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Going it Alone? Or Active with Distrct/Council?

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Eamon reminded me of something that happened at the may roundtable.....


Our Old DE handed out a spreadsheet that showed the units and their FOS donation.......Looking down the page....We have 5 bucks in our Packs column....


I was called out after everyone had a spreadsheet in their hands...


Mr. B the district is disappointed in your Units FOS contribution......


Sorry about that, but our unit is having a tough time paying for our program.


Well, we have your unit down for $1,000 you only need.....ALL OF It...So how are you going to met your units obligation.....


FOS is still voluntary....Right??????


It ended there with we will discuss your obligation after the meeting.....It never happened. I was ready for him.....I had 2 CM's, our CC and SM were going to meet with him....All were madder than I was....


So what happened to that DE.....He is now a DD.....





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Hello Eamonn,



Excellent post!



I continue to fail to understand where the common hostility towards district and council leaders comes from.


I encounter it pretty often in my own district, although I know from my own experience that district leaders and the District Executive have a history of doing a good job with the resources available to them (us). And the council is well managed and does a good job too


On several occasions I have been introduced to unit leaders as someone who is a council volunteer, "But he is one of the good ones."! It would be amusing if it weren't dispiriting.



Perhaps someone can explain this mystery.




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"So, Mr. DE, am I to understand that part of your extensive, professional training in fundraising and motivating volunteers includes techniques in singling out individuals and holding them out for redicule and embarassment? How is that working for you."



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Had a similar situation as Basementdweller at round table several years ago with regard to summer camp. They had a large white board at the front of the room with all the individual units listed. One by one we had to come forward and write where we were going for summer camp. Those that were going to our council camp were given a prize, applauded, and given nods of approval by District officials. Those, such as myself, that put down an out of council camp were treated to a stoney silence and looks of disbelief by District officials. It was very uncomfortable. I was embarrassed and felt like a heretic. This was yet another event that made me feel like going it alone. Plus our FOS contribution was quite minimal, and we don't sell popcorn. Why should the District have anything to do with us?


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I am quite surprised by your story, that whole incident is inexcuseable to say the least, and I am saying that as both a scout leader and a former DE. The scouting profession continues to get more and more callous and cutthroat, providing less and less services and facilities to their members and demanding more and more money each year in FOS, camp fees(if your council still even has a camp), and practically forcing units to sell their overpriced popcorn.


The unfortunate results are more and more well trained leaders running excellent programs are leaving each year out of disgust, parents of scouts are pulling their boys out because of constant demands for more money and more time. Another poster mentioned that they would hate to ever see scouting become obsolete to our youth, but our declining numbers seem to show that is the direction the BSA is headed. Like others here have said about their own units our venturing crew is fully self contained with many great adult leaders who love to give their time to the teens, youth officers who take their postions very seriously, and parents ALL of whom graciously contribute their time and talents as much as is possible. We do not need a council of pro scouters making financial demands because we get absolutely NOTHING from them, they have sold our camp, do not support district training, offer no support for council training, and the list goes on. Personally I think BSA National has been operating in crisis mode for years now with numbers and money continuing to dwindle, yet higher ranking professional scouters salaries continue to skyrocket during a major recession. What will the final outcome be?

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I have noted before that a few units in my district might say the same thing --- located where the wealthy, well educated and intelligent live.


The rest need district and council services in varying degrees.


Would you like to see a Scouting movement limited to wealthy and well educated families?

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Once again you jump to the wrong conclusion, our district is not wealthy at all and come from all walks of life from blue collar to college educated but we all pool our resources and talents to deliver an awesome program to our teens and a fun time for us adult leaders. Besides Seattle isn't exactly the Dust Bowl you know, lol.

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Basement, quit going to Round Table!

My DE wouldn't dare call me up in front of Round Table and question why my unit doesn't sell popcorn, go to the council camp or contribute to FOS. But I wish he would ;)(This message has been edited by Eagle732)

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Hello Baden P.



I was describing my own district, not yours.


There are a few units that could maintain themselves for a period of years anyway without the district or council.


But most units are either rather weak or go through a cycle of effective leadership followed by weakness, which would easily lead to collapse without support and aid from the district and council.


I'm Unit Commissioner for a pack the collapsed in 2004, and I was assigned as UC to help build it up again. It was on the edge of collapse again this summer, but I helped find the leadership needed to keep it going again.


I'd guess that without district and council support and programs, perhaps 3/4s of the units in the district would fail within ten years.

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  • 3 weeks later...

At one time I was impressed by position and power. After working in the private sector, then the federal government, and now in higher education, I have over the years cultivated a healthy skepticism with regard to administration.


First, at least within my small realm of inquiry, I am the authority. I have mastered the field, designed and proposed projects and courses, and then executed those plans successfully. In every aspect of my professional career(s) administrators at best have been able to provide an easier path for me to actually do the work. Those cases are rare.

Most of the time they seem to be little more than 'percentage parasites' who think success comes from creating new forms to fill out. Often the best way for them to help me is to merely step aside. I have come to expect nothing more than that at best.


BSA seems to conform to my view. I have not yet encountered a DE who actually facilitated something. What we get from the council level seems to be nothing but a continual hand out to get something from us, either as more forms to fill out, or for outright donations. This unit tends to go it alone. Going it alone has worked well. It gives us a greater sense of accomplishment as well as the freedom to politely decline...when asked by the administrative types.

Yes, we still take the required training and file the proper forms which are also required. That's all part of life it seems. But beyond that, it's been years since I wasted my time at a roundtable. Even longer since I vainly attempted to communicate some concern to someone at the council level.

It is working nicely for this unit, this part of local option is.

What we've gained is independence, freedom to take the initiative, freedom to express our imagination, and a LOT more time to devote to the unit and the boys. BSA is not life. BSA is not a religion. BSA is not a cult. ...despite occasional appearances to the contrary.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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