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FrankBoss

Am I the only one?

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25 minutes ago, MattR said:

But if half the troops/crews in your district decide to join you then you've got something.

That's just it though, we have limited free time so we must choose to fix those things where we can maximize our impact. No successful troops in my district will even touch a district/council position. It is just not worth the time and effort.

I wish I lived in a different area. I would love to volunteer. But having lived here and experienced this since 2003 there is nothing that is going to change. The platitudes of "it starts with a single step" and "you must be the change you wish to see" are all well and good...and we apply that...to our UNIT.

I'd have to be insane to event attempt to try again with our district. I'd love the hours and weeks back I already gave them. But nothing will change here. I wish you luck in your area. Let me know where that is...I might retire there.

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1 hour ago, Col. Flagg said:

But you can't change anything at the district or council level. Why? Old Men's and Women's Club. The WB'ers run everything and if you're not a WB'er then your ideas stink. Or you volunteer, spend hours getting your good ideas put together and supported by the unit only to have some district or council leader poo-poo the idea and literally force you to do it their way. I could go on and on and on.

So that's why many of us, myself included, have stopped doing anything for the district. They are like parasites. They will latch on to you and drain you of your energy without any benefit to you or your unit. So I choose to focus on my unit and make it as good as it can be.

I am sure there are good councils and districts out there. I am not fortunate enough to live in one of those areas. Having tried repeatedly to help "fix" things, I realize it is a futile effort and not worth my time and effort.

 

Sadly my first district was like that. No knots or beads, you were ignored. Fortunately a friend with knots and beads was on the committee, and would repeat my ideas a little later and they were brilliant. We both got a laugh about that.

 

In my neck of the woods, over the past 20 years we have declined. partially due to the "In School Scouting units." But once that mess was cleaned up, we have continued to decline. Of the traditional that were around when quit being a DE:

 all  4 of the units I started no longer exist, (2 packs and 2 troops)

4 additional packs folded

 2 troops folded

2 packs switched COs (1 prior to DALE, the other after the membership policy changed)

1 troop switched COs (troop affiliated with a pack above)

 

As for district committee, it is a joke. Last comm. meeting was 2 people: me and the DE. We don't really have anyone else. We lost a loty of support with the membership policy change. And no one is stepping up to the plate. To make matter worse, we share a DE with another district. I already tendered my resignation on the committee: may 3rd,

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1 hour ago, Col. Flagg said:

That's just it though, we have limited free time so we must choose to fix those things where we can maximize our impact. No successful troops in my district will even touch a district/council position. It is just not worth the time and effort.

I wish I lived in a different area. I would love to volunteer. But having lived here and experienced this since 2003 there is nothing that is going to change. The platitudes of "it starts with a single step" and "you must be the change you wish to see" are all well and good...and we apply that...to our UNIT.

I'd have to be insane to event attempt to try again with our district. I'd love the hours and weeks back I already gave them. But nothing will change here. I wish you luck in your area. Let me know where that is...I might retire there.

We went through a period of district dysfunction.  Some SPLs got together and planned multi-troop campouts with learning events and intrapatrol competition.  Soon the district events were all boy planned.

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1 hour ago, Col. Flagg said:

That's just it though, we have limited free time so we must choose to fix those things where we can maximize our impact. No successful troops in my district will even touch a district/council position. It is just not worth the time and effort.

I wish I lived in a different area. I would love to volunteer. But having lived here and experienced this since 2003 there is nothing that is going to change. The platitudes of "it starts with a single step" and "you must be the change you wish to see" are all well and good...and we apply that...to our UNIT.

I'd have to be insane to event attempt to try again with our district. I'd love the hours and weeks back I already gave them. But nothing will change here. I wish you luck in your area. Let me know where that is...I might retire there.

I'm not saying fix the district. I'm saying ignore them and work around them, much like what @TAHAWK saw. I'm not talking first step, I'm talking only step. Make the world a little better. Get a couple of SPLs together to plan their own events. If your PLC is up for helping another troop have an ASPL work with an SPL from another troop that would like to see how to do it right.

I'm in Northern Colorado. We're wondering when our council is going to get folded into the Denver Area Council (they have big donors). Our council is so broke they're thinking of having weddings at our scout camp. Imagine the bride, at the outhouse. Yeah, this is really going to happen. I have no idea what the Denver council is like.

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1 minute ago, MattR said:

I'm not saying fix the district. I'm saying ignore them and work around them, much like what @TAHAWK saw. I'm not talking first step, I'm talking only step. Make the world a little better. Get a couple of SPLs together to plan their own events. If your PLC is up for helping another troop have an ASPL work with an SPL from another troop that would like to see how to do it right.

Yup, we've been doing that for a long while now. We invite troops and packs to camp with us, offer our OA team for crossovers and other events, put on events for packs and even host inter-troop competitions where the patrols compete en masse rather than troop v. troop. This has been very successful on a number of fronts for us.

1 minute ago, MattR said:

I'm in Northern Colorado. We're wondering when our council is going to get folded into the Denver Area Council (they have big donors). Our council is so broke they're thinking of having weddings at our scout camp. Imagine the bride, at the outhouse. Yeah, this is really going to happen. I have no idea what the Denver council is like.

I know your council well if it is the one I am thinking of. Love BDSR. Great camp. I'd flippin' move there in a heartbeat.

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4 hours ago, Col. Flagg said:

But you can't change anything at the district or council level. Why? Old Men's and Women's Club. The WB'ers run everything and if you're not a WB'er then your ideas stink. Or you volunteer, spend hours getting your good ideas put together and supported by the unit only to have some district or council leader poo-poo the idea and literally force you to do it their way. I could go on and on and on.

So that's why many of us, myself included, have stopped doing anything for the district. They are like parasites. They will latch on to you and drain you of your energy without any benefit to you or your unit. So I choose to focus on my unit and make it as good as it can be.

I am sure there are good councils and districts out there. I am not fortunate enough to live in one of those areas. Having tried repeatedly to help "fix" things, I realize it is a futile effort and not worth my time and effort.

I cannot say you are completely wrong, though maybe over generalizing. Every district/council has their problem children (errmmm adults). But I am willing to wager that every district/council also has people willing to figure out how to get around the problem folks and make things work for the youth.

I hold positions in two districts (my home district and inner city), the council and lodge as well. There are absolutely people that are problems, but I generally try to avoid those folks and work around them for what I need. I can tell you, everything I and those working with me do, is meant to improve the experience for the youth. Not all of it is directly aimed at the youth, but it sure is aimed at improving their experience. I also manage to stay active with my unit as well. BTW, I am an evil Wood Badger too!

The point is that I know there are people who will make doing things tough, I try to ignore them and move forward. There are times I bite my tongue till it bleeds, and times I don't (but probably should have).

I think of it like a river, when it starts to dry up, there is a lot of garbage around the banks. And like water, sometimes we have to look for the paths of least resistance. Once you find people of like minds who want to see what is best for the youth,  join up with them (interestingly, it is often the youth themselves). When people realize what is happening is good for the youth they come along. All of a sudden the water is cutting the path with the youth out front, and not looking for the path of least resistance. When the water gets flowing, the momentum of the water just pushed all the garbage away.

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On 2/2/2018 at 3:03 PM, Col. Flagg said:

My council/district also focuses on the high-revenue events for cubs and families.

I'm curious because I haven't much experience with council -- what does a high revenue event look like?   Our events seem mostly reasonably priced.

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55 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

I cannot say you are completely wrong, though maybe over generalizing. Every district/council has their problem children (errmmm adults). But I am willing to wager that every district/council also has people willing to figure out how to get around the problem folks and make things work for the youth.

Well all that you say has been tried. Over and over again, I might add. The results has been that those with the energy and ideas have focused on their units instead. This is what happens when you have a group of people that continue to rotate leadership among themselves and people "like them" or that they value. As they all rose through the ranks they left a trail of animosity and ill-will in their wake, so when it came time to backfill and get new blood in no one -- and I mean no one -- wants to take a chance. They had to bring several WB'ers out of retirement to run the district for the last 5 years. They keep asking and cajoling those they've used or abused to come help but we nicely decline and focus on our units and our guys.

The program still gets rolled out and kids get supported. The community loves these units and we (the units) work together, it's just in an informal way that does not require RTs or WB or inane meetings with no purpose to waste our time.

 

3 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

I'm curious because I haven't much experience with council -- what does a high revenue event look like?   Our events seem mostly reasonably priced.

Any cub event, FOS and this silly council-wide event we have that is car camping on steroids.

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The reoccurring theme I see here is the atrophying of our district committees.  I imagine this extends to the commissioner staffs.  

I'm guessing that there probably wasn't ever a time when there was a nation full of well formed district committees devoid of politics and personalities.  But, I am guessing that something happened 20 years ago that has led to a slow erosion of them.  What that is I don't know.  I'm not entirely sure it matters.

The point is that we're at this point where district committees are struggling.  That leads to what I see,in my community - irregular troop program quality, poor recruiting, poor community events, etc.  Everyone is focused on their own unit.

I'm still of the belief that the way out of this is through us volunteers building back up those district committees and the unit commissioner staffs.  They are still the most logical way to focus on strengthening Scouting across a larger community.  Create good community events.  Increase the ability of packs, troops, and crews to recruit kids and grow.  Improve the quality of training and as a result the delivery of program.

I'm guessing that's how it worked in the early days of Scouting when the program grew rapidly.

 

 

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Our district announces (for the first time) a planning meeting by email 3 hours before it starts and then the next day an angry scathing email goes out chewing everyone out for not showing up. . . and that has happened more than once.

Our district cancels the district camporee 4 hours after it was suppose to start, by email,  because of "weather",  (Weather was clear with a night time low of 51 and day time high of 83, the ground is dry)  They have canceled the district camporee, 3 years in a row now because of "weather".

District reps doing the FOS thing make it well known that they do not like outdoorize stuff and do not camp, at our blue and gold.

I do my best to ignore district as much as possible and just help out the local troop and pack. 

 

Edited by cocomax

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Maybe it's a bit like the Golden Rule.  You send out a scathing email and you get scathing silence in return. 

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5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

The reoccurring theme I see here is the atrophying of our district committees.  I imagine this extends to the commissioner staffs.  

I'm guessing that there probably wasn't ever a time when there was a nation full of well formed district committees devoid of politics and personalities.  But, I am guessing that something happened 20 years ago that has led to a slow erosion of them.  What that is I don't know.  I'm not entirely sure it matters.

The point is that we're at this point where district committees are struggling.  That leads to what I see,in my community - irregular troop program quality, poor recruiting, poor community events, etc.  Everyone is focused on their own unit.

I'm still of the belief that the way out of this is through us volunteers building back up those district committees and the unit commissioner staffs.  They are still the most logical way to focus on strengthening Scouting across a larger community.  Create good community events.  Increase the ability of packs, troops, and crews to recruit kids and grow.  Improve the quality of training and as a result the delivery of program.

I'm guessing that's how it worked in the early days of Scouting when the program grew rapidly.

 

 

Five years ago our then SE decided to combine our six thinly-manned districts into two -- and to not ask any of the incumbent district office holders to serve in the new districts.  Since then, my district has had in five years:

18 months of functioning District Commissioner

1 year of Training Chairman

2 years of Cub Training Coordinator

18 months of Scout Training Coordinator

No roundtable Chair

No Cub Roundtable Chair

No Scout Roundtable Chair

No functioning District Chair

18 months of membership Chair

3 years of Advancement Chair 

10 different council employees with various titles, DEs DDs Lead DEs.  We had, at obe time, five on paper, but no more than two have ever been in place.  They just canned the one we have had lately.  He was much liked by the mere volunteers.

Now, the present SE has decided to eliminate districts in favor of "Pods," whatever those might be.  The incumbent district leadership tells me it has been ignored in all respects, including being told when the axe will fall - again.  So they meet and plan activities that may never take place. Great and dedicated people. I think of them when I read here about how useless they are as a class. 

Perhaps the District Chair, being a "community leader," knows something, but as he does not communicate with those actually doing things, that would have no effect.

 

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If something is dying out like districts why do we think bringing them back or recessitating them is a good thing. Maybe there is a better way and maybe it’s pods or maybe it isn’t. Things die for a reason and when they die all over at the same time that might be a sign that they don’t work anymore.  

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Just an observation: Is the organization "falling apart" because of the change in program or was the change in program meant to shore up a failing administrative structure?  I don't hear anyone addressing these issues.  Yes they take sides, the admin is bad/good, but what, if anything, is being done to identify and address the issues?  Whatever is not being done "at the top" leaves the heavy lifting at "the bottom" that much worse. 

1) You have a boy (girl) in scouts.

2) You are expected to help out.  It is "volunteer...or else!" arm-twist

3) You are required to take training. Which is deemed mediocre at best.

4) The quality of the program is totally dependent on you, and you will be held accountable through guilt.

6) Don't expect any support from the "higher ups", they are money-hungry liars at best.

And then everyone stands around, scratching their heads, wondering why things are falling apart......  

For me, it's a bit difficult to get fired up about getting through #2

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While that's not my personal experience as a volunteer, you've summed up this forum fairly well of late, IMO.

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