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As a volunteer I have to agree with what your DE was told. Quality District and Council, like Quality Unit, is the minimum expected level of performance for professionals and volunteers.


Keep in mind that the requirements of all these recognitions are "minimum" performance expectations. A Unit that is unable to achieve Quality Unit is in trouble. So is a district or council.


In many instances goals you fail to meet this year will affect other program elements and make it even more difficult for you to offer a quality scouting program next year.


Does not achieving Quality District or Quality Council effect every professional's evaluation? Sure it does. It also affects the evaluation of the District and Council volunteers, just like not achieving Quality Unit should be used by the COR and Committee Chair to evaluate the unit volunteers.


If, in whatever level we serve, we cannot meet the minimum requirements for delivering a scouting program we should be making efforts to either improve or expect to be replaced. That goes for professionals and volunteers alike. If you really expect scouting to flourish at any level then you need people who can make that happen. Good scouting takes more than just good intentions.


Dedication without the ability to deliver a quality program, raise the needed funding, recruit youth and leaders, and inspire more charter organizations, is a recipe for self-extinction.


Bob White

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Two separate, yet related, commments.


I agree 110% that Quality is the minimum standard for which we should strive. However, the problem I'm seeing here is taking what I perceive was originally a volunteer assessment criteria and applying it to professional staffers. Rational job assessment criteria must be objective, measurable and pertinent. I don't see how a district or council earning the Quality designation is pertinent to a professional staffer's job performance. Earning Quality does not measure improvement, it's merely a yes-no test that really doesn't tell you anything.


In my council, the charter year runs Feb - Feb, so signing up 300+ new venturers in December would cost significantly less than $3K. Is that also the case in your council, Eamonn? If so, I could see the professional staffer willing to fork over the cash himself in order to make Quality, and thereby assure himself of getting a decent annual review.

(This message has been edited by CubsRgr8)

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scoutldr says:


Suffice it to say that Eammon's council is not the only one offering free registration as an enticement to grow numbers at the end of the year. Nothing sneaky about it, though...it's advertised on our website. Just the normal recruiting methods...no herding them into the corral and locking the gate.


Maybe I am being naive here, and admittedly I have never been involved above the unit level. But doesn't the phrase "the end of the year" indicate something? If the sole aim is to provide the "program" for as many boys as possible, and if growth in "numbers" is desireable solely because it means more boys are being served, then WHY is a registration at "the end of the year" more valuable (literally, $) than one at some other time of the year? Why waive registration fees for a boy joining Dec. 29 and not one joining Jan. 5? Or for that matter, Sept. 1, which in many places is around when the "program year" starts? The answer seems pretty clear: The numbers are "counted" on Dec. 31. Which is all well and good, but that date has no magic in terms of program delivery or benefiting boys. So if funds that could be used for camps, or camperships or whatever, are instead being used to subsidize registrations, but only when the calendar is on the last page, I don't see how this is being done "for the boys."


And believe me, I understand numerical job performance goals. But when I have encountered them (outside Scouting), there is no effort made to disguise what they are or why they are there.

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CubsRgr8 says:


In my council, the charter year runs Feb - Feb, so signing up 300+ new venturers in December would cost significantly less than $3K. Is that also the case in your council, Eamonn? If so, I could see the professional staffer willing to fork over the cash himself in order to make Quality, and thereby assure himself of getting a decent annual review.


I'm not sure if that makes this all sound better, or worse. Cubs, in Eamonn's scenario, do you really think that in February (using your recharter date, my district's standard date is the end of March) they are going to collect $10 each from all these boys (/girls?) who were herded into the auditorium and anointed Venturers? Or is the council (or the "special fund") going to be tapped again for the recharter fees? Or are the registrations (and charters) just going to be permitted to lapse now that they have served the professional's purpose? (I can pretty much see the smoke coming out of a certain forum member's ears right about now, but it's nothing personal, Dave. This is about someone else, and admittedly some of the facts are unclear.) And if the registrations are allowed to lapse after 2 months, what have the boys gained? Are they really being served, or are they just names on a piece of paper?


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Quality Unit, District or Council IS NOT the goal. The goal is to deliver the scouting program. Quality Unit, District and Council are the landmarks that show we are on the right road.


They are simply a list of elements that mark the minimum activity it requires to sustain the program at varyious levels.


Yes, the journey is more important than the destination. But if you do not have some way of knowing where you are, then all you are doing is wandering around in the wilderness. Quality Unit, District, and Council are the trail markers that keep you on track.

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Bob, what you have described is the theory. I don't think anyone here doubts or questions the theory. What we are talking about is what actually happens in reality. Some people have posted (in this and other threads) evidence that for some people, at some times, the "numbers" DO become the goal. Forget about "cheating" and leave Eammon's example aside for the moment. Scoutldr's example is not about "cheating" and it is about something that is apparently done openly. I also have difficulty believing that if his council's professionals are putting that on their web site, those in some other councils aren't doing something comparable. But again I ask, who does it serve to take funds that could be used for something else, to pay registration fees for boys who join on Dec. 31 and not those who join one day later? You know the answer as well as I do. It is not the boys who are being served by this.


And although it's off-thread, this is somewhat comparable. Bob, I have seen you make the statement many times along the lines that advancement is not the goal, it's the by-product or residue or result (or whatever) of a well-run program. Again, this is the theory. It does not explain why, shortly after my son started the fourth grade, I received a form letter and brochure from council promoting the Boy Scout program and talking about transitioning to a troop (all fine so far) and how if my son joins a troop he'll be able to work toward his Eagle badge. It probably mentioned Eagle three times and the clear message being sent to a parent was that you should have your son continue into a troop so he can earn Eagle. It did talk about the program as well, but advancement was very prominent. I wish I could find that letter so I can quote it precisely. But I can tell you, I as a parent was being told by COUNCIL that advancement was the goal, or at least "a" goal. Since I actually know better, I was kind of surprised by that. But the majority of parents who got that letter were never Boy Scouts nor did they ever have any Boy Scout training, and they did not know any better.


All I am saying is, Bob, maybe some of your "is"s should be "should"s and your "is not"s should be "should not"s. If the reality does not match the theory, it's ok for people to say so. In fact, unless people DO say so, there is no way the reality can ever be pointed back in the direction of the theory.

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At no time did I offer a theory. I presented the purpose and structure of the recognition and the elements leading to it.


Application is the variable and always will be. Since it takes people to make the program work there will always be problems no matter how the program is structured.


Some people do better then others at delivering the program at its various levels. As long as we are people dependent (and we always will be) there will be times when methods and practices are misused or avoided altogether.


The solution is, don't be one of the people who do it wrong.


"Real life" is what you make it. If in your unit or community you or others misuse or ignore the scouting methods and practices, then the failure that follows is your "real life". If however you follow the program and succeed then "real life" for you is that the program works.


So far the only examples presented here are on misuse, so that is that council's "real life". But, to take that example or others councils where the program is not administered well, and then blame the program instead of the local administration, is misguided.


Eamonn is in a tough position because of the time of year. Bad decisions are being made out of panic rather than planning. You don't walk around in the woods for a year and then look at a map to see if you are near your destination.


The professional staff, District and Council committees need to be monitoring the signposts regularly from the start of each year and continually moving toward (and beyond) the minimum performance standards, so at the end of the year they have arrived at the destination, not scampering to find it.


It is a common problem, that in most cases, works itself out as the individuals and committees in the scouting communities learn to do their job better.


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NJ -- I have no smoke coming out of my ears. I would ask, why are you so hasty to blame Eamonn's example on the professionals? Perhaps for the same reason people make lawyer jokes -- we're easy targets.


I have seen a situation where a Council President, with the backing of his officers, has said to the Scout Executive, "You make Quality or else." Not "We" just "You."


All that aside, let me answer the first three of Eamonn's questions as posted:


"1. Why reaching the goal of Quality Council is do or die?

2. Other then the recognition of your peers is there some prize that is unknown by us mortal volunteers? (Yes I know about the plaque.)

3. How a Council with four districts, none of which are a quality disrict can be a quality council?"


I'll take #1 and #2 simlutaneously.


The quality council standards call for growth in membership and units, balancing the budget, 60% quality units, professional staff training, increasing unit commissioner to unit ratio, percentage of quality units, growth in endowment gifts, and operating key threes in each district.


These are not arbitrary areas for councils. Missing in any one area will ultimately hurt the council's youth and hurt the program. It's more than a plaque and/or an atta boy. These are issues that are important to the movement and they are inter-related.


Losing members drops income, drops camp attendance, hurts program, and lessens opportunities for us to be of value to young people.


Running without a balanced budget causes financial troubles that lead to not doing camp repairs, going with staff vacancies, not being able to advertise, etc. Eventually services decline and with them membership and volunteers.


A lack of quality units will lead to a loss in retention and ability to recruit new members.


We're all reasonably intelligent people here and I really don't hear anyone saying that there shouldn't be a quality council/district award. Eamonn's argument is primarily about method and program


I really can't comment on Eamonn's particulars, but I can tell you that if anyone added 300+ kids to their council, regardless of who is paying for it even if it is to save their employment is only buying themselves one year. One year to make up for the 300+ kids who are going to drop unless they get a program. I'd make darned sure they got a program.


Now let me answer Eamonn's #3 question:


"3. How a Council with four districts, none of which are a quality disrict can be a quality council?"


It is possible for this to happen legitimately. Eamonn mentions none of the districts met it's financial goal. However, it is still possible (although not necessarily easy) for the council to balance the budget for the year through investment income, transfers of interest from the endowment fund, staff vacancies, cutting back expenses, etc.


My council is in an unusual situation this year -- we have three districts, all of which made quality and the council will have a balanced budget. However, the council will not make quality this year because of a loss in membership.

How can that happen? Well, for the past five years or so, the local school district has had a grant for after-school programing that resulted in 200 or so Cub Scouts (they did get the Cub Scout program) that were registered with the council, but not in a traditional district. The grant ran out this year and the program is down to about 40 boys. The districts met their membership goals, but not by enough to make up for the last 90 boys the council needs.


By the way -- this becomes something of an ethical thing for me. I would be more marketable in the profession (a highly desireable thing for me at the moment knowing my position here has been eliminated effective March 31) to go out and find some razzle-dazzle way of signing up 90+ kids knowing that they're not going to be around next year and neither will I. I could do it. I could do it for only $900 or less.


I hope you don't have to ask yourself what's stopping me. I hope you know. It isn't the $900.


Back to Eamonn's questions -- #4, #5 & #6 need to be answered locally.


As far as I'm concerned, the answer to Eamonn's #7 is, no, Eamonn, you're not wrong on that point.



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I have just looked at what the man of Steele has posted. Thanks Dave.

Due to having gone and got myself a good dose of the flu or maybe just a cold I will need to take a little time to take it all in.

In the man of Steeles earlier posting he said that I was a little emotional about all of this. At first I did take this as some kind of a "Put Down." However on reflection I saw that he was right. He was right because I agree with all the stuff that Bob White is saying and we are not doing. While I in no way hold myself up as some kind of Scouting guru or sage I have been around for a while and have read a lot of the stuff that is out there. So yes it does burn my tail when those who know better act in a way that they know is wrong. It burns my tail when they label me the "Conscience of the Council." while they opt to carry on doing something that is clear and blatantly wrong.

Bob White is right that the goals in themsleves are not a bad thing. For my part in our district not making membership this year I have to admit to being a litte blase. I had kept track of the numbers and knew that the Cubscout number for Cubscouts needed was high. I thought that we would make it up on school sign up night. What I hadn't looked at was the numbers by unit. When a unit is losing boys by the score it is an up hill task to get that number back. I also have to admit that by waiting till school sign up night that it didn't give us much time to really get out and make a planned recovery. We were at sixes and sevens trying all sorts of things without a real plan.

It could be that I have been a Scoutleader for too long and even when we didn't make it I viewed it as a learning experience, something that we could look back on and make improvements.

More and more I am starting to believe that I am the wrong person for the position that I now hold. I still want Scouting to be about us doing real things for real kids all this other stuff is beyond my comprehension.



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""Real life" is what you make it."


This might be a little off topic but real life is what happens every day not what we make of it. How we deal with real life is the important thing. If we are asked to compromise or values just so someone can get a plaque or hit a number then we are part of the problem. I for one refuse to compromise my values.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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What are the requirements for Quality Unit/District/Council, etc? I assume that there is more to it than simply numbers registered. It would be absurd to assign the term "quality" to a unit based entirely upon one number. Just as a health examination requires more than one numeric value such as height or weight, a quality examination should relate more to program quality. Not to be cynical, but the only thing that has a correlation of 1 with numbers registered is the amount of money brought in.


I don't think that any district should describe a unit as being a "Quality Unit" without being familiar with the program. Is this the case? Please tell me that there is more to "Quality" than more members (real or imagined) than last year..

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