Jump to content
Jameson76

What are the BSA priorities??

Recommended Posts

The unit should set its own priorities provided operations conform to the BSA program.  Some folks are very community/service focused, and are big on visiting historic sites, and participating in patriotic ceremonies.  Others units may be into old school outdoor stuff, while others are trail preppies.   Some folks are fixated on inclusivity......Other units may struggle to achieve the most basic tasks, e.g. communicating via email or phone.

I believe there is enough leeway to run a good program even if/when National strays.  No need to blame national for our own failures or mental illness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

From a peak of 6.5 million Scouts in 1972, membership declined to a low of 4.3 million in 1980.

 

14 hours ago, Onslow said:

The unit should set its own priorities provided operations conform to the BSA program. 

BSA seems to be at some kind of organizational crossroads as a result of membership standards changes, litigation over past sexual abuse, and financial difficulties.  Given the uncertainty and BSA's needs -- membership, in particular -- I think it is fair to consider changing the organizational level within BSA that determines what members will be doing and how they will be doing it.  That is, the level of the organization that decides on specific details of programs (such as individual rank or activity requirements), membership eligibility (age, sex, belief), and individual unit organization (for example, separate boy/girl dens and troops versus fully co-ed).  In our hyper-litigious society, there have to be some nationwide standards in critical areas such as youth protection and physical safety.  But Scouting as a program lives or dies at the local unit level.  Maybe it is time for BSA National to restrict itself to areas that have to have nationwide uniformity, but otherwise just set some general program goals and boundaries ("must haves" and "no-nos").  Within those boundaries allow local Chartered Organizations, Scout leaders, and Scouts to adapt and experiment based on local conditions, with the approval of local Councils.   Train 'em, Trust 'em, Let 'em Lead.   Give units the leeway to do what works for them within the framework of the greater BSA program.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our Council Executive:

"Traditional Scouting does not work today."

"Scouters are not happy with the quality of our training.  We need to cut back on training."   (Apply that logic to meals at Summer Camp.)

 

Eliminated FOS ?("Why should we have to ask every year?) in favor of a program where "friends of Scouting" are asked to authorize monthly automatic withdrawals from a bank account - like automatic bill paying for cell phone service.  General fund raising down 1/3 year over year.

Eliminated districts and set up "Service Areas" run by "professionals,"  typically with under two years involvement in Scouting.  Roundtable attendance down 45%, and falling. Ninety minutes of announcements and fund raising does not seem especially attractive.

 

I do agree that there is absolutely no reason to blame National for all our problems.

Share this post


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

Eliminated FOS ?("Why should we have to ask every year?) in favor of a program where "friends of Scouting" are asked to authorize monthly automatic withdrawals from a bank account - like automatic bill paying for cell phone service.  General fund raising down 1/3 year over year.

Yes, imagine if a credit card and email address become required to join...billed monthly with automatic renewal :(

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

Our Council Executive:

"Traditional Scouting does not work today."

"Scouters are not happy with the quality of our training.  We need to cut back on training."   (Apply that logic to meals at Summer Camp.)

Eliminated FOS ?("Why should we have to ask every year?) in favor of a program where "friends of Scouting" are asked to authorize monthly automatic withdrawals from a bank account - like automatic bill paying for cell phone service.  General fund raising down 1/3 year over year.

Eliminated districts and set up "Service Areas" run by "professionals,"  typically with under two years involvement in Scouting.  Roundtable attendance down 45%, and falling. Ninety minutes of announcements and fund raising does not seem especially attractive.

Sounds like that Council Executive has given up.  Of course traditional Scouting still works -- at the unit level, if you have leaders who know what they are doing and an active program, especially an active outdoor program.  Traditional Scouting isn't working nearly as well at organizational levels above the unit because the layers of bureaucracy above the unit level aren't adding much value to unit Scouting and instead are a drag on the movement.

 

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

Sounds like that Council Executive has given up.  Of course traditional Scouting still works -- at the unit level, if you have leaders who know what they are doing and an active program, especially an active outdoor program.  Traditional Scouting isn't working nearly as well at organizational levels above the unit because the layers of bureaucracy above the unit level aren't adding much value to unit Scouting and instead are a drag on the movement.

 

Program, program, program!

Sounds like that Council Exec is a big waste of space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He was once a "rising star," but came a cropper elsewhere.  We are a last chance posting for ambitions to rise to, or very near, the top.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/16/2019 at 9:31 PM, dkurtenbach said:

Sounds like that Council Executive has given up.  Of course traditional Scouting still works -- at the unit level, if you have leaders who know what they are doing and an active program, especially an active outdoor program.  Traditional Scouting isn't working nearly as well at organizational levels above the unit because the layers of bureaucracy above the unit level aren't adding much value to unit Scouting and instead are a drag on the movement.

 

Problem is, traditional Scouting, in the sense of the Outdoor Program,  was down-graded before today's typical Scoutmasters were born.  So even those with experience as Scouts experienced a watered-down version.  The typical Scoutmaster lasts less than a year.

Through training, they had a shot at learning what is no longer in the literature - exciting outdoor program and the Patrol Method, our "essential method." 

The time allocated to training unit adults has been sharply reduced over years since the "improved Scouting Program" savaged our youth AND adult membership numbers.  What was an "outdoor weekend" for unit adults (Fri night - Sunday afternoon) is now a single day, and slightly more program material used to get a six-day "week" called "Wood Badge'" - Scoutcraft through First Class (until 1972). 

Leadership at the council level is given to "good Scouters" = $$$$$$$$$$$$, whether they are even interested in leading training or not.

Add council leadership whose "logic" is that less of a thing is the solution for poor quality., and the knowledge is dying out.  If computer stuff was attractive, it might not matter.  The objective is to attract youth.  But Scout computing seems as popular as Scout Soccer - not too.  

This financial maneuver is all over the internet, but BSA says only:  “Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) renewed and revised certain credit facilities through a process approved by our National Executive Board.” The spokesperson also said, “We will not be providing additional commentary.”

I once lawyered for the Erie-Lackawanna  Rd.  It was in terrible financial condition for a variety of reasons, having filed for bankruptcy protection in 1972.   My employer at the time had been appointed by the Bankruptcy Court to defend litigation of various sorts.  One day in  early 1976, I called the EL offices on business, and no one answered the phone.  I tried other numbers with the same result. I walked over to the EL headquarters offices, and the lights were on but no one was there.  Cups half-filled with cold coffee and last week's newspapers (including copies of the Cleveland Press, itself dead by 1982) gave clues to the timing of the abandonment of the EL's offices.  After that, it existed only as a legal fiction for a few more years - entries  in Bankruptcy records.     Portions were folded into Conrail.  Change is inevitable.  Sometimes change is improvement.  

 

 

Edited by TAHAWK
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


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

Problem is, traditional Scouting, in the sense of the Outdoor Program,  was down-graded before today's typical Scoutmasters were born.  So even those with experience as Scouts experienced a watered-down version.  The typical Scoutmaster lasts less than a year.

Through training, they had a shot at learning what is no longer in the literature - exciting outdoor program and the Patrol Method, our "essential method." 

The time allocated to training unit adults has been sharply reduced over years since the "improved Scouting Program" savaged our youth AND adult membership numbers.  What was an "outdoor weekend" for unit adults (Fri night - Sunday afternoon) is now a single day, and slightly more program material used to get a six-day "week" called "Wood Badge'" - Scoutcraft through First Class (until 1972). 

I respect your passion on this, but we're never going to get anywhere in building Scouting back up again if all we do is simply bemoan what once was.

I think the biggest thing that impacts our outdoor program is the fact that we're a few generations away from a time when most adults served in the military. 

1 hour ago, TAHAWK said:

Leadership at the council level is given to "good Scouters" = $$$$$$$$$$$$, whether they are even interested in leading training or not.

Add council leadership whose "logic" is that less of a thing is the solution for poor quality., and the knowledge is dying out.  If computer stuff was attractive, it might not matter.  The objective is to attract youth.  But Scout computing seems as popular as Scout Soccer - not too.  

I'm not sure what council you're in, but I'm in a pretty big one.  There's no-one on our council training committee or any of our program committees that got there through a big check. They are all experienced Scouters who showed an interest and networked enough to be asked.  The Council Board - sure, those guys are there because of money.  But, our council board is way more about raising money for the program than it is about anything to do with the program itself.  

So, instead of talking about whether Wood Badge should use the "old school" approach or whether council boards should be composed of "grey beard" scouters, I would encourage us to focus on specific, measurable things we can do as volunteers.  

Edited by ParkMan
expanded the thought
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The question is::  Given that Scouting actually happens at the local unit level, what value is actually provided by the layers of corporate bureaucracy at the Council level and above?  I would suggest:

  •  Liability insurance protecting Scout leaders when claims are made against them
  •  Medical insurance protecting Scouts and other participants injured in Scouting activities
  •  Uniform youth protection and conduct policies
  •  Adult applicant background checks, screening, reporting, and enforcement of conduct policies
  •  Uniform health and safety policies, incident reporting, and research
  •  Relationships with local, state, and national agencies and organizations that can enhance Scouting programs
  •  Scouting news and policy publications and communications
  •  Local Scout properties available year-round for camping, hiking, campfires, and other basic Scouting outdoor activities 

And that's about it.  We need an insurance agency, a disciplinary unit, communications office, and camps with Rangers to maintain them.  Uniform nationwide programming decisions that bind everyone make the entire program vulnerable to a single mistake or misjudgment at the national level -- or a series of them -- that can drag the whole organization over a cliff.   

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

×