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ParkMan

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Posts posted by ParkMan

  1. 2 hours ago, ThenNow said:

    When I stand back and look at the mosaic of this story as it plays out, I cast National in the role of the wealthy ruler trying to make an escape to establish its domain on the far shore. Arrogant, defiant and unwise, the ruler makes a fatal of error of judgement. He has loaded the ship with so much wealth that it sinks halfway across the channel. His subjects, left on the shore, must fend off the marauders at the gate with little by way of stores, few resources and no precious metals or gems with which to negotiate. (Not saying we survivor claimants are marauders, but you get the idea. A certain lawyer has long ago auditioned and been cast in that starring role.)

    As I expect that you would.  Are you not a member of the group suing the BSA?

    Seems to me what we really have here is two groups:

    • those was hurt a years ago trying to extract as much money from Scouting as possible
    • those who are involved in the program today trying to preserve as much of Scouting as possible

    I know the media has portrayed this as victims vs. the national BSA - but at this point, it's really gone beyond that.  This is about how much of Scouting in the US do the claimants want to dismantle.  Of course the claimants are going to try to make national look awful and belittle the offer.  That's in their best interest.

    You've stated that the claimants want the BSA to contribute 1.3billion or more - not the $500+ million being discussed now.  The way the claimants get to that requires the BSA to sell of camps and facilities used by kids today.  Facilities that have been assembled over 100 years and countless contributions.  Facilities that have been improved by countless millions of hours of sweat equity by kids and volunteers.  Yep, few of us love the Summit, but Philmont, Sea Base, and our local camps are important to the program.   If our council has to contribute 2-3 million dollars, we'll have to sell our camp.  Summer Camp is gone, camporees and other large events are gone, low cost camping is gone.

    Strikes me that the BSA is doing the responsible thing for Scouting here - trying to protect as much of program as it can for kids today and in the future. 

    If I look at this dispassionately, its just a group of people just trying to preserve as much of Scouting as possible while claimants are trying to extract as much as thy can.

    • Upvote 1
  2. 14 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

    Is anyone here connected in a meaningful way to a member of the Ad Hoc Committee? I am curious if they have any real influence and if I am correct in my assertion that many LC’s consider themselves beyond the reach of its representation and influence. I know some do, but not the degree to which, how divided the group is, and etc.

    I will be interested to hear if you get a response. 

    I am not connected to these discussions even tangentially and everything that I have ever heard is that our own council is involved in a good faith way in what is going on.  Each council will get advice from legal council and so will and will not say certain things.  Those statements may seem adversarial - but in reality they are simply protective measures trying to navigate this process in the most responsible way possible.  In a world where it is very likely that that victims and their lawyers will drive liquidation of the BSA and cessation of the program, no one wants to do or say anything that would increase the chance of that.

  3. 10 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

    I think you can pretty much convert that hunch to something resembling a fact.

    And the only way you get to those levels is to:

    • close the BSA at the national level - sell off all national assets and HA bases.
    • merge all councils in a territory in to one organization.  Sell all camps and facilities - leave one camp per each of the 16 regions for a summer camp.  

    My guess is that a year from now the BSA is a confederation of 16 territories with 16 regional camps and no local councils.

  4. 1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Even been amazingly charitable here. $220M from National + $300M from councils = $520M. Then let's say only 25% of the 95,000 claims are deemed valid. That's 23,750 claims vs. $520M. $21,894 per claim. That's the most charitable.

    But let's go crazy here. Let's say BSA is entirely liquidated. HA bases. HQ. Everything up to and including the office furniture at HQ. $1 billion from National, $300 million from councils. You are still with a mere 23,750 claims looking at only $54,736.

    There's just no way the math works on this. where you get to 66% of the class UNLESS

    a) Council assets are tossed in MASSIVELY.

    b) there are enough victims who are ready to say "I don't want to kill off BSA, therefore I'll take a pittance."

    Like I said, this is different than I felt 48 hours ago. But I just don't see it surviving now.

    I don't know if $1.3 billion will be enough.  I suspect that they will ask councils to contribute $1 billion.  The language I've read suggests that the victims lawyers believe that the councils have more assets than national.  I expect the victims target number is $2 billion.

     

  5. Which is why I try to avoid these kinds of discussions in my life.  I don't see that we can ever reach a conclusion on these debates - even amongst Scouters.

    Myself, I think the message is:

    • it's without question that abuse happened
    • Scouters in the BSA should always do whatever we can to prevent the abuse of youth.
    • When abuse occurs, we should focus on learning what happened and work to learn from those cases so we can prevent it in the future.

    To me, the relevant question is whether the BSA is safe today. 

    • Regardless of whether it was safe in the 1980s and before - is it safe now? 
    • Have we learned the hard cultural lessons that led us to not address this aggressively as we could have? 

    What we did back then does not have to reflect on who we are today - unless we let it.  This is why I don't think we should engage in defending that time period.  When we defend it, we suggest that we agree that they made the right decisions - that given the same information we'd make the same choice today.  I don't think that's the message we want to send.

     

    • Upvote 2
  6. 19 hours ago, elitts said:

     I think the issue of "this could be libel" is much more of an explanation that supporters have tossed out there after the fact.  The one recurring explanation I've seen from people involved all those years ago, and the one I find somewhat compelling is: "Who are we to instigate a police investigation into something when the victim (or their family) don't want the police involved?"

    Now, the view of this issue has changed over time with there being a view today that the victims right to anonymity is outweighed by the importance of getting a predator off the streets, but I still don't think you can hold the idea of respecting the victims wishes to be entirely wrong.  Particularly not when evaluating the appropriateness of actions taken before the beliefs changed.

    This is why it's important for supporters of the BSA to never try to defend the actions or inactions of the BSA back then.  What was wrong was wrong.

    But it is fair to argue over the appropriate punishment.  This is why SOL make sense.

    • Upvote 1
  7. 23 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

    This simply isn't true.  First and foremost libel has to involve a false statement.  If Johnny's father comes to a BSA official and says Scoutmaster X molested Johnny, BSA official can call the police and say, Johnny's father said Scoutmaster X molested Johnny.  There can be no falsity in that statement.  The BSA CANNOT be held liable for any defamation even if Johnny and/or his father were lying.  

    Outside of reporting to the police, BSA never would have to publicly accuse anyone of anything.  If they had any belief that a person might be a molester they simply had to remove him from the organization, they never would have had to give any explanation to anyone publicly as to why they did that.

    Much more importantly, none of these lawsuits are about whether BSA called police after the fact.  They are about whether BSA was negligent in the selection or control of their leaders such that but for that negligence the molestation would not have occurred.  If Johnny's father told BSA that Johnny was molested, and BSA did nothing, and Scoutmaster continued to molest Johnny or other scouts, that would be negligence. 

    Do you have any examples you can cite from your research where the BSA/Council declined to act specifically because they were afraid of being sued?  More importantly are there many/any actual lawsuits that were filed that would make that fear of being sued even a reasonable fear?  Then, probably even more so than now, it would have been rare for an accused molester to have wanted to publicly fight that charge.  

    I have to add parenthetically that declining to act because you might have to defend your actions is a coward's response in the case of stopping the rape of children.  If that was someone's level of being Brave than they shouldn't, in my opinion, have been involved in running the scouting program in the first place. 

    Thank you for the context.

    I am intellectually curious to know more about what happened, what the BSA did, and what the BSA did not do.  I've heard various anicdotal comments, but do not recall seeing an impartial authoritative piece. 

    Yet - I've come to the conclusion that making an argument about whether the BSA did enough back then is a mistake.  The BSA and it's supporters will always lose an argument of whether the BSA did enough to prevent abuse.  Even one single case of abuse is too much.  

    To me the better argument is that "we believe the accusers, we have learned,  we are working as hard as possible, and will continue to work as hard as possible to make sure abuse can never happen again."  Be recognized as the leader on this issue today.

     

  8. 1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Sorta.

    While there are a host of reasons why BSA National had a weak PR presence prior to January 2020 I can tell you the big reason since has likely been the lawyers telling National leadership to keep quiet.

    Why they did a lousy job prior is anyone's guess.

     

    1 hour ago, David CO said:

    You're dreaming.  There is no way to turn the child sexual abuse scandal into a positive message.  

    Uncle - I give up.  

    To me, this is a big part of the reason the BSA is in decline.  It's always easier to take the safe road.  It takes some vision for the BSA to define itself for 2021 and beyond.  This is probably why the BSA doesn't have a stronger PR organization because we lack that willingness to have a vision and lead here.

      

  9. 40 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

    This is where the attorneys come in and say, "No can do." Too many ways that can go south. Quickly.

    There are two specific examples illustrating the degree to which the internal message has been and is being managed. Check out the Mosby and Turley statements last year. Not once is the word "sexual" used. Lots of references to "victims," "abuse" and "harm," but no mention of the type, source or nature. 

    Thank you.

    I will recognize that I'm describing a goal more than a solution here - but it strikes me that must be cases nationally where organizations and politicians have been able to craft a PR strategy that takes historic bad acts and lawsuits and turns them into a positive message.  

    I understand that these approaches must make lawyers squirm - but there has to be a way here.  My sense is that the BSA typically has something of a bunker mentality.  As such, I expect that the discussion in the national offices are indeed focused on limiting exposure in the lawsuit. 

    I appreciate all that has been said here by you and others.  I suspect that these sorts of issues are why the BSA has always had a very weak PR presence.  It's why despite the population of the US going up, participation in program has gone down.  It's why the BSA has routinely been late to respond to trends in demographics.  It's why the BSA has been overshadowed time and time again in the media.  Good PR strategies and hard and require skilled, knowledgeable people to run them.  They know how to deal with the concerns of lawyers and lawsuits.  They require teams to be proactive and understand the media process.  In short, we need the PR team of Apple, not of Blackberry.  Sadly I think we hired the Blackberry team.

    I think we're going to have to just agree to disagree here.  

  10. 1 hour ago, ThenNow said:

    I worked in Washington, DC on two separate gigs. One, for a Member of Congress and the other many years later as Exec. Director of a Policy office. I believe this is precisely on point. The element I see missing is the critical secret weapon in these situations: surrogates.

    When an individual is in a difficult situation and cannot afford to have anyone officially affiliated with them speak in their defense, they release the carefully chosen surrogates. If well selected, their ability to offer commentary and support is a key leveraging strategy to influence public opinion and bolster the position of the principal. I've wondered where the power players are who are deeply involved with and still love Scouting. In this critical moment, crickets...

    To use another political concept, I essentially keep thinking of a concept I heard a lot about in the Clinton days - triangulation.

    Instead of the BSA defensively responding and requiring surrogates to defend it, why not simply own their history and become an advocate for those that were harmed?

    In essence, change the narrative.  If someone wants to talk about 95,000 abuse cases - talk about 95,000 abuse cases.  Ally with the people making the claims.  Ally with the people leading the cause.  Don't make it about victims vs. the BSA.  Make it about Scouting being a leader in protecting children.

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  11. 23 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

    Zach Galifianakis - Eagle Scout - Hangover Star - Between Two Ferns ... 

    Excellent suggestion.  I know that many would think this would be in jest, but this is a wonderful idea.

    Imagine a Scouting campaign that showed real successful people and how Scouting helped them.  Back in the 60s/70s I think there was a thing like this about astronauts.  Today make it about media people.

  12. 1 hour ago, yknot said:

    I worked in PR as a consultant at the highest levels for Fortune 100 top executives for big pharma, big auto, big energy, big tech. This is not how it is played. You don't wait, you get out first. You control the message. You are not passive or silent. Any corporate level executive, any upper management at even a mid level business, would know this. It is inexplicable how passive and mute BSA has been. 

    Though I am not a PR professional, I have been around enough companies that are good at this to completely concur.  You see the same thing in successful politicians.

    It is never about attacking the victims.  The BSA should never need to attack the victims.  It is all about controlling the narrative as @yknot said so eloquently. 

    The BSA should be out there holding events, on new shows, wherever they can be having conversations about how important it is to develop youth in our complex, challenging world.  They should be the advocate for helping kids solve problems, be prepared for the future, for being leaders.   They should be leveraging the BSAs history to talk about how to keep kids safe in a scary world.  They should be driving initiatives pushing for national registries for adult volunteers.  They should be offering the BSA collateral to any youth organization that wants it.  

    Today, when people hear Scouting - they think of the lawsuit and abuse.  But, instead the BSA should be driving a narrative so that when people hear Scouting, they think - champion for protecting youth, champion for developing youth, and champion for the outdoors.

    Let's be honest - the BSA knows nothing about public relations at this level.  The executives and lawyers at the BSA are minnows swimming in a pool of sharks.  This is why the BSA needs a tier 1, blue ribbon public relations firm to drive this. 

  13. 1 hour ago, yknot said:

    The problem is this is war. Stop fussing about how fair or unfair it is, or how we used to do things, or parsing out the legal angles and simply figure out how to win it. No one at BSA is a war time leader. 

     

    46 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    And what exactly does "war" look like? What does a "win" look like?

    Let's game that out.

    1) BSA, through I don't know let's say Mosby, declares that this bankruptcy is a "war" of BSA vs. the victims (or maybe just the victim's lawyers?)

    2) He declares, in no uncertain terms, BSA will...what exactly? Refuse to negotiate or continue with mediation? Withdraw the bankruptcy petition and dare the (thousands) of plaintiffs to sue in court?

    3) What does that "win" BSA? A public relations nightmare ("BSA declares war on victims."). A decade, if not more, of lawsuits against National + every Council and CO.

    It is one thing to demand "War". To demand BSA "Win".

    Please define the terms.

    I think @yknot is spot on.

    A war leader would find a way to get ahead of the public relations conversation here.  The BSA doesn't win by being anti-victims. 

    The BSA could win by getting out ahead and changing the conversation.  Find a way to make this a discussion about the value of investing in the kids of today.  Find a way to make this a discussion about how lawyers are playing both the victims and the youth of today to line their pockets.  Get the BSA out in front of the public relations message.

    Were I Mosby, first thing I would have done is write the biggest check - one so big I had to beg from donors to pay for it.  Hire the strongest, most aggressive PR firm in the country.  Change the narrative.  

    I'm reminded of the quote from the movie The Untouchables "you don't bring a knife to a gun fight."  The BSA hasn't learned that.

    • Haha 1
  14. 32 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

    It had nothing to do with trying to convince you, a den mother, a Scout or anyone else. I don't believe that's what I've been doing or attempted to do here. I wanted to offer a respectful and thoughtful response from my experience. You raised great points in both posts and I wanted to ponder and engage the various elements.

    I think that's the best we can hope for here.  Share our own views on these topics and in the process be enriched from each other.

    I've welcomed your comments on this topic - in fact, I had not seen the website you referenced before.  I also think that as an abuse victim you bring a different perspective to the discussion here that is very welcome.

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 1
  15. I have similar struggles with the idea of extending SOL for civil liabilities for non-profit organizations like the BSA.

    Extending SOL for criminal prosecution is something that I am 100% behind.  I am 100% in support of extending SOL for civil liabilities for individuals.  If an individual abused a Scout, 75 years ago they should held criminally and civilly liable to the fullest extent of the law.  Similarly, for profit corporations that benefit financially and use that benefit to build their stock value should be held liable as well.

    Further - I of course want to see victims of abuse receive compensation for the reprehensible things that happened.

    In the case of an organization like the BSA - the organization today has very few ties to what happened 30+ years ago.  The organization has taken numerous steps to correct the mistakes it made in the past.  From what I can tell, the BSA today is a leader in preventing the abuse of youth in the program.

    The sums of money being discussed here are such that they may very well destroy the program nationally.  I expect our council will have a large bill to pay next year even if the BSA survives.  There is a decent chance we'll sell our camp to pay for it.  The kids in the program will undoubtly be paying $100+ a year in dues next year.  I expect we'll see 50% of the remaining professional staff in the BSA laid to help meet the payments.  Professionals nationally were laid off in droves already.

    So while I absolutely want to compensate victims and I absolutely want to make it easy for victims to come forward, I do question the cost to the kids of today.  I suspect that kids of today would have been better off with some sort of court mandated oversight to ensure that rampant abuse of kids 30+ years ago was never possible again.

    I've no idea what the right answer is here.

  16. @5thGenTexan I'm so terribly sorry to hear the emotional roller coaster that you are on. 

    Scouting is a funny enterprise - we as volunteers come from all sorts of different backgrounds and styles.  It is very tough to know how to interpret the comments and suggestions from other volunteers.  At times, I've work with some of the absolutely friendliest, nicest Scouters.  Other times, I've worked with Scouters who lack a personal filter and have said things to me that drove my to lose my own mojo in Scouting.

    The only suggestion that I can give you is to be honest with those that you volunteer with.  I've found that I've made plenty of mistakes as a volunteer - but by and large most volunteers I work with completely understand that.  When I was a Cubmaster, I felt a lot of stress to live up to certain standards.  But, in retrospect what I missed was that people wanted to help me.   They wanted to support me and my work.

    So, do try not to be too hard on yourself.  I think you'll find that no-one in Scouting will ever be as critical of you as you are of yourself.  Most of the volunteers out there just want to see you be successful.

  17. If you are willing to volunteer and get registered, you will most likely make the Scoutmaster's day if you show up in uniform.

    Welcome to the world of volunteering!

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 1
  18. 44 minutes ago, MattR said:

    Time for a rant. This has nothing to do with how people are arguing about this topic. That part is fine. However, ...

    Between this thread and the eagle at 12 thread, is there any wonder that scouting does not interest youth? It looks like this program is nothing without recognition. When my son was in soccer the entire recognition for everyone, youth and adults, was at the end of the season, at a barbecue. It lasted maybe 15 minutes. The coach talked about each kid. Some parent thanked all the adults that helped out. Then dessert was served. Done. The program, the reason why kids wanted to be there, was the games. There were no worries about adults making it all about them. No worries about youth progressing too fast. No eagle. No knots. No one and done. No FOS. No BORs. No round table. No OA. No Scoutbook. Certainly no adult recognition dinners. I just get the feeling that all these sources of argument are nothing but contraptions that adults created so they could feel important.

    Maybe the program shouldn't be so important. Maybe all the shiny objects should be thrown out so the kids can just have fun. The scouts need places to camp and adults that know how to teach skills. That's it. It's a lot like soccer. If it doesn't support that then chuck it. If people can't support that then they are no longer needed.

    Point well taken.

    At the scout level just about all of this adult should be transparent - knots, FOS, round table, adult recognition dinners, Wood Badge, etc..  If it isn't, then we're doing it wrong. We're often quick to deride these things - but they really should frankly by inconsequential to the Scouts.

    To me the point is - let the program be the program.  If individuals make mistakes, correct them.  But I would encourage people to take a step back and let the program breathe.  Keep it simple, make it fun.

     

  19. 4 hours ago, mashmaster said:

    He never said he was anti-Woodbadge.  And he isn't beating up Woodbadge.  He stated that very clearly above.

    I never said he was anti-Wood Badge.  I said he's beating up Wood Badge.  I stand by that statement.

    My point is that as someone who is not anti-Wood Badge these sorts of statements jump out at me:

    7 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    I think there's two challenges here:

    1) The watering down of the program. Having never taken it in any of its iterations, I cannot comment.

    2) The Really Big Deal Cult. This manifests as a) acting as of they were elites/putting on airs/talking down to other Scouters (rare, I saw this only once personally, but I know it is a concern) or b) the cult of constant reference. I don't care what your critter is or was. I'm sorry, I really don't. And all that kind of referencing and chanting and singing and beading ceremonies that cut into scout time does is to send an "us cool kids club" message that you aren't part of the "cool kids".

     

    6 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Nope. I am not bashing Wood Badge. As I said, I never took the program, so I don't know.

    What I am "bashing" is The Really Big Deal Cult.

    [PERSONAL STORY REMOVED FOR QUOTING]

    So sorry, I am not a fan of Wood Badge is Wood Badge translates into "I am better than you."

    That said, I recognize not all Wood Badge people act like this. But they certainly embrace the cult of critters and talking amongst themselves and acting like there a club-within-a-club and if you are not part of the "club" then...oh well.

    We all get it - there are people who are over the top - it happens in every organization.  But, we do not need to look for opportunity after opportunity to complain about it.  We don't need to create labels like "Really Big Deal Cult" or "cult of critters" or assert that Wood Badge translates into "I am better than you."

    Point made, complaint registered.  Can we please stop taking every opportunity that arises to complain about those Wood Badgers who go over the top.  The continued negativity towards the program adds up.  Truthfully, you're not discouraging the pompus windbags from attending - you're discouraging the decent, humble Scouters who could benefit from the program.

  20. I am sure you've got your reasons for beating up on Wood Badge.  As someone who is not anti-Wood Badge, I perceive the frequency of such comments as being rooted in simply a dislike of the program.

    To use a similar analogy.  I'm someone who will never be able to attend a week long resident camp.  As such, I will never be a member of the OA.  Yet, I hear about the OA constantly.  OA events, OA inductions, OA campfires, OA ceremonies, OA drumming circles, and the list goes on.  I won't ever be eligible to be part of that restrictive club.  Yet, I've never once thought abut complaining about the OA, is practices, or what it does.  I've never complained about troop events that we've had to cancel because the Scouts and leaders had to run off to an OA event.  There are buildings and areas at our camp that I will never be able to leverage because they belong to the OA.  It's a restrictive club that I won't ever be invited to join.  Yet, I don't look for opportunities to complain about the Big Deal that is the OA.  I don't complain about the conversations that they have or events that they do.  It just is what it is.

     

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  21. You guys kill me.  Can we not miss an opportunity to bash Wood Badge?

    Wood Badge has beading ceremonies for one reason - tradition.  There have been beading ceremonies for years now and so it's just part of what happens.

    Wood Badge has the unique combination of a lot of history, takes a lot of effort to complete, and has some unique bling.  Most beading ceremonies I've attended give a short overview of Wood Badge, what the person did, and then simply give a overview of the bling, it's significance, and then present it.  

    Most beading ceremonies I've seen at a unit level are typically about 10 minutes.  They happen once every few years.  Often a bunch of experienced Scouters show up and present the beads.  It makes for something of a unusual and notable occurrence.  In my son's time in Cub Scouts, we saw two beadings.  No one complained.

     

    • Upvote 1
  22. 1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    We'll agree to disagree.

    Scouting is suppose to be about the youth. Not the adults.

    Scouting is suppose to be about the youth's accomplishments. Not the adults.

    Scouting is suppose to honor the youth's awards. Not the adults.

    Adults awarding each other awards should not be part of the equation. Do it at a district event, a committee meeting, the next SM/ASM meeting, etc.

    As I said, I was willing for Silver Buffalo only because it was literally BSA's top adult honor, but that was it.

    I'm happy for us to agree to disagree on this.

    Scouting is a youth program in which adults volunteer their time.  Taking a minute every so often to publicly say - "you did something notable" - to an adult volunteer is a good thing and it's good for youth to see that.  This is especially true for the direct contact leaders.

    Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.  These things don't happen too often, so taking 30 seconds to recognize an adult who receives some adult recognition or award is a good thing.

    Yes - it's a youth program for the youth.  But I think we can insert an appropriate pat on the back for our volunteers every so often.

    • Upvote 1
  23. 5 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Adult BSA awards and honors have NO business at a unit event.

    I disagree.  A unit is a community- youth who participate in the program, adults who volunteer to make it happen.  Taking a few minutes periodically to appropriately recognize the hard work and accomplishments of the adults sets a very good example for the youth.  It sets a good example for other adult volunteers.  It shows adults and Scouts in the room that the leaders in that unit are investing in their skills as a leader.  It provides an example for Scouts to mimic as they themselves present awards.  Finally, it's nice for a parent to get some recognition in front of their child.  

    To be clear though - the operative phrase is appropriate recognition.  A lot of substance can be conveyed in 30-60 seconds.

    • Upvote 3
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