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Fraud in Membership numbers

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Well it has come to my attention that our old councils SE had probably some very fraudulent membership numbers. When he left we lost 13,000 scouts......funny in looking at the districts web pages I don't see a mass exodus from the membership numbers listed.


Could they have fudged the learning for life numbers???????


Heck I don't know.



so how does one find out the real numbers.

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What nobody cares?????????



Yes this is real and needs to be dealt with......



Ya I appreciate the email stating it isn't a big deal and If I am the only one who thinks it is a problem then it isn't a problem.



A scout is trust worthy, Scouters are not, especially paid ones.

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I hate to hear it.


Not that I don't care, rather just don't have know enough to comment. Did you read this in the newspaper or did someone slip you an envelope in a parking garage? What is the council's explainaton? Or are they dealing with it at all?

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I know I PM'd ya, and hopefully you didn't think I had the attitude that it is not a big deal because it is a big deal, a VERY BIG deal. I quit being a DE over the pressure to continue falsifying membership by my superiors. But a few years back, after major membership scandals in TX, AL, and GA, BSA came up with a membership verification process. Don't remember the details of the process, but there is now one in place, and I hope that it is working.


Now will some folks sign up at Round Up, pay their fee, and either show up at a meeting once and drop, or never show up to a meeting, getting their "recruiting prize" and being happy. Yes, and I had that happen to me with my den. So some folks being on the membership rolls b/c the fee is paid and they drop is going to happen.


But I know first hand that there is pressure to meet membership goals, and some upper management council folks go ape in regards to membership. I've heard stories of folks going to cemeteries and getting names and DOBs. I've heard stories of folks using the phone books. I know with some of my units that were ghosts, the units were real units that over time folded, and they kept getting rechartered. I have heard of COs not realizign that they are still chartered with the BSA.



As I said, a few years back, a verification process was created to keep this from happening. I want to say about 2007 or so. Unfortunately you can thank Ronnie Holmes and his AL mess, among others, for that.


On a positive note, to keep members and grow, all you need is program and leaders to organize it.


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It happens and has been happening for decades. Back around "91 I was named SM for a troop that was carried on the books but which hadn't been active for several years. Lo and behold though it had youth "members" for whom in every instance their mailing address was 'General Delivery.' It was a small town but not THAT small.


We did build the troop up for a couple of years but the actions of an adult affiliated with the troop (using the troop treasury to enhance their lifestyle a bit vis' a vis postage and mileage reimbursements that the DE purportedly said were reasonable, allowable and customary for a Unit Commissioner) caused me to walk away and form another troop later.


The DE knew exactly what was going on and eventually got his promotion and transfer to a council in the Chicago area, which was all he was after, numbers that would justify his promotion.



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I've read about this stuff for a long time, as has already been mentioned. The way I get past it is to remember that BSA is not really Scouting. It is a corporation with a large administrative structure. Moreover, it is a monopoly. What the heck do any of us really expect to happen with a business like that? It's fraud. It's deceit. It's lies for personal gain. It's contemptible. But why are we surprised?

OK, that's the reality check.


The way I get past this is to remember that true Scouting is what happens with the boys in the structure and program of a unit. And this is facilitated by a real, supportive community of people who actually live together and know each other. I focus on that level and like my coffee cups says, I try not to let the turkeys get me down.

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Sorry Basement, but from all you have said about your district/council, are you really surprised by this?? Wasn't it last year you won quality award, when you didn't even fill out the form.


No one can tell you what to do.. Your district numbers will drop, you might end up merging a few districts if it is bad enough.. Then after a few years, (if your new Professionals are honest) you will start to see an accurate picture of how your council is really doing and go from there..


I think your the third or fourth on this board who has gone through it, but there is nothing to do but ride it out. (unless you have 13,000 boys in your backpocket that are ready to sign up.)

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I few years back our council was loaded with "non-traditional" crews (mainly youth groups who signed on to take advantage of the unit insurance and little else). We purged the roles. If that drop in numbers kept our SE from leaving, hooray! He's a good egg.

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After sleeping on it..........



No it doesn't surprise me.


I have said before and will continue to say that MOST professional staff will not tell the truth regarding any issue. I no longer trust the District, Council or National organization to be looking after my Scouts best interest.


I no longer believe that the District or Council can manage donated funds. I donate to the local council thru United Way and Fos a couple hundred dollars a year. It ends today.


While I did not trust the district.......I believed the council was doing the right thing.....These numbers and the fact the SE made $172k last year really ticks me off.



I will continue to work with my Pack, Troop and Crew. I will not support our District or Council and I will share the 990 forms with these organizations leadership. If our families are going to donate money......it should benefit our boys not pay some guy $172k salary.....Ya know I never seen the man and I am scouting 4 days a week and nearly every weekend.




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I was at PTC a few years back and the instructor I had was a SE. He did tell us about the new unit verification process. Once a new unit is chartered, the head of the CO is called and welcomed to scouting by someone outside of the umbrella of field service, (DEs, field directors, director of field service), and if this person asks "what troop?", the it is immediately reported to the SE. In his council the receptionist was the one to make the call.


As for membership verification, I have no idea how they would do that other than maybe advancement reports. If a unit has no advancement over a years period, something is wrong.

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Well I am in a good (as far as I can tell) district/council. But even with that you know the numbers game is important to them although with some you can tell they wish it wasn't so.. The numbers game keeps the dogs off their backs. But, we may not know ourselfs about mis-appropriations until our DE or SE move on and someone new holds them up to the light.. Unfortunately feeling you are in an organization preaching trustworth, loyal etc.. You are apt to be trusting, to a point of getting the wool pulled over your eyes a few time.


Maybe it was someone else who felt their camps were getting shabbier & shabbier, and that money meant to maintain them was getting used by the SE in some sort of mis-appropriation.. I thought that was you. But, I am not positive, So if you thought you had a good Council, then maybe not.


If your new SE is the one that adjusted the numbers back to being accurate, you may want to give him a chance to clean ship in other places.. It could be that he had to readjust it and blame it on the exiting SE.. So that as over the years he inflates it again he doesn't leave with the numbers up around 26,000 inaccurate.. But, possibly he did it to run a clean ship.

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Yep, seen it happen in my council. one SE retired and the membership dropped. New SE came and was able to start his tenure with a lot less members. It was then easy to raise membership every year using his special programs membership. Council membership grew by the thousands (supposedly) and when it was time to get promoted, and the next SE came aboard, the membership again dropped by thousands overnight! The next SE told the executive board that membership numbers had been manipulated and that the problem was taken care of. Executive board was happy but they chose not to tell anybody else in the Scouting community that this had happened. They thought it might hurt FOS and other money raising if the word got out. Gotta keep it hush, hush.


So... what happened to the SE who was supposely manipulating membership?


Was he fired?


Was he demoted?


Nope - he was promoted to texas for a few years. And now he is back as an SE of a really big council and making a really big salary. And I can almost guarantee that nobody in his new council knows what happened in his last council. I expect that this council's membership will reflect a big loss on it's coming annual report.


But don't take my word for this membership pattern, see for yourself. All one has to do is get a hold of your council's annual reports through the years. Your council will be glad to give you these as they are public information. Take a look at the membership numbers through the years and watch how it drops whenever an SE leaves and a new one comes aboard.


I think you might also be surprised to find how many members your council is reporting to the community. My council reports tens of thousands youth yet they are nowhere to be seen. Where are all these boys the council claims? With all this youth being served, one would think that district camporees and councilwide events would be overflowing with boys.




There are only a handful of troops left on my side of the city where 25 years ago there were over 35 strong traditional troops. My district still hasn't had a single district Boy Scout activity in the past 10 years since our district was reformed and renamed.


Hmmm, where are all the Scouts?


I have no use for corporate scouting. I put my efforts into my unit.(This message has been edited by abel magwitch)

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"A scout is trust worthy, Scouters are not, especially paid ones."


It's strange that since the Finances and Membership have been in the hands of professionals that Membership has plummeted and Councils are more and more financially unstable.


I'm not saying I agree with your point that DE's and SE's are untrustworthy. I think that's an insult to the outstanding number of them that are doing it for the boys when their skillset is not 100% conducive to the volunteer-professional dynamic.


What I am saying is that the more decentralized the power structure, the more successful the program. This means that while a small number of highly trained professionals are valuable as defibrillators for dying areas, the constant management of local units is not as effective in providing program.


Maybe it's a pipe dream to imagine a community where volunteer scouters with rows of knots are the advocates of local scouting and Scouting grows in awe of these wonderful men. However, that world seems more idyllic than the current army of paid scouters in suit and tie micromanaging huge geographic areas.


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