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Posts posted by ParkMan

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 5 hours ago, fred8033 said:

    Yep.  I'd also add a reminder.  Most people did not attend to listen to your awards.  So keeping it short, succinct, FUN and meaningful will make it acceptable to them.   Woodbadge Beadings are a big culprit here.  They almost always run ten minutes or longer.  You have 60 seconds to 20 seconds.  Don't take ten or twenty minutes.  It's painful and I end up regretting being there. 

    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:

    1. We are leveraging an existing event to present an award.  There isn't another meeting you have to attend
    2. It provides the opportunity for leaders to demonstrate appropriate awards ceremonies.  It provides training through examples.
    3. It provides a motivation to newer leaders
    4. It focuses on Roundtable as the monthly district meeting.  Just as a troop meeting of pack meeting has multiple purposes, so too can Roundtable.
    • Upvote 1
  4. There's two different audiences for this event:

    1. unit volunteers who normally do not participate in district activities
    2. 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 formal dinner or event.  

    For district volunteers, these sort of events provide an opportunity for fellowship with other district volunteers.  It's no different than unit leaders who might get together for a fun event at  the unit level.  However, even for these people - more meetings are yet more time away from family.  So, while they enjoy getting together - for the more committed district volunteers it is difficult to justify another meeting.

    My recommendation - fit your district awards into an existing district event.  Roundtable is a great venue for this.  Create a 20 minute program to award all your district awards and make it an item at a roundtable meeting.  Don't take over roundtable and don't make it longer - simply "borrow" some time before breakouts.  Perhaps that month announcements are kept to 5 minutes of critical items and everything else done via. a handout.  Make that 20 minutes of awards the most meaningful 20 minutes you possibly can.  Short announcements of each winner with a fun picture and personal note about each.  Short, succinct, and meaningful.

    • Upvote 2
  5. 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 avoid this if at all possible.  Other than continuing for these units to exist, there is no benefit to the council for all this added effort.  

  6. 4 hours ago, yknot said:

    I think this is something best left to the particular troop culture. If you have kids who are completely intimidated by adults, then allowing use of first names might relax them. If you have kids who lack basic respect and manners, then setting the tone with a Mr./Mrs./Ms. might be the way to go. They are used to the Mr./Mrs. model in school and most other youth activities so I tend to follow that. Personally, I don't think most American kids have a big problem with confidence. That's one of the few metrics on which U.S. students habitually outscore international students. I have sometimes addressed scouts as Mr. Last Name as well but that's usually just been when I've been trying to get someone's attention. It does work, lol. One of the most effective leaders I ever had used surnames but also gave almost everyone nicknames. His methods were unique, but they created an incredible sense of corps de esprit. I think good leaders just figure it out. 

    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, as a Committee Chair I'd often called Scouts Mr. [name].  It wasn't formal or stiff and was just as comfortable as using first names.  Along the way it showed a certain amount of respect to the youth.  

  7. 1 hour ago, The Latin Scot said:

    My general instinct is to push back against overly-casual trends in language and manners. I cringe whenever I hear a young person address an adult leader or teacher by their first name, and especially at official Scout meetings and the like I try to impress upon the Scouts the need to address me by Mr. (or Brother in Church settings).

    However, I am much, much younger than most other leaders in similar positions in the troop and district, and I am neither married nor do I have children of my own. My own father is still a very active and widely-respected member of the community (we have lived here for almost 35 years), while I only moved back from college a few years ago. Most Scouts hear other parents and leaders address me by my first name, and are thus inclined to do likewise. And since I grew up here, many of the more seasoned Scouters in this area were my leaders years ago anyway, and seem averse to using any other moniker that that with which they knew me as a kid. 

    The long and short of this is that I am RARELY addressed as either Mr. or Brother, though I universally insist that the Scouts address all other leaders as such (unless of course they be Mrs./Miss or Sister). And besides, it IS strange to me when people use Mr. or Brother when addressing me since that is my father's name, and so to prevent any confusion, he (justifiably) takes precedent over me. And while I am generally a real stickler for propriety and formality (two of my favorite things 😇), I am usually okay with this. As I am still a single, admittedly child-like soul in many ways, I don't see myself as being particularly wiser nor more capable than most of the youth anyway, and so I feel justified by the singular breach in protocol regarding my own person being addressed by my given name.


    I do, however, happily and eagerly encourage the use of sobriquets when I must be referred to by Mr. or Brother, sobriquets such as the Younger, el Hijo, the Wise, et cetera. 😂

    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 and so no one ever uses it.  Using Mr./Mrs./etc. seems like a part of the Adult Association method of Scouting to me.

  8. 1 hour ago, MattR said:

    This idea that we're breaking norms or rules by asking for something that will help us out sort of illustrates the problem. If the council's primary focus was on helping units put on a better program then the answer would not be, no, you can't do that. It would be let's figure out how to make this work. @ValleyBoy doesn't want to wait months to get paid back but the council wants to keep records. Okay, settle the accounts at the camporee and write down what was paid for, generate receipts for the accounting system that can be put in the following Monday. If they have enough cash they can finish it right there. If not, how about having the DE write a check on a council bank or just ensuring that it will take no more than a week to have a check sent out. None of this is complicated, it just takes a mind shift from being driven by rules and being driven by a desire to help units.

    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.  As such, they simply do not know what questions to ask and where to advocate.


  9. 5 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Except, and this is the key, there's no such thing as a "district surplus". Districts have no budgetary or financial authority.

    What you want to achieve (districts financially independent of councils able to keep and spend their own money) would require the amendments to the Charter, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations I previously mentioned.

    Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America

    LOCAL COUNCILS control the raising.

    LOCAL COUNCILS control the expenditures.

    Not Districts which (as I noted) exist at the will and the whim of the Council.

    What you want to do is amend this I guess to


    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 responsible for a geographic area.  Just as the council program committee has a budget, so too does a district.  The difference is that districts have a bit more autonomy than many other council committees.  That autonomy is a two way street as districts are often less effective at navigating things like council budgeting processes. 

    There is absolutely nothing in the council budgeting process that disfavors districts.  When I was reviewing our district budgets, there was absolutely nothing in our programming that the budgeting process structurally prevented us from doing.  Most of our volunteers just had never bothered to learn how to navigate it.  Further, there is a behavior that I have seen most of our district volunteers that they do not realize how much authority they really do have.  Our district camporee chair could have built a budget that allocated for acquisition of equipment and could have worked with the various folks in the council accounting structure to figure out how to amortize that over several years.  But, no one ever does that kind of stuff.

    In the context of this discussion, my proposal is that council budget chairs do real outreach to district volunteers to make sure they understand the budgeting process.  That national create content on how councils should effectivly engage with districts in the budgeting process so that districts have the resources they need to demonstrate value to units & to individual Scouts.

  10. 5 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Because legally and financially speaking, BSA does not recognize any such program as permitted. That money belongs to the COUNCIL. Any funds belong to the COUNCIL (or National, depending on the context). Districts are appendages of the Council and it is the Council that sets and approves expenditures. Not districts. Districts do not exist as independent entities for such purposes and they have NO authority to save, collect, or spend.

    Moreover, and I know a few councils that have done this, they have simply eliminated districts outright.

    So, for this plan to work, you would need to amend at least 4 sections of the Boy Scouts of America Charter and Bylaws and rewrite the District and Council segments of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America.


    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 really is any true animosity.  Our council finance volunteers don't have any real district experience and so they just don't know what they don't know.


  11. 3 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    Just thinking about this...and please help me flesh out these thoughts...

    The IRS allows individuals to receive monetary gifts, up to a certain amount, tax free.  I have often thought units might give (even anonymously) gifts to value-added council employees to support them directly.  2020 & 2021 exclusion is $15K.

    Give privately, so council doesn't reduce their salaries.

    Having done Lone Scouting in various locations around the world (registration and support processes through electronic means), and with Scoutbook and Scoutshop on line, I can see a future for unit-level Scouting without the need for a district/council structure.

    We ran our own Summer Camp.  Kids loved it.  Agree that many units would not be able to mount that sort of effort.

    Maybe "Council" should just be centered around the Summer Camp (or a long-term camping experience).  Now that I think of it, that is where most of our council's expenditures are (outside of salaries) anyway.  (So, if we have a full-time paid Camp Director on staff, why should the SE be making a salary that puts them in the top 7% economic bracket, nation-wide??  The SE isn't the one managing the top expenditure in the council, the Camp Director is.  Hmmmm)

    Training done regionally...maybe with smaller regional area divisions, supported by National???

    What to do about insurance, though...we do need that support...

    Again, musings...have a great weekend.   Going camping now ;)


    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.

  12. 38 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

    How hard would it be for the Council to just keep a ledger.  Money comes in from a camporee it goes into the council account and a credit entry is made in the district ledger.  Expenses for the event are paid from the council account anNd a debit is entered in the district ledger.  Camporee makes money there is a credit balance in the ledger to start the next event.  It would require council to keep their hands off the actual money though.

    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.

  13. 11 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    BSA already has this in place if Councils and Districts would use it.



    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 either:

    • a council budget committee that wants to build a strong district funding approach
    • a district committee who knows the process and can effectively advocate for their needs

    I do believe the current system can function to allow for districts to get better funding.  However, it is not setup to encourage stronger funding of districts.  This is where I think national can really help.  They could create a small series of info sessions/trainings that highlight how a district should get funded.  They could create information on what a good district budget looks like.  In short, I think National could show some leadership on the topic - help all the volunteers who make this work to better understand how to create effective funding mechanisms that show value to scouts.

  14. 24 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    This is to my understanding not a Council issue but BSA. Districts are not allowed to have their own accounts/fund or to keep/retain money. ALL funds are directed or revert to Council.

    To confirm yes, all funds raised in the name of Scouting are Council's (other than unit fundraising) or National's. You therefore are not permitted to maintain your own accounts/"pot of money."

    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.  Assuming most councils are like mine, districts maintain very meager budget items because they simply don't have a seat at the table and request those funds.  It's a sort of institutional neglect that goes on.  Council budget committees are not accustomed to asking districts for this info.  Districts are not used to advocating for it.  I see it in our council clearly - both volunteer teams (district programming & council budget) are doing what they think is expected and don't realize that there are questions not being asked.  The DEs facilitate this process because they know to simply play the game as defined.  

    This is an area where the BSA could do a better job.  Instead of setting up a system where districts need to go fight the council budgeting process, they could setup a system where the expectation is that council budget committees are actively trying to determine what funds districts need.  This would require a mind shift, but it is one that I suspect long term would be well worthwhile.

  15. 11 hours ago, MattR said:

    When I was the district camping chair, one thing I asked for was the ability to have my own pot of money. If I bring in extra money on one event then the next I could charge less. The goal would have been for the district to spend all the money it brought in. Instead, we were forced to start over for every event and also pay a tax to the council to cover salaries of paid staff. Also, giving us some storage would be nice so we wouldn't have to borrow from troops. Collecting pioneering poles from thinning out the trees on camp property. Not having to pay for rope out of my own pocket would have been nice. Replacing the axle on the canoe trailer so we could use the canoes at a camporee would have been nice. A really nice one would be to encourage DEs to support district staffs for doing things like ordering patches, showing up and encouraging events. Maybe if the emphasis was on supporting units, and that's what camporees are intended for, the DE's might notice that a great way to help district camping chairs would be to get them together once in a while to share ideas. They could pass around entire camporee themes and really make it much easier on those district volunteers.

    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 program fees would allow for.

    Perhaps if national required that when a program fee is collected, some % be allocated to districts for equipment and expenses to strengthen programming.


  16. 40 minutes ago, MattR said:

    How is it that a discussion about council budgets went back to a discussion about volunteers? Cost of running a council, and whether there's value for that cost is being related to how good the volunteers are. That tells me that the $600/year should entirely go to helping those volunteers. This is why budgets need to be transparent. And not at a one page view but where all the money is spent. If it turns out that camp infrastructure (dining halls, showers, wifi, etc) is where all the money is going and none of this is helping the volunteers put on camporees, and nobody really cares for the summer camp, then the money is going to the wrong place. This is what I meant by tough questions.

    I just know my council, but this idea of supporting volunteers is not happening. When some council says hooray, we will lower fees because FOS was high enough, all I can think is the parents donating more money is just delaying the inevitable. Cost keeps going up but value does not. That's not a recipe for success.


    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 volunteers organize camporees?  What should a council do to help volunteers organize a pinewood derby?

    • Like 1
  17. 22 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    @MattR and others...

    Spot on!

    A council (or any organization) must be of value, be able to demonstrate that value, and advocate for their value-added to Scouting.

    Our council is dysfunctional, for many reasons similar to those some of you see in other councils.

    That was my challenge to our council. "If you want our money and support, please tell us what value you give to our program." 

    -  Our district events are not fun or interesting for our Scouts, therefore not well attended.  If our PLC does not wish to do District events, I CANNOT veto them.  I only veto their decisions for health and safety reasons.  I have given much time to District events and Committees, but for the last two years, our SE has denied my participation, ostensibly based on my non-support of FOS.  Our PLC has volunteered to help run a few District events.  For the last two, the PLC responded on short notice to staff stations at an event, and, after jumping through hoops to get people and materials together, were told at the last minute, "We don't need you now, we have adults who will staff the event stations."

    - Our council events?  Aren't any...our last council-level event for units was three years ago.  Our Troop supported it, and constructed a Pioneering project that was a hit.  Constant line to participate and climb on it...  Cost for the event was $30 a head, and that did not include food cost for our unit.  Did not get program value for $30 a head.  (Our local amusement parks charge about $40 a head for groups over 20. Our Scouts prefer those.)

    - Our OA Lodge?  A self-serving organization that does nothing visible for our units.  Our Committee and I support using the OA in our unit as an honor recognition for our Scouts.  When they start doing service events in our council or community, I will encourage them to wider participation.

    - Our local camp?  Our Scouts don't want to go there to camp or for Summer Camp.  The facilities are horrible, and we can get similar or better services from our county and state parks, or local facilities, for cheaper prices, with less interference and interruption to our program.  Our unit has done at least eight service projects over the past five years worth thousands of dollars to improve portions of camp...  not one iota of thanks or recognition for our Scouts.  (Not that they do it for the thanks, but gratitude costs little to nothing.  We did a service project for our local land conservation non-profit (with expenditures similar to our council) and every single Scout participating got a hand-written thank you card from them.)

    - Our Scout Shop?  Awesome, keep it.  Although, we can get everything we need from on line Scout Shop, at same prices.  Our local shop allows us to get 99% of our needs quicker...you pay for convenience ;)

    - Our Registrar?  Awesome.  But, I believe most functions could be automated and placed on line.  Scoutbook has been a huge improvement in our ability and agility to file for advancements and recognize our Scouts.  It took two years of lobbying to get our council to put MBC lists in Scoutbook.

    - Our District Executive?  Don't have one.  I have done the Charter Agreement for our CO for the last four years, and delivered it to council.  We get support from our Scout office in no-cost-to-unit printing of recruiting materials.

    - Our Unit Commissioner?  Don't know who that is this week (sarcasm).  A Commissioner only visits when I specifically ask our District Commissioner for a visit.  They have an open invitation to attend any event or outing.  Never seen one...  "The commissioner is the liaison between the local council and Scouting units. The commissioner’s mission is to keep units operating at maximum efficiency, maintain regular contact with unit leaders, coach leaders on where to find assistance, note weaknesses in programs, and suggest remedies. The commissioner is successful when units effectively deliver the ideals of Scouting to their members."  I know we are one of the best units in District and Council, but we never get that feedback from any level...  We are left in a state of benign neglect.  I have offered to become a Commissioner when my tenure ends this year.  Will be dependent on whether SE still denies my participation at the district and council level.

    and the list goes on...

    I would love for our council to improve, but suggestions for change are not solicited, and, when given, are routinely ignored or rejected.



    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 are trying to get involved and the SE is blocking you.  I cannot fathom why it is happening in your specific case and it is unfortunate.  

    Being a unit volunteer for a long time and now a district volunteer for a long time, I've been struck by the reality that there is really a continuum of volunteerism that is needed.  For a district to provide interesting programming to units, it needs capable people to do this.  If a district is in a scenario where it is only being populated by a few "old guard" then of course district programming is going to stink.  Camporees need strong Scouters to organize them.  Professionals cannot run off good volunteers just as units shouldn't refuse to participate.  You strike me as a Scouter who really wants to help and it is unfortunate that you are being blocked.


    • Upvote 1
  18. 12 hours ago, yknot said:

    I'm not so sure. Do you have any examples of Councils cutting fees? Most I know of either held fees or increased fees this year. I also haven't heard of any units refunding fees or offering discounts. 

    Also, our Council is trying to do the right thing as far as staying afloat and holding onto a camp property, but that means charging more at a time when services are reduced. 

    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.

  19. 1 hour ago, yknot said:

    I think I was talking more in terms of trying to market the increasing expenses to newer scouts and families. Great if you can access a huge pdf to parse through but I think Councils who want to recruit newer families need to work harder to be more transparent, i.e., act like other organizations and include a pie chart or some other breakdown prepared for you that shows you what you are getting for your investment. If 70% of the Council budget is going towards salaries then I think you have to spell out what those positions do to benefit scouts at the unit level. 

    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 big donors and has a professional fundraising staff.  This is the part of the budget that should pay for growth and membership activities.  Let the big donors recognize that they are writing big checks to help grow scouting.

    The other part of the budget is the directly applicable stuff to kids.  Make it clear that fees at camp or camp improvements or the district camporee are made possible because of council fees.

    • Upvote 2
  20. 52 minutes ago, yknot said:

    This is something I just don't understand about scouting. Almost every other youth organization, other organizations, businesses, are waiving cancellation fees or discounting fees during Covid. For example, no sector has been hit harder than the arts/entertainment sector but I've gotten refunds for every single thing I had tickets to and couldn't get to because of Covid. I will say I have gotten some very nicely worded requests to eschew the refund and consider it a donation which I have sometimes done. 

    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. 

  21. 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

    For income, they had $10.2 million.  It came primary from:

    • $3.6 million from contributions and grants
    • $5.2 million from program income
    • $500K from investment income
    • $600K from inventory income (not sure what this is)
    • $400K in miscellaneous income.

    I too think that a program fee is the direction councils need to move in.  I look at these numbers and am struck by how little though the program fees move the needle.  At a $60 fee per youth, that amounts to about 10% of their total budget.  Councils will still have to obtain the bulk of their revenue in other ways.

    • Upvote 2
  22. 2 hours ago, BlueandSilverBear said:

    Thanks, everyone- this is all good feedback.  Coming from a military background I want to have a squared away uniform, but with three different pants it sounds like it's almost anything goes.  I'm still young-ish and fit, and the baggy looking pants kind of drive me crazy considering my scout days pre-dated all of these.  I may just go with a pair of OD green Prana or Kuhl hiking pants.

    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.

  23. 6 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    Yes, and official pants come in three different materials, each with advantages and disadvantages, as @KYScouterbegins to point out.

    Canvas, polyester microfiber, and polyester/wool blend are your choices.  Each material has its devotees.

    I am a devotee of polyester microfiber.  Light, quick dry, converts to shorts, cargo pockets, does not fade as quickly as the canvas stuff.  Disadvantages of poly microfiber?  Wind whistles right through it in winter (you need good under-layers), it snags on brush and threads get pulled out (canvas is more heavy-duty), and even small sparks from the fire burn right through.

    Enjoy the adventure!

    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 that shirt, which won't hold up well camping.  I put this one as a uniform for folks who don't mind acquiring a variety of uniforms for different purposes.  

    • Upvote 3
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