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Cburkhardt last won the day on November 11

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About Cburkhardt

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  1. Cburkhardt

    Can private organizations like BSA discriminate?

    To the main question. The answer is yes. But, the price we paid by accepting the role of cultural punching bag in a social fight forced on us by group of Scouters who temporarily asserted control was catastrophic. Let's just move on to better and more-hopeful discussions. We chose by an overwhelming majority to move in a great direction a few years ago. The fight is over and won.
  2. Cburkhardt

    National Leadership, Surbaugh Leave of Absense

    In a military matter there is time when the battle is joined. That precise time when strategy is executed and resources committed to effect a desired outcome. Confidentiality is required so as to not tip off the adversary. We are soon reaching that point and a change in our lead general will probably not significantly impact what is about to occur. The Chapter 11 will roll-out, the PR and legal battle will be joined and the realignment of our financial assets and organizational structures will follow. We will be temporarily leaner prior to the full build-out of our female membership. Surbaugh made great decisions and provided great leadership while he was in-place. He is to be thanked and congratulated. I am not worried about who will sit in the lead general chair on D-Day will be because the battle plan is already drawn and the resources are just about lined-up and in-place. This is going to be a successful endeavor in the near-term and over the coming years.
  3. Cburkhardt

    LDS Youth Program for 2020

    I wish the Church well with its future program. I also look forward to continued cheerful discussions of the BSA's future without regard or reference to what the Church or we might have done if its institutional engagement had remained. The Church decided to depart and do something which looks quite different for its evolved needs. It is clearly not Scouting-like and seems like the less-structured youth groups in many other churches. We are in a new and better programming and membership world. After we get through the bankruptcy and related financial reorganization challenges we will be in a far better overall position. A temporarily-leaner organization prior to a robust grow-out of our female membership.
  4. A Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla was the Chartered Organization for my Ship in 1970's suburban Chicago. I earned Quartermaster in what can only be described as a splendid Scouting unit. The Auxiliary members were our adult unit leaders. Sea Scouts (called "Sea Explorers" for a brief period of time when temporarily combined with the Exploring program) and the Auxiliary was a perfect program combination then and can be again on a national basis. Most of our Sea Scout alumni joined that Auxiliary Flotilla and became its source of new membership -- I think we had the youngest average age for an Auxiliary Flotilla because of that. And, the Ship was able to benefit from existing opportunities to participate in boating activities with the Auxiliary without having to arrange the purchase and maintenance of very expensive boats and equipment. This is an example of a very effective combination where each organization is bettered as a result. The comparison to the LDS creating its own Venture Scout program and adapting the Boy Scout program to serve its religious and missionary preparation objectives is just not relevant. The Coast Guard Auxiliary will assist the Sea Scout program as it is currently configured. They will be a perfect national Chartering Organization.
  5. Cburkhardt

    What are the BSA priorities??

    To the question: The priorities of National are to maintain a program template that works and arrange for sensible business services and highest-end program experiences unavailable at the unit and council levels. I think they are on-task and doing reasonably well, now that they have withdrawn from social policy development and enforcement — and now that they are conducting YPT effectively. The priorities of councils are to form and maintain units and to provide program experiences to supplement and support units (camp properties, camporee, etc.). The effectiveness of councils varies greatly. My long term experience is that the principal determinant of how well a council hoes to these priorities is the quality and engagement of the volunteer council board — and not the professionals. The priorities of units, like the 30-girl Troop I am Scoutmaster of, is to vigorously provide an outdoor program and, while there, foster leadership and self-sustainable among young people. I think volunteers do an excellent job at the unit level no matter the status of the unit —because we are usually doing the best we can with available recourses. It is striking just how many of the above comments stray so far from these fundamental priorities.
  6. Cburkhardt

    Where would you go?

    Liability: Tightening implementation of YP practices and finally 100% enforcing YPT Training. Better and continuous records checking for criminal and family agency matters. Getting ready to file for Ch. 11 so we can finally pay deserving victims and no longer live under a threat that the next suit will ruin us. Financial: Disbanding financial train-wreck councils and putting that territory into those Councils run by responsible volunteers. Charging fees that recover costs. Downsizing staff not serving units. Membership: doing away with catastrophic and non-enforced "don't ask don't tell" policy. Adding all-girl troops and dens (demanded for decades by Scouters and others -- including SMs I met as a camp staffer in the 70's. Program: Going back to the Green Bar Bill way of doing things. Pushing executives into unit-serving positions in the field or getting rid of them. Yes, a lot I happened in the last 3 or 4 years. I could go on for hours.
  7. Cburkhardt

    Where would you go?

    I do not agree with the overall negative tenor of comments in this posting. We are in the process of working out our financial, liability, program and membership fails. We have changed more in the last few years than the last couple of decades -- and for the better in my view. We are no longer a cultural punching bag. We are indeed limiting our future liability by tightening-up things and will soon deal with the liability of the Youth Protection fails through the bankruptcy. Our over-reliance on a particular national chartering organization is being replaced by a more-balanced membership effort, including girls. In our council of 13,000 Scouts BSA members, 800 are now girls -- in 75 Troops. That will swell over the next few years as the Troops naturally grow and more troops are added. The program works for girls as-is I am a Scoutmaster of a new 30-girl Troop and know that first-hand. Program? The BSA now has Al Lambert in charge of the bases and program -- he is about the finest outdoor programmer we could ever want at the very top. I'm not some Pollyanna either. I have all the top awards as a youth and served simultaneously in council and national roles for 30 years. I have indeed been in the dark valley and we are no longer in it. We are climbing out to a new and better circumstance and many of the commenters here are just blind to it. If you want to go off and be all alone in the woods with a few kids to have fun, then go do it. I will be with the BSA and that is where we will continue to serve millions of Scouts.
  8. Cburkhardt

    Where would you go?

    Annual fully-loaded cost to run a Troop with a full program here in DC is about $1,000 per Scout, without high adventure. We raise about 1/3 of that and the families and parents pay dues and camp fees for the balance. Compared to other youth group expenses this is favorable. Travel athletic teams, private athletic or music lessons or even purchasing junky electronics devices/toys Are easily double or triple these BSA costs. In a lower cost area those Annual Troop operation cost figures might be up to 1/3 less. Adding another $33/year by doubling is nearly meaningless in this context. If someone migrates over this, they are leaving for other reasons. Some of this will be solved when the financial restructuring bankruptcy is filed. The BSA will offload the costly liability of the Youth Protection fails of earlier years and insurance rates won’t be subject to such big swings. And, that process will probably result in a right-sizing of overall council/national cost structures as well. I will stay put and all the families in our troop will too.
  9. Your outline does a great job of capturing the details and tasks needed to be achieved in forming a new unit. Our non-linked all-girl unit had a long lead time, so we were able to have 2 advertised summer “community meetings” for adults who might be interested in involvement in forming a new Troop. We gathered about 10 interested parents and the came up with our vision of the unit. Those people then went shopping for a CO and found the best one in September. We then activated a web site in October, got trained in November, recruited in January via 2 open houses (the core girls came from the 10 interested parent families), and activated in February. I would not get overly concerned about your order, because many steps blend into each other. It really is complicated but ultimately works if major steps are not skipped.
  10. Cburkhardt

    Advice for a new CC

    The results of the Troop coffee fundraiser are in, and we netted $7,600 to surpass our goal of $4,000. We probably have another $500 to come in from some stragglers. On top of this we received $6,000 from some institutional sources, so we have what we need to greatly subsidize the costs of our under-resourced families and their girls in our 30-Scout Troop. We will use some for some equipment purchases and make a Friends of Scouting contribution to our local council (something like $1,500). The rest we will save to begin building our long-term fund for stability. Thanks to everyone for the many good suggestions. We used every one of them. Note to Liz: There is no girl-specific Web Site template out there at this point. We wrote ours from scratch after we figured out how we would operate. Then we did our best to determine what an 11-13 year old girl and her parents would want to know about that implementation and wrote to that specific interest in our very-urban environment. We talk directly to that girl except for my “Scoutmaster’s Letter” to the parents — but even that is very specific to our urban all-girl implementation. I will say the writing of the site turned out to be the way we ended up understanding our challenges and deciding how the Troop would launch and operate. The site has been a huge hit. Our new parents love it because it is beginner-friendly and explains the basics without using any Scouting lingo or abbreviations. While not relevant to our use of our site, it is interesting to note that it has been viewed by 2.2K discrete visitors since going active on October 1, 2018, including viewers from 40 countries. Maybe this is just a typical result for troop web sites — I just don’t know.
  11. Cburkhardt

    Advice for a new CC

    Thanks for the comments and suggestions. There is always room for improvement and we spent less time on the packing lists when we wrote the web site. Great enhancement suggestions, which we will make. Do not be discouraged about your start-up process -- this is not easy stuff. Your first year will be your start-up and as long as you have a good contingent go to summer camp and have that important bonding experience, things will go a lot more easily. Until then, ask questions and be as cheerful as possible. Our formation group knew up-front that we were pooling a lot of talent and experience from Scouting. We realized we had great comfort in what we were doing and started by forming a Webelos den linked to an existing Pack in Spring of 2017. Things worked so well with our 10-girl Den that we decided we would harness that success to form a Scouts BSA Troop for girls that would feel as if it had already been up and running for some time. We also wanted to form a somewhat larger and non-linked Troop that could do some early testing of what works best for girls. Finally , we were willing to depart from some of the standard Troop operations that many of us have experienced for decades -- but keep the standards and quality the same. The result is that we agreed on an organization format and wrote most of the web site you see now about a year ago. You might not have noticed, but the entire web site is written in a voice that speaks directly to girls age 11-15, because we wanted girls to understand this would be a place particularly welcoming to them. Don't be intimidated in the slightest by anything we have done. This is just very standard Scouting "by the book". On meeting length and frequency, we gambled on this and won "big-time". The families love Saturday morning, the longer meeting and the fact that this time does not typically conflict with girl-centric activities. We probably under-estimated the best length for our meetings. What has happened is that girls are showing up about 30-60 minutes early to work on advancement sign-offs with Assistant Scoutmasters. So, many actually spend about 2.5 hours or more on Saturdays with us. The other thing about Saturday morning is that it ended up being crazy-good to encourage parents to attend troop meetings (which we hold simultaneously in a different room from 10:30-11:30 during the first Saturday of the month). I am now in the position of having to look for things for people to do. We have co-chairs for just about everything. You are catching me at an interesting time. Our gamble that we would raise our budget through fees and a once-a-year coffee reception will be shown to work (or not) this very weekend. Our chartered organization is a church that suggested they would host our fundraiser between church services. We are seeking to raise $4,000 by having the Scouts operate displays. And, a bulletin board with cut-out tents, ice chests and other "camp stuff" will be on display so potential donors can "buy" items for the Troop. Then, the 11:00 service will be a "Scout Sunday" -- during which our Scouts will usher, sing and read the bible verses. Check back next week and I'll let you know how it went!
  12. This is just another creative lawsuit opportunity that will be swept aside when we file the financial reorganization bankruptcy. Otherwise we would experience an endless parade of this until the BSA is gone. Fortunately, wiser heads will prevail.
  13. Just spoke to the local pros in our council. Of 13,000 youth members in Scouts BSA, we now have 800 females. In over 75 new all-girl Troops. There is no comparable circumstance in my 50+ years of association with Scouting when we have experienced an opportunity like this -- which is available to every council and chartered organization willing to act. As these Troops swell in membership over the next couple of years and are joined by additional ones, our collective future will be a lot brighter. Our new membership directions are much better than our recent decades spent focused on excluding categories of people -- and then unsuccessfully attempting to sell such practices as being good for the country. I don't know how many following this posting have actually gone out and helped for a new unit this last year. If you have not, you have not experienced the welcome we now receive from potential COs. They are very happy to see us again.
  14. Like most who comment on this site, I have a good amount of exposure to the ups and downs of Scouting through the years. In my case it is 54 years since I became a Cub and I have served in just about every role as an adult leader since age 21. I have carefully read the fine thoughts shared by all on this particular string and must say that despite some of the current issues, the BSA is going to come out of this 5-year workout in reasonably good shape. We have faced many other seemingly-existential matters before and handled them pretty well. We are now just needing to address the YPT fails of earlier decades and finish the normalization that once again, all are welcome in the BSA. After all of this discussion I will go to our Troop meeting tomorrow and deal with the big, real issues of the BSA. When will my daughter make Second Class? Why can’t my daughter go to Philmont at age 12? We don’t make enough money to purchase hiking boots for our daughter, can the Troop help us? My daughter has anger management problems and yells at the other Scouts. What should we do? ASM Jones is being tough on my knowing the outdoor code. Can you tell him to go easier on me? Yes, these are the questions that we all will continue to answer as we continue to help families form good decision-making habits and character in our Scouts. so for all of you pros and volunteers reading this, have faith and confidence that all will be well.
  15. Surbaugh is right because we are actually doing (and hopefully, about to do) what is actually the best that we can do. If the BSA does not file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reasonably soon, it will be unwound financially and operationally over a relatively short time. The trial attorneys who have filed hundreds of cases since the lifting of the statutes of limitations (maybe even thousands of cases by now) will pick the bones completely clean and the BSA will exist no more. All that will be left will be a few restricted trust-held properties, but even those will be abandoned because there will be no movement left to actually use the places. The alternative is to settle by putting the insurance proceeds and proceeds from unnecessary assets into a trust and have the trial attorneys fight among themselves over that asset. Councils are not immune. That's because trial attorneys will go after their assets as well in a blizzard of case filings and lifting of statutes of limitation that will exact a take-down of defenseless council organizations. It only will take 4 or 5 horrific cases from the 20's through the 80's to take it all away from the typical council. Without a solid Chapter 11 our professionals and volunteer board members will be managing a hurricane crisis unparalleled in US NFP experience. That is what you affirmatively choose if the BSA does not file a Chapter 11. Bankruptcy will allow us the clear, fresh breath to move forward and lay to the side the fight over assets among the trial attorneys. The victims will receive the justice they seek under a managed and businesslike bankruptcy proceeding. The BSA that is left will be leaner and better able to handle its program and financial challenges without the existential legal threat. As for the many potential policy disputes the BSA can have with parties in the future, I have no doubt that we will face those issues or ones like them. However, just because those issues are out there does not mean that we should become frozen with fear and not take the actions we need to survive. We will never be popular with everyone and never were. We just need to be focused on what we do best for youth. None of you took up the substantive overall point of my posting. We would not be in the position we are in right now if certain parties had not allowed or arranged-for the BSA to adopt and enforce positions of social policy that were not central to Scouting -- and which were not agreed-to among our membership. As a result of those catastrophic decisions we are now exhausted from 25 years of having voluntarily served as a cultural punching bag. We put ourselves into a no-win situation and are now navigating out of that circumstance. Yes … we are very much headed in the right direction. I want to read the book that will be written about this in about 5 years. It will conclude that the BSA (as it exists at that future moment) was able to make clear-eyed and effective decisions that were able to pull it out of its existential crisis.