Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


dkurtenbach last won the day on November 21

dkurtenbach had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

52 Excellent

About dkurtenbach

  • Rank
    Junior Member

Profile Information

  • Gender

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. dkurtenbach

    Linked or not linked?

    Unless you're looking for a close relationship with the boys troop -- some shared meeting time (openings and closings), joint campouts and activities, etc. -- I'd suggest avoiding a shared committee. A shared committee with the majority of the committee members from the boys troop is quite naturally going to be trying to fit the girls troop into the boys troop way of doing things. If you're looking more at being a "cousin" troop than a "sister" troop, find a boys troop where the adults will be happy to help you get on your feet, consult, train, share equipment, etc. At the same time, find a chartered organization that will support you in the way you'd like (it may or may not be the same CO as the friendly boys troop). But be a separate troop with your own committee. That will give you the freedom to shape the relationships you want.
  2. dkurtenbach

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    The way I'm feeling with this latest news, I'd almost say, "Saving Scouting from [the grips of] the Boy Scouts of America is a good thing for the youth of our country." Maybe one outcome of this situation could be a restructuring that would reduce the national organization to a property-holding shell, with policy guidelines developed instead by a conference of Councils, and each Council able to adapt based on local conditions. That would give us plenty of room to experiment (Council by Council) and allow us to avoid sudden massive nationwide policy shifts.
  3. dkurtenbach

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    ParkMan, thanks. The BSA organizational model is for a top-heavy district with committees for Finance (including Friends of Scouting and Popcorn), Membership, Program (including Activities, Camping, Training, and Advancement), plus Roundtable Commissioners, plus enough Unit Commissioners that they have an average of no more than three units each. And that doesn't include the adult support for the Order of the Arrow chapter. The model is another example of an unnecessary bureaucracy. And it is counter-intuitive. Most Scouters get involved in Scouting to work with youth in units. Many great Scouters move on to other interests outside of Scouting when their youth age out. Those who stick around usually prefer to continue working in their units. And very few have the time and inclination to be both active in their units and active at the district level. Instead of a large top-down district-level bureaucracy that constantly requires recruiting, almost all of what is considered district-level work could and should be located where the necessary Scouter labor force has already been recruited: in the units, as collateral duties of the Chartered Organization Representative and two or three adult leaders and/or parents in the unit. If you have 50 units in a district, that's 150 unit Scouters and parents available to work on district committees with rotating unit representation. That would include committees that review unit quality, performed much as camp assessments are now: a small group of Scouters from different units visit every unit a couple of times a year, armed with a list of best practices (much like unit Journey to Excellence scoresheets). In addition to ensuring that every unit's program is assessed regularly, this has the benefits of (a) letting Scouters see what other units are up to, and (b) making every unit acutely aware of expectations for program quality. And that is one less separate Scouting bureaucracy that has to be staffed.
  4. dkurtenbach

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    We were most of the way through the process with a very small, struggling troop. It was difficult for the SM and Committee Chair, who had founded the troop and wanted to keep it going, even though they knew things were not happening as they had planned or hoped. The Chartered Organization was not particularly hands-on, and had lost an Explorer Post previously. They pretty much would go along with whatever the unit decided. We had just had a meeting with the parents to let them know that the troop would likely be folding unless there were some big changes, and if it was shutting down we'd be working with them to move the Scouts into another troop. Then a miracle (the good kind) happened. A big troop with a strong program and great leadership needed to part ways with its chartered organization (a Catholic school) after BSA's decision to admit gay youth. A deal was struck, and the troops merged. In that instance, we had a supportive District Commissioner whose main interest was in doing what was best for the Scouts in the troop, rather than what was best for district statistics. Usually what I have seen is the balance tipping in favor of keeping the unit on the books regardless of how weak its program was.
  5. dkurtenbach

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    No miracles required. Local control. The experienced local volunteers who serve as commissioners and committee members are able to assess the quality of a unit program and the competence of a Scout leader. All that would be required to shut down a unit with a long history of poor program is that the unit not recharter. And you get to that with a series of conversations with the unit leadership, the Chartered Organization Representative, the Scouts, the families, and the head of the chartered organization. Of course, that is going to be after a couple of years' worth of prior conversations with unit leadership, the Chartered Organization Representative, and maybe the head of the chartered organization about the unit program.
  6. dkurtenbach

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    Please see my response to ParkMan. The one exception I would see to shutting down a chronically poorly-performing unit is where that unit is the only game in town, such as a rural area. In that case, the only way to provide those youth a Scouting experience is to keep the unit alive and provide whatever resources are available. (NOTE: The size of a unit is not an indicator of the quality of the unit's program.) But in a suburban area like mine with a dozen troops and packs within three miles that the youth can go to, there is really no excuse for nursing along a unit that has not gotten better over a very long period.
  7. dkurtenbach

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    I agree that districts are the front line in improving unit quality. But you can't always invest in stronger district teams. At any particular time, you have the District Executive and the volunteers that you have, and you can't wait to address a problem for the years it will take to develop a stronger corps of unit commissioners and committee members. Well, if there is a concern about program integrity, program quality, and the future damage to the program's recruiting efforts by adults recounting their poor experiences in the BSA program, then BSA should be seeking out and shutting down poorly performing units and sending those Scouts to units with quality programs.
  8. dkurtenbach

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    Concur that program delivery varies widely among units. In my view, consistently anemic units with poor programs that go on year after year are the single greatest long-term threat to Scouting. Why? Because adults who had a poor Scouting experience as youth won't put their kids in the program, and neither will their friends and family members. Yet because shutting down an ineffective unit will look bad on this year's district and council membership statistics, district and council officials won't even consider it; they will even nurse the unit along each year at recharter time even though there is no improvement. Corporate Scouting.
  9. dkurtenbach

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    So, given that there are already plenty of program publications, training syllabi, merit badge pamphlets, uniforms, handbooks, etc. already in circulation -- not to mention all of the creative program material and guidance that Scouters have been posting on the internet for the last couple of decades -- and given the existence of patch companies, outfitters, local / regional / state / national parks, privately owned campgrounds, farms, climbing gyms, caves, etc., and individual creativity and handicraft skills, . . . . . . we wouldn't be losing anything that could hamper the delivery of great unit Scouting programs, even if Councils went away too. Just sayin'.
  10. dkurtenbach

    Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

    The Boy Scouts of America national organization is not the Scouting Movement, nor are the local councils. The Scouting Movement is made up of the youth and their volunteer leaders out there in the schools and church basements and hiking trails and canoes and food pantries and local parades. Families join local troops and packs because they are drawn in by the good reports of their friends and neighbors and a yearning to do something meaningful. Scouting existed in America well before the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated. Maybe this is an opportunity to remember that Scouting does not emanate from Irving, Texas, or even from local council offices. Maybe this is an opportunity to remember that the game of Scouting was originally played with hand-me-down military uniforms and hand-crafted equipment, in fields and parks and meeting spaces open to the public, with one simple guidebook for implementing a simple idea. That idea is as valid today as when it was first tested in the early years of the last century, and is needed as much or more now as it was then. And it is not at all dependent upon some corporation's financial woes.
  11. dkurtenbach

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    Between two and five years from now we'll find out if BSA's gambit worked. The number of girls crossing over from Cub Scouts will tell us.
  12. dkurtenbach

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    While we would like to get a lot of moms who already have outdoor skills, we don't need them to have the outdoor skills immediately. As with many dads who come into Scouting with little or no outdoor experience, and pick those skills up right along with their sons from camping and outdoor veterans, moms will learn alongside their daughters, most likely (in the beginning) from men with Scout camping experience who volunteer to help out in the girl troop. For now, we need to sign the moms up as female adult leaders in girl troops for YPT purposes. Get them signed up to just be there, and their daughters will get them out in the field.
  13. dkurtenbach

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    Having thought about this over the years, and having noticed what you have noticed, I think what happened is that BSA began watering down outdoor-related advancement requirements, particularly in the Tenderfoot through First Class ranks (maybe to encourage more rapid advancement to First Class), began moving away from high-impact camping practices (lots of fun, little thought required) to environmentally friendly practices (more thinking and planning necessary), and began adding safety-related restrictions in the Guide to Safe Scouting. Together, these shifts created the impression that BSA was taking outdoor fun out of the program. But I think what was really happening was that BSA was and continues to be encouraging outdoor adventure as much as ever, and providing great venues for it, but offering fewer incentives to Scouts to participate in outdoor adventure (fewer outdoor-related advancement requirements, less pyromaniac and tree-chopping fun) and more dis-incentives to leaders to participate in outdoor adventure (G2SS removing some activities, more training and certifications and approvals and experience and fitness required).
  14. dkurtenbach

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    Oh, I was saying a lot more than that. 😉 Anyway, Forced? No. Rather, what I said in the sentence before puts that last sentence about tweaks to advancement requirements in context: "And finally, if BSA is smart in its marketing, it will seek to differentiate BSA even more from GSUSA, and the obvious vehicle for that is the appeal of outdoor adventure to girls." In that post, an increased emphasis on the outdoor program was the fifth (by my count) reason for my conclusion that the admission of girls into the program is unlikely to adversely affect the image of Eagles. That is because the participation of girls will improve the quality of the program that the image of Eagles is tied to. Of course, that last one is conditioned on the optimistic but to date unproven notion that BSA will be smart in its marketing. 😌
  15. dkurtenbach

    Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

    "[T]he change will be accelerated with every change that is different from last years BSA program. Today they change the name, tomorrow the uniform. The Oath and Law aren't too far down the road. Will there be enough of last years Boy Scout program left for todays Eagles to respect their kids Eagle 15 years from now?" Emphasis added. You seem to be saying there that the degree of image change is tied to the degree of program change, and you ask what the degree of program change will be in 15 years. Advancement is, of course, integral to the program, and therefore to image.