Hello, I am new to being a scout leader...but trying to learn. I have completed the online courses, read the entire leader handbook and attend a University of Scouting. However, I am finding this job much more challenging than I ever expected. My problem is gonna take a bit of explaining.
I live in a small town with a population 5,000. The scouts have not had a troop or pack in our town for the past couple years. I attended a meeting at the local school held by the district executive when my first grader brought home a flyer about scouting and was excited to be a scout. When it came time for people to volunteer to be scout leaders no one volunteered. After another meeting with no volunteers I decided that I really had no good excuse not to try and step up to the task of being a scout leader to benefit the boys of the city who had expressed interest. So I became a Cubmaster and my wife a den leader for a single den of 7 tiger cubs.
We are fortunate enough to have a building in our town that was deeded to the city decades ago specifically for the use of the scouts (The Scout Cabin). On the first visit to the Scout Cabin my wife and I ran into a man who had come to setup for a local AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting. The AA had been granted use of the Scout Cabin one night each week for a meeting. This AA representative was immediately offended to find that the Scout were to be using the cabin again. As he explained it, the past Scout had caused them problems by damaging their tables and chairs and took poor care of the cabin. He indicated that he and AA had been maintaining the cabin, owned everything in it (specifically about 12 eight foot tables and folding chairs). He suggested we have our meeting in the basement...I explained that we had no intention of that and this just made the guy madder. Over the next few weeks as we had our meetings on the day after the AA meeting we started to notice the overwhelming odor of smoke and ashtrays. When I spoke to the AA representative he indicated that they smoked in the building during their meeting and had no intention of stopping, even though there is a state law banning smoking in public places. We spoke to the city manager and he instructed us to put up the state no smoking signs in the building, so we did. Now, AA was really pissed! They complained to the city and told them they were gonna go elsewhere if this is how they were going to be treated, after all they had done to keep up and improve the cabin...Then one night after their meeting, they did just that, taking every table and chair, the PA system, the toilet paper and paper towels, the light bulbs and the central air conditioning unit. Since the city and the previous pack failed to keep any records, no one could stop them and the city decided that it was not a fight they wanted to be involved in so refused to press charges.
So now I have a nice large scout cabin without any tables or chairs...here is where it gets even more complicated...I attended a city council meeting and expressed my disappointment in the city's lack of support for the scouts. The city said thanks for your opinion..."next matter". After the meeting one of the councilman approached me and identified himself as a member of the local VFW(who had been the sponsor for the previous pack). He explained that the VFW wanted to help the scout as they had in the past. However, since we are at the very edge of the district boundary and in an entirely different county, the VFW wanted to make sure things were done differently than as had been done in the past. He explained, the VFW wanted the support they give to be used for the local scout pack, not the district who was far away and had taken money from them in the past that they felt was not used to benefit the local scouts. His message was clear, if the VFW was to help the scouts it would only do so if the money was used for the local scouts and not for the district.
I explained this conversation to the DE(?), he was kinda offended and said that that was not the way things were done, he explained the district need this type of support to pay for district expenses like his salary, sending scouts to camp and such. He stated that our popcorn sales should be enough to fund our pack and we should not need anything more (remember I have 7 tiger cubs in a town of 5000, how much popcorn do you think we can sell?) He urged me to address the VFW and express to them that in my opinion the money should be given to the district, and then they may used a portion of it to help us buy a few tables and chairs. He said he would setup a meeting for him and I to address the VFW and get back with me.
Tonight, I get a call from the councilman/VFW member...he says that he has spoken with the VFW Quartermaster and they want to help us, he asked that I come their next meeting and explain what we need and what the expected cost would be. The amount he says that they can provide is VERY generous...it would easily replace all the tables and chairs we have lost. I explained to him the conversation I had with the DE, now he gets a bit upset, again explaining that this is NOT something they mean to give the district, only the local scouts. In essence saying that if we would get nothing if it had to go to the district.
We desperately need this help!, not a single entity in this town has offered any help to restore the cabin, even after the front page newspaper coverage of my address to city council...I don't want to jeopardize it, but I also understand the BSA policy is that we do not solicit donations directly.
So now I feel caught in the middle...do I explain to the VFW that the DE is not gonna go along with this and try to find a way to skirt the rule and have it benefit only us? Do I go along with the DE and try to sell the idea to the VFW again that the donation should go to the district???? I got involved in this to help the kids, I never ever ever expected all these complications...I am quickly loosing my enthusiasm....HELP!!!!