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desertrat77

BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

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National must answer the following questions:

1) When did they start using Philmont as collateral for debt (March 2019 or earlier)?

2) Did the action taken in March 2019 put Philmont in any more risk of loss regardless of BSA’s financial situation?

3) What specific expenses was the credit line/increase of Credit line from Philmont used for?

4) What other options were considered?

5) How was the Philmont volunteer committee involved in either the decision and/or post decision report out?

6) What is the status of the other BSA properties?

The decision they made may have been the right one, but their process continues to be poor.  They take input from volunteers they ignore and then seem to tell half truths when rolling out change.  I’m been supportive of many of their changes, but regardless, they have not been fully truthful or transparent.  It’s time for a change of leadership.

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The posts by @RememberSchiff, @Sentinel947, & @Eagle1993 are very well taken.

3 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

No offense, but who is Suzanne Blanchard? How do we know her information is factually correct about the mortgage? What proof does she have to claim Stinnett and Smith, two long time Scouters and volunteers now seek to "destroy" the BSA? 

I'm pretty sure we're seeing high level BSA politics play out online.  Not knowing any of the players directly it is hard to ascertain motives.  However, looking at this as objectively as possible I sense that Mr. Stinnett has simply had enough.  It's not that he's trying to destroy the BSA, but he's fighting for it.  At that level fights can be nasty and so you get quotes like Ms. Blanchards.  

My feelings mirror those of the other posters.  I have been a defender of national on this forum a great many times over the years.  But, it is growing increasingly difficult for me to support their actions here.  We are asked to blindly accept these decisions as good members of the BSA - yet they forget that a great many of us devote hundreds, if not thousands, of hours a year in service of Scouting.  For many of us that service has been continuous over a period of 10, 20, 30, or even more years.  The BSA is a unique place.  About 99% of people who work to make Scouting a reality are volunteers. 

We are not professional Scouters who have to follow because it's our profession.  You cannot simply manage this group, you have to lead it.  Leadership is all about communicating a vision and inspiring people to follow you.  Management is about making effective choices in running an organization.  From what I can tell, the BSA professional style is one driven by managers.  Decisions are made and we are expected to follow.  Maybe that works for professionals, but not senior volunteers.  Someone like Mr. Stinnett is bold enough to take decisive action as a result.

I don't doubt that the senior managers in the BSA are all very smart, accomplished people.  But, if the professional culture of the BSA is really about promoting good managers, then maybe we should not be surprised that the most senior executives in the BSA are not strong leaders of both volunteers and professionals.  Leading an organization where 99% of your staff is volunteer based requires a completely different set of skills. 

I really don't care where it comes from, but we need some leadership here.  As mentioned, I have my doubts that the BSA professional system can produce such a leader - but am willing to be proven wrong.  As mentioned before, today I'm of the belief that the BSA needs to look externally.  Bring in someone with very strong leadership skills and then support them with accomplished managers.  Perhaps someone like a former governor or cabinet secretary.  

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@ParkMan, well said.  However, I'm doubtful that even a former governor or any highly accomplished leader could help the professional scouter corps in its present state.  Individually, there are many great pros.  Collectively, because the pro staff has become so insular and bureaucratic, they'll figure out a way to appear to be on board with the new direction, all the while keeping the status quo.  I think a bigger broom is going to be needed to enact the changes you've recommended.

Edited by desertrat77
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5 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

No offense, but who is Suzanne Blanchard? How do we know her information is factually correct about the mortgage? What proof does she have to claim Stinnett and Smith, two long time Scouters and volunteers now seek to "destroy" the BSA? 

Let's be frank, and I likely speak for most, but not all of this forum. 

The behavior and decisions made by Irving over the last decade has caused volunteers like us to distrust the BSA. Oftentimes, even when decisions are made that I agreed with, the methods in which they were made were not transparent. Membership standard changes, YPT rule changes, last minute dues payments, conflicting or contradictory official resources; Do I need to keep going? Rarely if ever are clear justifications offered. Change can be good, but it's hard to have confidence in leadership when membership do not know why changes are made and what the end goals look like. That's leadership 101. There is no institution on earth that is worthy of 100% blind trust anymore.

It's unfortunate, but with some very real dangers facing the BSA and the leaderships lack of transparency and communications, it's not hard for me to believe the worst when news like this comes out. In all the articles the response from the BSA is telling. 
https://apnews.com/277936941c824110ab626b9f3a1e68de. There only response is, "yes we can mortgage it." No explanation for why, what the expect the outcome would be. Just keep going along... nothing to see here... stop asking questions... 

image.png.37a3e441ca65a417d4b8b2a5cd8678fa.png

It's not a surprise after decades of membership and volunteerism from many of us, that we would have questions and concerns, ones that likely will not be answered. Maybe Irving has forgotten that it's mostly the work of volunteers that builds and maintains the BSA, and the professional staff exist to serve the youth and the units. 

I don't know who she is, but my first thought was one of those upper level muckety mucks that "monitor" social media.  

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2 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

I don't know who she is, but my first thought was one of those upper level muckety mucks that "monitor" social media.  

In an updated FB post she referenced the lawsuit that @RememberSchiff posted on our forum... essentially the request that he file a lawsuit.  I don’t think she has inside knowledge of the situation and is speculating.  

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As of December, 2018, Susan Blanchard was described in a newspaper article as a Scoutmaster of Troop 3752 in Colchester, County, Vermont.  As such, she is a spokesperson for herself.  What sources she has  that allow her to speak to the motivation of Mark Stinnette  I cannot discover, but, like Lincoln, Mark is a lawyer so he must be a bad guy.  😉

"Suzanne Blanchard, the troop’s Scoutmaster, said her daughter Sarah has participated in Scout activities for years because of her older brother. This year, she could finally earn merit badges and officially be called a Scout.

All these girls that are part of scouting families have been doing this for years; they just couldn’t get the advancement,” she said.

Once girls can join Boy Scouts, they’ll earn Scout merit badges and progress through the program to the highest attainable rank of Eagle Scout."

 

Ah, Eagle.   So close, and now this Stinnette guy is trying to snatch it away  due to some concern about some place across the country.  No!!!!

 

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@TAHAWK , please confirm you followed the  link in that FB post to the correct Susan Blanchard profile. There are several Susan Blanchard's on FB.  Thanks.

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2 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

@TAHAWK , please confirm you followed the  link in that FB post to the correct Susan Blanchard profile. There are several Susan Blanchard's on FB.  Thanks.

Can I verify it for him? I looked her up as well, and I would considered myself a pretty good researcher. As Evie O'Connell said, "I am a librarian. " :)

 

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So that group of directors or such is the generation that will give away a BSA treasure.  What a shame.  So much for the Norman Rockwell painting of Philmont.  Soon the yellow KOA signs will be bordering Raton and Cimmaron. 

And Michigan was selling off camps this summer.  Better get your virtual headsets and prepare for "Camp-ins" as we lose our treasured camps.

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Just match up the name and the FB  picture.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157858906783750&set=pb.699923749.-2207520000.0.&type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/zan56

She does appear to be the Vermont scoutmaster in the article. I don't see how she would have any more information than the rest of us.

Edited by Saltface

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4 minutes ago, Double Eagle said:

So that group of directors or such is the generation that will give away a BSA treasure.  What a shame.  So much for the Norman Rockwell painting of Philmont.  Soon the yellow KOA signs will be bordering Raton and Cimmaron. 

And Michigan was selling off camps this summer.  Better get your virtual headsets and prepare for "Camp-ins" as we lose our treasured camps.

Scary times - here's hoping it doesn't come to that.

Again - this is where I'd feel a lot better if we were seeing some clear leadership from national.  This strikes me as a time that our national leaders should be making moves to protect treasured resources and not mortgaging them to pay the bills.

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There are lots of challenges for BSA.  Financial challenges during a time of decreased membership is a big one.

Society changes and what people enjoyed decades ago sometimes goes out of favor.  Look at bowling alleys as one example in this country.  It was very popular when I was a kid and it could be tough to get a lane to practice sometimes.  Now many of them have closed.

Scouting has always competed against other activities.  Will it offer something that draws in enough youth?  We also have the stain of the child abuse scandals.  That doesn't help.

I'm doing what I can to help keep it going.  I'm not sure if national leadership will succeed.

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The AP story linked above says:

Quote

According to Stinnett, the BSA used the ranch as collateral to secure $446 million of debt with J.P. Morgan Chase.

Stinnett wrote that ranch committee member Julie Puckett — a granddaughter of Waite Phillips — had urged BSA officials in recent weeks to recognize Philmont as a restricted asset based on the understandings of all parties when Phillips donated the land.

The same two paragraphs in the Salt Lake Trib (https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2019/11/22/boy-scouts-mortgage-vast/

Quote

According to Stinnett, the BSA mortgaged its legal right and title to Philmont Scout Ranch to the J.P. Morgan Chase Bank to secure $446 million of debt incurred over the past decade.

Stinnett wrote that ranch committee member Julie Puckett — a granddaughter of Waite Phillips — had urged BSA officials in recent weeks to recognize Philmont as a restricted asset based on the understandings of all parties when Phillips donated the land.

The Pittsburg Post-Gazzett reports the language from AP.  Colorado Public Radio uses the language from the SLTRIB article (https://www.cpr.org/2019/11/22/facing-sex-abuse-suits-cash-strapped-boy-scouts-of-america-mortgages-the-philmont-scout-ranch/)  

Just wondering if they mortgaged the ranch for new debt or existing debt.  And if existing how much have they already drawn down?

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

The AP story linked above says:

The same two paragraphs in the Salt Lake Trib (https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2019/11/22/boy-scouts-mortgage-vast/

The Pittsburg Post-Gazzett reports the language from AP.  Colorado Public Radio uses the language from the SLTRIB article (https://www.cpr.org/2019/11/22/facing-sex-abuse-suits-cash-strapped-boy-scouts-of-america-mortgages-the-philmont-scout-ranch/)  

Just wondering if they mortgaged the ranch for new debt or existing debt.  And if existing how much have they already drawn down?

That's Pittsburgh, the only one with an 'h' at the end. But, since the Post-Gazzette no longer runs print -- and hasn't run Prince Valiant in its comics for a decade -- I would not expect it to offer any insight into this one. It could have at least sent a reporter up the street to council HQ to get quotes from someone at the scout shop. It didn't. Frankly, I have no idea why it's running the story without soliciting local comment.

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