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Perceptions about Scouting Professionals

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I'm confident that none of the 5 things you mentioned were named as responsibilities of the DE. They are assumptions you made and likely did not verify with anyone, am I right?


Here's who is responsible for the 5 items you listed.


1) Make sure the right training is scheduled at the right time (that includes some evenings, for volunteers who work weekends).

Council and District Advancement Chairs


2) Make sure that District activities (Cub events, camporees, etc.) are scheduled BEFORE our annual planning meeting in August and don't tell me to come to the September RT to get info on September's Cub Event. District Committee Chair and District Activities Chair


3) Make sure we have a competent Unit Commissioner. District Commissioner and Asst. District Commissioners


4) Make sure the August (and every) RT focuses on program and doesn't consist of a 60 minute presentation on Trails' End popcorn. District Commissioner and Roundtable Commissioner


5) Make sure the Council has an up-to-date website.

Not a District responsibility, Council Web-site would be the responsibility of the Council President and the Web-site chair


All The items you sited are Volunteer responsibilities. The DE's job in these case is MANPOWER. The DE makes sure the District positions are filled. It 's the volunteer's responsibility to do their own job.

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

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We had our District Kick off several earlier in the month. Our DE spent 10% of the time on popcorn and 90% on organizing and running a roundup. Was he doing this to increase membership? Absolutely!! That is his job. It is my job to provide the program that keeps the boys in Scouting.

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The problem in all this is the DE is responsible for BOTH! Yes, the volunteers are the ones responsible for the program. But, the DE is responsible to ensure the volunteers are established and working.


So, like in the picnic example Bob uses, is it the committees fault or is it the person that appointed the committee? Surely, you cannot merely appoint a picnic committee and then wash your hands of it nor can the committee be held blameless.


On the other hand, without the money you arent going to be able to do anything and without the volunteers all the money in the world isnt going to help. So we ask these professionals to build us great camps, buildings, and provide equipment. Then we tie their livelihood which supports their families to these standards and then complain about them pushing the fundraisers.


So, what do you do? Do you take a DE that never talks about money or one that 'money grubs' you all the time? The problem is not the perception; its the lack of everyone remembering we're all here for the same reason. Let us just kick back and relax, drink some coffee and eat some popcorn (Trails End that is).


Hopefully, we can see both sides of the issue and working together (hey isn't that what we're suppose to be doing) to overcome these to improve our programs.



PS.> Anyone want to buy some popcorn?



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OGE asked:

"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? "


Please note, I am answering this one before reading other responses. So please forgive me if I upset anyone. pj


That is an easy one. Our DE cares about nothing (that I have seen) but meeting or beating a monetary amount and increasing numbers of units and boys. He has never said anything about the program. Any time we hear from him it is about FOS/Sustaining Membership or Popcorn.


Last spring he told me that he wanted me to divide the pack in half (we have about 50 boys, in 8 dens, 15 in the Tiger den). We have 1 2nd year Webelos, 1 1st year webelos, 3 Bear, and expect to have 2 or 3 Wolf dens. His suggestion would not work because of the fluctuating size of the pack every year.


I get very tired of the money council takes from the boys. When he was hired, about 4 years ago, he changed the Popcorn procedures and commission rates. Now council gets 40% of the popcorn sales, and the units only 30%. THis year he changed it again so that the units only get 25%, with the possibility of a 5% bonus if a unit met every one of the added stipulations.


I do not disagree with the stipulations, however it has caused a lot of hard feelings toward the council. I know of NO BODY who likes him and his monetary policies. We do like most of the other people at council.


I better stop before I get really upset.



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After reading all the posts, including mine, I wish to offer the following observations from MY district and council.


The Council Executive is the individual who was hired to raise money (1st) and numbers of units and boys (2nd). He seems to understand very little about our state and especially the rural areas (which is 90+% of the state and council)


Our DE is a very fine woman who is as helpful as anyone I have met. If she has a fault in her job, it is thinking that everyone knows where she has arranged to have our meetings is located! Our district include the entire county of Fremont, the largest (in area) county in the state, and is nearly the size of the state of RI. We have at least 10 cities included in this district. We may have to travel 75 miles to get to a meeting within the district.


Having said that, how is our district run? The August RT is always about 50% popcorn, and making sure everyone has everything, and understands the current procedures. The rest is introductions of the district committee chairs, and calendar events.


Since I am a "gofer" on the district committee, I see how the volunteers do run things. The DE is a "volunteer" leader at the cub level, and also does a number of "volunteer" activities at the district level.


Just some clarification thoughts.



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From an employer matrix on JobWeb.com:



A Professional Scouting Position


Most entry-level positions are that of district executive. The district executive manages the overall growth, extension, quality, program enhancement, and supervision of the Scouting program within a specified geographical area. The Scouter oversees a corps of adult volunteers who in turn support, train, and motivate the adult volunteer leaders delivering the Scouting program. Though most of the work deals with human relations, fund-raising administration and public relations are vital additional duties of the district executive.



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Here is what the BSA says about professional scouter at www.bsa.scouting.org


The professional Scouter in an entry-level position is assigned to a district or service area within a local council. The job responsibilities are broad and varied. Duties include promoting, supervising, and working in the district or service area through volunteers. Different aspects of the professional Scouter's job include:


Sales. The professional Scouter is responsible, through volunteers, for extending Scouting to religious, civic, fraternal, educational, or other community-based organizations.

Service. Major emphasis is placed on service. The professional staff ensures that all Scouting units are served through volunteer commissioners, regular roundtable meetings, training events, and activities.

Finance. The professional Scouter has responsibility for securing adequate financial support for Scouting in the assigned area. Working with volunteers, professionals recruit leadership for the Friends of Scouting and finance campaign efforts to meet the financial needs of the council.

Administration. The professional Scouter administers the Scouting program in the assigned district or service area.

Public Relations. Professional Scouters must recognize the importance of good working relationships with other professionals and with volunteers. Scouting depends on community support and acceptance. Professional leaders must have good communication skills and be able to tell Scouting's story to the public.


(I added the underscores)


I believe the current national figures for the number of units that achieve the Quality Unit Award is less than 60%. keep in mind that this award reflects the MINIMUM activity that a unit should be accomplishing. Yet if you look at that list of requirements, every item is in the complete control of the unit leaders. There is nothing that makes fo a quality unit program that the DE or any other professional has any authority over. The program is in the hands of the volunteers of the unit District and Council.


The fact is if you show me a DE who is loved by all the community but is not increasing the number of units, membership, and finances; I will show you a soon to be unemployed DE. But if the De's numbers are growing, they will be promoted without whether or not they are popular, because they are getting their job done.


Bob White

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My CE has never as far as I can remember ever talked about fundraising. I have been going to round tables for about 5 years now.

In my councel it is all about helping us voluneers give a quailty program to the boys. Encouraging and assisting in any way possible.


If they have harped on anything it is No boys in the back of pickups.






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First, let me apologize for all the underscores. I couldn't get my edit function to work. That was not how I intended my last post to look. I had tried to highlight the several areas thet read "Through volunteers".


James that could very well be the case. really good de's get the job done through volunteers that they help guide. The best leaders are the who when the job is finished the people they lead say "we did it ourselves".


None the less he or she is evaluated by their supervisors on the growth of members, manpower and money. Program quality is in the hands of the volunteers.



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Perhaps in my area training is the bigest problem. I would agree.

I am part of the largest district in the largest council in BSA. We have an expanding population and Almost every boy age 12-14 is a registred scout. Getting money for registration has come up but it came from the OCR not the CE or DE



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I hope no one thinks that I do not want to support council. My troop has been gold card for 2 years (we are 2 1/2 years old as a troop). Our Pack sends almost $1,500 a year to council from FOS donations.


It is the fact that the boys are forced to wait until March to get the commission that they have returned in November. That is 4 months after earning it that they get paid. How many of us would accept that from our employer. Even as a consultant, I was always paid withing one month of completing a project.


I have several adults who are ready to say that their sons will not sell popcorn because of this procedure.


It is time that the council realize they are counter-productive when they hold the money for so much time.



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  • 3 months later...

Our District has recently been "forced" to split into three. Apparently that was a CE decision, and our perception as volunteers it is a thinly disguised attempt at "Empire Building". The decision was made and dumped in the laps of the volunteers, who are struggling mightily to keep things running. Suddenly we need 75 new District volunteer positions...only 30 of which are filled after 6 months. Many of us are registered in 3-4 positions because there is no one else to do it. The OA chapter, once the pride of the Lodge, is also struggling...now we don't even have enough youth to fill all of the offices and committee positions. Several of the "old timers" have thrown up their hands and walked away. Our DE is great, but is clearly struggling to "meet the numbers" as well. This is clearly unfair. I want to put in a good word for DEs, because this one is able to roll his sleeves up and work along side us. I have seen him doing all kinds of things, from giving FOS presentations, to teaching a new Tiger Cub how to hold a bow and arrow. I have even seen him splitting wood at the Council Camp for the firewood sale on a Sunday afternoon. He just announced to us that he will be the Summer Camp Director for 03. Too bad he may soon be history because he has to tell his boss we didn't meet our "numbers", even though they were unrealistic. Notice I said "we". While the DE's job is to support the volunteers in providing the program, the reality is that when it comes time for annual appraisal time, the boss says "show me the numbers." Perhaps the system needs to be changed...what do the DE's "customers" think of the job he is doing? That's what the boss should care about.

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  • 2 months later...

A few thoughts about growth. If we consider this a movement, if we believe that we can change the world, if we believe that every young man would benefit from being a Scout, then why would anyone consider growth anything other than a basic expectation? If the program is of value to a few, imagine how much more value would be gained from having more youth participate.


Yes, growth means more money; but it also means that another mind is at the start of the Scouting trail, ready to be shaped by the dedication of so many great volunteers.


To say that growth is only about money, would be like saying that the conflict in Iraq is only about oil. Money has something to do with it, but it isn't everything.


I see this movement as a partnership between volunteers and professionals. The vast majority of the work is done by volunteers. The administrative details that a professional should deal with should make it easier for volunteers to be successful.



Proud Professional

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