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Eagle1993

Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

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51 minutes ago, scoutldr said:

Speculations on what would cease to exist if  "National" went away and left it up to the Councils, as some are hoping for:

All program publications. Handbooks, MB pamphlets, forms, etc.

All National Supply items.  Uniforms, branded items, equipment.

Centrally developed and managed training programs.

National Jamboree

High Adventure bases, including Sea Base and Bechtel Reserve

Philmont

So, given that there are already plenty of program publications, training syllabi, merit badge pamphlets, uniforms, handbooks, etc. already in circulation -- not to mention all of the creative program material and guidance that Scouters have been posting on the internet for the last couple of decades -- and given the existence of patch companies, outfitters, local / regional / state / national parks, privately owned campgrounds, farms, climbing gyms, caves, etc., and individual creativity and handicraft skills, . . . 

. . . we wouldn't be losing anything that could hamper the delivery of great unit Scouting programs, even if Councils went away too.

Just sayin'.

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"The Boy Scouts of America national organization is not the Scouting Movement, nor are the local councils. The Scouting Movement is made up of the youth and their volunteer leaders out there in the schools and church basements and hiking trails and canoes and food pantries and local parades.  Families join local troops and packs because they are drawn in by the good reports of their friends and neighbors and a yearning to do something meaningful.  Scouting existed in America well before the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated.

Maybe this is an opportunity to remember that Scouting does not emanate from Irving, Texas, or even from local council offices.  Maybe this is an opportunity to remember that the game of Scouting was originally played with hand-me-down military uniforms and hand-crafted equipment, in fields and parks and meeting spaces open to the public, with one simple guidebook for implementing a simple idea.  That idea is as valid today as when it was first tested in the early years of the last century, and is needed as much or more now as it was then.  And it is not at all dependent upon some corporation's financial woes."

Agree dkurtenbachThis is the direction it is headed, how far it goes is to be seen. Smart proactive councils will be evaluating their exposure to National and what it would look like if their involvement was greatly diminished. Contingency needs to be considered at the Council and Troop level. "The Scouting Movement is made up of the youth and their volunteer leaders out there in the schools and church basements and hiking trails and canoes and food pantries and local parades" - this is scouting agree 100%. Anyone who defends National at this point fail to see this point. Yes, I am fully aware what they provide currently but that is going to change. Bankruptcy can be a "necessity" but it is also a sign of failure.  

 

All program publications. Handbooks, MB pamphlets, forms, etc. could be handled by 3rd party publication co. (probably already is)

All National Supply items.  Uniforms, branded items, equipment. same as above but costs will increase

Centrally developed and managed training programs. this would be more difficult and would be biggest hurdle besides losing HE

National Jamboree maybe held at Council level or regional supported by regional councils

High Adventure bases, including Sea Base and Bechtel Reserve Biggest concern. I do think that most camps/property are organized as "trusts" although they may depend on National for operating expenses. I think big three are also but probably depend more on National than some of the regional camps. Philmont it the crown jewel. If operation/ownership of Philmont is somehow effected by the Bankruptcy and anyone still defends the actions of National in this case, they need to have their head examined. There is no defending that. We will see.

 

 

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"When the founders of Scouting started the program, there were not 2,000,000 members and almost 100,000 units."

And it is headed back. Anyone who defends the actions of BSA National is putting blinders on. Bankruptcy is not a sign that past decisions you have made are fiduciary sound. So somebody tell me how Bankruptcy is a sign that we have competent leadership at the top that are making decisions in the best interest of the Boy Scouts. "Bankruptcy is protecting the assets of the organization" is true but is like rearranging chairs on the Titanic. The honest question that has to be asked is how did we get here. For those of us who really care about Scouting plan for what Scouts will look like in the future where National influence is greatly reduced.

Edited by Eaglein87
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7 minutes ago, Eaglein87 said:

The honest question that has to be asked is how did we get here. For those of us who really care about Scouting plan for what Scouts will look like in the future where National influence is greatly reduced.

Well that is an interesting question.  IMHO it goes back many many years and continues with inept management.  The program at it's core is solid, the overhead execution is tone deaf and not aware of what is actually happening in the trenches.

  • Early 70's - Social tinkering and the introduction of ISP (Improved Scouting Program) that gutted the core outdoor program, in 8 years 40% of Scouts left
  • 70's and 80's - National Leadership handles abuse cases very poorly, and continues to handle them poorly
  • 90's - Some focus away from the outdoor programs and focus STEM and non traditional Scouting activities
  • 90's - Risk management gets to the forefront, BSA is afraid to do the things we used to do successfully
  • 00's - Not fully funding pensions, decides (like many municipalities) to kick that financial can down the road
  • 00's - More and continued social tinkering with the program drives away some membership
  • 00's - Rather than focus on why some traditional units are successful and what draws youth the them, expands into "Scouting for Life" and other non-core offerings, membership shenanigans abound
  • 00's - Early in the new century the brain trust decides that what is needed is a NEW and SHINY National camp, so the SUMMIT is born, 1/2 BILLION dollars later (and counting) it continues to be a giant hole to shovel cash into
  • 00's - Liability insurance goes up, but National is remiss is passing that cost along for several years, really eating into the reserves
  • 00's - The National overhead is not reduced in ratio to the actual number of Scouts, gotta pay the man
  • 00's - Due to various changes the LARGEST group that charters Scouts (20% of membership) makes the decision to part ways with BSA
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2018 what a year,  probably not a complete list

Lost revenue

    - LDS scouts leaving

    - Membership drop from other factors

    - Philmont shutdown from fires

 Added Expenses

    - Abuse and safety lawsuits

    - Girl Scout lawsuit

    - Bond payments for Bechtel?  (not sure of dates)

    - 2019 World Jamboree preparation.  

  What's ahead - new bond issue? victim  compensation/legislation? Federal bailout (Scout's honor on paying it back)? reorganization? National Meeting at a scout camp? President Trump  tweeting "A sad situation." ?

My $0.01

 

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Real scouting happens outdoors.  At the unit level.  It happens around the campfire, at the BB range, on the rappelling course, on the trail, during the last leg of the mile swim, and while paddling a canoe.

Real scouts and scouters will survive without the JTE rodeo, FOS, expensive uniforms, merit badge fairs,  etc.  Not only survive, but thrive.

Edited by desertrat77
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1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

we wouldn't be losing anything that could hamper the delivery of great unit Scouting programs, even if Councils went away too.

Even with the bloat cascading down from national, regional, council, and district professionals, the consistency of Scouting programs at the unit level varies widely. Among these forum threads are many stories of renegade units with errant leaders who defiantly ignore rules they don't like, or arrogantly add their own hurdles, or casually cancel quality by rubber-stamping requirements.

Delivery of a quality Scouting experience happens at the unit level, and it has always hinged on the dedication of volunteers. In too many instances, great Scouting happens in spite of - not because of - the influence of national, regional, council, and district professionals. I can't say I'll miss them.

Edited by gblotter
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12 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

Weird question assuming a worst case scenario.  Could Councils exist and operate IF National went away as a result of this?  Maybe under the umbrella of a central State office?  Would there be different brands of Scouting across the country due to regional political and cultural differences?

 

This has already been happening.  Trail Life split off five years ago.  The LDS church will make their own, and I bet it will follow the Trail Life model of sponsorship.  I have read that the Catholics are considering putting together a Scouting type program for their constituents.  The fracture has already begun.  

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11 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

2018 what a year,  probably not a complete list

BSA's annus horribilis. To borrow a quote ... 2018 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.

Please tell me again how our visionary CSE keeps his job?

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5 minutes ago, allangr1024 said:

This has already been happening.  Trail Life split off five years ago.  The LDS church will make their own, and I bet it will follow the Trail Life model of sponsorship.  I have read that the Catholics are considering putting together a Scouting type program for their constituents.  The fracture has already begun.  

I'm not doubting you, but is there a source on this?

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When I received Surbaugh's letter  (email), it  reminded me of one of my favorite Monty Python skits.  We see two pilots in the cockpit of their airliner, obviously bored on a long flight.  One says, " here we go" and he picks up the microphone for the PA system. He says, "Good morning, this is your captain speaking. There is absolutely no cause for alarm". and hangs up the mike.   ???!!! 

So captain Surbaugh assures us there is no cause for alarm.  I feel the BSA has a 'lotta 'splainin' " to  do, to use another media reference some of us older folks may recognize.  It is sad he has inherited such a bag of expensive worms. 

"All Scouting is local" may have to be the mantra we live by .  Problems:  Unattended sexual abuse scandals. Overly paid folks who might not have been really devoted to the "idea" of Scouting.  Inside folks that did not really know what the ideals of the Scout Promise and Law entailed as applied to "REAL LIFE".  The GSUSA set the scene by not allowing fathers to help their daughters be Girl Scouts. The GSUSA not promoting "outdoor adventure" in addition to "indoor leadership" for their Scouts.  BSA trying to adjust the "program" to match the new kids on the block, rather than staying to what they were good at.  Some faiths not agreeing with the idea of true equality among humans.  Societal attitudes changing.  

I know I have left some things out, but so long as we can provide kids with guidance "on the trail", I think Scouting, if not the BSA and GSUSA and the World Organization of the Scouting Movement as we now see it, will evolve and be there for the future. 

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

Curious if anyone has had any direct comments or feedback from their local councils?  I wonder is the local councils were in the loop before the CSE e-mail or did it just roll into the inboxes at the office like it did ours?

Not sure if the councils will try to do some damage control or hunker down.

All of us got the email at the exact same time the volunteers did, even our SE. The Chief caught all of us by surprise on this one

Edited by carebear3895

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2 minutes ago, gblotter said:

Even with the bloat cascading down from national, regional, council, and district professionals, the consistency of Scouting programs at the unit level varies widely. Among these forum threads are many stories of renegade units with errant leaders who defiantly ignore rules they don't like, or arrogantly add on their own requirements, or casually cancel quality by rubber-stamping requirements.

Delivery of a quality Scouting experience happens at the unit level, and it has always hinged on the dedication of volunteers. In too many instances, great Scouting happens in spite of - not because of - the influence of national, regional, council, and district professionals. I can't say I'll miss them.

Trust me, I am not fan of National. But while I agree with National's bloating ignorance and apparent disregard of the program at unit level, I disagree that program varies widely. Personally I'm very impressed by the similarities of unit programs across the US. Training materials are the primary structure that hold integrity in programs like the BSA. And while we all complain about the BSA training quality one way or another, it does keep the vast majority of the units running somewhat consistent respected programs. Yes, there are renegade programs, but they rarely last past one generation of adult leadership. In fact, one such leader recently on this forum was the SM of three Troops in the last 10 years. He didn't have to lead long before he was asked to move on by the parents who realized his program visions were not consistent or sound (or safe) with the BSA program. 

Truth of the matter, National is the main reason the BSA has the high level of respect from the communities that it has had for many decades. As much as I think National is the main cause of their problems today, I don't know how the program as a whole would manage without them.

Barry

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