounding all of this is that there aren't many people with all of the skills described above. Not only that but doing this in the context of a greatly weakened national is going to be even more difficult.
  3. Abracadabra, and all your posts just moved. Sorry about the confusion. Sure, if it could work without paid help I'd be up for it. I was thinking of our DE's and all but one do not have the same experience as most of the district staff. On the other hand, there should probably be someone that can get things started or can solve bigger issues. It wouldn't need to be a district person, but that topic would have to go back to the other thread. So don't even mention it here. (It took a while to figure out how to move everything. )
  4. MattR

    BSA's business model

    When we stopped pushing useful skills? BTW, I've fought gear creep, with some success. I did get our chuck boxes reduced to a tote. I tried to get the First Class cooking requirement (make a list of gear needed) part of what we had to do, to no avail.
  5. Concerning DE's and districts altogether how about look at the needs of the unit and let that drive how it's delivered. Different units have different needs. A few are really strong and don't need any support. They can do their own training and run their own program. Most are muddling along and some are new (we hope!). They need help maturing. The goal should be to grow the unit's maturity, just like working with a PL. What does that look like? The current model is training, turn-key program (just write a check and show up to a camporee, summer camp, or a high adventure base), and wise guidance (commissioners). That's the model, which sounds fine to me, but doesn't really work. Am I missing anything? The training, as it stands, never really helped me. Part of that is my fault but a lot of it is the training was just not applicative to the problems I had. It was a one size fits all approach. I would have much rather have seen stories of how specific units solved problems. I'd rather learn from someone else's experience then read "this is how you must do it." Another aspect of training is what round table was probably intended to be ( @David CO's comment about a round table is spot on). If there are only 4 units in a city or group of close by towns, then they could meet for dinner and talk about how their unit's are going and just help each other out. No district needed and certainly not 40 minutes of announcements like our last round table. Turnkey programs are a lot of work for districts and councils. Just one example of what our district might do and might be the future: My council wants to raise the price of camporees to something like $40/scout so they can make $25/scout. So, we'd be charging a lot and not be able to deliver anything close to what's charged. I won't have anything to do with that so we were talking about "10 troops in a field." Basically, no camporee, just set the date and let's camp near each other. Units can organize an event and we'll share. So, this will require not much more than email, or that round table idea, to organize. I don't see a need for MB fairs either, but I always liked the idea of getting a bunch of MB counselors together and encouraging scouts to run around and connect with those counselors to do something at another time. Again, really simple to organize. Summer camp is a council thing and I'd leave it there. The idea of commissioners, while good, has never worked for me. Just off the top of my head, use the above neighborly round table model and break districts into groups of half a dozen that live close to each other and have a spread of scouting maturity - some new, some with experience, and a couple that really know. Then, round table is just burgers and beer and a discussion of how each unit is doing and how to help them. Announcements is just an email that was sent out. If you don't like your group someone will help you find another. So, what is the professional's role in all of this or whatever model you'd rather see? (This assumes the numbers gorilla is no longer sitting on the DE.) What are districts responsible for?
  6. Another idea: What would it look like if the DE's could do what they thought was right, what they hired in to do, rather than chase numbers? I've met really great people that were destroyed by the get-money-or-die directives.
  7. NotNot sure this was discussed and it covers a couple of these threads, but there's an important question that needs addressing. If the BSA membership drops to between .5M and1M, what will the program and structure look like? I'm not saying it will go that way but it could get ugly. And even if it doesn't get that bad it would certainly help make the BSA stronger if it could deliver a good program with fewer resources and fewer people. Random thought spewage: Fewer DE's covering the same territory. Fewer units will be near each other. All those units in rural areas will be typical. Neighborhood patrols? Roundtables stretched even thinner. How do you make training work? At the council level, there will be a lot fewer paid staff. How about several DE's and one Senior DE? Everyone works with units. I've already mentioned my feelings about scout stores. It always gets back to spend less money so you can focus on your true purpose.
  8. Just to add another way of what @Eagledad and @yknot seem to be saying, scout led doesn't mean adult ignored. Ask questions. Keep them out of ruts. Keep them about the law and oath. One size of adult participation does not fit all, it really depends on the maturity of the scouts.
  9. MattR

    Chapter 11 announced

    True, but when the BSA tried to cover things up, can we blame that on society wide ills? If, instead, the BSA had brought it out and explained what it was doing to solve the problem they would have a lot more credibility now. The mindset should have always been that a proven abuse results in a ton of very visible repair going on: Helping the abused youth, prosecuting the abuser, and understanding how it happened to improve the unit, the council, and the BSA. Anyone hiding an event should have harsh consequences as well. I just wish there were some concrete numbers put on when these abuses and coverups happened. My impression is it dropped in the 90s when better protections were put in. But how much? Honestly, they need to convince me as well. If there were still coverups going on after my son started in 2001 then I'll be angry. After going through the training I assumed the process of training and reacting to abuse was all cleaned up. Was it? If so, the idea of don't throw out the baby with the bath water holds. If not, I'm assuming there are going to be a lot of properties sold.
  10. An idea for a great service project: help a girls den, or two, run fun meetings. Make them all den chiefs of a AOL den and invite them to scout events. Point is create a relationship between the den and the troop. Whenever we do that we get lots of recruits. When we stop, things dry up. If it's appearance that counts then there's no relationship.
  11. MattR

    Chapter 11 announced

    Is there a precedent? Is there another financial web that is this tightly dependent on each node and yet claim independence? Mary Kay? Franchises? If a couple of franchises of a restaurant sell burgers with mouse feet in them and the main company covers it up what happens? Especially where, if a franchise looses it's licence, all the assets go to the parent company.
  12. It sounds like you're going with B) Be Prepared for when the phoenix flies. I hope you're right. And you're not the first person that has told me this.
  13. MattR

    Chapter 11 announced

    @David CO, that's a rather broad brush, and given that we have scout executives on this forum, let's think courteous. You may see this as a great opportunity to fix things, but for the people working for the BSA, through no fault of most of them, this is a kick in the teeth. Well, that just stuck a pin in my friend's argument.
  14. MattR

    Chapter 11 announced

    Because of the mortgage on Philmont the creditors can't go after it. The bank owns it.
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