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desertrat77

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Everything posted by desertrat77

  1. Matt, you just described a DE who was my mentor when I was a camp staffer and OA vice lodge chief back in the '70s. A great scouter, gentleman, humorist. When he first become a DE, he was given the leeway to do what he thought was right, as you said. Camporees, waterfront director at summer camp, OA, you name it, he was there and enjoying life. He mixed well with the scouts and scouters and was respected by all. Then the council got a new SE and things changed. We didn't see the DE except at council meetings. When I'd stop by the council office to type up and publish the lodge newsletter, he was always in his office surrounded by paperwork, looking a bit glum. He resigned shortly thereafter and became a highly respected educator. He continued in scouting at the unit level, with his sons.
  2. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    @Parkman, I agree with your perspectives, but in the last couple days I've been doing a lot of pondering.... I don't think Congress has put much stock in the BSA's charter for a long time. It's probably viewed as another antiquated decision from yesteryear. I rather doubt Congress would intervene at all regarding the BSA's future. It's true, the camps, HA bases, history, and goodwill would be gone. But I'm starting to view the situation as we would a forest fire. The fire burns everything in its path, healthy and detritus alike. But what grows back is green and fresh. Others have mentioned this, but it bears repeating--after legal action is complete, the movement that survives will resemble, to a great degree, what scouting looked like in the early days. Unit autonomy. Thriftiness. Hiking and camping. Less emphasis on red tape and more on adventure. Chartering organizations tailor the program to meet their expectations. Reduce the uniform to work clothes and a neckerchief. Instead of summer camp and Philmont, hike to a local property or explore our vast state and federal park systems. Get outdoors again. Hike in, pack on back, and study birds, chop wood with an axe and cook on a fire. Less emphasis on shiny objects. In summary, the BSA is getting ready to pay a bill that was due many years ago. Whether it's fair or not is immaterial at this point. In addition to settling abuse claims, we will also pay for decades of poor strategic decision making, the total absence of any national-level external public relations effort, and abysmal financial management. Those that remain after all is said and done will have an opportunity to begin anew.
  3. From Ministrywatch.com: "The Boy Scouts Mortgage their 'Crown Jewel'" "According to documents obtained by MinistryWatch.com the Boy Scouts of America has mortgaged Philmont Scout Ranch, one of the BSA’s largest and most valuable properties. "The Boy Scouts filed the mortgage in Colfax County, New Mexico, where Philmont is located, on March 21, 2019. The filing was recorded on April 3, 2019. The document places a mortgage on the entire Philmont property – which covers more than 140,000 acres, or about 220 square miles – in northeastern New Mexico. The mortgage also includes “all improvements” to the land. "Philmont has been called the “crown jewel” of Scouting. More than 1-million Scouts and their leaders have attended Philmont since its founding. A typical year has about 22,000 campers plus about 5,000 adults and their families attending the training center. Philmont is also home of the National Scouting Museum, visited by thousands of tourists each year. "The mortgage is held by JP Morgan Chase Bank. The terms of the deal are complex and depend on a number of factors, but the filing states that “the lien secured by this Mortgage shall not at any one time exceed $450,000,000.” https://ministrywatch.com/the-boy-scouts-mortgage-their-crown-jewel/?fbclid=IwAR0lXqWsp2RQe7QCvODR0M2uxWHF2qX42Y2cKLyyMnbkAlretKwtkD7BQ5M __________________________________________________________________ - Link to legal documents is in first paragraph of article (signed by Michael Surbaugh in March 2019) - Also reported on in World Magazine: https://world.wng.org/2019/11/a_desperate_move?fbclid=IwAR1mpVF-mvJRhV9qS7YzMNIfHppM1gfm25xYAwL8-57_8L2Tdeao4rJ78us
  4. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    About half of the Philmont mortgage went to Arrow WV.
  5. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    That is the key question. Whether they should or not, I think many families in the near future are going to say good bye to the BSA and find something else to do. Many believe the fees are already too high in relation to the perceived value, and they either can't or won't tolerate more increases.
  6. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    Joe Bob, I think Philmont would be toughest to lose, and the very property the legal and banking folks will go after first. About 214 square miles of prime wilderness. I just don't see any creditor, attorney or judge excepting it from the long, expensive legal battle ahead. As for Summit, I'm on board with the suggestion someone (sorry I forgot who) made earlier: National should have to relocate all of their headquarters and personnel to the Summit. Sell everything in Irving TX, pack the UHaul, and start driving NE. If Summit is indeed as special as advertised, it should be a positive move.
  7. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    I'm a bit mystified by the rosy outlook on the concept that "councils are separate from national, so it's business as usual for the councils." Won't councils be next on the list to face legal action? How big is the legal budget of most councils?
  8. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    I concur. @carebear3895, thanks for all you do, every day, for scouting. I too appreciate your perspective and good humor. As PACAN said, we're guessing what goes on in the pro and exec community. The professional tiers above DE seem closed to almost everyone but a chosen few.
  9. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    John, no doubt they are a JTE Gold team! A special commemorative patch should be made for this occasion!
  10. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    Legal fees and new chairs in the council conference room....
  11. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    Jameson, your proposal is sound and the math checks out. It would work even better if we encouraged scouts to drop out of school and sell popcorn full time.....
  12. desertrat77

    Chapter 11 announced

    Not very scientific on my part, but I just scrolled through 150+ comments regarding this story on the Wall Street Journal website. In summary, many commenters that support (or used to support) scouting feel bankruptcy is the death knell of the BSA. Not a single comment about about sunny skies and clearer sailing in the future. Even pro-scouting commenters stated in so many words that the BSA was a moribund organization previous to the Chapter 11 announcement. No doubt recruiting, fundraising, and public support will be difficult in the future. Unit level volunteers will carry the water and face the brunt of public opinion, while "commissioned BSA professionals" will conduct meetings and luncheons with attorneys in their headquarters. And when times get tough, fellow volunteers, we can continue to be encouraged by the rallying cry that National issued last fall: "Sell More Popcorn."
  13. desertrat77

    New Advancement Coordinator/Chair - New Poster

    @DNRobbin, welcome to scouter.com!
  14. desertrat77

    Facebook Use

    I see...I think it's a great idea.
  15. desertrat77

    Facebook Use

    I'd go for it. One limitation I've noticed. While FB is a great way to communicate, I've had to have a Plan B for those that don't have an account or rarely check their FB page. This is usually an email or a text.
  16. desertrat77

    Commissioner role

    Tahawk, this is great and sums up the commissioner role to the letter. The challenge is finding men and women who are willing to roll their sleeves up and do their best to fulfill these duties. Usually scouters who have these qualities would rather work at unit level where they can really make a difference.
  17. desertrat77

    Commissioner role

    I've worked for DCs who were great leaders. They provided the correct sight picture, training, encouragement for UCs. Actively recruited UCs. Yet were constantly stymied because they were always short UCs, or those that were on the rolls fit in one or more of theses categories: - AWOL: performed no duties, never seen - Toxic: performed their duties, but the units disliked their high-handed/clueless approach and attitude. Several cordially dis-invited from any unit activity - Hapless: nice folks, they mean well, but provided nothing of value to the units and/or they rarely show up - Inert: neither toxic or hapless, they showed up to district stuff but wouldn't visit their units for any reason - Selective engagement: bad attitude, refused to do anything unit level, but loved to show up to district stuff, and anything related to WB or council As I've mentioned, I was in six councils during my military career. In five of these, I'd show up to a new duty station, call the local council and volunteer as a UC. This always led to a nice lunch or a cup of coffee the next week with a DE or district commissioner who was delighted and perhaps a little surprised that I volunteered. The real surprises happened when I'd visit units and do my best to convey respect, interest in their unit, and fellowship. Usual comments: "I've been an SM for X years and you are the first commissioner who has walked through our door." "We had a UC several years before but he was a complete jerk and we told him not to come back." "Frankly we loathe the district, they've been nothing but a thorn in our side for years." They were further surprised when I'd go camping with them if they were short an adult, wash dishes and have a cup of coffee with them around the campfire. ("A commissioner who actually camps...well now I've seen it all!") I realize it looks like I'm sounding my own horn but I mention these dynamics because what I did was not profound at all. The only thing that was unusual was that many UCs can't or won't do their job, regardless of training, leadership and motivation.
  18. desertrat77

    Commissioner role

    Thank you Barry, as I have the deepest respect for you and all you've done for scouting. To explain a bit further, the biggest challenge is finding commissioners that will actually perform their duties, and do them with the proper spirit. In my travels, these two simple qualities seem to elude the vast majority of commissioners. Some will do one or the other but not both. Others make no effort to do either. I think this is why the commissioner concept is so tarnished at unit level.
  19. I really like the strategic partnership concept...I think it should be a top 3 initiative for the BSA in the days and years ahead. I concur, the BSA must want to be an outdoor program. Hiking, backpacking, canoeing, climbing real mountains, camp fires, identifying and appreciating flora/fauna. Heat, cold, wind, rain, snow, doesn't matter. Adventure.
  20. desertrat77

    Commissioner role

    As a former UC and district commissioner, I believe the commissioner concept is a good one. However, it rarely works as advertised.
  21. Ynot, I concur with everything in your post, and would like to add a couple thoughts.... Promoting from within: this faulty practice has been true in the BSA for decades and now the organization is paying for it. The national pros and volunteers on the high-level committees have demonstrated an incredible disregard for reality, and appear to have very little loyalty to those that serve at unit level. Frankly, I see the looming bankruptcy upsetting their apple-cart to a degree they are not fully anticipating at this time. Outdoor organizations: spot on observation...I think these organizations stay away from the BSA in droves. Some because we are faith based, but much of it because of the poor image that the BSA has garnered, be it deserved or undeserved. Our national pros and vols have done nothing to shape strategic level public relations for a long, long time. Again, we're all getting ready to pay the bill for their neglect. Additionally, the BSA has deliberately distanced itself from our outdoor adventure image. Bear Grylls: we could find one but I don't think the bureaucrats want to share the lime light. Plus there are viable candidates who would decline because of the BSA's poor image.
  22. Matt, this is the exact play our council chose out of the "How to Screw Up Your Summer Camp" playbook. It worked so bad two summers ago, they doubled down and did it again last summer. Now the council is shocked--shocked!--to find that camp attendance numbers have dropped like a rock. Exit surveys from units were abysmal. Food, staff, program, facilities, equipment--complete train wreck. Thankfully, a fully qualified, proven director has been hired for this year. Staff has been hired early this year and resources are being channeled to the camp. Hopefully things will rebound. Units have long memories.
  23. desertrat77

    Commissioner role

    Hello @Beccachap, and welcome to scouter.com!
  24. I'm seeing the same dynamics. Training is perfunctory at best. Several years ago, before the on-line training, each month the council would point out that we district staffers were in single digits for training. YPT was all done. But the council had not conducted a district staff training course in years. Yet they still showed us deficient for training each month, with the upshot being it was on us. Us to council: "When will you schedule the training?" Council: "Some time in the near future." Never happened. The on-line course arrived first. The lack of training has not only impacted the quantity of district staffers, but the quality as well. BSA-wide, positions are open for months and then given to the first warm body that shows interest. Some of these staffers are welling meaning but hapless. Others are toxic and drive people away. Some district staffs I've been a part of are just a good ole boys club that has zero interest in anything outside of their circle. (I was only allowed to join these types of staffs because I'd volunteer as a UC and sure enough, there were several vacancies.)
  25. If you can find an unofficial mentor that your unit is happy with, that's the way to go. There is no need for them to be an official UC. Curious: did the district commissioner volunteer his/her services to help out in the interim? You raise a good point that others have mentioned earlier. All of these district positions are great in theory--but many districts have a difficult time finding qualified, quality volunteers. Or if they are already on the district staff, many have lost sight of their primary mission--to help units.
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