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Why does council make it so hard on volunteers? Yes, a rant!

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Definitely a "love-hate" relationship between the Council/District and the volunteers. We recently went to re-charter our Crew, which we created new during 2014. Everyone in it is a "transfer" from a Troop and we were told we were not going to be rechartered unless we added two "paying" Members (to Stosh's point about the business side).


I have yet to talk with anyone on the volunteer side who really understands why the professional side exists and how it's existence might help them deliver Scouting. The professional side doesn't seem to understand why it's important to communicate what benefits it wants to deliver/can deliver to volunteers. (My own DE's response to my question on this was, "What do they want me to do?") In my 14 years in Scouting, we've had one fantastic DE who was promoted up the chain after about 18 months. The others have been on the spectrum somewhere between invisible and incompetent.


So I feel your pain. I've dramatically curtailed my District involvement due to the numerous instances of disrespect, broken promises, etc. I'm concentrating on delivering program to my units.

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Volunteers are supposed to be in charge. Council execs are trained that they are in charge. Because their jobs are on the line, the execs accept that second view. However, they are usually bright enough and sophisticated enough not to rub our faces in it. The less sophisticated front line employees easily forget to pretend the volunteers are in charge.


As a group, there's more talent among the volunteers. Not many NASA rocket scientists work for our council, but three work as volunteers in our district. I had a DC who had two Phds and was a bird in an armored cavalry regiment. A DE trying to "control" him was quite a sight to see.


When we don't do our job, the employees try to do it. If they don't, the CE tells them to do so.


Tremendous turn-over in the first line employees. Poor pay. Long hours. Work with adults, not kids, Long service before any decent promotion. I had three DE's in eleven days IIRC. One I never met. Hired Friday. Quit next Monday morning. (I swear it wasn't me. I never communicated with her.) The third of three lasted two months. You lose track as the years roll on.


The optimal situation would be to not rely on the employees - except for that secretary in the office who has been there forever and knows lots of useful stuff about navigating the bureaucracy. (Well, secretaires. that would be Rose and Shirley.) Then they can work on their priorities (membership and money) and you can work on yours.


Yes, we are a "free" resource, but it's kids who should be exploiting the volunteer's time,. And it can be an endless demand, so we need to learn when to say "No."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ah come on guys it not all that bad...


Just because,


The district events charge adults (and volunteers at the events) the same rate as the Scouts


Event details come out a couple of weeks before the event (If at all).


Same old events time and time again


Summer camp cost more than out of council camps (and have less to offer)


NYLT cost the same as summer camp


DE's visit the unit at least once before they quit (maybe)


Council want you to hold multiple FOS meetings because your unit isn't meeting quota (Oh, and sell popcorn, camp cards too at the same time)


and when you raise a new idea get told "that's not the way we do it in this council"



that's no reason not to join in lock step with the rest ("One of us, one of us...)






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~~Once upon a time, I went to summer camp with my Webelos Den. While I was there, the camp (alright, Heritage, you dragged it out of me) gave me a form to fill out. It asked me for my name, address, etc. and also my BOSS' name , company, address etc. If I turned this in, the Pitt Council promised to send a letter to my boss, thanking him/them for letting me off and complimenting them for having such an exemplary employee to use his own vacation time to help "mold the future of America". I filled it out, and lo, some weeks later, a letter appeared on my boss' desk, signed by the Pitt Council Chief Scout. I did not know him at the time, just a signature. Somebody by name of Mazucca. . She (my Division Chief) sent me a copy with her acknowledgement and congratulations . It went in my "file" and was mentioned at the next review..... Compliments were counted toward awards etc., so this was definitely a "good thing".

Anybody ever seen anything similar? I have passed the idea on to three of the past DE's here, but no repeat recently.

Might give the DE or CSE writer's cramp, but what an acknowledgement of our work and duty, eh?


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SSScout, I had it happen to me many years ago. But I was a federal employee then and it didn't count for much of anything compared to bringing in more funding for projects. The spouse, she's just glad to have the house to herself. No letter needed, really.

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Baggss: Nothing of the sort. I dug it out of the files. It reads like this:


"Dear Ms Boss: The purpose of this letter is to commend one of your associates and to make you aware of the tremendous community service he has performed. J SSScout volunteered a week of his valued vacation time to spend with his Cub Pack at Heritage Scout Reservation ..... This unselfish service to young people reflects admirably on him as an individual , as well as upon you , the employer..... ...Everyone in our community has been enriched because he cared enough to help our children grow into better persons.

The Scouts who participated in the week-long experience of outdoor living will be far better prepared for life, having developed self-reliance, learned the importance of individual initiative, and mastered Scoutcraft skills that will last a lifetime. Over 7,000 boys will have enjoyed this growth experience by summer's end .


Sincerely, Robert J. Mazzuca


Yep, I did that.....I think four of the eight Webs I went with stayed in Scouts....

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  • 1 month later...
I'm concentrating on delivering program to my units. Great response.
I'm late to this party, but this is our reply to district and council. After decades of being the unit that drove their support activities (with no consideration or thanks), this is our response now. Awesome, healthy unit and happy boys who run everything. Was asked by a district rep why we don't participate in district, told them we focus on our kids because our boys like it that way.
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