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fgoodwin

Scouts' debt to cost their members

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This is troubling. A million dollar shortfall cannot be attributed in whole or even in part to a failure of the FOS program (in my opinion). I don't profess to know much about Council operations, but an operation this size needs people who know how to read a balance sheet and how to anticipate changes in costs and revenues. They may not find such talent in the paid professional ranks. But they do need someone to recognize this and seek out competent, volunteer help in this area. As to the 52 per year fee -- best of luck. After I was on our troop committee for a while, I proposed a $1 per month dues to help offset costs for badges, etc. In the discussion, someone asked "What do we do if someone doesn't pay? Kick them out?" The proposal died.

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Where I work there was a dramatic loss of income last year. Our General Manager was told to cut expenses by $150,000. As of Jan. 1, Heads rolled. Positions were eliminated, and hours were cut. We're still doing biz as usual, but a little more focused on watching cost.

 

Although I'm not aware of any problems at our Council, I can see problems ahead. There are far too many people working in the Scout Shop. Usually there is a staff of three. I've always wondered how they can make any money. If you go into a Penny's or Sears store, they sales people are few and far between and they seem to manage, just like we do.

 

I'd like to see the FOS mount a larger campaign in the community, instead of trying to get the money from our families who are already tapped out. I mean, I never heard of donating to the Scouts before I joined.

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Time for some good news. Our council has taken it on the nose in the news recently (Atlanta Area Council) but the Scout families appear to fully support the current leadership. Our camps are in great shape, and very popular. Our district held a Golden Eagle breakfast at one of the country clubs last Friday. Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-fil-A was the speaker. Stephen McGaw, Sr. VP at Cingular was the host. We had a group of somewhere around 100 - 125 guests. The very ambitious goal was to raise $100,000 that morning. I think our final number is up around $114,000. This is just our district, one of 17 in the council. We are just getting started on FOS.

Yes, we have a large, fairly new Volunteer Service Center. You can see the front of it at http://www.atlantabsa.org/aboutus.htm

The building is used all the time, by professionals and volunteers alike. I really wouldn't want to visit the center often if it was located in a low rent area, in a renovated shopping mall. We take a lot of pride in the building. I would say Scouting is going strong here, and we feel that our council is in very good shape.

I think the Board of Directors deserves a lot of the credit/blame for the condition of the council. If you have a strong, active Board, the same can probably be said for the condition of the council.

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Wow Brent,

You certainly aren't suggesting that you would not support scouting if your council office was located in a low rent district are you?

Councils who occupy high rent offices then complain about funding just have their priorities askew. In fact, I would be far more generous with my donations to scouting if they demonstrated thrift not extravagance.

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I have a question about this "FEE". We discussed this in our council as the council gets nothing of the $10 registration fee, it all goes to national. We looked at increasing registrations fee's to $20.00 for the year with $10.00 going to national and $10 to council. It wasn't a big problem and would have been low enough that no one would really have objected. It would have provided a income source that the council could use.

 

The rub here was National told council they could not implement any membership fees so they had to retract this. I think its a shame because programs do cost at council to run.

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Boy Scouts' debt triggers parents, leaders curiosity

 

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060124/NEWS01/601240352/

http://tinyurl.com/8cpgu

 

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 01/24/06

BY JAMES A. QUIRK, FREEHOLD BUREAU

 

With the recent revelation that the Monmouth Council Boy Scouts will begin charging Scouts an annual $52 fee to offset more than $1 million in debt, many parents are asking the same question: How did it come to this?

 

Leaders said they want to know how the Monmouth Council could be in such debt when only two years ago, they sold their former headquarters in Ocean Township for $1.4 million, according to Brian Foley, a local Realtor and former Boy Scout.

 

"They sold that property way too early," Foley said. "That property is worth $2 million now."

 

"This was prime real estate on the corner of Deal Road and Monmouth Road," said George V. DeCastro, adult committee chairman of Troop 71, in Oakhurst, in an e-mail to the Asbury Park Press.

 

"They sold it about two years ago claiming that they did not need to be on such valuable real estate. . . . Could they have built a building on the Quail Hill Scout reservation, which they own, and thereby saved some money?"

 

In a letter sent to local scoutmasters and troop leaders last week, Monmouth Council officials stated that in the past four years, the organization has gone from having a balanced budget to being more than $1 million in debt, with at least $252,000 considered past due.

 

To pay the bills, the Executive Board of the Monmouth Council recently approved the pursuit of a $1.1 million mortgage. To get it, the organization has to show "a guaranteed source of income to repay the loan," which is why the council will begin to charge Scouts an annual fee of $52.

 

"There was no inkling of this with any of us," said Ellen Anfuso, committee chair of Cub Scout Pack 145, in West Long Branch.

 

In a meeting before Scout leaders Jan. 18, Bob Smith, Boy Scouts Area 2 President, said the Monmouth Council moved from the Ocean site to its current facility on Ginesi Drive, in Marlboro, because they had outgrown the old building.

 

Smith said the organization is now going to operate as if it "has its foot on the brake," meaning no new positions or programs will be created.

 

"What is being done to eliminate future debt, (like) reducing the number of paid professionals, cutting back on salaries and benefits, cutting back on office time where utilities are being used, eliminating perks free coffee for staff members, etc. or selling off part of Forestburg and/or Quail Hill?" asked Charlie Steiniger, from Troop 142 in Belford. Forestburg is a sleep-away camp in New York owned by the Monmouth Council.

 

Meanwhile, the Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts Inc., is making it clear they are a completely separate entity.

 

"Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are separate organizations, both at the local and national levels," said Michelle Mayor Aguilar, marketing coordinator for the Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts, in an e-mail to the Press. "The recent news of the Monmouth Council Boy Scouts of America being in debt is unfortunate. Rest assured the Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts is financially secure."

 

"They sold it about two years ago claiming that they did not need to be on such valuable real estate. . . . Could they have built a building on the Quail Hill Scout reservation, which they own, and thereby saved some money?"

 

In a letter sent to local scoutmasters and troop leaders last week, Monmouth Council officials stated that in the past four years, the organization has gone from having a balanced budget to being more than $1 million in debt, with at least $252,000 considered past due.

 

To pay the bills, the executive board of the Monmouth Council recently approved the pursuit of a $1.1 million mortgage. To get it, the organization has to show "a guaranteed source of income to repay the loan," which is why the council will begin to charge Scouts an annual fee of $52.

 

"There was no inkling of this with any of us," said Ellen Anfuso, committee chair of Cub Scout Pack 145, in West Long Branch.

 

In a meeting before Scout leaders Jan. 18, Bob Smith, Boy Scouts Area 2 president, said the Monmouth Council moved from the Ocean site to its current facility on Ginesi Drive, in Marlboro, because they had outgrown the old building.

 

Smith said the organization is now going to operate as if it "has its foot on the brake," meaning no new positions or programs will be created.

 

"What is being done to eliminate future debt, (like) reducing the number of paid professionals, cutting back on salaries and benefits, cutting back on office time where utilities are being used, eliminating perks free coffee for staff members, etc. or selling off part of Forestburg and/or Quail Hill?" asked Charlie Steiniger, from Troop 142 in Belford. Forestburg is a sleep-away camp in New York state owned by the Monmouth Council.

 

Meanwhile, the Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts Inc., is making it clear they are a completely separate entity.

 

"Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are separate organizations, both at the local and national levels," said Michelle Mayor Aguilar, marketing coordinator for the Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts, in an e-mail to the Press. "The recent news of the Monmouth Council Boy Scouts of America being in debt is unfortunate. Rest assured the Monmouth Council of Girl Scouts is financially secure."

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To those unit leaders and parents in Monmouth Council who disagree with this decision, they need to be asking their CORs, "Why did you let this happen? You DO attend District and Council meetings and vote, DON'T YOU?"

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Gern wrote, "You certainly aren't suggesting that you would not support scouting if your council office was located in a low rent district are you?"

Not sure how to you took the text of my post and came up with that question - care to explain?

I said, "I really wouldn't want to visit the center often if it was located in a low rent area, in a renovated shopping mall." That statement is true. I'm not sure how you came about equating "visit" with "support."

Our center is very accessible, at the junction of I-285 and I-75. I've never seen anyone who visited the center who was not impressed. Now maybe you don't see a need to impress. I do. I also see a need to impress new parents and boys visiting our Pack Open House. We want to show a well run, successful operation. If I walked in and saw a disorganized unit with run-down equipment, I would not be impressed, and not inspired to join.

Due to the intelligent design and convenient location, this center is used all the time. Every night there are different groups using the conference rooms for planning events, or training.

I guess some might see the center as extravagant; the rest of us see it as a symbol of the successful organization.

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I guess I construed the lack of visits to mean a lack of support. Your perception is not isolated to scouting either. People flock to mega-churches for the same reason. They like to associate extravagant beautiful complexes with success and legitimacy. Its easier to draw people into a shiny chapel on a hill than a renovated theatre in a warehouse district to worship. But one needs to review the purpose of the council. To promote and support local scouting units. I'm just not convinced that fancy office digs are necessary to fulfil that role. Especially when they live and die by the charity of others. Money would be better spent on billboards promoting scouting than any shiny building.

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"Due to the intelligent design" - Wow! You are a brave soul to use that term! I guess it fits into the Texas mafia in Irving but the Merlyns of the world would not approve!

 

(Alright everybody, the above was a joke, no need to respond.)

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Wow, ya beat me to it. I was so prepared to say something when i saw the ID phrase, but got distracted. And look, before I could say something about someone saying something, someone ELSE has said something!! AHH too many users online and too many active threads right now.

 

But definetly, interesting choice of words :)

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Gern,

Kind of hard to hold District Committee training under a billboard, when it's raining.

Must say I totally disagree about billboards vs. shiny building. Our building is more like a Scout Lodge than office building, as far as ambience. I'm always running in to someone I know when I stop by - mostly volunteers. Location, design - it all adds up to a place we like to visit. Those criteria come with a price. When the council HQ was located downtown, most people dreaded making a trip there. The building is our useable billboard (it is visible from I-75 when travelling south).

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