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Posts posted by dkurtenbach

  1. 14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    Who said anything about three ranks and MBs all at once? Go back to my mildly highlighted point: 1st class 1st year is a lie, the rank is hard, the skills therein are difficult to master.

    If FCFY is not a concern in your troop, then these NSPs will be focused on mastering Tenderfoot skills over about six months.

    What you are suggesting is (1) holding Scouts back from advancing to Second Class and First Class even if they have the desire and the dedication to do so; (2) lock-step advancement for new Scouts rather than letting them each advance at their own pace; and (3) holding them back from learning advanced skills in specific areas that are at the Second Class and First Class levels.

  2. 3 hours ago, Mom2Scout said:

    Have you considered Messengers of Peace?


    If you put a M of P emphasis on a service project and share, you are spreading the good that scouting can do for a community.  Also, don't be shy about letting local media know when you are up to a service project.  Our troop has increasingly been relying on committee members to keep 2 deep for events to make sure we have coverage. 

    Hopefully, M of P will inspire kids to do service outside of their scouting.

    Great resource!  Offers a specific goal to work toward, ideas on what to do, and recognition for the effort.  For example (from the website) -- 

    Here are sample project ideas:

    Personal Dimension

    • Host a holiday party for children of prison inmates.
    • Collect books and magazines for inner-city schools.
    • Conduct entertainment programs, including skits and plays, at a nursing home.
    • Make and donate gift boxes to be distributed by Feed the Children.
    • Assist organizations that provide home maintenance services for those in need.
    • Clean a Habitat for Humanity house before the family moves in.

    Community Dimension

    • Create a community prayer garden.
    • Replace graffiti with peace-related murals.
    • Host conflict-resolution workshops in a local school.
    • Plan a sports tournament that brings together kids from different segments of the community.
    • Serve as “victims” for a county EMT or first responders training course.
    • Assist in the packaging of medical supplies for developing countries.

    Environmental Dimension

    • Clean up a campground, a local park, a river, or a school parking lot.
    • Assist with a shoreline-restoration project.
    • Collect and dispose of household chemicals, batteries, and other potentially dangerous waste products from the residences of shut-ins.
    • Remove invasive species and plant native trees in a park.
    • Volunteer at a community recycling center.
    • Clear brush from fire buffer zone.

    For tips on conducting successful projects, visit www.scouting.org/awards/journey-to-excellence/unit-tips




  3. Curving back a bit toward the original topic, I was taught that one of the Patrol Leader's jobs is to monitor the advancement of each Scout in the patrol so that a Scout having some difficulty will get help, and so that Scouts get credit for what they know and can do.  This a responsibility that would probably fall to the Troop Guide in a New Scout Patrol.  It could be very challenging with a bunch of boys working on Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class, plus merit badges, all at the same time.

    • Upvote 1
  4. 1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

    This is where BSA training could really help.  What are effective ways to handle advancement without it feeling like school.

    How about things like:

    • No sitting during skills training
    • All skills taught by skilled Scout instructors (though the instructors can be trained by adults if necessary)
    • An instructor cannot train more than two Scouts at a time - no group instruction
    • No note taking
    • Instructors and Scouts should always have some relevant gear or item in their hands (piece of rope, knife or axe, bandages, map, compass, fry pan, etc.)
    • At a closing gathering at the end of the campout, event, or meeting where requirements are completed, the Scout instructor calls out Scouts that passed requirements, and they all get a cheer/applause
    • Upvote 1
  5. The New Scout Patrol is supposed to be an interim step.  So you need to ask:  What comes after?  What do the troop's "regular" patrols look like?  How does the interim step help Scouts prepare for the troop's "regular" patrols, and how does the New Scout Patrol help the troop's "regular" patrol system?  How do you integrate the new Scouts into the "regular" patrols at the end of the separation period?  Is that integration after the separation period easier because you have had that interim step?

    And you also have to ask:  Does the New Scout Patrol really have anything to do with the troop's "regular" patrol system, or is the NSP just a way to corral the new Scouts and keep them separate from the rest of the troop for a while so you can do whatever it is you want to do with them?  If it is just about keeping the new Scouts separate for a while, what exactly do you want to do with them that requires that you keep them separate from the rest of the troop?  How does that separation help the new Scouts?  How does that separation help the other Scouts in the troop during the separation period? 

  6. 3 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    Together, the camps cost about $375,000 each year to operate. That cost was determined to be too high, while offering experiences Girl Scouts could get elsewhere in the area, CEO Loretta Graham said.

    $375,000 in operating costs spread over four camps with structures, facilities, equipment, and program seems like a bargain, unless that $375,000 is actually an overall deficit (expenses greater than camp revenue) from camp operations.  If that is a deficit, then in a council with 9,000 girls, that is nearly $42 per member that has to be raised every year to cover the excess camp expenses.  Assuming only a fraction of those girls actually go to camp, user fees for the camps would have to go up significantly to break even.  But that deficit (if that is what the $375,000 is) could be significantly reduced by keeping one or two camps and selling the others.

  7. 20 minutes ago, David CO said:

    Scouting has always been a game with a purpose.  It's a good game.  It's a good purpose.  But scouting has never been this all-important, world changing movement that many die-hard scouters keep imagining.  The stewards and guides of the program broke it by giving it this inflated sense of greatness. 

    I sort of agree with this part, in this sense:  BSA leadership broke the program when they took the notion that it is a "character" program to extremes that drove people away.[fn.1]  This overt spotlight on character -- which narrowed in meaning to "values" and "morality" -- put too much weight on one part of a well-balanced design. This self-importance (cultish? maybe) expanded to Scouting also being about leadership development.[fn.2] They neglected other key parts of Scouting, like the Patrol System. They neglected Scoutcraft and developments in environmental science and knowledge, allowing Scouts to become dreaded high-impact tourists in national and state parks. They over-emphasized Advancement, equating checking off a requirement (and acquisition of new "bling") with growth in character. Youth actually learning and practicing skills to the point they would remember and use them for life became largely irrelevant.[fn. 3] They got lazy, turning a hands-on, active learning program into just another school where youth sit in classes and write papers. 

    But is Scouting as originally envisioned world-changing?  In my view, yes -- but in the low-key way that Baden-Powell wrote about and is embodied in the "Purposes" section of the BSA Congressional Charter (1916) in the United States Code, Title 36, section 30902:  "The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916."  Contrast that with BSA's made-up Mission Statement, which embodies the over-emphasis on character development:  "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."


    [fn. 1]  See https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2008-07-20-boy-scouts-advice_N.htm , a 2008 interview with then-CSE Bob Mazzuca.  "For the first time in our history, we had adversaries. Back in the day when I started, it was motherhood, apple pie and Boy Scouts. We were thrust into a situation that we weren't equipped to deal with. The decisions at the time were probably correct for the time. Because of one issue, we abandoned all dialogue about Scouting."

    [fn.2] See Mazzuca interview:  "Scouting builds people who are equipped to make ethical and good choices. It's not unusual to see the leaders of communities come out of Scouting."  "Charisma and other personality traits may determine how far up the ladder you go, but the 12 points of the Scout Law define your character. If you don't have integrity, you're not a good leader no matter how charismatic."

    [fn. 3] See Mazzuca interview:   "Our goal is not to teach someone to rub two sticks together and make a fire. But when you rub two sticks together and make a fire side by side with an adult of good character, you're going to learn about who you are and go on to lead men."  "You can teach a kid about character and leadership using aerospace and computers. The secret is to get them side by side with adults of character."

    • Upvote 1
  8. 2 hours ago, JoeBob said:

    I disagree that 'the ever-continuing decline in membership' is a problem.  I don't follow the premise that bigger is better.  I yearn for a BSA that is half the size in numbers, but still twice the moral beacon of yesteryear.  Many of today's youth are into gaming or sports.  They don't want to be Scouts.  That's okay.  Why should we waste our resources trying to convince them otherwise?  I think we could borrow a line from the USMC: "The few.  The Proud.  The Boy Scouts."

    Well, I guess I look at it a bit differently.  If we have a program that really can change the world for the better, then we have an obligation to get as many people into it as we can.  If it isn't growing, that means one of two things:  Either the program isn't that great after all, or the stewards and guides of the program over the years broke it.  We can't blame the evolution of society for membership decline.  The job of stewards and guides is to maintain the fundamental operating principles of the program while keeping it current and relevant to the changing needs and preferences of our target market.  

  9. The shape of any merger or other reorganization will depend in large part on the shape of the eventual bankruptcy settlement:  Will sexual abuse victims agree to a comprehensive resolution process that brings in all claims against councils, chartered organizations, and other Scouting-related entities in addition to claims against BSA National?  To get there will require substantial financial contributions from councils.  If they can't get there, BSA National's bankruptcy may be resolved (eventually), but victims will be in litigation with councils and other entities for years to come, with numerous council bankruptcies.  Nothing will happen quickly; this is one of the most complex bankruptcies that this nation has ever seen.  In two to  three years, the lawyers will just be getting warmed up.  Even in the best circumstances that can be reasonably anticipated, strenuous litigation about every aspect will likely continue for three to five years before a claims resolution process is finally agreed on; then it will take another three to five years to fund the settlement and litigate individual claims and the size of individual recoveries.  The parties may agree in the interim to some council property sales, with proceeds to go into trust pending final settlement, as councils try to cut costs in preparation for whatever will be coming.

    For the most part, that will all be distant and largely irrelevant to units.  Councils and districts will make every effort to insulate day-to-day local Scouting from the mess, except for increasing fees -- which is really just status quo anyway.  There won't be any significant program changes.  And in the meantime, membership will continue to decline.

    My priorities are a fantasy, and here's why:  The bankruptcy stemming from sexual abuse claims from the past, that creates a financial crisis, doesn't teach BSA or its leaders anything about offering a program that youth and families want to join.  It doesn't teach them anything about the content and execution of BSA programs at the local level and what that should look like when the bankruptcy dust settles.  The bankruptcy is certainly a big problem, but membership decline is BSA's real crisis and BSA isn't going to do anything about it -- either because they are too preoccupied with the bankruptcy or (as I think) because they gave up on it long ago.


    • Upvote 2
  10. 7 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    Fundamentally, I'm worried that we have attached ourselves to an organizational model in Scouting that is not correct for the challenges of today.  I'm worried that in a effort to re-organize after bankruptcy we rush to deploy a model that has not proven successful over the past 40 years.

    I strongly agree with @ParkMan's concerns.  For me, what is troubling about councils is that they spend the majority of their time, effort, and money in activities and services that units don't need (and often don't even know about) or would get anyway without all the fuss.  Now, there are a few services that, in my view, some BSA office or BSA professional must be responsible for, even if much of the work is done by volunteers:

    • administration of registration, chartering, and other "official record" matters
    • dissemination, implementation, and enforcement of BSA policies
    • specially trained escalation point for all issues of member conduct and compliance with BSA policy
    • specially trained incident / emergency management point of contact for health and safety issues
    • acquisition (whether through purchase or lease) and management of conveniently-located camp properties where units can learn and practice outdoor skills (though there is an argument that this can be done better through private Scout-friendly organizations)
    • management of legal, insurance, and claims matters involving Scouting units, members, properties, and activities
    • management of other BSA employees

    Much of the good stuff that helps units or enriches unit programs (adult leader training, activities like camporees, merit badge counseling, roundtable) is attributed to councils or districts, but it is being performed by highly motivated volunteer Scouters who would do things like this anyway. 

    I would argue that even district-level organizations that assert responsibility for unit service and support -- and tell units to come to them for answers -- have a net negative impact.  That structure diverts unit Scouters from informally seeking out and sharing information and experiences with Scouters from other units.  I think that is part of the reason that unit quality varies so much:  our culture of vertical transfer of Scouting information inadvertently discourages formation of a culture of easy relationships and frequent exchange of information and experience among units.  ("That's what Roundtable is for!"  "Yeah, but the way the district runs Roundtable is so boring that we don't go.")

    And then there is fundraising.  So much of the efforts of councils and districts are directed toward fundraising.  But not raising funds to go to units; they are raising funds from units.  

    The point is that the council organization (both at the council level and through its districts) has taken onto itself expensive programs and activities that offer little benefit to units and to some degree are actually burdens on units.  Councils suffer from classic "mission creep."  But they don't see it and the hierarchy above them doesn't see it.

    And 200+ local councils over 40 years have not solved Scouting's greatest challenge: the ever-continuing decline in membership.  That alone should be sufficient cause for sweeping away the existing council structure and replacing it with a system that recognizes that the future of Scouting rests, as it always has, on the shoulders of unit Scouters -- and gets out of their way.

    • Upvote 2
  11. “The Boy Scout movement merits the unstinted support of every American who wants to make his country and his world a better place in which to live.”
    -- General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1946, as quoted on page 10 of BSA's Informational Brief.

    BSA's "Informational Brief" (Document 4) filed in the BSA's bankruptcy case is intended to detail background information about the BSA organization, the sexual abuse lawsuits, and the BSA's intent and plan in filing bankruptcy.  The following quote from page 15 of that Brief is pertinent to this topic:

    • Scouts BSA. After Cub Scouts, youth participants progress to Scouts BSA. The Scouts BSA program focuses on service to others, community engagement, leadership development, respect for the environment, and personal and professional growth. . . . At patrol and troop meetings, Scouts engage in knowledge- and skill-based challenges, team building exercises, and community service projects, such as cleaning parks and other public spaces, enhancing nature preserves, building trails in wildlands, constructing playgrounds, creating libraries, collecting meals for food banks, visiting with the sick or elderly, or responding to national emergencies. 

    (Bold+italics emphasis added.)  As a reminder of where we are as an organization, I note that footnote 10 on page 6 of the Brief includes the following:

    • The BSA’s declining Scouting membership and associated revenue in recent years is another factor that prompted the BSA to review its strategic options. As of December 2019, the BSA had approximately 2.1 million registered Scouts, down from approximately 2.6 million Scouts as of 2012. Compounding this decline, as of December 31, 2019, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints concluded its 105-year relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world, including the BSA. The effect of this change is expected to remove approximately 400,000 Scouts from the BSA’s Scouting programs. 

    The bankruptcy is intended in part to make it possible for the Scouting program to continue long after the current controversies are resolved.  During the bankruptcy, local unit Scouting can and should continue carrying out our mission and purposes, as always.  But maybe this is a time when local Scout leaders and Scouts have a larger-than-usual role to play in the fate of BSA by building goodwill in the public, and by showing that Scouts are not some relic of the past who dress like junior park rangers and run around in the woods tying knots and making s'mores.  Maybe it is time for local Scouts and Scout leaders to intentionally do more in their unit programs to show that Scouting has value to the community right now; intentionally do more in their unit programs to demonstrate by our actions that we do have a focus on service to others and community engagement; and intentionally do more in their unit programs to "merit[ ] the unstinted support of every American who wants to make his country and his world a better place in which to live."

  12. The premise of a council merger is that the standard council organizational structure and "business lines" (types of activities and programs conducted by councils) are all necessary.  It is just that for whatever reason (declining membership, declining revenue, declining donations, debt), the structure and business lines have become financially unsustainable in one or more of the merging councils.  Through the merger, the organizational structure and business lines will be preserved, but economies of scale and cutting specific excess or burdensome elements within business lines (such as an assistant registrar, a low-attendance golf tournament, or a camp that perpetually operates in the red) and other adjustments within the existing structure (number and size of districts and professional staff needed for them, for example) will result in financial stability for the merged council.  Overall, the merged council looks pretty much the same as its predecessors, it is just geographically bigger and names have changed.

    What doesn't happen is a re-thinking of the whole idea of a council, what we need it for, what we don't need it for, what it should be doing, and what it shouldn't be doing.  Many of the ideas we have been discussing would fundamentally change the organizational structure of a council (and its districts) and how it does business.  But there is no incentive in the councils, areas, regions, and national office to venture into the unknown if they believe that fundamental council organizational structures and business lines ain't broke, and they can they can remedy financial problems with just enough tinkering.  

    • Upvote 3
  13. 51 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    Dkurtenback:  The comments on these postings have been replete with thoughts about the need to have more unit-level personnel and an apparent need to trim council services and personnel -- some believe to the bone.  It makes sense to consider mergers or other forms of combinations under such circumstances to reallocate resources to support district operations and units. 

    The primary motivation for a merger is going to be financial:  cut costs by combining programs and services then eliminating excess positions and duplicate programs.  It just seems unrealistic to think that, where councils merge because of money problems, the merged council would decide to spend more money on district executives.  Even where there is general agreement that more unit service is needed, in a financially-based merger the response is likely to be, "Get more commissioners - they're free!"

  14. 10 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

    I could go with that - but I do believe we'd find a relatively short list. 

    The shorter the better!  The fewer things we actually need councils and council employees for, the more room there is for units and volunteers to run Scouting from the bottom up with a focus on unit Scouting and the local community.  I'd add:


    • implementation and enforcement of BSA policies
    • management of legal, insurance, and claims matters involving Scouting units, members, and activities
    • specialized training for all units on year-round member recruitment, Webelos/AoL transition to ScoutsBSA, and care and feeding of members and families to improve retention

    Council professionals:

    • specially trained escalation point for all issues of member conduct and compliance with BSA policy
    • signing contracts for goods and services on behalf of council (with council board approval / delegated authority)
    • specially trained incident / emergency management point of contact for health and safety issues
    • management of other council employees


  15. 1 minute ago, ParkMan said:

    I'd adjust it slightly:

    • What services essential to carrying out the Scouting program are most effectively performed by councils?
    • Which of those essential services that are most effectively performed by councils, if any, can only be performed by paid council employees?

    In the ideal post bankruptcy structure, we're not trying to get rid of councils.  The idea is to right-size their tasks, reduce the institutional instinct that professionals need to run things, and then proactively deal with some of the chronic issues like financial planning for the reduced membership.

    Great idea, but I'd suggest that "most effectively" become a second level of the analysis because it is more subjective - a judgment call that could vary from council to council.  That may be perfectly appropriate because circumstances can differ wildly from council to council.  But we might want to have a nationwide baseline that says, "Here are the things that only a council can do.  Here are the things that only council employees can do."  Then we can ask what other things are most effectively performed by councils and council employees, until we reach a tipping point where the disadvantages to council / council employee control of those tasks and services (such as cost and burden on units) are greater than the advantages.

  16. What can individual Scout units do right now to significantly increase their visibility and show that Scouts and Scouting make our country and our communities better?  I'm asking what new and additional things units can do, beyond Eagle projects and annual service events like Scouting for Food.  What real and visible concrete actions and results, carried out regularly and frequently by units, can build good feeling in the community and demonstrate that Scouts and Scouting are worth keeping?  I'd like responses to focus on the ScoutsBSA program, because much of what troops do takes place out in remote areas away from their communities and out of view of the general public. 

    A recent thread noted that BSA has joined with other youth-serving agencies to promote the #InvestInKids campaign.

    The referenced article from ScoutingWire, https://scoutingwire.org/bsa-joins-multiple-youth-serving-programs-on-investinkids-campaign/, states that the campaign is designed to raise awareness and increase support for youth programs across the country.  Meanwhile, on the BSA Restructing website, there is an infographic, "3 Things to Know Now That the BSA Has Filed for Chapter 11," https://www.bsarestructuring.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/3-Things-to-Know-about-the-BSAs-Restructuring.pdf.  The third item on that list is, "You can make a difference," and includes the following:  "Plan or attend service projects or public events to show your community the value of Scouting."  What would it take to actually "raise awareness" and "show your community the value of Scouting"?

    One of the reasons we often hear for the steady decline in BSA membership over the last few decades is that Scouting just isn't relevant to today's society and today's youth.  So what can ScoutsBSA troops reasonably commit to doing in public, in their communities, to change that narrative?  How can a troop actually alter or add to some part of its program to meet this need?



  17. 15 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

    We're probably thinking too hard if we're trying to figure out what district executives should be doing versus what they shouldn't be doing.  The DE's job is to do whatever the council needs done. . . . Council-level priorities determine what DEs work on.  Get a handle on council-level priorities, and you get a handle on district-level organization and priorities . . . 

    And that gets us back to the core issue of this thread:  positive council changes in a time (two to five years, or more) when the financial future of the National BSA organization and of many councils is being litigated.  What are council priorities and how could they or should they be adjusted in a reorganization driven by potentially large council financial contributions to a child abuse settlement trust?  More precisely, what activities are councils spending money and staff resources on that could be cut without a significant impact on local unit programs?  I think expenditures on the following council activities should be largely protected from reductions (if not expanded as part of the reorganization):

    • Administrative support for registration, rechartering, advancement, adult leader training, and other elements requiring entries in a database, approvals, or other record action above the unit level.
    • Marketing and communications (going to need it).
    • Fundraising (really going to need it).
    • Legal support.
    • Safety and compliance with laws, regulations, and BSA policies.  This may actually be the most important thing that councils do.  When something bad happens (an adult has a heart attack at camp, there is suspicion of child abuse in a Scout's home, a natural disaster strikes), there has to be someone who knows exactly how to respond, who to call, what steps to take in what order.

    Council-owned camps and camp operations have to be looked at closely.  We have camps in which user fees and other revenue can't even pay operating costs.  We have camps that break even on operating costs, but can't pay for deferred capital maintenance and are not accumulating funds for replacement of facilities and equipment that reach the end of their useful lives. We have camps that generate a surplus of revenue above operating costs, but much of that surplus is diverted to pay for the council's general operations rather than being returned to the camp budget for maintenance and replacement.

    • Camp operating budgets and capital budgets, including revenue, should be entirely separate from the general council operating and capital budgets.
    • Camps that can't break even operationally (operating expenses in excess of user fees and other revenue) after being given a fair chance to restructure have to be mothballed (shut down but not sold, though that still generates some expenses) or sold.
    • Camps that can break even operationally but can't pay for deferred maintenance or replacement of capital assets either need a capital campaign or a plan for winding down operations before they fall apart.
    • Camps that are financially sustainable for the long term can be retained and improved.

    That pretty much just leaves field operations, including the work of district executives.  I would describe field operations as (1) helping district-level volunteers help units, (2) helping district-level volunteers help council.  And I think one approach to think about this is to start with a clean slate, assuming no district organization at all and no professionals in the field.  So we might ask:  

    • What support do units need?
    • What, if any, support for units requires a council employee to accomplish or is best and most efficiently accomplished by a council employee?
    • Is it realistic to think that we can find enough knowledgeable, experienced volunteers to do everything else?
    • Does support for units from other knowledgeable, experienced volunteers require some kind of organization for those knowledgeable, experienced volunteers or for the units that want to have access to them?
      • For example, could units just be encouraged by the council to group together informally, with regular gatherings of leaders (roundtables) and occasional cooperative events for the units in the group (camporees, bake-offs, etc.)?
      • Could those informal groups of units compile lists of experienced folks (inside or outside the group) for consultation, training, etc.?
      • Is something more formal/organized required, such as a council-level list of approved experienced/knowledgeable volunteers (subject-matter experts), similar to a merit badge counselor list?
      • Is something even more formal/organized required, even to the point of "district" organizations?
    • Upvote 1
  18. We're probably thinking too hard if we're trying to figure out what district executives should be doing versus what they shouldn't be doing.  The DE's job is to do whatever the council needs done.  That means that DEs spend a lot of time trying to get the district volunteers on track doing their jobs, and fill critical gaps in district operations and activities wherever they appear.  And other duties as assigned, which include support for council activities and events and operations wherever bodies are needed. 

    The key point is that district executives exist  because district volunteers aren't fulfilling council's priorities (usually for membership and fundraising, but also for things like unit visit entries in Commissioner Tools) to the level desired and on the schedule desired.  Council-level priorities determine what DEs work on.  Get a handle on council-level priorities, and you get a handle on district-level organization and priorities and whether you have things like turn-key district camporees or instead have casual multi-unit roundtables over at IHOP. 

    • Thanks 1
    • Upvote 1
  19. 4 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    What about no DEs to work with units?

    No offense to our DE friends - but just a hypthetical.  What would it look like if just about all unit support was done by volunteers?  Pros were there just for the really unusual or serious issues like YPT.

    Last week, I posted about a hypothetical, alternate Scouting universe along these lines in the District Changes thread:

    On 2/14/2020 at 1:07 AM, dkurtenbach said:

    So, suppose that you've got ten or so troops within your local area.  That might be a three mile radius in a suburban area or a forty mile radius in a rural area.  You have maybe 25 youth in  your troop.  You know a couple of dozen good camping areas within an hour's drive, plus plenty of hiking and cycling trails, parks, lakes, natural areas, and other interesting places to go.  You're acquainted with most of the Scout leaders in your area because you get together for a barbecue every quarter, you organize an area camporee every spring, you visit each others' Eagle Scout Courts of Honor, and you see them at your council summer camp every year.  You register new Scouts and new leaders online and do a lot of training online. You get your uniforms and insignia and badges from ScoutStuff.org or when your Committee Chair makes a monthly run to the Scout Shop at council headquarters.  At least once a year you and your other unit adults spend a weekend at the council camp for training.  If you have a question about an administrative issue, you call or email Marie at council headquarters.

    Your troop sells Christmas wreaths and has a pancake breakfast and bake sale as their main fundraisers.  Your troop holds a community Bike Rodeo for kids on July 4, runs a community food drive in the fall, holds Scout Sunday events, and leads a community stream cleanup in the spring.  Non-Scout friends are invited to every campout and event.

    You introduce new parents and adult leaders to outdoor skills at a special campout in the fall and little training sessions at every campout.  You have the Handbook (as well as previous handbooks for the last forty years), plus the Fieldbook, and lots of other books on outdoor skills, plus Boys' Life and Scouting magazines.  Jenny subscribes to Backpacker magazine and gives a little presentation on the latest gear or techniques at every monthly troop leaders meeting.  You know several folks in the community with particular skills or expertise, and they come out to a campout or meeting from time to time to share what they know with the Scouts.  And you have a long list of YouTube videos on outdoor skills.  Your parents and leaders are encouraged to get training and certification in things like firearms and watercraft and first aid.

    Every troop you know about is pretty much like yours, because those are the expectations set by the Scouting culture and training.

    And you don't have a district, a district committee, a district executive, or commissioners.  Why would you?

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