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BlackEagle603

Council Pressure

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A local Troop I am involved with has been getting a lot of pressure from the Council to donate to the Council, mostly because the Council is in deep debt.  To the tune of millions of dollars.  The Troop is a small unit, 4 - 8 boys, and frankly, doesn't have any funds to donate.  The Council is demanding $50 per boy for FOS, as well as at least $1,000 minimum from the Troop as a whole.

 

My question is, can the Council actually bill individual units because of their financial screw-ups?  Also, not one professional Scout has bothered to drive the 3 hours one-way to come visit the Troop or Chartered Organization.  The unit is on the verge of disbanding due to this.

 

Any suggestions would be most welcome.

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I don’t think they can physically force you, but they could raise their membership fees instead of demanding money?

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My understanding is that they have no authority over the troop in this regards.

 

Your troop is a separate entity that simply pats an annual fee for the ability to provide the Boy Scout program to its members. They can't force you to pay more money like this.

 

They can certainly try to persuade you to do so as part of the council community - but that's different. The persuasion may feel like you're being made to do it - but it's just persuasion.

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The compromise I've struck is that, once a year, I'll pass along their FOS material to the parents in our unit.  If or how much the parents choose to donate is up to them.  The unit and the CO do not make separate donations.

 

I think it is important for strong units to contribute back to the larger Scouting world in some capacity.  FOS is one way to do that, but far from the only way.

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I'm curious on how the council can be pressuring your unit if no professional from Council has come to visit.  Are they sending out volunteers from your district?  Are they sending you letters that may be ham-handedly worded?  Calling the unit leaders over and over again?  I only ask because I have seen unit leaders read a form letter from Council suggesting funding levels from units for FOS contributions as demands and not requests, and have seen district Scouters come across as demanding when they give FOS presentations. 

 

Yes, you can just say no - they can "demand" but you don't have to respond.  Just because the Council has suggested/demanded certain funding levels doesn't mean you have to give them.  It certainly seems unreasonable to me for a unit of about 8 Scouts to give a minimum of $1,000 to Council FOS.

 

You aren't under any obligation to give to FOS so you can feel free to ignore these requests/demands.  The worst thing that Council can do is cancel your charter and terminate your unit - and I've yet to see a Council actually do that to a unit that has not responded to FOS - plus, the unit is already on the verge of disbanding over this so would it really matter if they did?

 

All of us have felt at one time or another that Councils go overboard on their FOS requests - a lot depends on the temperament of the Scout Executive/District Executives running these campaigns - one Scout Exec may try a soft-shoe approach, another goes a bit more hard core.  We see the same thing happening with volunteers - some are really good at it and some are folks you want to grab by the scruff of the neck and escort them out of your meetings. 

 

My recommendation is to ignore the tone, get everyone calmed down, and just ignore the "demands".  Then, once everyone has taken their deep breaths, look at your program - are you utilizing any of the Council facilities?  Summer Camp?  Local campgrounds?  If so, figure out the value to you and donate that.  Is it worth $25 a Scout?  If you aren't using Council facilities at all, maybe the value is $0 a Scout.  Ignore the Council amounts and donate what you feel is best, or don't donate at all - then move on and keep delivering the program.

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I predict that your council will merge with another and a camp will be sold after they tell you that they won't sell any camps.

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We  have a past SM give a short FOS speech (only if he intends to give)  and pass out the material. We will never, ever let a Council or District rep ever give a presentation because they ramble on and on and on.

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We  have a past SM give a short FOS speech (only if he intends to give)  and pass out the material. We will never, ever let a Council or District rep ever give a presentation because they ramble on and on and on.

 

We do something similar, not with a former SM but with one of our current long-time ASM's who has also given FOS presentations to other units, but when he presents to our troop he keeps it short and low-pressure.  My problem with "outside" reps is not just that they ramble, but the high-pressure approach that tries to make families feel guilty if they don't pony up even more money than they are already spending just to be the parents of a Cub Scout or Boy Scout.

 

I just bought a new uniform (for a total of about $120 including patches and new belt, with shirt and pants "Made in Bangladesh") so perhaps I am feeling even less "charitable" than usual towards the BSA hierarchy.

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We  have a past SM give a short FOS speech (only if he intends to give)  and pass out the material. We will never, ever let a Council or District rep ever give a presentation because they ramble on and on and on.

We had a similar experience so our SM had a scout give the presentation. It was off the cuff and pretty funny. He had bullet points to read from but he got nervous so he winged it based on what he knew. He had everyone laughing.

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