Jump to content

This sounds familiar

Recommended Posts

Once upon a time, there was a Boy Scout.

He went camping and hiking with his friends, had a good time. Gained skills and confidence in himself, went places and did things he would not have otherwise. He was not really concerned much about how his Troop fitted inwith the greater Scouting world. He went on in life, sometimes using the stuff he learned in Scouting, using the ideals to help guide his choices.


One day, he woke up to discover he was married and had a son! Son became a Scout, and so the Old Scout became an Adult Leader. He was welcomed and initiated into the Greater World of Scout Politics. Scoutson didn't really care about how his Troop fitted inwith the greater Scouting world, he just liked to camp and hike and go places with his buds. But Old Scout learned that when he had been a Scout, his Troop (now Scoutson's Troop) had been in The County, which was part of The Council.


Now, The County was divided into 3 Districts, and Troop was in District 2. No problem, Old Scout worked for the County Government and was used to the vicissitudes of bureacracy.


Two years later, it was announced that "to better serve the youth " (closer relations, easier communications), our 3 Districts would be re-aligned into 6 districts. Troop is now in District 3 of 6. Volunteers grumble, rearrange themselves, reschedule trainings, assignments, camporees, CSDCs and get on with Scouting. One DE per District, might be a good thing, DE can visit and be around their District more. OK.


Two years later, of the three original DEs, and 6 new Districts, only one DE remains, three have come and gone, three Districts never had a new DE assigned (Regional Directors oversee them, some DEs do double duty). Therefore, "in order to better serve the youth", the six Districts will be rolled into one County District, with one Senior DE, and two Asst. DEs (Membership, Program). Volunteers grumble, shake hands with the old friends across the way, combine schedules, reschedule Camporees to not conflict (hey, more than one Camporee can be a good thing!) and the three seperate CSDC Directors meet each other. And learn the benefits of cooperation. One Chair for each District Committee, less problem with communication.


Well, maybe it would be good if the 3 DEs divided their responsibilities alittle, say, a western sub area and a central sub area and southern sub area. Makes the Camporees fit and the CSDCs fit better, too. And folks know better who they should speak to for assistance. Seems to work.


Two years later, the PTB announce that "in order to etc.", the County District will "probably" be divided along school district line into...6 Scout Districts, and we welcome your comments and suggestions....

I don't THINK it's official, yet. Check with me in September....



)(This message has been edited by SSScout)

Link to post
Share on other sites

This non-sense happened to our districts a couple of years ago.


Bottom line


Who cares????


The idiots at Council are not happy with the numbers, whether financial or head count. So they shuffle the districts to doctor them.


Old scout needs to get over it, stop volunteering at the district level.


Concentrate on delivering the program planned by the Pack, PLC or crew to the best level possible.


I hate adult games and politics.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I agree with Basementdweller. I butted my head against the indifference of the system for a while as well. I was trying to bring a cub scout pack back to life and learned over the course of about 3 years not to count on any help whatsoever. The only hand extended was for FOS or for our popcorn proceeds. So I took the approach that Basement described. Focus your attention on the things that matter most: the boys.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it sounds familiar.


How about this...


A council has 5 districts. Then the SE retires and a new SE comes to town. Within the next few years, membership grows at a phenominal rate (on paper).


With such an influx of new members, the SE decides that council needs to divide into 9 districts. Unfortunately, nobody ever sees the new membership from the new units.


The 9 districts are now too small to function. One district only had 4 traditional troops. Another had 8. There were no longer camporees or klondike derbies in some districts. Troops had to participate in other district events if they wanted a district program.


In the meantime, the SE makes all his criticals. Membership is up, units are up, the council supposedly grew and the guy gets a promotion.


In comes the new SE.


Membership drops by over 6,000. The SE lets a very small group know that there was membership fraud and that he has supposedly fixed the problem. The next annual report comes out and it reflects a loss of membership yet the council claims it had membership growth instead of decline. The wording changed on the annual report. Now there is an end of the year total (which reflected the huge loss of membership) along with another higher count which the council claimed that it reached out to x number of youth for the entire year. (this way they still showed growth).


Who cares?


Well when the council went from 5 to 9 districts, 4 additional DE's had to be hired along with other professional support staff to serve the supposed rise in membership. At the same time, the summer camp staff that year was half the size of the previous year. Areas at camp were not manned and kids lost out on the promised program. When asking the council why such a shortage of camp staff and supplies, the answer given was the council had no more money.


I care that monies are spent to pay additional staff when membership is not really there. I care that parents pay for a program and their kids do not get it while the SE gets promoted for doing such a fine job (at least in national's eyes).


It's nothing but shenanigans and its wrong. And it affects all the units as they do not get the service they deserve (and pay for).(This message has been edited by abel magwitch)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Familiar, indeed. Sounds like my Council. 4 districts became 7, now back to 4. DEs keep playing musical chairs, getting new titles, but duties stay the same, far as I can tell. Had a couple of new DEs come on board, but they don't stay long.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For those of you who think councils should be run on a more business-like basis, this is it -- corporate restructuring.


When an organization doesn't produce the desired results it is "restructured." The real purpose is to scramble the existing organization in such a way as to make the current goals and objectives obsolete. New goals are then adopted with a clean slate. After a period of time it becomes clear that the new goals are not being met and the cycle repeats itself. It's like bumping the chessboard when you realize you're about to be check-mated.


See also "Hawthorne Effect" and "Rearranging deck chairs on the Titantic"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sadly I have seen this happen as both a DE and a volunteer several times in several councils, I call it the professional scouting bait and switch. Membership appears to be greatly increased = more DE's, FD's and new districts to meet the demand,problem is it is soon discovered than this growth was mostly on paper and things change. The SE says it is time to tighten their belts and reduces staff by one or two DE's, eliminates some districts, back to the original, however he has now gained a new FD and /or a DE or two and payroll expenses go up. The SE now tells the volunteers these additions to his staff are necessary to develop "potentially new membership and units" available in the council untapped because the original staff was not large enough to develop them. Three to five years go by and membership remains the same or goes up slightly, now the SE tells volunteers that they need to increase their FOS to help support growth in the council. The only growth seen is in the number of professionals in the council.


BD is correct there really is nothing a volunteer can do as this stuff has been going on for decades, supported by National. A new DE when they go to training at National gets,or used to, a plaque with The Scout Executives Code, one passage reads, "Recognize that my personal example of integrity and action is paramount and must be acceptable to every youth and leader; live and work in accordance with the principles of the scout promise and scout law; build confidence in my leadership with my spirit, my enthusiasm, and sound administration." Somewhere along the way too many professionals have forgotten these words that they recited in a group as a new DE at National.


Oh well life goes on and our full support and energy should always go first and formost to the youth we serve and let the councils get mired down in the messes of their own creation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We don't change districts much. Ours are geographically large and sparsely populated. If we're lucky, each district is assigned its own DE to interface between us and the council, but sometimes a DE is required to cover more than one district. In general, it's more stable than some of the situations I see described here.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hasn't happened here. Our district split once in recent memory, but that's due to a real growth in membership (and population in general).


The council of my youth still has the same one district that they've always had.


Stability in some areas is a good thing - I like SSScout's post and his wry take on the reorganizations. I don't think we need to tell him to get over it or anything - he seems to already be over it. I try to take posts like this and be thankful that my council doesn't have every issue.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Misery does love company, eh? Some years back, I ruptured a disc in my lower back. All of a sudden EVERYBODY I met or knew had a back injury story.

Seems to be the same in Scouting and Council politics?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I should feel lucky that this kind of constant reshuffling does not go on in my council. This council is the product of a merger of two councils about ten years ago, and since that time (as far as I know) there has been one change in districts. At that time (about 6-7 years ago I would say) they merged one district out of existence (by splitting it in half and merging the pieces with different neighboring districts.) That's it. No combining and then splitting up, etc. Where there has been constant change is in the professional staffing of my district, with a number of appointments that seemed to last a year or less before the person was shuffled somewhere else. But maybe that's normal. I have never gotten involved enough in council/district affairs to know why things happen the way they do, and that's not entirely by accident; I have a strong feeling that I don't want to know.

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...