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OA Chapters Chartered as a Crew or Troop

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To me, a paper unit is one where nothing actually happens and "members" may not even be aware that they are members. I just went out to the site I looked at a couple of years ago and it appears to have been "clened up" now. Crews that used to be listed were high school groups like JROTC or vo-tech classes. There were also local organizations working with kids in need. Being involved the way I am, I knew that none of these crews actually had adult advisers and youth members that ever met anywhere or at any time. The DE would go talk to someone, get the charter paperwork filled out, put names on it and turn it in. Heck, they might even pay the registration fee out of their own pocket. It bumped their numbers which kept them in a job and it bumped the council numbers which made national happy. When people caught wind of these paper or ghost units and a few audits were done, councils started dropping these units. That is a paper unit.


A summer camp staff crew comes closer to being a "real" unit, but usually isn't. There are other ways to get staff registered. When my son staffed cub resident staff, all staffers, boy and girls had to be registered. The camp didn't run a crew, they expected you to go join a real unit somewhere. Since the vast majority of their youth staff are in scouting or crews for the girls, that wasn't a problem. Honestly, if I were a camp director, I don't know that I want just any Tom, Dick or Sally coming to staff my camp without scouting knowledge and experience. For an adult to run a shooting range or aquatics program, that is a different story. They can register with the council.


Someone mentioned using the Venturing uniform for staff because of the girls on staff. Again, our cub resident camp hired Boy Scouts and Venturing boys and girls and they wore their uniform when needed. But for the most part, they had camp supplied staff shirts they wore with the lower half of their uniform.

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Short: I'm left wondering what the difference is between a "paper" unit and a "real" unit.


A real unit has an advisor that hates paperwork so badly that he/she will act to add substance to that piece of paper called a charter.


TwoC: Do they intend to be Venturers, to be crew officers and work toward Venturing advancement?


Advancement is not a method of Venturing, and very few Venturers will be officers. So, that kind of muddies the waters.


But you're close to the mark. If this "crew" acts like a youth-led movement with an advisor who has a heart for supporting council camps. Then it's a real crew with opportunities for youth to connect with other crews in council.


I guess you could say my definition of "real" crews (be they "themed" around camp staff, O/A, or a ski club) involves a minimum level of networking with all other crews in council.


Not networking? Not a crew. A clique maybe, but not a crew.

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You'd be surprised at the number of folks who come out to work camps who are not active with units. Some are college students,and while they could be registered with the College Scouter Reserve, few people knowing about it. Some of these folks don't have the time during the school year, but take off during the summer and give back.


Then you got your contract folks. SCUBA shops, wilderness outfitters, etc who are hired by the council to run a specialty program. And let's not forget our military on TDY. They may or may not be active with a unit on base, I know of one guy who wasn't registered as he was deployed and then got TDY. Again BSA policy is camp staff must be registered, and a crew composed of staff members solves that.


I knnow of places where the crew does indeed meet year round. It may be quarterly but hey do meet. Also they help staff events throughout the year. I know alot of crews that don't do that, but hter are some that do.


I know many will feel that this is a ghost unit, but trust me I know what ghost units are, having to try and clean up some of them. Summer camp crews are a heck of lot more active than GUs.


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" Summer camp crews are a heck of lot more active than GUs."

I don't believe in ghosts!

Even with an English education. I can count to 1 (one)

How many times can the BSA count the same kid?

Have a female youth ship member.

She is on the Ship's charter.

She worked last year at a out of state camp last year and is in the Camp Crew there, this year she is working closer to home at a camp and she is a member of that Crew as well.

I count one.

The BSA counts 3.

Not a ghost just a great kid.




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Ea - Shouldn't she just have one membership number, and thus count as one person? I've never been registered in more than one council, so I don't speak from experience, but I thought that was how it worked. Otherwise there would be far more of a push to double-register people, to boost a DE's membership numbers.


Now we hear from qwasze that "real" crews are those that interact with other crews in the council. Does that definition apply to packs and troops as well? Is the troop that does its own thing while not attending camporees or sending people to roundtables thus not a real troop? Why the standard for crews?


Many (most? all?) councils do require that you be registered as a member in that particular council - not in the council next door - in order to be on camp staff. Not sure why that's such a problem for so many people, or why folks here insist that only people who have DEMONSTRATED COMMITTMENT TO THE PROGRAM [sound the trumpets! dah-dah!] should serve on staff.


I guess that leaves out the high school science teacher running the nature lodge, the retired river guide overseeing your waterfront, the part-time EMT staffing the health lodge or the college students galore who go off to NCS and run different program areas, putting their expertise and experience to work. I guess since they can only devote eight 80-hour weeks, instead of volunteering year-round, they're not REAL Scouters.


Oh, and for folks who complain that camp staff members also are not REAL Scouters because they're on the "council payroll" - camp staff pay is abysmal, even for those at the top. It's sub-sub-sub-minimum wage in many cases. People work camp because they love doing so, not because of the gigantic paycheck. They don't take their checks and live high on the hog year-round.

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My comment about being on the payroll is a principle thing. I have problems when the council pays a stipend to some and yet they still want to be called volunteers. The paraprofessional concept where council pays (no matter how little) a person to be a scoutmaster, cubmaster, commissioner, a youth member. I understand that the stipend paid to summer camp staff members is ridiculously low. (I do feel that some of the youth staff members are truly exploited for the work they do for such little pay. I have always wondered how my council gets away with child labor laws for how much work they get out of the 14 and 15 year olds.


I am a volunteer. This is supposed to be a volunteer program. Paying people to be volunteers to me means that people do not want to volunteer. But volunteering is the heart of our program is it not?


I know for a fact that all the members, both youth and adult that are hired for summer camp are added to membership counts. I have seen the printouts showing the summer camp crew and their membership counts added to the overall council membership counts. What is wrong is that many of those summer camp crew members are also being counted a second time in their home troops. And some of those are even being counted a third time in their fictitious school unit.


There is no reason to form these temporary crews other than for some pro to add points to their scorecard as Eamonn states.


Prior to these paper summer camp crews, summer camp staff members wore staff t-shirts during the day and their personal Scout uniforms at dinner. They were proud to wear their own troop uniforms.


I am amazed at how many ways a professional can come up with ways to boost their membership numbers. And yet with all the membership my council supposedly has, the answer from council why they dont follow policies and procedures is because they have no money.


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Short Now we hear from qwasze that "real" crews are those that interact with other crews in the council. Does that definition apply to packs and troops as well?


I don't think so. (Sorry district guys.) That is, the adults should interact with the district on some level, but packs' and troops' programs are so structured that I don't see them needing to have their boys interact with other units if they don't want to.


A crew, on the other hand depends on the various connections of its members for its vitality. If a couple of venturers in climbing crew X would rather do some kayaking, they will either convince their crew to add it to the agenda, learn about kayaking crew Y and multiple register, or decide that venturing is not for them because their crew didn't make the effort to find out what other crews in their council are up to.


I think a camp crew or chapter crew, if it is truly connected with the council, has a lot of potential to get youth "hooked in" to a broader view of scouting and service.


Just sayin' if we forget about the numbers game, there is something in it for the kid who's multiple registered.

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qwazse -


A crew in this respect is just like a pack or a troop. There is no requirement, rule or even basic program assumption that a crew connect with other crews. They can be as independent or interconnected as their COs and members want them to be. It's certainly true that crew-to-crew links are encouraged through VOAs and the Corps of Discovery, etc., but in no way are they a benchmark of a quality crew program.


Let's say that there's a church-chartered crew that has as its focus religious outreach, education and programming - or a hobby store-chartered crew whose members are really into RC airplane-flying - or a fitness-center-chartered crew that really gets into long-distance running. There are no other crews like them in the council. Under your way of thinking, none of those crews are real because they don't connect with other crews ... crews which have a completely different program focus and have utterly no reason to interact with them.


I don't know from where you got your extremely interesting point of view about Venturing, but it's just plain incorrect.




"I am a volunteer. This is supposed to be a volunteer program. Paying people to be volunteers to me means that people do not want to volunteer. But volunteering is the heart of our program is it not?"


Abel - Go ahead and try getting 80 people to volunteer 8 to 10 weeks of their summer. Good luck with that. If you don't pay people a reasonable wage, you're not going to have a summer camp. We read on these boards regularly about the problems getting enough volunteers for Cub day camp, for crying out loud. You can't stitch together a multi-week resident Boy Scout program with volunteers. It's impossible.


As for your comment about uniforming - I can only speak from my experience, but we wore a staff t-shirt and shorts during the day, and the field uniform in the evening and other formal occasions. The field uniform was a staff uniform - silver loops, rank insignia, personal awards, council shoulder patch, but no troop or patrol insignia. We were Council employees, and represented the Council, not our home units. If a person was registered primarily in the camp staff post/crew, he or she wore the Exploring/Venturing uniform. Simple enough. We were proud to be in our home troops, but we were also proud to serve our camp.


Additionally, this whole argument about inflating numbers and pros cheating at the numbers game is ridiculous. How many people does your local camp have on summer staff? Mine has about 80. Are everybody's councils and districts so darn tiny and pathetic that a DE's or SE's job is going to be saved by the addition of 80 warm bodies to the rolls? If so, then your local area has far bigger problems to worry about.(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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There a many problem associated with chartering a unit utilizing any of the elements of the OA. And in a properly ran OA Lodge I see no need for it.


Our lodge bylaws were written (by adults) to allow dance teams and ceremony teams to register as crew. Written mostly for the dance team.


Our dance team formed a crew, mostly to allow young ladies to join the team. This was due to the Dance Team advisor wanting his daughters to be part of the dance team, Yes they do participate in lodge dance team functions.


But there are other reasons for doing this all negative in my opion.


1.) Members of the crew fulfill the requirement to be a registered member of a scout unit in order to keep your membership in the OA. Most of the adults on the team do not participate in any other unit thus making them OA only scouters.


2.) When the young ladies become the age of 21 they have been inducted into the OA as an adult. Yes this has happened even though a crew cannot hold elections and you have to hold an election in order for adults to be inducted.


3.) The Crew is not chartered under the lodge they have their own charter organization, made up of the adults of the team. However the lodge supports them with funding for equipment, ect..



To try a change this is bucking the "Good Ole Boys" net work. When my boy was the Lodge Chief he brought this problem up in the Key 3 meeting. He was wanting to get rid of the crew in order to get the crew members back into the spirit of the OA thus being service to the unit first. He was basically told to leave it alone.


Note: Our Lodge advisor, Dance Team Advisor, Trading Post Advisor are some of the adults who maintain the scouting registration due under the Dance Team Crew.






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Membership ID numbers are issued by individual councils. Therefore, if you are registered in multiple councils, you have multiple ID numbers. I wish there was one universal number for each member but that is not the case.

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Membership ID numbers are issued by individual councils. Therefore, if you are registered in multiple councils, you have multiple ID numbers. I wish there was one universal number for each member but that is not the case.


But if you are registered in three different units in the same council - for example, in two crews and a troop - you just show up once. Correct?

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"But if you are registered in three different units in the same council - for example, in two crews and a troop - you just show up once. Correct?"


Probably not. That would take a sophisticated program that could identify duplicates of people who hold different membership numbers for multiple units and I doubt the BSA or a Council is going to pay for that programming, and such a program will always create errors. Consider - the name Johnson is one of the most common last names out there. In a council of any size, you could have 5 different "Bob Johnsons" registered in different units - and it would only count 1.


So either way is not perfect.


The only solution would be to assign a unique registration member to each person registered that you carry with you from unit to unit, and can share between 2 or more registrations. Before the BSA or a Council pays to set up the kind of programming that will assign each person a unique number, they'll try using the unique number all of us already have - the Social Security number - how popular do you think that will be?


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Actually SCOUTNET is supposed to solve the multiple membership ID number. The theory when SCOUTNET was explained to me was that as you move from councilto council, the ID number and your records move with you. I know my training records did NOT follow me around, and don't seem to recall if the ID number was the same or not when I moved around councils. But I do know that I am registered in 3 positions with my current council: CSDL, District Committee, and MBC, and all three cards have the same ID number.

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I'm unclear if my records followed me to my new council but my number definitely did not. I assumed that, since they needed my ID number to transfer my primary registration (still an MBC in the old council), that the number would move with me. However, my new council's registrar told me this was not the case. This clarification came only two weeks ago so, as much as I would love to see the scenario that was explained to Eagle92, I assume this is the status quo.

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