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ParkMan

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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    You are way too generous. Don't need a lawyer because everyone will like us. We don't need any of them new fangled high adventure bases. There's an old camp down by the river - give the boys some twine and a tarp. Merit badge updates - the ones we have are fine, we don't need updates Uniforms - we can get some American made military surplus stuff for real cheap. Ombudsman - don't need one of those - we'll just hire trustworthy folks. Someone to handle donations - nope, leave that to the units. Phone calls/emails - that's why we pay the SE. Someone to sweep the floors - again - that's why we pay the SE. So, I think all you really need is: 1 Boss to be in charge. SE 1 expert to answer local questions and augment real world experience into National best practice. Done.
  2. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    Seems like this is the struggle though. Topics like this continually blame the BSA & professionals. Yet, they are the ones most actively pushing growth & membership. If we don't want to cede our roles to them, it seems me need to assert control of our own destinies. I suppose we could just back off all this talk of membership growth, scale way back on professionals, reduce Cub Scouts to three years, merge councils down to a few mega councils per state, and then keep only those camps that are needed. I'd be fine with that myself. However, I don't think it would address the root problem.
  3. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    I think we're about 95% in agreement here. Yes - pros & volunteers alike need to be talking Yes - we need fewer bloated committees Yes - we really can get rid of much of the "corporate" scouting I think I've said this before in other topics. But, one of the best things for Scouting would be for our volunteers to assume more ownership for what is happening in their community. If you're pack isn't growing - then figure out why If you district doesn't have a camporee - then start one If you feel dis-empowered by the professionals, then buy them a cup of coffee and become friends. My suspicion is that the volunteer function in the BSA has so atrophied that people who are putting in 40 hours a week are just by virtue of the fact that they are there so much as assuming control of many functions. I don't think it's even deliberate. Unfortunately as it's been this way for 20 years (or more), we have a whole generation of professionals and volunteers who don't quite know how to relate to each other. @Eagle94-A1 - you and I have exchanged enough comments that I understand your plight. I guess all I can say is that if one's district is so far gone where the basic volunteer functions are not working, then you've got to start somewhere. It will take some time for the professionals to come around, but in most cases I think they will. After all, it's in their best interest for there to be a strong volunteer team. You
  4. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    I agree that there are things that National can do better. But, as a long time leader I don't think this is all national's fault. Little of the costs that we incur in Scouting are directly nationally impacted. Yes, we could get cheaper awards. Yes, we could have lower national fees. But, as we talked earlier in the thread, about 17% of our parents spending went to national fees. Add awards to that and maybe it's 25%. At the Scouts BSA level, it's even less - 7% in national fees. Maybe that amount again in awards. If we look around at other things - cost has gone up everywhere. In part this is because our society expects more today than they did 50 years ago. Homes are more developed, cars have more features. Look at parks, stadiums, schools, etc... facilities everywhere have become more developed. I've watched scouts scrape by with bad gear and have a miserable time - cooking stoves that don't work, pans that stick, tents that leak. I wager a guess that gear today costs more, but when adjusted for inflation isn't any more expensive than what I had as a kid. If we're talking about re-doing the BSA, I believe this has to be a conversation the involves both professionals and volunteers. Volunteers are going to have to take on more ownership for program and recruiting. I live in a mid sized city. We have one professional. I'm sure if given the choice our local volunteers would love to not pay for him. So, if we start cutting back professional staff, who's going to facilitate growth? Are we just going to stop worrying about growth? What happens when the Scouts in my city drop by 50%?
  5. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    I don't expect the same here. A Cub Scout program today costs about $80 a year on average here. This includes $33 a year for BSA dues. The average family spends another $60 on a uniform every few years. The probably add another $120 to pay for camping trips ($20 per person for Scout & parent twice a year). This nets about $200 a year for Cub Scouts in my area. A Scouts BSA program costs about $80 a year on average here (including National dues). The same family spends about $100 on a uniform every few years. They add about $300 for summer camp and add another $200 for camping trips ($25 per Scout 8 times a year). This nets about $580 a year for Scouts BSA in my area. Of course, add in high adventure and this goes up quickly. If the BSA dues double that add $33 a year to the fee. I don't see many Cub Scout families dropping because that $200 now turns into $233. I don't see many Scouts BSA families dropping because that $580 now turns into $613. Maybe I'm wrong - but I don't think so.
  6. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    Agreed as well. Lest I seem like I'm downplaying this struggle - I'm not. In fact, I think that unit <-> council relationships have really been strained and that's a big problem for Scouting.
  7. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    I'm not really sure what to make of that comment. Again, I'm suggesting is that we put disagreements with council & national in some context. It would be very easy for me to get myself very demoralized by all of this - but I chose not to because I'm pursuing a bigger, much more important goal. That goal is bringing Scouting to the youth in my community.
  8. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    I know this is a national forum and that we all have different levels of financial ability. I make no expectations of what people should pay into this program. I'd encourage you to sit down with your other adult leaders and review your expenses. I agree that four fundraisers a year is too many already. Maybe you could make some different choices that will help you keep costs down somewhere else.
  9. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    I think a lot about the movie "Follow Me Boys". Whether it was historically accurate or not, it reminds me that Scouting is really about the youth experience. When I was a kid, I knew councils & national existed - but they were irrelevant to me. In my decade Scouting, most of it has been as either a Cubmaster or Troop Committee Chair. In those experiences, I've never really worried about what the council or national thinks or wants. Both of those groups are really just here to provide me support as I run my program. I want to write a sticky post for this forum that says "Remember - units are in charge." The council and national are NOT higher headquarters (to use your phrase)and they are NOT in charge. They are in essence a franchise system that provides you a program and resources to help you implement that program. This is why many council scouters I know talk about the inverted pyramid model The unit is at the top of the organization chart. The rest - districts, councils, & national are here to provide you support. Now, that doesn't mean that those groups don't have goals - sure they do. They all have employees and budgets. They want to see Scouting grow and have money available to do interesting things (like have council camps). Councils will always ask you for money, they will always encourage you to recruit. Further, national is going to impose rules to keep the program uniform. National is also going to create rules to satisfy the underwriters of their insurance program. Yes, we often live at the intersection point of this. But, I would encourage you to put that in context. First and foremost it's all about unit leaders bringing Scouting to youth. I would encourage you to devote only an hour or two a month to worrying about council & national. Don't let your frustration with them get in the way of what's important.
  10. ParkMan

    Where would you go?

    I know not quite the question you're asking, but... I'd plan a fundraiser. Even if the BSA fees doubled (or tripled), I think it is still payable. I also do not think the services of the BSA national organization warrant such a fee. However, I think that the overall value I get from being involved with the BSA is significant. I think it will be a harder to recruit into these other organizations and question their ability to provide a similar level of infrastructure to the youth I serve. So while they me be more economical, I don't think I'd jump over the amounts being discussed.
  11. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    I'm guessing $5 a month - $60 a year. From everything I hear, $33 to $48 is too small a jump.
  12. National needs to fix the Scouting image problem before this will be doable. I predict at most 0.1% participation.
  13. Hi @Calion, This is a great list! I really like all the details at each step. Like others, I think that there will be a lot of fluidity in the ordering of the steps. Yes - there is a basic order to this, but depending on the strengths of the group and your particular situation, you may choose to do things in a difference sequence. One way I think about this is in the terms of basic goals a unit's team needs to accomplish. If I think of the goals I'd use then map your steps into it, I get: Make your plans 1. Decide what kind of unit you want to start Find a CO 2. Find a chartering organization. 3. Appoint a Chartered Organization Representative. Build your adult core team 4. Appoint a Committee Chair. 5. Get trained. 6. Recruit a Troop Committee. 7. Train the Troop Committee. 8. Select and recruit adult leaders. 9. Train the adult leaders. 10. Complete Youth Protection Training. 11. Get uniformed. Setup the unit’s infrastructure 12. Establish an online presence. 13. File the paperwork. 14. Present the Charter 17. Raise money. Recruit youth & get going 15. Recruit Scouts. 16. Have your first troop meeting. 18. Get the Scouts trained. 19. Set the Scouts loose. Continue to improve 20. Keep learning. 21. Have fun! While I think things will generally go in this order, I do believe that if you've got more than one or two adults, you might break this up into some parallel efforts. For example - a couple of folks could be working on adult recruiting while some others are getting the website & paperwork started.
  14. ParkMan

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    I'm not a wizard on council finances - but I can only imagine that councils are being forced to pay more for upkeep and perhaps leases than years ago. It would seem to me that with the age of most of our councils, the council camps would all have been long paid for. Money would just go to pay for staff, upkeep, and future improvements. Yet, I know that even in my pretty big council summer camp fees don't pay for that. Maybe when we were kids the level of expectation for a camp was much less and the councils had to sink less money into the,. Not sure.
  15. ParkMan

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    I do feel the plight of these small councils as I know it's getting harder and harder to keep paying for these camps. But, they've got to find a way here that doesn't involve burning out their members.
  16. ParkMan

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    These councils are not doing themselves any favours. They think that they are protecting their facilities by forcing people to use them. But, in turn, all they are doing is eroding the perceived value that units derive from council support. Councils need to get units to their camp on the merits of their camps - not by making it the only option. I agree - at this point in the history of Scouting councils need to learn to partner with the units - not try to control the units. Build bridges to the units, don't put up more obstacles.
  17. ParkMan

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    Gotta admit - this frustrates me to no end. What a ridiculous abuse of the rules to control the list of approved sites so that only council approved sites are permitted. We routinely camped at state parks and they worked great. If councils are going to abuse the system like this, I really wish someone at national would in turn relax the rules.
  18. ParkMan

    Webelos insignia on tan uniform

    Here's the quote from the Insignia Guide So, given that the Welebos diamond was wearable on a tan uniform at the time, it's still wearable if you can get one.
  19. ParkMan

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    Thanks @RichardB I think many are on edge these days. As I'm sure you know, there is a lot of concern about erosion of program. I'm reaidng between the lines here and am guessing we overreacted to the term "overnighter". If "overnighter" refers to the of sleeping overnight and doesn't mean that it's single overnight - great. Personally - I don't think we need more definition, I'd just remove the term overnighter. Camping implies sleeping overnight in the woods. "overnighter" suggests one night. I'd offer the terms that make the most sense to volunteers are: .den camping pack camping council organized camping Now that I read this again, I realize that there is an effort to overnghter to distinguish from day camps. I don't think it's needed. If one said "pack camping", I think we all understand that implies spending the night.
  20. ParkMan

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    This is a big deal because it directly contributes to weaker Cub Scout programming. I served in a pack where 80% of our camping trips were two nights. Occasionally we'd have a one nighter for some reason or another, but it was rare. The reason to have a two night camping trip is that it allows for a single, full day at camp. A Cub Scout wakes up at the camp, get's ready at the camp, has breakfast at the camp, does a day of activities, and so on. When you turn that into a single overnighter, then it decreases the time available for the Scout to grow more comfortable in the outdoors. This is why council cuborees do just this. In my experience, an active Cub Scout program is a great way to prepare Scouts, parents, and potential leaders for an active Scouts BSA program. We had numerous parents who had never camped join us when their sons were Tigers. We'd find them a tent, they'd scare up some sleeping bags, and away we'd go. In the process, the parents also learned a lot about camping. So, by the time their son got to Scouts BSA they'd be very comfortable outdoors. It also challenged us as a pack to know how to prepare for a big trip. We'd had gear, plenty of cooking equipment, we knew how to run an all day program. We've been around for enough years that this was built up over time. So, when that two night camping trip came up in the fall, you can rest assured that it was very well planned and executed. In fact our Cub leaders often go on to be BALOO trainers themselves because they learn how to run a well oiled Cub Scout camping trip. Maybe the BSA is really worried about Cub Scout packs who don't know how to run a two night trip. If so, then apply the correct remedy. Have "BALOO 2" or have some kind of district camper certify the unit. It's not really a hard problem to solve here. Frankly - the BSA needs to stop responding to all of this stuff by dumbing down the program. Isn't that the lesson of the Improved Scouting Program of the 70s?
  21. I have two daughters and a son. I am very protective of all of them. I think this is where YPT in the BSA can serve another beneficial purpose. In the GSUSA, the rules about male involvement have all but removed fathers from the equation. My two daughters are Girl Scouts and I have never been welcomed in their Scouting experience. It so saddens me that even my wonderful, progressive wife who is a Girl Scout leader has so totally embraced the concept that Girl Scouting is about women guiding girls through Scouting. Yet, my son's Cub Scout Pack & Scouts BSA Troop for boys have an adult leadership team that is about 40% female. It has created a wonderful environment where countless mothers, fathers, and their sons can enjoy Scouting together. It's been such a wonderfully welcoming environment that we've often had female siblings tag along. So, because of how inclusive the BSA has been, I totally get why we now have girls in the program. I also understand why the GSUSA never will have boys in their program. Now that we have introduced female Scouts, the BSA has a wonderful opportunity to provide the same welcoming environment for female youth. I will admit that I do not know numbers - but I have to imagine that a group of adult males will be just as trustworthy taking a group of girls camping as they would with female adults present. Whether it's groups of boys or girls, most Scouting units are composed of parents. Yes, at the Scouts BSA level, there are more volunteers who are either young adults or adults who's parents have aged out. But, for the most part it's parents like me who want to Scout with their children. I would love to have the opportunity to Scout with my 10 year old daughter. So, when I saw the BSA rules that required female leaders, I was very disappointed. Because I've been a Cub Scout leader, I know that the Cub program is very family involved. You absolutely have lots of both mothers & fathers present. In Scouts BSA it will be the same thing. Just as we have 40% female adults in the troop leadership team today, so too would I expect that we'll have 40% males in a troop for girls without any new BSA rules So, I see these rules a something of the BSA falling into the same trap as the GSUSA. That men are dangerous and we need women there to keep girls safe. This is an unfortunate social construct that we keep teaching generation after generation. Here the BSA can leverage all the YPT training, backgrounds checks, COR oversight, and benefit of troops with established track records to let girls and their parents know that they will be just fine with adult men taking girls camping. I feel for you @Sentinel947. Breaks my heart too to see your post. For my part, I accept the YPT rules and do embrace them to the fullest. But, I really do wish the BSA would sit down with some experts and rethink this message that they are sending to girls, mothers, and their fathers.
  22. ParkMan

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    Gotta admit - I'm usually the one sticking up for National too. Yeah - pretty sad when I'm asking that question. I missed that policy change on Webelos and camporees - ugh. Again - I respect what the professionals are being asked to do. But, really - one night Cub Scout campouts? But really - ponder the thought...
  23. I expect you're right. However, that's the wrong way for the BSA to react. I can understand if the BSA is responding to requests of underwriters. Buy, then the BSA needs to apply the rules equally. If the underwriters decide that the BSA needs 10 deep leadership in a troop for girls, then by golly make it 10 deep leadership for everyone. I respect our professionals - but think they need to be thinking about the messages they are sending. BTW - there is no discussion about 10 deep leadership. Just using a ridiculous idea to make the point
  24. ParkMan

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    Ok - sorry, I posted too quickly as I was so sure this was the sort of bad rumor that floats around and is simply not true. My son's pack always had two night pack campouts. We attended cuborees that were two nights as well. Two night campouts in Cub Scouts are so common around here to the point where one night cub scout camping is the exception. I cannot fathom what this section in the G2SS is even attempting to say. That Lions through Bears should only camp one night at a time? Is the BSA crazy?
  25. ParkMan

    Limit for Cub Scout nights of camping

    Thank them very much for their input and then camp two nights. There's no such rule. There's no such difference defined anywhere. "family" and "pack" are simply common terms. The only rules that apply are the Cub Scout camping rules where there are no such rules on duration.
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