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Krampus

Friends of Scouting Mandatory?

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Received an interesting email from our District Chairman. It basically said "Every Unit, no matter the size, is expected to participate in this year’s FOS campaign...". This pretty much turned off our whole TC and adult leadership, so much so we are going to forego FoS this year.

 

Has anyone else had this sort of strong-arm statement from their district essentially dictating whether they will or won't participate in FoS? 

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Sounds like a DE is getting desperate to meet his goal to "Fund Our Salaries". I've seen it before. We would give them a date to come give their pitch at a Blue and Gold or COH. We would not actively promote it or follow up on pledge cards that they failed to get signed that night.

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Sounds like a DE is getting desperate to meet his goal to "Fund Our Salaries". I've seen it before. We would give them a date to come give their pitch at a Blue and Gold or COH. We would not actively promote it or follow up on pledge cards that they failed to get signed that night.

 

We ask them every year to make the presentation under 10 mins, we give them a table outside the hall to conduct their business, and we used to always meet our previous year's contribution or more. One year they took 45 mins and sat in the COH in the back disrupting the service. After that we stopped inviting them. They invite themselves. We give them five mins and they're lucky to get $200. Then they want *US* to follow up on the cards handed out. 

 

Even when we contributed well the district was unresponsive to our requests. No reasons to contribute.

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I'd send a money order for $1.00 from the Troop as a token FOS contribution along with a copy of the e-mail to the Council President (the top volunteer) and a note explaining that this should meet the DE's "mandatory participation requirement" and that you will be instructing all of the adults in your unit that they should recycle any letters from the Council requesting FOS contributions that might be mailed to their homes.

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We just ignore them.  They go away after a while.  Haven't had a FOS presentation for many moons now.  Don't miss them one bit.

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Your horror stories make me proud of (The Great) Seneca district and how they train their FoS volunteers in the utmost courtesy.

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Your horror stories make me proud of (The Great) Seneca district and how they train their FoS volunteers in the utmost courtesy.

 

I'd post the actual (3 page) email the exec sent out but I know he visits this board every so often. It is a piece of work.

 

I was always taught to communicate effectively you keep things short, bullet-point main points, etc. These folks ramble on and on and on. Last time they gave a presentation two old silver beavers spent 20 minutes talking about THEIR experiences in scouting. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. We actually had several families leave the COH. I had to stop them and ask them to give me a chance to yank those jokers off the stage. Thank goodness for a "problem" with the a/v gear. ;)

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Apparently our CC can't withstand whatever pressure is put on her to have one of these things once a year, so we do have them. I don't know whether that makes it "mandatory" or not because I don't know what "they" say to her. Their return from presentations in our unit is very low as I understand it.

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Apparently our CC can't withstand whatever pressure is put on her to have one of these things once a year, so we do have them. I don't know whether that makes it "mandatory" or not because I don't know what "they" say to her. Their return from presentations in our unit is very low as I understand it.

 

Our unit still serves the district though: we run their ranges at Cub events, when we use council camps (maybe once a year, if that) we conduct a full day's service project, we have one adult running one of their committees, we send a representative or two to RTs, we participate in the district service project (SFF) and usually collect the most food despite having a poor area from which to work.

 

We suffer from two problems. First, we cannot sell our parents on the difference between supporting the unit and supporting the council. The parents see them all as "Boy Scouts". With the gear, uniforms, camp and events costing so much, it is hard for them to dig deeper and fund programs which their kids may never use. Second, and perhaps most important, is the sheer pomposity with which the council/district folks act before, during and after the FOS presentation. When my "Joe Average" *and* my "Gung Ho" parents walk out of a COH because they feel like they're being spoken down to, then the FOS folks have a problem.

Edited by Krampus
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I can sympathize.  I've done FOS presentations and I try to keep them short, sweet, and to the point.  I admit I do take up about 10 minutes total.  I give a brief talk on where FOS goes and I have Scouts handing out the brochures to the parents.  Scouts are usually still handing out brochures ort picking up completed one after I'm finished talking. Thats about 7-9 minutes.

 

Just before everything is over, I ask for another minute or 2 to say how much was raised, and more importantly THANK EVERYONE.  

 

IF the FOS patches are available, I'll stayy afterwards and hand those out to those who qualify. We give out special FOS CSPs for those who give a specified amount. Basically what it costs the council per scout to operate.

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And there you have it. 

 

Parents aren't going to pay for something their boy isn't getting.  "What's in it for me" is the #1 motivation for contributing to FOS.  People who feel this way will justify their stand by using the guilt by association model.  If BSA is wasting money on STEM trucks to tour the country, and all the local councis are overcharging summer camps to make ends meet, why should my money go to the troop where it'll be wasted.  Of course they don't make the association that the local troop is watching every penny and milking it for all it's worth.

 

And the high cost of uniforms and such?  BSA has always overcharged for it's products and a lot of people felt it was worth it.  I remember as a kid standing in front of the scout counter at the J. C. Penny's needing to buy a cap, necker, slide, shirt, patches, belt, pants and socks.  My family was not well off financially so if I was going to be in Scouts, I had to pay my own way.  I'm thinking the difference in attitude between me and contemporary parents might be the world of Scouting I grew up in is not the world of Scouting of today.  Today all you need is the shirt and a couple of patches and you're golden...... Whatever it takes to get by with the minimum investment for the greatest return.  By the way, how much does a Eagle status cost nowadays?

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By the way, how much does a Eagle status cost nowadays?

 

Far less than dancing lessons/competitions or select sports. ;)

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Far less than dancing lessons/competitions or select sports. ;)

 

But what you learn in Scouting is a forever lesson in character.  Dancing and sports will last only as long as you are physically able to do so.  One can still follow the Scout Oath and Law and be restricted to a nursing home.  Not many nursing homes have basketball pickup games.  Come to think of it, I don't ever recall seeing a gymnasium in a nursing home, but I still visit some of the Old Guard Scouters there.  The ROI is far greater in Scouting than any other program out there, yet the complaints just keep on rolling in.

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I've seen similar strong arm tactics.    It backfires on the council every time.   Amazing.  Don't they teach communication skills in DE charm school and in WB?  :)

 

From here on out, I've decided to peg my FOS contributions directly to the tangibles the council provides to the units in the district.   Total thus far:  zero.   Even considering the intangibles, still zero.

 

Not sure how the council is going to meet pay roll, pay the mortgage, etc.   The council did not consult the volunteers before building the budget and making financial commitments.   Yet the volunteers are supposed to foot the bill?   That's quite a business model.

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