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Eamonn

Who does What.

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In the past I have supported and I still support recognition of non-youth leading adults.

Having said that.

I do at times worry that too many of the people who serve on our (At least this is the case in the Council I serve.) Council Executive Boards, don't know enough about what happens in the field (Our Packs, Troops and Crews)to be able to do a worth while job.

Over the past ten or so years I have seen our Council Executive Board become a haven for hat seems to me, people who are building their resumes. I have seen the number of people on the Board grow, making the Board so big that it is almost unmanageable.

Due to poor attendance monthly meetings became bi-monthly meetings, which did little or nothing to improve attendance.

More and more decisions have been left in the hands of a few people. At this time I can't remember what title they have given the meeting they attend? But it is made up of people who serve as Vice Presidents along with the Council Key 3. This happy little band seems to have all the power. They do of course report what they have done and what decisions they make to the full Executive Board, who because of their lack of any real knowledge do of course seem happy to approve and go along with them.

 

I'm not sure what the reason for having an over-sized Executive Board is? I hate to say it but,there have been times when I have thought that maybe the only reason was that it was an easy way of bringing in a few extra bucks.

The expectation is that all members of the Board will donate at a expected level and the more members the more cash?

 

A few years back our Board had the bright idea of selling a Camp that the Council owns.

I was on the Board at that time and wasn't for the idea. Needles to say I of course thought I was right!! In the end thanks to a few "Real Youth Serving" adults the Board did decide not to sell the camp (Well they did sell it, but it was sold to the Council Endowment? I wasn't on the Board when this was done and have no idea what the thinking behind it is /was?).

I remember sitting at the Board meeting, which was well attended and asking the 50 + people who were there, how many had ever seen or been to the camp that they were thinking about selling? Less than ten Board members had ever been to the camp!!

 

At present we have a Council Vice President for Membership. I do like the Lady, she is a lovely person. She is a local attorney. Sadly she has no idea what the heck she is doing and really doesn't have the time to find out what needs to be done. The Council Membership Committee hasn't met in over 3 years. There is no Membership plan in place. Which makes supporting the plans and goals of the council kinda hard!

Of course when it comes time to give a membership report to the Council Executive Board, she is able to read the report which is provided by the Scout Executive.

Years back the business people who served on local Boards were local business owners. People who owned and operated business in the community, seems to me that as we move toward having more and more multi-national companies, the people who sit on boards like Council Executive Boards lack having any real community roots. They are very nice people who are doing their best to climb the corporate ladder. They know from the get go that they are just passing through and sitting on a board, networking with other ladder climbers at the odd meeting or golf outing is good for where they want to go.

 

I'm saddened when I see the Agendas for our Council Executive Board Meetings, they seem to not be about what we are trying to do or about how we are trying to get them done!

 

I do think that the time has come when we the volunteers start pushing our COR's to stand up and represent us, when it comes to Council Executive Board elections.

Having nice people is all well and good, but having nice people who know what they are doing, would be a lot better.

Eamonn.

 

 

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Eammon,

 

My old council sounded a lot like what you're going through. Many people asked to sit on the Executive Board and never showing up. The write their check during the year and that's the end of their commitment. We had so much of this going on some of the Executive Committee (VP's, DC's, and Key 3) would joke about it openly.

 

We lost our council ultimately. It was a sad day when that happened.

 

Now we're a part of a much bigger and better organization. Our current Executive Board meets bi monthly and the Executive Committee meets monthly. Any Executive Board member may attend any meeting, and they get a good lunch prepared by the SE to boot.

 

Each Summer the Executive Board (50+ folks) are asked to attend the meeting at the council's camps, while they're in operation. What a lot of fun those meetings are. We get to take a guided tour of camp, see kids having a great time, and understand the operations of the place, not to mention what we spent money on the last 12 months, and what we'll be considering in the next 12.

 

Our Executive Board has a great camaraderie and we seem to get a lot done at every meeting. Almost every member is also connected with a unit in a leadership position. I guess it sort of keeps us rooted.

 

 

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Eamonn -

I agree totally. Our relatively small council (about 6,500 boys) has 52 Executive Board members, and in the new Strategic Plan, one of the major goals is to increase the number of Executive Board members from 52 to 67 people. No where in the qualifications does any Scouting experience or knowledge appear.

 

Another Strategic Plan goal is to sell the reamining two camps we own (one was already sold last year). The benefits according to the plan are to eliminating expenses in running the camps, reducing the liability for certain accidents that "may" happen at camp, and give the scouts a chance to attend a variety of camps.

 

I realize moneyis important, but it seems to me we are forgetting why we are here and who we are doing it for, and what our priorities should be.

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You seem to assume or at least suggest that the role and purpose of the executive board is the same as the role and purpose of the volunteer unit leader?

 

Is it your belief that a scout leader must have a scouting background to join? No? Then why must any other position have a scouting background?

 

Does the executive board tell units what they must do in their unit meetings or where they must go for activities? No

Do they plan district or council events for units? No.

 

They have a totally different job to do. So why not let them get whomever they need to get the job done? If you want your unit to have a say on the council level then have you Charter Organization Representative actively participate in the district and council meetings.

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Way back a few years ago I was on the Executive Board as Council Chairman of Venturing. I don't remember much about the meetings other long drawn out discussions about the treasurers report Not that finnaces are important, but how the report should be structured and presented, the totals were superfluous to the discussions. I started in January and was greeted with the FOS Executive Board presentation, I was ok with that.Then in February the council launched a Capital Campaign and of course it was expected that the Board participate 100% and buy a brick and by March I was afraid to show up. I made it to October before I resigned. I couldnt afford to be a Board member.. Every month some other cause had a good reason why the Board should support it and I couldn't stay. If you dont have deep pockets, they really didnt want you.

 

It was this Board I should point out that thinks enough of training that it requires all contact leaders (Cubmasters, Den leaders, Scoutmasters, Asst Scoutmasters, Venturing Crew Advisors and Associate Crew Advisors and Unit Committee Chairs) to be fully trained for their positions or the unit is not rechartered. it may not be telling a unit where to meet or where to go for activities, but it did dictate what parameters must exist for the unit to exist.

 

I would feel better knowing that at least half had been something in scouting

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After 49 years in Scouting I do understand what the Executive Board does. And No, their role is not the same as a volunteer leader. But their decisions do in fact, influence what our unit does, where it goes to camp, etc.

 

For example, I don't believe that the decisions on camping properties should be made by a group that doesn't camp and doesn't know what the inside of a tent looks like. A little training and experience would certainly help them make a more rounded decision.

 

Bob, you espouse training, training, training as the cure all for all positions. Why not for the Executive Board members?

 

Bob, has the BSA and/or local councils EVER made a bad decision, made an error in judgement? You seem to think they are infallible, like God Almighty. They are in fact, human, and can make an occasional mistake.

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In answer to your quseations nowhere did I say that the board members should not know their jobs. But for volunteer unit leaders to suggest that to suggest that to be a board member you should be held to a scouting background when leaders are not, or to suggest that training is more inmportant for the board member than for the leader with direct youth and program contact is irrational.

 

When has a council executive board ever told you where you have to camp?

 

As far as who they will let register..the unit is registered to the council, they can set whatever conditions national will allow. If you do not like their decisions then you ave a voice on the committee called the charter organization representative. Have them do their job.

 

Has the BSA or any council ever made an error? of course, but it is theor program to make the error with. They pay the price for their errors just as the unit pays the price for their own mistakes.

 

Is it your contention that the BSA or your concil purposely makes mistakes in order to harm the scouts, the units or the community?

 

Who you "believe" should make the decisions on camp properties is irrelevant as a past, present, of future unit leader. Making decisions regarding council properties is not your role as a unit volunteer. Nor is it your decision as to who gets to make those decisions. Each charter organization has a specific voice on the council committee, the Charter Organization representative. Unless you know of anything that counters that BSA regulation it remains unchanged for decades.

 

The board has their job to do and unit leaders have their own, and they rarely need to cross paths with each other to do them effectively.

 

As an example...how many members of the national executive board have you met in your lifetime? And yet...the program continues for almost 100 years.

 

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"You seem to assume or at least suggest that the role and purpose of the executive board is the same as the role and purpose of the volunteer unit leader?"

Not sure if that was aimed at me or not?

But please believe me when I say that I do know what roles people do play in Scouting.

I'm not in total agreement with the statement:

"Does the executive board tell units what they must do in their unit meetings or where they must go for activities? No

Do they plan district or council events for units? No."

 

I'm not going to split hairs.

I kinda think we all would agree that the delivery of the program does lie with the unit.

But... (Hey you knew it was coming!!)

Executive Boards do have a say in how the money a Council has is spent.

This can and does in a number of ways effect the programs that a Unit can offer and the quality of the program that a unit can be involved in.

The Council I serve does not make a Training a budget line item. With more and more expensive equipment needed to present the BSA Training's, to say that this has no real outcome? Is not true.

The Vice Presidents in charge of Program, Membership do need to provide leadership and communicate the Plans and goals of the Council, in fact without the Board making plans and providing leadership with open lines of communication. Nothing gets done.

I would say that people who do serve doing specific jobs which do result in things that effect the unit do need some knowledge of what the needs of the units are.

I'm not saying that each and every Board member needs to have an extensive knowledge of Scouting.

Eamonn.

 

 

 

 

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As a Chartered Org Rep, I get one invitation to one Annual Business Meeting, where I get to say "I" with everyone else when the new slate of board members is voted in as a group. I may get to do the same when the minutes from the last Annual meeting are approved, IIRC. To say I have much of a voice with the Executive Board is a bit of a stretch. Luckily, I feel our Council does a great job and I can't recall having any real disagreements with them. There are a few things I would like to see improved, and I know where to take those comments. Being a COR has nothing to do with them listening to me.

 

I certainly don't know everyone on our Executive Board, but those I do know have been pretty active in their units. I don't know that we have many "ladder climbers" like Eamonn mentions. The members I do know are for the most part extremely dedicated Scouters and also happen to be pretty successful in their careers (and have the deep pockets OGE mentions). I am comfortable with them making decisions which they think are in the best interest of the council.

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BrentAllen

When you post:

"I certainly don't know everyone on our Executive Board, but those I do know have been pretty active in their units."

It would seem to me, that maybe the Executive Board in the Council you serve is different than the Board that serves the Council I serve.

I'm in no way against anyone spending their hard earned cash by donating it to Scouting.

My point is that by just recruiting a group of people who well meaning as they might be? Don't know diddly about what Scouting is about and really don't have the resources to do very more than donate at a set level we allow Councils to be run by a very small group (An Executive Committee) which in my opinion is not serving or meeting the needs of the Units.

To my way of thinking the only reason to have a Council is to serve the needs of the Units.

I have served on our Area Committee, the meetings are not the most interesting meetings I have ever attended, but it seemed to me that everyone that sat on that Committee had a real understanding of what Scouting was and is about.

I in no way am trying to say that all Board members have no idea what is happening.

But a Board with 80 or so members, where the majority have had no prior contact or knowledge of Scouting?? Would seem to me to be there for some reason other than serving the needs of the units.

Of course some will take the next step, some will take the training's that are offered.

But a lot will be gone in a few years.

Eamonn.

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I agree Eammon.

 

Most of our Board members do not have a Scouting or unit background. Years ago this was not so, but as time went on, the veteran scouters on the board were replaced by the Deep Pockets crowd. I personally know some former Board members, veteran, dedicated Scouters, who left the board because they could no longer afford the "Dues" they were expected to come up with. That is a sad commentary.

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So these "board members" with little or no scouting experience to motivate them were continually making large personal contributions to help fund the local scout program?

 

Why the very nerve of them! Who do they think they are? :)

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Sometimes I can be obtuse so I will restate. I wanted to be a Board member, I wanted so much to be a part of the Council that made decisions because if insights I could offer because of my time at the Camps, in the Committees giving the training. What turned me off was my scouting expertise was not nearly as important as was my ability to contribute money and that rankles me. The people who can and do give financial support to the Council are important I agree, but that does not make those who have worked in the trenches and cannot afford to financially support the Council in the manner they expect to be valued less.

 

 

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I have to agree with OGE.

 

I don't like the attitude I see from some unit scouters who think that if you are not a unit scouter, you are useless and don't contribute to scouting. There are many people who don't have the time or don't have the ability to be unit scouters, but who can and do contribute.

 

I also don't like the attitude that if you want to be part of some of the higher levels of scouting (council, regional, national), that is more important that you can contribute financially (either out of your own pocket OR you have the connections that can contribute) then that you bring knowledge and expertise to the table.

 

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Bob, stop twisting our words to suit you. No one is saying the big money boys are not important. But they should be intermingled with people who have experience in the actual program - camping, advancement, the boys, the methods and aims you speak of so often. When one of the major goals of a council's strategic plan is to increase the size of the Executive Board from 52 to 67 people I think the priorities are a little skewed.

 

 

 

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