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About commandopro

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  1. jkhny - Actually, I believe your Scout Executive was PROMOTED to Scout Executive in Jacksonville, FL. For all of our sakes, I hope you find the next Scout Executive more to your liking. I'm not sure we can take another four years of this kind of hatred. >At least it seems like our incompetent SE is finally getting the boot at the >end of his contract. Despite packing the board, he couldn't make up for massive drops in contributions, asset declines, and membership dues that show a drop of 30% participation in Scouting despite intense efforts to manipulate year end totals. We never did get the membership audit we were promised though NE region said there is no evidence procedures are not being followed (and what does THAT mean!?!).
  2. You should be ashamed of yourself. The new Scout Executive is a very fine man. You don't know him or his record. What you describe (if true) could easily be an administrative error. This new man in Birmingham is a truly dedicated Scouter. A Scout is . . . Trustworthy Loyal Helpful Friendly Courteous Kind Obeidient Cheerful Thrifty Brave Clean Reverent
  3. scoutldr Could you please post which councils you are comparing? I would like to view the 990s and see things for my own eyes. Rarely does a Girl Scout Council covering the same geographic area as a Boy Scout Council have anywhere near the same budget. But I'm sure there are exceptions. Also, when comparing salaries, be aware that a Girl Scout Council can hire any person off the street to be their Executive Director.A Scout Executive must usually have at least ten years of progressive non-profit managment experience.
  4. Quality Unit can be earned at anytime during the year. For example a Unit that recharters in December 2005 is given the 2006 Quality Unit form. It is possible that the Unit qualifies the date that they recharter their unit. However, the vast majority of units are not in that situation. Let's say that you have had a sudden influx of new leaders during the fall that haven't been trained or you have just lost your ACM. Well that doesn't mean you are penalized and cannot earn the Quality Unit Award for 2006. It just means that you will not earn the award until you have enough trained leaders or a trained ACM. That can happen anytime before you recharter for 2007. This is all a moot point anyway. The Centennial Quality Unit Award begins in 2007. Unit will no longer be able to earn the Quality Unit award at the time of Recharter. Rather this recharter you and your district will agree on goals for improvement for your unit in predetermined categories. Then your progress towards these goals for your unit will be reviewed in October, 2007. Your unit will be designated a Quality Unit once you have achieved the goals and October 31, 2007 has past.
  5. To be honest, I'm not suggesting any specific action. What I am suggesting, is that it is time for us to stop competing against each other! In many cities we are knocking on the same corporate door 2 or 3 times for money. We confuse families with our arbitrary boundries, which no longer make sense in todays world. If you are in Boston at a bar in a hotel and strike up a conversation with a guy from Naperville, IL and ask him where he is from, what is his answer? Chicago! Many people who work in Downtown Chicago live in places like Deerfield, Naperville, Barrington, etc. So if they are going to give $1000 where should they give it? Should they split it? I suggest only that we need council boundries that make sense to the public, serve Scouters well, operate efficently and without waste and don't pit BSA vs. BSA for resources. I do not believe that our current council boundries do that much of the time. Here is the catch. Scouting is by its very nature a traditional organziation, filled with people who love tradition. We become emotionally attached to a Council (even if we don't really like it or support it) and don't want things to change. We need to look at our councils in the light of tenants I outlined above. Tradition has its place, but it has no place in this particular matter. BTW the Chicago Area Councils and distance from Chicago are: Calumet Council (Gary, IN) 33 miles Rainbow Council (Morris, IL) 63 miles Northeast Illinois (Highland Park, IL)27 miles Northwest Suburban (Mount Prospect, IL)23 miles Three Fires (Saint Charles, IL) 44 miles Chicago Area (Chicago, IL) 0 miles Des Plaines Valley (La Grange, IL)15 miles Remember, I would not even suggest closing a single service center, except perhaps to open two more.
  6. Consider yourself left alone. BTW - LFL will get you nowhere. It is a gate opener, not a desitination. I agree with you 100%. I would never use the suburbs to fund widespread LFL.
  7. Bottom line, cookie cutter professionals? A snappy retort, but not altogether useful. Profit margins? I believe we are a non-profit organization. If the bottom line means serving as many youth as we can will a high quality program, implemented by large numbers of dedicated and trained volunteers, while recognizing the fiscal realities of the world, then count me in. As far as ideology, I believe we share one ideology across this great organization. That is the Scout Oath and Law. I would love to hear hear how dramatically different the Scouters in Naperville, Barrington Heights, Deerfield and the Northside are. I have a feeling that anything you name would be quite superficial at best. Now, there is a very real difference between those areas and the core of the city. The problem: The core of the city faces challenges in program delivery that it cannot meet without the cooperation and resources of the surrounding area. Cookie cutter, no. But, guiding principles to effectively deliver a quality program to youth of all areas and backgrounds, yes. My previous statement may sound very strong, but strong opinions start a spirited discussion. Spirited discussions lead to innovative plans and actions that benefit all.
  8. Let's hope not. I would say we have about 100-150 too many councils now. Why on earth does Chicagoland need 7 councils? Why does LA need more than 10? They don't. One media market, one council, period. That should be the rule. We can have stores and satillite offices all we want. We don't need 7 Scout Executives within 45 minutes of each other.
  9. The most important part of recruiting Unit Commissioners is to have a long and deep prospect list. This is a simple statement, but can be challeging for many District Commissioners. It need not be. 1) Set up a time with your District Executive to review the rosters for the past several years for every Pack, Troop and Crew in your District. Take note of the Committee Chairs, Den Leaders and Cubmasters that appear for several years in a row, then suddenly disappear. Most often these are Scouters who served while their boy was in the program and then left. If they held one of those positions for a few years, they are a great prospect. 2) Work with your District Executive to obtain the NESA list for your area. Let them know that this report is available on ScoutNet, and they may call ISD if they do not know how to run it. Eagle Scouts make great prospects. 3) If you have a college campus in your area, reach out to students. Past Scouts and camp staffers can make great propects. Finally, and most importantly: Meet with one of these prospects AT LEAST once a week. Have coffee in the morning, meet for lunch or catch an afternoon drink. In this case DON'T show up in uniform. Street clothes will be less intimidating for them. The Uniform will come in time. Be sure to ask for their involvement, and clearly communicate what you want them to do. Be flexible. If a person only wants to work with one or two units at first, fine. That's one more unit with a commissioner. And lastly, never get discouraged. The best sales people get more 'no's" than anyone else. Be thankful for the contact, and start building a realtionship even if it isn't going to work for them right now. That person my turn into a District Committee Member, a fundraiser or a Camporee Chair.
  10. AvidSM: I certainly understand your prospective. DE rentention can be a huge factor. But let's just break this down a minute and understand the problem. Today is a beautiful June Tuesday evening. As I respond to this message, I have just completed 30 hours of work for the week. During that time I have been challeged and exhilerated. I love my job. I have been to day camp, I have raised money, I have worked on membership and prepared for upcoming summer camps. I will have three very long days yet to work. But, I am not tired of my job. I love it. I draw energy from what I do. My wife meanwhile is taking care of the homefront, without me. I have directed camp for many years prior to this, requiring me to be gone from home completely for 7-9 weeks. Again, I loved it. Combine all of these hours with a profession that is highly demanding. Success is expected and you are expected to do it in a quality way. Then add in recruiting volunteers to help you and taking the brunt of the negativity from those inside and outside of Scouting. I have had people call me on the phone multiple times just to scream at me about our membership policies and hang up the phone. Many volunteers will not even give us the time of day, because we are "paid" and they are not, we have the "wrong" priorities to them. Now, put a fine young person, right out of college into all of that. Put an experienced professional who has a dream to serve into that. It takes a lot of personality, energy, excitement, intelligence and plain determination to deal with that. It isn't an easy job. But those of us who succeed, love what we do. We see the angry volunteer, and we see a chance to build a relationship. We see the camporee that is falling apart, and we see an opportunity to save a great program. We see the FOS campaign that hasn't gotten off the ground and we see the opportunity to raise more money for Scouting than ever before. This doesn't describe many people in the world. The vast majority of people go to their job, do what is expected of them and go home. Very few are able to lose themselves in service. That is what it takes. There is no professional vs. personal life. It is one. Sometimes the optimism cracks. Sometimes things don't happen as they should. But a true professional always shines through. In the end, they will be the ones spending time at Roundtables and Camporees. They are the ones dreaming of a better camp and desparately asking you to attend your council's. They are the ones driving from school to school for three months straight to ensure that are able to deliver this great program to another generation. The next time you hear negativity about your professionals, please stop it. Take a few minutes and get to know him. You will find a large percentage of them are Eagle Scouts, maybe not from your Troop, but one like it. Many of those were Camp Staff members, they were active in Order of the Arrow. Some even hiked Philmont or attended National Jamboree. There are many that are fathers of Eagle Scouts. They have served as Cubmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Committee Members and Den Leaders. My point is: They love the program! Professionals don't what to harm the program, ever. In fact they want to pass on a more vibrant program then they inheirited. Unfortunately, it often is our job to be the bearer of bad news. We are paid by the board to keep the council financially solvent, to ensure that we can grow the program, that we can support our properties adequately. We are paid to ensure that our youth are with the right people when they head out on an outing. We are paid to ensure that the nessary business of a non-profit is handled. It isn't always glamorous or popular, but damn is is gratifying. I hope you have as gratifying job as I do!
  11. dbraxtonw: Thank you. I think you are correct. I too do not enjoy sniping at others. Unfortunately, a spirited debate will often bring it out of me. You echo my point much more concisely. Essentially what I belive is this: 1) Professionals are neither inheritly good or bad. 2)Volunteers are neither inheritly good or bad. 3)Good professionals working with lackluster volunteers leads to mediocrity and frustration for everyone. 4) Good volunteers working with lackluster professionals leads to mediocrity and frustration for everyone. 5)Excellent volunteers working with excellent professionals on all district functions together leads to unequaled excellence in program, fundraising, membership and unit service. 6) Finally, it is the duty of volunteers and professionals to give their absolute all, every day to create a situation where a high quality, well funded program is being delivered to an increasing number of youth.
  12. Longhaul - I truly feel for you and your council. Unfortunately in the Chicago Area Council, I believe you have been dealt a raw deal. I'm not sure if there is any group of volunteers and professionals that could truly make a go of the Chicago Area Council. Over the years, the council has slowly lost the power base of the city to the many suburbs that surround. Those councils have flourished while the intercity council has been left to deal with the variety of social issues and hostile environments that the city of Chicago poses to the Boy Scouts. I wish I had a good answer, unfortuantely the councils in Naperville and Hilland Park are unlikely to want to share their vast resources with the city core. Ultimately, that is bad for Scouting. I do believe as you state, that we would be better off to get rid of those who do it for the money. My experience is that very few do it for the money. The fact is that after receiving your four-year degree from a college, working 60-80 hour weeks for 15-20 years. moving your family 2-6 times, missing children's concerts, etc, you may be skilled enough to move into a Council Scout Executive postion. All of this for the grand sum of $85-100K. Obviously this is a livable salary, but hardly enough to keep the money grubbers around for 15 years. In fact, this may be part of the issue. Some of the most talented professional leave because they don't feel they can provide for their family adequately. They may or may not have the love of program. But they want to maintain a standard of living they cannot working for Scouting. This leaves us with most who are extremely dedicated to the program. However, some are very good Executives and some are less talented. Therefore they end up getting in over their heads. The dedication to program is one of our greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses. Avid SM - I can appreciate your viewpoint. Perception is reality, plain and simple. I would ask you to review my previous posts. Most Executives really want to help you. My experience in recruting, training and mentoring new executives, is that they would really rather not speak to money and membership at District Committee meetings. The trouble is this: there is no one else at the meeting to speak to it. That is our collective fault. Therefore, when the topic comes up (they are two legitimate functions of a district), everyone turns their heads to the D.E. and say "How's FOS going?" My point is this. Money and membership is better lead by volunteers and supported by the executives. That's how program works. Imagine a district where volunteers are actively engaged raising money. How many unit leaders say "We only see him when it's time for FOS". None, why? Because he isn't seen rasing money. Be honest your DE supports training, camping, etc. But he isn't out in front. He/She works in the background, in a support role. So, it turns into a double edged sword. They HAVE to be in front on money, but aren't in front on manpower. Next, how many of these membership scandals happened in districts where volunteers were actively engaged in the membership process. Most likely none. Instead some new executive was put out to field by him/herself with out support from Managment or Volunteers. They made do with what they had. That is a disaster waiting to happen. We all bear that burden. Finally, jkhny states, "NO SE has EVER been fired for enrollment fraud" Untrue - many District Executives, Field Directors, etc have been let go over the past couple of years for Membership Fraud. They haven't been publicized because, it is personel, and you can't talk about this stuff. Just know that it has happened more than you are aware. Sometimes, the person is let go for reasons not completely clear, sometimes the person resigns abuptly. But rest assured, the movement is taking this seriously. As for Scout Executives. I know of no less than four that have lost their jobs for this. Two of which were VERY big fish. Some reports may say people resigned, but again, we all know this stuff is done to protect the organization legally, and move on. We have enough people taking us to court, we don't need a bunch of employment related suits dragging us down as well.
  13. Baden - I belive I was not the one to go on the attack. That was you. I am simply trying to communicate how volunteers and professionals can work together to serve you. Your reponse is essentially, "They are all crooks with the wrong priorities". I find that childish. I want to work hard with volunteers to serve youth. Baden, I think your prospective on Professional Scouting is outdated and less than intellectual. This may be a contributing factor to your failure to succeed in the professional ranks. I'm sure you are much more happy in the IRS. I can not possibly speak to the unethical actions of some in my profession. I'm sure you could not possibly answer for all of those in the IRS that have abused power over the years. I would not ask you to. I do know that what they have done is not acceptable and has not been tolerated. I wish you good Scouting.
  14. Never been through professional training? Me? I've been through it all. I have NEVER heard ANY professional say that you need to learn to minipulate volunteers. I am sorry Baden that you had such a poor professional experience, but I have worked in multiple councils with many, many professionals. We never view our volunteers that way. Sure, sometimes there are volunteers that are just completely a pain to work with. But there are those professionals too. But I absolutely rebuke your statements about how professionals are trained. That is not how they are trained today, and if that is how you were trained, that is really too bad. It was wrong. It is true that the executives that learn how to raise money and recruit members go far in this profession. See the reasons in my last post. If you have no more respect for our program and our system than to say that the Executives that support the program "brainwash" volunteers. Then I have no problem saying you are a volunteer that needs to go. Leave the program. Go someplace else. you view and repeatedly speak of our membership as "numbers". You have no desire to keep the movement financially strong. Why are you here? If you so detest a program that has had Professionals and Volunteers working hand in hand since the very first day of incorporation, then why not go someplace you would be more happy. I think we have a great partnership, where both sides are willing to work together. It's people like you, with attitudes like yours that poison the waters. Sell you snake oil somplace else. Your comments are neither loyal to the movement, helpful to the movement, or friendly, courteous or kind to executives.
  15. Baden - With all due respect to you, you are wrong. Professionals are always deeply concerned about program. In fact, this year one region's director has challeged the Executives to concentrate on the "big three": Advancement, Training and Camping. In turn these will lead to more members and better funding. Now I ask you? If the professionals are worried about membership (not numbers) and money and the volunteers aren't then who is undoing the partnership. I find that professionals are usually quite interested in program. The fact is they can't spend much of their time on it, because they have many, many program volunteers and very few Membership and Fundraising volunteers. For some reason, many volunteers turn their nose up at doing anything focused at attracting boys to the program or raising money. So tell me then, what is a professional to do? Which is the answer? 1) Ignore financial and membership growth and allow the program to slowly (or rapidly) decline into irrelavancy and bankruptcy. 2) Spend all of their time working on district program and hope to win over the program volunteers to the point that they decide to care about finances and membership. or 3) Let the quality dedicated volunteers deliver a high quality program and then develop newer and less dedicated volunteers to help with more the more transactional nature of membership and money. Thus spending more of their daily effort on these functions, but being successful for the program. The fact is that this problem can't just be laid at the feet of professionals. Let's face it, our "in the trenches" volunteers somehow find membership and money distasteful. I don't know why. One side can't exist without the other. I appoligize for my tone in advance, but this is a real hot button for me. I have been involved in this program for the vast majority of my life. 15 years as a youth and volunteer and 10 years as a professional. I am an Eagle Scout. I am a former Camp Staff member. I love this program, I have lived it for 25 years. I was one of those "numbers" and I am glad I was. I am so happy that a DE someplace met their goal, because I joined the program. That goal, that number, changed my life! But because I decided to dedicate my life to growing this program, my dedication is less pure. Excuse me, but that is just untrue. Is the pastor of a church less of a believer because he gets a pay check? Absolutely not. But in the end, the Pastor has to pass the collection plate every week. Why? because if he doesn't the lights go out, ministries end and he loses his job. Scouting professionals are very much like clergy in this respect. Sure there are some with less dedication than that, but not very many. This job doesn't pay enough to keep those people around very long. My experience is that 90% of tenured professionals have a real dedication to the program. They want to see it grow in every respect. The next time you speak with your DE or SE, remember that. If they don't have that dedication, shame on them, they should find another line of work. But if they do (the chances are good) feed it. Develop it. You are the best trainers. Help them to fulfill the commitments of the organization, so they can spend more time with you, spending that money to deliver the highest quality program to an increasing number of youth! Partnership, that means both sides must form that symbiotic realtionship. Neither can do it alone.
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