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Eamonn

Is the partnership coming undone?

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Commando

 

I love it when a volunteer who has never been through the training professional scouters do jumps to their defense. You haven't been there so so don't believe this false illusion you are under. Now I will admit there are a few DE's and a very few SE's who start out concerned about program but then the reality of the profession hits and they realize that if they want to move up they need to focus on money and numbers. Towards the end of the first part of DE training a National scouting professional told our class outright "If you are good at raising a lot of money and starting a few new units each year you will go far in this profession." "You all need to learn to manipulate your volunteers into to doing what will make you look successful not what they think the priorities should be."

 

These were the two gems of wisdom we were told in Texas. We learned a bit about programs and some other things as well but the focus was mainly on money and manipulation. It looks like your own DE was successful in brainwashing you into thinking his way as well. I refused to use these techniques with my volunteers, yet I always achieved my goals while others did not. My bond of trust with my volunteers was so solid it amazed the three SE's I worked for, but four years of Nationals hypocrisy was enough for me. So yes Commando I do blame the policies of National and the quality of their scouting professionals for the mess scouting is in today. I have many more examples to share but I will refrain otherwise my postings will become as long as Eamonn's, just kidding Eamonn.

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Never been through professional training? Me? I've been through it all.

 

I have NEVER heard ANY professional say that you need to learn to minipulate volunteers. I am sorry Baden that you had such a poor professional experience, but I have worked in multiple councils with many, many professionals. We never view our volunteers that way.

 

Sure, sometimes there are volunteers that are just completely a pain to work with. But there are those professionals too. But I absolutely rebuke your statements about how professionals are trained. That is not how they are trained today, and if that is how you were trained, that is really too bad. It was wrong.

 

It is true that the executives that learn how to raise money and recruit members go far in this profession. See the reasons in my last post.

 

If you have no more respect for our program and our system than to say that the Executives that support the program "brainwash" volunteers. Then I have no problem saying you are a volunteer that needs to go. Leave the program. Go someplace else. you view and repeatedly speak of our membership as "numbers". You have no desire to keep the movement financially strong.

 

Why are you here? If you so detest a program that has had Professionals and Volunteers working hand in hand since the very first day of incorporation, then why not go someplace you would be more happy. I think we have a great partnership, where both sides are willing to work together. It's people like you, with attitudes like yours that poison the waters. Sell you snake oil somplace else. Your comments are neither loyal to the movement, helpful to the movement, or friendly, courteous or kind to executives.

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Commando

Not to belabor this anymore, your comments are your own opinion from your own experiences as are mine.Unfortunately for you the latest scandals seem to support my take more than yours on BSA professionals.

 

As to my loyalty to scouting I have started and continue to work with four units as well as serving on the executive board of my council. I love scouting and I want to see it grow and flourish instead of losing support because of unprofessional actions of some scout executives. So I tell you that your comments about my loyalty are not only untrue but absolute LIES! You need to learn to see the reality instead of your fantasy ideology about the BSA. By the way I can supply you the names of the other DE's in my class who would attest to my statements. So if anyone should go Commando I think it should be you, your childish viewpoint and loyalty to National will never allow the internal problems in our organization to ever be corrected. You probably would have been telling everyone on the Titanic not to worry that the ship would not sink as it was going down. Your pompous and arrogant viewpoints still will not change the facts, so grow up already. If you want to continue this debate please send me an im. This forum is not the place for your kind of attacks, and a waste of my time responding to your ravings.

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Baden -

 

I belive I was not the one to go on the attack. That was you. I am simply trying to communicate how volunteers and professionals can work together to serve you. Your reponse is essentially, "They are all crooks with the wrong priorities". I find that childish. I want to work hard with volunteers to serve youth.

 

Baden, I think your prospective on Professional Scouting is outdated and less than intellectual. This may be a contributing factor to your failure to succeed in the professional ranks. I'm sure you are much more happy in the IRS.

 

I can not possibly speak to the unethical actions of some in my profession. I'm sure you could not possibly answer for all of those in the IRS that have abused power over the years. I would not ask you to. I do know that what they have done is not acceptable and has not been tolerated.

 

I wish you good Scouting.

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"These were the two gems of wisdom we were told in Texas. We learned a bit about programs and some other things as well but the focus was mainly on money and manipulation. It looks like your own DE was successful in brainwashing you into thinking his way as well. I refused to use these techniques with my volunteers, yet I always achieved my goals while others did not. My bond of trust with my volunteers was so solid it amazed the three SE's I worked for, but four years of Nationals hypocrisy was enough for me. So yes Commando I do blame the policies of National and the quality of their scouting professionals for the mess scouting is in today."

 

This sentiment fits with what I've heard from too many professionals - professinals who care deeply about Scouting and will talk only far, far "off the record."

 

One stated that the focus is numbers and money. PERIOD. It's a superficial approach but one that professionals live or die by in too many Councils. ANd in too many Councils the professionals will do whatever is needed to meet their "goals." DE's are expected to bring in their own salaries in multiples.

 

Here the ONLY time you see a paid professional is when they show up to ask for money. Even when a unit lost their chartering organization and finally found another home, Council wouldn't participate in a ceremony to honor and thank the new Chartering Organization unless they could do an FOS presentation. EVERYTHING is focused on money and numbers - yet BOTH have tanked under our new SE who has this and this alone as his focus.

 

MOre than HALF our Council budget is salaries and related costs for the professionals. Yet DE spots are left empty most of the year to keep costs down - and so our SE can get his 6 figure salary. Council is running a routine deficit. They've so completely alienated the volunteer base that FOS is down by over 20% for the upcoming year alone. Total Contributions are down by 1/3 in the past 2 years. Popcorn sales do NOT make up for these shortfalls. And popcorn sales are NOT the key to a quality Scouting program.

 

Most professionals ARE dedicate to Scouting but WILL candidly admit that there are far too many problem professionals - and too many of them are too far up in the ranks. But say anything bad about another professional and YOUR career is dead. The few bad apples have set the tone and culture in BSA.

 

Look at the CYA mentality. NO SE has EVER been fired for enrollment fraud. Volunteers get thrown out for questioning finances and numbers.

 

This is from http://boyscoutsfortruth.com/wst_page8.html

 

"Can leopards change their spots? Professional Scouters have shown themselves to be as slippery as eels in the past. Sadly, I have reached the point where I do not trust them as a class. One of my local colleagues suggested that the folks in Atlanta had violated real laws. That real harm had been done to people (careers ended, resources illegally diverted, services not delivered) by their actions and that, if Scouting was serious about reform, a mea culpa and a resignation would not be enough. I suspect, though, that that, and some vague promises about cleaning up the council, were all you got.

 

If some one were held personally responsible, it would send a message to the whole organization that these behaviors are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. As things currently stand, no such message has been transmitted. Instead, rumor has it that our council board has been cautioned to steer clear of the media and to refer all questions about membership to the professional staff. By the end of summer, that same message is likely to have filtered down to all the key volunteers. On the one hand it makes sense to coordinate the flow of organizational information through those who are in a position to have the big picture (though one wishes that board members had the big picture). The cynic, however, sees a determined effort to plug leaks and avoid the rogue board member who goes public with the problems. I suspect that similar guidance is happening all across the country.

 

Rumor has it that Scout Executives are taught that there are two kinds of Board Members. There are those who think for themselves and who can bring creative ideas to the organization (along with a certain amount of chaos) and those who are yes men who will not bring much energy to the process but will not bring much disruption either. Smart Scout Executives populate their boards with the latter. Whether or not they are taught to do this, my experience with Scout Boards is that they are largely filled with people who, by habit and inclination, defer to the professionals.

 

It should also be noted that the professionals have what amounts to veto power over the appointment of all key volunteers. Boat rockers, whistle blowers and agitators, who are all too rare to begin with, can be effectively screened out by denying them any power positions (and therefore, information access) in the organization.

 

The combination of lap dog boards and control of senior and middle volunteer management positions give the pros an immensely powerful position from which to block reform (and protect their own positions). It will take a grass roots rebellion or a determined legal attack at the top to actually reform the system nationally. Small determined groups with strong ethics and strong stomachs can achieve local results but, unless the tide shifts nationally, the system always tries to return to the old status quo."

 

The SAME complaints keep surfacing about the professional ranks in BSA..... it's not everywhere - thank God - but this behavior shouldn't be ANYWHERE in Scouting.

 

BSA will clearly do whatever is necessary to protect their professionals.

 

Here a volunteer had his membership revoked after speaking out against property sales.

 

The SE claimed - repeatedly - the the volunteer was told why he was removed. This was a lie. The volunteer requested that the SE state - in writing - why he was removed - a reasonable request. If there were valid reasons and procedures were followed, there should be no reluctance to do so. Nope.....

 

The volunteer's appear was drawn out in BSA for almost 2 years. Turned down. Well, to file for slander or libel you have to do so within 12 months. That explains alot. Don't say WHY. Delay like mad. No legal recourse. The volunteer took it to court over procedural issues.

 

ONLY in court filings were reasons finally cited. Court filings claim that the SE merely "tried" to inform the volunteer "verbally" - a change from past assertions.

 

The reasons cited for his removal were false - completely and utterly. There were NO valid grounds to remove the volunteer. The SE knew it. He didn't even follow his own handwritten noted. BSA knew it. Their own material showed it.

 

Court filings didn't even try to claim that complaints used to remove him were true. The units he served objected to his removal. But he's out. And BSA's legal arguments amount to mere semantics - that "should" is not "imperative" - does not mean "has to" and such. This is the worst type of legal weaseling - and it works. BSA will do whatever they have to to protect a professional. PERIOD. BSA can do whatever they want. Their procedures are written in a way that should disgust anyone who believes in being "trustworthy" - but the work in court. ANd that is ALL BSA cares about. THAT is why their procedures are top secret. They don't exist to protect boys - they exist to protect BSA.

 

 

If BSA wanted to earn the trust of their volunteers they would hold the professionals to HIGHER standards ethically and morally than they hold volunteers. In too many cases we see nothing resembling the "ethical and moral" decision making BSA claims to promote.

 

Our SE arrogantly told a volunteer that he "loves a good fight" - of course. The fight is and always will be fixed in the professional's favor. Even senior Council volunteers are walking away at this point. Some stay hoping only to outlast the guy but I wouldn't bet on that.

 

Incompetent professionals can and have manipulated Council Boards to give themselves permanent sinecures. They become permanent SE's in a Council when they know there's no spot in Regional, National - or even the "supply division" for them to find shelter. There's even an insider name for it - naming the technique after the first professional that successfully pulled it off.

 

And interestingly, even though BSA's own "investigation" showed that there's "no evidence procedures are not being followed" in membership reporting, nnumbers for last year are down only slightly but the membership dues paid to National are off by a huge amount. Now dues have to be paid monthly, right? SO dues represent a cumulative amount - how many "member-months" were paid.

 

If dues are down for the last three years.... then participation rates - the monthly participation rates reflected in dues - are off. So even if you boost "total served by year end" - by signing up lots of boys that don't stay for long...... you're showing a drastic drop in meaningful participation..... but BSA looks only at the "year-end count."

 

Volunteers see the fraud. We know membership is tanking. And it may look fine if there's a name for every District and Council positions but no work getsdone if they're paper appointments. Some of thos enames haven't been active or seen in years. Our local commissioner doesn't even live in this state most of the year.

 

Council finances are always shown in the cleverest ways. You NEVER see a budgeted vs. ACTUAL. That would point out the regular shortfalls. Instead we show last year's actual vs. this year's budgeted. It LOOKS like we're doing better in that comparison...... but then we'll fail to make this year's budgeted numbers and play the same game - dropping numbers again...... We don't even break out "camping and activities" expenses and revenues separately anymore since someone pointed out that "Camping and activities" not only paid for themselves but were profitable. And the "fundraising expenses" number shown on Council reports sure doesn't jive with what's on 990 filings. We've seen contributions tank even afer doubling the expenses allocated to fundraising.

 

And any professional will tell you that a good part of that "Direct Unit Support" time allocation is fundraising - thought it's not classified as such. Non-profits don't look good when too much of their costs and saff time are spent on fundraising so BSA simply decides not to describe it as such.

 

It's all a game with those a the top being overpaid for failing at their jobs. I know a bunch of Scoutmasters that would gladly trade jobs with our SE. They're already spending a big part of their lives on Scouting for free..... and making alot less in their paying jobs than our SE. HE seems to spend alot of time at dinners - NOT raising much money.

 

Lousy management faking results is too much of a problem in BSA. And someone please explain how Roy Williams is one of the higherst compensated non-profit CEO's in the country when BSA has seen Scouting numbers tank under his leadership.

 

Rant - yeah. You haven't seen how much WORSE summer camp looks after MORE deferred maintenance. But our SE gets his salary - and has Council lending him the downpayment on his house. I wonder how bad they'll let it get before they use that as justification to sell that too.

 

 

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Commando

 

First of all I have not worked in the IRS for over 12 years.

As far as my professional scouting career goes I had the highest quality districts for four years in the entire council and when I decided to leave the regional office and the scout executive both offered me the opportunity to go to any council I desired as a field director, I was the one who decided to move on. Recently my current council offered me a position as a Sr. DE for the largest district and to assist in the training of the younger DE's even though I have been out of the profession for over a decade, if thats failure than I think you need a better dictionary.

 

As to your last point if my view of the profession is outdated how do you account for the number of cases of misconduct have been on a steady rise for the last decade and more. Commando, talk to your buddies at National and ask the turnover rate for DE's, I'll give you a hint, the average time frame is 2-3 years for a new DE. Now for the last time, I have never stated that all scouting professionals are corrupt, the majority try to be honest and truthful in all their dealings, but there are a high number of pro's who will do anything to get ahead, and once you reach the level of a council scout exec., regional or National exec., the BSA protects them instead of terminating them. Recent court cases have verified this fact, is that outdated, I don't think so.

 

I know of this personally with two of the SE's I worked for, one was found guilty of embezzling council funds for personal use, the other of selling council assets for personal gain. In both cases these guys were not terminated but rather assigned to larger councils, and these are the more common cases the volunteers and public never hear about because they never go to court, and are settled under the table by National reps'. Now Commando if you deny this has and is still going on in the professional ranks then you are more naive and guillable than I already think you are.

 

Who knows Commando maybe when its your turn for promotion and your SE asks you to do something you know is unethical in order to secure that promotion it will be real interesting to see what you will do. Now I hope you enjoy your career as a DE and that you are one of the lucky ones who never experience any ethical dilemas, but the odds are not in your favor. When it comes time for you to leave the scouting profession by your own choice, or not I hope your record is a spotless one. Then at least you will be able to say I was one of the good and honest ones, and in spite of your personal attacks on me, I wish you smooth sailing in your scouting career. My time as a scouting professional is still very precious to me, in spite of what you may think, I know what a hard job it is to do. As it says in the scouting professional code we received at training at National, "recognizing that I serve best when losing myself in serving them (the volunteers and youth)".

 

So let us end this here and now and instead use our energy to do just that. Peace.(This message has been edited by BadenP)

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Commandopro,

I've been following your exchange with BadenP. I notice you do not identify your council so I have no idea how you do things in your neck of the woods. I'm from Chicago Area Council and if you want to know how the professionals do things in my neck of the woods start by reading the links at the bottom of this district's web site. http://www.fortdearborn.stalphonsusscouts.org/

I've been in this council since I was a cub scout in the 1950's and yes this is the extreme end of bad right now but I can not remember when the volunteer base has thought of Council in a favorable manner. I've read your posts in this thread and wonder if you realize how they read to others. You wrote "The main job of a District Executive is to recruit, train and support District-level volunteers. THESE VOLUNTEERS IN TURN SECURE FINANCING FOR SCOUTING." By your own words the main job of a DE is to raise money not deliver support to those who deliver program, not provide camping opportunities for their units. You tell BadenP to leave the organization saying and I quote You have no desire to keep the movement financially strong. If its not about money why choose the term financially? I have in all my years NEVER seen a DE run any District level training. I have in all my years NEVER seen a DE recruit District level volunteers. Even when the Executive Board redistricted our council, in an effort many of us lowly volunteers saw as a means to disrupt opposition to the selling of ALL our Council camps, the DE's didn't recruit new District level volunteers. Those that were left sat back and waited for the smoke to settle while the old district committees tried to work out who would be asked to do which job. The ONLY area that did get their attention was FOS. The approach in Chicago is that if the district FOS does not cover the salary of the DE and the DD then the district doesn't get one. If we want any of the service you speak of we have to pay for it. We have to spend our time getting money for their paychecks. All that support you say the units need, both directly and indirectly, well in Chicago that support comes from volunteers. What we get from the professionals is paper work to fill out so they can get credit for our efforts, excuses for why we can't get materials, and demands for more fund raising ideas. We had a Professional in charge of our Camping Department who is quoted as saying "This would be a great organization if we could get rid of the volunteers" and an ASE whose reply to unhappy volunteers was "There are 50 guys out there to take your place, I don't need you."

I'm leaving in a few hours to run some boys up to summer camp who couldn't go today with the rest of their troop so I won't be responding for a few days. In the mean time do a search on my username in Council relations concerning our professional staff here in Chicago. What is happening here and other places in not the norm yet but it will be if everyone goes around thinking things are just grand. Across the country camps are being sold and focus is being put on LFL and traditional scouting is dwindling. In my opinion I think this would be a great organization if we could get rid of those who do it for money rather than a belief in the program.

LongHaul

 

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BadenP,

I'm a little confused about your professional service - you have to excuse this ol' country boy from Georgia. Maybe you can straighten me out.

 

Back on 6/23/04 you said you spent 3 months at National training and 3 years as a DE.

"Your statements on National are based on the limited information you have heard from others, whereas I spent three months training and working there, and another three years as a DE in a council."

 

On 5/11/06 you stated you were a DE and a Field Director for 5+ years.

"I was a DE and Field Director for over five years"

 

Then on 6/23/06 you said you were a DE and a Sr. DE for 4 years.

"I was A DE, and Sr. DE for four years in the late 80's to early 90's."

 

Now you state that when you left, you were offered the position of Field Director in another council. Maybe it's just me, but reading all that, I just get confused. I'm sure there is a real easy explanation you can share with us.

 

Also, back in August, '04, you mentioned your degrees were from Union Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School.

"By the way my degrees are from the Union Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School."

 

Then on 1/26/06 you said they were from Notre Dame and Harvard.

"For the record I have a masters degree in theology from Notre Dame and a doctorate in theology from Harvard."

 

Are Notre Dame and Union Theological Seminary the same thing? I thought Notre Dame Seminary was in New Orleans and UTS was in New York. As you can see, it is easy for this ol' country boy to get confused.

 

16 years as an ordained minister, 6 years at the IRS, 3, 4 or 5 years as a professional Scouter, Masters and Doctorate degrees, you run your own business, Scoutmaster, Advisor for one crew, Asst. Advisor for another - and you are in your 40's - Wow! How did you find time to do it all! I get tired just thinking about all that! Did you leave the BSA to work for the IRS, or vice versa? That is a very interesting career path.

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Brent to clarify for just for you.

1) my theology degrees are from Notre Dame and Harvard divinity schools in that order, and no Notre Dame is not in New Orleans, and I never stated I went to Union Theological.

 

2) I did work with the IRS and the BSA before I attended graduate school and were my motivation for going into ministry. I have been an ordained minister for six not sixteen years as you claim.

 

3)I was a DE and Sr. DE for four years and an acting field director for almost a year before I left the profession. During the later part of this time I spent 3 months at National. Please re read the first paragraph of my last post more carefully.

 

Now I hope this clears up your confusion, if not please feel free to pm me with any questions.(This message has been edited by BadenP)

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I have never walked in the shoes of a professional, so I find it very hard to judge them. I dont know what they are told at training. I dont know what motivates them to do their job. What other posts have stated about this may be true or not; we have two sharp opinions here that point either way. I can only say what my perception is of these professionals and their behavior.

 

I have seen first hand professionals manipulate the selection of volunteers because their replacements were not good at, or refused to participate in FOS. I have attended many District Committee Meetings in which the only thing the DE talked about was FOS and membership numbers. I have seen many many good volunteers leave due to their frustration with Council and the lack of program support.

 

Professionals are paid to do a job. Part of this money comes from the volunteers and the parents in their units. I know they get money from other sources and to do other work such as LFL, but in a sense they work part time for us. Its not so much a partnership, but rather a service contract.

 

When the professionals fail to do their jobs - when they fail to support our program - then we see it fit to not pay them. Its as simple as that.

 

So, instead of seeing what the real problem is, the professionals turn it around and make it our problem. They want us to raise money for them because they are not doing what they are paid to do.

 

Its like going to a restaurant with bad service and waiter tells you to go get the food yourself and, by the way, dont forget my tip!

 

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Longhaul -

 

I truly feel for you and your council. Unfortunately in the Chicago Area Council, I believe you have been dealt a raw deal. I'm not sure if there is any group of volunteers and professionals that could truly make a go of the Chicago Area Council. Over the years, the council has slowly lost the power base of the city to the many suburbs that surround. Those councils have flourished while the intercity council has been left to deal with the variety of social issues and hostile environments that the city of Chicago poses to the Boy Scouts. I wish I had a good answer, unfortuantely the councils in Naperville and Hilland Park are unlikely to want to share their vast resources with the city core. Ultimately, that is bad for Scouting.

 

I do believe as you state, that we would be better off to get rid of those who do it for the money. My experience is that very few do it for the money. The fact is that after receiving your four-year degree from a college, working 60-80 hour weeks for 15-20 years. moving your family 2-6 times, missing children's concerts, etc, you may be skilled enough to move into a Council Scout Executive postion. All of this for the grand sum of $85-100K. Obviously this is a livable salary, but hardly enough to keep the money grubbers around for 15 years.

 

In fact, this may be part of the issue. Some of the most talented professional leave because they don't feel they can provide for their family adequately. They may or may not have the love of program. But they want to maintain a standard of living they cannot working for Scouting.

 

This leaves us with most who are extremely dedicated to the program. However, some are very good Executives and some are less talented. Therefore they end up getting in over their heads. The dedication to program is one of our greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses.

 

Avid SM -

 

I can appreciate your viewpoint. Perception is reality, plain and simple. I would ask you to review my previous posts. Most Executives really want to help you. My experience in recruting, training and mentoring new executives, is that they would really rather not speak to money and membership at District Committee meetings. The trouble is this: there is no one else at the meeting to speak to it. That is our collective fault. Therefore, when the topic comes up (they are two legitimate functions of a district), everyone turns their heads to the D.E. and say "How's FOS going?"

 

My point is this. Money and membership is better lead by volunteers and supported by the executives. That's how program works. Imagine a district where volunteers are actively engaged raising money. How many unit leaders say "We only see him when it's time for FOS". None, why? Because he isn't seen rasing money. Be honest your DE supports training, camping, etc. But he isn't out in front. He/She works in the background, in a support role. So, it turns into a double edged sword. They HAVE to be in front on money, but aren't in front on manpower. Next, how many of these membership scandals happened in districts where volunteers were actively engaged in the membership process. Most likely none. Instead some new executive was put out to field by him/herself with out support from Managment or Volunteers. They made do with what they had. That is a disaster waiting to happen. We all bear that burden.

 

Finally, jkhny states, "NO SE has EVER been fired for enrollment fraud"

 

Untrue - many District Executives, Field Directors, etc have been let go over the past couple of years for Membership Fraud. They haven't been publicized because, it is personel, and you can't talk about this stuff. Just know that it has happened more than you are aware. Sometimes, the person is let go for reasons not completely clear, sometimes the person resigns abuptly. But rest assured, the movement is taking this seriously.

 

As for Scout Executives. I know of no less than four that have lost their jobs for this. Two of which were VERY big fish. Some reports may say people resigned, but again, we all know this stuff is done to protect the organization legally, and move on. We have enough people taking us to court, we don't need a bunch of employment related suits dragging us down as well.

 

 

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BadenP,

I guess I was more confused than I thought. Your post on 8/10/04 stated, and I quote:

"By the way my degrees are from the Union Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School."

 

I guess it was my mistake on the 16 years as an ordained minister. Somehow, I took the information from your post on 1/15/05 - quote:

"After two theology degrees and 15 years as an ordained minister"

and added 1 year to it since we are now in 2006. Well, maybe it was just a typo error on your part. The nice thing is you can always go back and check on previous posts to see where the problem is.

Good day.

 

For the record, our professionals are a blessing to our District and Council. There were at least 4 professionals in my week-long Wood Badge course 2 years ago, with 3 being DE's. One is now the DE for our District.

We had a lot of volunteer help with our FOS campaign - both on the family and corporate side. The DE and DD were there really just to help.

Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, was the guest speaker at our Golden Eagle breakfast. The original goal for our corporate side was $70,000. A few bold volunteers in our District decided we could do better than that, and set our own goal at $100,000. By the end of that breakfast, we had raised just over $115,000 - in one morning, from a group of around 125 businessmen and volunteers! Our Family campaign went just as well, and we heard back in May that we were the #1 District in the country in terms of % of goal met. I think we were up around 140%. This from a District in the Atlanta Area Council, which I'm sure jkh is claiming is going down the toilet.

Hey jkh - put those numbers in your pipe and smoke it!

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As another former professional for the BSA (NEI 7803), it is evident to me that both commandopro and BadenP are knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated to the betterment of Scouting. They may disagree with each other, they may disagree with me; but, folks, lets not snipe at each other!

 

Commamdopro does an excellent job of describing the way that the system is supposed to work. BadenP accurately describes what can happen when the system is abused. Professionals can facilitate the working of the system or undermine it. Volunteers can make the system work or idly sit by without even realizing the abuse that is right under their noses.

 

A council can be destroyed by the abuses described by BadenP; on the other hand, a council on the brink of bankruptcy can vibrantly rebound when volunteers do what they are supposed to do within the system described by commandopro.

 

The position of chartered organization representative is probably the least understood, least utilized, yet one of the most powerful positions in scouting. A single COR, like a single stockholder in a corporation, may not be able to do much but a group of CORs working together can wield a lot of influence. CORs can be educated, one at a time if necessary. They can be encouraged to support each other in approaching board members behind he scenes to address concerns. It is possible to end the abuses described by BadenP through teamwork and persistence.

 

When it is time to hire a new scout executive for the council, board members on the search committee must know what qualities they want in the person in that position. They must seek out a variety of references; not just professional supervisors, not just council volunteers, not just unit volunteers, but former volunteers and a variety of community members. They should make sure that the person being considered has the proper perspective.

 

With the right attitudes and priorities of both professionals and volunteers, the professionals will encourage the volunteers to take more responsibility and to do more work. The volunteers will be more effective. Professionals and volunteers will work together to develop programs and support units in a financially responsible manner. The result will be better programs and more effective unit service. With greater financial responsibility comes more generous community support. With better programs, more youth will want to join. With better unit service, there will be more units for youth to join. High quality, sustainable growth will occur when all factors are kept in balance.

 

Perhaps what I suggest here seems to represent an idealistic attitude but the fact is, it does work. I have seen it work.

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dbraxtonw:

 

Thank you. I think you are correct. I too do not enjoy sniping at others. Unfortunately, a spirited debate will often bring it out of me. You echo my point much more concisely. Essentially what I belive is this:

 

1) Professionals are neither inheritly good or bad.

 

2)Volunteers are neither inheritly good or bad.

 

3)Good professionals working with lackluster volunteers leads to mediocrity and frustration for everyone.

 

4) Good volunteers working with lackluster professionals leads to mediocrity and frustration for everyone.

 

5)Excellent volunteers working with excellent professionals on all district functions together leads to unequaled excellence in program, fundraising, membership and unit service.

 

6) Finally, it is the duty of volunteers and professionals to give their absolute all, every day to create a situation where a high quality, well funded program is being delivered to an increasing number of youth.

 

 

 

 

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Its hard to form and sustain a partnership between professionals and volunteers because they are motivated differently.

 

Volunteers do what they like - if they dont care about something, they dont participate. If they dont think their efforts will pay out, they wont waste their time.

 

A professional cares about shrinking membership because his job is at stake. Less youth means less FOS money coming in from parents. It could lead to eliminations of his position due to downsizing/mergers.

 

I care about shrinking membership and the downward trend nationally, but the overall cause of the scouting movement is out of my control. I cannot change the program to make it more attractive to more youth, or get rid of any negative images it may have. I care more about the youth who are in the program now than the ones who arent joining for whatever reason.

 

Since I am a volunteer, I can choose what to do with my limited time - and membership is one of those things which drops off the list. And, dont take this wrong, but whether my DE get paid or not is just another one of those things - especially when he is not supporting me and my program.

 

Professionals, on the other hand, do the job they are paid to do. They may care about the same things as a volunteer does, but the things which affect their performance evaluation or promotion potential, they do first. Our DE made it very clear that he cares about getting quality district because it is part of his performance criteria. And, I dont blame him for pushing for it because thats his job. But to tell all your volunteers that they have to make FOS their top priority is not right.

 

Commandopro - you stated that that most executives really want to help. I say thats good. But Ive yet to meet a DE with enough scouting program experience who really could. Ive been with my Council for eight years now and I were on our third DE. Seems like as soon as we get one trained, they quit or move on.

 

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