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desertrat77

BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

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I see a lot here that is what causes me grief and frustration.  Anyone notice I get frustrated?  :)

 

I was a Cub Scout in the early 80's and crossed over to a Troop in '85 or '86.  I lasted about a year in Boy Scouts for various reasons.

 

2 1/2 years ago my son came out of school saying he wanted to join Cub Scouts because he could shoot BB Guns and camp, and stuff.  School talks did their job.  We went to join scout night and I had absolutely no interest in being a leader when the DE called for that.  It was a few weeks in when I finally decided I better step up.  I did my position training like I was supposed to and then it was pretty much like... go do Den Meetings.  When I did my DL training online I went ahead and did CM/ACM, and Committee Member training.  I took BALOO/IOLS last Spring.  That consisted of me sleeping in the same camp site as the Troop that is also under our Charter.  The next morning we went and sat on a wooden bench for the better part of the day while the instructors talked about things and showed a few stoves.  We did tie a knot.  I also attended University of Scouting last January.

That is the training I have.  2 1/2 years in as a Den Leader and Cubmaster since June I feel like I kinda know what I am doing.  I dropped the Woodbadge course I was going to because in all honesty I don't care that much about it.  I don't care about doing skits with other adults and playing games at this point.  I need practical skills for taking elementary aged kids and their parents that may have never camped before.  One of our leaders over the Summer switched packs because of a number issues, one being stupid committee politics.  The other leader above me spend the Summer doing resident camp and left me to the Pack. 

So here I am, a leader doing most things in the Pack with 2  1/2 years experience with leaders who come to meetings when it there isnt something else going on that day it seems.  Our Packs equipment consists of two Igloo coolers and a yellow water jug.  I can go camp on my own all I want to but trying to figure out how to do it for 50 plus people and make  Isure they are fed and happy with little other leader support drives me nuts.  I am going to UoS again this coming January and doing two cooking classes that day.  I am also really thinking about a stand alone IOLS course just to gain some additional practical skills.  

Its almost impossible to find training in my District/Council unless I just happen to see something on Facebook.  I am not really sure what there is anyway between position training, BALOO, IOLS and then Woodbadge.  I want to do this, I want to make it work, but its hard as hell when there are no resources.  

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You are really dedicated to your kids and thanks for all that you are putting in.

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16 hours ago, MattR said:

Just one idea: within a district, make patrols out of the SM's. 6-8 in a patrol (all from different troops or packs) with a patrol leader. They're in it together to help each other out. Round table is the "troop" meeting and it includes plenty of time for patrol meetings. They talk about what they want to do and accomplish. If they want to do their own camporee then great! They trade ideas. Offer help. It helps the units. It also teaches patrol method. Another idea: Make ranks for scouters, or at least ways to recognize and develop scouters based on their interests. In depth outdoor skills? In depth patrol method? Well, in depth anything that the usual training covers. Just two ideas that came from looking at how the methods lead to the aims and applying that to district unit interactions.

I attempted to start something like this once. It's a lot of work, and I was burned out at the time, so it didn't happen. But, in the little effort I gave, I must warn that patrols of SMs teeter on the edge of becoming the dreaded ego-rich fraternity that so many folks dislike about Wood Badge.

I apologize that I must harp, again, but such a program requires great humble leadership. A leader strong enough to coach large egos, and humble enough to mentor growth. The program requires a Scoutmaster's Scoutmaster. I know of a few and they don't volunteer for such honors because they believe these kinds of positions deserve someone better. The position requires seeking out and recruiting the right person. Otherwise you have nothing more than another adult feel-good meeting that sucks away another hour.

Barry

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Of all the causes for under-performing units, motivated leaders having difficulty obtaining necessary program skills should never be one of those causes. 

I don't think it is a failure of training courses or training frameworks; BSA position training courses (at least over the last few decades) have always been in the nature of an introduction and overview.  The "Trained" patch means "I sat through a training course," not "I have the knowledge and skills I need for the job."  Rather, a lot of program skills were and are acquired from veteran Scouters in the unit and at supplemental training or gatherings.  

But what can we do to help Scouters who need program skills but don't have experienced people right there in the unit that they can learn from over time?  While new methods and forms of "live" training and advice certainly can't hurt, new structures or organizations take time and resources to develop.  What leaders may need is more of an "on demand" training resource.  I don't think the solution is complicated:  (1) Find out if any of your unit parents have any  relevant experience or training; (2) research Scouting publications and the internet; and (3) ask other leaders for in-person help at a Roundtable or through the district email list, newsletter, or Facebook page ("I need to learn wood tools skills so I can teach Totin' Chip.  I'm looking for someone to train me and a place to practice."  "Want to do first aid skill stations for a Webelos den meeting and need some ideas on how to do it.  Anyone I can talk to about it?"  "I suck at knots and want to get a lot better.  Looking for a tutor."  "Have a pack overnighter coming up.  Forty people - Cubs and parents.  Need someone to give me advice and suggestions for cooking breakfast and supper for the group.")

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9 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

 

But what can we do to help Scouters who need program skills but don't have experienced people right there in the unit that they can learn from over time?  While new methods and forms of "live" training and advice certainly can't hurt, new structures or organizations take time and resources to develop.  What leaders may need is more of an "on demand" training resource.  I don't think the solution is complicated:  (1) Find out if any of your unit parents have any  relevant experience or training; (2) research Scouting publications and the internet; and (3) ask other leaders for in-person help at a Roundtable or through the district email list, newsletter, or Facebook page ("I need to learn wood tools skills so I can teach Totin' Chip.  I'm looking for someone to train me and a place to practice."  "Want to do first aid skill stations for a Webelos den meeting and need some ideas on how to do it.  Anyone I can talk to about it?"  "I suck at knots and want to get a lot better.  Looking for a tutor."  "Have a pack overnighter coming up.  Forty people - Cubs and parents.  Need someone to give me advice and suggestions for cooking breakfast and supper for the group.")

This is exactly the reason Districts and DE's exist. To help link you to resources and help answer all of your questions. 

Edited by carebear3895

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6 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

This is exactly the reason Districts and DE's exist. To help link you to resources and help answer all of your questions. 

Sometimes, sure.  But not for things like these, unless the district keeps a pretty detailed Subject Matter Expert directory.  Besides, "self-reliance" is one of the three virtues specifically identified in the BSA Congressional Charter.

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10 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

This is exactly the reason Districts and DE's exist. To help link you to resources and help answer all of your questions. 

I agree, but often this is where idealism crashes into realism. The best DE in our district was first a well respected SM of 25 years. He did more good for our district than and other person I can remember. However, he quit after just a few years because he found the challenge of filling the District positions competent volunteers too stressful. On the other side, the DE who replaced him was a young lad relying heavily on his training because he didn't have any troop scouting experience as a youth. Ironically, he was driven out in one year by the district volunteers for his incompetence. 

I don't really have a point, but I thought this was an interesting story to the idealism of the BSA structure.

Barry

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Our best DE, before our SE eliminated districts, was a Queen's Scout from the UK.  He managed to start several Muslim units in the "inner city."  Best metrics in the council.  Very popular with volunteers. Fired.  Why?  We are not supposed to know.  But we do.  Insufficiently subservient to the ever-changing cast of middle managers.  Cheers!

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43 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I agree, but often this is where idealism crashes into realism. The best DE in our district was first a well respected SM of 25 years. He did more good for our district than and other person I can remember. However, he quit after just a few years because he found the challenge of filling the District positions competent volunteers too stressful. On the other side, the DE who replaced him was a young lad relying heavily on his training because he didn't have any troop scouting experience as a youth. Ironically, he was driven out in one year by the district volunteers for his incompetence. 

I don't really have a point, but I thought this was an interesting story to the idealism of the BSA structure.

Barry

Every district is different, and every DE is different (I've met plenty who had no business being a Pro.)

I often think National tends to forget that. Cookie cutter training will not work. 

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14 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

Our best DE, before our SE eliminated districts, was a Queen's Scout from the UK.  He managed to start several Muslim units in the "inner city."  Best metrics in the council.  Very popular with volunteers. Fired.  Why?  We are not supposed to know.  But we do.  Insufficiently subservient to the ever-changing cast of middle managers.  Cheers!

Corporate BSA does an absolutely horrendous job at training middle managers. When i attended an advance professional training earlier this year, the staff told us that the majority of DE's leave after 6 months because of a poor manager (staff leader as we call them). It's not hard to see why. We promote based on performance (and the only measurable indicator the higher-ups tend to care about is membership growth). So obviously, you have a lot of dudes from LDS and Scoutreach districts who don't have to lift a finger and "excel" because of easy membership. They get promoted and are trash staff leaders because they don't know how to manage DE's in a traditional membership district. I know a couple guys (both have since left) that experienced that in their councils out west. 

I believe I said this before on this board, but it's incredibly ironic that an organization that prides itself of leadership development does an absolutely horrid job of training District Directors and Field Directors. 

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3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I apologize that I must harp, again, but such a program requires great humble leadership. A leader strong enough to coach large egos, and humble enough to mentor growth. The program requires a Scoutmaster's Scoutmaster. I know of a few and they don't volunteer for such honors because they believe these kinds of positions deserve someone better. The position requires seeking out and recruiting the right person. Otherwise you have nothing more than another adult feel-good meeting that sucks away another hour.

I certainly understand where you're coming from. No harping at all. And yet, a few points (while I wait on the potatoes).

First, I just threw this out. I'm open to other ideas. My main point is that the BSA does not follow the model it professes. Consequently their training is hard to believe or get behind. It bothers me when companies don't use the products they sell. The BSA is selling servant leadership. They talk about it, yet they don't really mention how to teach it. They certainly don't model it, not at the national level, not at council (at least not mine), and while our district tries they have little guidance on how to do that.

Next, @yknot is one person that could really benefit from this. He (I assume) is also new, inexperienced, and eager to help out. That's the volunteer the program should be set up for. You've also mentioned that there are fewer volunteers with outdoor skills and I agree, but the BSA has to adapt. The old model, since at least the 50's, of assuming volunteers come pre trained has to change.

As for SM's with big egos, I agree with you. And yet, the worst of those people, that I know, have the worst programs.

Finally, as for having yet one more meeting and wasting time, I agree with you. Anything done would have to be value added. Of course, current round tables are anything but value added, so shaking that up might help. Again, I'm not sure how, I just see a problem.

 

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IMHO the program skills training which is lacking, and sorely needed:

1. Patrol Method

2. Training youth to be leaders.

3.  How to be a Scouter.

4. Advancement as a method, and the process. 

 

all of the above should be specific "how tos" and also include counter-examples.

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On 11/25/2019 at 6:28 PM, RememberSchiff said:

How many mortgages on Philmont and how much equity does the BSA have left in Philmont?

To answer my own question, from the 2017 Annual Report page 19

Assets page 4 Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements($ stated in thousands)

Note 5. Land, Buildings, and Equipment

At December 31, 2017, land, buildings, and equipment comprised the following:

National office, less accumulated depreciation of $19,212

9,301

High-adventure bases, less accumulated depreciation of $30,383

60,300

National Distribution Center, less accumulated depreciation of $6,948

3,409

Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, less accumulated depreciation of $39,273

370,994

Furniture, equipment, and software, less accumulated depreciation and amortization of $79,066

39,375

Total land, buildings,and equipment, less accumulated depreciation and amortization of $174,882

483,379

Depreciation and amortization expense was $21,634 in 2017.

High-adventure bases include Philmont Scout Ranch, Florida Sea Base, and Northern Tier

If I read the financial statement correctly, it appears a $446 million line of credit  mortgage would be the full value of Philmont and then some .  Going for broke?  :(

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14 minutes ago, MattR said:

I certainly understand where you're coming from. No harping at all. And yet, a few points (while I wait on the potatoes).

It's a great idea, and one I would try again if I were back in scouting. 

I've created a lot of new programs through the years and I've learned a lot from them. One, is don't make the program with a vision so complicated that it couldn't be handed over to the average volunteer. The problem with idealistic visions is that generally the gatekeeper of the vision is the creator. And when the creator is gone, the vision changes leaving the program at the whim of whatever. The perfect example of that is Wood Badge. It was designed for the most experience Scoutmasters who were respected for their experience, not their beads. The course lost respect when it expanded to lesser experienced scouters. 

Still, your suggestion is good and worth trying.

Barry

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