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OldGreyEagle

Perceptions about Scouting Professionals

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Amen to the cheap prizes. This year we had a bunch of boys order the Scout walking stave. It's a rake handle -- a plain ol' round, unfinished, yellow pine stick. They're $1.99 at a hardware store. Very disappointing. Same with the football. Looks like a real football in the picture, but is really only a 4-inch ball. You can usually get the new kids to sell (usually with a lot of parental participation), but the older kids, who ought to be your best salesmen, won't participate if they think the prizes are a rip-off.

 

This year my son's just got Scout Bucks, which I think is a great way to go. I don't know why the council doesn't emphasize that. Give them the gift certificates and a copy of the Scout Stuff catalog and tell them to go for it. We spent two hours last Saturday milling around the Scout Shop buying craft kits, canteens and all sorts of fun stuff I wouldn't have otherwise bought for the boys. The other advantage of Scout Bucks is that it makes it easy for the boys to use popcorn sales to pay for uniforms and other stuff they need. Depending on how the council is set up, I suppose Scout Bucks could also pay for summer camp and other activities.

 

The other thing about Scout Bucks (and maybe this is why the council doesn't push it)is that it is hard to devalue the Scout Bucks. One Scout Buck equals one American dollar. They can't slide-in cheap rake handles or footballs.

 

Something else to watch with Trails End is the product. This year the $30 three-way tins contained a lower cost mix of popcorn and our popcorn chairman (who is also the district popcorn chairman) didn't like the new sampler pack for some reason. I don't remember all the math, but I'm sure she knows what she's talking about.

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I love the Scout Bucks. In actuality, if the Council is using the trails end prize package, the cost of the bucks is better for the council than the cost of the prize. You don't have to worry about a prize being back ordered or discontinued.

 

One we pay for up front (the prize) the other we pay for when you decide to cash in (the bucks). Most people wait till camp to cash in, so you have the money in the bank till the bucks are paid out. A win for everyone.

 

RMV

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There is another company that handles popcorn prizes. I saw their stuff before I came to this council, and it looked pretty good. The company is called Keller Marketing, but I don't have their contact information anymore.

 

Last fall we gave our units the option of taking prizes or keeping 3% more commission. Several troops took the extra money and let the boys put it in their accounts.

 

This fall we're keeping that option. We're also going to give 50% commission for every dollar sold over fall 2002. First time selling units will receive the normal commission, plus keep 50% commission on dollars sold over the council's unit average.

 

We're also going to look into other prize companies.

 

DS

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Back to the original question (even though it's been months)...

 

The perception of the DE as "professional Scouter" is going to be colored by the perception of all the other paid staff at the Council:

--our original "webmaster" was paid staff and blamed BSA National for all the errors on the council website- including incorrect dates for Council events! (Since being taken over by a volunteer most of the problems are gone.)

--Camping coordinator oblivious to camps being supported with Council equipment. Also could not name any of the equipment he was directly responsible for distributing to the Districts.

--annual poll by President of diminishing "cross section" (no SM have been polled in past two years) would convert Council camp into cafeteria and bunkhouse setup

--telephones at Council actually answered by cashier in attached Scout Shop

--common response to questions of paid staff is-literally-"It's not my job."

--the Program, Membership, and Annual 'Kick-Off(S)' all devolved into, you guessed it, Popcorn sales pithces! The only suggestion any paid staff person could come up with for recruiting Scouts was 'visit schools' and 'sell popcorn.'

 

My DE's qualifications seem to be irrelevant when even he can't get a straight answer to a simple question from Council. Our Districts and their volunteers run pretty much disconnected from Council since Council seems to not have a job to do.

 

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