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Cburkhardt

Positive Council Changes during Financial Reorganization

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8 hours ago, ParkMan said:

 As a name - I don't love the idea of a district committee.  I think it's too heavy handed a name. 

I always liked the sound of Round Table.  It evokes the feeling of a meeting of equals.  Nothing top down.  

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3 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

@ParkMan one function of a well run council or district needs to survive... new leader training. Done well. Considering many units at the Boy Scout level fail to properly run the program as things are currently(boring program, little youth leadership, advancement driven, that would only get worse in a more decentralized Boy Scouts. The strong units would continue to thrive, the weak units would get weaker. 

When I evoke an image of what a "professional" is and what I hope it to be, is a person with knowledge gained through education and life experience.  If we took the membership gorilla off our DE's backs, stopped treating them like they are endowment fundraisers, and let them have the time to get out into the real thick of what Scouting is, I could see them being able to lead (or at least be the coordinator for the volunteers who will be leading) training sessions several times a year, at different parts of their territory.  The better pros I have got to know relish being able to go to a campout, sit around a campfire, reminisce about their time as a Scout, or their time with their kid when they were a Scout.  For the first several decades of the BSA, councils were smaller, but it was a fortunate council that was able to have one FT professional.  Some just simply didn't have the donation revenue to have more than a PT person for decades. That person often was the summer camp coordinator/planner/director, the advancement coordinator, the membership coordinator, the PR person, the CFO, and everything in between for that council.  It might be harder to imagine that today with council territories being bigger, but technology can alleviate or simplify many of the tasks, and there also wasn't nearly as big of a volunteer base back then to assist.  

One option that might be worth considering, is to actually have few FT employees, and more PT employees.  A lot of those district level positions are held by a small core of people, but that often is because those are the folks who have the flexibility to create their own work schedules or are retired.   More and more people are having to work beyond age 65, and many are working PT jobs to make ends meet.  The stress and strain on parents of the youth in our program I don't expect to dissipate, so our society is going to have more and more people in that position 30 years from now.  Instead of a council having a FT SE, a FT finance officer, a FT development coordinator, a FT ranger, 4 FT DEs, maybe they could operate with a FT SE, and a handful of PT employees.  PT employees = less expense on benefits as well.

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16 hours ago, ParkMan said:

What about no DEs to work with units?

No offense to our DE friends - but just a hypthetical.  What would it look like if just about all unit support was done by volunteers?  Pros were there just for the really unusual or serious issues like YPT.

This is actually the ideal scenario. "Volunteer yourself out of the job" is a saying I've heard multiple times. 

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13 hours ago, MattR said:

Another idea: What would it look like if the DE's could do what they thought was right, what they hired in to do, rather than chase numbers? I've met really great people that were destroyed by the get-money-or-die directives.

Scouting would be a stronger, larger program. 

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Speaking of DE's and the professionals. 

The local ones have had the bonus helping of BSA kool aid following the Chapter 11.  Now the group is Dallas is "Our National Affiliate", let's distance ourselves from them guys.  All is great, this Chapter 11 thingie is a good step, Council assets will not be part of this, they (assuming lawyers) will not come after local Councils, etc

It's a tough sell, but really.  Also if the discussion is membership and units, they all talk about how the year ended, adding girls, good growth..but no detail about how things shook out after recharter.

God love them, but man, they remind me of candidates spokes staff hitting the positives after their candidate finished 6th in a 5 person race.  

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41 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

It's a tough sell, but really.  Also if the discussion is membership and units, they all talk about how the year ended, adding girls, good growth..but no detail about how things shook out after recharter.

At least for my district/council, the paperwork is really due on feb 29th, so we don't have real numbers until then

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Concerning DE's and districts altogether how about look at the needs of the unit and let that drive how it's delivered.

Different units have different needs. A few are really strong and don't need any support. They can do their own training and run their own program. Most are muddling along and some are new (we hope!). They need help maturing. The goal should be to grow the unit's maturity, just like working with a PL. What does that look like? The current model is training, turn-key program (just write a check and show up to a camporee, summer camp, or a high adventure base), and wise guidance (commissioners). That's the model, which sounds fine to me, but doesn't really work. Am I missing anything?

The training, as it stands, never really helped me. Part of that is my fault but a lot of it is the training was just not applicative to the problems I had. It was a one size fits all approach. I would have much rather have seen stories of how specific units solved problems. I'd rather learn from someone else's experience then read "this is how you must do it."

Another aspect of training is what round table was probably intended to be ( @David CO's comment about a round table is spot on). If there are only 4 units in a city or group of close by towns, then they could meet for dinner and talk about how their unit's are going and just help each other out. No district needed and certainly not 40 minutes of announcements like our last round table.

Turnkey programs are a lot of work for districts and councils. Just one example of what our district might do and might be the future: My council wants to raise the price of camporees to something like $40/scout so they can make $25/scout. So, we'd be charging a lot and not be able to deliver anything close to what's charged. I won't have anything to do with that so we were talking about "10 troops in a field." Basically, no camporee, just set the date and let's camp near each other. Units can organize an event and we'll share. So, this will require not much more than email, or that round table idea, to organize. I don't see a need for MB fairs either, but I always liked the idea of getting a bunch of MB counselors together and encouraging scouts to run around and connect with those counselors to do something at another time. Again, really simple to organize. Summer camp is a council thing and I'd leave it there.

The idea of commissioners, while good, has never worked for me. Just off the top of my head, use the above neighborly round table model and break districts into groups of half a dozen that live close to each other and have a spread of scouting maturity - some new, some with experience, and a couple that really know. Then, round table is just burgers and beer and a discussion of how each unit is doing and how to help them. Announcements is just an email that was sent out. If you don't like your group someone will help you find another.

So, what is the professional's role in all of this or whatever model you'd rather see? (This assumes the numbers gorilla is no longer sitting on the DE.) What are districts responsible for?

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

 

It's a tough sell, but really.  Also if the discussion is membership and units, they all talk about how the year ended, adding girls, good growth..but no detail about how things shook out after recharter.

Does not help when the council office about shuts down the last half of December. 

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12 minutes ago, ValleyBoy said:

Does not help when the council office about shuts down the last half of December. 

Shutting down is the only helpful thing my council ever does.  

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21 hours ago, MattR said:

 And even if it doesn't get that bad it would certainly help make the BSA stronger if it could deliver a good program with fewer resources and fewer people.

My school gets a lot of professional services donated to us.  The largest business in town has a bunch of IT people, and they give their employees some comp-time for donating their services to our school.  This saves us a ton of money, and gets us some highly skilled people (who we could never afford to hire full time).

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Dear Friends,  This posting is about positive national structural changes that might be opportune to implement as a result of the national bankruptcy.  The thoughts being shared about Councils and DEs would get the better attention on the council and district postings and keep this posting focused on the national scene.  I will certainly have some thoughts in reply to the idea that Scouting can continue as a quality and credible entity without a strong cadre of DEs out there.  When focused on the right things, these are our most valuable pros.  In the field, promoting our program and people and doing it 24/7 in a way that we volunteers cannot.  It can be the best, most-enjoyable paid job in Scouting because the rewards are meaningful, readily-apparent and immediate.

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Our typical DE's have less than three years in Scouting, including as children.  They last an average of eleven months, mostly resigning.   The actual DEs may not agree that it IS "the best, most-enjoyable paid job in Scouting because the rewards are meaningful, readily-apparent and immediate."  They have little contact with youth and spend the bulk of their time trying to convince adults to donate money to pay, mostly, salaries and wages.  We had 99  functioning troops in the Cleveland area before BSA arrived on the scene in 1912.

Edited by TAHAWK
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2 hours ago, MattR said:

Concerning DE's and districts altogether how about look at the needs of the unit and let that drive how it's delivered.

Different units have different needs. A few are really strong and don't need any support. They can do their own training and run their own program. Most are muddling along and some are new (we hope!). They need help maturing. The goal should be to grow the unit's maturity, just like working with a PL. What does that look like? The current model is training, turn-key program (just write a check and show up to a camporee, summer camp, or a high adventure base), and wise guidance (commissioners). That's the model, which sounds fine to me, but doesn't really work. Am I missing anything?

The training, as it stands, never really helped me. Part of that is my fault but a lot of it is the training was just not applicative to the problems I had. It was a one size fits all approach. I would have much rather have seen stories of how specific units solved problems. I'd rather learn from someone else's experience then read "this is how you must do it."

Another aspect of training is what round table was probably intended to be ( @David CO's comment about a round table is spot on). If there are only 4 units in a city or group of close by towns, then they could meet for dinner and talk about how their unit's are going and just help each other out. No district needed and certainly not 40 minutes of announcements like our last round table.

Turnkey programs are a lot of work for districts and councils. Just one example of what our district might do and might be the future: My council wants to raise the price of camporees to something like $40/scout so they can make $25/scout. So, we'd be charging a lot and not be able to deliver anything close to what's charged. I won't have anything to do with that so we were talking about "10 troops in a field." Basically, no camporee, just set the date and let's camp near each other. Units can organize an event and we'll share. So, this will require not much more than email, or that round table idea, to organize. I don't see a need for MB fairs either, but I always liked the idea of getting a bunch of MB counselors together and encouraging scouts to run around and connect with those counselors to do something at another time. Again, really simple to organize. Summer camp is a council thing and I'd leave it there.

The idea of commissioners, while good, has never worked for me. Just off the top of my head, use the above neighborly round table model and break districts into groups of half a dozen that live close to each other and have a spread of scouting maturity - some new, some with experience, and a couple that really know. Then, round table is just burgers and beer and a discussion of how each unit is doing and how to help them. Announcements is just an email that was sent out. If you don't like your group someone will help you find another.

So, what is the professional's role in all of this or whatever model you'd rather see? (This assumes the numbers gorilla is no longer sitting on the DE.) What are districts responsible for?

@Cburkhardt - good point.  I'm happy if we want to move this tangent over to that thread.  Perhaps a moderator can help us here.

@MattR - as I look through your list of items, I can't help but feel there's a trend where you see there is benefit to "multi-unit/district" things, but the BSA implementation today is lacking. 

  • Training can help, but the BSA "one size fits all doesn't help you"
  • Multi-unit camping good, but the turn-key expensive camporees not so much.

If I read that right, your observation matches mine.  Units benefit from activities beyond the unit level.  However, the current implementations are lacking.  Your ideas appear to be around the idea that units can drive this.  I'm optimistic that there is a role for a volunteer group pulling these together.

In either model, I don't see a strong need for professionals in this kind of work.  I don't see how it's worth the expense for a professional to do this stuff.  Sure, a professional with the right mindset would be nice, but I don't think it's necessary to pay someone for these tasks. 

You start cutting out the expense of paid staff from these tasks and all of a sudden the dynamics change a lot.  Fees drop, hoops you have to jump through go away, etc.  

 

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Abracadabra, and all your posts just moved. Sorry about the confusion.

8 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

@MattR - as I look through your list of items, I can't help but feel there's a trend where you see there is benefit to "multi-unit/district" things, but the BSA implementation today is lacking. 

  • Training can help, but the BSA "one size fits all doesn't help you"
  • Multi-unit camping good, but the turn-key expensive camporees not so much.

If I read that right, your observation matches mine.  Units benefit from activities beyond the unit level.  However, the current implementations are lacking.  Your ideas appear to be around the idea that units can drive this.  I'm optimistic that there is a role for a volunteer group pulling these together.

In either model, I don't see a strong need for professionals in this kind of work.  I don't see how it's worth the expense for a professional to do this stuff.  Sure, a professional with the right mindset would be nice, but I don't think it's necessary to pay someone for these tasks. 

You start cutting out the expense of paid staff from these tasks and all of a sudden the dynamics change a lot.  Fees drop, hoops you have to jump through go away, etc.  

Sure, if it could work without paid help I'd be up for it. I was thinking of our DE's and all but one do not have the same experience as most of the district staff. On the other hand, there should probably be someone that can get things started or can solve bigger issues. It wouldn't need to be a district person, but that topic would have to go back to the other thread. So don't even mention it here. (It took a while to figure out how to move everything. :) )

 

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2 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

  They last an average of eleven months, mostly resigning.   

Look at this bigshot, being able to keep DE's for almost a year. What's the secret to your retention?  :) 

Edited by carebear3895
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