Jump to content

"Us" versus "Them" Another Schism ?

Recommended Posts

Along the same lines as scoutldr has laid out.

We kinda know that most pros are not going to be around for very long. (There are of course some that are around for a very long time!)

When I first became a District Chair. My first thing to try and get under way was building a strong District Committee.

I used the word Team. Some people thought this wasn't right?

Selecting the right people is not easy and at times the wrong person was selected to do the wrong job.

The DE at the time was (and still is) a very nice person, but she didn't know the people in the District. I thought I knew everyone!! But by using a Nominating Committee, people either I didn't know or had missed came to light.

Our DE was a first class administrator. When she first came on board her only knowledge of Scouting was from being the mother of an Eagle Scout. Working as a team we build up a good committee, the really hard thing is finding and starting to train the committee that will replace them.

Paying someone $16 or $17 an hour to organize a District event is not spending our money to it's best use.

As a small Council we can't afford a Finance Director.Maybe $35,000 a year isn't a lot?

One of my goals was that we as a District did raise enough money to pay the salary of our DE.

I'll admit I looked at her as working for me. I wasn't happy when "They" wanted her to do stuff for "Them" She was "Mine".

Last summer some bright spark had the great idea f having the Program Director and two DE's work up at camp. The three of them cost about $22,000.00. The camp served about 1,100.

Of course while they were up at camp things that should have been done, didn't get done! Then the SE moved. He didn't do anything after July 1st.

There wasn't a pro to be found in the Service Center.

The golf outing that the District had worked so hard to make a ongoing success was a disaster. All the information is on the computer in the Council, this is where the invites are sent from. The invites didn't get out and an event that had brought $12,000 in for the Council only made $3,000. The Doctor who started the event and for whom it is named after. Who really has put a lot of time, effort and money into it being a success was embarrassed and upset.

We the volunteers need to know what the real duties and responsibilities of the Pro's are.

How can we really blame someone for not doing their job, when we don't know what their job description is?




Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 30
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Eamonn makes a good point. I feel I kind of know what the DE should be doing because I've interacted a lot with our DE. I know for a fact that our DE - probably like many others - ends up doing things that, ideally, we volunteers are supposed to do because (as a district) we didn't/couldn't/wouldn't do it.


I admit I have very little idea of what the SE is supposed to do! Or how, exactly, being a field director is different from being a DE. We have a district that has a FD and no DE, while other districts in the council have DEs and no FD. So I'd be curious to know what the FD is actually supposed to be responsible for too!

Maybe our professional staff doesn't get the respect they deserve (?) precisely because so few of us understand their jobs and for the most part they don't take the time to explain their jobs to us.


Anyone here care to enlighten me?

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are several threads discussing or relating to this same topic and it is hard to know if those involved in one thread have read things posted in the others. Taking all the threads into account we have heard that the volunteers do the fund raising, the volunteers seek opportunities to start new units, the volunteers do recruitment, they organize and operate District and Council events. Just what are the Professionals supposed to be doing. As Lisabob just said what is the difference duty wise or responsibility wise between a District Director and a District Executive and where does the Field Director fit in? Just what field services are the pros supposed to be providing?

Eamonn spoke about having pros work up at camp. That idea was brought up here in CAC as a method to get the non professional thorns out of our summer camp program.(another thread) The reasoning being that professionals are paid for a 12 month period and during the summer months there is little fields service being rendered. The Salaries have already been paid so camp budget gets a break. Why did it cost Eamonns camp $22,000 for people that were already getting paid? The problem I see isnt finance its experience, just because Im paying a CPA a salary to keep my books doesnt mean I should have that person do my advertising presentations to new clients because the books are caught up.

Echoing Lisabob, could anyone specify the job descriptions for the DE, DD, FD positions. These are the ones we, as District people and unit people, would be interacting with when we did interact with a professional. Be specific about field services and serving the units and co ordinate and advise upon the district program. Ive heard a lot of fancy expressions but am troubled to explain where the money goes to the parents of my scouts. I quit doing District FOS presentations when I couldnt look the people in the eye and tell them their money was well spent.

One forum member wrote that the cost to sponsor a boy was $150. To me this translates into; it costs $150 a year per boy to run the BSA program above the unit level. Just what does this include? Can we itemize this so we can look at getting a decent return on our dollar. Having a great scouting program run by volunteers shouldnt cost $150 a boy.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm a little shocked that so many experienced Scouters on this page don't know what the pro's do, how they work.

The DE position is an entry level job. If the DE is successful, after 2 or 3 years, they will move up to Sr. DE. If successful, they will be promoted to DD. The DD works with the district just like the DE, but also supervises/mentors the DE. The Field Director supervises the DD's and DE's in several (in our area, 5) districts.


As has been mentioned, the pro's are required to be advisors for every district and council event. Here, our DE is at Day Camp every day. Our DD has worked at council summer camps the past 2 summers. Whether it is Webelos Woods, Cub Aquatics, Cub Family Camping, Cub-O-Ree, Camporee - one of them will be there for the entire event. And not just there as a bump on a log. They help with registration, coordinating events, doing whatever is asked.


During the program year, our DE attends all Roundtables and district committee meetings. They provide membership numbers, FOS numbers, anything else we need. They help coordinate meetings, follow up on any phone calls that need to be made. We needed to recruit a Program Director for Day Camp this year. Once our candidate was identified, our DE set up a lunch meeting between myself, the candidate and herself. We left the meeting with a new PD onboard. For our next Roundtable, the DE will make copies of the forms we need. The pro's show up for School Night for Scouting events and help with registration. They provide recruiting materials, including videos or powerpoint/musical presentations that show what Scouting is all about in a very entertaining way. The kids and the parents love them, and they really help with recruiting!

They keep us informed of any upcoming events we need to be aware of. They help with all the details of any district event - securing the location, arranging for equipment needs, ordering patches. I can't even remember all the things they do. I might try to keep track, for one month, of every conversation I have with them, and of everything they do for us. I just got off the phone with our FD, discussing all the steps I need to follow as Camp Director for Cub Family Camping this summer. This is a new position for me, so I've got a lot to learn. He knows all the details, so we made up a list. He just spent 30 minutes with me on a Sunday night, discussing that position, our Day Camp, my son crossing over in a few weeks. These people are extremely dedicated, and love Scouting. If you are serving on your district's staff, and don't have a working relationship with your pro's, I don't know how you function.


As for the $150 sponsor fee, that is about what the council subsidizes on Summer Camp registration fees. They subsidize the fee so more boys can afford to attend camp. What does summer camp cost? $200 - $250? Compare that to Y camp or other camps. We point that fact out at FOS, and ask if the families if they can "sponsor" one boy at camp (pay the subsidy). If they are Boy Scout families, we ask if they can "sponsor" their son and another, for $300.

You may look at your FOS contribution as going to the SE's salary. I look at my $1,000 donation as going to help several boys attend camp, put in new bathrooms and build a new mess hall, replace old canvas tents, pay for gas in the ski boat, pay for camp staff (including Rangers), pay for .22 ammo and shot gun shells, pay for new staff quarters, pay for all the maintenance equipment at camp, and the list goes on and on....

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm fortunate enough to have a great DE (new to our District, but expierenced from the next one over). Since she took over in Dec. or Jan. we're on the tele. at least once a week. She's always at the RT's. I've seen her at the Klondike (with the FD and SE), our feederpack's B&G, a scout round up for our troop at the school, the followup Open House, and to talk with the adult leadership of our towns new Youth Interfaith Council about starting up one large YIC or four smaller church Venture Crews. All this in the last 6-7 weeks. Actually the FD was also at the YIC discussion and the Jan. RT. My wife thinks I'm having an affair with them, lol.

As for summercamp, our Council is lucky enough to be one of the few that doesn't need to subsidize summercamp. We year after year run in the black, due in part to a great camp honors program that draws troops from out of council, out of state, and from overseas. And the council can provide at least 50% camperships on average for the more needy scouts.

Council did hit some financial snags in the last 2 years, but the Pro's have got everything under control and have us moving quickly in the right direction again.

Link to post
Share on other sites


How much does your Council charge for Summer Camp? Does the amount they are charging actually cover the cost? The average Joe Scout wouldn't know our council is subsidizing our camp - they just pay the fee and go (I think it is around $225 - $250). Council doesn't set the price for camp based on the cost of running it. The cost is greater than what is charged, and the council makes up the difference, from its budget. Our Council also offeres camperships, for those who can't afford the fee.

Sounds like y'all have a great council, dedicated pro's and a great summer camp! Glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels that way about their home council!

Link to post
Share on other sites



In Council $210/ out of Council $240. If a down payment is by this Wed. deduct $30, If you are in Outpost ( the other side of the lake, a good 3/4+ mile hike to get to anything in main camp, knock off another $30 because you do your own cooking). "WHAT HAPPENS IN CALUMET, STAYS IN CALUMET." Camp staff liked that one last year at the opening campfire. Camp is usually at capacity except for the last week.

When Council ran into the financial snag during the audit, the one thing they were grateful for and made it known, was that the Summercamp program has always run in the black. They were glad that they didn't have to subsidize the program.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Im still interested in the details of what the pros are supposed to be doing. Mentoring another pro doesnt mean anything to me because mentoring someone that does nothing is not a $60,000 a year challenge. Im trying to find out what my pros are supposed to be doing as opposed to what they are doing. Getting the FOS team the info they need is always done but getting me the list of troops and packs in my district so I can do Webelos Transition has not happened in 7 years. As far as getting locations for district activities, we wish, equipment is borrow what you can and patches must be ordered by us, pre paid and then we get reimbursed after the event. Event registration goes directly to council upfront but costs are reimbursed for the most part. Very large expenditures can be fronted by council if you have all the paper work done right. I just can see why we need a DD and a DE for 90 units, which includes crews, troops and packs, with what they actually do. Right now they are going around and having a meeting with all the COs one on one. What they are talking about is a mystery because the council provides nothing to the CO. With the current state of affairs most of us think it is a campaign to influence a vote on accepting the executive board which takes place on Thursday. If you want to know if someone is doing their job do you ask the person doing the job or the person that is supposed to be befitting? If you want to know if the customer is happy do you ask the salesman or the customer? If they were having one to one meetings with the unit heads to see how CO/Unit relations were before the CO one on ones that would be a different story. The last time we had a campaign like this some newbie went in and read the contract to a lot of COs telling them what they were supposed to be providing the units they charter. We lost 5 Cub Packs and 3 troops with in a 3 square mile area. 2 others changed COs.

As for the $150 off setting Summer Camp costs, they have sold all our camps so we dont have, or soon wont have (we are still fighting the last sale) any in council camps to subsidize. When you say advise and support the district and council events you see this as a plus, my experience is that pro involvement just makes things harder. They want projections for budget and materials and the like but will take registration money the day before an event. How can I possibly plan when I dont know until the program starts how many are coming? You should do this and you should do that followed by Im too busy doing this other to help doesnt fit the bill.

I know that my council is not the poster child for how it is supposed to work, thats why Im looking for specifics so I can speak from knowledge not frustration. We once again have a new DE and like all new DEs he is agreeable and full of promises. Id like some frame work to refer him to when I ask for things like the number of units in my district, their meeting locations and days of the week, possibly a contact name. The resent posts about Total Available Webelos took the wind out of their Its sensitive information, we cant just give out everyones name and contact info. Ive got plenty of stuff to use when we complain, what I want is info to use to help improve our (the district volunteers) quality of service to the program.



Link to post
Share on other sites

OK LongHaul, this is my totally anecdotal sense of some of the things a DE should be doing, based primarily on what I've seen OUR DE do over the last 5 years. Others are welcome to fill in details or contradict based on their superior knowledge (I mean that!) of how things are "supposed" to be.


Our DE attends Roundtables. He doesn't run them (RT commissioners do that) but he does provide information/announcements about what's going on at the pro level in the district. He also fills in for district volunteers who can't get to RT, to deliver their announcements about upcoming programs.


Our DE helps recruit district volunteers. I'm not sure that this is technically in his job description but I know he does it. In some ways, he's in the best position to do this because he comes into contact with a wide swath of people, unlike most of us who are only familiar with our unit or our community.


Our DE advises volunteer-run district committees. I'm on the district membership committee (still...another thread for another day!). When the DE comes to our meetings, he is there to help us understand what the district's goals are as they pertain to membership issues, what the boundaries are in terms of BSA rules, etc., and to help us see how our membership ideas or programs or services either dovetail or (sometimes) conflict with other district activity from other committees. He gives us the larger district & sometimes council picture that those of us on the committee do not have.


Our DE helps various district committee chairs determine a program or set goals for the year. He provides the larger district, council, and BSA context in which to do this.


Our DE attends most council-level meetings as a voice for the district and again, as an advisor to council-level volunteers.


Our DE sometimes acts as a UC ought to, helping units solve their various problems and answering questions for unit leaders - owing, perhaps, to the weakness in our UC program. Sometimes he does so because the problem is beyond the UC's ability to resolve, particularly if things look like the unit might fold.


Our DE often helps do unit-level FOS presentations.


Our DE helps volunteers start new units.


Our DE helps units smooth over relations with their COs when things are not going well. While I am fairly sure he doesn't meet with each CO every year (as apparently he is supposed to do), I know that he is willing to meet with a CO when problems arise.


Our DE makes sure that district services such as leader training are provided by the volunteers.


Our DE fills in the gaps where volunteers didn't do their jobs or where no one would volunteer for some reason to do a task.


Our DE attends practically all district events from district pinewood derby to district cub day camp to district klondike to...you get the idea. He's always there, always willing to lend a hand with anything the volunteers need at the last minute.


Our DE has served on the council Wood Badge staff though not as CD.


Oh. And our DE makes A LOT of phone calls to check up on district volunteers. Sometimes maybe too many...I prefer to sleep more than this guy apparently does.


Now our SE? I honestly have NO IDEA what he does. But if I had any poetic skill what so ever, I'd be penning my "Ode to a Good DE" right now!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Lisabob, understand I mean no disrespect nor do I wish to undermine your relationship with or appreciation of your Professional staff. Id like to look at your list a moment. Our DE never fills in for any volunteer at RT or anywhere else. His help in recruiting volunteers for District positions is to tell the committee it must fill the open positions and giving us names of people that like titles but not work. What you see has helping district committees set goals and develop program has become micro management in my district. My district is the result of combining two former districts. Each of us had an annual fund raising event. One district targeted businesses and the other Scouters, Families and friends. The business were asked to come to a $50 a plate dinner, hear a presentation and write a check. The other was a silent auction where people were asked to come to a dinner priced at the level of the same meal at that restaurant. By that I mean if you came to the place we were having the fund raiser and ordered the same meal you were given by us youd pay the same price as your ticket. We made our money on the silent auction. Who provided the things to be auctioned? Some businesses as advertisement, some were personal donations from attics and basements which were suitable some were services of scout troops or individuals. I remember a troop which offered snow removal and leaf raking for 12 months at the high bidders home. Bottom line is when we merged we were told we could only do 1 of the 2 because thats how Council wanted it, and were brow beaten for years because our collective receipts were 12 to 15 thousand less than our previous combined total. Like you said getting calls at a DEs convenience asking if Im doing my volunteer work or asking me to do more is not what I want in return for a $35,000 salary. I want too but I just cant see justification for these guys in my area.



Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I've seen over the years, if you have a good DE, they are worth their weight in gold. I've also seen several that were mediocre and some that were not very good at all. I mostly see the DE position as a thankless job of selling scouting, I sure wouldn't want it. If they do their job right, they work lots of hours for their money. Lots of evenings and weekends.

Link to post
Share on other sites



The Professional in Scouting


The Boy Scouts of America provides a program for young people that builds desirable qualities of character, trains in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops their personal fitness. Scouting serves more than 4 million young men and women in every part of the country through more than 300 local council service centers. Nearly 4,000 professional Scouters lead, guide, and train more than a million volunteers. Scouting is a volunteer organization. The professional staff has the responsibility for working with volunteer committees and community leaders to recruit, train, guide, and inspire them to become involved in the program of Scouting.




The professional Scouter in an entry-level position is assigned to a district or service area within a local council. The job responsibilities are broad and varied. Duties include promoting, supervising, and working in the district or service area through volunteers. Different aspects of the professional Scouter's job include:


Sales. The professional Scouter is responsible, through volunteers, for extending Scouting to religious, civic, fraternal, educational, or other community-based organizations.


Service. Major emphasis is placed on service. The professional staff ensures that all Scouting units are served through volunteer commissioners, regular roundtable meetings, training events, and activities.


Finance. The professional Scouter has responsibility for securing adequate financial support for Scouting in the assigned area. Working with volunteers, professionals recruit leadership for the Friends of Scouting and finance campaign efforts to meet the financial needs of the council.


Administration. The professional Scouter administers the Scouting program in the assigned district or service area.


Public Relations. Professional Scouters must recognize the importance of good working relationships with other professionals and with volunteers. Scouting depends on community support and acceptance. Professional leaders must have good communication skills and be able to tell Scouting's story to the public.


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, and I am not trying to be smug here, if you have a good District Committee and a group of District Volunteers that know the program and can get the job done you don't need to pay $70,000+ for a DE & DD. So no FOS as long as you do good Popcorn Sale to run the Council, wait with out DEs and DDs.... AH! an endless circle.


Link to post
Share on other sites

"So, and I am not trying to be smug here, if you have a good District Committee and a group of District Volunteers that know the program and can get the job done you don't need to pay $70,000+ for a DE & DD. So no FOS as long as you do good Popcorn Sale to run the Council, wait with out DEs and DDs.... AH! an endless circle."


You're probably on the right track with this sentiment more than you know. Early in my tenure my Field Director told me if I truly did my job well that if/when I left for another position the scouting program would continue to grow and prosper without a professional even being there. Volunteer committees would organize everything. New units, membership drives, the district popcorn sale, camps, FOS campaigns, everything. My district has never come close to operating like this so I must not be doing a very good job.


During my first training in Dallas one of my instructors told a story about a local diner where a lot of his Unit Commissioners would go have breakfast. He said he would usually swing by and start mentioning different things he had to do that day. Inevitably, each UC would start volunteering to take care of some of those things and, before he knew it, his schedule was clear. Talked about sometimes being on the golf course by noon. I'm sure he exaggerated quite a bit to make an impression on us naive newcomers to the profession, but he wanted us to know how important having a solid volunteer structure was.


If you don't see the value of a professional my first guess would be that your district is probably in pretty good shape volunteer wise. I think my volunteers see the value of my position because I'm heavily involved in almost everything. I distribute and pickup charter packets, I do virtually all the recruiting for my units, I'm at most of the roundups helping sign up kids and recruit parents, I'm heavily involved in the planning of both my district's day camps (although I get a lot of help in this area), I distribute all of the popcorn packets and set the schedule for pickup times when the popcorn comes in, I attend most Roundtables (don't run them) and make announcements about pertinent district and council information, I'm the person they call when they have a question or problem, I set up leader trainings and often conduct them myself. About the only things I'm not heavily involved with are planning camporees or my district's Eagle Board. Even with all of that I know some units still don't see a pro's value. I know I have a few volunteers who think my job should pretty much consist of knocking on doors and getting more leadership for the units in my district or even filling in when a unit has a vacancy in leadership. I also have some who think my job should be to raise money in the community to give directly to units. Eh, maybe in a perfect world it would work like that, but this isn't a perfect world.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...