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fotoscout

Utopian Charter Organization and Committee - By the Book or Real World?

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Foto Scout,

 

That was a pretty nasty representation of what I wrote foto. Your verbage was dynamic even if it lacked any actual accuracy.

 

Please site where I posted that 98% of units had stellar relationships with their CO's.

 

You won't find it it isn't there.

 

Blaze made the statement that "the reality is that a lot of packs and troops are running the same as we are", meaning without a committee or a COR. I pointed out that that was unlikely because #1 they can't charter each year with either and because even if the unlkely number of 10 units in every council operated that way that is still 98% of units that DON'T operate like that.

 

So you see we weren't even didcussing CO relationships.

I agree that not all units have stellar relationships, but that doesnt mean that most do not, or that at the very least most have some relationship.

 

Keep in mind, if the relationship is a poor one, the unit is at least 50% at fault or greater. There are no benefits for a Unit for having a poor relationship with their Charter Organization, so whether or not it improves will depend on the determination of the unit leadership to improve things.

 

Im not sure the forum readers need anyones advice on who to listen to. They read the posts and see the difference s in the success, styles and methods of the posters and can make there own decision on what to do with the information shared.

 

It is obvious we differ greatly in our approach to, and execution of the program.

 

I wish you the best of luck.

 

 

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No, Dan, what I'm saying is that yes, I would work with my CO, work with the DE, do whatever I could to improve the program and the running of it. But ultimately I also have several boys counting on the program to run. So, WHILE I'm doing all the admin stuff, it stays int he background, so to speak. I'm also doing what it takes to keep the boys moving and encouraged. And if that means not taking the time to "whine" about it and just "do it," I do. In other words, I make lemonade out of lemons, mole hills out of mountains, put the best foot forward, march onward, chin up, tally-ho! and whatever other expression you can think of! ;)

 

As a volunteer, I have to do it all. Make the program move for the boys and work the admin stuff with the adults! ;)

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Right here is where that impression came from, Bob. Someone please tell Bob this is here since he has me blocked.

Thanks Blaze I am only going to make these last two points to you, because you are at a distinct disadvantage since you are in the thick of the battle it is very difficult for you to be objective.

First. Don't kid yourself that a lot of packs operate for years without a committee, thats just not true. Some do but not for long, like you are finding out, it is a sure fire ingredient for disaster. Let's say that 5 packs and 5 troops in every council operate without a committee, that would be a lot. That would account for less than 3000 units nation wide. That might seem like a lot. BUT you need to realize that is only 2% of units.

So 98% of units do not operate like yours.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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At my church, there are many committees, working groups, task forces, study groups, boards, etc. That sounds like there are lots of people involved, right? Well, when you look at the membership of those groups...it's the same people over and over. It's like pulling teeth to get anybody else to do anything. I see the same thing with troops and packs--sure, there's a committee--it's made up of the same parents who are always around with the troop--maybe the same for the COR. The idea that the committee is going to have a number of people who may not be hands-on involved in the troop, or that the CO will provide such people, is not the reality for many of us, particularly if the CO isn't that big--indeed, if the CO is a church, those people are already on five different committees.

I guess for me, the bottom line is if you can only get four or five adults who are willing to donate their time to a troop, what should they be doing? You can't wave a magic wand and get more people, or get more free time for the people you do have. That doesn't mean you throw up your hands and forget about the CO or the Committee--but I agree that it's pointless to feel guilty if you're doing the best you can with what you have.

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Hunt,

 

We've been lucky enough to be able to get a yes answer from most everyone we've asked to take on a task. It hasn't been hard to figure out who is committed and hard core. These folks end up as active committee members with "full time" jobs like CC, advancement chair, etc, or ASMs.

 

A good percentage of the rest are committed, but don't have the resources (particularly time) to be "full time". Those are the folks we ask to be popcorn kernel, or take charge of the work adults have to do for a fund raiser. More and more, this stuff is being done by boys. I think we knocked the principal of the school out of her seat when a 15 year old contacted her with a request to use the cafeteria and kitchen for a pancake breakfast. She was ready to tell him to go home and get his mom until he had a laminated presentation to show her describing when, what materials we would use, what adults would be there, etc. She called the SM to confirm this kid was for real, and gave her permission. But I digress. At any rate, a big project that has a specific start and end date work great for these folks.

 

The next group of parents are the ones who really aren't very committed at all. We usually ask them to take a task like organizing the boys to clean and store the kayaks for the winter.. A one time job that requires a few hours, and they're done for the year. Most love to be asked to do stuff like this, they can feel good that they're involved without it taking much effort.

 

Every once in a while, a parent wants nothing to do with anything. After a few times asking, if they won't be a part of their son's Troop, we don't bother asking anymore. But I'd say of the 55 parents (if I'm counting right) that we have, 50 of them do SOMETHING for the Troop. If we didn't ask, if we just let the dedicated people do everything, we'd probably be at 10.

 

Sorry to make a short point long, but my point is, if you want someone to do something, ask them. 90% will say yes, if you tailor the task to their ability to deliver.

 

Mark

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Great response foto! At least someone understands the reality of things and doesn't try to beat you to death with so called facts and figures that are of questionable origin. I know as bob says you have to list people to re charter every year, but who hasn't put people on their charter in two hat positions or grabbed someone out of the blue just for a name because you don't have anyone else. It's reality! So sure national is going to reflect that every pack and troop has a committie and cc and cor and co, but in reality they aren't always there! So you do what you have to do for the kids!

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Now, I understand where so many of us went wrong all these years. I thought doing it right was the best thing we could do for the kids. ;)

 

But then I have never had to fold a unit so what do I know?

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I moved my own boys around in 4 different packs looking for what fit our needs. Then I have the boys in a troop. I also do alot of District level things some of which is dealing with all the packs with daycamp and dealing with all the troops in our district for camporee, Jumboree, and helping out at district level recharter, among other things.

 

Guess I've been lucky to have found several if not all of the packs and troops I deal with to be doing their jobs right. No one I know of in our district is phonying up people to fill positions. They may be stepping up to the plate with a shephards crook on their arm but they are in the position when they sign. I'm glad to see that in our district, the boys are learning the right lessons of right and wrong. I'm sorry to hear that others are not.

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Shell, I dont think that anyone, especially not me said that committees were being propagated with phony (made up, imaginary) people. There is certainly no question that committees are being filled with any friendly nearby warm body that can sign the application, ie; spouses, friends, parents and other trustworthy individuals that are willing to offer a favor to help out with the administrative process of completing the charter. I certainly know of no one making up people just to fill the committee. In fact, with the requirement to list Social Security numbers, I dont think that a made up person could pass scrutiny.

 

Bob, its nice to see you back. I thought you blocked me.

 

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When I say made up I mean more like what Shell is talking about. You have to twist someone's arm or you have to use one person with many hats. If you thought I ment we just pulled a name out of thin air and wrote it down, thats not the case. It's just we have so few people step up to the plate that we have to grab people from the back pew and twist their arm to get them to register in the first place, but usually they are only figure heads because if you have to twist someone's arm to do something they really aren't going to be good leaders. They are more followers... which is not what you want in scouting. But then again like I said you do what ever you have to do with what you have to make it work for the boys.

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It takes a total of three people to make a troop committee, if you have to put figure heads in to come up with three positions then you are in deep trouble. Falsifying the charter by pretenting to have those people in no way benefits the scouts or help the strength of the unit and its ability to deliver the program. Dying slowly is still dying.

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Then I misread the post, Blaze. Sometimes I just read things too fast! ;)

 

It's true that it's hard to get people to "step up," but what I've done minimizes that. When I was involved with the pack, I'd pass around a "talent sheet" for the parents to fill out. IF they didn't fill it out, I"d askt he questions and fill in out myself. Then I'd find a job for them, big or small, whatever I felt they'd enjoy doing.

 

And when you go to them personally with a SPECIFIC job in mind, they rarely said no. Sometimes they'd start with "small" jobs and learn that they were capable with so much more. In a year or so, we'd have most of the parents groomed for worthy volunteers.

 

And maybe it's not what everyone does, but in our pack, we had ALL parent register as committee member. They felt that sense of belonging when we did that. And we did require as least one contributiion a year from each parent. It could be one event, phone tree, or a larger position. Harder to say no when asked to do a job. ;)

 

In the troop I'm involved with now, it's a bit harder to do but I'm worming them in. ;)

 

In the largr position though, we never positioned someone up for failure. WE were luck enough to fill the positions with capable people. WE also told them their commitment was for one year, but they usuall stayed on for longer once they realized it wasn't that hard to do.

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I'm new to this site but I would certainly like to ask about the CO relationship. I am a committee member with a Cub Scout Pack that is going through a particularly difficult time with the CO. Prior to this 2003-2004 our unit was allowed use of the basement for meetings and we share storage place with the Boy Scout troop. The CO/unit relationship has been an on/off relationship depending on the senior leadership at the CO (we are chartered by a Church). When it came time to schedule meetings for the year the CO's main office was illusive (the CO had just finished adding on to their building). The first issue was getting any sort of communication with the CO at all - emails and phone calls seemed to go into a big black hole and never reemerge. When we finally got Pack and Committee meetings scheduled we noted that the Blue & Gold meeting was not on the schedule. We were told the CO committee was looking at use policies. About 2 months later (after more emails and calls) we were informed that for the B&G we would have to pay custodial fees (per hour), kitchen use fees (per hour) and facility use fees (per hour). We had not planned for these expenses in our budget and they were not trivial amounts (read here at least $150-200). Our CO rep tried to assist us but was told that was the way it was, too bad. One should note here that the CO's use policies use the Cub Scout pack as an example in writing up their use policies and shows what the charges would be. Currently we are not charged for any monthly meetings (that last only 1-1.5 hours) but the use policy is pretty "gray," a strict interpretation of the use policy would require us to pay for all meetings -monthly pack and committee meetings if the CO so ruled. Our DE tried to help with communications but was ignored until the committee started discussing the possibility of letting this unit fold and the boys could join another unit in the community that had been meeting with us and would fold if boys did not join that unit (the other unit was graduating all their boys from Webelos and there were no new recruits). Then a rep from our CO met with the DE, but after that meeting the DE came out of it with not only would we have to pay for B&G but also the pinewood derby, the DE also explained that our CO was meeting their CO obligations. Needless to say we held the B&G at another facility. The other unit's CO would be more than happy to have the current leadership and boys with them. In the process of looking at "moving" we have been informed that the current CO would have to signoff on releasing us and any funds that the boys have earned (which are in a checking account, with only the unit name on the account) the original CO would have to sign off on releasing the funds. The original CO has never contributed money to the unit, nor has the unit asked for funds - all the money has come from unit fundraising and participating in recycling programs.

The committee has tried to keep this transparent to the boys but it is wearing on our committee chair and leadership - all but one member of the committee has boys that will be graduating from cubs next year and no one really wants to be on the committee given the current issues - which means this unit may fold in another year.

Can I get some feed back about what others think?

 

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Charging for meeting space?

 

Yep, the world has gone nuts. I can understand a place charging outside groups for space, but charging your own groups doesn't make any sense. That is robbing Peter to pay Paul, at best.

 

I would suggest anyone in such a situation find out if you can reach an agreement to use facilities at off peak times and provide all cleaning services yourself. If you aren't keeping them from getting rent, and you are not bringing them any extra expense other than lighting, you may be able to work something out. It would at least be worth a try.

 

All this said, it could be worse.

 

Over spring break I was talking with a leader from another troop in my home town. The church and the troop in that case have had an on/off sort of relationship. I get to hear info from both ends since I know the troop leaders and one of the ministers at the church plays in my mom's bridge group. The church was apperently approached by the government to locate a head start program for spanish speaking immigrant children in their facility. Essentially the deal was that the church would provide the space, and in return the government would provide funds to upgrage the parts of the facilities used primarily for this program, and pay all the operational costs of the program. Now of coarse it doesn't take a rocket scientest to realise that a church giving up it facilities to a goverment program is probably not a good long term idea for all sorts of reasons. Now this affects the Scouts because the space being used for this is what had been the Cub Scout and Boy Scout meeting and storage rooms. The unit leaders recieved notice about the project and were told they had a month to move their stuff and find a way to schedule the meetings in other parts of the building. Then one of the unit leaders happened to run into the pastor about 4 days after they first recieved notice. He apperently commented, "well I guess you guys are moved already" to which the unit leader asked why he thought that. The response was that work was starting the next day. So the unit leader made a quick trip to the meeting place and removed all troop equipment, some of which is now stored in a trailer, and other parts are in the guys garage. When the troop enquired about meeting space, they chuch told them they could use the room on the cubs had been moved too. The problem was the two units both meet on the same night. The church then suggested they could alternate and meet every other week. Obvisouly this is not good. Last I heard the troop had found a room that appeared to be vacant and are simply using it for their meetings, even though the church claims there are no available rooms. I suppose whatever group uses that room will probably turn up and be upset sometime soon.

 

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The relationship betwenn Charter Organization and The Troop or Pack can be strong. The adults of the units should communicate the goals aspiration etc to the Charter Organization.

 

The more from the Charter Organization involved in the unit. Recruiting Scouts and Scouters from the Charter Organization can be muitually beneficial.

 

 

 

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