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Suggest Councils that should be Combined


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6 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

Either the program isn't that great after all, or the stewards and guides of the program over the years broke it.  

Both.

Scouting has always been a game with a purpose.  It's a good game.  It's a good purpose.  But scouting has never been this all-important, world changing movement that many die-hard scouters keep imagining.  The stewards and guides of the program broke it by giving it this inflated sense of greatness.  They encouraged adults to treat scouting like some sort of religious cult.  It is not at all surprising that child sexual abuse (and a cover up) arose out of this mentality.  Sexual abuse often occurs in cults, or cult like organizations.

Many people still fail to understand that this cult-like attitude is what created the problem.  Their cult-like devotion to scouting is what perpetuates the problem.  They see themselves as the solution, but they are actually the problem.

 

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1000% agree. Unless I'm missing something, it would be incredibly stupid for councils to start merging now.  Why would any financially strong council merge with a weaker one in the face of litiga

@dkurtenbach, I concur with one small exception:  despite the best efforts of some councils and districts, I think unit operations will be negatively impacted quite soon.  This will largely be due to

This is a perfect example of where the BSA began its decline. Using the patrol method, it would be the scout's patrol leader teaching the new scout how to make the fire.  Not an adult.  The new s

7 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

We can't blame the evolution of society for membership decline

I think we can at some level.  Society, post-modern society specifically, targets any values oriented institution because those institutions stand in stark relief to the no objective truth/reality/values philosophy.  Many institutions have abandon their values to the mob but the mob always wants another pound of flesh.  They won't be satisfied until all values oriented institutions are dead and buried. 

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20 minutes ago, David CO said:

Scouting has always been a game with a purpose.  It's a good game.  It's a good purpose.  But scouting has never been this all-important, world changing movement that many die-hard scouters keep imagining.  The stewards and guides of the program broke it by giving it this inflated sense of greatness. 

I sort of agree with this part, in this sense:  BSA leadership broke the program when they took the notion that it is a "character" program to extremes that drove people away.[fn.1]  This overt spotlight on character -- which narrowed in meaning to "values" and "morality" -- put too much weight on one part of a well-balanced design. This self-importance (cultish? maybe) expanded to Scouting also being about leadership development.[fn.2] They neglected other key parts of Scouting, like the Patrol System. They neglected Scoutcraft and developments in environmental science and knowledge, allowing Scouts to become dreaded high-impact tourists in national and state parks. They over-emphasized Advancement, equating checking off a requirement (and acquisition of new "bling") with growth in character. Youth actually learning and practicing skills to the point they would remember and use them for life became largely irrelevant.[fn. 3] They got lazy, turning a hands-on, active learning program into just another school where youth sit in classes and write papers. 

But is Scouting as originally envisioned world-changing?  In my view, yes -- but in the low-key way that Baden-Powell wrote about and is embodied in the "Purposes" section of the BSA Congressional Charter (1916) in the United States Code, Title 36, section 30902:  "The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916."  Contrast that with BSA's made-up Mission Statement, which embodies the over-emphasis on character development:  "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

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[fn. 1]  See https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2008-07-20-boy-scouts-advice_N.htm , a 2008 interview with then-CSE Bob Mazzuca.  "For the first time in our history, we had adversaries. Back in the day when I started, it was motherhood, apple pie and Boy Scouts. We were thrust into a situation that we weren't equipped to deal with. The decisions at the time were probably correct for the time. Because of one issue, we abandoned all dialogue about Scouting."

[fn.2] See Mazzuca interview:  "Scouting builds people who are equipped to make ethical and good choices. It's not unusual to see the leaders of communities come out of Scouting."  "Charisma and other personality traits may determine how far up the ladder you go, but the 12 points of the Scout Law define your character. If you don't have integrity, you're not a good leader no matter how charismatic."

[fn. 3] See Mazzuca interview:   "Our goal is not to teach someone to rub two sticks together and make a fire. But when you rub two sticks together and make a fire side by side with an adult of good character, you're going to learn about who you are and go on to lead men."  "You can teach a kid about character and leadership using aerospace and computers. The secret is to get them side by side with adults of character."

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I find it interesting that today brings news about the GSUSA council in southern Illinois selling all their camps.

To the points raised by @dkurtenbach & @desertrat77.  I concur.  Yes, our purpose is the build character in and develop young adults.  But, we cannot lose sight of just what our game is here.  It does indeed seem that we often get too wrapped up in our purpose and lose sight of playing the game better.  Our game is outdoor adventures and the patrol method.  The attraction to youth is the quality of our game. Let's do those well.

This again is why I'm opposed to top down restructuring and mega councils.  Here we have this great opportunity to loosen the reigns and foster innovation around delivering program.  Realign people around the game - outdoor adventures and patrol method.  Leave councils free to innovate.  National can certainly jump in to make sure councils have a good financial plans - we want to avoid needless loss of camp properties to mis-focused local council boards. 

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There is a lot of great discussion going on.  I have always thought that our professionals should focus more on sustaining existing units instead of trying to create additional units that are likely to struggle or even fail.  I also think that scouting has become very corporate and in order to be considered successful every level in every program is required to achieve a numerical level that really has no bearing on anything.  The focuse has shifted from helping young people with positive development to making sure that the numbers are good.  Also, just because a council is struggling does not mean that the leadership is incompetent, it just means that they are having trouble in one area or another.  Perhaps local donors dont agree with direction the BSA is going and have decided not to give or to contribute directly to the unit.  Perhaps there just aren't enough people volunteering for whatever reason. Everything is theoretical because you can't tell people what they need to do, where to give their money, or what is good for their children.  It seems to me that the areas within scouting has become more of a regulatory and enforcement entity and less of a support system.  Strong units are going to continue to be strong even if we combine councils, do away with areas and sections and greatly reduce the national level professional positions. Struggling units will continue to struggle and some will fail.  Professional scouters really have little influence on the success or lack thereof of individual units.  It will always take a few parents or adults that are willing to give their time, effort,  and often times their money to make a unit successful.  Take those dedicated adults out of the picture and even the best units will collapse.  And after all, the unit providing the scouting program to young people is the foundation of this whole thing.  I don't know, but I would be willing to guess, that if the section, region, and national level of scouting completly disappeared the units would still be there with their trips and adventures with the help of local council service centers and camp rangers.  This is just my take on things and it will be interesting to see how close I am when this whole debacle comes to an end.

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When the bankruptcy was announced it was clearly reported that the BSA does not own the individual councils and that each one has their own board of directors.  Rather then make blanket statements about merging ao combining councils, we should those issues to the councils and their respective boards?  This is a great oppertunity to return Scouting to the local communities.  The national organization should deal with their property issues and supply.  Other then that, just let the units deal with their own business, supported by the local council......period.

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Mergers and combining councils is the responsibility of the individual councils executive board and a national committee has no business discussing, promoting, or encouraging these actions.

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2 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

Mergers and combining councils is the responsibility of the individual councils executive board and a national committee has no business discussing, promoting, or encouraging these actions.

But... National has the power of Charter to get their way. :(

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On 4/8/2020 at 7:43 PM, Mrjeff said:

When the bankruptcy was announced it was clearly reported that the BSA does not own the individual councils and that each one has their own board of directors.  Rather then make blanket statements about merging ao combining councils, we should those issues to the councils and their respective boards?  This is a great oppertunity to return Scouting to the local communities.  The national organization should deal with their property issues and supply.  Other then that, just let the units deal with their own business, supported by the local council......period.

The Local Councils are chartered by the National Council, rather like a restaurant franchise.  The Council meets the branding requirements of the National Org, and all is well.  The Local Council will be incorporated as a Non-Profit org in the local state, the Board of Directors is by definition all the Charter Organization Representatives (you can read all this in the incorporation papers in your state's records).   Guess what?  The CORs may /maynot never come to a meeting.  "The work is done by whoever shows up".   The local executives (voted in, approved by, the CORs present)  do what they want.   

Look up the many sales of campgrounds .  Some years ago, Chicago Area Council went about selling off the many camps the Council owned, with Nationals encouragement and blessing.  SOME of the CORs finally got together and took things to court,  worked with the local county government involved and saved Owasippee  from Luxury Resort status.  You can google and look it up in the Scouter dot com records.  Don't say it can't happen.  Cape Cod is facing the same dilemma.  

 Bankruptcy?  Separation of assets?  The various churches/fire companies/American Legion Posts that sponsored the Troops (and approved the leaders) that suffered with the abusive leaders won't be sued, they don't have any assets to attach.  

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I'm not talking about what happens if a council loses its charter.  I said that it's up to the local council executive boards weather or not a council should merge or be incorporated into another council.  This is especially true since the BSA made the public statement that they did not own the councils.  If the BSA, which is a wasteful and redundant organization were to try and force a merger onto a council that refused to merge, it would cause such a s$@t storm, local support including the money, would completly disappear in that area.  

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Let's boil this down a little more.   If First Baptist Church, Anywhere USA, wants to sponsor a Scout Troop, thay are going to sponsor a troop and the leaders and members are going to march to the best of the First Baptist Church.  The BSA is not going to interfere as long as the dots are dotted and the fees are paid.  That's reality.  If a local council, with its local executive board of local community leaders, businessmen,  and dedicated volunteers do not want to merge, then they aren't going to merge.  That's reality.  I think that the units should run their program and the councils need to support the units.  The bottom line is that people have lost sight of the fact that Scouting is for kids to get together and have some fun doing it.  If anyone has been around long enough you will remember that when a scout reached first class, they were at the top of the heap and anything else was iceing on the cake.  In fact if a scout earned "Star" they were referred to as "A first class scout who earned xxx merit badges" and so through to Eagle.  If there are any "Traveling Men" reading this who are also OA members you know exactly where the OA got its beginnings and it wasn't from some national committee making up policy and rules.  If Scouting is going to be successful the focus needs to go back to the young people and all of the extra malarkey needs to be flushed down the toilet.

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I'm not really opposed to your points, but am just stating the basic legal and structural relationships between national and councils and what they result in.  If national determines to withdraw a charter from a local council, the assets of the local council go to national as a function of the bylaws and corporate charter of that local council.  And, the remaining local corporation lose the legal authority to offer a Scouting program in the particular geographic territory.  National can then select a new group to grant a council charter to, or can reassign the legal authority to provide Scouting in the particular geographic territory to another existing council.  The local corporation that no longer has the authority to offer Scouting and which is required under law to transfer its assets can continue on if they wish, but they will not be a BSA council.  So yes, they have not merged, but they have lost their assets and program authority to another organization.  This is how the Pathway to Adventure combination was done.  It was not a merger, but a withdrawal of 4 charters, marshalling of assets, and formation of a new nationally-chartered council.

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I'm sure that works in some places, especially if the individual council is in trouble and local board doesnt protest.  But I also think that the publicity generated by an obvious hostile takeover would absolutly destroy any possibility of ever having a scouting program in that area.  The local board members have a lot of contacts which include major donors.  If that board and respective councils goes away under negative circumstances so does the money and once it's gone it probably won't ever come back.

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