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2020 National BSA Meeting?

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Is the National BSA Meeting still "on"   for May?   Can "ordinary" Scouters attend?   

 

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4 hours ago, carebear3895 said:

It is not. Officially cancelled a few days ago.

What was the "Official" explanation? Will a virtual meeting be held in its place?

IMHO, if ever there was a need for meeting of the 70+ members of the National Executive Board, this spring is the time.

4 hours ago, SSScout said:

... Can "ordinary" Scouters attend?  

Now there's a fundraiser idea!

My $0.02,

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The entire National Annual Meeting has been cancelled in every respect.  This includes the National BSA Foundation fundraising event.  I presume the National Executive Board and key national standing committees will find a way to meet -- virtually or otherwise.   

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Is there any point going to this type of meeting if one isn’t on one of the national committees? Are these really just for people who are “in the know” or on a committee?

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https://nam.scouting.org/

BSA Virtual National Annual Meeting 2020

Coming Soon

Virtual National Annual Meeting and National Executive Board and Committee Meeting schedule, as well as the Registration for the Major Events for National Annual Meeting.

Stayed tuned for updates.

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The National Executive Board, National Advisory Council, standing committees and other committees (which number about 40) will have closed meetings.  Those schedules are not generally published and non-member guests are not permitted.  These meetings take place first, so that decisions made can be announced at the large general business meetings.  Look for significant structural decisions on the national structure to be announced during the general session. 

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Perhaps a structural decision will be increasing transparency on these types of meetings- why can there not be a link for the "general public" to view some sessions with microphone/chat turned off?

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2 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

Look for significant structural decisions on the national structure to be announced during the general session. 

I wonder if they will tell us, like they told us about mortgaging Philmont and other assets last year. 

But whether they do or not, being in Chapter 11 will likely require court approval of any "significant structural change" though I suppose they could nominate a CSE to be in compliance with the current Bylaws.

That was the year that was.

My $0.02,

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My favorite local restaurant still has peach cobbler (with ice cream), but you have to ask it to go,

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The Annual General Session and Business Meeting will include significant announcements and you should view it, if possible. 

When the National Annual Meeting (NAM) is held in the "normal" format, any scouter can register and attend, but has to be approved by the local Scout Executive.  I have never heard of someone wanting to go that was not approved by the local SE.  Each council sends a group and it is fun to pal around for a few days.  These meetings are three-day conventions, held at a major convention center and usually attract about 3,000 people.  The cost to attend is reasonable, but the hotels at the convention centers usually run about $250/night.  I have attended about 8 of these over the past 30 years.  The NAMs are usually pretty enjoyable, with seminars and presentations being offered covering just about every scouting interest.  Attendees select to attend some of the "pay" events, such as the region luncheon (when the Silver Antelopes are presented), Americanism breakfast, Foundation recognition dinner (the fancy "dress-up" event of the NAM) and the closing dinner (when Silver Buffalos are presented).  The cost of these events is nominal.  Everything else is included in the registration fee, including all of the seminars and the annual general session, national key three presentation and annual business meeting.  The only votes taken in public is a voice vote on the new members of the National Executive Board and National Officers.  Only members of the national structure and the council delegates (elected locally) get to vote, as they comprise the legal entity known as the "National Council".

What is not generally advertised is that the members of the national structure arrive a couple of days early and conduct their business (they meet three times a year, the other two meetings being at a hotel at DFW airport).  These are serious, lengthy meetings where votes are taken on suggested policies and activities, some of which are then recommended up to the National Executive Board for consideration.  This year I expect they will change (probably downsize) the national, region and area structures.  The resources are no longer there to operate the previous structure, which has already been downsized through virus-related furloughs.  The speeches at the general session and business meeting usually announce and go over these matters.  If you can get your local SE to approve you, you might be able to be invited to view this year's event, which is on Zoom (you need an entry code).  There is no fee this year. 

Earlier in the year I posted an entry  which became a lengthy discussion on the national structure and how it might be improved as a result of the bankruptcy.  That was before the virus hit, so the possibility of significant change has increased.   Below I have pasted the portion of my entry which describes the national structure.

[From earlier this year - Describing the National Structure]

Volunteer Structure.  The National Council provides an exclusive charter to Councils to offer Scouting in a geographic territory.  It is comprised of National Council members elected locally to represent councils and other volunteers otherwise part of the national structure.  The National Council elects a huge National Executive Board during each national annual meeting and that National Executive Board thereafter elects various officers.  The officers comprise an “Executive Committee”.  So many people want to be on the National Executive Board that there is a companion National Advisory Council, whose members are privy to all confidential information and are allowed to attend Executive Board meetings – they just do not get to vote.  When the National Executive Board meets during its three regular meetings each year (twice in Dallas and once at each national annual meeting), it is in a room with over 100 members and many relevant staff.  Prior to each National Executive Board meeting there are 2 or 3 days of pre-meetings by “national committees”.  The more-important national committees are “Standing” committees and are dominated by Executive Board and Advisory Council members.  The committees without “Standing” status are comprised of council, area and region scouters with a few Executive Board and Advisory Council members.  Often the chair at the region level for a subject area will serve on the national committee for that subject area – but not always.  

In total, I guestimate there are about 500 volunteers formally involved in the various national committee/advisory council/executive board policy roles.  Admission to membership on any of these is tightly controlled.  It is very expensive and time-consuming to participate in any of these national roles.  Turnover of Board and Advisory Council membership is very slow, with maybe 6-7 new people replacing people who have died or become otherwise unable to serve.  Recently, membership was frozen and no new people being admitted.    All national meetings are confidential, and only national volunteers are allowed to attend – and even then only meetings directly relevant to their appointment.  The policies of the BSA generally originate in various national committees and are “reported up” to Standing committees for consideration.  A few policies or actions are recommended to the Executive Board.  After that, the smaller Executive Committee will usually decide the big issues in private.  Some policy matters are discussed and voted upon during the National Executive Board meetings.  These would more-typically be among the most potentially-controversial decisions that Executive Committee does not want to make alone.

The four “regions” and their component multi-council “areas” are delegated full authority to implement national policy and programs, and are therefore a part of the national structure.  They do not make policy – they implement it.  This includes everything from enforcing compliance with national policy standards, reviewing membership and advancement appeals, organizing a few national program activities (like jamboree sub-camps and OA activities) and reviewing (and even revoking) council charters.  When a merger of councils is arranged or mandated, it is the region volunteers and the few staff members who work with them who do it.  The key region/area volunteers with influence are former council presidents.  The remainder are experienced former council program people (commissioners, etc.).  I will guesstimate there are probably upwards of 2,000 region/area Scouters.

Professional Structure.  There are credentialed professional Scouters who are assigned to staff every one of the above structures and volunteers.  Most are former council Scout Executives.  These consist of Area Directors, Region Directors (considered one of the “top jobs” among professionals), substantive department directors in the national service center, and ultimately the Chief Scout Executive and 4-6 Deputy and Assistant Chiefs (considered to be the very “top jobs”).  There used to be region service centers – but these were sold-off and now staff in Irving, TX support all national professionals.  Currently the top professional position (normally the Chief Scout Executive) is the “CEO” and is not currently filled by a credentialed professional Scouter.  This is likely because of the skills needed during the course of the anticipated Ch. 11.  Professional Scouters who are identified to move up the professional ranks alternate between national and local council positions.

Issues.  The national structure and the individuals associated with it who have made the policy decisions and led the national movement over the last thirty years are largely responsible for where we are now policy-wise.  The national structure sets the vision, makes the decisions and tightly controls implementation and public relations.  With few exceptions, the Executive Committee received advice, made the decisions in private and announced and implemented the policies through the national structure.

Observations.  More regular turnover on the Executive Board and Advisory Council and injecting additional transparency might upgrade consideration and implementation of important, existential matters.  Some of the big decisions made – or not made – have variously had positive and catastrophic impacts on the BSA and its members.  Several decision makers and board members have been in place for 20 or more years and many intend to continue serving for life.

Possibilities.  The Bankruptcy process will likely force significant change.  The entire region/area volunteer and professional structure might be discontinued in lieu of direct management from the national service center and adoption of a greatly “deregulated” approach.  A more-independent legal structure might be adopted, whereby councils would have charters but be far less regulated and directed by the National Council.  For example, perhaps every council would offer not all BSA programs, and councils might be more on their own in terms of support services, like insurance, personnel and property development.  The BSA national foundation might be spun-off as an independent organization so that future major donor contributions would be protected from lawsuits seeking to attach BSA assets.  The national policy structure and process might be discontinued in lieu of a more-nimble approach.  The current Executive Board/Advisory Council might be discontinued in lieu of a smaller and more transparent structure.  Possibilities like these would dramatically reduce national financial overhead.

 

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General Session is on May 20 from 4-5 PM (Central).  Business Meeting is May 22 from 3-4 PM (Central).  Many opinions expressed on this site over the past several months have been reviewed by national decision makers.

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