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ASM1

Chicago Area Council? Anyone?

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I would like to know if there is anyone in this forum from the Chicago Area Council? I am in the Baltimore Area Council, but need to speak to someone from CAC.

 

ASM1

 

The is extremely important to the future of scouting.

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That is exactly what this is about. This Council President has to go. At their last Council meeting they have decided that they have no choice but to close the oldest Scout camp in the USA, Owasippe. Founded in 1911 and encompassing more than 5,000 acres. If you know the facts you will soon see that this council used to be one of the strongest in the nation. Now through shear ignorance they have so few scouting units that they cannot cover the cost of running this camp. The Owasippe web site is desperately trying to raise funds to cover the losses. But any business man knows this will not save this camp from death. Only an immediate replacement of this Council President who has ignored recruitment for so many years can save one of the greatest Scout reservations in the nation. This man has got to go. He blames Owasippe for thier loss of attendace.

 

ASM1

Please write letters asking for his removal to save this reservation.

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I have to cry Foul!

 

I have met some very good friends in this forum and some of them have contacted me personally and offered help and material that could have never been purchased. It is just shear devotion to the scouting movement that has motivated them to contact me. In fact our new units could have never succeeded without the personal attention and devotion of one particular member of this forum. (you know who you are, and I am forever in your debt)

 

But, that is one, one who is concerned of the scouting movement outside their own council. I am of the same sort. I posted this message three days ago and only one person responded saying I should contact the Council in question before BSA shuts it down. How sad.

 

I see tremendous response to why a scout made First Class so fast, or why a Mom is not allowed, everyone has an opinion on how the program should be run. Bob White enjoys being the King of the forum on information and how to Do it right. Well, there is a real problem with the Boy Scouts of America at the root level that I see no interest in.

 

I am dedicated to BSA in every way that my personal life allows. I own my own business, I have chartered a Troop and Venture Crew, I hired extra people to do my job so I can devote 90% of my time to my Council and help in any way I can to repay to Scouting the future it has given my three sons. (two of which are leaders in Scouting as well)

 

Yet my call to help the Chicago Area Council and to save the largest metropolitan Scouting community has fallen on deaf ears. I see no outrage of Bob White and the others to save this Council from the mismanagement it has suffered over the years. Once the largest Council in the USA and also once one of the strongest, now one of the smallest Councils and so bankrupt that is has to sell the oldest scout reservation in our country is a sin of magnitude unimaginable.

 

This forum has lost my respect. The members care for them, and them only. Their petty problems with their troop, they do not like their Scoutmaster. They will leave this troop if this man is elected SM. You all pretend to be Scouts You have no clue.

 

How can the future of Scouting be assured when the Council of a city of 8 Million people fails. What the hell are you all thinking about?!? Do you think that Scouting exists in your own little town and that is it? You need to understand the business of Scouting. When you lose Chicago, the end is so very near. 8 Million people and we let it go?????

 

I do not see much difference between this situation and the possible terrorist nuclear bomb in New York and people across the nation saying, so what, it is not here, so I dont care In case you have not noticed, Scouting is not about you, it is about your children and the future of Scouting for their children. If you ignore this, you do not deserve to be in Scouting. And I do not care if you have your Wood Badge and are so impressed with yourself that your sons Eagle means more to you than the future of Scouting. If you think I am wrong, please try to explain the lack of response to this original post, and justify the 5 pages of responses to mom not being allowed to attend a campout. I want to alert all of you of your lack of devotion to the REAL scouting movement and how you are ignoring it.

 

ASM1

 

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Dear ASM1,

There are hundreds of councils serving communities across the USA and our military bases around the world. I do not claim to know the financial stauts of any other than my own. At any given time there are dozens of councils going through financial turmoil. It would be impossible to battle on behalf of all of them.

 

If you think The Chicago Area Council, or any council for that matter gives two hoots about your opinion from outside the council, you have delusions of grandeur. Each council is made of volunteers from the communities they serve. If the council president is corrupt as you say then it is the local community's choice to live with it or fix it.

 

Just for historical accuracy it has been many, many, years since Chicago Area Council was a powerhouse of program or financial stability in the scouting world. It's not as if this problem just sprang from nowhere. I'm confident the families and leaders of the Chicago Area Council will find a way through this dilema and come out stronger and better for the experience. I have served in a council that was 3.5 million dollars in debt and completely recovered in two years and improved unit service in the process.

 

Get a ladder and step down from that high horse of self righteousness. Become involved on your District and Council committees to make sure that the same problem does not befall your council and you will be doing far more good with all that energy.

 

By the way I make no claim to any level of importance to this board. I offer as accurate referrals to resources of scouting as I can along with my experience as a Pack and Troop leader in what have been extrememly successful units. My training experience is somewhat unique and seems to have been a benefit to some on this board. I never expected to, or attempted to, please everyone. If you are unhappy with my opinion to let a community operate it's own scout council, tough! I believe you have the right to determine your mission in scouting, I expect the same courtesy from you.

 

Respectfully,

Bob White

 

 

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AMS1, settle down! A lot of us go out of town on the weekend, cut the grass, play with our kids, or attend scouting events, etc. Just because your post didn't get twelve pages of responses in two days does NOT mean we don't care. Give the forum a little time. Maybe nobody in Chicago reads this forum! BTW, you made some serious allegations, so, where did you get your information? Point us to a website, newspaper article, SOMETHING besides your post, so that we can evaluate the situation objectively.

 

Bob White, while I agree with 90% of your response, I have to ask the following questions.

 

1) Why isn't it the concern of scouters nation-wide when a particular council is having problems? It does reflect on all of us if a council sells off a historic camp, or goes under, or has bad leadership, or gets caught inflating membership numbers, or disbands a pack and removes their flags in the middle of the night, or anything else that results in negative publicity for the movement. Why? Because the general public, and, I dare say MOST scouters, don't understand this charter thing. They perceive BSA as a regular corporate entity, where what happens in one unit/district/council is representative of how the BSA program is run throughout the country.

 

2) If things are so bad in Chicago (and I don't know one way or the other), or any other council for that matter, when does/should national get involved? After all, they grant an annual charter to each council, right? Which to me implies that things are fine, that the council is operating the BSA program correctly, honestly, safely, etc. If Chicago's membership decline is so precipitous, why does national keep renewing their charter?

 

Hope to hear back from BOTH of you soon.

 

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I didn't even read this thread until today because I am not from the Chicago Area Council and I have enough battles here on the homefront.

 

Went to Cub Leader training that was not what it should be. I have been through the training a few years ago and can say this time was horrible. I've been around Cub Scouts for a few years now and walked out of this training confused. I feel very sorry for the new leaders.

 

Trying to figure out why the Council and District do not offer the training that BSA says is required. No Baloo, no Webelos Outdoor Leader, no YP (except the 20 minutes in Basic Training), problems with the training that is offered.

 

Trying to figure out why I can't find a troop near my home that follows the BSA program for Boy Scouts. I wanted my son in Boy Scouts, he wanted to be there also. Yet, what we find is NOT what we were told and what I read is Boy Scouting.

 

The troop my son joined had 14 new scouts go to Summer Camp. I think 3 just got their Tenderfoot rank after being in the troop 6 months. Most of these boys have been active in other activities besides Tenderfoot.

 

Sorry, but I have more here to worry about and deal with than I can handle already.

 

 

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Scouting takes place at the unit level. District and Council Services help to enhance and provide scouting to a local community. Scout councils are not different in their life than the community themselves and the people who live there. They all have an ebb and flow to their lives. Times when things are good and times of struggle. You can be sure that nation al plays a role in helping local councils to succeed but it is still the local council. The people who live there have the burden of the responsibility to make their community work. No amount of righteous indignation from others will change the people of Chicago or any other community large or small. They local residents need to determine the quality of their life.

 

Read this statement taken fromthe Owassipe.net Staff Association web site.

 

 

Attention all Scouters and Friends of Owasippe...

 

 

Official Statement - 9/27/02

 

By now you may have heard that the Executive Board of the Chicago Area Council will recommend the sale of Hoover and Owasippe at the next meeting of the full Board (currently set for Oct. 16). This is a decision that they have reached after literally months of searching for other alternatives. I have met with the Executive Board. I have looked into their eyes and seen the passion for Owasippe and felt the pain of trying to resolve the serious financial burden that it causes. It is now time for us to act. Let's face some "brutal facts."

 

1. Owasippe currently loses about $200,000 each year from operations. The cost of bringing a Scout to camp is not covered by the cost of camper fees and additional service fees. This mismatch is almost 2:1.

 

2. The infrastructure at Owasippe is in serious need of repair, repair that can be assisted by our volunteer labor and sweat equity but needs about $200,000 per year for several years to catch up. Things like a tired electrical system and sagging sanitary units at Reneker plague us and put our operation at risk.

 

3. There are fewer Scouts in the program today than in years past, and that number is not likely to come back. Additional Scouts are needed, but let's be clear in 1968, we camped about 1,500 boys and leaders each WEEK. This past year, we camped about 1,500 boys from Chicago and another 1,400 boys from out-of-council units for the ENTIRE SUMMER. We cannot make this up with additional Scouts.

 

4. The Executive Board has been pursuing their fiduciary responsibilities for years, trying to resolve this issue but to no avail. They have had us, the Owasippe Committee, focus on delivering the best possible program we could offer, a challenge delivered upon by many of you.

 

We now have reached a point where we, as the volunteer base of Chicago, need to see if there is sufficient support in the communities of Chicago and Western Michigan to fund an endowment to keep Owasippe as the treasure we have come to know and love. We have a short period to raise sufficient funds for an endowment, and we need to raise these funds without disrupting the vital flow of support through Friends of Scouting and other individual donations. This endowment needs to be between $10 and $15 million.

 

In my conversation with the Executive Board, I proposed that we, the Chicago Area Council, raise funds for an endowment to cover the annual loss from operations as well as the infrastructure improvement costs and that we develop an off-season use plan that utilizes Owasippe far more than the current six-week season. This off-season use will generate additional revenue and provide an outdoor education experience for the youth of Western Michigan.

 

The Executive Board has given us until June 1 to raise the commitments for the endowment. Our progress will be reviewed periodically, but if we cannot raise substantive support if together with the Executive Board we cannot see that we are making progress by the end of January then we will have to face the brutal fact that we are not able to raise the endowment and the support is not broad enough within our communities of interest.

 

We have pulled together a group of interested volunteers for a special committee to drive this project. We believe we will be successful. We believe we have a serious task in front of us, but we can do nothing BUT succeed. With your help, we can give back to the camp in a way most only dream of.

 

What can you do? You can write letters to the individuals below. Please, do not send e-mail. Take the time and effort to let them know you agree with their decision to take this risk with us and that you will support the drive to meet the commitments made by the Owasippe Committee. If you are a registered Scouter in Chicago, contact your District Chairman with the same message.

 

Together, we can get this job done.

 

Joe Sener, Chair, Owasippe Committee

815.444.6270

senerjp@aol.com

 

 

There does not seem to be any anger between the staff alumni and the council leadership. It is a matter of finances and everyone agrees there needs to be better fundraising efforts made.

 

 

Last thoughts on this.

 

* Camping is a tool of scouting it is not the goal of scouting.

 

* Age of the camp does not equate quality or affordability.

 

* Just because you are indignant does not mean your right.

 

 

The Chicago area knows what their strengths and weaknesses are and they are dealing with them. I wish them well.

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I have another comment not related to the replies so far. If you want to get people to read your threads, you need to think more carefully about your title. I do not have anything to do with the Chicago Council, so it is only happenstance that I opened this thread (most of us have time limitations, and do not read every thread on the forum). For all I knew, you were just looking for another troop to collaborate in a local service project.

 

Try something like "Camp Owasippe is being closed down. Help!" or something else to get people's attention. I have watched some threads take off and others languish simply due to its title. You ahve to get enough people to open it to keep it at the top of the list.

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Bob White,

 

First of all my wife and serve on several District and Council committees. It is at one of these Council committees that I learned of the severe trouble CAC is in. Our Council seems to be very distraught over the possible loss of CAC. We do not choose to bury our head in the sand and say it is someone elses problem so let them handle it.

 

And I bet your probably wrong about nobody in CAC giving two hoots about my opinion. Why I bet there are a lot of people in CAC that appeciate the concern shown by other Council's around the nation.

 

Tell me, how is it that your Council is unaware of the struggle? And how is it you think I am self righteous because I care? And one more, how is it you don't seem to give a hoot about another Council, or scout. After all, are we not taught in our leaders training that BSA is a family?

 

I suppose where you come from with your unique talents that it is very wrong to think outside your community. I am sorry for you.

 

ASM1

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Tell me ASM1,

 

When my council was in debt, how did that effect your troop meeting, your Pack meeting or your camporee? Did you send a whopping donation to bail us out? Did you even call?

 

Yet somehow we managed to solve our own financial problems, maintained our membership, improved our services. We did it. The people of this community. Because it is our council.

 

What will your indignation do to renovate and fill a camp that loses $200,000 annually.

 

Who are you to tell another community how to solve financial woes that you have no knowledge of.

 

They are not shutting down Chicago and moving out. The Council is not collapsing. They have a camp they can't afford and they are looking for ways to deal with it. Councils all over the country deal with this all the time. It has no effect on the quality of the program that you give your scouts. It won't even effect the troop meeting or Pack meetings in Chicago. They will just attend a different summer camp.

 

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I am not in the CAC, but I am in a neighbouring council. It is nice that you are concerned about CAC and Owasippe. However it is not nice the way you are going about it.

 

"If you know the facts you will soon see that this council used to be one of the strongest in the nation."

 

Facts? What facts? You NEVER stated any facts.

 

"Now through shear ignorance they have so few scouting units that they cannot cover the cost of running this camp."

 

Ignorance? Ignorance of what? Also, nothing that I could find about this council says anything about the loss of Scouting Units being the reason they are considering closing the camp. What I could find says that the cost of necessary improvements to a 91 year old camp, coupled with the loss of money incurred each year by keeping the cost to the individual Scout affordable, and the decline in the USE of the camp are the reasons behind the decision.

 

"Only an immediate replacement of this Council President who has ignored recruitment for so many years can save one of the greatest Scout reservations in the nation."

 

So, according to you, if this man was replaced tomorrow, all problems at Owasippe would vanish? It would become instantly, financialy sound and there would no longer be a need to sell it?

 

Also, how do you know what this man has done or not done? How can you say what he has ignored? Are you a part of this council? Have you attended any of the council meetings? Do you even know this man that you are badmouthing?

 

"When you lose Chicago, the end is so very near. 8 Million people and we let it go?????"

 

Trust me, no one is "losing" Chicago. It is not going anywhere. On a clear day I can see it from my attic window!

 

"Our Council seems to be very distraught over the possible loss of CAC."

 

I thought we were talking about the possible sale of a Scout camp, not the disappearance of a council. I seriously doubt that the CAC will close up shop and disappear forever. I have not seen or heard anything, either from you, on the net, in my council, or in the local papers, to support that comment. And even if this event were to occur, Scouting would NOT stop in the city of Chicago. There would still be Packs, Troops, Crews, and scout meetings. They might have a different Council name on their shoulders, but they would still be there!

 

I have gone thru the loss of a Girl Scout Council. A loss that was, in part, due to financial mis-management. It was not fun, it was not easy. I did not see you there offering either help or threats to the Council staff or Board. I am still a Girl Scout. Scouting never stopped in the communities served by the council. It just changed. We did manage to save our beloved GS camp (without your help, I might add) but, our new Council had to sell one of their older camps just this year. They are not going bankrupt, they did not mis-manage funds, the number of Scouts is up. They just could not justify the cost of the upkeep that was needed. They looked at their needs and cut their losses. That's life.

 

As far as the loss of Owasippe goes, it is a shame. But, it sounds like what can be done is being done. Personally, I have never been there. However, I notice that you do not seem at all upset by the possible loss of Hoover, the other camp involved. Why is that I wonder? Not old enough to care about? Not important enough to scream and yell about? Well, my son and his BS Troop take the 5th grade Webelos to Hoover each January. They love the place. To me, that would be a much greater loss than that of Owasippe. If we do indeed loose the use of Hoover, it will make us all very sad. But, we will not stop camping. They will just have to find a new place to bring the Webelos each January.

 

If you are so very concerned, it would seem to me, that rather than spread rumors, insults, and explosive retoric, you could contact Mr. Joe Sener, Chair of the Owasippe Committee, of the Owasippe Staff Association, and offer to help with a contribution to the endowment fund.

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Scout Nut - Excellent post. I too am concerned about the possible loss of Hoover Outdoor Education Center. We traditionally camp there both indoors and tent camping during the year. It is a great facility and would hate to see its demise. Hopefully some of the deep pocketed members and businesses in Chicago will come thru with the endowment fund by the deadline.

 

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You folks are a joke. ScoutNut, Bob White, wow! The old saying comes to mind, "Can't see the forest for the trees" A little bit of facts. I grew up in the CAC program as a scout, then as an ASM with my oldest son. CAC was huge, roundtable was a true event. I have been aware of the CAC problems for some time because my business takes me to Chicago often. I still have friends in CAC today. But the Owasippe sale set me off. The CAC population has been shrinking many years and my opinion in this forum is just a reflection of the feelings of some people there. They are sick of the lack of recruitment.

 

My intentions were to see if I could find more people there who know the problems. What I got was, "mind your own business", "who are you to be concerned with another council?"

 

I guess I have to thank my lucky stars that our council watches the stability of the other councils in the nation. I guess we think that if there are problems in other places, they can and might spread here. But I also guess as long as we have people like me and my other "Nosey" scouters in our council, those problems may never find us.

 

And ScoutNut, tell me, why do you think contributing money to Owasippe will fix the problem if there are no scouts to attend? Or should "Nosey" people like me just keep throwing money into the pot and dare not ask why the scouting population is shrinking?

 

You and Bob suffer from tunnel vision. I will print this thread out and take it to our roundtable. I am sure there will be a lot of stunned folks there when they read it.

 

ASM1

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So ASM1 ednlighten us. How do you intend to sit in Baltimore and recruit thousands of new scouts in Chicago? Which packs should a boy consider joining? What troop do you feel has the best program? What night do they meet? Maybe what they need are more units in general. Who would be a good chartering organization and who is the executive of organization? Who do you think they should recruit to be the new Council President. Have you talked with them yet? Are they willing to do the job?

 

I'm sure your your inimate knowledge of their community, its resources, their problems and the solution, will be invaluable to the people of Chicago.

 

By the way if the problem is membership the solution is better unit meetings not a different president or the status of any piece of council property.

 

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

 

Your heart is in the right place ASM1, but your body is in a different council.

 

Bob White

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