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Professional Staffing Levels

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That's pretty funny. Actually it is, but there hasn't been much room for laughter in this house for a few days.


Going there would be a gamble, indeed, FOG. The only problem is that I don't like to gamble. My boss is urging me to go there because he likes to gamble. I've had casinos in my service area for over 10 years, but haven't stepped into them. I have no moral problem with gambling, but I believe the safest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your pocket.


The bright lights and temperate climate are attractive to me. As is the prospect of staying with the BSA.


That's just me.


The guys playing blackjack certainly should be asked to contribute to FOS and I'm a guy who won't hesitate to ask them.



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Sorry to hear you have lost your position. We in the BSA are facing a crisis of epic proportions. It is not widely talked about outside of professional circles, but there is a huge storm cloud on the horizon.


Over the past 3 to 4 years the Cub Scouting program has been in a steady decline. Revenue to local councils has been falling, from United Ways, Friends of Scouting and Activities (b/c of falling membership). I'm not sure what the answer is, but professional positions are being cut all over the nation, and budgets are being hashed and rehashed. This much is true, if we do not find away to turn this ship around, we aren't going to have the same Scouting movement 10 years from now that we have now.


I would be curious what each of you might think is a resonable solution to this problem.



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There is no ways too reasonable fix the declining membership and dollars. To really fix the issues and not just put Band-Aids on the issues, you will have to cut the cancer out, the patient (the BSA) may not survive.


1st. Training is too subtle. As I read the comments on this and other message boards, and attend council and district events, most leaders believe that the all of the BSA program is flexible, meaning they can run it anyway they want or they do not understand the program and what is expected from them. NO FCFY, No Eagle until 17, Retesting at BOR, selecting POR, Wearing dockers or jeans with a BSA shirt. Training and the Program needs to be a lot less subtle. Need to tell the leaders how the program will be ran and not just hint at it during training. And if a trainer is not following the syllabus stop the class and reschedule it!


2nd. Remove leaders that do not follow the program. I am not buying that a bad program is better than no program. You must be ready to close troops and packs.


3rd. Fire the bad professionals, keep the good ones even if they have 30 years less experience. The same goes for volunteers. If a Unit Commissioner has a troop that is not following the program, they need to be in there bending the CO ears and the CC, the UC need to have the teeth to fix these issues.


4th. Change the requirements for advancements for scout from do the requirement, to master the requirement. We are not doing the boys or the leaders any favors by making it easier. Most boys want to be challenged, not given a requirement. You have left us leaders out in the cold on this one, we need solid and firm requirements, so we do it all the same. The old books stated that the scout should master the requirements, the current book says to do it once and you are done.


5th. Give us better tools to deal with issues, Scouts not doing BOR, Scouts swearing, Scouts not following the program. Dealing with parents. Issue that we face when we are in the woods with 30 scouts and one does not want to be there.


6th. I see that the district I am in are missing 4 key volunteers, not one word about this in the monthly newsletter, asking for someone to fill these rolls. In other words Communicate Better and more. Give unproven or new people a shot at it, but be prepared to remove them quickly if they do not get it.


In other words, if you fix the program the membership will fix itself. I once heard a number that said 40 percent of scout troops do not do any type of high adventures, gee do you think the scouts get bored! Heard the same number saying that 40 percent of the troops do not camp! Their outdoor adventure is a daylong service project. Is this following the BSA program?


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I think you have hit the nail on the head in a way. The specifics you are speaking about, we could hash out all day. Many of them refer to Boy Scouting directly. Cub Scouting however is a much different beast.


First of all, I think we have a serious quality of program issue in Cub Scouting. It can be attributed to a variety of things, training, not using the Program Helps, etc. Also, our Troops (in general) are almost repulsed in, many cases, by the Cub Scout program. The amount of time and attention that are willing to give to support leaders in their feeder Packs is minimal.


We are also facing outside competition from sports and other activities like we have never seen before. This level of competition just hasn't exsisted in the past.


So here is the question I guess: How would you improve the overall quality of the Cub Scout Program. Do we just need to do even more training and support? Do we need to structure the program even more? Or perhaps we need to completely rebuild the program from the ground up.

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I think what you have said would help cub scouting.

Using the program helps. I was as Den leader for 4 years. In my 4th year I decided to try to use the program helps, I thought that the scouts would be bored with them, Boy was I wrong! Made my life allot easier.

Issues as I see it, I did not really know that I was suppose to be preparing the cubs to go into boy scouts. It was one of my goals, but I did not get the feeling that this was my task from Training.

Another issue was that I could not find Boy Scout Troops to visit, I called the council office and asked for names to call for troops in the area, they said go to roundtable, they told me that we where a feeder pack for a certain troop, I informed them that the BSA does not have feeder packs, she hung up on me. I attended just about every roundtable when I was a Cub Scouter. The roundtable was segregated Cubs vs. Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts leaders wanted nothing to do with the Cub Scouts.

I do not think the Cub Scout program needs to be rebuilt. I can not comment on the new tiger program, I know nothing about it. The program I used for Cub Scouting seemed to keep the scouts involved and having fun. 5 out of 6 went on to boy scouts.

The biggest issues I see is leaders not giving a darn about the program. They are just trying to get through the 5 years and get out. Only have 2 den meetings a month. Stopping the program in summer. Not having the scouts do fun things, like building things, going on outings, like visiting the fire station, a farm, etc.

Have you ever seen a Pack in complete uniform? I never have! But I have seen the same boys in complete soccer uniforms. I really think the uniform needs to be mandatory, at least for leaders.

Another poster on this forum has said a couple of times, that when you filled out the application to join you agreed to follow the BSA program. I meant to look at a application last night, to see what the wording really is, if it is on the application it must be to subtle. If it is not on the application, it should be in BIG BOLD letters.

To sum up

The biggest problem is not with Program, Cub or Boy, it is with the leaders.

Saying that we are competing with sports, is just a crutch.

I really do believe in the BSA program, just frustrated with what I am seeing and hearing.

I do not believe that one million boys sort of doing the scouting program is a good thing, I believe it would be better to have 500,000 doing it correctly.





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I've never read this category until a comment elsewhere had me searching for this to find out what was up. I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear it, both for you personally, and for what I think it means for and about Scouting. I wish you and your wife well.


Have you called G.E. in GWRC? When I mentioned to him back in the fall that I speak with you online, he seemed to hold you in high regard (that sounds like a theme). I don't know that there are any positions open, but I'd bet if he knows of one coming up in our Council, he'd jump on the oppurtunity to work with you again (that's my editorial comment, not something I heard directly from him).


Good luck. I do agree with FOG. You might want to consider a civilian job and do your Scouting from our side of the counter. It is entirely possible you might be able to be more effective that way than as a professional.


Good luck!



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I've been involved with Cub Scouts for 9 years. I've been a district trainer for 7 years, and trained at the council level as well. When the new cub scout training syllabus came out a couple of years ago - 3 I think, I was shocked. I've done the best I can to support it, but I still can't believe what was done to it. I feel that the previous course was more cub scout oriented - more program centered. The current course runs like an administrative manual. Even when you add the personal touches - the "pizzazz", the materials lack cub scout spirit. I understand that a panel of volunteers had a heavy hand in putting the new course together. Some how that panel got so concerned with making sure that eveyone knows the administrative part of cub scouting that they forgot to spend the time on the most important part of cub scouting - the program. It's not that I don't think that the adminstrative information is important. But the feedback from Den Leaders of all ranks in our district is that they came to learn to run den meetings and do field trips and crafts. Telling them to go to Pow Wow doesn't cut it. With a lot of Den Leaders you get one training chance - and you have to capitalize on that. I don't fee that the current training does that.

There are things I like about the current training - like the ability to pick up a segment and take it to a pack if needed. However, I think that most of it lacks the soul of cub scouting. I don't understand how that happened. Several trainers across our council raised this issue when it came out and we were all told we just had to make the best of it. That's what I've tried to do, but I sure feel that it's caused a difference in the response from the leaders. It's funny, but in writing this thread I've just realized for me what the difference is that I'm seeing. Leaders are intellectually committed to scouting, rather than emotionally committed. In cub scouts that emotional committment is key to success. Knowing in your heart that the program is good and will benefit your son, and other boys - that's what causes leaders to go the second mile and be great leaders. That's what drives me to do more. It's because ultimately I believe in my heart that participation in this program is or could be one of the greatest opportunities that a boy could have, and so I act accordingly. I strive to provide those experiences.

Anyway, that's what I think! OK - long thread, sorry! But, it would be interesting to see if there's a correlation in the timing frame - the new cub leader training verses the dramatic membership drop. I also belive that the Supreme Court ruling had an impact too. I hate seeing kids used as pawns in adult issues.

(This message has been edited by Gidget)

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Not sure what syllabus you have Gidget, and I will double check mine, but I do not recall fundraising and budgeting in any of the Den Leader courses. Finances are covered in New Leader Essentials, and in the pack and troop committee trainings, but not in the den Leader Cubmaster or Scoutmaster job specific courses.


Those course are almost eniterly program centered. They discuss the characteristics of a good den leader, elements of a successful meeting, planning resources, uniform and advancement.


They do not have craft skills but neither did the previous Cub Basic Training course. That has always been the role of Rountable and Pow Wow. Having done Cub Training for many years I see very little difference in the sourse content other than the use of modern presentation tools and a streamlined agenda.

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"When the new cub scout training syllabus came out a couple of years ago - 3 I think, I was shocked."


I guess no one is ever happy. When I went through Cub Scout Leader Training, about five years ago, I was disappointed that there wasn't more procedures and policies stuff. I came away singing songs and knows how to do magic tricks but still confused about many administrative things.


I do understand that for most people, there is only one shot at training. I don't understand that because most coaches go to seminars, meeetings and other training sessions every year so why can't Scout leaders?

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People in our District thought that I was a little tough and at times heavy handed when I was the District Commissioner and I tried to fix the Commissioner Staff. Me thinks that if Dan was the man on the spot I would have looked like a kitten.

Dan, please don't think that I am picking on you but it seems that you have missed the entire charter concept. The Leaders that you want to replace are not ours to replace, these volunteers were selected by the charter organization. I do think that we need to do a better job of working with and for our chartered partners. However this too is a two way street many are happy to just allow Scouting to happen in the church hall or where ever and not get involved. Still we need to go out of our way to "Get in their face." We need to meet with them and tell them what their unit has done, let them know how many of their Scouts went to summer camp, how many of their Cubscouts advanced in rank. There is one council I think it is Hawk Mountain that has not dropped a unit in many many years because they meet with each and every unit during the year and cover this sort of thing. Those who attend the meeting are the DE, the Unit Commissioner and a another member of the Key3.

We seem to spend a lot of time talking about "Getting The Word Out." Then we don't talk to the people who have ownership of the unit??

One of my pet peeves is that we allow the DE to become the dogs body of the District. It isn't cost effective and hurts the District.

Our DE works from her home office, someone needs something from the Service Center which is 25 miles each way. Off she goes, we pay the mileage and the toll along with her time. Fedex would be far cheaper. During this end of the year Membership drive there has been weekly staff meetings again the 50 mile round trip for something that could be done with a conference call. While I know that I don't sign her pay check I would be far happier if this time was spent meeting with the charter organizations or bringing in a few more workers for the FOS.


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I think I understand the charter concept. I am just not sure if it is working well. I still do not believe that 1,000,000 boys sort of doing scouting is better than 500,000 doing it correctly. But you have changed my question from how do we get the leaders on board, to how do you get the CO and COR on board to make sure that the program is being done correctly. The answer I am hearing here is, We cannot, and BSA will muddle through with what we have. And the muddling is going to get harder if the BSA has to cut down on staffing levels.


But, I will be here, working with the BSA. My post seems to be very negative, which I try not to be, but it seems to be my writing style. I am the guy on the campouts, telling the other leaders about the positives of the BSA and the troop! I do really believe in the BSA.


I am really trying to have constructive criticism.

(This message has been edited by dan)

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The problem, Dan is that most COs and CORs don't want to be involved more than they are. They will sign the charter and provide a meeting place, and, providing your scouts don't trash the place, it's a commensal relationship. Heck, we even have to pay our own charter fee out of troop funds. In my experience, how many CORs attend District Committee meetings? Zero. How many attend the Council annual meeting? Zero. Do they WANT to be voting members of the BSA? Probably not. My sense is that they are ignorant of their role in the BSA organizational structure...and they are content in their ignorance. I'll grant there are exceptions...but few and far between.

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