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SMT376Richmond KY

Blackmail?

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Greetings fellow Scouters

 

Another fine year of Scouting has begun, so I thought. I was informed last night by our unit comissioner that the boys decision not to participate in popcorn sales this year is not being looked at well by council. That if they choose not to sell popcorn then any unit fundraising applicaitions the Troop submits will have a very difficult time gaining approval from council. I can only take this one way, sell popcorn or the Troops other fundraisers will not be approved. This amounts to blackmail in my opinion.

 

I also think that the boys in boy led Troop, arrived at a good decision based on the history of sales for the Troop over the past three years. The PLC decided that for what the Troop received for it's share didn't provide enough to run the Troop's program for the year and they had to conduct other fundraisers that they earned more money on and actually had fun doing(spaghetti dinner and car washes mainly).

 

Actually two of the Life Scouts used what they had learned in Personal Mgt MB to figure out budgets and then the PLC presented the idea to the Troop and all voted not to sell popcorn as it was overpriced and they had such difficulty selling a $15.00 box of popcorn that people could purchase the same product (the Life Scouts discovered that Weaver popcorn was the manufcturer of Trails-End in their research tested both discovered they are the same product) Wally world for $4.50. Also the decreasing sales over the past two years.

 

Now I have to go back to the boys and give them an ultimatum from the council to sell popcorn or fend for yourselves? This doesn't seem to hold to the ideas of Scouting and certainly isn't trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind. The Troop is loyal to the council as it attends nearly all council events and continues to use the council camp for summer camp despite a program that is not geared for older scouts and participates in Friends of Scouting. Now the program has worked the boys used what they have learned in Scouting and I have to go back and tell them forget it, it was a lie, Scouting isn't about the boys it's about money for the council!

 

 

Opinions please?

 

Thanks

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I'm a little dismayed that the SM would sit by and watch the PLC make such a decision. Support of our local councils is critical to the success of Scouting nationwide. We are not isolated units functioning in our own world. Product sales is one way councils fund operations so they can provide services to your unit. Perhaps if the boys better understood the value of what they get from their council, they might look at it differently. That is where the SM, sitting in the PLC meeting, can provide input.

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We, also have been questioned by our council on why we stopped selling popcorn. The answers are simple:

1.   Too many troops and packs are selling it in a small community. We dropped it so the other troop and packs could make more money with less compitition.  (see item 7 in BSA 34427A Unit Money-Earning Application)

2.  As stated wallyworld, etc, sells the same item at a much lower price (see item 6 on above mentioned doc)

3.  Cute little boys (cubs) can get much better sales than gangly teens so let them make all the money possible from the popcorn.

4. The other types of fundraiser are easier for the older boys to do than the younger. That means a bit less parent burnout from doing the work on the other types of fundraiser.

5. Profit to work ratio on popcorn sale vs our other fundraisers make it not cost effective.  (are we not trying to teach real world facts and choices?)

We need to let the boys make their choices, not be pressured by council.

I think council is concerned about their share in popcorn sales and we have thought about that and have just started discussing sharing some with council now that we have finally gotten to a point where all boys are paying for their summer camp by working at these fundraisers. (maybe, someday we will get our trailer like the other troops)

Happy Trails

 

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Blackmail is exactly what it is!

 

There is no obligation for a unit to sell popcorn. Popcorn sales is one way to support council, but there are others.

 

How is forcing a unit to sell popcorn living by the Scout Oath & Law?

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Fscouter

 

The Troop does support the council. We have attended every council event which by the way always involves an additional charge for event insurance as well as a high entry usually $20.00-$25.00 per attendee without meals by the way. Participate in FOS, and attend week long summer at the councils camp. We also camp several times during the year at the council camp and pay the site fee of $20.00 plus an entry fee of $2.00 per person so the Troop is supporting the council and the boys know this and yes this was explained to them when they made their decision. Therefore, I believe they made and informed decision. I made a point of them making thier case to the entire Troop not just a PLC decision. The commitee also was invloved in the decision as they had to pitch it to them as well. They were impressed with the amount of work the boys put into the decision as well.

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Contact your District Commissioner and find out what this UC is up to.

 

If that does not help call your DE.

 

 

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I'm in agreement that strong-arm tactics like this are a bit ridiculous. Let's add that it is not the UC who gets to decide whether or not your unit money earning applications for other fundraisers will be approved and he/she is probably just bluffing with this threat (which makes me think they need some more UC training).

 

That said, if the stuff really does hit the fan, there's always the option of saying fine, we'll sell popcorn. And then ordering ONE case. Grrr.

 

Lisa'bob

 

 

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I get suspicious when someone tells me somebody else doesn't approve. There is a good possibility that your UC is making this up. Call your Scout Executive and ask him the Council's position.

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What the UC informed me was that the DC gave her the message directly to give to the Troop. Yes, I did think well then we'll simply sell one case but my wiser better hafe and to borrow a phrase I've read many times on these forums "she who msut be obeyed", we can simply buy the three way tin we were going to buy from the Pack from our son in the Troop so the Troop sold popcorn.

 

Now that being said last year the council attempted to assign expected sales levels until at the opening popcorn meeting all the Troops and Packs balked at this. It would be interesting to see what would be the response. Also, last year when we turned in left over show and sell I was told by the council person in charge "well if you weren't going to sell all of it why did you order it." He told us to take what we thought we could sell and if we could return unopened cases. We sold a 7 of 12 cases and would have sold it all if 4 days of rain and storms hadn't driven off customers and we didn't have to compete with 9 Packs and 2 Troops at the only place 18 miles away to run booth sales. Heck even the larger housing developemnts closer to town are in areas these other Packs and Troops hit too.

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The Ship members seem to have a hard time selling a product of any kind.

Parents of older kids don't seem to to want take things to work to sell.

The HS Band seems to move from one sale to the next.

I haven't done any research to back this up. But I think a lot of the problem is popcorn.

While most people know that when they buy almost any product that is a fund raising product they are going to pay a little over the top. The popcorn now seems to be a lot over the top.

While we know that the money is being split with the Council, for prizes and for the unit. The guy in the street sees the price and isn't happy.

I gladly fork over the money for Girl Scout cookies, I like cookies and tend to look at buying a box of GS cookies as buying an expensive candy bar. (I know once open I'm going to eat the entire box in one sitting.)

I can't remember what they cost I think about $3.50 a box. We at home all have the type of cookie we like best, so we normally oder 12 boxes at a time. Spending $50.00 on something that we enjoy and know that we can't find elsewhere and will only be around for a little while till next year is a lot different from buying popcorn.

The sad thing about participating in the popcorn sale is that while you are peddling you can't really run another fund raising event. That seems greedy!!

I really think that Councils who use tactics like this UC is talking about will mean that fewer units will use the correct paperwork and before they know it units will be running ticket sales and bingo.

Maybe popcorn has had it's day?

Maybe if Councils came up with something new the support might be better?

I happen to think that a PLC should be given the choice, but they need to let the Council why they made the choice. This might act as a wake up call.

Or of course I might be full of beans and have it all wrong.

Eamonn.

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Actually our UC was at the meeting when the PLC presented and the boys of the Troop voted no on the sale. She told me she provided this info to the DC who still instructed to send the message to the Troop.

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SMT376,

 

Greetings!

 

I am typing this quickly as I am on my way to my Venturing Crew meeting in 10 minutes. But....

 

I highly support the Trails End Popcorn... It's delicious!! And the Girl Scouts better bring a hand truck when they visit my front door with the cookies!

 

First, I do not believe it is blackmail till after the quid pro quo has occurred.

 

Second.. Neither the UC nor the DC have a signature on the Unit Money Earning Application Form 34427A.

 

 

And to help your PLC, Normally during recharter units are issued a Budget Planning Worksheet. If you haven't received that form, there is a Year of Scouting Budget Planner on the Trails End Webpage, which is downloadable in Excel.

 

I personally do believe you should sell popcorn, but my feelings and thoughts have no effect on your PLC or Troop Committee.. I have no power to deny a Money Earning Project Application, As a District volunteer, my signature block is no where on that application. Similarly, regarding what your UC stated, It may be a strong arm tactic.. But it has no value.

 

Bottom Line... Don't worry. Submit your Money Earning Project to the Council Service Office and speak with the DE and SE about their volunteer UC tactics.

 

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Good points, Eamonn.  The point should be a more unique item like the girl scout cookies. 

Schools are so into having the kids do sales fundraisers around here that last year it was non-stop during the school year.  People are getting tired of being constantly asked to buy stuff by the kids that they are no longer having that guilt feeling when they say no to the kids. Unless is is something they cannot get elsewhere they will pass it up.

That is how I am feeling now & I used to always support any good cause, even when I did not need it.

FK

P.S. I am now restricting the amount of fundraising for school stuff my son does. Where did the lottery monies go???(for Texans)

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Eamon

 

One difficulty we have here is that teh schools have forbidden the sale of snack foods from frundraisers of any kind due to the new federal rule no snack food in school. The school won't even permit take orders (a little over the top too). My employer does not permit selling fundraisers at the office so this has never been an option for my son since he was a Tiger. There are only 4 houses on our street, 3 on the connector and 4 on the main state highway. All have said no the last two years. We attempted going into town for "blitzes" of the developments only to be told "I've already bought some" or to see Cubs or other Scouts in these areas so we are in a flooded market. The Troops total sales have been $1100.00 in 2003, $900.00 in 2004 and $700.00 2005.

 

The Troop does us the budget plan as someone suggested. It is made in January during the yearly planning conference with the PLC and committee. The Life Scouts simply came up with one from the MB work they did which I thought was quite impressive as the listed what was needed for summer camp and amoutn from past years sales. It was apparent that they actually learned and earned the MB which is more important that selling popcorn in my opinion.

 

The goal of Popcorn sale has always been to try and make enough to at least pay summer camp fees and left over amounts went to Scout accounts and equipment. The past two years we barely had enough to cover early birds and 1/3 of each Scouts summer camp fee. Last year we didn't even earn enough to come up with the $200.00 Summer camp site deposit fee required by the council in January. We waited until June to get our spot and lo and behold we did get a pretty good site.

 

It seems to me that council has but alot of the financial burden on the boys instead of running coporate fundraising or other activities like golf tournaments, 10K runs etc.

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Sometimes you need to fight fire with fire. Basically state if they are not going to approve the unit's fund raising requests then, perhaps in addition to not selling popcorn, the unit will not support FOS.

 

SWScouter

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