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"Us" versus "Them" Another Schism ?

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Well, look at it this way, at least we all know what the word schism means.


I always knew there was a degree of animosity between Professional Scouters and Volunteers. But is it as bad as it appears in the High Cost of Scouting Executives thread? Is there really that much of a difference betwen "Us" (Volunteer scouters who only have the best interest of the Program and youth in mind) and "Them" the Professional Scouters (Bottom dwelling sludge eaters who only went into professional scouting for the apparently exorbitantly high salaries)


Do you actually feel that way or is it some of it venting due to other issues?

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I have zero contact with the pros, except the district secretary processing Eagle apps and tour permits. I did meet my DE once, nice enough guy but surprisingly young. My entire exposure to adult scouters is the unit level volunteer types. So my opinion is non-existent when it comes to the pros. Perhaps if I volunteered at the District or Council level, my attitude would be different.

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In whatever venue a schism occurs, I always prefer to be on the "us" side rather than the "them" side. "Them" are always the bad guys. ;)


My mom always taught me empathy, to realize that there are two sides to every story and to weigh a case based on it's merits. I try to never be quick to judge and try to put myself in the other guys shoes and see things from his perspective. Boy, this would fit into the old prank thread nicely. My dealings with scout pros has always been favorable, but that is probably because I tend to believe we are all involved in scouting for much the same reason, regardless of whether we are getting paid or not.


Being a scouting pro is like any other job in that most people not doing it have no concept of what is involved in it on a day to day basis. Do they seem to be obsessed with raising funds? Well, yes. When you have units that will not sell popcorn, participate in FOS and get their coworkers to designate United Way donations to a unit over the council, they have to obsess over it. Is it to keep a job? Sure. Is it to keep the council functioning so you can deliver scouting to the youth in the community. You bet. For some reason, the folks who whine about council and theirdesire for money seems to think the council has a large money tree out behind the office. Guess what.....just like your parents told you when you were a kid, there are no money trees.


I appreciate what "them" does so "us" has a council that can continue providing scouting.

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Was it something I said, or did I break wind in public?


It seems like I go into new situations with an open mind and an expectation of meeting open minds. Then, like the Presbyterian Church, (and many other examples) I encounter a mindset that makes me understand that I am one of 'them' (thanks a whole lot, Beav).


My experience with the pros is the same. I asked some questions about how things work and about policy. And then those kind understanding eyes turned fire red. I turned away to the boys, knowing again that I am one of 'them' volunteers and I need to keep my big yap shut if I know what's good for me. So I honor the boys in the unit I serve and flap my yap here. ;)

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Some of the best Scouters I have ever known are professionals and some of the worst are volunteers. (Or is it the other way around? I always get this confused ...) Two sides of the coin. I can tell you one thing though, I'm sure glad I'm not a professional. The closest they get to working with the boys is toting up membership tallies. Not to mention having to wear a suit all the time.

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My problem with professional scouters is that I have spent my whole Scouting life in the Chicago Area. Even as a scout, when my father sat where I sit now in terms of us and them I remember the heated discussions at our dinner table by grown men talking about why the volunteers couldnt do it they way the volunteers wanted to they should do it the way Council wanted even though Council wanted nothing to do with it! This ranged from district programs to repairs to camps we all used.

In recent years I have met several professionals that were indeed worth every penny they received and more. Problem is they are in the minority. Field services in CAC have dropped to almost nothing. I actually dont know why we need our professional staff in most cases. As a group they are incompetent because they are mostly new at their jobs, our turn over in DEs has to be one of the highest in the country. The approach they have is echoed from the words of our former ASE The problem with BSA is the dammed volunteers.

It would be interesting to see a time study on the duties of a DE in my council. How much time is spent on fund raising, professional staff meetings, starting new Cub Packs, and attending District roundtable and committee meetings for the purpose of presenting the party line. Im sure that the time spent in supplying actual field services, recruiting in schools for existing units, getting materials necessary for District committees to do their jobs, and providing program materials and support ( you have to have a Professional Advisor for any district wide or council wide program) would pale. Just how would the program at the unit level be affected if DEs disappeared tomorrow?

As I said in the other thread much of this is endemic to a business where the primary duty of the paid staff is to solicit their salaries from the unpaid volunteers.



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I agree there is a lot of hate against the other guys being thrown around. Its a manifestation of the I, Me, Mine culture. States dont need no damn Feds interfering in their affairs, Joe Citizen doesnt need no damn city or county telling him what he can or cannot do with his private property. Teachers dont need no damn administration peering into their classroom. Units dont need no damn council interfering with rules and procedures, Scoutmasters dont need no damn troop committee interfering, Scouts dont need no damn patrol leader telling them what to do and when to do it.


Nobody seems to care about the common good. Nobody sees the value provided by the other guys. Its always the I, Me, Mine selfishness.

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Come gather round people wherever you roam

And admit that the waters around you have grown

And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone

If your time to you is worth saving

Then you'd better start swimming or

you'll sink like a stone

For the times, they are a changing

Come writers and critics who prophesize with

your pens

And keep your eyes open, the chance won't

come again

And don't speak too soon, the wheel's still in spin

And there's no telling who that it's naming

Oh the loser will be later to win

For the times, they are a changing

Come senators,congressmen, please head the call

Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall

For he that gets hurt will be her that ha stalled

The battle outside ragging

will soon shake your windows

And rattle your hall

FORTH times, they are a changing

Come mothers and fathers all over this land

And don't criticize what you can't understand

Your sons and your daughter are beyond your command

Your old role is rapidly aging

Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand

For the times they are a changing

The line, it is drawn, the curse, it is cast

The slow one will later be fast

And the present now will soon be the past

The order is rapidly fading

The first one now will later be last

For the times, they are a changing.


Bob Dylan - Times They Are A Changing.


I like Dylan!!

I suppose I might have used "Under Pressure" by Queen & David Bowie.

I think most of us will agree with Beav about there not being a money tree.

We all understand the need for cash and understand that any organization that isn't growing is in fact dieing.


I have never really known if the Normal Rockwell illustrations really were a fair commentary on how things used to be?

I live in "Small-town USA".

The values of the people who live there are great. They support things they deem to be good.

I have watched our small town change. The local businesses that not only supported Scouting with financing, but provided people who had a network that they could call on to support moved from the town to the Strip mall, from the Strip mall to the big Mall and were replaced locally by the giant stores like Wal-Mart.

Our Council Executive Boards once full of local people with deep roots in the community have been replaced with mid-level Company Executives, who seem more interested in building a resume than doing anything and if the truth were to be told really don't have the power or the authority to do very much.

More and more we as an organization have had to look for funding from the volunteers and from outside foundations.

Sadly the people who work for us have little or no training in bringing home the sort of money that is required. Council budgets run into very large amounts.

The Scout Executive has worked his way up from being a DE. Many only went into Scouting because they were unable to find any other employment.

We don't seem to know what we want them to do or what we should expect from them.

Many pros have felt the need to lie and cheat in order to meet goals. Often the guys who tell the lies and do the cheating are rewarded by being promoted.

One of my best friends is our Council Program Director. A super nice fellow and a very good friend. I knew him when he was a DE earning less than $15K, hanging around the homes of volunteers at supper time hoping for a free meal.

I don't in anyway begrudge him the $60K that he is paid or the company car. I do dislike the fact that he thinks he works so darn hard and should be paid more.

More and more I can't help thinking that we do have two organizations.

The real Scouting which happens at the unit level and then BSA Inc.

I don't like BSA Inc. I feel at times it seems more worried about looking after and protecting the people who work for it than serving and meeting the needs of the members.

I'd be happy to have a SE that knew squat about Scouting, who was rarely seen, but was brining in huge sums of money to the Council.

I'm OK with guys like my Program Director pal who understands Scouts and volunteers and can help organize events.

Sadly we seem more and more to be served by people who really are not good at anything. They get away with this because the Executive Boards don't know much about Scouting or the community.

I used to be the "FOS Guy". Now more and more I find it sticks in my throat to ask families who have a household income of less than $40K to pay the wages of a guy who is making more than twice that amount and just isn't doing a very good job.

I have as a District Chair. Played the lets make a deal game with District Goals.

I was sad when it seemed that we faced a total lack of understanding. The goals we were forced to accept didn't take into account what was happening in the community. The very community we are supposed to be serving.

Yes the times are changing and maybe the days of Scouting as seen through the eyes of Norman Rockwell will never be real.

But the days of the SE making amounts that are just unrealistic just can't continue.

We need to look at how we hire the top guns.

Find out what we really want them to do?

Hold them accountable.

Get more program type volunteers on our boards and then go out of our way to bring back the image of the real BSA, not BSA Inc. The image which the pros have made full of lies and cheating.

If telling lies and cheating is what is required to be one of them? I'm happy to remain one of us.


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Yah, I think when you have a bunch of people givin' significantly of their time and money because they believe in a program, it's really hard to create a "schism", eh? The default position of every volunteer is that da BSA are the good guys. They're us.


Only an accumulation of negative experiences is really able to shake that view, coupled with a conscientious evaluation of "is this service worth the cost?" which any good person needs to ask before givin' to any "charity."


We find in many areas - not all, but at least a significant minority - that BSA, Inc. has logged the necessary number of negative experiences and lack of service to lose the enthusiastic support of the people who should be it's strongest advocates. That's a tellin' and worryin' sign, eh? Even those in healthy districts and councils should view it with some concern.


Recognizin' and talkin' about an illness in a program you love is a remarkable bit of loyalty, when it's so much easier to walk away. It ain't a schism.


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To tell you the truth, I don't know what service the SE, or DE for that matter, provide. I'm not saying its not valuable, but from the unit level, its either pretty transparent or under appreciated.

My impression is that if the council is financially sound, the camps run smoothly and there are plenty of training opportunities, the SE is doing a good job. But how much of that is the volunteers and how much is the pros? Don't know. I suspect that most of the program stuff is a direct result of volunteers and most of the finance stuff is the pros. You need both. No schism here. Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

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I, Me, Mine George Harrison


All through the day

I me mine, I me mine, I me mine

All through the night

I me mine, I me mine, I me mine

Mow they're frightened of leaving it

Everyone's reading it

comin' on strong all the time


All through the day

I me mine

I me me mine, I me me mine

I me me mine


All I can hear

I me mine, I me mine, I me mine

Even those tears

I me mine, I me mine, I me mine

No one's frightened of playing it

Everyone's saying it

Flowing more freely that wine


All through the day

I me mine

I me me mine, I me me mine

I me me mine



All I can hear

I me mine, I me mine, I me mine

Even those tears

I me mine, I me mine, I me mine

No one's frightened of playing it

Everyone's saying it

Flowing more freely that wine


All through the life

I me mine(This message has been edited by GernBlansten)

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Just got off the phone with our DE. I was asking if I could come to the District Committee meeting in a couple of weeks and propose an idea to have a Webelos-ree in our District.


The reason I called is because at last week's Roundtable the Spring Camporee was discussed. When the District calendar was put out, the Cub Scout folks were told that the Spring Camporee would include the Cubs. Now, we're told that it has been planned as a Shooteree and the Cubs can't come.


This really upset me because our District used to welcome the Webelos to come on one of our Camporees but in that past couple of years there has been no invitation or plans for Webelos. In fact, it has been more that the Boy Scouters have gone out of their way to exclude the Webelos.


In the conversation with our DE, he first said how he admired that our troop was reaching out to the packs in the District, but also said that he didn't think that a District-wide Webelos-ree would work.


Seems that the other troops just aren't interested in doing something like that.


So, here's our DE, getting judged on numbers of boys in our District and he has to deal with:


Number One: Volunteer leaders that will not step up to help plan a District event: Day Camp, pinewoodderby, camporees, etc.

Troops that sit back and wait for feeder-packs to supply them with new Scouts each year

Troops/Packs that do not do Scouting for Food

Troops/Packs that do not do any community service projects

Troops/Packs that do not any recruiting other than that provided by the DE

Troop leaders and Pack leaders that have no interaction

Leaders that are better than everyone else because they've been doing it longer

New leaders that have never been given a feeling of being part of the crowd in a district that is largely the "old guard" - especially true in the Boy Scout level


I do not know about other professional Scouter positions, but I do not AT ALL envy the job of the DE.


And I, for one, think ours is doing a fantastic job for our District.





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Let me review,

sometimes I did too much but

other times I did too little.

Then there were times that

I did the right amount but

in the wrong areas but when others looked,

it generally was the wrong amount

in the right areas,

which for me was always a matter

of perspective.

I usually find that I have done

the right things but

for all of the wrong reasons which can be blamed

on other things like brillance or patriotism.

It is harder for me to find times

when I did the wrong things

for all of the right reasons but then

I might be in denial because that

probably makes me look bad.

So, what I really need is a judge with

a faulty memory.


a Sunday morning lament



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"Just got off the phone with our DE. I was asking if I could come to the District Committee meeting in a couple of weeks and propose an idea to have a Webelos-ree in our District."


The way I understand District operations, the DE should not be deciding the meeting agenda nor deciding what will or won't be accepted as a District activity. The Program chair is in charge of activities, and the District Chairman runs the District with the DE acting as an advisor. At a District Committee meeting, the DE should sit to the side and take notes. He gets a "Professional's Minute" at the end.


Now, I fully realize that this is the "book version"...rarely have I seen it work that way. Volunteers should be running the program...not the Pros.



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