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A little advice here....

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I am a fresh college grad and I am currently applying for a job as a DE for a council in an area of the state that I am not currently familiar with. From reading the forum, it seems like this is a bad idea. To be honest, from reading the forum, it seems like being a DE overall is a bad idea. haha, Anyways, I was wondering about how much a DE will typically make? I'm not looking to get rich, but I don want to be able to support my family. Also, is it a bad idea to become a DE fresh out of college? I have always been in scouts, and look forward to getting back into it, but I don't want to make a bad desicion by doing so as a DE. Any advice is good advice. Thanks!

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First off. Good luck in your choice.


Scouting is one of the best family programs out there. I would say its the best, but others may argue that there are other sports, academic, recreation programs that meet their families needs.


For some DE's, professional Scouting may be the only profession they will ever enjoy, they may be a DE or professional Scouter, from college until retirement age. Others may linger around Scouting for a few months, but may decide the match of their skill and the occupational requirements just don't equate.


I have heard that professional Scouting is a job, and takes the fun out of it. I have known a few Scouting parents, who entered Scouting as a second career after their sons departed. Maybe one of every three DE's that I've met. Out of those, a couple of DE that I've known resigned from the profession and continue Scouting as a volunteer. Essentially stating the BSA program is a great program, but the job just wasn't for them.


I've heard that entry level salary for a DE is reasonable, but I don't know if that's true, so I won't speculate on the salary range of an entry level DE. It should be enough to sustain a small family, husband, wife and one child; but if you are going to have a stampede of little feet running thru the house, you will have to promote thru the Scouting profession or eventually leave for a more competitive and higher paying employment.


You second question was; is it a bad idea to become a DE fresh out of college? My answer, No. Its not a bad idea. Your knowledge of BSA programs and recreation may be sharp. Though, I doubt any Cub Scouting parent would go to you for parenting advice.


I would state that probably two-thirds of the DEs I have met, started fresh out of college. Most have found that Scouting is the job they enjoy and the employer that they like to work for. Not all stay, but the majority do stick around for a few years before moving on in their life.


So yes, Id recommend giving it a try, seeing if you enjoy the profession. See if you can add to a good year round program and summer time program.


And even looking at professional Scouting as an optimist, The glass is half full ; if you choose to leave, I would not call it a bad decision, but an opportunity to move onto another career more suitable to your abilities.


Again.. Good luck in your choice.


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv


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As a former pro who started almost immediately after college, the pay is decent, but be prepared to work long hours. Also the KSAs you will gain will help you in otehr careers.


Depending upon the council and district you enter, it can be very good or very bad. Districts that have an functional committee are a blessing, but if you don't have one, can be a challenge. Also look for membership stats, and if possible visit with district committee members prior to becomign employed. If they don't want you looking at the membership or talking to vols, that's a bad sign.


Also talk to your friends in you local council about the professional leadership in your council. If they hint at anything negative, i.e. "Oh XYZ council," or 'watch your back " DON"T GO! Pros, esp. at the higher levels, do have reps that follow them.


Finally, google yourself, i.e. every possible configuration of your name, and see what is out there on you. It took my council 11 mos to find a DE for my district. SOme of the good candidates had interesting myspace and facebook pages that hurt them.

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I know that I'm not qualified to be of much use to you.

Having said that, I have worked very closely with some DE's and a couple of them are today very dear and close friends.


One problem I see of becoming a DE straight from college is that working for the BSA as a DE really doesn't prepare you for anything else.

The turn-over seems to me to be high and many of the guys I know who worked as DE's end up selling insurance.

You don't post what you have a degree in? I think if I were you I'd want to try and make that work for me for a while before signing on with the BSA.

I do of course understand in today's job market that might not be possible.

Some volunteers like the idea that the DE has worked in the real world?? It maybe in some ways makes them feel that the DE has a better understanding of what a working Joe faces everyday.

The guy we have now, was going to be a priest, but that didn't work out. Before working for the BSA he worked as a professional fund raiser for a local theater. The skills and contacts he made there have been useful to him.

The transition from being a youth member or a volunteer to becoming a professional can be a real eye-opener and some people find it very hard.

We had one young fellow who just didn't get it. He wanted to be involved in the delivery of the program to the youth and not do the boring administrative stuff, he ended up not doing a good job in either.

The last time I looked a DE was starting out at about $35k.

Which in the area where I live is good. Teachers in our area start at about $26k. Of course how good $35k is depends on where you work, here in rural PA. Where housing is cheap is a lot different than Washington DC.

The friends I have who have worked for the BSA for a while, have worked for several SE's. While the volunteers in a District can help make life easier for a DE, a SE or sometimes FD can make life unbearable.

Good Luck.


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I have never been a pro but I have watched a number of them come and go in our district. Some have lasted a while and been promoted to bigger and better things and others left in a couple of months because the job or the pay were not what they expected.


I think whether the pay is ok or not depends in part where you live. Here in the DC are the cost of living is high and a DE's salary doesn't seem to go far. The hours are long which may bother you if you value sleep and/or a social life outside of scouting.


Some of the people you will deal with will be difficult. Read this forum for a while and you will see that scouters often have strong, passionately held opinions. Many have been doing this for decades longer than you have been drawing breath. At times you may find yourself between a rock and a hard place with the directions from your employer (the council) on one side and the opinions and attitudes of the volunteers on the other. Or those volunteers may feud with each other (again look at this forum for examples) and you may be drawn into the fray. Some will threaten you with dire consequences like withholding their FOS contributions if you don't take their side. This is not for the faint hearted or a person who is easily angered. You will have to be clear headed, cool and collected (and really diplomatic) to navigate through these rocky shoals.


You will be expected to be a living example of the scout oath and law even if those around you aren't. You will spend a lot of time talking to clergy. As Eagle 92 suggested, look at your Facebook page and see if you are going to fit it. I don't mean this from the standpoint of sanitizing your pages but rather asking yourself are you the kind of person who will be able to live the scout lifestyle day in and out.


Don't expect the job to be scouting as you knew it as a scout. I think others will agree that it is nothing like being a patrol leader, SPL or even a Scoutmaster. Look long and hard at what the job is and try to keep your expectations realistic.


Whatever you do, be conservative in your finances. Your first salary may seem huge compared to the part time jobs that you had in HS and college. Budget really well. Rent, car payment and insurance can eat up a paycheck in a heartbeat. Wade rather than jump into financial commitments. Don't think you know how much you are making until you have seen your first paycheck; taxes, health insurance, and retirement seriously reduce your check.


I am not trying to scare you away from being a DE. It may be the perfect job for you. Look at yourself, look at the job and be realistic. The fact that you asked the question shows you are thinking this through and that is a good sign. Remember that entry level jobs are rarely ideal so even if you choose something else you will probably find it a struggle at first. That which does not kill you makes you stronger.


This could be the start of a great career in a great program.


Good luck and best wishes whatever you decide.



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Yah, zdlamkin8195, often far more than your degree, your first job or two determine your direction in life. Make sure this is a direction you want to go.


Being a scouting professional as it's currently set up is a job in sales / solicitation (fundraising)... asking people for money. Plus administration. Plus evenings gently herding cats (scouter volunteers) to try to support a bit of program here and there. It does not include service to youth in any direct way, or outdoors stuff.


In some councils, the position can be a hopeless one. Your evaluations will depend on things over which you have very little influence or control, at least in your initial years - demographic growth, goodwill of local people and volunteers, the local economy. Do not take a job in an area where those are not all positive, because it will be very frustrating and often a career dead-end.


The job of your boss, the SE, is set up in a way that is fraught with conflicts of interest and can be similarly impossible. As they say, manure runs downhill, so with a mediocre or bad SE your life can really be hell. Take other DEs or staff out to lunch and talk privately about what their job and life is really like. Any hint of negative means you're probably facing a work environment that will be pretty highly dysfunctional.


In a lot of ways, getting a background in the real world of business or NFP management before coming to the BSA would be a blessing for the BSA (which often doesn't live in da real world!), but being a DE is an entry-level job and we don't recruit folks with outside experience.


In short:


1) Make sure you want a job in sales/volunteer relations/administration.

2) Recognize the job description is set up for failure unless you enter into a healthy district (good volunteers, strong committee, good SE, robust local economy, strong local goodwill toward scouting).

3) Know that there's a fair chance you'll be faced with hard business ethics choices. Be prepared to do the right thing, even though it may compromise your employment. Your background as a youth member may help in this, as you've met and worked with the young folks we do this for.


The BSA can be a rewarding career for someone with a lot of talent who wants to stay in the NFP service world. But there are definitely more landmines than usual.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Except for Eagle92 the rest of the advice here is from outsiders looking in, some good some unrealistic. As a former DE for almost five years I can tell you firsthand that it is both a rewarding and at the same time one of the most frustrating careers you will ever have. It boils down to the quality of the SE and FD in your council, some are great while others are not worth spit. My advice to you is to ask a lot of questions like why did the last DE leave, what shape is the district in that you will be working, and the economic condition of the council itself, this will save you a lot of headaches later.


Be aware when you head off to training, PDL, you might be discouraged by the way they push numbers and money as your ONLY priorities and really downplay getting too involved with volunteers and district activities. Another unsavory aspect of the position is that National expects to move you every 3-5 years to a new council. You work a lot of hours, easily over 80 a week, and have very few weekends off. For a family guy this will put a lot of strain on your marriage and family. All that being said there are parts of the job you will love and will miss when you move on. If you have a very patient wife who doesn't mind you being away many nights and weekends, getting cornered in restaraunts, stores, etc., by volunteers asking your advice with their problems then by all means give it a try. It is indeed one of the most unique experiences you will ever have in your career. Good Luck.

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As a former professional, I would agree with the advice given here. Beavah's analysis is pretty much spot on, IMHO. Eagle92's suggestion about checking out the SE and other pros you'll be working for is a good one, but the situation can change without warning. I was hired by a council with a fantastic Director of Field Service and by the time I was on the job, he moved on, to be replaced by an incompetent. That can happen in any job, of course.

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Yep KAHUNA is right about SEs and DFSs moving about, generally every 3-5 years. However if you got a good boss, and do your job well, sometimes they arrange it for you to follow them. And yes in order to move up in the organization, you will also have to move every 3-5 years. SO you may end up being hired by a good boss, and then having to work for a horrible one. OR you may quit under a bad one, only to learn 2 months later you are getting a new SE, who has a good rep.


Another thing to consider is the stress on family. While the BSA is the greatest family program for volunteers, there is alot of stress placed on the family. One coworker was on wife #3, two others had their wives leave them. Also several coworkers quit b/c of the stres on family life. Heck my wife, who dated me while I was a DE and knew what came with the territory, threatened to leave me b/c of the long hours, and we were married less than 3 months!


The council I worked for went through 9 DEs, a FD and a FiD in a 19 month period.


Not trying to scare you, but giving you the facts. I had challenges, but I also had friends from PDL-1 and my original council that I volunteered in who had it made. It is basically luck of the draw. I blame part of the high turnover to the SE and DFS. The other part of is the long hours.


Good luck with what you decide. If you do pursue a career, the volunteers you work with will wonderful, despite some of the challenges they present. I loved working with the vols.


Another bit of advice if you go in is TIME MANAGEMENT!!!!!!!!! Use a day planner and the backdater they give you in PDL-1. Secret I learned is if you plan far enough in advance, work with and empower your volunteers to execute the plan, then you will succeed. If something at the last minute gets thrown your way while doing something else you will be able to acomplish both. Like a council CS family campout being assigned to you with only 4 weeks to prep while you are in the middle of your FOS campaign. FOS vols knew the plan, were empowered to do it, and executed the plan, so I could focus 95% of my attention on the family campout. As a result FOS met goals a month and a half early, and fam camp was so good, we doubled attendence the following year as word of mouth promoted the event.



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"I have always been in scouts, and look forward to getting back into it."


I love Scouting, too. My advice is: if you enjoy Scouting, become a volunteer; if you like fundraising for a non-profit, become a professional. (Of course, if you're hurting for a job, any port in a storm.)



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PM me if you have questions. While i doubt anyone will ever see my old SE again, he works for a region now, my Old DFS did get promoted to SE, and is now a FD. Too close for my comfort in his current location.


PM me if you want more

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On this note, I just got an email from a field director that our DE has left the profession. He is a nice, seemingly competent young man who had been in about 3-4 years. That's about how long they seem to last these days.

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I learned last night that our district is without a DE again. His wife got an offer in another city and I guess her salary trumped his so he moved with her and here we go again. Think we maybe had this guy a year.


Found out because a new volunteer's application had disappeared into the ozone. He's a recent Eagle from our troop and I have been bugging him to take YP as soon as he has a member number. Seems his application is sitting in the vacant DE's mailbox awaiting signature.


Reminds me of a Viet Nam war movie. Don't ask the new DE his name or where he's from... he may not last very long.



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Don't wait for the paperwork - for YP it can be taken online without a number and it counts. Just make sure that they print off the certificate AND use the name exactly as they have put it on the official paperwork so it matches in the antiquated computer systems BSA uses.

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