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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. 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 appro
  2. 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
  3. Another possibility is to spread out the awards over many roundtables. Perhaps each May you do Cub Scout leader awards. September you do Scouts BSA leader awards. February Venturing leader awards. December district leader awards. etc... Other months a quick recognition of training awards or WB beadings. Make it a 5-10 minute segment at tops. I like leveraging Roundtable in this fashion for awards for several reasons: We are leveraging an existing event to present an award. There isn't another meeting you have to attend It provides the opportunity for leaders to demonst
  4. There's two different audiences for this event: unit volunteers who normally do not participate in district activities district volunteers The reality is that unit volunteers who are otherwise not participating in district activities are very unlikely to show up for another event. We all have more meeting and requests for our time than we can keep up with - and something like a district awards banquet isn't high on many people's priority lists. Since the point of these events is to celebrate leaders, the trick is to find another way to celebrate them other than some sort of f
  5. Ahh - thanks! Side question - what is a national roundtable and how does one attend?
  6. I'm not seeing in the attached docs where the council holds the unit's money. The problem that I can see that councils face is what happens if a unit spends more money than it has. I assume that in this case the council is left being responsible for the debts of that unit. I would think that in this case the council would want some sort of audit oversight of the unit's spending. However, if a council tries to enforce the kinds of spending rules on units that they do in other places, then it will certainly create an off the books system. My guess is that councils will want to avo
  7. In practice I agree with you. However, I would welcome the BSA to show some leadership on questions like this. Not a formal document - I certainly don't need a training on the use of professional titles. But, I would welcome consistency in the BSA examples and would like to see them go with the more traditional Mr./Mrs.. The use of professional titles shouldn't be a cause of discomfort for youth, but if it is for some reason then the units should do the right thing. In fact, casually using Mr./Mrs. in Scouting is a great way for youth to see them used in a very relaxed setting. Heck
  8. My first time being called Mr. was when I went on my younger brother's Boy Scout campout during college. The Scoutmaster refered to me as Mr. around the Scouts. It was surreal for a moment, but upon thinking about it I realized it was the right thing to do. In our Pack and Troop it has always been Mr./Mrs./Dr./etc. unless someone specifically asks to be called by their first name. Usually it seems like it's the Cubmaster or Scoutmaster who wants that. Rarely does anyone get Dr. unless they are an MD and it is well known. We've had leaders who are PhDs, but folks almost never know it
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. @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
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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
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