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dkurtenbach

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dkurtenbach last won the day on March 20

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About dkurtenbach

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    Nebraska / Virginia / North Carolina
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    Lawyer
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    How BSA shoots itself in the foot
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    Small town, Star Scout, college, married, law school, Army, kids, big city suburbs, job, Scout leader

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  1. So, in a no-money situation, the question is: What parts of the recharter process can we drop because we already have a simpler or easier way to do them?
  2. Yes -- Get rid of it! Far too many unit, district, and council resources are wasted on this obsolete process. If council wants to renew the charter agreement with a chartered organization, then do it; there is no need to include the whole roster reconciliation and annual payment process at the same time. Apply for membership and pay the membership fee and fees for the unit you are joining online. Once a member is approved, automatic renewal and payment unless the member or unit cancels. You want to see who is registered in your unit? Open up the unit roster on My.Scouting -- every unit already has at least three people who can do that. And there is really no reason why adults have to register in a particular position (except no-fee positions, such as merit badge counselors). Let adults register as generic Adult Members, then assign them roles in My. Scouting.
  3. I suspect that given the amount GSUSA is asking for in its claim, it will remain on the panel. Any and all claims must still (1) be determined to be valid (that BSA owes something to the claimant), (2) have the full amount of a valid claim determined (how much BSA owes to the claimant), (3) have a determination of how, and how much, valid claims will actually be paid from the available assets. The validity and amount of many claims will be undisputed. The validity of many claims will be undisputed, but the amount owed will be disputed. And both the validity and amount of many claims (like GSUSA's) will be disputed. Whenever there is a dispute, it has to be resolved through some process in the bankruptcy court (such as an "adversary action," essentially a sub-lawsuit within the greater bankruptcy), or a process overseen by the bankruptcy court (negotiation, mediation), or a process authorized by the bankruptcy court (a lawsuit in another court -- what GSUSA is asking for). Once the dispute is resolved, the result still has to be rolled into the bigger bankruptcy's overall resolution and payment.
  4. And a little glimpse of what modern business litigation looks like, from page 15 of the GSUSA brief: In the Trademark Action, the parties have: • produced more than 350,000 pages of documents, • completed 37 fact depositions, • collected documents from the majority of the 15 subpoenaed third parties, • nearly completed document collections from 14 Girl Scout councils and 18 Boy Scout councils, and • exchanged opening round expert reports concerned with consumer surveys.
  5. From the GSUSA brief at p.7: Moreover, the association between the Girl Scouts’ brand, long a symbol of girl empowerment, and that of the Boy Scouts’ brand, one mired in ever-mounting scandals regarding sexual abuse, has caused further harm to the Girl Scouts by tarnishing its unique and historic legacy. And from pp. 12-13: The continued use of the SCOUT mark and variations thereof in connection with all of Boy Scouts’ core programs offered to girls of all ages on a nationwide basis has diluted and will continue to dilute Girl Scouts’ famous GIRL SCOUTS trademark by blurring its distinctiveness and creating an improper and inaccurate association with Boy Scouts. Such improper associations are of particular concern to Girl Scouts because Boy Scouts has received significant negative publicity regarding its activities conducted under the BOY SCOUTS and SCOUTS marks, such that the goodwill associated with those terms when used in connection with boys’ leadership development services has been damaged. In particular, there have been lawsuits and media articles alleging: a poor child safety record with respect to certain aspects of Boy Scouts’ programs; acts of misconduct perpetrated by some of its leaders over the years; and Boy Scouts’ decision to lobby against child protection statutes in certain states. The threat to the Girl Scouts’ brand has become more pronounced with the commencement of this Bankruptcy Case and the negative publicity that comes with it. This Bankruptcy Case in particular will be accompanied by more negative publicity than would be expected in the normal course of a bankruptcy proceeding, as the aforementioned sexual abuse scandals and lawsuits at the heart of the bankruptcy will receive increased press scrutiny.
  6. A troop of eight Scouts or so is a patrol without the middleman; a patrol in the purest sense: independent, required to carry out all the various tasks and responsibilities of Scouting themselves without the support of some larger infrastructure, and required by circumstances to get along and rely upon each other for success. Not to mention having the advantages of being highly mobile, flexible, bureaucracy-free, and having a light administrative burden. And structured to be more environmentally-friendly than larger groups. The biggest challenge for a small troop is having enough adults willing and able to engage in an active schedule of outdoor adventure. Given its advantages, I have often wondered whether the trek-crew-size independent patrol/small troop -- already the only option in many rural areas -- is the ideal structure for Scouting.
  7. Just a little litigation update. You may recall that the Girl Scouts of the USA sued the Boy Scouts of America in federal court in New York, alleging violations of trademark law by BSA. Generally, GSUSA claims that when referring to a program for boys, BSA has exclusive right to terms like "Scout" and "Scouts," and when referring to a program for girls, GSUSA has exclusive right to "Scout" or "Scouts." So when BSA uses "Scout" or "Scouts" when referring to girls in BSA programs, it creates confusion and infringes on GSUSA's trademark. That case is still in the "discovery" stage, in which the sides seek to obtain all kinds of information from each other to support their claims and defenses. BSA has notified the New York court that it is now in Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court in Delaware and that the "automatic stay" under bankruptcy law halts all other ongoing litigation. The New York court has now ordered GSUSA to ask the bankruptcy court to allow the trademark suit to continue in New York.
  8. I mean "erosion" in this sense: Originally, troops were made up of patrols. Now troops are divided into patrols. Patrols used to be more or less permanent, with traditions of their own, composed of Scouts of all ages, with the older Scouts being responsible for younger Scouts and competitions among patrols. Now, patrols frequently change membership, change names, and disappear out of existence (the New Scout Patrol is even designed to be temporary). Every member of a patrol used to have a job with a title and real responsibilities, and the younger Scouts earned their way to positions of greater and greater responsibility. Now, there often isn't much for patrol members to do because the work is being done at the troop level by Scouts who need recognized Positions of Responsibility for advancement. Patrol members used to tent together, away from other patrols. Now, Scouts are often just jumbled together in a troop campsite. I could go on, but the larger point is that the Patrol was where a Scout learned teamwork -- or, more properly, citizenship -- by committing to work, play, and live in a little community in which success depended on the efforts of every member despite age differences, background differences, skill and experience differences, and personality differences. All too often these days, patrols are just temporary groupings for the purpose of troop administration.
  9. Some might say the same things about ScoutsBSA membership numbers, the "one-and-done" ScoutsBSA advancement program, and the erosion of the ScoutsBSA patrol as the most important structural feature of the program.
  10. BSA's traditional programs, including Venturing, still exclude atheists. The Exploring program's Non-Discrimination Statement reads: "Exploring programs are designed for all age groups starting at 10 and not yet age 21. Youth participation is open to any youth in the prescribed age group for that particular program. Adults are selected by the participating organization for involvement in the program. Color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, disability, economic status or citizenship is not criteria for participation by youth or adults."
  11. If Venturing -- fully co-ed, uniforms optional, no patrols, no ranks, awards optional -- is a program that has real value and is a great alternative to ScoutsBSA, why not make it available to younger boys and girls, as an alternative to ScoutsBSA starting right after Cub Scouts? Have an age-appropriate Junior Venturing program that takes the youth through 8th grade, then they graduate into the high school-and-beyond Venturing program. By stripping away many of the complicated features of ScoutsBSA, Venturing gets down to the essence of Scouting: planning and doing things that require learning skills, and growing through failure and success. As @desertrat77 stated, "Simple and complex at the same time. When it works, it is scouting at its very best." And because Venturing does not use rank advancement but instead is built around planning and carrying out adventures, it is ideal for recruiting youth of any age because no member is ever "behind" his or her peers.
  12. I would suggest that our need right now is not simply to show the community that we still exist, but to show that our existence adds real, visible, concrete value to the community.
  13. If I recall, the Sea Scout program is advancement-oriented, skills-oriented, and outdoor adventure-oriented, isn't it? But in Venturing, using the Venturing awards program is an individual and crew choice, and the type of crew activities are pretty much up to the crew, so Venturing isn't necessarily high adventure -- is that correct?
  14. I'll ask it: With young women in ScoutsBSA and the Order of the Arrow, is there any role for Venturing? Any need for Venturing? Is there anything in the Venturing program not already available in ScoutsBSA?
  15. The reality is that in today's hyper-litigious society, an organization would be nuts to sponsor youth-only activities without adult supervision, despite written warnings to parents about the potential for injury or death and written agreements by parents not to blame the organization should any such thing occur. Insurance costs would be huge. Many parents would simply keep their kids away from an organization with those kinds of activities. The ones who did allow their kids to sign up would be screaming at the slightest injury and pulling their kids out. Any significant injury would require the organization to compensate the "victim" via a settlement or risk a lawsuit. Gone are the days when parents accepted the risk of injuries to their children in exchange for the benefits of a program.
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