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NE Ohio Councils to Merge

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It seems that the five councils in NE Ohio are about to merge into three.


That the very NE corner council, Greater Western Reserve, would go away was expected.  The area has been hammered economically and the council has been very short of money for many years (two DE's assigned to two large districts each lately).  Scouters there seem resigned to something of this sort..  The word is that it will be divided between Cleveland and Akron (Great Trails).  This merger may be the stroke of Doom for Camp Stigwandish (weekend only for years) as Cleveland has a large camp in the area. Closing Stigwandish would draw an outcry.  http://www.news-herald.com/article/HR/20110818/NEWS/308189982  Camp Stambaugh, southwest of Youngstown, would go to Akron or back to the Stambaugh family.


The surprise is that Heart of Ohio  (nowhere near the heart of Ohio) is reportedly to be divided between Cleveland and Buckeye (Canton) councils.  That council has a viable summer camp program and has spent serious money on its Firelands Reservation recently.  One problem has been the lack of an more-than-just-adequate dinning facility. There could be big time upset if the camp is to close.  One possibility could be the camp becoming the center for Cub/Webelos outdoor program in addition to the weekend camp for the new Cleveland aggregation, restoring a more convenient option for west-side Cleveland folks missing since Camp Belden was sold off to retire debts..  Many of those units have been supporting Firelands for years.  (Buckeye Council has all the camp it needs - even as enlarged.)


One result is the near recreation of the Original "Greater Cleveland District" of early days.


Turmoil to follow.

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Any official sources for this?   Heart of Ohio, which really is a strange name given their locale, is next to us.  We opted out of the big Michigan merger and have done well financially and membership wise since.  I do not think we would subsume ourselves into another council without a very large gun to our heads, but I suppose it's possible to imagine us taking on a district from a neighboring council if necessary.


In general, I think council mergers need to be looked at individually, there is no doubt that we're in a more competitive environment than we were previously, and as a result some Councils are just going to be struggling financially despite the best efforts and intentions of both volunteers and professionals.  Further, every organization of every type is becoming more efficient and streamlined, or at least could be/should be, no reason to believe BSA councils would be exempt from that.

Edited by T2Eagle
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I was told it's an "open secret."


The meetings to explain the "future" to the Scouters of Greater Western Reserve are scheduled in the next couple of weeks.  "TOWN HALL MEETINGS   During the past several months, key leaders from several councils have been discussing the best way to serve Scouting in northeast Ohio. They have reviewed financial trends, membership trends, population forecasts, and organizational structures.  A proposed plan has been developed to strengthen Scouting in northeast Ohio. This plan calls for a realignment of council boundaries, to meet the changes in our population, economy, and demographics. A part of this process is to conduct two Town Hall meetings prior to the vote of all registered Executive Board members and Chartered Organization Representatives in our council.  The purpose of these Town Hall meetings is to clarify the financial, membership, economic, and demographic reasons why we feel this will improve our service to our youth.   The Town Hall meetings will be held on the following dates:  Monday August 15th at . . . and Wednesday August 17th at ...


You would be quite a ways into be next to Heart of Ohio.  Erie Shores Council is between Heart of Ohio and the SE corner of Michigan.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Latest word.  


Greater Western Reserve: Headwaters and Grand River districts to combine with Greater Cleveland.  Arrowhead and Whispering Pines to Combine with Great Trails.


Heart of Ohio: Firelands and Great Frontier districts to join with Greater Cleveland,  Harding and Johnny Appleseed districts to join with Buckeye Council.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is the text of an email I received this morning from the Greater Cleveland Council:



Meeting Notice

The Greater Cleveland Council will be holding a Town Hall meeting for all Scouters to discuss the possible merger of three counties currently of the Greater Western Reserve Council (Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula) and three counties currently of the Heart of Ohio (Lorain, Huron and Erie).

This will be an open discussion for any interested Scouter.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 6:30pm.

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I've heard that the new overtime rules enacted this year will cause some problems with councils.  We all know that our district executivies are low paid, but the US Department of Labor has mandated that employees making under $47,476 /year are to be paid overtime for workign hours in excess of 40.  I know DEs are paid low, and work long hours, they'll either have to pay them more and have fewer of them, or keep the low pay and limit their work, but probably need to hire more of them.  No matter what, this will cost councils more, and those already in the red will have an even harder time.

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""It is going to impact everybody because the pool of money is only so big, and something is going to need to change," said John Feick, CEO of Ozark Trails Council of Boy Scouts of America.

It may be hitting a lot of non-profit agencies hard. The Ozark Trails Council says several full timers could be affected, since the agency cannot afford to raise everyone's salaries to meet the new threshold.

"So, we have some choices," said Feick. "We have choices of moving our people that work 50 or 60 hours a week down to 40, which won't work for us very well. Another choice is to create some part time positions rather than full time with benefits."

Some of the opposition for the change came from non-profit agencies, which requested and exemption. They did not get it.

Feick stated, "Unfortunately, for us, it is probably less service. Maybe one or two less employees, potentially. And less service for the kids and the people we try to serve."

The new rules are set to take effect on December 1st of this year."

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  • 5 weeks later...

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