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Everything posted by gpurlee

  1. A friend of mine has been on-site with the American contingent at the WSJ. Some of his comments include: (1) The parts of the jamboree that they were able to participate with were very good. The interactions with Scouts from around the world were outstanding. Many made it a special point to visit the American contingent before they were bussed out. (2) Communication with the BSA contingent participants and the top leadership was poor. They were disappointed that their input felt ignored and the perception was that decisions appeared to being made by officials housed in air-conditione
  2. It sounds like this is an unmitigated disaster that goes beyond the extreme heat and rests with poor planning and preparation. Ultimately the host organization bears the primary responsibility for ensuring safe conditions and contingency plans. This unfortunately is likely to have a lasting impact on future jamborees when thousands of participants have a horrible experience. I am very sorry for those involved. There will be months of evaluation and review that will affect all future planning and decisions. I believe that the next world jamboree was scheduled for Poland but the war in ne
  3. When I started this thread on December 4, 2020, I did not envision it would still be active two and a half years later. I did sense at that time that major changes were likely to occur in the relationship with chartered [partners. A two billion dollar plus lawsuit leaves a lot of wreckage in its wake. And I suspect that we will continue to see a lot of damage to long established relationships. In our case, our United Methodist Church had chartered a troop continuously since early 1911. One of the oldest units in the nation. We were a Scouting congregation with deep roots. It all came t
  4. I have worked in not-for-profit management my entire career and know the local market for human service CEO's very well (a metropolitan area of 1.5 million). A couple of comments related to Scouting executive salaries, at least in our region. The Scouting CEO position probably ranks in the top 10% of local not-for-profit social service CEO positions. The Scout executive has been paid much higher especially in relation to the overall budget of the organization. A few years ago, the local newspaper did an investigative report and found that the salary at the time was significantly higher t
  5. Welcome to the forum. Our troop is over 100 years old and we were able to purchase recreator's World War 1 uniforms on-line several years ago. Another troop had made replica period patches and shirt buttons and we were able to purchase some of them also. One of the harder items to acquire were the red felt troop numbers.
  6. More clarity is emerging around the issue of the UMC chartering Scouting units, it appears. First, the official line from conference and national leadership appears to be that UMC congregations should use the new affiliation model or drop chartering all together and only offer a facility use agreement. While traditional chartering apparently still remains an option, it is very strongly discouraged. The reasons: Liability for adult selection - the BSA has resources beyond the local congregation to vet applicants including use of the ineligible volunteer files and national backgr
  7. I hope to start a conversation about high performing Scouting units. Any of us who have been around Scouting for a while can probably name a troop or a pack that really stands out in our area whether we define the area as a community, district or council. Those are the units that other units often look up to as the example of "Good Scouting." The ones that they strive to become. And often, year after year, they seem to stand out. So, what is a high performing unit? For the moment, I am focusing on troops although many of the same qualities apply for great packs. Well ... All of us can
  8. Some observations about Swiss Scouting or Pfadi. We hosted a young man for a semester who was a Pfadi member (he is now finishing medical school). When we visited his family in 2014 he showed some of their Scouting program. (1) Very community owned with many towns and villages supporting a scout house for meetings. (2) Very much more youth led than in the USA with most of the unit leadership being in their 20's. (3) Older (than in their 20's) adults were essentially relegated to fund-raising and board functions. Most of us would be on the sidelines. (4) The Rover program (1
  9. Wow. I suspect that this case will be studied for years to come in business and law schools, perhaps around the world. In speaking to persons directly working on the settlement, a common theme is the need for tort reform in our nation.
  10. We were told to expect an official announcement by the end of the month. The person telling us, who has been a very reliable source, stated that it was in the final national review process, awaiting final approval by both the BSA and the UMC. In our case, our units have made contingency plans regardless of the direction this process takes. Our UMC sponsor of 111 years definitely wants to maintain a strong relationship and involvement. Just not quite sure what form this will ultimately take.
  11. I believe you are correct. And that other UMC conferences are expected to follow the lead of your conference and assign assessments to local congregations. Yes, for many UMC congregations, even paying apportionments for conference and district expenses is beyond their financial capabilities. Unfortunately, this assessment is likely to leave a lingering concern about the wisdom of chartering a local unit(s). We continue to be told that the traditional charter will be an option from both top-level council and conference sources. And that the insurance coverage will be strengthened and broa
  12. Our troop offered a weeklong aquatics camp as an option this summer. It was one of three weeklong opportunities offered to our approximately 25 active Scouts. Several of our older youth attended the national Seabase program. We also had a well-attended session at our local council camp. The aquatics camp was more aimed at the younger and middle-aged (13 to 14-year-old) Scouts but had surprisingly good attendance from several of the older Scouts. Many of the Scouts attended two of the three options. The aquatics camp was based out of our own troop camp, so expenses were minimal (less than half
  13. Excellent points! I am going out on a limb a bit and speculate that we will see some significant revisions in the possible options before the end of this month. First, I think that a revised traditional model will be an option with expanded insurance coverage and a caveat or expectation that UMC chartered organizations must play an active role with their unit(s) including active oversight. Second, I think we will also see a revised affiliate model offered that will attempt to address some of the concerns of the councils. While I am not sure what form this will take, I believe that the na
  14. Pacan- at this stage things are in flux. I would not read too much in until we learn more. Also, the plural task forces referred to the BSA group AND the UMC group that are meeting together. Not sure if there are any other subgroups. Just to clarify.
  15. Council Scout executives have received notice from the national territory (office) that UMC units will automatically remained chartered through the end of this year. Previously this extension was through October. The communication indicated that discussions continue between the UMC and the BSA task forces which may lead to modifications in the proposed affiliation agreement. It is clear that the task forces have received a lot of feedback from councils, UMC churches and units and there is an effort at the national level to respond.
  16. What is becoming clear is that, at this moment, the councils are all over the board regarding the best route to move forward regarding the UMC and the affiliation agreement. Our council just sent a letter to all UMC units that included this statement: There are several options moving forward to support our partners that still includes the current traditional charter method. This was sent out under the signature of the council executive and the UMC conference Scouting coordinator.
  17. Some councils have stated that they will not accept the affiliation model due to a lack of staffing resources or other factors. I think that there is a real concern that if the UMC affiliation model is accepted, other chartered organizations will follow their lead. In addition, our council has suggested that there would likely be additional fees to cover the costs for council owned units. And that the council owned units would be expected to be model units with hints that would include strong participation in council fund-raisers, Friends of Scouting campaigns and other council projects. It is
  18. I would concur with your assessment. This potentially could change in those states that in the future add a look back window in the state statute of limitations for compelling cases. And the United Methodists and the Elks will not be alone I suspect as more and more chartered organizations recognize the potential risks AND the demands of providing adequate oversight. I have to wonder how long the current model of chartering organizations can exist for a variety of reasons.
  19. The landscape around this issue keeps shifting. If indeed the traditional model (option 1) is no longer available (we were told by council and conference level officials that it will be) and option 2 - the affiliation agreement will not be accepted by the council (will this be a council by council decision?); then that leaves only option 3. Until option 4 appears, I suppose.
  20. In our council we took an almost 70% hit in Cub membership during the height of pandemic. Yes, that will play out over several years not only in terms of youth but also adult leadership. In addition, several units simply collapsed totally. Forming what is essentially a new unit is more difficult than reviving a struggling unit that still has some structure remaining. Yes it does, especially considering that we were closer to two million members before the loss of the LDS and the pandemic. However, our council has gone from 15,000 to less than 5,000 members in that time period.
  21. In our council, UMC represents closer to 30% of both membership and total units. Our council is clearly reluctant to endorse the affiliate model. Their stated concerns are a lack of professional staff to oversee the process, increased costs such as accounting and auditing and a very undermanned commissioner staff to visit and monitor units. The national guidance apparently indicates that it should be volunteers who approve leadership, ensure youth protection is in place and fulfill the other duties of a chartered organization. Their strong preference appears to be that UMC affiliated units se
  22. I have spent my career in not-for-profit management at the local and regional level. The organizations included Goodwill, Easter Seals and Volunteers of America. All of them used a very similar model to the BSA of a national organization providing charters to local affiliates. Coincidentally, all were formed in approximately the same time period and this was the model that was being used at that time. At its best, a strong national organization provides a variety of functions and services that would be very difficult for a local affiliate or collection of affiliates to replicate on t
  23. Until we get the official set of FAQ's, we cannot be sure if the traditional model will remain. For a variety of reasons, I believe that it will be an option, but one that is very strongly discouraged. I think that if it remains an option, very few congregations will choose it. The task force has worked for two years to craft a model that will both protect congregations and allow Scouting to continue within the UMC. I know that our conference has issued some very strong warnings about the potential risks associated with Scouting with the advice to consult our church attorney before m
  24. To my knowledge. the FAQ's that would answer this specific question have not yet been released. However, in the best of UMC tradition, I would guess that the final decision will rest with the individual congregation. The local administrative board or another governing body will likely make this decision ultimately. While the task force is clearly recommending an affiliation agreement at this time, it is likely that there will be four possible options available to local congregations: (1) Drop involvement with Scouting totally. To my knowledge, no official national UMC body has recommende
  25. This has been a very difficult and painful process for the United Methodist Church which has more than one hundred years of history with Scouting. Many of the current UMC leaders have been part of the Scouting program as youth and/or leaders. There is a real desire to continue to support Scouting among much of the UMC leadership. At the same time, the UMC leadership is acutely aware that it potentially could face millions of dollars in legal costs with over 3,500 claims linked to UMC congregations. The legal cost of defending a single claim is estimated to be well into six figures.
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