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16 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

I think what this really comes down to is that BSA unit leaders are the kind of folks who will not want to subject their units or themselves personally to the direct authority of a BSA employee -- with the notable exception of violations of YPT and similarly-serious health and safety matters.  If the CO system is modified or replaced, I think unit leaders will insist on a reasonable alternative "supervisory" structure.

And as it happens, we already have a corps of volunteers at the district and council levels who are dedicated to building high-quality units.  Units owned by the Council, supervised by the volunteer Commissioners.  

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I would say an option that we, the unit, make the decision on who we feel should be the adult leaders.  I don't need paid pros making that decision.  In any business you like to have succession plans, so I as current CC would be looking to groom my replacement.  I would make the call on who that is, who I feel is the best fit.  Same for the SM and his/her replacement.  Let the paid pros be concerned about the big picture, like YPT issues.  As @dkurtenbach says, we should ahve the commissioner corp be interested in who I am designating as my replacement so that they can be there to support them once the transition occurs, that my unit is following GTSS and GTA, etc.  Don't expect my church/VFW/PTO/etc. trying to take that on.

But, yes, leave that option on the table that the current CO model can still be there for those that want that.  Some orgs would offer meeting space even if they are not the CO.  Our Legion post was not the CO for the first 47 years of the troop, but did offer meeting space and storage space.  When the church that was the CO decided they didn't want to continue- even though they hadn't actually put any $$$ into the unit, or given meeting space for years- it was a natural fit to ask the post to become the CO.  But, they didn't want any more oversight than what they had previously had.  

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1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

I think what this really comes down to is that BSA unit leaders are the kind of folks who will not want to subject their units or themselves personally to the direct authority of a BSA employee -- with the notable exception of violations of YPT and similarly-serious health and safety matters.  If the CO system is modified or replaced, I think unit leaders will insist on a reasonable alternative "supervisory" structure.

This seems like an overly broad characterization.  Just because we as scouters are used to doing things a certain way doesn't mean that's an innate preference.  Lots of youth organizations have either tighter or looser controls from their parent organization, but I doubt you would find much difference in personality or motivation between the median volunteer in any of them.

A strength I do think the CO system brings is continuity and institutional knowledge.  Many, probably most troops that survive their first 10 years or so build up a coterie of scouters who remain with the program past the point when their own scouts have aged out.  I don't see that in many other youth-serving organizations, certainly not in the same numbers or degree. 

I don't have any direct experience with GSUSA, but what I see in the troops in my own parish is that they really lack any coherent structure or ongoing organization.  The GS troops themselves wax and wane almost entirely on the basis of the strength of the parents of any given year, and there is little or no support from any antecedent leaders.  Whereas our troop and pack, serving the same families and often with the same adults, has scouters who are still part of the program when their own grandchildren become scouts.  There is tremendous strength in that continuity of both support and knowledge.  I think that would be very hard to duplicate without the CO system .  

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Protoclete said:

Woodbadge, I understand, having just gone through it last year, I see how it could get kind of cult-y in some councils. Its weird enough to show up at a Council event and see a bunch of people singing 'Back to Gilwell' with no context or explanation, especially when you're on the outside. Real off-putting. Though I think I'm lucky in my council that its not much cliquish, and also i think there is an overall recognition of this and efforts to overcome in already being implemented. 

But commissioner corps? Is that really a problem in some places? They are like the quintessential BSA volunteers' volunteers here. There are never enough of them, but I can't imagine a group more representative of what Scouting is about than our commissioners - not at all cliquish, totally open and available, always ready to respond to questions, server cheerfully, etc. So genuinely curious how it works that they'd be grouped together with WB here. 

Proclete, thanks for the opportunity to round out my ramblings....

- WB:  I'll give Gilwell credit where credit is due.  They have toned down the hyperbole and egotism.   Somewhat.  In my council there seems to have been a conscious effort to be more respectful toward non WBers and realistic about the course.  Other councils I've been in have been as you described, cliquish and cult-y, if not downright arrogant.  WB still seems to be a feeder program for the Good Ole Boy club at district and council levels.   There are scouters that do not appear for or support anything in scouting unless it's WB. 

- Commissioners:  a subject near/dear to me.  I was a UC in five councils while on active duty, and later a district commissioner for a year. 

The commissioner concept is sound, but overall it doesn't work as advertised, in my opinion.  It works in some councils, which is good news indeed.

In the units, I always did my best to be respectful and supportive.  Initial greetings at unit meetings ranged from shock ("I've been the SM here X years, and you are the first commissioner to walk through our door") to outright hostility ("We had a commissioner several years ago, a complete jerk, and we told him to leave and never come back"). 

I did nothing profound as a UC.  I listened to their concerns, went camping with the units when they were short adults ("A commissioner that actually camps, well now I've seen everything ha ha!"), drank coffee with them around the campfire, washed dishes, filed my monthly reports (if/when the abysmal BSA software worked), and gave updates at district meetings.  I'm not trying to sound like a great UC because I wasn't.  Yet what little I did, most leaders appreciated it.  If they asked for my advice or previous experience, I offered it.  Otherwise, it was about supporting them--the most important positions in scouting--unit level leaders.

Observations about fellow commissioners:  many were names on a roster.  At most they attended the monthly district meetings to socialize.  Being a commissioner was a status symbol and nothing more.  They loved the accolades but never visited their units.

Edited by desertrat77
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I see none of these sacred cows going away.   The closest one I can see are STEM scouts  Certainly everyone of them on the list need to be evaluated and streamlined.

For example...the scout rank requirements have gone beserk over the past 5 years.    2 pages of TF and 3 pages each for 2nd and 1st in the annual requirements books.  Example...first aid requirements in each rank...just have FA MB required for TF.    Unless your argument is since your can work on all three rans at the same time, why have three.

Eagle scout projects procedures and approvals can be streamlined.  The process got this way due to units running boys through sucj a meatgrinder to get approval, they gave up.  Most of the time it due to one individual who didn't like the scout.

CORs are like any other part of the organization, some are great, some are lousy.   Turning this over to the councils would be a disaster as the CORs/IHs are one of the few ways units can call foul on their antics.

Commissioners and District Committees....problem here is that these individuals do not stay current.  I have seen district advancement people who had never cracked open the GTA and Commissioners who didn't know there was a new Eagle WB years after it came out.    KILL the Doctorate of Commissioner service program.

MB Fairs...the reason there are bad ones is because no one does any oversight from the council and SMs don't do their part to call them out on them. Same goes for summer camps.  when the standard on the camp inspection is "do you have  MBs here?" it's game over on execution.

Council Executive Boards need to step up and do their jobs and not rubber stamp powerpoint presentations and fail to communicate with the units.

Enough rambling...as I said the professionals will be so focused on staying alive, they will not do much effort on the rest.

No one asked the new guy to tell us what sacred cows he thought should be eliminated either.  🤨

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't see what eliminating the CO model will do to address any of the issues in the BSA today.  To me, it's kinda putting another band-aid on a big wound. Same with popcorn, the OA, merit badge colleges.

The big problems in the BSA are:

  1. attracting and retaining you members and adult volunteers
  2. national lawsuits are fundamentally destroying the image of Scouting and enthusiasm of members
  3. the cost of the organization designed to support the youth programming is too high for the value it brings

Seems to me that all these sacred cows need to be looked at in this light.  For example, the OA isn't a problem.  The OA is almost irrelevant to the issues above.  Me, I'd go down the list of sacred cows and measure each against these three.

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I think a lot (A LOT) of Professionals are going to quickly try and justify their jobs. 

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This really is not very complicated. The charterd organization owns the unit and it IS their responsibility to recruit adult leadership.  The adult leadership KNOW that they represent the charterd organization and MUST abide by the dictates of the charterd organization AND the BSA.  After that it gets even easier, the adult leaders provide a leadership and program model that is strictly governed by the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.  That's it...

 

Advancement has gotten ridiculous.  Tenderfoot focused on learning about Scouting, Second Class focused on hiking and getting outside, First Class focused on camping and camping skills.  It was the goal of every Scoutmaster that EVERY Scout achieved First Class. After that it was the responsibility of THE SCOUT to advance to Star, Life, and Eagle.  Cub Scouts were not permitted to camp except for an occasional trip to a council event or when the Webelos camped with a troop.  Now, Cubs camp all of the time which reduces their interest in participating in the Boy Scout program.  Brand new scouts go to merit badge clinics where they can earn every merit badge without ever learning about Scouting or developing the outdoor skills needed to be scouts.  The current leadership requirements are little more then sewing a patch on their uniform.  This results in untrained, unskilled, and unmotivated young people coming before an Eagle board and being awarded the once prestigious award of Eagle Scout.  Then the same individual "Eagles Out" and really hasn't accomplished much.  In some cases these young people then join the military and proclaim that they are an Eagle Scout.  This is where their difficulties begin because they are EXPECTED to have had some leadership experience, outdoor skills, and the ability to be self reliant.   Where does the blaim fall ?  Not on the kid that just "slimed" their way through but on the adults who let this happen, and the current BSA policies and program that made it available.  I realise that this isn't ALWAYS the case but it happens all too often.  I had the privilege of working with a very successful and competent young man who traveled around the country, located merit badge counselors,  and earned every merit badge offered by the BSA.  He is just one example of a young man who truly is an Eagle Scout.  There are many of these, there are many of the other kind, too.  I think it would be great if the program, including advancement, were to return to the ways of bygone years and make the Scouting program something to be proud of.  I know this will never happen and the BSA is a direct reflection of what our society has become, good or not so good.  This is my opinion and just that.

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4 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

This really is not very complicated. The charterd organization owns the unit and it IS their responsibility to recruit adult leadership.  The adult leadership KNOW that they represent the charterd organization and MUST abide by the dictates of the charterd organization AND the BSA.  After that it gets even easier, the adult leaders provide a leadership and program model that is strictly governed by the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.  That's it...

Let me say, when this actually happens, it works *chef kiss* PERFECTLY

To bad CO's only do what they are supposed to probably only like 20% off the time. 

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6 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

This really is not very complicated. The charterd organization owns the unit and it IS their responsibility to recruit adult leadership.  The adult leadership KNOW that they represent the charterd organization and MUST abide by the dictates of the charterd organization AND the BSA.  After that it gets even easier, the adult leaders provide a leadership and program model that is strictly governed by the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.  That's it...

While this may be technically the way it works, it's the wrong model and it sets expectations that inherently unsustainable today.

Successful packs and troops build themselves.  They encourage parents to volunteer.  They create camaraderie amongst volunteers so that they stay engaged.  They focus on youth membership and quality of program.  It's too easy in the BSA to say "I focus on program" to the detriment of adult volunteers and youth membership. In my district, the strongest units are those that focus on these aspects. The weakest are those that do not.

 

 

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The only reason that it is not sustainable today is because the BSA bowed down to the social principals that resulted in the loss of funding provided by big business.  As a result the precepts of the Scout Oath and law were watered down or completly ignored.  During the successful years Boy Scouts was for boys. It was available to anyone but not everyone was compatible because they did not adhere to the Scout Oath and Law.  Now the model is Scouting is everything for everyone, everybody should be able to do whatever, however, and whenever and get a prize for doing it.  If it's hard, let's make it easy, because we dont want to upset anyone. Proficiency in Scouting skills really doesnt matter and as long as some imaginary life lesson is learned the mission was completed.  Obviously the current sustainable model for today has failed.  Programs for younger and younger children were developed, first came the Tigers for little boys, then came the Lions.  When all else failed, membership had declined, people just quit, chartered organizations left, the LDS church had enough, and financial ruin loomed, the Boy Scouts attempted to save themselves by allowing young ladies to participate in all programs.  What a success story, Philmont is mortgaged,  Sea Base is mortgaged,  membership is still down, participation is low, the famous Summitt Bechtel Reserve is bleeding money and will never be able to recover the losses, and even the youth membership fees were doubled.  What a great sustainable model, and grand record of success!

and this obviously doesnt work.

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That my friend is "jacked up" because an organization that you dedicated yourself to was the victim of poor management, unpopular decisions and reckless  spending.  I just bet you could live well on .05 percent of the money that had been thrown into the black hole also known as The Summit Bechtel Reserve.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

That my friend is "jacked up" because an organization that you dedicated yourself to was the victim of poor management, unpopular decisions and reckless  spending.  I just bet you could live well on .05 percent of the money that had been thrown into the black hole also known as The Summit Bechtel Reserve.

Just got off the retirement plan webinar. I really could've done without one of the Assistant Chiefs who makes 300k a year telling us "I know you must be mad, but remember why you joined in the first place" 

Edited by carebear3895

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I dont know you but I have known many like you.  I would guess that you joined up because you like kids, believed in the program, and was interested in a job where you could have a positive impact on young people.  Remember I'm just guessing here. You felt that this was a great oppertunity and would be a great and rewarding job.  These are some of the reasons that I entered government service.  After several years of beating your head against a wall, being criticized and chastised despite your best efforts to succeed,  removing numerous fixed blade cutting instruments from your back, and having your decisions questioned at every turn, you find it very difficult to remember just why you signed on.  Just guessing.

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