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ParkMan

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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    I think it's very common knowledge that the national organization of the BSA is the midst of 600 sexual abuse lawsuits and active bankruptcy planning. I'm sure they'd love to manage these as common occurrences, but I can accept that they are not common occurrences.
  2. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    I'd encourage you to look at it from the other side. The BSA has worked very hard to establish itself as an organization that takes youth protection very seriously at all times. That means we have to embrace youth protection rules even when it's inconvenient. Yes, I grant that having to provide two deep registered adult leadership for Eagle projects is difficult, but protecting youth is more important.
  3. Sorry to append to my own post. From the article, I think she's a member of Suffolk County Council. On their website, they have an Eagle Scout Preparation Guide. It's at: https://www.sccbsa.org/files/21999/Eagle-Scout-Preparation-Guide In there, the only reference to Eagle Boards of Review says: So I have to imagine that she properly filed the application. Wither the council isn't forwarding the application or their district advancement committee is following instructions and not scheduling the board of review. I wasn't aware of rule 8.0.0.2 quoted in the article. It says: Later in 8.0.3.0 Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank Her argument appears technically correct. If the BSA wanted a special exception for girls, then they should have rewritten all of this.
  4. Agreed. It would strike me that these are the key passages: I have to imagine that the valid ways to delay a EBOR are: 1. The council advancement committee declares the process is that they schedule them and then decide not to schedule one for girls who request them. 2. The council does not verify the application because she is a girl From the rules I see, these are the only valid ways I could find.
  5. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    Fully agree and well said. I think National's been pretty consistent on this. If it looks like a Scout activity, two deep registered adult leadership over 21.
  6. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    FWIW - I only mentioned it because I had to really work as a pack & troop break the cycle of our other volunteers constantly bashing district, council, national, OA, Wood Badge, etc... It was like whatever happened, we liked to blame someone. Guess I'm a little more tuned into it.
  7. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    Thanks - I asked for a reason and this is a valid one. i.e. - if National had created a different culture, then benefactors would have helped us out of this situation. That's very fair. Personally, my gut tells me that the change in giving is more due to a general trend against faith in organized institutions. I've always thought it's due to the combination of Watergate and the rise in myriad news/analysis sources we have today. With countless TV, cable, and internet analysis channels, everyone is criticizing everything today. That has a net effect of eroding public support for most every institution. Just about every national level institution is less popular today than 40 years ago. We all see the mistakes they make today and those mistakes are magnified 1000x. When we were kids it was unusual to hear a story about a bad Scouting volunteer - and that was during the era when all that abuse was happening. Today, every misstep is reported over and over again.
  8. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    For what it's worth. In this case I think we have two choices: Describe this all as some kind of colossal screw up and blame national. i.e., "clearly these guys at national were not paying attention and let this turn into a big mess." Be transparent as best possible and provide an honest update. i.e., "National is under tremendous financial uncertainty and pressure. While I don't know the specifics, it sure appears that something unusual is keeping them from setting the fee for 2020. National is aware how important it is and hopefully we'll get it soon." Myself, I try to do the second. In 10 years as a unit leader, it always seems to work for me.
  9. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    How do you blame national for this fee increase? Everything I have read - here and in other places - clearly indicates that the reason for this fee increase is the increase in costs by the underwriters of our insurance program. The fees in this insurance program are growing because of lawsuits filed as the result of abuse cases that predate just about all of our involvement in Scouting. My understanding is that a significant reason for these current lawsuits is the extensions of state laws on the time frame upon which lawsuits needed to be filed. Further, it appears that many of these lawsuits are being organized by trial lawyers who are encouraging victims to file these lawsuits. I'm the first to support victims of abuse. What happened earlier in our history is reprehensible and beyond any defense. BSA leadership at the time only made things worse by being secretive with records. Abuse is a heinous crime. I cannot imagine what the current leadership of the organization could have done to prevent the abuse 20, 30, or more years ago and the current crop of lawsuits. As far as I can tell, they are instead working to do the proper thing to both keep the organization afloat and the respect the victims of abuse by our predecessors in the program.
  10. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    I'm not for a moment suggesting I'm in favor of an increase. Merely that predictions of doom and gloom as a result simply strike me as a bit strong. You make a fair point. Again, we all have financial lines that we cannot cross. My gut tells me that if a family is that engaged in Scouting, they probably see a lot of value in ir. My gut tells me that a 10% increase in the cost of participating in something that spend that much time in is likely to be absorbed. I'd make a distinction here. Is the national organization of the BSA worth $200 a year for a family of four? No, I would argue that it is not. However, is participating in the Scouting program as implemented in the BSA worth $1,100? I'd suggest that yes it is.
  11. ParkMan

    possible fee increase coming

    To be fair to those families. When someone joins anything - be it simming, scouting, soccer, whatever - they do a little cost/budget/benefit analysis. When you start changing the costs, families inherently are going to re-do that analysis in their mind. For some they really can't afford the new amount. For some, they just dislike having to pay more and so have a lot of frustration when they are asked to pay more. Of others, they look at the new amount and think "no problem". As I mentioned in @Cubmaster Pete's thread - based on my back of the napkin calculations, this will increase the cost of Cub Scouts from $200 to $233 (17%) and Scouts BSA from $500 to $533 (7%). These kind of increases are certainly not something I enjoy, but seems absorbable based on the benefits I see from the BSA. My gut tells me that most people will be able to absorb the increase. In my opinion, the specific things you get from the National Council are not worth an additional $33 a year. But, the value I get from the Scouting program in the BSA system is easily worth a 7% to 17% increase. The program structure in the BSA is very good, the activities provided by leaders for my kids outstanding, the advancement program is terrific, the facilities maintained by the councils & national outstanding. The district & council level programming provided is a nice bonus to our unit activities. The adult leader support & training that comes from volunteers & professionals is pretty extensive. I'm sure I could easily name more. Is it worth it to me to move to a less developed program over a 7% to 17% increase - I really don't think so.
  12. ParkMan

    Supporting the Patrol Method - as Unit Commissioner

    What an awesome!!!! idea. What a brain dead decision by the SE - doh! From hearing these stories, I realize that I'm in a pretty decent council with empowered volunteers. There's got to be some kind of national advisory board that hears these stories and establishes policy for SEs. Here's hoping...
  13. ParkMan

    Supporting the Patrol Method - as Unit Commissioner

    Why not do this anyways? As a UC you're a district level Scouter. Invent the award locally and start promoting it. Honestly, in our district folks would care way more about a local award than JTE.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. 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%?
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. National needs to fix the Scouting image problem before this will be doable. I predict at most 0.1% participation.
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