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Unsolicited Troop Hosting Of A Camproee

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I'm a Scoutmaster, RT Commissioner, and District Committee Member and I can't think of any of our district Scouters who aren't also heavily involved in units in some way or another.  When I was brought aboard at RT Commish I was immediately given the task of planning and executing the fall camporee--and that was in the month of August with the event already scheduled for late-October.  I was able to pull it together and we had four Troops show up.  

 

This year I am planning to assemble a group of older Scouts from around the district and have them choose a theme and develop of staff of Scouts to run the show.  I figure the youth are the ones who know what it is they want to do anyway.  Why should some "old guy" like me  come in and feed them the schedule and theme, etc?

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This year I am planning to assemble a group of older Scouts from around the district and have them choose a theme and develop of staff of Scouts to run the show.  I figure the youth are the ones who know what it is they want to do anyway.  Why should some "old guy" like me  come in and feed them the schedule and theme, etc?

 

LeCastor, right on!  

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I'd be recommending to my SPL that they decline an invitation like that.

Also, my council doesn't charge Scout Troops for use of the camp, this weekend my Troop camped with the only costs being food costs.  

Edited by Sentinel947

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 ...

- Enough volunteers?   Sure.   Instead of the district recruiting volunteers to serve as staff, the burden will fall on the troop to find the volunteers to run the district camporee.   I recall my troop days--it was challenging enough to get enough adults to take the troop to the camporee, much less find more people to run the entire thing.

 

Our hosting troop finds enough help to organize & setup the stations, but never enough to man all the stations.. It is expected that the other troops adult leaders who have come with the boys will help man stations.. Unless you have a very new troop with very young scouts, the scouts do not need an adult or adults following them around as they make their rounds from station to station.. So rather then the adults sitting back at camp for the whole day they are expected to help with the stations..  We don't have any arguing or rebellion by troop leadership, everyone has bought into the leadership.. Also I know with our troop the older scouts preferred running stations or doing other organizing functions, rather then just organize everything, hand it over to the adults and simply move into participant during the camporee.. They took ownership of it, and did not want to relinquish the control.. Can you serious blame them?

 

Still it is a lot of coordination to find a place (hopefully free of charge) to run the camporee from, organize the latrines, water buffalo (if no water which is common for free sites), etc. etc..  It's about as complex as planning a wedding..  I know the 2 times our troop did it, you get a notebook with a lot of things you need to coordinate and recommended times to get them done at..  Our boys loved the planning, but keeping them on schedule to did force the adults to watch and monitor things and give needed kick in the pants when needed..

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Moosetracker, as you said it still takes a lot of coordination.   The units I work with are doing good to meet regularly and execute their troop activities for the year, much less do the district's job.   Sure, if the call goes out, they'll individually volunteer to help at a district event to the extent that they can, and they'll do a darn good job.   But a formal tasking from the district, to run a district event?   It strikes me as too heavy handed. 

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So you think units should serve districts and councils?

 

Your inverting a truism.  Of course, districts server units.  But it ignores the core point.  District staff has almost always come from current unit level scouters.  And for most of their time in the district, they are serving their troops too.  

 

My question ... How many adults in your troop help at the district level ?

 

 

THAT is how the money flows. 

 

Noise.  Districts don't have a budget and can't hold money.  Districts charge to cover expenses for events such as camp outs, but any excess has to be given to the council.  District scouters are volunteers who just happen to have the same faces as scouters in many troops in your district. 

 

 

Without the units, districts and councils will be out of stuff to do.

 

Sure.  But without units supporting their district all you will have is a crappy district.  

 

I've been to many district camporees.  I've never seen one fully run by district staff and definitely not with district resources.  Even if coordinated by district staffers, the parts of the camporee are run by scouts from the troops or scouters in those troops and almost always materials (stoves, flags, fuel, etc) are from the units.  

 

Maybe if you don't support your district and the rest of the units stop supporting your district, maybe the district will cease to exist and your unit will be assigned to another district.  But then you will eventually become just as dissatisfied with the short comings in that district.  

 

Invest in your district becoming better and I bet it will become a much better district. 

Edited by fred johnson

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Maybe if you don't support your district and the rest of the units stop supporting your district, maybe the district will cease to exist and your unit will be assigned to another district.  But then you will eventually become just as dissatisfied with the short comings in that district.  

 

Invest in your district becoming better and I bet it will become a much better district. 

Fred, serious question:   if a district ceases, what is the tangible impact on the units?   There are many units in the BSA that are not served, or ill-served, by their district.   If those kinds of districts vanish, what is the impact on a troop that is plugging along, taking care of business already without district help?

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Your inverting a truism.  Of course, districts server units.  But it ignores the core point.  District staff has almost always come from current unit level scouters.  And for most of their time in the district, they are serving their troops too.

With all due respect Fred, you've drunk the kool-aid too long. The core point is not where district staff come from. The core point of the district's existence -- as stated in BSA's own literature -- is "ensure the growth and success of Scouting units within the district’s territory. The purpose of the district is to work through chartered organizations and community groups to organize and support successful units. The end result of effective district support is more and more youth members receiving a better and better program."

 

Where the district staff come from is immaterial. In my experience are district and those around us are staffed by people who USED TO BE involved with their units and now want WB or Vigil or some other knot or something and know that the good old boy network is run by district and the only way to get the bling is volunteer.

 

 

My question ... How many adults in your troop help at the district level ?

In the past we staffed many an event and committee. Got us no where EXCEPT more work. We literally get nothing from district. Zip. 

 

Noise.  Districts don't have a budget and can't hold money.  Districts charge to cover expenses for events such as camp outs, but any excess has to be given to the council.  District scouters are volunteers who just happen to have the same faces as scouters in many troops in your district.

 

You miss the point.

 

The money comes from the units! Districts support units more, we become more successful. Council has more money, units have more money, district gets more budget. Win-win, not noise.

 

Sure.  But without units supporting their district all you will have is a crappy district.

So what? What do we get FROM district? NOTHING!!! We literally get nothing from them. We get NYLT from council and the local camps, but district? Nada.

 

Maybe if you don't support your district and the rest of the units stop supporting your district, maybe the district will cease to exist and your unit will be assigned to another district.  But then you will eventually become just as dissatisfied with the short comings in that district.

Well that depends if that new district is run by self-indulgent volunteers who talk down to the units, continue to ask for stuff while giving nothing in return and wasting our time rather than doing what they can support the mission BSA has outlined for the district. 

 

And so what if districts did go away? They have ZERO impact on the well-being of my unit. We have $14,000 in the bank, we've spent over 25 years with the same charter org. Our membership is strong and continues to grow. We have well-trained adults that offer everything from shooting sports to high adventure to STEM. We have a great training program and our scouts go on to NYLT and NAYLE. Many go on to staff these courses or Seabase or Philmont.

 

So why would I waste my time again on an enterprise that bring my unit nothing?

 

Invest in your district becoming better and I bet it will become a much better district.

Not my job! Read the district manifesto. They have a job to do for me, not the other way around. Sorry.

 

 

Fred, serious question:   if a district ceases, what is the tangible impact on the units?   There are many units in the BSA that are not served, or ill-served, by their district.   If those kinds of districts vanish, what is the impact on a troop that is plugging along, taking care of business already without district help?

Exactly my point! I've seen no one UC or DE in a loooooong time. We make JTE Gold every year but don't bother to submit the paperwork. We don't need a patch to know we are a high performing unit.
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Nope, I'm with Bad Wolf on this one.  The customer is the scout, if the districts don't support the units who are working directly with the customer (scouts) then when something goes wrong, the customer disappears and the districts end up with nothing more than a handful of air.  Where's their support coming from then?  

 

BSA is providing services to the scout, if "management" doesn't assist the guy providing the service to the customer, then they have a strange set of business assumptions.  No customer is expected to support a business that doesn't provide the services they have paid for. As a matter of fact scouts "support" the districts just by showing up and adding to their quota.  

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@@fred johnson, one last point.

Assume you are correct. Assume the only way to have a successful district is to recruit the best and brightest from the units. What type of cannibalistic model is that? You'd NEVER find that in a successful Fortune 500 company...at least not for too long.

 

You cannot cannibalize your units to have a successful district. You need to find another model or else you are building your foundation on sand, where the units are forced to constantly replace good leadership. Just build one good CS Pack and then suck the leadership out of it and see how long it sticks around.

 

Your model is broken and cannot work. The district model you propose is DOA. What districts should be doing is recruiting from outside BSA, as well as working hard to identify retiring scouters or those who have moved. Build in a scouter recycling program where you move people around. Do something innovative to get the blood flowing. Hire DEs that are not more concerned about getting to Council rather than doing their job. Make their promotions performance-based and actually make the goals hard.

 

The one reason these things will never happen is because you cannot build a power-base in such an environment, and THAT is something very few districts I have seen would voluntarily give up.

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I'm on board with the general tenor regarding Districts.  My DE cannot answer the simplest question - "what are you doing for the units?"  His answer was "what do they want me to do?"  After decades in Scouting, he should be able to answer that question.  But that's how it operates - if I need something, I can ask for it and probably get it.  But that puts the onus on me.  There's no "servant leadership" at the District level.

 

I volunteer with District on the Cub Scout Membership side because I consider it a survival issue.  Some Packs are great at recruiting, some are terrible.  They need backup on recruiting.  The DE talks a lot about starting Packs, but doesn't take any action to make it happen.  Boy Scouts, by and large, were Cub Scouts.  If we don't start generating a growing Cub Scout Program, we're going to continue to have a shrinking Boy Scout Program.

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I'm on board with the general tenor regarding Districts.  My DE cannot answer the simplest question - "what are you doing for the units?"  His answer was "what do they want me to do?" 

 

If he's supporting the units he has to have an issue to support.  It's kinda nice to have a DE that stays out of one's hair and is right there when needed.  It's a bit like the fire department, nice to have down the street, but they're the last guys you ever want at your front door.

 

After decades in Scouting, he should be able to answer that question.  But that's how it operates - if I need something, I can ask for it and probably get it.  But that puts the onus on me. 

 

How can a DE serve your needs when you never identify them to him?  I'm thinking your DE isn't a mind-reader.  I don't think you have a working definition of Servant Leadership

 

There's no "servant leadership" at the District level.

 

I volunteer with District on the Cub Scout Membership side because I consider it a survival issue.  Some Packs are great at recruiting, some are terrible.  They need backup on recruiting.  The DE talks a lot about starting Packs, but doesn't take any action to make it happen.  Boy Scouts, by and large, were Cub Scouts.  If we don't start generating a growing Cub Scout Program, we're going to continue to have a shrinking Boy Scout Program.

 

This, too, is a false assumption.  There's nothing wrong with the Boy Scout units going out and recruiting.  Cub Scouting is NOT a pre-requisite for Boy Scouts.  The Boy Scouts can get off their butts and beat the bushes just as well as Cub Scouters.  When I took over my second troop, there were only 5 boys on the roster, only one had been a Cub Scout.  I now have 6 boys and one has no Cub Scout background.

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Actually our district works similar to how Fred Johnson states his works, and for the most part it is functional and not broken..  Sure our core district members are those whose boys no longer are at troop level..  But the pinewood is run by a hosting pack, the camporees and hike-a-thons by hosting troops.. The district leader for events (that usually consists of one person at district level) helps them by being available to guide and answer questions.. The one person for training, trains, the one person for advancement does advancement, the one person for camping organizes summer camp  etc. etc. etc...

 

Does it take away from the unit to host?.. Not if done right, it gives the troop a large project to focus on and if boy run can be awesome for the boys.. I know one troop who ran such a wonderful camporee boy run that his troop went for 10 or 12 boys to over 100 boys (The guy who organized it is now in our district, but not when he ran the camporee).. 

 

Also, if the district is including the units as much as possible (in the right way) I would say you don't have the good ol' boys network, even if the guys in district are your older guys.. That's because it always stays a "we", and not an "us" vs "them"..  I did training for the district, and I retired to give it to a 22 year old looking for a district position.. My husband is currently doing Advancement, but always says if he can find a younger man to take over then he will happily step down..

 

It's like a struggling troop or pack.. If all of the parents stand back and do nothing and expect someone else to volunteer and do it all for them, the unit limps along and is never really very strong..

 

I guess it all depends on how your district is running now.. I would be curious who has districts like Stosh & Bad wolf  and if how well you think your district doing providing district events, and if you think it is a network of good 'ol boys,  and likewise who has a district similar to Fred Johnson's and mine and likewise how you think your district events are running and if you think it is a good 'ol boys network or not..

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Moosetracker, please look again at the original proposal:   the district dictates to a troop "thou shalt run the camporee, and obey the orders of the district staff, without deviation.   If you decline, you cannot attend the camporee."

 

"Thou shalt" rarely brings about goodwill and mutual respect.  

 

The broken districts I've been in had one common theme:   the districts, through their attitudes and actions, considered the units to be nothing more than manpower and FOS pools.   I've been in a couple where qualified scouters volunteered to serve in a district vacancy--only to be told no, and not very politely at that.

 

Every district is different in temperament.   Some are good, many are indifferent/inefficient, and some are downright awful to their units.   Seen it with my own eyes.

Edited by desertrat77

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Oh, I know the original post, but the thread has meander from that to be more about if a district should be expected to run events for the unit with district volunteers only, or if districts can expect help from units in order to put on the event..

 

Should they force a unit to put on a camporee, regardless of if the unit feels they have the ability and support to do it or not?  I think the unanimous conclusion is "No"..

 

But are districts who have units that are willing to step up and help better off or not? Emphasis on units being willing, not forced.. Are units who put on an event better off for doing so or not?..  This seems to be more where the thread has moved to..

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