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Krampus

Friends of Scouting Mandatory?

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Krampus, your description and photos of the latrines are producing a powerful memory!   :)

 

AC and flush toilets for WB training, the "pinnacle of scout leader training."    And, of course, when the pro staff in Irving needs to get away from work for an off-site, where better to reconnect with scouting and the outdoors than a nice building with all of the amenities suited for one's station in life?

 

Here's one of the two new buildings.

 

OK, I am seeing this from the perspective of our council.  The office is in a modest building that also houses the scout shop.  I believe there are 4 paid employees (in the office), the executive, a book keeper, the person who processes all the advancement paperwork and a recently added part time receptionist.  There are volunteers that help out.  We have 2 scout camps that run summer camp programs and a cub scout camp that, until this year, ran cub day camp and webelos arrow of light overnight camp.

 

I can understand. But if things are so modest it sounds like cash flow may be the problem. My council his HUGE and we have four camps...all of them have issues. All of them have great buildings for staff but slight amenities for us members. The council has money int he bank. We also have Taj Mahals for scout shops and offices, so I know where they spend the money and where they don't

 

If your council has three camps then maybe they have one or two too many. If the offices are spartan then austerity measures may be needed. If fundraising is an issue then new ideas are needed. Not saying dues increases are not needed, but that's the easy string to pull and requires no hard thought or belt tightening. As a business person, when I hear of increases without other measures being addressed I know they are taking the easy way out.

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To be honest I like the activity fee idea better than FOS.  I think it would be easier to sell parent at registration every year by saying "yep, it's $75 a year to be in scouting.  1/3 goes to national, 1/3 to council and 1/3 to the unit.  Write one check now and we'll do local fundraisers for all the rest."  That's better than constantly coming back to the unit asking for more money.

 

In general, I would be much more comfortable with this approach as well.  Ok I've got to pay W if we want Boy's Life, X to the BSA organization (for registration), Y to the Council (for organization), and Z to the Troop (for Program/awards/etc.) - but as one annual fee to the troop. 

 

Or as an alternative, add that cost as a franchise fee to the Chartered Org. - Then let the Chartered org decide if that gets passed down. They at least get to vote on some of the Council operations - let them have some skin in the game.  (Although overall I think I like the first approach better).

 

One of the challeneges with both these approaches is Chartered Orgs like the LDS that pay all the fees and regisrtation on the Scout's behalf and don't pass that to the parents - it would be pulling a lot of additional money from them.

 

All that said, I'd still like to see a real disclosure of how funds are spent.  How much actually goes to Salaries, how much are we really paying for the CE?  What is the rent, etc. and maintainence on the Council office and Camp(s)?  How much does the Council subsidize (if any) the training, roundtables, and promotional programs?  How much is going to an endowment and/or rainy day fund?

Edited by gumbymaster

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Here's one of the two new buildings.

 

 

Incredible!

 

The waste/misdirection of resources aside, I'd rather join you and everyone else in the non-AC mess hall, peak of TX summer heat, with a heaping plate of chili mac and steamed carrots, and enjoy the camaraderie with you all instead of sitting in an ergonomic chair in the Training Palace as the briefer belabors slide 17 of his 49 slide power point show.   A bit of a run-on/grammatically incorrect sentence, but my message is sincere.

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Non-profit orgs are experts at throwing away dollars.   Even if they have the best of intentions.   The waste, poor prioritization of resources and ensuing inefficiency can be staggering at times.

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Here's one of the two new buildings.

 

 

 

Wow!  We have nothing like that. 

Our "camp offices" do have indoor plumbing with a room designated as the "Scouter's Lounge" that is air conditioned but it is reserved for Scouters and Sr Patrol Leaders.  The health lodge has indoor plumbing as well, the campmaster uses this cabin during the off season at one of the camps.  The "Training Center" we have at one camp is literally a trailer with a fireplace, if another camp is used for training it is done in a regular cabin that troops can use for camping.  They are very basic, bunks, disgusting stove and refrigerators, no running water, outdoor latrines.  One of our camps has a county requirement that the building must be heated, so they have propane heaters but the rest have fireplaces.  The camps of course have lean tos and tent sites.

I can understand why you don't want to fund your council if they are building things like that instead of working on the camps.

 

I was able to see our council's annual report including the budget on their website.

Edited by andysmom

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our council's office is very dated in a not so nice part of town.

and they have just just finished, or are about to finish a massive upgrade at the council's main camp with screened shelters at each campsite, and aquatics park, and I think some other stuff.  Each campsite's latrine is a much nicer and cleaner version of the outhouse krampus pictured... basically the same thing but much nicer.

 

re FOS, our previous and now current Cubmaster rejects FOS at our B&G.  Tells them not to come. I agree with him partly, but I also realize that this is what they are being asked to do so while I was Cubmaster I let them have the floor for a few minutes, not ideal maybe, but really no big deal.

 

Also, I have to say that i have never felt the need to give to FOS.  I am already giving greatly to scouting and the BSA in time, treasure, and perhaps not so much talent.  I've ended up buying and donating all sorts of stuff to the unit through the years.

The way I figure it

support the unit, make it strong.

Make the unit something folks want to join

when more folks join they get more dues.....

and so on...

If I were a "normal" parent I'd likely feel a little more like giving.

 

BUT getting a letter like that certainly would turn me sour.

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Our council camp just built a new training center (flush toilets and showers), a new dining hall, pool, shooting sports range and fixed up the old dining hall better than it ever was over the past 20 years.   But funds are short here too.  Yeah right! 

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@@Stosh, those training center showers are absolutely necessary...one can work up quite a sweat sitting indoors, listening to speakers all the live long day, taking notes, standing in the buffet line, and chit chatting....:)

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I know there are a lot of complaints about some of the stuff being built at camps. Heck I was ticked off at the pool that was built at my old camp, when we have a gorgeous man-made lake with built to Safe Swim Defense specs waterfront. I thought it was a waste of money.

 

BUT, I found out that there are a lot of laws, both federal and state, that are being pushed on camps. That was why my old camp had to build a pool.

 

That's why all BSA camps have to deal with the National Camp Accreditation Program, which replaced the various National Standards. A lot of the improvements are being mandated.

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Once again I am thankful that the Chief Seattle Council is well managed and well financed.  I see little waste or excess,  although the council DOES have problems administering BSA's excessively complex administrative burdens from time to time.

 

I'm sure I would find it immensely annoying if the council I was in was one of those that Couldn't Shoot Straight.

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I know there are a lot of complaints about some of the stuff being built at camps. Heck I was ticked off at the pool that was built at my old camp, when we have a gorgeous man-made lake with built to Safe Swim Defense specs waterfront. I thought it was a waste of money.

 

BUT, I found out that there are a lot of laws, both federal and state, that are being pushed on camps. That was why my old camp had to build a pool.

 

That's why all BSA camps have to deal with the National Camp Accreditation Program, which replaced the various National Standards. A lot of the improvements are being mandated.

 

I could buy all that, HOWEVER:

  • Wouldn't better sanitation take priority over a $3m training center?
  • Wouldn't better food safety take priority over a $50k storage garage?
  • Wouldn't higher water quality take priority over $60k for new golf carts?
  • Wouldn't a better med hut take priority over a $2m welcome center for camp directors?

I've looked through the standards and local laws. What is being done in my camps has nothing to do with standards. It has to do with making the camp look nice for those who matter....and that's not the people who pay the annual dues.

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Krampus I honestly didn't see anything wrong with the bathroom facilities and used them pretty frequently at the home camps.  Until recently that's all we had, we just put in 12m into our two camps but I make sure I visit the old latrines.   

 

I am rather upset we spent so much to upgrade our dinning hall, yea its SUPER nice but what's the point have having such a nice dinning hall when all you do is hurry up eat and GET BACK OUTSIDE!

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Krampus, your latrines look like our camp. I complained when they installed A/C in the dining hall, but it was amazing to me how many troops avoidedour camp because of the lack of creature comforts. On the other hand, our neighboring council sold their camp due to encroaching residential development (I could literally take a leak out the back flaps of the tent and hit someone's back yard), and built a beautiful facility on the river with an air-conditioned leader's lounge with WiFi, modern dining hall, and flush toilets and hot showers in every site. Earlier this year, they handed the deed back to the bank and walked away from it. Now the scouts have nothing.

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Krampus I honestly didn't see anything wrong with the bathroom facilities and used them pretty frequently at the home camps.  Until recently that's all we had, we just put in 12m into our two camps but I make sure I visit the old latrines.   

 

The point is that the trap johns are horrid in 103F heat. The smell is god aweful. The kids cannot stand the smell and all head to the staff (flush) latrines. Wash up facilities are bad too. Compared to other options outside of council these facilities are in the Dark Ages. Then they spend millions on a facility that is only used by the staff and super volunteers and OA? We won't even talk about the $12m still in the bank which was given specifically for camp upgrades by Ross Perot.

 

But okay, fine. Don't upgrade the stuff the units use frequently....but don't come asking us for money either. Go ask the OA or the district our council folks to dig deep.

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There are latrines, then there are latrines.

 

The outdoor latrines in the photos indicate neglect.   The wood is old, exposed to weather, and looks like heck.   Everything else looks shabby and repaired piecemeal.   The one photo shows a giant cement circle on the floor.   Stool is broke?   Don't repair it or replace it.   Just put a cement circle over the hole and cover it up.   Yep.   Good enough.

 

I have no problem with outdoor latrines and cold water wash ups.   But doggone it, there has to be a standard.   Good design.  Painted.  Fixtures, primitive as they may be, should be sturdy, clean and in good repair.

 

But I didn't pick that up from the photos.   The council spent all of that money on the training palace and other stuff.   They could have bulldozed the old latrines in camp, and built new similar structures.

 

It's not the austerity of the latrines that bothers me.  It's the neglect and misdirection of resources.  And I'm not even in that council.   Yet unfortunately it is not an isolated situation.

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