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National Evaluation of Local Compliance

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Beavah said, in an advancement related thread: "Compliance with program materials is really not part of the BSA business model, and no resources are allocated to it."


In the context of the thread, the only compliance fora I know about are the appeal procedures to Eagle Scout (and I assume the Venturing Silver award, since both of those are national in scope). While I can see a District appeal of a Star or Life rank, I can't see it wandering all the way to National.


In the broader context, are there not some program compliance requirements National levies on the Councils:


- The first one coming to my mind is the Camp Inspection program, where the Regional Offices send out teams to ensure our Reservations comply with National Camp Standards.


- The second is a membership audit, when the integrity of the movement comes into question. Two summers ago, there seemed to be some questions about the membership numbers in the Atlanta Area Council. Mr Williams had just promoted Jim Terry from SE for the Heart of America Council to the home office in Irving. Mr Terry was sent from National to Atlanta a 90 day "get things turned around" assignment and get the youth and adult enrollment straight. He's long since returned to Irving and is the Assistant Chief :)


Are there other forms of compliance which Forum members know about?


YIS, John

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NCS inspections of camps are really a liability check, not a program check. NCS checks that the program director is 21 and has NCS training, but doesn't care at all about the kind of program he runs. NCS checks that the lake water isn't harmful, not that the scouts out canoeing are having fun and learning paddling skills.


Beavah's point was that many folks view the BSA as a centralized organization rather than a provider of resources. But providers of resources, such like textbook publishers, still hold their employees accountable, exactly as is the situation with NCS inspections and membership audits.

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In terms of compliance with program materials, the only other one I'm aware of is when uniformed adults or youth inappropriately "represent" the BSA in something like a political or commercial endeavor. Those are da real Uniform Police, eh? ;)


National does review and approve proposed changes to local council corporate bylaws, and tends to be pretty finicky about 'em.


As mentioned, they will occasionally "intervene" in other local council governance issues like membership fraud, non-discrimination policies, or the Chicago mess. A bit awkward that, since the councils are separately incorporated. So it's pretty rare, and they usually have to be "invited."


The biggest (and really only) lever they have in compliance at the council level is that they have indirect control of the professional service, in terms of training, hiring, and promotion. That generally leads to pretty standard (and unimaginative) council operations everywhere.




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  • 1 month later...



I beg to differ with your assessment of the National Camp Visitation program. Certainly there is a focus on issues that can get a camp or council into trouble (liability issues). However, it is much more than that. As team members tour a camp they are expected to evaluate program, staff, and campers.


How's the food? Where's your buddy? What are you doing there son? How was your swim test? Each Visitation Specialist has his/her own questions, but questions like these questions, along with some very watchful observation are also a part of the camp inspection program.


In the critique that follows the walk thru, visitation specialists (camp inspectors) discus their findings relative not only to the National Camp Standards, but also relative to programmatic and operational issues that were noticed during the inspection.


So, in fact the Visitation Team actually doesn't check that the lake water is safe, they check that the camp has had the water quality tested, and that it is certified OK for swimming by the local authorities. As for canoeing, certainly we would observe the scouts in the canoes, and the canoes and paddles themselves. Are there adequate numbers, are the paddles splintered, are the boys getting instruction or does the class look like a free-for-all?


Good camp inspectors uphold the standards, but also act as a friend to the camp. They are another set of experienced eyes that sometimes see opportunities in areas where the camp staff has long since become complacent.





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