Jump to content
Cburkhardt

Your advice to the BSA National Executive Board?

Recommended Posts

What is your most-important recommendation to members of national BSA committees, who will gather next week to consider changes in response to the bankruptcy and COVID-19 virus?  Make a one-sentence proposal, and support it with a 5-6 sentence paragraph.  Please keep it to a single subject.  Here is mine:

Proposal:  Spin-off the BSA National Foundation into an independent organization that supports local and national BSA organizations.

Support:  Donors want to support the BSA but fear new contributions will be used to pay post-bankruptcy claims against the local councils or the national organization.  An entirely separate foundation with the purpose of raising and distributing contributions to specific local or national BSA entities can provide a secure means by which future BSA missions can be supported.  A combination of unit, council and national volunteers serving on a new foundation board would have the duty to see that gift agreements and bequests to specific BSA entities are strictly adhered-to in the collection, investment and distribution of funds.  Every council would benefit from national-class foundation services and donors would know their gifts and bequests would be used as they intend.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MAKE ANY ANNOUNCEMENTS ON REGISTRATION INCREASES NOW INSTEAD OF WAITING UNTIL AUGUST, OR WORSE STILL, LATE OCTOBER!

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

MAKE ANY ANNOUNCEMENTS ON REGISTRATION INCREASES NOW INSTEAD OF WAITING UNTIL AUGUST, OR WORSE STILL, LATE OCTOBER!

If they do an increase again this year.  I will be done with the BSA once my son earns Eagle.   I love the program but I am not going to be raked over the coals to pay for previous issues many of which happened before I was even born or allowed to join the BSA.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, MattR said:

Just one, huh? This is kind of like eating potato chips.

Proposal #1: refocus every member (employees and volunteers) of the BSA to the core principles of scouting - having fun in the outdoors as a means to develop responsibility and good character.

Support #1: The program is the most critical aspect of scouting but it has been watered down because of a lack of focus. Rather, there seem to be silos in the BSA that are diluting the focus. There is advancement, popcorn, making money selling scout stuff, scouting-as-a-way-to-a-better-career, JTE, leave no trace, STEM and just a really bloated program that tries to be everything to everyone. This is expensive and has little appeal to young parents that have no history with scouting. By focusing on outdoors and responsibility the silo that should rise to the top should be developing scouts that the adults can trust to make their own decisions. That means improving patrol method and scout run programs. It means having more fun at summer camp and making it less like school. It means rewriting requirements so scouts are doing rather than talking about it. It means taking every aspect of scouting and checking it against the core program. If it's not supporting the basic program than consider chucking it. It's like cleaning your basement. Think of it as Start, Stop, Continue, only with focus on what makes scouting great.

Proposal #2: Change the hiring practices so external people can be hired into councils rather than only promoting from within.

Support #2: Newly hired DE's make very little money and consequently all those great scouts that were trained in the program tend to find jobs elsewhere, where the pay is better. Consequently, the vast majority of people working for the BSA have no experience as scouts. Not only that but there is a fair number that have no experience working for well run operations. This results in a lot of problems such as: Council execs that have no training in running non-profits and few people that understand how scouting should run. Most of the people I see working at the BSA are focused on one thing - making more money for the council or the BSA to pay for programs that have little to do with the core program.

Please note that proposal 2 is really just one instance of what proposal 1 is trying to address. The hiring model is not supporting the core program, so change it to match what every other non-profit uses.

Two VERY exceptional proposals that should absolutely be part of the org that comes out of the other side of bankruptcy.  I would only add in your first one, for emphasis, "let Learning for Life be Learning for Life, and let Scouting be Scouting.  It confuses the marketing of Scouting when Posts and Labs are suddenly considered part of the same program as Scouting in marketing materials, when they are not."  

Edited by HashTagScouts
  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scouting will continue with or without National, Councils, or the BSA. 

While National became an uncommunicative legal and financial burden, local units remained trustworthy and thrifty.

While Councils responded to covid by closing offices and camps before the CDC and state health guidelines were released and attempting virtual quick delivery of the advancement and the outdoors, dedicated volunteers waited for those health guidelines and planned smaller, safer summer adventures. Smaller as in patrol or family hiking and camping - perhaps part of our new normal. Virtual did not deliver the program nor will it sustain membership come September for those units which have had no adventurous outdoor program for the past five months.  Rapid, easy advancement is no substitute for awesome, challenging adventure.

My advice to National, get your backpack together .

  • Upvote 3
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Jackdaws said:

If they do an increase again this year.  I will be done with the BSA once my son earns Eagle.   I love the program but I am not going to be raked over the coals to pay for previous issues many of which happened before I was even born or allowed to join the BSA.  

I see increases coming at both the National and Council levels. National is losing members left and right. and with 18% of the membership gone, that is a huge amount of income that national no longer has. Then I am seeing more and more councils implementing council service fees. I see this happening with my council. Depending upon how much of a fee they charge, will factor into the members the lose. I can tell you family FOS is down in my district because the volunteers are not seeing any benefit. DE is not visible, let alone supporting the volunteers who do step up to the plate to help. Service center has the habit of losing records and applications

  • Sad 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

Scouting will continue with or without National, Councils, or the BSA. 

While National became an uncommunicative legal and financial burden, local units remained trustworthy and thrifty.

While Councils responded to covid by closing offices and camps before the CDC and state health guidelines were released and attempting virtual quick delivery of the advancement and the outdoors, dedicated volunteers waited for those health guidelines and planned smaller, safer summer adventures. Smaller as in patrol or family hiking and camping - perhaps part of our new normal. Virtual did not deliver the program nor will it sustain membership come September for those units which have had no adventurous outdoor program for the past five months.  Rapid, easy advancement is no substitute for awesome, challenging adventure.

My advice to National, get your backpack together .

Am I the only one concerned of the potetential bad press that may come if a cluster outbreak gets attributed back to one of these programs at the HAB this summer? I can just imagine the story will be how poorly conceived it was on the part of the National BSA to move ahead with these, while the local Councils were calling off summer camps".  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

Two VERY exceptional proposals that should absolutely be part of the org that comes out of the other side of bankruptcy.  I would only add in your first one, for emphasis, "let Learning for Life be Learning for Life, and let Scouting be Scouting.  It confuses the marketing of Scouting when Posts and Labs are suddenly considered part of the same program as Scouting in marketing, when they are not."  

I can see Career Interest Exploring under the BSA umbrella. It was part of the BSA until 1998 when a lawsuit forced BSA to put it under LFL. The memberhsip policy that forced the split is no longer in effect.

But LFL and STEM Scouts were just ways to increase membership numbers. I have never seen a successful LFL program, and I had 4 in my district when I was a DE, nor a STEM Scout group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

Am I the only one concerned of the potential bad press that may come if a cluster outbreak gets attributed back to one of these programs at the HAB this summer? I can just imagine the story will be how poorly conceived it was on the part of the National BSA to move ahead with these, while the local Councils were calling off summer camps". 

The virus and its victims seem to get the bad press. Biogen the "superspreader" of the corona virus in Boston and then elsewhere did not get the bad press I would have expected whereas some of their employees did.  Personal responsibility of those who failed to notice or report symptoms?

Edited by RememberSchiff
  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I see increases coming at both the National and Council levels. National is losing members left and right. and with 18% of the membership gone, that is a huge amount of income that national no longer has. Then I am seeing more and more councils implementing council service fees. I see this happening with my council. Depending upon how much of a fee they charge, will factor into the members the lose. I can tell you family FOS is down in my district because the volunteers are not seeing any benefit. DE is not visible, let alone supporting the volunteers who do step up to the plate to help. Service center has the habit of losing records and applications

This really could be the kiss of death for a lot of people.   Scouting is supposed to be that low cost year round family activity.  Our camp card sales really took a hit this year due to the virus and our council came out with some virtual Entertainment book thing.  Its $20 not too sure how many people will pony up that money.  1/4 of the sales go to the scout as opposed to 1/2 that we get on camp cards.  

I was unable to fulfill my 2019 FOS commitment due to my husband having open heart surgery.  Loss of income and medical bills took away that money.   I didn't like that I failed to honor my commitment but I have to take care of my family first.

BSA is really going to have to try and tighten the belt hard this year to avoid an increase.   Sell a high adventure camp or something.    Fat is already being trimmed at the council level.   Our council just announced going from 11 districts to about 4.   Not 100% if all those former D.E.'s will become support staff somehow yet or what(I was unable to attend the virtual announcement).  

They also need to figure out a better fall sale product.  Popcorn is dead.  At least in my area.   Too expensive and not that good quality product.  

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, MattR said:

Proposal #1: refocus every member (employees and volunteers) of the BSA to the core principles of scouting - having fun in the outdoors as a means to develop responsibility and good character.

Support #1: The program is the most critical aspect of scouting but it has been watered down because of a lack of focus. Rather, there seem to be silos in the BSA that are diluting the focus. There is advancement, popcorn, making money selling scout stuff, scouting-as-a-way-to-a-better-career, JTE, leave no trace, STEM and just a really bloated program that tries to be everything to everyone. This is expensive and has little appeal to young parents that have no history with scouting. By focusing on outdoors and responsibility the silo that should rise to the top should be developing scouts that the adults can trust to make their own decisions. That means improving patrol method and scout run programs. It means having more fun at summer camp and making it less like school. It means rewriting requirements so scouts are doing rather than talking about it. It means taking every aspect of scouting and checking it against the core program. If it's not supporting the basic program than consider chucking it. It's like cleaning your basement. Think of it as Start, Stop, Continue, only with focus on what makes scouting great.

 

Pretty much that is it.  End of story, focus on the outdoor and youth development.  HAVE FUN. (Also sell the millstone that is Summit but that's another story)

The Boy Scouts of America was never intended to be All Things to All People.  It was founded (as noted) to be focused on having fun in the outdoors as a means to develop responsibility and good character.  Simple and straightforward.

Sometimes the BSA reminds me of the lifeboat station story, a group that seems to have forgotten why they were founded in the first place..

‘On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occurred, there was once a crude little lifeboat station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea and, with no thought for themselves, went out day and night tirelessly looking out for lost people.

Some of those who had been saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time, money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. With commitment and energy the little lifeboat station grew.

Some members of the lifeboat station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency hammocks with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifeboat station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated and furnished it beautifully, and started using it as a sort of club. Fewer members were now interested in going out on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. Lifesaving pictures and mementos decorated the club’s walls where official meetings were held.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, with different personalities and temperaments and from other cultural backgrounds. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where shipwreck victims could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, the club membership was divided. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities, since they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. But some members insisted that lifesaving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a ‘Lifeboat Station’! However, they were finally outvoted, and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all types of people who might be shipwrecked, they could begin their own lifeboat station somewhere else, further down the coast. This they did.

As the years went by, similar changes took place in the new station as well. It also evolved into a club, and consequently another lifeboat station was founded elsewhere. History continued to repeat itself and on that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the coastline. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but most of the people are never reached and saved.

 

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

Am I the only one concerned of the potetential bad press that may come if a cluster outbreak gets attributed back to one of these programs at the HAB this summer? I can just imagine the story will be how poorly conceived it was on the part of the National BSA to move ahead with these, while the local Councils were calling off summer camps".  

 

It's a valid concern, especially given our motto of Be Prepared, because based on what I've seen regarding HA and Summer Camp, we are not. Sea Base, for example, is expecting all participants to bring their own supply of hand sanitizer. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

Scouting will continue with or without National, Councils, or the BSA. 

While National became an uncommunicative legal and financial burden, local units remained trustworthy and thrifty.

While Councils responded to covid by closing offices and camps before the CDC and state health guidelines were released and attempting virtual quick delivery of the advancement and the outdoors, dedicated volunteers waited for those health guidelines and planned smaller, safer summer adventures. Smaller as in patrol or family hiking and camping - perhaps part of our new normal. Virtual did not deliver the program nor will it sustain membership come September for those units which have had no adventurous outdoor program for the past five months. 

This is a garbage take. I'm sorry people were dying and we closed our offices, like almost every other business did, because there was a tangible danger to Scouts and Scouters. This is a really far reach to push the "professional evil" idea. We were trying to come up with every virtual idea out there because almost all of our units decided themselves that it was too dangerous to meet. It that was BP envisioned for the BSA program? heck no. But I'm sure he also didn't envision a global pandemic shutting down the country either. Virtual meeting are a heck of a lot better than no meeting at all. 

you're basically saying "The volunteers were out there saving scouting while the professionals were cowering and destroying the program because they didn't wait for the proper guidelines that came out 2 months too late". I think that is one of the most silly things i've read on this website. Can you imagine the liability lawsuits we would face? 

Moderate yourself. 

Edited by carebear3895
  • Thanks 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I see increases coming at both the National and Council levels. National is losing members left and right. and with 18% of the membership gone, that is a huge amount of income that national no longer has. Then I am seeing more and more councils implementing council service fees. I see this happening with my council. Depending upon how much of a fee they charge, will factor into the members the lose. I can tell you family FOS is down in my district because the volunteers are not seeing any benefit. DE is not visible, let alone supporting the volunteers who do step up to the plate to help. Service center has the habit of losing records and applications

We are losing money left and right. Council leadership is pushing us hard to collect with FOS and it's really starting to mess with me mentally. I can't keep going into meetings where people have nothing left and have the gull to ask for money. 

If our council go to the program fee, which I think they will, then I'm out. they can nickle and dime the scouters, but I won't be the one they send, not anymore. 

EDIT: Also, it's much for than 18%

Edited by carebear3895

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...