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MattR

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Posts posted by MattR

  1. This idea that we're breaking norms or rules by asking for something that will help us out sort of illustrates the problem. If the council's primary focus was on helping units put on a better program then the answer would not be, no, you can't do that. It would be let's figure out how to make this work. @ValleyBoy doesn't want to wait months to get paid back but the council wants to keep records. Okay, settle the accounts at the camporee and write down what was paid for, generate receipts for the accounting system that can be put in the following Monday. If they have enough cash they can finish it right there. If not, how about having the DE write a check on a council bank or just ensuring that it will take no more than a week to have a check sent out. None of this is complicated, it just takes a mind shift from being driven by rules and being driven by a desire to help units.

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  2. 21 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

    How hard would it be for the Council to just keep a ledger.  Money comes in from a camporee it goes into the council account and a credit entry is made in the district ledger.  Expenses for the event are paid from the council account anNd a debit is entered in the district ledger.  Camporee makes money there is a credit balance in the ledger to start the next event.  It would require council to keep their hands off the actual money though.

    Thank you, that's exactly what I'm talking about. I don't want a bank account, I want an accounting system account.  I don't want to handle the money, I just want it known that when I submit receipts it's charged against the excess we brought in the camporee before. Not only can we keep costs down for scouts but the council can figure out how the money flows.

    6 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    No accounting system? At all? Then how do they report their IRS 990s?

    If they have no accounting system at all, then your Council is in violation of at least half a dozen state and/or federal laws regarding charities/not-for-profits. Pick up the phone. Call the police. Call the state secretary of state and/or whoever has oversight over charities in your state.. Call the IRS.

    Okay, I can understand the confusion. They do have an accounting system. And it has just enough resolution to satisfy the IRS. But accounting systems can be used for a lot more than that. The question is why $600/scout/year? My council's accounting system can't give much of an answer for that. If each district had accounts for, say, events and training, then they might be able to answer questions as to whether they're helping units or not. My council has no idea at all how many scouts go to each of our events. I would give them the checks and the receipts and that would be recorded in the same account that holds every event put on in the council: district, council, training, merit badge fairs, camporees, pinewood derby, all of it. Of course, I suspect they couldn't even answer the question of how staff were paid. There was a time, and it might be back, that new DEs were taught how to file for food stamps because the council was running out of money at the end of the year. I said this before but my events had a couple of fees that we had to charge for the council that was something around 35% of our expenses, that went into paying for one of the staff's salary. The fees were called something like insurance and something for the DE, who never showed up anyway, but it was really about covering salaries.

    I understand that my council might not be the poster child of well run but I suspect it's close to normal. My guess is that councils that are around major metropolitan areas are still getting plenty of donations and are doing okay. We have a physically very large council that covers a lot of not so great farm land. We do have 2 of 5 districts that have towns in them that are doing okay. The rest of our districts are just in relatively poor areas when it comes to donations. That's why I keep hammering on the $600/scout. I want every kid in my council to see the value in scouting.

    2 minutes ago, ValleyBoy said:

    The biggest problem in my district on event costs is that the Council wants event fees turned into Council.  The Volunteers that put on the event then have to jump thru hoops to get back there out of pocket for event costs.  The volunteers do not like having to wait several months after the event to be reimbursed for the cost of putting on the event. 

    We would get enough cash that we just took it before we sent the money in. We always had records, that were much better than the council's, in case anyone asked. Nobody ever did.

  3. 3 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Again, have you asked your council? As I noted in at least 1/2 of states you are allowed to inspect their books and/or audited financial statement BY LAW. You want to get into budget line items? Go right ahead.

    But the problem is we have people who say a) I don't want all the details but b) I want assurances that the money is not going somewhere I, personally, don't think it should be going to (camp wifi).

    You can't have it both ways. You want the information, file a request under your state laws and show up at council (the laws say you can inspect, it does NOT say they have to mail it to you).

    A friend of mine is an accountant and did see the books. There is no accounting system set up for my council. There is only one account. Nobody could ask, for example, what is the net on a summer camp? Is it making money or losing money? Each camp should have it's own account, I'd think. So yes, we have repeatedly asked and repeatedly gotten nowhere. One of the council staff is solely funded on volunteer run events bringing in enough extra money to cover this person's salary. So does this mean the "budget" covers salary for all staff? Who knows?

    But this still evades the issue of value. What are we getting for $600/scout/year? Nobody can answer that question because there's just one giant pot of money.

    5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    Beyond that, I wonder - what should a council do to help volunteers organize camporees?

    When I was the district camping chair, one thing I asked for was the ability to have my own pot of money. If I bring in extra money on one event then the next I could charge less. The goal would have been for the district to spend all the money it brought in. Instead, we were forced to start over for every event and also pay a tax to the council to cover salaries of paid staff. Also, giving us some storage would be nice so we wouldn't have to borrow from troops. Collecting pioneering poles from thinning out the trees on camp property. Not having to pay for rope out of my own pocket would have been nice. Replacing the axle on the canoe trailer so we could use the canoes at a camporee would have been nice. A really nice one would be to encourage DEs to support district staffs for doing things like ordering patches, showing up and encouraging events. Maybe if the emphasis was on supporting units, and that's what camporees are intended for, the DE's might notice that a great way to help district camping chairs would be to get them together once in a while to share ideas. They could pass around entire camporee themes and really make it much easier on those district volunteers.

    It all gets back to misplaced priorities. My council, because it's focus is on itself and not the units, got itself in a money bind that has since forced the entire staff to spend most of it's time begging for money rather than supporting volunteers. By support I mean asking them what they're struggling with and then helping them find solutions. The basic idea of the scout program is pick an outdoor skill, make a game of it, play the game, repeat. The hard part is keeping it fresh. The council should be helping with that.

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  4. How is it that a discussion about council budgets went back to a discussion about volunteers? Cost of running a council, and whether there's value for that cost is being related to how good the volunteers are. That tells me that the $600/year should entirely go to helping those volunteers. This is why budgets need to be transparent. And not at a one page view but where all the money is spent. If it turns out that camp infrastructure (dining halls, showers, wifi, etc) is where all the money is going and none of this is helping the volunteers put on camporees, and nobody really cares for the summer camp, then the money is going to the wrong place. This is what I meant by tough questions.

    I just know my council, but this idea of supporting volunteers is not happening. When some council says hooray, we will lower fees because FOS was high enough, all I can think is the parents donating more money is just delaying the inevitable. Cost keeps going up but value does not. That's not a recipe for success.

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  5. All of the angst is about the cost of running a council and the fact that most of that is covered by donations. It's $600/yr/scout in my council. Add in the fact that we talk about how boring eagle required MBs are, is there really a surprise that parents are questioning the value of scouts? Trust me that I don't enjoy this but this is one of those hard facts that needs to be addressed.

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  6. Most scouts I talk with don't get much out of the MB program as it currently exists. Anything that actually helps them learn a skill is appreciated by the scouts. Anything covered in school is considered a waste of time. Cit badges are all a bust. Shooting, climbing and watercraft badges are great. Camping is surprisingly neutral. They like pioneering if they get the chance to make something fun. First aid is appreciated, but they don't believe they'll ever need it. So, most of the eagle required badges are just hoops they need to jump through.

    But this is about a specific mb. I think it could be made interesting, but not with the mindset that's driving the entire program. 

    This might be part of why scouting is losing the interest of youth. The one thing that is pushed is Eagle, and it's largely based on merit badges, which most scouts don't even care for. Time for the new-vision people. 

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  7. 22 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

    "7. Have a representative attend at least three patrol leaders' council meetings."

     

    Where the Supreme Master tells you what you will be doing in future?

    I said it was a start. I've had patrols complete this and it does a great job of encouraging them to do their own thing. But, given that this is really just wishful thinking, I'm good with lots of ideas.

  8. Another set of metrics is the national honor patrol award. Bronze could be all patrols score against it. Gold could be all patrols achieve it. Silver is somewhere in between.  Or maybe each patrol needs their own JTE. I think we talked about this many moons ago.

    Anyway, not perfect but not a bad place to start and someone has been thinking about this.
     

    Quote

     

    Boy Scouts of America National Honor Patrol Award

    The very best patrols exhibit enthusiasm, teamwork, and camaraderiethat special spark known as patrol spirit. The National Honor Patrol Award is given to patrols whose members make an extra effort to have the best patrol possible. Your patrol can earn the award by doing the following over a period of three months. Your patrol may earn multiple award patches by meeting the requirements in additional three-month time periods.

    1. Have a patrol name, flag, and yell. Put the patrol design on equipment and use the patrol yell. Keep patrol records up-to-date.

    2. Hold two patrol meetings each month.

    3. Take part in at least one hike, outdoor activity, or other Scouting event.

    4. Complete two Good Turns or service projects approved by the patrol leaders' council.

    5. Help two patrol members advance in rank.

    6. Have at least 75 percent of members in full uniform at troop activities.

    7. Have a representative attend at least three patrol leaders' council meetings.

    8. Have eight members in the patrol or experience an increase in patrol membership.

     

     

  9. 14 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    I don't ever see the url in the editor.  When I copy the url from a browser window, and paste it into the editor, it places the video there, with no opportunity to edit the address pasted in.

    I'll play with it and see if I can make it work.

     

    Oh sorry, I removed it before I pasted it into the editor. You have to think like a cheap editor. Honestly, having it reported and me fixing it is also fine.

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  10. @InquisitiveScouter, I replaced your video with a link, to keep in line with the rules. If you'd like to put in more description of important points that you saw in the 2 hr video I can help you put them in.

    As for the other reported post I saw, I think you're all doing better but let's remember, this isn't in the politics sub forum.

    As for letting the scouts do their thing, I must admit that my absolute best memories as a scout and as an adult is from scouts doing the right thing on their own without any adults around, other than the adults reminding the scouts they owned the situation, so don't screw up. The trust had to be there, on both sides. The 30 & 2 scenario, given the right scouts, the right training and trust, I could certainly see. But if you were to select 30 random scouts from my troop as SM, likely not. But I gave 8 scouts and no adults permission to do some things on their own. I just don't know how you write a simple rule that explains this. I think it came from several years of watching scouts and just knowing who I could trust and who I couldn't, along with the fact that irrespective of the number of adults I was ultimately responsible for up to 70 scouts. There were plenty of adults that didn't want that responsibility, either.

     

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  11. 9 hours ago, fred8033 said:

    This thread is really about advancement function and whether an ASM can perform much of that role.  ... I'm not sure how we changed topics ... I suspect I'm the guilty party ...

    I can split the thread but it will require locking it since there are multiple pages of 2vs30. Do we still want to talk about Advancement chair? I'm not even sure what one does, as we've never had one.

  12. Welcome to the forum, @sunshinescout.

    I was a scoutmaster and there were times when I made scout's lives a bit uncomfortable, but I did talk to them about it and it nearly always worked out. Since you work well with your scoutmaster I'd suggest you talk to him about your concerns. I suspect he's seen this before and can help you out. If he says things are going well, they probably are.

    Good luck!

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  13. I have another idea for a MB. Rather than try and solve our differences, let's embrace them. Forget the name for now. All of the requirements will be participating in a debate about the various problems in our communities, improving schools, drug additions, police, jobs, homelessness, all the big issues. It will require multiple scouts to do this at a time. As a group they will decide what the debate subjects are. They will need to understand both sides of each subject as they won't know which side they will have to debate until they do the debate. At the end of the debate, if they were prepared, they get the MB signed off. So, absolutely no describe, discuss and explain. It would include a competition. Scouts would be forced to understand both sides. How about Debate and Ethics? I think we just need to figure out how to get an I in there.

  14. On 12/9/2020 at 11:23 AM, DuctTape said:

    videos could use "actors" to model a meeting

    I'd rather see real plc meetings, including the screwing around and the sm giving the spl a hand signal to his watch. Can't they just bleep out names or ask them to use stage names? I also like the idea of staging meetings that go wrong. I did a training session like that where each scout was given a role to play, over eager, helpful, complainer, etc. The scouts really enjoyed it. They also asked to be the negative scout, if there was one. That's an easy one to have fun with.

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  15. I just spent too much time watching that. I've stated before and I'll repeat it now. Summarize the videos. Did you even watch all of this? This is not about BLM in the least, or even Seattle's CHOP zone. It's about mental health.

    But I did like the interview of the scout that got hooked on oxycontin and nearly died, so I guess that's why it's related to scouting? Or maybe it's that the US is a third world country, with how it treats the poor/those with mental health problems.

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  16. I noticed that @RememberSchiff keeps adding something along the lines of "just my $.02” at the end of his posts. I'm starting to wonder if he's expecting payment. Think about it. He has some 5800 posts. At 2 cents per post that's over $100. But maybe he's expecting the 2 cents from each person that reads a post? That is a whole lot of wisdom. Especially if he can collect. 

    But, is it legal?

    What say yee? Let's have some fun with this. It's been a rough year and we should start the new year happy.

    The legalese 😁: keep it friendly, images are permitted, any punishment vetted on anyone will be carried out in jest just as soon as we all meet at a real campfire.

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  17. 53 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    The month that "scout" is no longer proprietary, the S in BPSA will revert from "Service" back to "Scouting", TL/USA and AHG will rebrand as Trinitarian Scouts of America - Boys and Trinitarian Scouts of America - Girls, respectively, Makers will be Maker Scouts, etc ... If GS/USA thinks their potential recruits are confused now, they will drain their wallets on cease and desist orders to these other groups.

    Yep. Kind of like breaking up  the phone company. If it helps the youth then I'm for it.

    Besides, the term scout is bigger than either of the 2 organizations. And I'm not talking about Israeli Scouts or Polish Scouts, both of which reside in the US and nobody seems too bothered by. Let Trail Life call themselves a scouting organization, because they are. Same for BPSA. Who doesn't think the S stands for Scout? There has to be a legal principal that if it walks like a scout, talks like a scout and eats like a scout, then it's a scout.

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