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jkhny

Sweeping it under the carpet

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I agree with what you're saying, t158, but for some, what you'd describe as "spreading discontent" is more a matter of raising issues that need resolution in order for Scouting to be the shining light we'd all like it to be. (of course, not everyone sees some of these issues as problems, and are perfectly happy with the status quo.

 

I spend the vast majority of my time working within my local unit. That more than uses up my "1 hour per week" :). But, when I can, I try to work towards resolution of larger issues that I see as being damaging to the organization overall. In my case, that issue is primarily the question of gays in Scouting. It's difficult to work on those kinds of problems, tho, when the organization is under the spotlight for fraudulent activities by its local leaders. Personally I see a lack of leadership from the national office unless the topic is one of their political hot points. And that, if true, is really unfortunate, because if the CAC leadership problems are any kind of realistic example at all, it may be nearly impossible to bring about a change in leadership at the national office.

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Several Texas councils. Fraud. Atlanta. Fraud. Alabama. Fraud and expelling the whistleblowers. Crater Lake. Fraud. Monmouth. Gross Financial Mismanagement. Chicago. Gross violation of law and process. Dozens of councils. Financial mismangement leading to sale of donated program lands.

 

A scout is Trustworthy and Mentally Awake. We don't really think this is the end of the list, do we? These are just the ones who have gotten caught so far.

 

The Scouting movement in the U.S. is healthy, and the work of the boys and adult volunteers is something to celebrate. Scouting does great things for kids, and families, and da nation, eh?

 

The scouting corporations in the U.S. I think we all must honestly admit are not healthy.

 

The solution: appoint a dedicated volunteer who understands finance and law to the COR position in every unit, and have them show up at every annual meeting, and have them insist that the Executive Board, Executive Committee, and officers consist of at least 50% COR's from their ranks. Your COR can still be dual-registered as Committee Chair or a committee member, so you don't "lose him."

 

If your unit right now doesn't know (a) who your COR is, or (b) that your COR is someone who is pushing actively for service and accountability then fix it. That's part of "On our honor, we will do our best to do our duty."

 

 

 

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Thanks Beavah, that's one of the best ideas I've heard in along time.

So many volunteers are ignorant of how the system works, and their units COR's don't function as they could and should.

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Prairie_Scouter:

I know we have problems, and I know we need resolution in order for Scouting to be that "shining light we'd all like it to be."

But, my point is I feel I can do more good in my unit like I do than fighting the council in the atmosphere we have now.

National will not take care of the "rampant" problems that have plagued local councils across the country. While in some of the local councils the SE runs what amounts to an autocracy or an oligarchy with a few of his close cohorts.

I have had close friends "fight the good fight" only to end up "spreading discontent."

I have seen volunteer efforts to initiate change rebuked and rebuffed by the Council Executive Board and good people simply removed from Scouting.

What is there left to do, quit? Burn my red jacket in protest? I don't think so.

I will work in my unit and try to give back some of what Scouting has given me.

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We've lost a few hundred adults who have groen tired of trying to fight the good fight over the past 3 years. BSA has deliberately structured its bylaws to give volunteers that do the work of Scouting AS LITTLE say as possible in how BSA is run. TRY to oust a Council's hand-picked (by the PAID SE who they are supposed to oversee) Executive Board. CAC voted DOWN the same old handpicked slate chosen by a handpicked nominating committee TWICE and had to go to court to get them to hold another election with NEW candidates. TRY to organize COR's....... you can barely get enough volunteers to do the basics in some areas and when confronted with autocratic and incompetent leadership, volunteers DO quit.

 

BSA - excluding the contrived "Learning for Life" and inactive scouts "on the roster" but not seen since last spring (or since the first few meetings) probably has closer to 2.5 million kids - NOT the 4.2 or 4.8 or whatever the current number claimed is......

 

The more BSA focuses on faking numbers and covering up problems, the worse the problems get. Williams is one of the HIGEST paid non-profit CEO's in the country - and he's presided over an organization that has continually LOST membership under his "leadership" - while scandals continue to erupt...... Why the fear of outside oversight and auditing? Is it even WORSE than claimed?

 

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And btw.....

 

BSA National is sitting on $500,000,000 in LIQUID assets - not to mention all the property NATIONAL owns and the funds and property LOCAL Councils own......

 

What is all that money getting used for? It sure isn't being used to "support Scouting" in any TANGIBLE and MEANINGFUL way - like keeping up properties. Build it and they will come...... instead we sell everything off and wonder why nobody's interested.....

 

Where does the money go? BSA National has a lot of HIGHLY paid people in National and Regional doing WHAT again? Funny how BSA is NOT very transparent in its financial reporting providing details. And despite all those people, numbers just keep going down.... How long do you keep a FAILING leadership in place?

 

One might be forgiven if you think that BSA is now just one more corporate entity that exists MAINLY to pay its executives nice fat salaries and benefits....... Irving has some VERY well paid BSA execs.

 

and most LOCAL SE's are VERY well paid compared to other non-profit positions.... If BSA really cared about their "program" they might pay DE's - the "footsoldiers" - more.

 

We've seen the same pattern over and over again in corporations.... they fake results to hide ongoing failures.... smoke and mirrors. TRY to get detailed information on finances and "numbers"...... Accounting methods are employed that make things look better than they are.

 

Whistleblowers get punished - thrown out - even when their claims are proven true. Executives that are caught lying - not just once - are "protected" by higher ups. They brag that internal audits won't find a thing - and make sure outside audits never occur.

 

BSA claims to stand for "values" and "character". Should a REAL Scout stand by while others hijack Scouting for their own benefit? Should a REAL Scout remain silent in face of clear wrongdoing? NOt according to the Scout Law.

 

It seems like many TRY to do the right thing and - facing a real battle - either quit completely or "give up" and restrict their involvement to a local unit "for the boys" - as their Council gets worse and worse. Some believe "obedience" should take precedence over all else - even when they know things are not right. But hypocrisy shows.....

 

BSA has had scandal after scandal over enrollment fraud - with only a fraction of cases becoming pubilc. BSA National could end this if it wanted. Why isn't there a ZERO tolerance policy and an OPEN BOOKS policy allowing INDEPENDENT audits? Instead we get cover up after cover up......

 

Council property sales are too often murky and questionable.... going for less than expected to connected buyers.....

 

BSA should have an IMPECCABLE record - ABSOLUTE TRANSPARENCY in EVERYTHING. Instead it hidse behind closed doors and stonewalla ANY inquiries. WHAT IS BSA HIDING? WHY is BSA SO AFRAID when its volunteers ask reasonable questions like"

 

How many boys are actively enrolled and participating in Scouting?

 

Where does your Council's money get spent? Where does National's?

Just ask how much your SE is paid and see the reaction. In too many Councils, they will REFUSE to answer the question, but HE WORKS FOR YOU.

 

Look at BSA's annual report and compare it to Girl Scouts. BSA is astounding in the LACK of information provided.

 

BSA is being POORLY run by VERY WELL PAID executives. Yet NOBODY seems to be accountable for failures or even outright fraud. WHY?

 

We've seen professional staff turnover and dissatisfaction, volunteer alienation, failure to meet FOS goals and membership goals, drops in adult membership and a startling drop in the number of volunteers fillig District and Council positions. ALL this occurred in Flint River. HOW IS THIS GUY STILL WORKING FOR BSA? He was despised there and is despised here..... literally.... long serving leaders refuse to shake his hand. HUNDREDS of volunteers have shown up at Board Meetings to express their discontent. We TRIED organizing COR's and found out why THAT doesn't work 90% of the time....

 

Of note, membership fees in his previous Council(a direct reflection of membership numbers) were static under his leadership until the whole DE staff seemed to change. The number then went up. DEs here have reported intense pressure to up numbers and increase fundraising (one was pressured to fraudulently claim Quality Status but refused) BUT as soon as he left his previous Council, the numbers went BACK DOWN to what they'd been before he arrived. This occurs when a new SE is unwilling to sign off on inflated membership claims.

 

As far as MY Council.... Westchester-Putnam - it's been mentioned before. And ALL the issues I raise about our SE - Some Guy - were raised at his PREVIOUS Council, Flint River in GA. The Neighboring Council there had ITS SE "promoted" to Regional after the IRS found fraudulent bookkeeping.... Look up NEGA's 990's - none filed since when? Why is that?

 

 

 

Let's be blunt. LOUSY leadership is pretty self evident - especially when National gets slews of complaints about a professional. But the "good old boys" are more concerned with protecting a fellow executive...... this is all like SO many other corporate scandals.....

 

And think about how hard it is to get anyone to take action in a corporate scandal...... BSA is a volunteer organization.... most volunteers DO simply give up - and THAT is why this mess keeps growing.... In only a few Councils have EFFECTIVE efforts been made to fight back....

 

BSA National does NOTHING because they're covering the professional's tails. "It's not our problem" Yes it is. When a Council is refusing to follow bylaws, when a majority of the volunteers register complaints, there IS a problem. But BSA doesn't even look into complaints. They don't want to know and remain uninvolved. Even when a professional has broken the law and ignored BSA's own child protection regulations, there are no consequences. Look at Idaho.

 

If BSA National wanted all this to end, it would end. THE only way it WILL end is for Scouts to take back control of Scouting and DEMAND accountability. THAT is what I am doing - demanding accountability. If there's nothing wrong, what is there to fear?

 

Since when is it wrong to demand that BSA and its own paid professionals follow its own Scout Law? (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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"How many boys are actively enrolled and participating in Scouting?"

 

So, how do you define active?

 

BTW I took a proper name out of the above post, we all get to say what we think, but please don't include proper names, if need be there is enough informatoin to ID a person.

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Funny - L found NEGA's 2004 990 with just a few key strokes - none filed since when, you ask??

 

Funny - I live here in Georgia, and I'm a pretty active Scouter, but I haven't heard any of this terrible news. I know Scouters in both those Councils and they have never mentioned any of this! We've had several units go up to Scoutland Camp on Lake Lanier in the Northeast Georgia Council. They run a great Adventure Camp during the summer. Funny how they are able to do that while committing fraud and ripping everyone off. Funny how you are way up in NY but you know more about the Councils in my state than I do. Funny how the FOS campaing here in the Atlanta Area Council is breaking records in many Districts. Funny...

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Thanks for the compliment Baden - I certainly try to be positive about Scouting as it was a positive influence on my life.

 

The point of my post is not to embarass the BSA. The point is to suggest that rather than just vent, take action. It seems many Scouters are taking the route t158 is and that's to just stop working with the district and council and just stay working with their units - not that there's anything wrong with that - but it means many good Scouters like t158 who would otherwise be available as mentors for leaders of other units aren't available anymore, and I just don't see how that serves to further Scouting.

 

Don't want to do a red jacket burn? Then don't do one - there are plenty of actions that can be taken, but the important part is to act. In the action I spoke of, that my father took part in, along with nearly 300 volunteers of a rather large council (in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago) in the 70's, the Council Executive began acting much like the stories of "imperial" SE's we're hearing about now, to the point of keeping the finances of the Council, and even the names of the Executive Committee and Executive Board a secret, and openly declaring that the volunteers should just shut up. The red jacket burning was a last resort - and perhaps was very effective because the Vice President of the Executive Committee (and also of the Executive Board) was the publisher of the local newspaper who read about the whole issue in his own newspaper and had no awareness that there was that level of frustration by the volunteers - the process was opened up again and the SE was sent packing within 6 months.

 

I'm glad you're enjoying those father/son tales - because I'm very proud of my father. He was a Cub Scouter through and through and would bleed Blue and Gold if cut - even when all of his kids were in Boy Scouts. He was the first person in our council to become a District Chairman coming from the Cub Scout side of things. Do your districts hold Webelos Camporees? Districts weren't allowed to run their own Webelos Camporees in the early 70's - and Webelos Dens couldn't have their own overnight campouts - only Councils were allowed to run Webelos overnights. My father worked with Council and National to get a policy change to allow Districts to hold their own Webelos father/son Camporees, then not only put together our District's camporees, he helped other Districts, both in and out of our Council, plan and run their first Webelos Camporees. When the LDS started putting together units in our Council and none of the other Districts were willing to welcome LDS units (because "it would change their camping program") my father convinced our district to accept and SUPPORT every single LDS Unit within the Council's borders which enriched our District in so many ways.

 

My mother was just as innovative - integrating Den Chief training with the annual Cub Scout Leaders Pow Wow, including joint sessions of both groups. She took the job of Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner and worked with the Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner of our district to integrate a portion of every Roundtable Meeting as a joint Cub Scout/Boy Scout activity (which had never been done before). She became the first Camp Director of the Council-run Day Camp program (with paid staff, just like Boy Scout Summer Camp, before that, each district ran their own with volunteers but districts were finding it increasingly difficult to do with so many 2-working parent families - a couple of districts just all-together stopped holding day camps), a position she held for 5 years.

 

So yeah, I'm proud of both my father and my mother.

 

CalicoPenn

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Regarding "good" and "bad" professionals -

 

BSA National sure doesn't seem to care if someone makes a mess - and it seems like they've "run out of desks in the Supply Division" to park the real screw-ups. A Council sure can't get a realistic evaluation of a professional when they're looking at resumes - there are too many loose in Councils.

 

And it seems to be IMPOSSIBLE to EVER get rid of a paid professional - unless they're caught dead to rights by the FBI with kiddie porn.

 

The group in Atlanta - and others - have called for a VOLUNTEER run "registry" where people can post their eveluations of paid staffers - something like the student run evaluations of professors in college or even the online "Rate my teacher". You will get a range of opinions but the truth is generally pretty clear. But that prospect scares the hell out of some BSA professionals. You think that they'd be proud of their accomplishments and have nothing to hide, right? Well, it seems like far too many have pretty bad track records and WE as volunteers pay the price. BSA and the KIDS we serve pay the price.

 

In our Council's case, one volunteer found a LONG and DETAILED thread relating to our Scout Executive's performance in his former Council here in SCOUTER archives. They're printed out and cached, so scrubbing won't help. This guy has been complained about vehemently BEFORE - by accomplished and long serving Scouters - volunteer AND paid. In fact the SE himself was reamed pretty well for attacking one of his critics by name on this forum. The subject of his wrath was defended as a great guy - and further doubt cast on this SE.

 

 

ALL that was posted here was confirmed in direct communications with personnel in his former Council. Given his history, ANY other employer would have fired him years ago. Not BSA. And interestingly, people in his former Council seem to be under the impression that he was an Eagle Scout.....yet he made a point of saying he was NOT here.... makes you wonder if he got caught on THAT and warned......

 

Again.... why won't BSA National hold its own paid professionals to the standards they CLAIM to represent?

 

It's THAT simple.

 

A paid professional that lies should be fired.

 

A paid professional that breaks the law should be fired.

 

Instead you have GOOD people thrown out of BSA by paid professionals looking to cover up their own screw-ups.....

 

lies about enrollments and fundraising (LOTS of examples)

professionals that have bought alcohol for underage boys (GA)

coverups of child/sex abuse (Idaho and CA)

 

NONE of this is excusable. ANYONE that tries to get BSA to follow their own rules and standards is slandered and threatened, thrown out if they push it. How appalling is that? This should not occur ANYWHERE in BSA.... but too many, even here are more than willing to say "its only a few instances.... only a few Councils...." they paint me and any other Scouter raising these issues as malcontents and dissidents and tell us to leave. Instead tehy should live up to the Scout Law and DEMAND all others do the same.

 

NO EXCUSES It shouldn't happen ANYWHERE in BSA

 

There is too much convoluted justification being used to excuse what is UNEXCUSABLE.

 

When YOU are an Eagle Scout complaining about a DE buying beer for kids and YOU are thrown out.... when YOU as a long serving BOARD member complain that the units listed have NO trained volunteers, when you find out those units do not exist and membership is overstated by 40% and YOU are thrown out..... when a 15 year old girl in Venturing and her Cubmaster mother are thrown out after complaining that a 20 year old staffer is sexually propositioning her (a FELONY in CA).... when YOU as a 215 year old boy are threatened after going to your SE to complain about being sexually abused by a camp staffer..... ALL of this is documented and confirmed.

 

this is pretty appalling stuff - and BSA does its utmost to sweep it under the carpet and silence anyone that utters a peep.

 

If BSA has been true to the Scout Law, why are they hiding so much? why do they refuse to discuss so much? why do they refuse ANY independent investigations of wrongdoing?

 

 

 

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OK Jkhny, I'll bite. You clearly see a problem here. Exactly what are you doing about it, other than posting lengthy diatribes on this site? Venting has a place but after a while it gets old, particularly when there doesn't seem to be anything else happening.

 

Lisa'bob

 

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jkh,

First, I don't believe a word of your posts to be true. If there is any truth there, it is so twisted and biased that it is not recognizable. We all know your type - nothing is ever a good idea unless you agree with it. No plan is ever any good unless it is your plan. All you can do is complain, and never lend a hand to be a part of a team that is making things happen for the Scouts.

You mention a "group in Atlanta" but I have never heard a single word about this. You trash the SE in your council about property sales, but all the news I can find on the web is positive.

If you were a mover and shaker in your District and Council, you would have some clout with the Council. If your unit was a big contributor to FOS, you would have some leverage to use to get the answers to your questions from the Council. Instead, as a constant complainer and rock-thrower, you are stuck on the outside looking in, a bench warmer at the far end, gathering splinters.

If you want me to believe any of your gibberish, please post specifics, or PM them to me. I grow tired of your broad accusations with nothing to back them up.

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No point in relisting all that's been listed in the past.

 

But even the Wall Street Journal is covering the property sales uproars on the front page.

 

Atlanta was more than covered in the media last spring but - as BSA counts on - they eventually lose interest. boyscoutsfortruth was the web page for the group involved.

 

Here, well, I HAVEN'T walked away - unlike the 3 or 400 volunteers that HAVE simply given up after banging their head against the wall for 3 years. And THAT is EXACTLY what BSA wants - people to walk away. No problems here.... no dissent.... no complaints.... move along..... and after they're all gone, BSA will dissolve a Council, merge it into another and decide where the assets go..... and NOBODY with any long term memory is left around to complain, say this is wrong or point out that this breaks every promise ever made to volunteers there. Like the pone that the LAST Camp sale would be the end of it.

 

Others earlier up in the thread have mentioned enough of the cases I referred to.... THEY sure managed to find them.... so.... maybe it's just easier to see things you don't want to see....

 

But as noted, BSA National ALLOWS all this to happen. They REFUSE to allow outside audits when challenged on enrollment numbers and then come out with their own whitewash. Even when paid professionals are caught dead to rights in lying - like Greater Alabama - there are no consequences.

 

And for those that are so happy....request our SE by name.... we'd be glad to get rid of him, just like Flint River was. "BigEd" had a whole series of posts on him from 1996 through 2002. You can look them up in the archives.

 

No more from me on this. Made my point. Even when clear and complete documentation is provided, when a few hundred volunteers protest, it doesn't matter. Nobody here's masochistic to fund a court case like Chicago - and given how well that's working out, why bother? Even when you win, BSA still doesn't give in.

 

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O.K. jkhny

I'll bite.

You post -

"Even when paid professionals are caught dead to rights in lying - like Greater Alabama - there are no consequences. "

 

You post generalities but no specifics.

 

Specifically how was MY Scout Executive caught lying?

 

I'm sure everyone who reads this would like for you to be specific in your accusations.

 

You give specifics about the SE in MY council lying and being caught, and I'll respond with what I know. (Or I'll find the answer.)

 

Simple enough, back up what you say.

 

 

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Since jk has been pretty much right on the mark about the situation in Chicago, why would we think that he's totally off the mark on the situation in Atlanta? More detail, as suggested, is always helpful, but hasn't all of this been in the press at one time or another?

 

Does anyone from the Atlanta area, for example, have information that the Scouting professionals there are, instead, doing a stellar, or at least, nominally successful, job?

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