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Posts posted by ProScouter06

  1. now that you mention it, YMCA is a great example of that....

    well I don't know if it's formally just YMCA or not, but since it's really just family oriented I'd guess maybe so

    I believe they are calling themselves " the y" now. They dropped the rest.


    I like the us scouting association. Seems we could take some pointers from the UK.


    It would be interesting. Anyone ever attend any world jamborees and experience coed scouting? Thoughts?

  2. @@qwazse really hit this one on the head.


    The two groups could cohesively work as one with the Venturing members being advisers as sorts for the boy scouts. They can set up their own trips, but tag along to the troop outings to provide support.


    Looking forward to hearing how of if this model works for you.

  3. @@gumbymaster professionals are not spending their time chasing donations. To think that way and to spread that assumption is harmful to Scouting volunteers and employees alike. Also I’d suggest calling your council to ask for a breakdown of the budget. I’m sure they would invite you in to share. You may not get a hardcopy but they can discuss it. We were always happy to as it cleared up misconceptions. 


    Here is a professional scouters year in a nut shell. This is based on my experiences and the experience of others in the Northeast Region.  This may be known to most of you, but maybe it’s not and will help give a slight look into the job.


    January-March- This is FOS season. The FOS campaign is a massive undertaking with a huge amount of time for a relatively small return. These dollars are critical for camperships, financial aid and operating costs. However, it is usually a small part of the budget, maybe 10% in most councils. Probably not even worth the time and heavy lifting it takes, but that was never up to me. In order to be successful one must coordinate with hundreds of volunteers, recruit volunteers to do presentations and then support them through these months, often covering and filling in. Also time to start preparing for the spring. It’s a busy month with a lot of pressure. It’s frowned upon to take vacation during this time. (While also attending round tables, commissioner meetings, district meetings, unit meetings primarily for troubled units which creates more time intensive needs, recruiting volunteers for events, setting up events, working with vendors, scheduling training, logistics for events etc... Meeting with potential sponsoring organizations, looking for new sponsors, answering calls with questions from uniforms, to events, to trouble with a den leader etc... all with a smile).


    April-June- This is spring recruitment season. Working with hundreds of volunteers, school, principals, superintendents etc… Getting materials out and encouraging units to participate, often against their wishes because why take kids in the spring when there is no summer program. A good argument but one that your boss will tell you to ignore, or suggest you ask them to have a summer program, because they are volunteers and have all the time in the work right? Not really. You are also wrapping up for FOS campaign because you did not meet your goal, and your boss is telling you this does not look good for your performance… Ok, maybe summer will be better. It’s time to start finalizing the plans for summer camp. (While also attending round tables, commissioner meetings, district meetings, unit meetings primarily for troubled units which creates more time intensive needs, recruiting volunteers for events, setting up events, working with vendors, scheduling training, logistics for events etc... Meeting with potential sponsoring organizations, looking for new sponsors, answering calls with questions from uniforms, to events, to trouble with a den leader etc... all with a smile).


    July-August- Summer is here! The best part of scouting is to see it in the outdoors happening. You can finally put on shorts, and enjoy the weather with your “scouting family†you have no time for your own family because you are at day camp from 7 am to 7 pm, or living at a boy scout resident camp for 8 weeks, with one half day off for laundry. But the scouts and leaders are having fun so it’s all worth the sacrifice. It’s also time to start planning for the fall recruitment drive. You are expected to have all of your rally dates ready by end of August, so when you get home each night make sure you make your phone calls. It’s also frowned upon to take vacation in the summer. (While also recruiting volunteers for events, setting up events, working with vendors, scheduling training, logistics for events etc... Meeting with potential sponsoring organizations, looking for new sponsors, answering calls with questions from uniforms, to events, to trouble with a den leader etc... all with a smile).


    September-November- Fall recruitment season, same as spring but busier. Hundreds of leaders, schools, various school districts, logistics, materials over hundreds of miles of territory again. Every unit leader you speak to has a problem that needs answered and your the professional you should know everything. Don’t dare try to answer quick bc then you don’t care and clearly must just be looking for a donation somewhere which is why you can stay to hear about the dean leader who won’t wear her uniform. Anyway back to the fall, if you’re good, you go to as many rallies as possible to support volunteers, not hound them for applications. They told me to do that but IMO volunteers had more to worry about that the application that night. I’d get them when they were ready the following week. This month = lots of fast food, lots of fuel costs, and little time to be home. Sure your lawn needs cutting and fall cleanup, but not time, sorry… We are also in popcorn season so that takes a ton of time and effort. It’s frowned upon to take vacation during the fall. But the holidays are around the corner, maybe you can take some time off then. (While also recruiting volunteers for events, setting up events, working with vendors, scheduling training, logistics for events etc... Meeting with potential sponsoring organizations, looking for new sponsors, answering calls with questions from uniforms, to events, to trouble with a den leader etc... all with a smile).


    December- The most wonderful time of the year, or so you thought…. You did not make your membership goal, so your boss says unless you do, no vacation time this month, and no days off except December 25. So you hit the pavement trying to recruit more kids, for units that do not want them because they started their program in September and these kids will be behind, so you are fighting a losing battle. (While also recruiting volunteers for events, setting up events, working with vendors, scheduling training, logistics for events etc... Meeting with potential sponsoring organizations, looking for new sponsors, answering calls with questions from uniforms, to events, to trouble with a den leader etc... all with a smile)

    Then the year starts again, and every year is almost identical to the last. You get into a rhythm. Some get jaded, I did. Some make it long enough to get out of the field, and start a family, you can’t do that in the field, or it’s hard to do it. Many get divorced along the way. But ti me we are in the trenches, not the fun trenches. I wish I could spend my time with one unit, and go camping and face the good times and bad in one town and one unit, but the professional does not have that luxury. They are in the trenches, just a different kind of trench.


    This is why I can’t say I agree that camping should be mandatory. Like I said we lived and breathed it every day. It’s also why I am of the belief that the success of scouting (on a larger scale not down to the weekly unit meeting) depends of volunteers and professionals working hand in hand for a common purpose. It makes it more fun that way when we are in it together and when we both understand the struggles and challenges each group faces. (Of course there are bad applies on both sides which ruin this concept but I’m an idealist and a realist) However a mutual respect is badly needed. Perception is reality and new generations of scouters being told that professionals only chase donations will be quickly tainted and the misconceptions will continue.



    @@blw2 agreed a refocus of the job would be great. Professionals have to complete the job they are asked, and it can only be changed from the top down. But I won’t hold my breath. Scouting is slowing losing ground everywhere which only increases the pressures of the business. I knew some old professionals who worked in the 1950’s and 60’s. They did have the luxury of camping more, but their jobs changed over the years as volunteers became less available due to work and family and so the job changed. There is no way on earth they could take on more than they already do.


    Also we do need a Bear Grylls! We need to get back I the spotlight to feature the great things scouting does in every corner of the nation. 

    • Upvote 3
  4. I'm for it


    But I'm leaning towards the idea that there would be different dens in Cubs for the girls, and different patrols for the girls in scouts.  They would come together and interact for unit level things.

    I feel like this is needed to give the boys times that they can be boys

    and the girls likewise....

    this being based on the idea that they will act differently when together.


    All sorts of other ideas cloud my thinking on it though..... would there need to be different standards for the girls?  Different focus in their requirements to better appeal to their interests and needs?

    I tend to agree. Girl and boy dens and taking that further, patrols in a scout troop. Having options to even have coed patrols after a certain rank or age. Having coed leadership has not taken away from scouting IMO, how different would coed scouts be? Public schools, many town/county/city day camps are already serving all kids.


    I can't help but think that going coed could be the way to bring scouting into the forefront of youth movements in the USA. I hate to think that the BSAs best days are behind us.


    I would often get questions from parents at scout rallies asking if cub scouts was coed. I'd be told that mom was bringing the daughter to one activity and dad and son to another. I've heard from so many parents many many times how counterproductive that was and how nice it would be to have both kids in one all encompassing activity. In today's busy world with endless activities I wonder if have a coed scouting program would not only grow the movement but also strengthen it by creating a more inclusive family program.


    Of course it would be different, it would mean change, it would take time to adapt, but maybe it would be great.


    Another member said that this was more an issue of when over if. From folks I know at the national service center, that's probably a correct assumption. But we don't hear much about this topic from the top.


    Quick story. I remember being a scout and doing a 50 miler on a trip in West Virginia. One day on the trail we stopped to take a break and a Girl Scout troop passed by. Their packs were heavier and their pace was faster than ours. I remember we were all impressed, and of course being teenagers our goal was to catch up to meet them. A few days later we finally got back to the base camp and enjoyed their company. Of course we never caught up to them on the trail!

  5. Why Don't we do that?


    Our professional Scouters work for us, not for themselves.


    I think it would be a great idea if we made it part of the job requirments that each month the council executive / ceo go on an outdoor activity with one of the troops from the council. See how it is really done. What boys are really like. What resources our leaders really have available. How well (or not) is our Boy led program going. Mix it up with different troop sizes, locations served, types of activities.


    Who really selects Council executives anyway? Is it the membership, or the corporate sponsors board of directors? How can we get this to be a part of the program?


    In the nine years I worked on Summer Camp Staff, the CE would only come to camp for one day - the day of the national inspections, to walk along with the inspectors - they were usually out of camp before dinner (Although in case they weren't the quality of food that day was much better).



    The reality is, scouting is a program that is sold by marketers and sales people who work for a paycheck. The rest of us volunteer to implement the program

    That's not exactly true. Professionals do not work for volunteers. No volunteers name was ever on my paycheck... Professionals are employed by a council, national service center or supply division.


    In regards to making it mandatory to go camping I can't say I agree with this. I do agree professionals at all levels should be aware of all aspects of the program but that does not mean the scout executive or a development director need to sit by a camp fire or attend a den leader. They are paid to do specific jobs and need to spend their time doing those jobs. It's good to think of it this way. When I worked for the BSA I lived and breathed scouting. Every day at work and some weeks every night and then the weekend. When I did have a free weekend it was spent on me, my family, my friends. The last thing on earth I would want to do on a free weekend would be scouting related. Imagine your own job. If you had to spend your free time at work that might not be very enjoyable. That does not mean you hate your work, it just means there needs to be some time for you.


    That said I can remember back to being a new District executive and I contacted a troop about an FOS date. It's was my job do do so. The SM had never had a positive experience with the council and I was just a "professional desk jockey" in his opinion. He did not know I was an Eagle Scout, loved the program and chose to make my living supporting the program. Anyway long story short he invited me camping with his troop over a holiday weekend knowing I would say no just to prove his point of disdain. So I showed up at the campsite that weekend, they were in a cabin. I set up my tent and spent the weekend. It was fun. I got hell from my girlfriend about missing the holiday. For the rest of my time in that council that SM began supporting our efforts, not just troop, or town efforts but scouting a efforts in the county. It was great but also sad that I had to do that in order for him to change his attitude toward my colleagues.


    My job was ny go camping but that did not mean I did not understand the program. I can't speak for folks that work in positions above a district director where I left from. Maybe the top people do become disconnected but from the people I know at the national service center, many know why they do the job they do and value scouting and its members. Customer service is another way of saying a scout is kind. I don't think it's fake when employees show interest in volunteers and scouts. Unfortunately professionals have to ask those annoying questions volunteers do not like, when's is for foS date, can you help with an event etc. it's their job to foster greater volunteerism.



    Scoutings strength is that it is a volunteer implemented program. It's the job of the professionals to encourage that, grow it, cultivate it, steward it. I believe if professionals were not there those things would not happen or a larger scale. Sure scouting could exist locally but it would be smaller. The reasons scouting is successful or events like camporees and jamborees are successful is the partnership between all levels of scouting employee and volunteer alike.

    • Upvote 1
  6. @@NJCubScouter I've always tended to consider the BSA at large of everyone involved from the parent of a scout to the leadership in Texas. I agree there is a difference between the national service center and the boots on the ground and there is a bit of a disconnect. But I tend to support and view the movement holistically.


    For full disclosure I'm no longer employed by th BSA. I left after working my way to district director. I left for personal reasons but can relate to the stories that @eagle-91a1 shared. I felt and still do feel that local employees have to work a tough job under tough conditions with little support from the top managers in a culture that is not a friend to scouting. Goals were often unreachable and unrealistic. For now I'll stop there on that.


    I'm planning on volunteering in time and am sure I'll enjoy it more than when I worked for the BSA. In fact one of the reasons I started reading more on these forums was bc I felt I had this wealth of knowledge and experience that I don't use anymore and I miss that. I always enjoyed working with scouts and parents trying to create a fun program for their kids. I'm hoping to share some of that experience here if it's of any value to forum members.


    Brining us back to the first post, let's hope we do start growing soon!

    • Upvote 4
  7. I'd love too wear one if I could find a semi-crushable one like the original hats. The original boy scout (and military) campaign hat had a softer brim then the modern versions made today. I understand the brim was almost as soft as the one on the modern BSA "Indiana Jones" hat. I feel that any item of uniform that can be damaged by the rain or needs a hat press doesn't belong as part of the uniform. I'm a scouter, not a Paris Island drill instructor.


    Plus a softer brim is more practical. If the hat brim gets bumped (such as by a backpack), a soft brim will simply bend while a stiff one will push the hat.


    But the campaign hat says "scout" to me in a way that none of the others do. Probably because of all the Norman Rockwell paintings, old movies and photos of BP wearing his.

    I agree they are timeless and great for brand recognition. Try eBay. I found a great old hat very cheap because it looked very worn. It's as crushable as the expedition hat.

  8. Interesting thread. Some thoughts. @@Twocubdad when i first started working for the BSA I had the same question about the national dues. Especially since my work on the local level never really seemed to benefit from the national organization. However in time it became clear that the national service center markets our brand and sets the tone and mission of the BSA for all local scouting to be guided by. I've always been shocked at the animosity out there of scouters toward the national BSA. The same people that claim to love the movement are often its harshest critics.


    That aside, I've always felt that if local councils could charge a membership fee scouting on the local level would be in a better place. The reason professionals are guided by numbers is because they have to be to keep scouting going, to keep the camps operating and to keep the lights on. The costs are tremendous.


    Those that say the program benefits from a drop in membership make no sense to me. As earlier noted as the sky is falling aka membership you'd think people would want to see the movement growing. Growth of scouts means more kids benefiting from the program. How on earth could less kids benefit the movement? Some say that scouting has been watered down? IMO that comes down to the leaders. For example scouting in my hometown is still run the way it was when my dad was a scout. Sure some rule changes but the program is almost identical to the one he experienced. Keep running scouting the way it should and could be run and it really shouldn't be watered down.


    Twocubdad noted that local councils should focus on the outdoors and become outfitters or a guide service in a way providing programs on the weekend and during the summer. I could not agree more that the idea is a great one and is already happening all over the country. When I read above from @@Krampus about the lack of people camping and the lack of qualified or trained volunteers it only makes sense to provide scouting in a variety of ways. It's true that the BSA is listening to its customers by offering some new programming like stem and new exploring opportunities. Of course there will be those that may be short sided and not see the need to change or really the need to just offer more.


    It seems that most of the frustration volunteers feel toward professionals is from a lack of understanding of the employees jobs. The professionals I worked with, and I as well worked ridiculous hours sacrificing years to offer support and provide leadership and gufience to make scouting successful. There are some bad eggs like in every field of work that are there for the money but they are few and far between especially since the money is not that good unless you become an SE or CEO. Some of them make more than they should especially in a shrinking organization but that's another topic for discussion. At the end of the day both volunteers and professionals are really on the same team. It's much easier and more enjoyably for everyone when folks start to understand that.


    This topic could probably be spun off into several others but nice to see so many different approaches and viewpoints.

    • Upvote 1
  9. Part of my issue with ScoutReach (which is mentioned in the blog post) is that after all the words I have read about it, I am still not clear on exactly what measures are used to attract more units and more members in the "underserved communities." Most of it (including the page linked from the blog post) seems to focus on the goals of ScoutReach and how Scouting can benefit these communities, which is fine as far as it goes but doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know. My question is, what are they actually doing? They are talking about "enhanced ScoutReach" but I don't see much on that page that seems "enhanced." Part of it is promotion and marketing, part of it is getting kids into one program and trying to lure them from that into Scouting (see Scouting, Soccer and, above), and part of it is providing grants for fees and expenses when regular fundraising is insufficient. It's all nice but it hardly seems new or innovative or enhanced. It's probably just nibbling on the edges of the problem. My question is, do any of these ScoutReach programs finance paid Scouters to do what volunteers do in areas where volunteers are more plentiful? In other words, paid Cubmasters and Scoutmasters? It seems to me I have read about that somewhere but I don't know if it actually exists. I realize that would be a controversial idea and would involve big bucks, but quite frankly if the goal is to get big numbers to join Scouting in areas where almost all the parents are wondering where their next meal is coming from and dealing with all the issues of a troubled urban (or remote rural) area, I think that's what it would take.

    I'll answer this one @@NJCubScouter. The delivery of scout reach varies slightly from council to council all depending on council resources aka staff and funding. In one council I worked in our scout reach units were organized in urban areas of the district with volunteers running the units. They were considered scoutreach bc the kids could not afford day camp, uniforms etc so we found funding to make those things happen. In another council that I worked in we had an entire scout reach division that included paraprofessionals who acted as paid cub masters and scout masters. They ran incredible programs for Urban units and the kids and families involved were great scouts. Beyond running the units, staff worked diligently to recruit volunteers. Since many families were low income, single parent and also with language barriers this recruiting to build a volunteer run unit sometimes could take years but the overall goal of making them run by parents and volunteers is the long range strategy.


    IMO this latter example of scout reach is one of the BSA's best hope to grow membership in traditional scouting programs like cub scouts and Boy Scouts.


    As others have said the exploring thing is nice. But that takes resources. I agree with many of the folks on this thread that we have a great outdoor program for youth and that is what we should be out marketing to prospective families. LFL, stem, nice ways to stay innovative but will never replace the real Boy Scout oriented program. That's what our foundation is built on and that's what our brand is.

  10. There is a wealth of knowledge within the replies of this thread, lots to sift through but everyone knows your situation all too well.


    I'll just add that you are right about its all about the boys and their families. It's a family program that should be fun and not cause any stress for you or your family.


    Do what's best for you and all will follow suit. New families will take your lead.


    Enjoying scouting!

  11. In many ways it is already seasonal.  Nowhere does it say you need to start at 7 and finish at 10.  There are currently 5 distinct "seasons".  You can start in season 1 (Tiger), skip season 2 (Wolf) and pick up again at season 3 (Bear).  There are no prerequisites to any rank or year.  A kid can come and go as he pleases.  And most packs take summers off from formal advancement activities.


    And regarding your youth sports comparison and desire for more flexible time commitments, I'd argue scouting is already far more flexible.  In sports, try missing a bunch of practices and see where that gets you.  If a scout misses a bunch of den meetings, he'll get the same opportunity to participate when he does finally show up.

    You're right that in a way it is seasonal but it's not exactly sold that way...of course it all depends on where you are and what group you're in. But the majority of scouting units that I've known between three states run school year September-June. That's a long time for a family. Thankfully there are families that enjoy the program enough to make the time. The issue is families that share those interests are not growing based on membership.


    I recently volunteered to coach a youth softball team. My wife and I coached while most parents dropped off or watched from the stands. That is how the league is run and it runs well. If a player missed a game or practice it was no big deal for us. We had cub age kids. Sports do have different rules as kids get older, and council staff and volunteers are taught well to point out the info that you did. I think there is truth to it, but at the end of the day perception is reality for our customers/families.


    The thing is that many youth activities today are run in a similar way. There is a schedule of games for sports, or calendar of nights for karate etc... a start date and and end date usually for 3-4 months. Parents can choose another activity after that time period or not.


    What the BSA needs to realize is that the current cub program may not help the BSA grow. It works for many people and that is great. But how many does it not work for who simply pass the registration booth by after they see the time commitment?


    The creator of this post is not alone in their thinking. We have to figure out a way to engage more not less. Hopefully new leadership and dedicated staff and volunteers will continue to move forward and find a way to be the best program for youth.

  12. I've always wished bsa would piolit a seasonal option for cub scouts just like youth sports. An entire generation of new parents see youth activities run in a seasonal time frame with a start date and an end date, fall and spring. Then they join cub scouts and the start day is 7 years old and end date is 10 years old... Years or commitment vs a more flexible time commitment.

  13. @@CactusKen


    The magazine is a great resource for new volunteers and new families. Online training is a great first step to delivering a good program. Suggest all of your leaders start with online training. If they have time to do in person that's great too. If not online will get them going in the right directions!


    Best of luck and thanks for volunteering!

    • Upvote 1
  14. Lots of great ideas from this thread to hopefully get you some traction recruiting. Id also suggest visiting fall sporting fields, soccer games, and set up a table with some flyers/sign up info.


    Best of luck!


    In response to stosh, you're probably wasting time trying to get help from the council to recruit 6th graders. The rate of return is too small. Best way to get that age group is word of mouth, peer to peer.

  15. #22


    Professional Circle or Fellowship Honor Knot


    The Professional circle is awarded to career Scouters who have completed at least four years of professional tenure, all three levels of basic professional development ( PD-L1, PD-L2, and PD-L3), and three other courses from an approved list. Recognition consists of a wall certificate and, of course, the black on-white square knot for wear on the field uniform.


    The Fellowship Honor requires completion of the Professional Circle, two more courses from the approved list, and a pre-approved thesis. Recognition includes a handsome certificate and a gold pin to be worn on the square knot.


    These recognitions are available to professionals only and demonstrate a desire for professional improvement.

    (This message has been edited by ProScouter06)

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