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Goodbye, Owasippe

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When finally presented to the voting members the official ballot contained 8 of the 17 names omitted from the slate approved by the nominations committee. It is hard to work with youth on the Citizenship merit badges and have to explain the current conditions in their own council. "Example is not the best way to influence people it is the only way." I believe that was said by Albert Einstein








(1/27/07) The long awaited Annual Meeting of the Chicago Area Council

took place on January 27th at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza where the

voting members approved four of the five slates presented by the

Nominating Committee. This was the first election held by the Chicago

Area Council since 2004.


Following remarks by Interim Board President Jack Jadel and Scout

Executive Jim Stone, Interim Board Member Glenn Emig presented the

slates for the vote.


Following the collection of ballots, tellers Cal Bellamy, Larry

Strickling, and Dick Jones reported the following results:


Slate For Against Abstain

National Board Representatives 78 1 0

Members at Large 64 16 1

Advisory Board 67 13 1

Board of Directors 64 16 1

Executive Officers 20 60 1


Although four of the five slates were approved by the membership,

Ellen Babbitt, a lawyer employed by National Council chided and

threatened the members with possible actions by National Council if

the final slate was not approved at the next vote.


Following the defeat of a slate, the bylaws provide that the

Nominating Committee has 90 days to revise the defeated slate and

present the revisions to the membership for approval. A change to the

bylaws mandated by National Council during their takeover stipulates

that should the slates be defeated twice by the voting membership,

National has the authority to appoint who they want over the wishes

of the membership.


Prefacing her remarks with the statement that National Council was

committed to local governance within its Councils, Babbitt attempted

to intimidate the voters with a litany of possible repercussions if

the final slate is not approved at the next election.


Should the membership defeat the revised slate, Babbitt said that

there were several recourses National Council may choose to take.

Babbitt said National may revoke the charter of the Chicago Area

Council or merge the Council with adjoining Councils. In either case,

Chicago Area Council would cease to exist as an independent entity.


Babbitts threats did not set well with the membership in attendance.


How fair is any election when voters are coerced? questioned one

Scouter. So much for the Boy Scout Method of Participating

Citizenship. Does National think they can come in here and bully us?

We approved 4 out of the 5 slates. She acts like we voted them all

down. We've shown plenty of good faith here.


Do they think they can gain points with their heavy-handed tactics

and their fair elections which amount to a sham? Approve who we

say or you will be punished exclaimed one Scouter in the

hallway. Explain to me how an election run under those conditions

can possibly reflect a fair outcome. I suppose they believe that

they can come in here and bully everyone and we will just take it? So

what if National takes over. They will inherit a lot of extremely

angry people.


Following the voting session, a majority of the voting members met in

the 15th floor lobby of the Holiday Inn and signed petitions

recommending changes to the defeated slate.


The petitions, which will be presented to the Interim Board and

Nominating Committee stated that if the following four changes are

made, the membership will approve the final slate.


The requested changes are as follows:


1. Nominate Glenn Emig for the position of Executive Vice President

2. Nominate William Egan for the position of Vice President of


3. Nominate Anna Montes for the position of Treasurer

4. Replace Louis Vitullo and the firm of Wildman, Harrold as legal

counsel to the Chicago Area Council.


All they have to do is make these four changes, and the issue is

settled, stated one Scouter as he signed the petition. The members

have offered a solution they will accept. The ball is now in the

court of the Interim Board and the Nominating Committee. The members

approved 4 of the 5 slates, some against their better judgments. If

the Nominating Committee refuses to make these changes, it will just

show who is willing to work together and who is not. If National

steps in with their over-the-top intimidations, the fault will not be

the unwillingness of the membership to compromise.


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The problems we have been have for the past 18 years is a result of the COR's not attending the annual meeting and just accepting what ever comes down the road. "As long as my unit goes on day to day the council will take care of itself." Well the council hasn't been taking care of itself. Council program was almost non existant, our scout camps were under used and never promoted outside the council and bearly inside the council. By the tiime volunteers stepped forward to take up the task National had launched it's bank the cash campaign and we were next in line. When the efforts of front line scouters trying to rebuild program were thwarted a cry wet out to all the COR's to review the Board and those incharge. The cry was too late in comming however, a board unwilling to stand up to those interested in cash instead of program was elected and our camps were put up for sale. This caused unrest umong the units and a division of the volunteer base. We began to fight each other over who should speak for the group and what should be said. Many COR's just wee not interested in the struggle and are choosing to sit back and wait'n'see. You refer to us as the radical left and that is the image Council and National have cast us in, we see ourselves as true Scouters who only want to provide the type of program to the youth that was provided to us. We have seen program, and recognize the absence of program. It is the view of many of front line scouters that the visions of our Council Leadership has become focused on cash instead of program. Why is the williness to stand up to that error in judgement "radical"? Why isn't the divergence from everything we teach in Scouting the radical path? Keep in mind that 11 Scouters reached deep into their own pockets to file suit in court over the breach of feduciary duties against the Council Executive Committee. It was the court ruling which held that the Board was indeed in violation of it's own bylaws and Illinois Statute regarding not for profit organizations which caused National to set in and threaten to dissolve the Council if the suit was not dropped. Radical? Just where are the examples of Scouting Values to be found in the actions of the CAC Board and National representative. The one slate voted down for Executive Board was rejected because too many of those on it were the cause for the law suit in the first place. The fact that the nominations committee enpanneled by National would slate these peolple in these positions shows little concern for the opinions and wishes of the voting members. We are being told that National will decide who will run and if we don't agree then National will appoint them anyway. Is that not radical when viewed agaist what we teach as the democratic form of government?


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As I am sitting here working at the computer I have my music playing. Today I have selected Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. 4way Street came up and 49 bye-byes began to play. I guess that is why so many of us are taking the stand we are in the struggle to return our Council to the path we see as Scouting. We lived through the 60s, most of us as Scouts. Some protested, some of us remembered our oath "On my Honor.." and wet to war inspite of our views. Either way we remember what can happen when politics runs unteathered. The line came along paranoia strikes deep, into your hearts it will creep, it starts when your always afraid, step out of line the man will come and shoot you right down. We are so afraid to stand up and cry foul that our elected officials feel they are entitled to abuse and misuse our trust. Maybe I am a radical, have been since childhood. Never liked Do it because I say so. My parents always gave us a reason, we didnt like the reasons or agree with their relevance but we were told why. Authority is not beyond reproach. If National chooses to revoke Chicago Area Councils charter and divide the dissidents up among the surrounding councils then so be it. Maybe just maybe CORs and MALs in some other council will see this as a wake up call and not allow control of their programs fall into the hands of bean counters and carpet baggers.



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While I am not in CAC, nor have even been there, I also know there are two sides to every story and just wish we could hear the real middle of the road truth.


I see this as 2 Bulls butting heads for the rights to breed the prize heffer. Neither willing to budge or give an inch.



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I learned some time ago that the apologists for the BSA Program and the BSA Professionals have a knee jerk reaction in response to most criticism of the BSA. Patch placements, uniform requirements and the sanctity of Eagle Scout requirements come to mind as serious and deep discussion that is allowed by the BSA apologist. Any discussion beyond that concerning the function of the BSA, according to the apologists, is nothing more than child abuse.


The apologists for the BSA Professionals refuse to accept the fact that it takes the work of the BSA professionals combined with the approval and effort of Volunteer Scouters to deliver the best possible.


Surprise! That word approval is there in the above paragraph. I could go on with example after example of possible policies that could be dictated by the BSA Professionals that would tear the BSA organization apart across the country. I believe the attempt by the BSA Professionals to dictate who will be Officials of the Chicago Area Council could be one of the dictates that will tear the organization apart.


When one of those sides digs their heels in and uses intimidation as their tactic for success there is a problem. A problem delievering the best that is possible for the kids.


Let's recap some of the facts that the so called "radical left" can be readily identified:


1) The Chicago Area Council of the BSA was found to be guilty of not executing it's fiduciary responsibility in the operation of the Chicago Area Council.


A Circuit Court Judges said that and I have no idea if that Judge is of the "radical left". I prefer to believe that the Judge took the facts resented by both side and made a learned judgement.


2) The Chicago Council was taken over by the National Council in June, 2006.


The National Council dismissed all of the Officers and Board members who were members of the Chicago Area Council and installed a hand-picked "Executive Committee" made up of a majority of non-Chicago members.


3)On January 27, 2007 the voters of the Chicago Area Council chartered organizations voted FOR 60 of the 72 people on the ballot. 4 of the 5 slates voted on were APPROVED!


The fact that the complete slates were unknown until the time of the vote on the 27th sounds like a third-world election scheme however, almost 85% of the people nominated were APPROVED by the Chicago electorate in spite of the unkown.


Another third-world feature of the election were the monitors sent to supervise the elction by the National Council. I am not aware of any other local Council election being supervised in such a manner.


[At least the folks from Texas had the sense to keep weapons concealed. -OK, cheap shot but history gives the opportunity to say that-]


4) With approval of 4 of the 5 slates the National Council, in the person of Attorney Ellen Babbitt, ranted on about the rejection of the slate submitted by the National Council.


The further statements of Attorney Babbett was that when the National Council next submits a slate the consequence of rejecting it will be the disbanding of the Chicago Area Council.


5) Before, and again after the 1/27/07 election, the voters of the Chicago Council attempted to communicate with the National Council representatives that 4 of the 12 people on the 5th slate were unacceptable and would cause the rejection of the slate.


6) There is acceptance by the Chicago Council voters of 68 of the 72 people who were nominated. 94% of the people that were nominated were found to be acceptable, 6% were objectionable.


Those 6% of the people nominated stand between total acceptance of what the National Council wants and what the Chicago Council voters will accept.


You can choose to label whichever side you want as "the radical left" or whatever.


The facts are being ignored by those who have blind faith in the utterances and dictates of the National BSA Council. Of course it is always possible in the future for the apologists to say, "We believed what they said because it sounded like the right thing to do".




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I wonder why you chose to use the phrase "middle of the road truth", is it your opinion that if it's not middle of the road it isn't true? Are you asking for both sides of the issue in simple terms? In the many posts concerning CAC over the last three years I think both view points have been expressed. A board of directors duly elected by the COR's and MAL's of CAC hired Jim Stone as our SE. It is hard to believe that the board did not know of Mr. Stones history of selling or attempting to sell the land assets of the councils which had hired him in the past. He gets hired, sells as many camps as the board will allow then moves on to another council. The fact that Mr. Stone has this history is a matter of record and not a personal opinion. It was not until Mr. Stone was announced as our new SE that his track record was made public knowledge in CAC. The CORs and MALs were against this answer to our problems and sought to have members with views that reflected the voting members slated for election. These efforts were resisted by Mr. Stone until the camps could be legally listed for sale and binding contracts could be entered into by the board. Since those contracts have been made there has not been an Executive Board elected by the voting members. Its been something like 4 years now. The nominating committee is stacked to produce slates that will support Mr. Stone and only those slates. When legal action was taken and a court ordered slate was issued National stepped in with threats of disbanding the council if the members tried to force a vote on the court ordered slate. These are matters of record and not opinion. Whether the people slated are good people or not, whether the voting members should accept those people as a sign of Brotherhood does not excuse the actions by the elected board and current SE. The methods employed and the tactics used are inexcusable in a Scouting Council. Does why Mr. Stone wants to sell camps across the nation excuse his conduct? When a court of law finds it necessary to hear a case and make a ruling which goes against the executive board and SE of a council shouldnt it be a sign that maybe things are not right? Isnt the fact that National refused our pleas for mediation and help saying that it was a local matter only to set up and threaten to disband the council if the volunteers tried to have the court order enforced a sign that maybe things are not right? Someone please direct me to that middle of the road. All I can see is those trying to return our council to one in which the voting members actually have a choice and those who are trying to control our council in violation of the bylaws and in opposition to the wishes of those entrusted with the duty to monitor exactly that type of action. As Jschlich posted above we only dug in our heels over 4 specific individuals out of 72 slated for election does that really put us off to the side of the road?

On a side note consider the possibility that the radical right saw that they didnt need to even show up for the vote because if their people are not elected by the voting members those people will be appointed by National anyway. Democratic rule? I think not.



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BSA continually claims it is a "Representative Democracy" - yet the truth is far different whenever its volunteers actually manage to wrest control from the professionals and their hand-picked boards.


CAC has voted DOWN the same old board numerous times. Courts supported the volunteers when the Executive Board refused to run alternate candidates approved by the volunteer membership. Yet instead of following clear corporate bylaws and court orders, BSA National intervened and put up the same old candidates - with the threat of dissolving the Council if the membership did not approve.


Democracy? this all makes a mockery of the term. And it makes clear what BSA is all about now. BSA is now dominated by the paid staff who - instead of SERVING the volunteer base in Scouting - dictate to them with the expectation of full and complete obedience.


BSA is no longer about serving youth - it is about financing an organiztion for the benefit of overcompensated "professionals" who do little to directly support Scouting.


BSA sells off properties and puts funds in "endowment funds" which guarantee that salaries are paid or membership "bought" via "Learning for Life" (a contrived sham of a program that even BSA does not claim is "Scouting"). Without "LFL" the precipitous decline in BSA membership would be even worse than reported.


Meanwhile there are limited spaces at Philmont or any other NATIONAL camps - where demand outstrips supply. Excess funds do not go to expanding SCouting programs but instead go to generous "deferred compensation" programs - making BSA execs some of the best paid non-profit execs in the country (despite decades of declining membership in an organization that continues to contract).


Yet the game is rigged. Dissolve a Council and the assets go not to the original owners or donors, but the BSA National. BSA National sits on hundreds of millions of dollars in liquid assets and more in property - outside of the assets held by local Councils. Why isn't the money spent on youth in Scouting?


It's a fraud.......a plain old corporate fraud where executives hide their failure to perform but still collect big paychecks, doing all they can to silence critics while selling off capital assets while lying about their "accomplishments". They blame their failures on anyone but themselves - even though so many have been caught lying about numbers, finances and more.


I was afraid this was how CAC would end up.... but the game is rigged. DO as BSA says or lose your council and all its assets anyway. BSA could care less about its volunteers or the youth it claims to serve. It's all about the ILLUSION of serving youth while doing as little as possible.


Someone please explain to me how BSA can possibly claim to be a "representative democracy" in light of all this? When BSA blatantly ignores corporate bylaws and the results of clear and undisputed elections to force unwanted "leadership" on its volunteers, BSA is nothing more than a dictatorship. We should all be ashamed.

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  • 2 months later...

Well as you last remember we had our vote and rejected the executive board proposed. The attorney for National read us the riot act and warned of dire repercussions for rejecting it a second time. The dedicated scouter of CAC submitted a list of proposed changes to the list of candidates that would satisfy the concerns of the CORs and MALs. As a result of the suggestions(?) Instead of changing the person slated to occupy the position of Executive Vice President to a candidate acceptable to the "masses" the position was dropped. Once approved the Board can reinstate the position and fill it at their option. The Legal Council for the Council will no longer have a seat on or a vote at the Executive Board. All other suggestions and changes were ignored(?)


For concerned scouters this was a basic decision between do we approve the slate, which we don't want or reject it and allow our SE and National carte blanch. We approved the slate. We will now see what happens over the next few months.


Side notes are that Some people who were vocal or visible in their opposition to the Sale of Owasippe and the actions of the Council Board were told to step down from their positions after the vote was held. One District got a new district chairman and District Commissioner both announced after the vote was counted.


As for Owasippe the Blue Lake Township Board rejected the proposal put forth by the Council and refuses to rezone the 4900 acres for development. The case has moved to "higher courts". The camp will be open for 2007 and rumors say for 2008.


The Owasippe Outdoor Education Center, a not for profit entity has proposed a deal to purchase the 4900 acres and preserve the land as is. The purchase price being set at current zoning levels. The council has rejected this offer and will continue avenues within the legal system to all the council to sell to developers at a much higher price.


On a side note, I'm told that after 95 years of existence someone has finally found the resources or time to advertise the Owasippe Scout Reservation in Scouting magazine. We will see how long that lasts.


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LongHaul, What a sad saga. I feel sorry for your council and the camp. What a money-grubbing shame. I did notice an ad for Owasippe in the latest issue of Scouting magazine. I wondered what had happened, since I've been following this issue from afar (really, just through this thread). At 1,000 miles, Owasippe is a bit far for us to go. Best wishes for a successful summer or two - maybe a couple of good years will save the camp?

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  • 2 months later...

After a funfilled CSDC, and sending the Boy off to summer camp (both church sponsored and Scout),

and after reading about "favorite camps" and "Huh?????"'

I find myself wondering....


...And what is the news from Chicago and Owasippe? Hello?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The news from Chicago and Owasippe such that it is. Owasippe has opened for its 96 th consecutive summer. Per the agreement we have with our council and those who are attempting to purchase the land, because we have opened this year we are guaranteed the option to open next year for our 97th. As far as I know program is running fine though attendance is down somewhat with troops beginning to look elsewhere in anticipation of Owasippe closing. That will not happen if everyone would stand together in the fight but even in our home troops there is apathy. The Chicago Area Council is locked in an ongoing court fight to have the 4800 acres rezoned resort property so CAC can get top dollar for the land. The local Blue Lake Township, where the camp is located, is fighting the proposal but can not match the 17 million dollar war chest CAC has as a result of selling our only other camp. CAC is in a battle to deplete the Blue Lake Township funds to the point that Blue Lake Township will no longer be able to continue the fight. A fund supporting the efforts to prevent the destruction of the 4800 acres and the flora and fauna which now exists has been established. Those sympathetic to our cause can send what they see fit to Blue Lake Township Defense Fund c/o Blue Lake Township Hall, 1491 Owasippe Rd., Twin Lake, MI, 49457



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