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Eagle94-A1

Advantages and Disadvantages of District Mergers

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My District actually SPLIT a while back. Council thought we were too big and thought, "Hey, let's split them!".

 

Big mistake. We had a huge District. We had a hard enough time staffing committees and other things, but we managed and had a decent program. We even had visits from commissioners!

 

After the split, BOTH districts saw reduced attendance, reduced volunteerism, reduced staffing, etc.

 

So if you district is having an easy time doing these things and no issues running, the question to ask yourself is "How much more work will you district need to do post merger AND how active are the other districts being merged?"

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My district is said to be the largest in the council by head count, but its actually very small geographically.

So largest by headcount but we seem to struggle to get enough folks to fill positions, although a lot of the holes have been filled over the last year or two.... but the DE position that has been filled many times is vacant again.... and they are now talking of hiring 2 DE's for the district.

All of this makes me wonder

in a merger, how easy to fill roles with volunteers - well larger pool of folks so I'd think it might be easier

then my other thought is district events such as cub-o-ree. Seems when it's time for that the camp is overflowing with our large district. Way too many folks. Would that become more of a problem if multiple districts combine.... I'd guess likely.

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n a merger, how easy to fill roles with volunteers [?]

 

That largely depends on the reputation, networking, skill and effort of those leading the merger.

 

Again, axiom: "It is easier to say 'no' to a stranger."

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That largely depends on the reputation, networking, skill and effort of those leading the merger.

 

Again, axiom: "It is easier to say 'no' to a stranger."

Our problem was (is) that the districts were staffed by a tight circle of people who rarely let people in. This made folks who did volunteer to help, or who were asked by these folks to help, feel like they didn't belong. After they volunteer -- and doing an exceptional job -- they were thanked but not made part of that inner circle.

 

Observation tells me these folks who run (my) district love being big fish in the pond and don't like anyone on staff who will show them up. Many run district because they couldn't run anything else in the real world. ;)

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Our problem was (is) that the districts were staffed by a tight circle of people who rarely let people in. This made folks who did volunteer to help, or who were asked by these folks to help, feel like they didn't belong. After they volunteer -- and doing an exceptional job -- they were thanked but not made part of that inner circle.

 

One of the issues we have is that on the Cub Scout side, the tight circle is essentially 3 people; the activities chair who has driven folks nuts with her micromanaging everything she is in charge of to the point she drives people away, and the Day Camp CD and PD who are trying to build and mend bridges whom the activities chair has upset.

 

Webeloree is considered a Boy Scout event because A) lots of troops staff it B) recruiting tool for troops, and C) activities chair has no involvement with Boy Scouts. ;)

 

Still working on the benefits and disadvantages on the Boy Scout side of things. I thing that will be a major problem is campsite assignments at camporees, both on the district and council level. More on that in a bit.

 

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Ok back.

 

Up until about 7 years ago, the local scout camp where two of the three districts have their camporees was really neglected by the council PTB. Improvements were done by the individual troops and OA chapters. So troops would spend their own money making improvements on "their" campsites: water spigots, shelters, tables, fire rings, etc. Troops, and to a lesser degree their feeder packs, are very protective of "their" campsite. Best example of that would be the council level Cub Scout camp out at the camp where 1 pack refused to allow anyone to share "their" campsite. Thankfully it was the smallest one and could only hold one troop.

 

Same with the primitive camp that is used for our council camporees. Council basically said if you wanted a water spigot, you either paid for everything involved in the process; or dig the trenches, lay the pipe, etc yourself.. So troops were assigned campsites within their district areas, and they paid in some manner to get the water spigots in place.

 

People are very protective of their assigned areas. My troop folded for about 6 years, and a newer troop took over the campsite. When the troop was reestablished, they wanted the campsite that they paid for back. They were willing to allow the other troop to use the spigot, but since they paid for the water spigot, and went out the weekend prior to the camporee to prep the area (cut grass, kill ant colonies, and spray for ticks, etc) they were not willing to give the other troop the campsite.

 

Unless they allow troops to stay in the areas they have maintained for all these years, I see issues there.

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Eagle94, just discovered this thread, and was wondering how you and the committee are doing?

 

Not that it's a merger, but we share a DE with another district.   The key issue is geography.   Sharing leaders and resources sounds good on paper till you have to get in the truck and drive at the end of a long day.  

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