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Cburkhardt

Major Changes Announced -- Councils Impacted

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Friends, The initial announcements portend that we will be a different organization very soon.  No more youth program past age 18.  National will limit its activity to council services only.  We will have a single "onboarding" membership platform.  The regions and areas will be discontinued in favor of a downsized system.  The organization will be rebranded after the bankruptcy is completed.  Local councils will be significantly impacted, as the plaintiffs are primarily aiming at council assets. This includes camps, offices, everything.  The BSA has had a very difficult time with the bankruptcy process, which will now be dragged out and more expensive because the insurance companies are litigating to get out of any liability.  In essence, the opposition "wants it all" and that includes council assets.  As we are recruiting this fall the BSA will be paying for a national media campaign to be sure 95% of men over age 50 know about the claims bar date in November.  We will be smaller and with far fewer assets.  This will be front page in the papers tomorrow.

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More:  This is information that came directly from a widely-viewed general session at the virtual national meeting.  The content was delivered directly by the National President/CEO, General Counsel and both the incoming and outgoing volunteer National Chairman.  The news was delivered very directly.  Readers of this site will perhaps be most interested in knowing that the program won't change, except for the ending of Venturing and Exploring program after age 17.  The big impact of the way the bankruptcy has trended after the virus is that it has dragged and the plaintiff attorneys have experienced great success in identifying large numbers of clients.  After a major advertising campaign this fall to identify more claimants (unfortunately scheduled during our recruiting season) there will bean even bigger number.  The principal change is that now council assets be impacted in a significant manner.  This is because the liability will be greater than expected (very large numbers of victims), the insurance companies are "pulling out", and the national assets will be insufficient to pay.  

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Posted (edited)

@Cburkhardt, thank your for your insights...much to ponder as I begin my evening walk. 

Regarding council liability:  it struck me early on that National's attempt to shield the councils was probably a very small obstacle to overcome.   As you mentioned, everything will be on the table, including the last basketry kit. 

Edited by desertrat77

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Tomorrow:  There is a Zoom video for the Council Key Threes tomorrow afternoon from 3:30 to 4:30 (Central), during which there will be a lot more specifics discussed.  Much of what will be shared are the recommendations of the Executive Committee to the Executive Board.  However, an accurate way to look at this is that we are no longer really in charge of our own destiny.  The bankruptcy court and the litigants before it will decide what happens.  

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Based on what cburkhardt posted before, I called in (you also did a good job summarizing). I wonder about the OA going to 21 if the other groups don’t. Not that OA is a stand alone group. 

One could say that National is sized for an organization that no longer exists. 
 

As part of this downsizing, I would be ruthless and cut most things that don’t pay their own way with dues and donations. Areas to look at would be Exploring and STEMScouts.  Does Sea Scouting need to be rolled back into Venturing?

The Regional and Area structure do seem over sized as well. 
 

You left out the one IT and pain in the butt fix they mentioned “streamlines recharter and payment method”. Man! Maybe we could go to all electronic apps? For all positions, additions, transfers, and cross overs? 

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Cburkhardt...thanks for the info (I think).  Not clear how the powers that be can say the program won't change.  What do we define as the program?    We will see what details get shared by our key threes or if they will be under their usual stellar communication with their councils.    

Also i wonder if they addressed the elimination of poor councils, property sales (Local and national both) and mergers.  Given the Covid and the advent of virtual summer camps, why do we need dirt camps anymore. 😣

Anyway...keep us posted as you have as you hear more.

 

 

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I summarized about 45 minutes into two brief paragraphs and admittedly left out a number of things.  Gone will be the "legacy" electronic system we have.  It will be scrapped and replaced with a modern cloud system for everything.  All program books and materials would go electronic.  They stated that everyone will be "adult" at 18, so I think OA is included in that.  

As to the size of national, I think they will do only program and have maybe 20 professionals operating a simple structure to maintain contact with councils.  Maybe 100 volunteers to support them.  Stem was not mentioned, but is pretty exotic under these circumstances.  I predict councils will drop it.  The spin off of Sea Scouts did not cost a dime.  The nautical program (I am a quartermaster) has been wedged into the larger teen program since after WWII, and this never worked.  Keeping these 5,000 folks in a separate division is the right way to go.  Another option would be to spin them off to the Coast Guard.  They already are the official youth program of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which might be able to do a better with it.

While it was not announced as a change, the incoming National Chair made clear that councils which do not operate well will be merged.  While he did not say this precisely, I think he meant that national will quickly pull the charters of unsuccessful councils.  That meant terminating council executive boards and marshalling the assets into a new entity.  I've been mentioning this for a while to the displeasure of many commenters, but that is what I see happening.  If you are a council, district or large unit leader, I advise that you begin now to evaluate what is in the best interest of your Scouts.  Cluster together with nearby council buddies and figure out now which single property you can argue to the court is "essential" to offer program to your Scouts.  Otherwise, a bankruptcy judge in Delaware is going to make all of those decisions for you.      

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8 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

They stated that everyone will be "adult" at 18, so I think OA is included in that.  

 

Did they say why they are making this change? It's likely going to gut Venturing and the OA. These over 18-21 are already registered as adults and have taken YPT. I don't see what the issue is having them as they are currently. 

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PACAN:  I think aspects of the program will change.  They said there will be a national "re-branding" of the organization coming out of bankruptcy.  A re-branding after what we will have gone through by then (and the previous 5 years) does not take the form of a new logo. 

I have no inside information, but I'll predict that we will drop "Boy Scouts of America" or "BSA" for a new name, and this might be influenced by the GSUSA trademark litigation that I believe the bankruptcy judge will allow to go forward this summer.  If we abandon the BSA name and the GSUSA litigation prevent us from using the generic "Scout" label for our girl program -- we just might become the "Explorers", as that is a name we undisputedly own. 

We will re-evaluate uniforming and simplify the blizzard of complexity and expense that is now the Cub Scout program.  We will become intensively more outdoor in program emphasis.  There will be complete emphasis on "outdoor fun" and a backing-away from "character building".  

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

PACAN:  I think aspects of the program will change.  They said there will be a national "re-branding" of the organization coming out of bankruptcy.  A re-branding after what we will have gone through by then (and the previous 5 years) does not take the form of a new logo. 

I have no inside information, but I'll predict that we will drop "Boy Scouts of America" or "BSA" for a new name, and this might be influenced by the GSUSA trademark litigation that I believe the bankruptcy judge will allow to go forward this summer.  If we abandon the BSA name and the GSUSA litigation prevent us from using the generic "Scout" label for our girl program -- we just might become the "Explorers", as that is a name we undisputedly own. 

Scouting/USA coming back from the dead?! Get your red berets, gents!

Edited by carebear3895

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Sentinel:  Yes.  18 is the end of youth programming.  There was no mistaking what was said.  I think that it probably goes to focusing the organization on fewer things and doing them well. 

I was an active OA member and Explorer in the 70s-80s (back when Exploring was the "Venturing" program of the time).  I don't think the change will gut either program. 

Venturing membership is imploding for reasons I am not entirely aware of.  Freshman/sophomore Girls in my Troop want to earn Eagle and be Scouts.  They are not particularly drawn to Venturing.  I think the losses in Venturing are a function of professional and council volunteer time being sucked-away by all of the tough dealings we have been having.  The teen program has never been a strong part of the BSA -- the exception being Exploring in the 50's and again from the mid 70's through mid 80's. 

OA folks who are over 18 are pretty-much acting in adult roles except for the chiefs above the council level -- and many of them are college aged.  Frankly, those above-council youth structures will probably be downsized (no sections/areas/regions any more) because they are expensive to operate and require robust regional program volunteers and staff -- which will no longer exist.  Probably a national Chief/Vice Chief and a few others to represent whatever structure they coe up with the be between the council and national.  OA folks will be encouraged to become active in their Councils, which will be larger and offer a more-sophisticated leadership challenge for the chapter/lodge chiefs.   

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

Sentinel:  Yes.  18 is the end of youth programming.  There was no mistaking what was said.  I think that it probably goes to focusing the organization on fewer things and doing them well. 

I was an active OA member and Explorer in the 70s-80s (back when Exploring was the "Venturing" program of the time).  I don't think the change will gut either program. 

Venturing membership is imploding for reasons I am not entirely aware of.  Freshman/sophomore Girls in my Troop want to earn Eagle and be Scouts.  They are not particularly drawn to Venturing.  I think the losses in Venturing are a function of professional and council volunteer time being sucked-away by all of the tough dealings we have been having.  The teen program has never been a strong part of the BSA -- the exception being Exploring in the 50's and again from the mid 70's through mid 80's. 

OA folks who are over 18 are pretty-much acting in adult roles except for the chiefs above the council level -- and many of them are college aged.  Frankly, those above-council youth structures will probably be downsized (no sections/areas/regions any more) because they are expensive to operate and require robust regional program volunteers and staff -- which will no longer exist.  Probably a national Chief/Vice Chief and a few others to represent whatever structure they coe up with the be between the council and national.  OA folks will be encouraged to become active in their Councils, which will be larger and offer a more-sophisticated leadership challenge for the chapter/lodge chiefs.   

I suppose that makes sense. Although I think it will also hit NYLT pretty hard. Any idea when these changes will be communicated?

The BSA already struggles to utilize and retain young adults in Scouting. I do not have any optimism that Councils will come up with roles suitable for these young adults, or use/treat them appropriately. More likely, this is a group of young adults we will lose, and I can only hope they'll return when they have their own kids. @Eagle94-A1 what do you think? 

After this rule change, given that these 18-20 year old's do not count as acceptable supervision for a Troop program, the only thing I can see them doing in the normal council is summer camp staff. 

My other concern and hopefully the details will be less alarming: "We will become intensively more outdoor in program emphasis.  There will be complete emphasis on "outdoor fun" and a backing-away from "character building".  The program since it's inception has always been about "character building." Outdoors skills, experiences and fun have always been a way we achieve that. Hopefully this will be more of thematic/marketing shift. 

 

Edited by Sentinel947

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If this has been presented in an open session, I assume the presentation source materials will start making their way out soon.  Any ideas on when we'll start seeing this more info?

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Posted (edited)

I'm hopeful that with ending "youth" at 18 and declaring all of those over 18 "adults" may give a glimmer of hope that we can go back to treating those 18-20 year olds as adults! Stop making them some middling group that are not quite adults that matter.

Edited by HashTagScouts
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When will changes be communicated?  

Remember the way national decision making works is that the Executive Committee (about 12 people) gets the research, "recommends" a decision to the Executive Board (about 120 people, including the National Advisory Council), which then adopts the decision.  The Executive Board will meet privately in in early June.  So the key changes are officially public then.  However, all of this is going to be swept through the media by the plaintiff attorneys and somehow used to encourage additional men to file claims.

NYLT seems to have a core of Scouts but in our council they seem to be high school aged.  So, I don't this it will impact us as much.

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