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eagle90

National Permits

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I cannot speak to a specific instance as it is very rare that the paperwork, if done properly at the unit, is not approved and returned within 30 days. That experience includes many, many national tour permits filed with both the Central and the Northeast Reagions.

 

The only specific time I know of personally when the paperwork was not back in time resulted from the unit not filing the paperwork within the required 30 day time period.

 

 

 

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I agree BW, that the unit must submit the permit app at least 30 days before the event. However, my hypothetical is that the unit has complied but the Region fails (which in this thread, doesn't seem remote) and the trip is cancelled as a result. Who should be held responsible financially? These are not cheap trips.

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I understand your Hypothetical, please realize that hypothetical in this case means "imagined". I can only tell you what my real experience is. I cannot explain why your imagined application did not come back and I certainly will not suggest that your regional office is in someway financially responsible for something that you are pretending they did not on time.

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BW, it isn't imagined. Right here we have an application submitted 3 months ago with the deadline fast approaching. Council has been engaged to cajole a response from Regional. Others have verified a problem with their permits. It is very likely that this permit may not arrive in time. The stress of the volunteers who are trying to follow the rules is high. This is not an acceptable service level. My question is if it doesn't arrive, who do you think should be liable to pay for trip expenses? The scouts?

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Go anyway. I'd take a copy of the submitted permit, plus a copy of the letter written that details when the permit was sent and all the followups. If you're going to Sea Base, let them make the phone call when you get there.

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Do I think you are sharing enough details to be able to say that the region is at fault? No. Do I think the BSA is in anyway responsible for reimbursement? No.

Do I think you have options as suggested by FScouter? Absolutely.

 

If you gave it 30 days and you did not get a response and yet you still had 60 days before the trip I wwould have to wonder why you did not re-submit?

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FScouters suggestion, although prudent and practical, is unacceptable and against BSA policy. You simply cannot go on the trip without an approved permit. Period. There's no wiggle room here.

 

Folks have said it took threats to get regional to respond. What was the nature of those threats? Financial responsibility?

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We had a situation once where the committee member responsible for the tour permit did not get it to the council until two wekks bfoire our trip to an out of council camp. The camp in our preparation to attend made it clear that a National tour permit would need to be in hand to get into the camp.

 

Our council contacted Central Reagion. They told us to proceed and they faxed the approved permit directly to the camp.

 

No threats just courteous communications. The region is not trying to spoil anyones event. Their concern is the safety of the scouts. Again, for a permit approval to go beyond a few weeks would be very rare. And is probably traceable back to the application not being filed in time or lost in the mail (it happens).

 

I have also seen where the application was returned and misplaced by the unit. How many times have we had kids with "stolen" pocket knives that turn out to just be misplaced?

 

Before units start throwing hissy fits and threatening people they should try some courteous phone calls and if needed re-submit the application.

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Bob, you make the assumption that none of those things (courteous phone calls, re-submission, timely submission to start with, etc.) have happened.

 

I cannot speak for anyone else's experience and I can't make you believe mine. However, in 2007 when my son's troop needed a national tour permit for summer camp, we submitted our national tour permit in late February. We followed up with our council staff in March, April, May, and June. We followed up politely with central region in April and May. We were first told that they had it, then told that they didn't have it. We re-submitted at that point. We followed up some more. In mid June, we began getting really worried. Our council staff began pushing central on our behalf. In late June we were really, really worried. Our council staff pushed harder on regional office. In early July just a few days before our trip, we finally got our permit.

 

I am willing to suppose that this was unusual, that something just slipped through the cracks, and that it should not be a regular occurrence for a national permit to take close to 6 months for processing. On the other hand I am unwilling to accept your assumption that we screwed up or somehow mis-managed this process on our end, because I am quite well aware that we did not. Based on my troop's experiences, I am also not unwilling to believe it when others from the same area independently come forward with similar stories.

 

I'm not entirely sure I understand why you feel the need to assume that everything is the fault of the volunteers. It is equally possible that sometimes the volunteers do everything right and some of the professional staff mis-handle things. Condescending attitudes toward volunteers are really unhelpful and (in this case at least) unwarranted.

 

I want to add that Central appears to be the only region without a website (except for venturing), unless they've recently changed this. I know because last year when attempting to get our tour permit straightened out, I tried in vain to find contact info for the regional office on line.

 

 

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First I am glad you agree that your situation is the rare exception and not the rule. Second I do not think everything is the volunteers fault but here are some simply truths;

 

1)There are 1.2 MILLION volunteers and only a few thousand professionals. I believe the current average is about 1 professional for every 400 volunteers. Odds are that volunteers will make more mistakes than pros simply due to their numbers.

 

2)Almost everything that happens involving the unit happens at the volunteer level. In fact almost everything that happens in the BSA happens at the volunteer level. For that reason odds are that if something goes wrong it happened at the hands of a volunteer.

 

3)If that is not enough evidence consider this, all professionals must get training and most volunteers choose not to.

 

4)If that is not enough I can offer my long experiences as a volunteer at the unit, district, and council levels and tell you that as frustrating as some professionals are most problems in scouting take place at the unit or District volunteer level and have nothing to do with professional scouting.

 

Finally and you may not like to hear this, but anyone who has spent any time in scouting or any volunteer organization knows this is true; professionals are at least interviewed and are hired because of potential or existing skills but most unit volunteers are selected because they raised their hands. When luck is on the youths' side the person has actual leadership skills. But too often today all units require of a leader is their ability to raise their hand.

 

 

I am sorry you were unable to find contact information for the regional office on line. Did it occur to you to call your local scout office and just ask for the phone number???(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Resubmitting permits is a good idea, I have had two permits "lost" after they had gotten to Central Region befor getting the third permit approved. I have for the past 2-3 years been submitting my national permits 6-8 months prior to the event and only ONCE did it get approved within a 3 month time period. It was our last one this summer and maybe that's a good sign that things have changed. Time will tell.

 

Stosh

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Bob, I'm beginning to think maybe you didn't read what I wrote. We DID contact the central region. We DID in fact get their contact phone # from our council staff since no website could be located. However we got nowhere with central region until our council staff pushed - hard - for them to get things done so we could go to camp with proper documentation. In fact if we were "guilty" of doing anything "wrong," it would only have been that we were operating under the assumption that, when told it would be taken care of the first several times, we believed them.

 

As for this being a rare occurrence? Well I certainly hope so, but then you see multiple, similar, stories from others in the same region here and you begin to wonder.

 

Anyway I'm done with this thread for now. Maybe I'll post an update when we go through the national tour permitting process for summer camp 09.

 

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You see Lisabob that is how rumors and old wives tales begin.

 

Three people have posted having a problem. 3 problems out of 2100 troops not to mention packs and crews in a single region. 3 problems in how many years and you say ..."but then you see multiple, similar, stories from others in the same region here and you begin to wonder."

 

Then only thing it makes me wonder is what one feeds an imagination to make 3 grow into such a huge problem.

 

We are not talking 3 out of 4 or even three out of ten, but three out of several hundred or even thousands.

 

While I realize it is an inconvenience to the very few units who experienced this, you have yet to prove that the problem is the norm, or even frequent, or what actually caused the delays.

 

There have been several hundred scouters who have seen this thread and you have 4 people to say they have had a problem (3 from 1 region and 1 from another) that's not even enough to prove there is a problem with the posters here, let alone with all the troops nationwide.

 

This is just not the issue you magnify it to be.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Ah, BW, but several have posted that they have had no problems with other Regions. My Western region has processed national tour permits for my unit with the efficiency one would expect. In fact from our little poll, looks like only one region is having the issue. Oh, and from our small sample of units represented here, I bet only a few of those 2100 units in the central region are even aware of this forum. Now we several complaints from a very small pool. Is there a statistical model we can apply here?

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