Jump to content
Cubmaster Pete

Can a CO profit off a unit?

Recommended Posts

As I stated I often disagree with @David CObut I have to agree with him on this. 

The CO has every right, some would say obligation, to proselytize to the unit. 

But as I said, the CO is not the unit, the Scouts and volunteers are. If you don't like how the CO manages the unit, then move on. Both the unit and CO have their roles, if either side is unhappy with the relationship then they should withdraw.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:
Quote


• Chartered organizations must utilize the Scouting program to accomplish specific objectives related to one or more of the following:
...o Faith-based youth ministry

The above comes from the annual CO agreement.  I would argue if the BSA wanted to stop church COs from proselytizing it would be documented here.  In fact, the BSA specifically mentions youth ministry as a specific objective.  

My take: it seems that this point in the agreement was designed to promote Venturing. (I don't have any old charter agreements to be sure.) Venturing has and does sell itself to churches as a sort of "youth group, plus. ..."

But, as some churches saw troops as part of their youth ministry, BSA figured that would apply as well.

Many of us here think that teaching youth doctrine would undermine their program. The TL/USA folks feel that it amplifies it. One relative feels that he, in fact, has more freedom in his new-found TL/USA troop than he ever did in his BSA troops. I don't know how much that has to do with scouters in that area who emphasized advancement over outdoors, patrols, etc ... and how much it has to do with the lad now being mature enough to be trusted. But, the kid doesn't mind the doctrinal stuff. It makes him feel safe, challenged, and cared for.

BSA allows more variability on that CO-troop relationship. So, serving up doctrine is an option, not an expectation. Thus, we might not see it working in our neck of the woods. But, its a big country ...

Just like with the OP's CO. We don't see a lot of COs asking for monthly participation in other programs/fundraisers, so it comes off as odd. But just because it's rarely done does not mean it can't or shouldn't be done.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

As I stated I often disagree with @David CObut I have to agree with him on this. 

The CO has every right, some would say obligation, to proselytize to the unit. 

But as I said, the CO is not the unit, the Scouts and volunteers are. If you don't like how the CO manages the unit, then move on. Both the unit and CO have their roles, if either side is unhappy with the relationship then they should withdraw.

 

Of course, the unit cannot "withdraw" without the CO's permission. The CO owns the unit. People can withdraw as individuals, and like-minded people can get together to withdraw at the same time, but the unit stays with the CO if they want to keep it.

Even if every single leader and every single scout were to suddenly announce that they were leaving the unit, en masse, the CO could still appoint new leaders and recruit a whole new group of scouts to fill the unit. The CO owns the unit.

Yes, you and I do often disagree. I would say the scouts and volunteers are not the unit. They are temporary participants in the unit. When they move on to do other things, the unit still remains.

 

Edited by David CO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, David CO said:

Of course, the unit cannot "withdraw" without the CO's permission. The CO owns the unit. People can withdraw as individuals, and like-minded people can get together to withdraw at the same time, but the unit stays with the CO if they want to keep it.

Even if every single leader and every single scout were to suddenly announce that they were leaving the unit, en masse, the CO could still appoint new leaders and recruit a whole new group of scouts to fill the unit. The CO owns the unit.

Yes, you and I do often disagree. I would say the scouts and volunteers are not the unit. They are temporary participants in the unit. When they move on to do other things, the unit still remains.

Yes. We have a fundamental difference on Scouting.

Scouting is not about CO's, Councils or really even Troops. It is about the Scouts. The Scout is the heart and soul of Scouting.The raison d'être of Scouting. 

A CO is a mechanism or structure to support Scouting, like so many others; district committees, council committees, lodges, whose purpose in Scouting is to help the youth have a better Scouting experience. 

The majority of the time I see a unit fold or move, it is due to neglect or mismanagement of the CO. The CO does own the unit, which really means the assets and meeting place. I have seen units fold with Scouts dispersing to other units, or moving in mass , even keeping their unit number (which is controlled by the Council) and their history. A CO cannot keep a unit (i.e. recharter) without a minimum number of Scouts and leaders, regardless of what they want.

So if you believe a Unit is a meeting place and assets, then the Unit is the CO. 

If, on the other hand, you believe, like I do, that the unit is part of the Spirit of Scouting, it lives in the hearts, minds and actions of the Scout.  And I would be willing to bet, if you polled Scouts and former Scouts, on what constitutes a unit, all those mechanisms like the CO would fall way down the list, if they made the list at all.

That is not to say that all those mechanisms and structure are not important. In fact, they are vital.

Edited by HelpfulTracks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

 

So if you believe a Unit is a meeting place and assets, then the Unit is the CO. 

 

This is one of the main problems with scouting today, and the reason so many units are failing. The majority of the time I see a unit fold or move, it is because the scout leaders see the CO  as just a meeting place and assets. A CO is much more than that. 

I'm sure the boys in my unit, school, and church do not see the CO as a meeting place and assets. If you polled our current and former scouts, you would lose that bet. They would tell you that the school's, history, traditions, and spirit add greater depth to the scout unit. They would tell you that our faith adds greater meaning and purpose to our scout activities. 

Edited by David CO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.” 

Declaration of Religious Principle

That says nothing about the chartered organization. The term “organization or group” refers to the family’s religious organization, if any, not the unit-sponsoring entity. This is the only guidance that the BSA gives its families on religion in Scouting. There is not a word even remotely suggesting to parents that the group or business providing a meeting place and financial support will try to sneak around and convert their children. Rather, the emphasis is on how “the home” governs a Scout’s religious obligations. It’s sad that some COs blatantly ignore this key Scouting principle in favor of their own narrow self-interest.

Sorry about the giant font. Pasting text does that for me.  ( fixed  - RS)

Edited by RememberSchiff
fixed font
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, David CO said:

This is one of the main problems with scouting today, and the reason so many units are failing. The majority of the time I see a unit fold or move, it is because the scout leaders see the CO  as just a meeting place and assets. A CO is much more than that. 

There is a lot of sense to this.  One of the keys to a really strong pack or troop is a really strong infrastructure supporting the program.  

I see this all the time.  Our pack has changed scouts and leaders two or three times over the past decade.  Because there is a strong organization behind them, they weather these changes just fine.  Strong organizations provide the ability for Scoutmasters to focus on the scouts.  I had a conversation with a Scoutmaster last week who runs a great program, but has  a smaller troop because the pack at the CO is small and doesn't have many Scouts who get through the program.  If the overall Scouting program at that CO was stronger, he'd have a much larger and more successful troop.  If I look around our city, I see this played out time and time again.  Can you do this without an engaged CO - sure.  But, to do it you account for that by building a similar group around the units.

Further, it's good for the Scouts to belong to a troop with a strong organization and infrastructure.  I've been fortunate to be part of such a troop.  We have 30+ active adults who support the Scoutmaster.  Becuase he has strong support he can focus on what to do, but not get hung up on the logistics to make it happen.  We can focus on all eight methods (see other topic) without having to prioritize one over the other. 

Beyond that, most COs have a strong history and culture that can benefit the Scouts and pack/troop too.  Sure, maybe you don't share their religious beliefs, but most COs have a community and culture in their membership that can really help the unit suceed.

Having a CO that is engaged in the unit goes a long way to making that all work.  The whole idea of a CO is to provide for that kind of continuity and permanance.  When you turn the CO into just a landlord, you start to diminish the benefits of having a strong CO in the first place.  So, it's in the best interest to the unit to foster that relationship.  

Can you do this without a CO - sure.  But, the reality is that it's hard and few units would succeed.  So - I'd suggest that we're better off as packs and troops trying to make it successful.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, shortridge said:

...not the unit-sponsoring entity. 

I knew we would get here eventually. Everyone who takes the position you are taking eventually refers to the Chartered Organization as a sponsor of the unit. The CO is not a sponsor. The CO is the owner of the unit.

In Girl Scouts, the sponsoring organization actually is a sponsor. They do not own or run the unit. They just provide a meeting place and support. The girl scouts own the unit. The sponsor is just a sponsor.

It is not that way in boy scouting. The CO owns the unit. BSA doesn't own the unit.

It is perfectly acceptable for people to take the position that BSA should change this relationship. They're entitled to have that opinion. It is certainly possible that BSA might some day do that.

But, as it currently stands, the CO is the owner of the unit, and the CO does have the right to use the scouting program as a part of its outreach program.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David, your correction of a single word does not change the fundamental point that the Declaration of Religious Principle, which all parents and Scouters must agree with, clearly states that religion is the family’s domain, not the CO’s. I will restate with the correct word:

The term “organization or group” refers to the family’s religious organization, if any, not the unit-owning entity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@shortridge, we need to concede that the DRP is intentionally imprecise. "and the organization or group with which the member is connected" is a buzzphrase "not BSA national." If a member [of BSA] walks into the church/mosque/temple/firehouse/club that sponsors that unit, he is de-facto connected to that church/mosque/temple/firehouse/club.

Now there is a culturally appropriate way that one house of worship should treat people who are also connected to another house. But, BSA basically says "we're staying out of that discourse (unless the people are atheists).

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, shortridge said:

David, your correction of a single word does not change the fundamental point that the Declaration of Religious Principle, which all parents and Scouters must agree with, clearly states that religion is the family’s domain, not the CO’s. I will restate with the correct word:

The term “organization or group” refers to the family’s religious organization, if any, not the unit-owning entity.

Actually, that one word does change the fundamental point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, qwazse said:

the DRP is intentionally imprecise

Agreed. 

I would add that a fair-minded reading of the DRP would conclude that the imprecise language was intended to make the terms "group" and "organization" all-inclusive. BSA didn't want to leave anyone out. It is meant to include all who instruct on the subject of religion from the largest cathedrals to the smallest storefront missions.

BSA did not make a distinction between those religious groups and organizations who charter units and those who do not. Both are included.

It would be a mistake to conclude that BSA, in its imprecise language in the DRP, meant to specifically exclude Chartered Organizations. If a CO is a religious group or organization, it is certainly one of the groups and organizations mentioned in the DRP. The imprecise language in the DRP was intended to be inclusive, not exclusive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think all of this, the OP question et al, comes down to a fundamental question of whether the Charter Org Relationship exists for the Scout Unit (and members) to serve the CO, or the CO to serve the unit. To be clear, "to serve" I am NOT defining as subservient as in authority, but as to provide benefit to. Certainly both derive a benefit, but the fundamental question I posited is to distinguish the primary. Just like us scouters derive a benefit (smiles, etc...) from volunteering but our volunteering is primarily to benefit the scouts.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

I think all of this, the OP question et al, comes down to a fundamental question of whether the Charter Org Relationship exists for the Scout Unit (and members) to serve the CO, or the CO to serve the unit. To be clear, "to serve" I am NOT defining as subservient as in authority, but as to provide benefit to. Certainly both derive a benefit, but the fundamental question I posited is to distinguish the primary. Just like us scouters derive a benefit (smiles, etc...) from volunteering but our volunteering is primarily to benefit the scouts.

Good question. Does a boy join scouting to be served by his community, or does he join to provide service to the community? If the boy has the right attitude, would say it is a bit of both.

Isn't a scout leader helping the boy while he is helping the boy to serve his community?

Edited by David CO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, the answer to the OPs question is on the CO; are they sponsoring the unit to get served, or to serve the community by providing a youth program of values. I honesty don’t know of a CO with the intention of being served. I know of a few that expect the units to provide a service now and then for the purpose of exposing their scouts to the CO members. I have seen that get out of hand. That’s typical in units that don’t have a working relationship with the CO. And that’s as much on the CO as the unit. 

Maybe National should consider some CO relationship training for unit leaders. I remember one church kicking out their unit because it was managed so badly. They had been the CO of that unit for 80 years. A few years later the following CO also considered removing that unit with the same unit leadership. They were just terrible leaders who allowed some embarrassing behavior.

As for the CO having a vision for the unit, it’s very common for churches around here to consider the unit as part of their youth program. Not many set strict rules on the unit because it’s an outreach, but some do. I’ve never heard anyone being offended by it. 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×