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MattR

Setting the tone with a new CSE

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If I understand the bankruptcy type spoken of, those assets would be off-limits if done correctly.  Just the way I understand it.  Also, it seems to me that Philmont, because it's listing on the line of credit that has so many consumed, would not be touchable for that reason as well.  But, I am not a specialist, just as I have understood the petulant noise that has arisen.

 

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I’m a bit surprised our new CEO hasn’t sent out any message to the scouts and volunteers yet. Does anyone know if he sent anything to councils?  
 

I’ve been through transitions of leadership many times before and in all cases the new leader would have sent something out by now.  Not a major issue, just a bit odd.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

I’m a bit surprised our new CEO hasn’t sent out any message to the scouts and volunteers yet. Does anyone know if he sent anything to councils?  
 

I’ve been through transitions of leadership many times before and in all cases the new leader would have sent something out by now.  Not a major issue, just a bit odd.

Excellent point.  I haven't seen anything.  I agree, a message is traditional. 

My hunch, based on Mr. Mosby's prior experience, he probably has a message ready but the BSA "newsroom" is taking their time publishing it.  Looking through their archives, the newsroom has published five (5) articles since 20 Jun 2019.  Their last blog post was from July 2018. 

https://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/

Given the tidal waves of negative publicity the BSA has faced over the last 2 years, one would think the official news center of Irving would be a bit more proactive. 

Edited by desertrat77
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4 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

My hunch, base on Mr. Mosby's prior experience, he probably has a message ready but the BSA "newsroom" is taking their time publishing it.  Looking through their archives, the newsroom has published five (5) articles since 20 Jun 2019.  Their last blog post was from July 2018. 

https://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/

Given the tidal waves of negative publicity the BSA has faced over the last 2 years, one would think the official news center of Irving would be a bit more proactive. 

If it's this - I'm not impressed.  National needs to be more aggressive.  As the new leader, now's the time to set the tone.  "Staff, I want a message out tomorrow."

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On 1/2/2020 at 12:19 PM, ParkMan said:

Again - my suggestion is that we focus on the problems that we they need to solve.

To help, here are the positions on that list:

  • Chief Scout Executive
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Technology Officer
  • General Counsel
  • Deputy Chief Scout Executive
  • Asst. Chief Scout Executive of Development
  • Asst. Chief Scout Executive of Outdoor Adventures
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Director of Information Technology
  • Director of Marketing
  • Director of Outdoor Adventures
  • Director of Supply
  • Director of Support Services
  • Director of the National Jamboree
  • Director of the Summit
  • Director of Philanthropy
  • Director of Government and Community Relations
  • 2 Regional Directors (not sure where the other two are)

Many of these I can see would have little to no impact on unit serving people.  (i.e., General Counsel, Human Resources, Development, and Philanthropy).  But for the others, what do you think that their departments need to be doing that is not being done?

Just based on personal observation and some interactions with related services, I would suggest that some of these areas need to do a better job in developing their areas to be efficient and focused properly.  Technology has gotten overall much better, but there are still huge problems with many of its tools and their interface with the core Scouters and even councils.  Still, I also see similar issues within our own council; the difference is that they are generally volunteer jobs, so we have less room for complaining.  Supply is also another area that is being left in the dust because it is not efficient much of the time.  It too is better in many respects, but is not using the best methods much of the time.  Marketing simply seems to be almost non-existent; at least it seems to me.  Human resources again seems to not be doing what its title suggests, at least not on the council level.  That of course bounces back to the salary discussion and where thos dollars might be better used and more directly reach the trench level.  

I really think the technology branch should be working to have some kind of direct connection, perhaps in an open source type of function, with the council volunteer "experts"; there are a number in our area that are truly frustrated with what they see as simplistic responses to issues and ignored by higher level "experts".  How it could be developed to better utilize the ignored or lost resources that want to help is what National should be focused on; broaden the development to vet ideas from the ranks and use the best.  

Supply, besides simply getting stuff to the ranks, should have a serious, again volunteer integrated section to find the best and also most economic, but not "cheap" methods and materials.  An example I could see in this regard would be publications.  Much of it might be redirected to become "print on demand" with perhaps a very small segment of more traditional publication methods.  Meanwhile, core material should be kept in easily edited files and regularly updated without actual paper printing; and most could be available directly to the volunteer levels.  The cost of maintaining this type of setup might be a simply annual fee that is included in the registration costs.  I know if I had to add $5 a year to that for keeping updated forms and requirements easily available on line I would not have a problem.  Obviously, some still would not play well with that, but reality is that is the kind of fee that should make sense to most.  And, very possibly, it could be absorbed if the effort was successful to make these annual costs more stable and directly understood.  As a bibliophile and long term book scouting related paper collector, I would still enjoy having a well designed basic manual and pamphlet design for primary material, but even that might be under print on demand, just with a higher cost.  There is something special about well designed in hand books, and good graphics are in demand, no matter the subject.

Uniforming needs serious work, but mostly in the cost to make.  We have to be missing the boat on this, period.  It should not be as expensive as it is, and I am still naive enough to even think we could find a way to bring our basic uniform manufacture back to our own country.  Related to this should be a National level exchange program that is focused in each council.  Encourage outgrown uniforms to be brought in for someone else to use.  Include a basic cleaning and repair element for them.  Connected to this might be a historical uniform bank as well, since these are also official.  As part of the method of supporting such a service, you might inlcude a old patch offering, made up from what may be stripped from donated uniforms.  Unless these patches are really true collector pieces, they could be ths basis for scouts to start their own collection, as they would be no more than a few dollars, or even less for some.  But that small amount would all go to support the larger service/program.  It also migh actually include camping and hiking gear as well.  Again, volunteers could help in sorting and making sure what is offered is still actually viable.  Really old items might go to a museum of some kind, or be offered similar to the patches.  The worst would be discarded, but as often as possible recycled.  Who knows, there might even be a resource for council funding with some items optioned to the public in some manner.

Much of this, of course, would require serious restructuring of the wasteful elements of all levels of professional people.  As I have often suggested, nobody should not be able to NOT live comfortably on a half million dollars, plus generous, but valid benefits.  After all, at least in BSA, "thriftiness" is supposed to be a focus.  And maybe screening for professionals needs to include their acknowledgment that they DO have a ceiling on pay and its related benefits.  Much of this is simply finding a way to refocus and reinvolve the volunteer elements from the ground up.  That of course would be NOT simply ignoring them or insulting them.  

 

What do I know.  I am old and thought Kennedy was going to take our country to a new level of prominence and honor.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

In the various councils I've belonged to, I've generally found the professional staff (above DE level) to be quite resistant to input from the field.  They are either in problem admiration mode or dismissive.  I fully understand that sometimes the answer is no, but open dialogue is not their strong suit.  One way communication.  This culture extends up to National as well. 

As @Eagle1993 mentioned earlier, this is a definite need for more transparency.

Edited by desertrat77
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5 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

In the various councils I've belonged to, I've generally found the professional staff (above DE level) to be quite resistant to input from the field.  They are either in problem admiration mode or dismissive.  I fully understand that sometimes the answer is no, but open dialogue is not their strong suit.  One way communication.  This culture extends up to National as well. 

As @Eagle1993 mentioned earlier, this is a definite need for more transparency.

As a former professional, and a district/council level volunteer in several councils...

 

 

 

 

   

 

 Image result for nailed it meme

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On 1/4/2020 at 2:30 PM, desertrat77 said:

In the various councils I've belonged to, I've generally found the professional staff (above DE level) to be quite resistant to input from the field.  They are either in problem admiration mode or dismissive.  I fully understand that sometimes the answer is no, but open dialogue is not their strong suit.  One way communication.  This culture extends up to National as well. 

As @Eagle1993 mentioned earlier, this is a definite need for more transparency.

I'll admit - I don't see quite the same thing.  In our council, our professional staff is quite busy.  But, for the most part, the things they worry about are things that most volunteers don't care that much about (fundraising, membership, etc...).

The bigger issue I see is that ownership at the council level really isn't clear.  We don't do a really good job of letting folks know who is responsible for specific things.  So, we have lots of volunteers with ideas that get given to the professionals.  Yet, many of those ideas have little to do with professionals and are really volunteer functions.  Our professionals don't do a great job of making that clear.  

For example - a volunteer will take to the DE about some change that needs to happen with training - that we should hold a specific class at a specific time, etc.  But, professionals really have little to do with training.  It should be much clearer who a recommendation goes to - but it's not because most of us don't know or understand the structure of how things work in a council.

I'd think this is the kind of thing the CSE could instruct his program & HR teams to deal with.  More clearly define professional & volunteer responsibilities.  

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25 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I'll admit - I don't see quite the same thing.  In our council, our professional staff is quite busy.  But, for the most part, the things they worry about are things that most volunteers don't care that much about (fundraising, membership, etc...).

The bigger issue I see is that ownership at the council level really isn't clear.  We don't do a really good job of letting folks know who is responsible for specific things.  So, we have lots of volunteers with ideas that get given to the professionals.  Yet, many of those ideas have little to do with professionals and are really volunteer functions.  Our professionals don't do a great job of making that clear.  

For example - a volunteer will take to the DE about some change that needs to happen with training - that we should hold a specific class at a specific time, etc.  But, professionals really have little to do with training.  It should be much clearer who a recommendation goes to - but it's not because most of us don't know or understand the structure of how things work in a council.

I'd think this is the kind of thing the CSE could instruct his program & HR teams to deal with.  More clearly define professional & volunteer responsibilities.  

Agreed, the pros have their duties.   However, in my travels and scouting experiences, I've seen many pros that are so completely focused on their insular world of professional scouting that they've forgotten or never knew what scouting is really all about. 

I've dealt with several pros who have had nothing but open contempt for anything that happens in the field, and especially toward unit level scouters that called attention to council shortcomings (poor service to units, low quality summer camp, etc).

Yes, the pros are focused on money and manpower but somehow many of them don't realize they can't do anything without the "great unwashed"--unit level scouters and the overworked DEs.  Camporees, timely processing of paperwork at the council office, training schedules, the quality of food at the council camp...while these things seem mundane to pros, they directly impact the things they are chasing most--numbers.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

Agreed, the pros have their duties.   However, in my travels and scouting experiences, I've seen many pros that are so completely focused on their insular world of professional scouting that they've forgotten or never knew what scouting is really all about. 

I've dealt with several pros who have had nothing but open contempt for anything that happens in the field, and especially toward unit level scouters that called attention to council shortcomings (poor service to units, low quality summer camp, etc).

Yes, the pros are focused on money and manpower but somehow many of them don't realize they can't do anything without the "great unwashed"--unit level scouters and the overworked DEs.  Camporees, timely processing of paperwork at the council office, training schedules, the quality of food at the council camp...while these things seem mundane to pros, they directly impact the things they are chasing most--numbers.

 

 

Your list is somewhat making my point: "Camporees, timely processing of paperwork at the council office, training schedules, the quality of food at the council camp."

Camporees & training schedules are volunteer responsibilities.  Timely processing of paperwork (registrar) & food at the council camp (summer camp director) are professional responsibilities.  Getting unit volunteers talking to district/council volunteers would be a good thing.  It would help unit volunteers to understand the path to having an impact on things like camporees and training.  I think the CSE could guide the organization to sort this out.

 

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Your list is somewhat making my point: "Camporees, timely processing of paperwork at the council office, training schedules, the quality of food at the council camp."

Camporees & training schedules are volunteer responsibilities.  Timely processing of paperwork (registrar) & food at the council camp (summer camp director) are professional responsibilities.  Getting unit volunteers talking to district/council volunteers would be a good thing.  It would help unit volunteers to understand the path to having an impact on things like camporees and training.  I think the CSE could guide the organization to sort this out.

 

Actually, I think you missed my point...at any level--unit, district, or council--if these mundane things are not being done, or being done in a substandard manner, the pros should have a vested interest in getting them fixed.

At some point a pro will have to set the right vision, recruit the right vols, and offer the appropriate resources and support so these things get done.  Or it definitely will impact their fiefdom.

The pro/vol relationship dynamic and duty breakout should not be planets apart. 

Edited by desertrat77
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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Your list is somewhat making my point: "Camporees, timely processing of paperwork at the council office, training schedules, the quality of food at the council camp."

Camporees & training schedules are volunteer responsibilities.  Timely processing of paperwork (registrar) & food at the council camp (summer camp director) are professional responsibilities.  Getting unit volunteers talking to district/council volunteers would be a good thing.  It would help unit volunteers to understand the path to having an impact on things like camporees and training.  I think the CSE could guide the organization to sort this out.

 

I agree in the idealistic since, but who sets the vision and who is quality control in the real world? We say everything is local, but on the other hand, a unit can only be as good as the program given to them. In most cases, the best and the worst of unit programs come from the District. I don't know the answer, but I know a unit leader just can't be given the handbook and be expected to provide fun a quality program, especially a cub program.

Barry

Whoops, desertrat77 made my point before I hit return.

Edited by Eagledad

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24 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

 

Timely processing of paperwork (registrar) & food at the council camp (summer camp director) are professional responsibilities. 

I've found pros that don't care how bad their council service is in these areas.  They only deal with peers or those above them.  Vols and vol concerns are dismissed or held at arms length.   Not an ideal way of motivating your leaders in the field. 

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42 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

Actually, I think you missed my point...at any level--unit, district, or council--if these mundane things are not being done, or being done in a substandard manner, the pros should have a vested interest in getting them fixed.

At some point a pro will have to set the right vision, recruit the right vols, and offer the appropriate resources and support so these things get done.  Or it definitely will impact their fiefdom.

The pro/vol relationship dynamic and duty breakout should not be planets apart. 

I think we have a different view of professionals in Scouting.  Professionals do not run Scouting - volunteers do.   We hire professionals because we recognize there are roles that benefit from having someone there full time to do them.

For example - if there are issues with the camporee - it should not be a professional's job to fix it.  That's the job of the district program chair or district chair.  Of course the professional should want to see it fixed - but that's why we have a Key 3.  The professional can sit down with the district chair and district commissioner and bring it up as a concern.  But, like in any organization, the person who's responsibility it is should be the one to address it.

I recognize that this seems idealistic.  To an extent it is.  But, our structure in the BSA is a mess.  Professionals who are doing too much, volunteers who are quitting because they are not empowered, unit volunteers who are frustrated because they expect professionals to fix things or care about things.  You want to empower volunteers - then you can't make them simply the job do-er for the professionals.  

 

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

I recognize that this seems idealistic.  To an extent it is.  But, our structure in the BSA is a mess.  Professionals who are doing too much, volunteers who are quitting because they are not empowered, unit volunteers who are frustrated because they expect professionals to fix things or care about things.  You want to empower volunteers - then you can't make them simply the job do-er for the professionals.  

 

I think you said it all. I'm not going to speak for others, but I have a good understanding of the roles of volunteers and professionals. I believe we have a mess because the professionals are not doing their roles correctly. I'm not saying this from "Us vs Them" reasoning, I just believe professionals are responsible for expectations of the program. And I believe councils have more control for the quality of their employees than volunteers (district) have control for the quality their volunteers. 

Barry

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