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The Honolulu Boy Choir and the BSA

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The Honolulu Boy Choir has been around for about 30 years and has toured the world, bringing the spirit of Aloha in their blue aloha shirts, white trousers and bare feet. About 75 boys, ages 8-15, all racial and ethnic groups in the Islands. Great group, I usually try to see one of their Christmas concerts every year.


They are having huge financial problems these days and are on the verge of extinction. They have always had a commitment to not charge dues to the boy members and have raised money thru donations and fundraisers.


Apparently, they have, in recent years, hired a number of people to manage the group. The expenses of maintaining a professional staff is the main reason they are in trouble. There has also been a problem in finding income producing concerts and getting enough attendance.


Sound familiar?

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The American Red Cross (another example in the news now)


The common scenario:

Volunteers (often in the form of a non-profit Board of Directors) put a lot of time and effort into a program and reach a high level of success. They feel the program needs professionals to keep the program going at a high level. Professionals get expensive because they are talented and can get higher-paying jobs in the private sector. Volunteers find other interests when they feel the pros are doing OK. Professionals can't do it alone because program is founded on volunteerism. Everyone gets tired, or finds other jobs. The program collapses. It happens. It doesn't HAVE to happen.


Good luck to the Honolulu Boy Choir, and all the others. Volunteers (all of us), pay attention, or our great programs will go away.

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