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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. You are absolutely correct that this requires a mind shift. Too many volunteers above the district level are too beholden to what they think are the rules. This is absolutely where a council could have a servant leadership mindset. They could be looking for a way to help the volunteer resolve the problem - regardless of whether they know the rules. 95% of this discussion on the past few pages is doable today, under current BSA accounting rules and practices. The reason this doesn't happen and doesn't work is that many volunteers are simply not aware of how the process really works. A
  2. I'm not actually sure what we're debating here. I'm not suggesting that districts be financially separate entities. I'm suggesting that the council budgets be more friendly to district operations. Specially, in this case there is no reason that a council could not track a line item internally that grows and shrinks based on district expenditures. If a district has a surplus at the end of a year that money amount could be placed as a line item in the next year's budget for a district to draw upon. A district is effectively nothing more than a council operating committee that is res
  3. Respectfully, you are making this too complicated. All that is being suggested is that the council maintain a line item for each district which is the amount of the current district surplus. At the end of the year, any district surplus adds to/subtracts from that line item. If a district knows it has a surplus, it can draw from it for programming. Districts are still a subdivision of the council and the council still maintains all the records and accounts. Many of the posts suggest some sort of animosity between districts and council. There is more casual neglect than their
  4. I still think the right answer is not all that complicated. It can all start by simply splitting the income/expenses so that it enforces certain behaviors. program fees go to pay for programming donations can go to either pay for growing scouting, unit support, or programming - it's at the discretion of the person who donates. Create a hard wall between the different sides financially. In the council's annual report, get them to specify income, expenses, and what they did for each aspect.
  5. You are correct - this could be easily done, even in the current structure. There just needs to be a reason to want to do it. Primary reason that it doesn't happy now is that many council budget committees are oblivious to the need.
  6. Right. I've been through the budgeting process from a district perspective a few times. What I noticed in that was that the council team is well established. The district team doesn't even know how to navigate this process. When I last did it, the council budget committee turned to the accountant in the office for info, the accountant turned to the DE. The DE turned to the district chair and said "here's what I'm submitting - what do you think?". The district chair is new enough that they don't know that they should even be advocating for something more. What is really needed is
  7. Sort of. Districts are not separate from councils. In the BSA structure, a district is just a subdivision of a council. The council can maintain a fund which has money left over from last year, but different parts of a council don't immediately just have an account with left over money. i.e., the council camporee doesn't have left over funds it can spend next time. Districts are no different than any other part of the council. The challenge for districts is that they don't tend to advocate for funds from the council budgeting process that really could improve their programming.
  8. Thanks. That's the kind of thing I was looking for. Districts really do need to be able to build up some funds and equipment to improve the programs. Districts are where units and Scouts most interact with Scouting outside of their unit. In my mind this isn't all that expensive to do either. The only real expense to any of this is a little bit of staff time. Allocating some percentage of program fees to districts to build up local equipment I suspect would go a long way too. To your point - buying rope, fixing the axle - these are small things that a modest expenditure from pr
  9. @MattR When Scouters talk about council value add, they often come back to program activities. Almost all program activities are driven by council/district volunteers today. I'm all for increasing the council focus and shifting financial resources towards enabling volunteers to be successful. I suspect that the best way for this to happen is for a council to spend more money on: district/council volunteer training district/council volunteer support improve council infrastructure for activities Beyond that, I wonder - what should a council do to help volunteer
  10. I'm sorry to hear your council is struggling so significantly. Clearly your district/council volunteer structure is broken. District & Council programming is the purview of volunteers. If the district programming is boring and the council programming nonexistent, that lies in the fault of the volunteer ranks. For whatever reason, these volunteers either are don't exist in your council, are not up to your level or expectations, or are not fulfilling those roles. Somewhere in your council some volunteers need to start focusing on fixing this situation. I know in your case you a
  11. Sorry - what I meant is that our council is not trying to do anything shady with fees in this time. There is no pressure to increase charges for events, not pressure to set unusual refund deadlines, no pressure to have events just for the money. Yes - our council has not reduced the program fee. I am certain that many parents are frustrated that they need to continue t pay the program fee.
  12. The problem that councils have with any of these sorts of discussions is that it is very difficult for a council to show value to an individual Scout. Scout executives, district executives, and mich of the staff are focused on sustaining the council. The money that a scout pays in terms of fees almost entirely goes to pay for amorphous things like DE salaries or office expenses or depreciation of equipment. Very little of that has any tangible benefit to youth. My recommendation has been that councils need to establish two different parts of their budget. One part pays for is funded by
  13. I suspect that if we look around the country, most councils are acting like the othe non-profits you describe. I know that our council is absolutely trying to do the right thing.
  14. Let's take a look at some numbers. I pulled Orange County CA's website and 990 and took a look. According to their website, they serve 20,000 youth members. From their 990 in 2018, they had expenses of $11.8 million dollars. Of that $11.8 million, they spend: $4.8 million in salaries $1.1 million in payroll taxes and benefits $1.1 million in depreciation/amortization $1.2 million in occupancy $879K in office expenses $299K in staff travel $272K in insurance $270K in interest on loans $1.9 million in a variety of other expenses F
  15. Yes, you are correct - sorry to have been vague. The poly wool pants of link to look nice and go with the poly wool shirt: Scouts BSA Polyester Wool Uniform Short Sleeve Shirt, Men's I'm happy I purchased a set, but I don't take them to camp.
  16. FWIW - It's not so much that it's anything goes. There is one set of pants that goes with each uniform shirt. Microfiber shirt - you purchase microfiber pants Canvas shirt - you purchase canvas pants Poly/wool shirt - you purchase poly/wool pants. Though I am sure that you technically can mix the materials, I almost never see that in reality.
  17. Agree 100% - each uniform material has it's place and a contingent of folks who like them. Myself, my favorite uniform is the venturing nylon ones. I wish the BSA would produce a tan version of those. They are light, comfy, and keep up pretty well. My outdoor uniform is canvas. My son had the microfiber ones and I never liked how they aged. I thought that they look nice at first, but given a couple of years they start to look "soft" and. I've got a poly/wool uniform too. I like the look of it, but it's not rot really an outdoor uniform. You buy dress slacks to do with th
  18. I do believe that JTE needs to exist in some form. I was a long time Troop Committee Chair of a solid "Grade A" troop. Were we perfect - no, certainly not. But, when we got to JTE time we always achieved gold because we were doing most of the things on the form already. We had high participation, great program, lots of advancement, were the largest troop in the district, had a lot of adult volunteers, etc. We achieved all of this because we had a solid team of adults volunteers who were minding the ship. When I retired and started helping in the district, I realized the same thi
  19. While we can point to other institutions such as schools that require a lower adult presence, the BSA is simply not in a position anymore to do that. We can mourn what once was, but the reality is that even if the BSA had the ability to go back to the way it ran 30+ years ago, it really should not. Perhaps one day down the road trust will return and processes will improve, but that is unlikely to occur in any of our lifetimes. The best thing for Scouts now is to figure out how to best operate in this new reality.
  20. If I look at the JTE requirements, 5 of 11 are program related. Pointwise, they contribute 900 points towards the total. You only need 1,000 points in 2021 to achieve gold and so almost all of the focus of the troop could be program and they'd get gold. I am sure there are other measures that would define a troop with a good program. Should we: replace some of the existing program items with new program items? replace some of the non-program items with more program items? add more program items keeping the scores the same? add more program items and increasing t
  21. I am sure this is the trade off of all such strategic goals. Do we set an attainable goal or do we set an aspirational goal? I believe the BSA went for aspirational, not attainable. Both approaches have merits. I think it's just a choice in style.
  22. I was thinking something more like: By 2030, we want to achieve 30% female youth membership. But, you are correct - simply saying that councils should show annual improvement towards the goal does allow for councils to claim success prior to achieving the 50%.
  23. RIght - it strikes me that they believe the Scouting membership should mirror general population trends. We saw something similar with minority recruiting. I think one could argue that they could have introduced a series of graduated steps with milestones for councils to achieve. It looks to me like they just took the overall goal and said - "councils, make this your goal too." We can differ on whether it's the right goal or not, but it does seem to be what is happening.
  24. Possibly it's a mistake - but also perhaps not. Scouting membership is in the range of 3% of total available youth today. Female membership is certainly much, much lower. It would strike me that there is a good probability that increasing the number of female Scouts is an achievable goal.
  25. Hi @Chadamus, Sorry to be a few days late here. It's probably also worth noting the BSA publication, "Troop Leader Guidebook, Volume 1" describes a role of Assistant Scoutmaster for Advancement In the same manual, it also says: My interpretation of the BSA's materials is that a Troop can assign most of the traditional duties of an advancement chair/coordinator to an ASM. There still should be someone overseeing this on the Troop committee, but the week to week work can indeed be done by an ASM. Hope this helps.
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