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2020 National BSA Meeting?

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Cburkhardt - Thank you so much for the time you took to type this all up. It is very helpful. I believe that transparency would help so much. Transparency doesn't mean giving "control" to the masses, but it would help explain direction and choices. They could always use a open / closed session concept and only take "public comment" when they choose to. I think it would help with buy in and even allow those that can, to help. It boggles my mind that committees such as the one you list aren't on a webpage, nor are all of the other committees (advancement, what ever camping is called, etc). If one was to look for a model of transparency, one of the best seems to be the commissioners. They have out the who and what and how to provide feedback. They have email addresses of the key assistant national commissioners. Their transparency at all levels would help me and my buy in. What I am saying here goes for councils as well. Nowhere (national or local) are all of the committees listed, let alone any names or contact info or structure. Thank you, again!

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Posted (edited)

Yes, it would be nice if there was some transparency with the BSA.

Who  made the "InstaPalm" decision when 94% of those polled were either against (18%) or strongly against (76%) enacting that policy?

What were the poll results of the membership policy change? And who decided on the most inconvenient time for the poll, i.e. announcing it right before a National Scout Jambore and shutting down polling about a week after the NSJ?

And whose idea was it to mortgage Philmont without telling the Philmont committee about it?

Why do 18 to 20 year old ASMs and MBCs no longer count towards Youth Protection?

Why can 2 registered females over 21 work with boys by themselves, but 2 registered males over 21 cannot work with girls by themselves? Why the double standard?

And those are the ones within the past 5 years that I can think of.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Posted (edited)

Amend Charter and Bylaws of BSA such that quorums are the same for any group - a majority of serving (not attending)  members will constitute a quorum.  In these days of email, txting, virtual meeting there is no need to limit number to only those attending in person. And yes, we do this with our own Troop Committee!

All voting requires a quorum and any meeting where voting takes place requires a published meeting report describing date, measures votes and attendees present.

So for example, page 8 of Charter and Bylaws of BSA

Clause 4. Five percent of the members of the National Council present in person shall constitute a quorum for all purposes.

Clause 4. Fifty percent or greater of the members of the National Council shall constitute a quorum for all purposes. 

page 9 of Charter and Bylaws of BSA

Clause 5. One-half of the members of the Executive Board, present in person, shall constitute a quorum

https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/Charter_and_Bylaws_June_2019.pdf

Edited by RememberSchiff
clarity
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Posted (edited)

These National committees, and many at council level, operate in a vacuum.  As stated earlier, there are no organizational charts, no rosters, no contact info.  The committee members solicit minimal input from the field at large (but perhaps from select like-minded sources), and when a poll is conducted, it is almost always ignored.  Yet these committees make recommendations and decisions that impact the entire BSA, publish no minutes, and offer no explanation for their actions.  And I'd go so far as to say that until recently, said committee members experience no accountability for their actions. 

Most egregious of all, no matter how unreasonable and poorly implemented many of these decision have been, National is impervious to feedback from the field. 

National, and some councils, seem to be operating in a different BSA than those adults serving in packs, troops, crews, and ships.

Edited by desertrat77
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Posted (edited)

Part II:

Let's talk turkey:  is the BSA an organization that values outdoor adventure or isn't it?

Scratch the surface--right below the rah-rah school talks, glossy summer camp flyers, and our high adventure base advertising--there are very few units that have an outdoor program that resembles anything that Baden Powell or Green Bar Bill would recognize.  Or anything that would inspire an outdoor-minded boy or girl to join.  Or stay.

If the BSA is primarily concerned with "character building" via constant adult supervision, virtual meetings, badge collection, backyard camping and merit badge fairs, let's drop the pretense of adventure entirely and advertise truthfully.

Every day, there is someone trying to kick dirt over the last, glowing ember of the campfire.
 

Edited by desertrat77
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Every healthy NFP organization has regular and significant turnover on its Executive Board.  It just keeps things fresh and inserts a form of natural transparency because newer board members usually enjoy polling their friends on important issues being considered.  It also allows for the most successful volunteers to bring their top council experience to the decision-making.  The BSA national structure includes many fine scouters with great council experience -- many have been council presidents.  However, too many in the key positions have served in national roles for over 20 years and have not been in a local volunteer capacity for that entire time.  Once someone is on that national structure they tend to cease direct local involvement.  National structure activity can involve a lot of time and travel, so most members are either retired or independently wealthy.  Having term limits whereby no person could stand for re-election after serving 8 years would retire over 2/3 of the national executive board.  Term limits would be very good.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, desertrat77 said:

Part II:

Let's talk turkey:  is the BSA an organization that values outdoor adventure or isn't it?

Sadly I think National  is more about getting Eagle than anything. National has modified the Tenderfoot through First Class Rank requirements so that you can still get FIRST CLASS FIRST YEAR, even if skills are not properly learned. Also they have been so focused on Eagle, they not only promote the "One and Done" mentality via training, but also have allowed folks to receive Eagle who should not have. I met a Scout whose Eagle BOR discovered major issues with his advancement, and followed BSA policy to create a plan that would rectify the situation. When appealed to the council, the Council upheld the district's decision. When appealed to National, they noted there were issues with the Scouts advancement, but gave it to him anyway.

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Scratch the surface--right below the rah-rah school talks, glossy summer camp flyers, and our high adventure base advertising--there are very few units that have an outdoor program that resembles anything that Baden Powell or Green Bar Bill would recognize.  Or anything that would inspire an outdoor-minded boy or girl to join.  Or stay.

 

Sadly it is not only national, but a lot of volunteers who are not interested in the outdoors, but only in Eagle. Let's face it, the attitude of a unit's Scouters does influence the youth. If the adults have the attitude that they want a challenging, youth-led program with an emphasis on the outdoors, the youth will pick up on that. If a unit's Scouters are only worried about Eagle, the Scouts are going to pick up on that.

What I find interesting is that units that focus on Eagle do not have great attendance and/or retention. People will stick around until they get Eagle, then leave or they drop out for a while, then come back at the last minute to hurry up and get Eagle before turning 18. Then they leave. Whereas units that focus on youth led and the outdoors will keep Scouts even after they earn Eagle and/or age out. My oldest son is 16, needs 2 signatures and a BOR and he is Eagle. His plans after Eagle: stick around and have fun until he leaves for college.

 

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If the BSA is primarily concerned with "character building" via constant adult supervision, virtual meetings, badge collection, backyard camping and merit badge fairs, let's drop the pretense of adventure entirely and advertise truthfully.

The Improved Scouting Program (ISP) was before my time, but not before my brothers. That was when the BSA did not have mandatory swimming, cooking, and camping requirements. It was possible to be an Eagle Scout never knowing how to swim, never cooking a meal, and never going camping. When my family moved from the city to the suburbs, they went from an established, outdoor oriented troop with experienced Scouters in the city, to a new troop with inexperienced Scouters using the ISP format in the suburbs. They quickly lost interest and left. I don't have the stats in front of me, but the BSA experienced such a loss in membership that  professionals accepted "early retirement," and William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt had to come out of retirement to re-implement an outdoor program. The membership losses due to the ISP are less than today's membership losses. I hope the powers that be remember that dismal failure after this COVID-19 mess, and resist continueing these alternative requirements. Sadly I think in the quest to have more Eagles, they will not put this genie in the bottle, and numbers will continue their downward spiral.

 

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Every day, there is someone trying to kick dirt over the last, glowing ember of the campfire.
 

Agreed, and usually from someone who has no experience int he program as a youth.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Posted (edited)

Well said, @Eagle94-A1.

I'm seeing the same dynamics in my part of the BSA.

As I've mentioned before, I was an ISP scout (unwillingly!), red beret and all, and the dreadful program elements you mentioned did occur.  I was fortunate that despite being a military brat, the four troops I was in all had traditional programs (camping one weekend a month, twice in December, summer camp and high adventure) and emphasized the old school patrol method.   I can't think of any peers from those years that took the easy/ISP way to Eagle.  Everyone was experienced in scout outdoor skills and had tenure as an SPL in troops that used the patrol method.  But the others were around.

Alas, despite Green Bar Bill's best efforts, the pro-ISP crowd has realized their dream.  It's a couple decades later than they envisioned, but if any of them are still around, I'm sure they would applaud what passes for program in the BSA today.

Edited by desertrat77
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This was my first chance to attend any part of an annual meeting, and only sporadically as not all the pieces seemed open to participation, and some were just too late for me to log in from a time zone seven hours later. 

On that note, does anyone have the zoom link for the national annual business meeting, or is it restricted like the key-3 town hall was? This is the only one that is not showing up for me that seems like it should be open. 

It would be helpful if the general meeting were recorded and shared, too, is anyone aware of that happening? 

I found the region meeting a bit odd - turnover of region chair/president, nomination and election of board members, and announcement of Silver ANtelopes and OA Distinguished Service awards.... OK, i get it, as that parallels what we do at council annual meeting, but there was no information, no discussion of anything really substantial. Is that normal? 

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This organization is going to destroy itself. 

My boss passed down some info from the National Key 3 town hall last night. 

Membership fees are expected to go up again THIS YEAR. Then slight increases for the following two years. 

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1 hour ago, Protoclete said:

OK, i get it, as that parallels what we do at council annual meeting, but there was no information, no discussion of anything really substantial. Is that normal? 

Yes, it is normal.  I've attended these many times.  The real action takes place at the General Session, which this year provided much for us to discuss.  For instance, the General Session was the event where all of the membership policy changes during recent years have been announced.  The region luncheons/business meetings are just like the council counterparts -- brief formal "reports" and recognition.  The only change this year is that the Silver Buffalos were presented as well.  Normally there is a closing dinner on Friday when those are presented.

The last opportunity for something interesting to occur will be at 3-4 (central) today (Friday).  This will be the annual national business meeting when the new executive board is elected.  This would present an opportunity for additional announcements.  I do not expect much, because all of the things that surfaced earlier during the week are technically-speaking "recommendations" of the Executive Committee to the incoming Executive Board.  The new Executive Board will meet in early June to make formal decisions on things, so we can anticipate some kind of written announcement on things after that meeting.. 

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35 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Membership fees are expected to go up again THIS YEAR. Then slight increases for the following two years

That seems bad. Especially with everything being semi-shutdown for 6 months, it’ll be really hard to justify another fee increase. 

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26 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

The last opportunity for something interesting to occur will be at 3-4 (central) today (Friday).  This will be the annual national business meeting when the new executive board is elected. 

Hopefully NEW people!

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