Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by MattR

  1. A few things: 1) Entry into scouts at different ages. There seems to be this model that we have to grab youth when they're young because after that we'll never see them again. Hence tigers and lions. Rather, I like the idea of splitting cubs in 2 and encouraging the idea that the older cub and scout programs are a great time to enter scouts. Less burnout for one. Also, a lot of kids are starting to drop out of sports just about the time scouts starts up. That's a big, untapped group of kids. I don't know how to encourage this. I think too many parents, that don't understand scouts, j
  2. Perfect timing, @Cburkhardt. I just spent last evening talking to a financial guy about how totally screwed up our council is. The SE hires the board, so they will never complain. A capital fundraiser of $6M is in progress and the SE is already siphoning money off of it for other things (he can't explain what, though) The council president is a yes man. And the area leadership is chummy with the SE, so they will never do anything about the issues. The point is, for at least 20 years our council has been run by 2 different SE's that have no expertise in how to run a business. It used to be that
  3. I won't flame you, but I do have a slightly different experience. We had two different scouts that were on the spectrum. One might have been co-morbid with ADHD. Anyway, one scout had a parent that was heavily involved, knew the issues, and taught us how to work with his son. Everything worked great. Another parent didn't want to admit their son had challenges. They did volunteer for a while but eventually their son got in so many fights that they took him out. So, it depends on the parents. I will add that kids with hyperactive ADHD likely will not sit still for advancement. They should have
  4. True, but a program that only needed 2-3 people working 2 hours a week would eliminate the issue of not having enough volunteers, or those volunteers would be having a lot more fun. And, as @yknot said, scouting would be more competitive with other youth activities. Since this thread is about helping districts help units, the question is how do districts help units run a program with fewer volunteers? Off hand, I'd say units need a lot more training that isn't even close to what districts and councils currently give. JTE certainly needs to be rewritten.
  5. Absolutely, the gear can be done on the cheap. I still have a Tyvek tent we made. But what about the other costs? $100 for unit dues, $400 for summer camp, $200 for weekend campouts, $200 for FOS (that is the "recommended" amount per scout in my council) and $60 to national. So, without gear or uniform or high adventure it's over $900/year. Oh, and parents that volunteer also get charged. Of those costs, the money used at the unit level are $300. If we did our own summer camp that would cut costs by about $150. If we skipped camporees and did our own that would save about $50. I'd rather
  6. let me see, someone was complaining about not enough comments on this thread? I think this thread has mostly come down to there are needs for more volunteers. The bigger question for me is why does scouting require so many volunteers? We have 1000 scouts in our district and we have, I don't know, 2 dozen units with, say a dozen volunteers in each unit and the district needs another 60 people (but isn't close to that). So we need nearly 1 volunteer for every 3 scouts? That's crazy.
  7. I'm not talking about scouts, I'm talking about 20 something folks. Likely the same ones that work at the summer camps. Is that who you're disagreeing with? Ideally, it would be nice to get college students to volunteer but my experience has been they aren't very reliable. BTW, I took my daughter out of girl scouts because the troop was charging other troops to have her train them.
  8. And that's how we could get scouts as an after school program, making it so much easier to recruit scouts. And those older scouts in high school could be used in those schools. I think one could apply for grants to fund it.
  9. Reducing or simplifying the program to make it easier on volunteers should be national's vision. That vision should be simple enough that every volunteer understands it. That would help everyone. Volunteers, parents, scouts, district, council, donors, prospective parents. Everyone. Let's just say the vision is "fun with a purpose" and the purpose is developing responsible young adults with good character. Cub burnout is certainly going against that as so many cubs leave before they get to scouts. Another problem is advancement at all costs. It seems like a lot of district effort goes into
  10. Maybe a quote about how challenges can be blessings in disguise will help? (maybe for you or maybe your troop) Anyway, suggestions in no particular order: Talk to the parents of the scout with the most severe disabilities. Can they help? Having to remind a scout to go to the bathroom is asking a lot. If scouting is just a reprieve for the parents then ask your troop if this is what they're interested in doing. If so, figure out how to share the load. Next, talk to the scouts. The issue you brought up is competitions between patrols. First of all, find out if they have a problem
  11. I agree in that what a council really needs is just one person with a vision. One of two people needs that vision. Either the council president or the SE. If they don't, as in my council's case, I'm not sure how any of the changes discussed can happen. My council is broke and the board is just another income stream. That's all it does. But bankruptcy will likely not change anything with the councils. If anything, there will be less oversight. I'm not sure how there could be less, though. @David CO, I will add one thing, though. I like your idea of getting the CO's more interested.
  12. Maybe that silence tells us where people see the issues.
  13. 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.
  14. I think that's great and I wish it were the rule rather than an exception. It doesn't appear that anyone is promoting it. I looked for scoutreach websites and found something on the "wayback machine" (an archive of old web pages). I'm not real familiar with Boys and Girls Clubs, so I looked around. In my county (which is also my district) there are 3000 youth in B&G clubs while there are 1000 scouts. B&G clubs do have leadership opportunities for 11-13 year olds and 14-18. I don't know much more than that and there certainly is some overlap. Outdoors and adventure, not so much.
  15. 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
  16. Just a hunch, but maybe this extra digit thing is a leftover from bad software practices decades ago and each council decides their own way to deal with the fact that there's still no way to filter a database by unit type. It's just truly amazing to me that this is still an issue. It's sort of like why ID numbers are still not unique across BSA. Oh well, something else for the new guy to fix.
  17. For the scouts that join my troop it makes me feel like we're doing the right thing. For scouts that join another troop it gives me pause to wonder why, but I'm sure glad they stay in scouts. Usually, scouts join our troop because we do more than their old troop. The scouts that join other troops from ours go because they want a smaller troop or they have friends there. A few transfered because they wanted to do less (!)
  18. Before everyone breaks up the phone company, what services do the councils provide? Or is this just a way to find the council with the lowest fees? As much as I'd like to get away from my council the advantage of having a local council is meeting people face to face. The Atlanta Denver example just doesn't make sense to me. Remote training has already been torn apart. Remote camporees? I don't see it. As much as people talk about working remotely it just doesn't work as well as talking to people in person. I'd rather see each unit have more say in how their council operates. How that
  19. Councils are independent entities from national, so I'm not sure there will be any impact. That said, you asked how the councils can improve. You seem to be focused on process. The problem at my council is not process so much as people. Good people could solve all these problems so the bad people need to be replaced with good people. The biggest problem is the SE. Given that he'd have to approve anything I suggest I doubt this is a productive exercise. But, just to play along, I'd first fire the SE and take his salary and split it among the DE's. With the added salary I could hire better
  20. I think this make a great point that seems to be lost: Scouting will make you a better person, not a saint. Sure, we aim for sainthood but we wouldn't need all the g2ss and ypt rules if we realized those goals. Not even eagle confers anything absolute. We claim greatness but when we can't deliver, whether it be a scout that ends up in the legal system or a sexual abuse case, I can see parents that know nothing of scouting asking themselves why they should put their kids in this program.
  21. Yep, it's so much easier to sew it on than talk about it. That has to be a guy thing. Even the adults say they like the knots so they know what to talk about when meeting another scouter. I don't want to pick on wood badge but there are the stereotypical wood badge folks that used to give me grief because I didn't wear the WB neckerchief. I would tell them I had taken WB but I am a scoutmaster and so I will wear the troop's neckerchief. Let's be honest, if there were knots for WB then there would be no beads. I know that people want recognition, I do as well, but there's a point wher
  22. Knots? This really gets down to what belongs on a uniform? How about what you are currently doing is okay and what you've done in the past belongs on your wall? Other than military dress uniforms what other uniforms have history?
  23. I agree. Also, you know these girls, do you expect any problems? Do they work well together? Or are they cliquish? If there is just one older girl that looks out for the younger scouts then nothing more than a quick discussion with all the scouts about looking out for and being helpful to each other is all that's needed. Have fun.
  • Create New...