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OldGreyEagle

Perceptions about Scouting Professionals

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In the Cub Scout section under Neckerchiefs Yaworski made a claim that money is a driving force in Boy Scouts.

 

I agreed with him, Bob White said that on the issue that was being discussed, neckerchiefs, that the deciscion to have various neckerchiefs for the different ranks of Cubs was not made by professionals. Ok, it wasnt.

 

I thought it best to take this discussion off the neckerchief thread and put it here. The point I make is in my 5 years as a Scouter in my current location I have been met more than a few professional scouters. I think most were more rabid about raising money and increasing membership than actually providing a quality program. One notable exception is our current Council Executive.

 

The quesiton is do you (scouts and scouters) beleive that your council/disrict professional staff is more interested in providing a quality program or pumping up funds and units regardless of quality and why?

 

 

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I sure would like to disagree with you, but... I was sorely disappointed to attend my District kickoff two weeks ago and spend 90% of the time on Trail's End popcorn and 0% on useful information (dates for training, summer camp, district/council activities, etc.). And this took the place of the monthly roundtable! Grump, grump. It sure does seem like fundraising is the #1 priority.

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We've had a couple District execs that truly wanted to provide a good program but they were eventually beaten into submission by the council. The ones with integrety end up leaving.

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Where the miconception in this string lies (and with all due respect to my cyber friend OGE) is the premise that District Executives are responsible for the quality of the local program. They are not!

 

Local professionals are responsible for the financial health, and the growth of youth and adult membership in the council.

 

WE, the local volunteers are responsible for the quality of the local program. That has been our responsibility since 1910.

 

There are professionals on the national level who sit on volunteer committees as the professional advisors. Their role is to help the committee chairperson and to implement the decisions of the committee.

 

This is a program designed and carried out by volunteers. We hire a paid staff to do the daily leg work to maintain the infra-structure needed for the continued operation of the program.

 

But when you complain about the way THEY run scouting, keep in mind that THEY is YOU.

 

Bob White

 

 

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Bob, the issue here is something an old personnel director buddy always says "perception is reality".

 

Regardless of the defined proper roles of Council/District Executives, if the volunteers see them only as money and members advocates, then a problem exists. Now resolution may be in the form of the volunteers understanding their own role, but also helpful would be professional staff who were sensitive to the stereotypes held about them and would work to dispel them. Perhaps all the proessional staff I have met were dedicated to BSA, but because of their behavior, I was put off.

 

If I implied that the executives were responsible for running a quality program, I apologize for my clumsy wording. I didnt mean to imply that. It would just help if I felt they were supporting our efforts for quality rather than numbers.

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But OGE,

 

The program has never been a local professional's responsibility. We (local volunteers) hired them to find bodies and raise funds because we wanted to have time to do the program and work with the scouts.

 

The local professionals have to be accountable for their income. What are they measured on? Money, manpower and membership determine if they continue to draw a paycheck to feed their families and pay their bills. Who set those standards? A committee of volunteers.

 

At your place of employment do you do the work you were hired to do and the work your boss expects of you, or do you do anything anyone thinks you should be doing?

 

We cannot hire and evalute pro scouters on one set of criteria and them expect them to be doing something completely different (our jobs) instead.

 

The DE at at CubsRgr8 meeting talked about finances because that's his job. The other topics CubsRgr8 mentioned (dates for training, summer camp, district/council activities, etc.) are the responsibility of the volunteer District Committee if they weren't there fulfilling their responsibilities than shame on them. The DE should not be slammed for doing his job.

 

If there is a misunderstanding in your scouting community it is the volunteer's job to correct it. The District Committee members, Training teams, Commissioner Services staff, Activities committee etc., need to let people know that the program is not the DE's job it is theirs.

 

Bob White

(This message has been edited by Bob White)(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I am sorry, as I must be getting the Pre-WoodBadge jitters, (I leave in the morning at 7:00am)and am not able to communicate my thoughts.

 

My whole reason for this thread is the perception that some of us volunteers have for professional scouters. I do not think it is an overstatment that most of the posters on this forum have do not have a very high opinion of professional scouters. If I am wrong, please posters, let me know and I will gladly apologize. The issue at hand is the perception, right or wrong that professional scouters do little to help the exisitng units. Whether right or wrong, thats the preception.

 

If its the job of the volunteers to dispel this perception, I havent seen a lot of effort. In fact the groups you mention, Training, Commissioners, etc often lead the whining about Council.

 

Maybe to be positive, we could give ideas on what executives could do that would bolster their image while not going outside their role in scouting.

 

Personally I would like to see District Executives at District functions and the COuncil Exec at Council functions. I dont think it unreasonable to expect an Eagle scout to be able to recognize his District and Council Exec.(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Well lets take a look at this from another POV (point of view).

 

Let's say you work for a large non-profit corporation and your job is to find organizations to use your corporations services. Last year your company had a Christmas party and a summer bar-b-que that were run by volunteers that belonged to the organizations served by your non-profit group.

 

The events sad to say were a flop. Some many of the participants chose to blame you as for the failure even though you were not responsible for the planning, the staffing, the agenda or the delivery of the events.

 

Is it your job to find each person who is ill informed and change their mind. To what degree are the people blaming you responsible for asking "who was responsible". To what degree are the people who organized the events responsible for saying "it wasn't him, it was us".

 

On top of that you want the person who...

1) You are laying blame on when it belongs to others,

2) you malign for doing the job you hired them to do

3) who you think should do our job instead of us.

4) Who spend more time each day in the scouting arena than most volunteers spend in a month

5) who you admit are mailigned by a large number of other scouters in their own communities.....

to be at every event you want to see him at. Why, so we can blame him up close for things that aren't his responsibility?

 

I've worked with scouting professionals for over 25 years and I've seen good ones and bad ones. I have seen far more good ones quit because of the personal abuse they have taken from volunteers than from being chased off by Scout Executives.

 

We seem to think beacuse they are paid that they are paid to do everything, or that he fact they are paid gives us the right to treat them as our personal punching bags.

 

Its time we accept the responsibility for the quality of scouting in our community and quit blaming others.

 

Now if someone has a really tall ladder I'd like to get off my soapbox and go to lunch.

 

Bob White

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Bob, you have made the point that I was going after. I accept all you say as true, the question is why is the volunteer's perception of the professional so poor?

 

If the preception is all wrong, why is that way? How can we account for so many of us being so wrong? What needs to change so that professionals are seen in a much better or rather more accurate light?(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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I have to agree wih OGE that the perception by volunteers of the paid executives is luke warm at best. Fair or not, accurate or not, that is the perception. What can and should the paid execs do to change this situation?

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Why is our misconception their responsibility to fix?!

 

They did not create or promote this maligning. Why can't the volunteers take responsibility for their own innappropriate actions and attitudes?

 

You now know the truth. The local professional's job is not the quality of the program, but the continuation of the program through a growth in financial support, units, and membership.

 

So how many scouters will you tell in the next 30 days?

 

How will your evaluation and treatment of local professionals change.

 

If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Bob,

 

You have a point about the responsibilities of volunteers towards the paid execs, but maybe there is more that the execs can do to alleviate this problem. I don't know what that may be, but it is not just a problem with volunteer attitudes. These attitudes had to come from some place.

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It sounds as if you are suggesting that at some point professionals decided to instigate these misconceptions "These attitudes had to come from some place." That would be like accusing Columbus of starting the rumor that the world was flat.

Volunteers who didn't want (and don't want) to accept the responsibility for their program, made this problem and it will take volunteers to solve it.

 

How many volunteers will you personally share the truth with? Change starts one person at a time. Will you be the person now that you know who is responsible for what and why? If you are not part of the solution then you are part of........

 

Think about it!

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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CubsRgr8 I have to agree there. Had our District meeting this week and same thing all Trails End with a little bit of upcoming events at the very end. Tippecanoe District here.

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CubsRgr8 I have to agree there. Had our District meeting this week and same thing all Trails End with a little bit of upcoming events at the very end. Tippecanoe District here.

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