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My district and council are doomed.


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On 6/5/2021 at 7:59 AM, Eagle94-A1 said:

We have folks refusing to recognize the new district and want to keep doing things as if the old, local district was  around. 

Sad to hear that.  Volunteers that are not flexible are not helping and might need to move on.  It's good to keep friendships and connections, but ultimately we volunteer to help the organization.  That means being flexible as the organization needs to change.  

Districts get re-organized.  It happens all the time.  Rebalancing unit numbers.  Budgets change.  Concept changes.  Membership number changes.  In my 20 years, I've seen three major district re-orgs.  AND, there was a major one the year before my oldest son joined scouting.  That would be four district re-orgs in 21/22 years.  

Districts get re-organized.  It happens. 

Always look for something positive.  :)

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I also feel the same way after learning of my local councils plans.  If it were not for the boys I would almost  feel like leaving.  Local council had 2 zoom calls the 1st during the week that we held

Ditto.  What if all the units just said NO?  Let the SE chew on that for awhile...

It's the old adage...Do we raise money to enable a community to have Scouts OR Do we have Scouts to enable a group to be able to raise money. Agree that way too many volunteers feel the "Council"

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Dumb question: I've been reading and re-reading BSA's "how districts should be run" books.

  1. How many of you have an actual nominating committee? Mine does not and hasn't in years.
  2. How many of you have actual Council members sitting on your District Committee Nominating committee (I'm not talking about District Chairs who are ex officio Council members). Mine is 0.
  3. What percent of your district committees are unit leaders? Mine is 100% cubmasters, scoutmasters, and unit committee and they are all burnt out.
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This all assumes you have more volunteers than open positions. "We haven't had that spirit here since 1969."

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3 minutes ago, MattR said:

This all assumes you have more volunteers than open positions.

Yeah, my district committee has 4 people now that we lost the committee chair last month. I'm just trying to see what it takes to rebuild. 10 years ago (before my time), we had district dinners, awards, the whole thing. And now 10 years later, 4 burn outs and nothing else.

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1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

Dumb question: I've been reading and re-reading BSA's "how districts should be run" books.

  1. How many of you have an actual nominating committee?
  2. How many of you have actual Council members sitting on your District Committee Nominating 
  3. What percent of your district committees are unit leaders?

Re  1: They once had them, but they hated it when outsiders came, so the meeting disappeared.
Re 2: None.  All powers that be are wealthy locals.
Re 3: None.  Last time I saw minutes, all were has-beens, and appointees. 

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1 minute ago, CommishJulian said:

Re 3: None.  Last time I saw minutes, all were has-beens, and appointees. 

See, I'm torn here. We are struggling between

1) People who are actively engaged in units who are the most in-the-know about what units need AND the least likely to have free time to be messing around with district events.

2) People who are "has-beens" who have tons of time but no idea what units need or want. Our "next door neighbor" district has that, which I am sometimes jealous of because it means people who are dedicated to putting district events together and staffing it. On the other hand, it is what THEY think units want ("because that's how we did it"., not necessarily what is wanted.

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1 minute ago, CynicalScouter said:

Yeah, my district committee has 4 people, ...  we had district dinners, awards, the whole thing. And now 10 years later, 4 burn outs and nothing else.

So sorry man.  Same here.  I feel your pain.  Maybe you can answer something for me?

I believe in my area, rich angry white people cause the environment to turn toxic and that drove away families.
I believe that cub scouting done right, even by noob parents attracts and keeps families coming.

I don't know if the decline of Scouting is just a sign of the times.  I'd value anybody's opinions on this.

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2 hours ago, CommishJulian said:

rich angry white people cause the environment to turn toxic

This is kind of amusing. I see angry people turn any group toxic, but their wealth and race don't really have much to do with it. If there's one common thread to toxicity in my district it's the council exec. 

But I think it's less toxicity and more good old fashioned burnout. Our council and district volunteers get along with each other. 

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

... one common thread to toxicity in my district it's the council exec. ...  less toxicity and more good old fashioned burnout. Our council and district volunteers get along with each other. 

I love this site because everybody has their own challenges, successes, issues, etc.  What's killing my area, doesn't exist 10 miles North of me.  I think it is very good that everybody who posts here has their own influencers acting on their District / Council.

My burning question still is: If we gave elementary school families a wholesome classic Cub Scout experience, would they keep attending?  Said another way, have kids changed so much in only 10 years that they don't want "fun with a purpose" any more? 

I can't believe that an iPad took away so much desire to camp, hike, and run around.

Edited by CommishJulian
spelling - my bad
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15 hours ago, MattR said:

If there's one common thread to toxicity in my district it's the council exec. 

Ditto.

Here, our district has two major challenges.  

1.  No Commissioner Corps to speak of...  (There is no one to help units know what "right" looks like.)

2. The District schedules too many events, if you can believe it...  two camporees per year (in addition to a council-wide event), many (like six or so) Cub events that they ask Troops to support, Klondike, a skills competition, a fishing derby, rocket launch, a merit badge event, etc.  And you are castigated if you don't attend/support the events.  It is like the district is planning a whole Troop program year so the Troops don't have to.  When I am asked why we weren't at such and such an event, I simply say, "Because the PLC decided they wanted to do something else."  And, unfortunately, that answer is not acceptable to most in our council.  smh

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16 hours ago, MattR said:

Our council and district volunteers get along with each other. 

Right. Our problem isn't getting along; it is that they are all too busy running their units to then turn around and dedicate time to district (and council) related issues.

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15 hours ago, CommishJulian said:

I love this site because everybody has their own challenges, successes, issues, etc.  What's killing my area, doesn't exist 10 miles North of me.  I think it is very good that everybody who posts here has their own influencers acting on their District / Council.

My burning question still is: If we gave elementary school families a wholesome classic Cub Scout experience, would they keep attending?  Said another way, have kids changed so much in only 10 years that they don't want "fun with a purpose" any more? 

I can't believe that an iPad took away so much desire to camp, hike, and run around.

I think it depends on what the adults think the "fun and wholesome" should look like. If the adults always think in terms of clean, easy and well-organized activities I think even if you keep the kids engaged while the activites are actually happening, you won't really excite them into wanting to come back. I'm picturing lots of handi-crafts, well organized standard games, uneventful camping/hiking.

  I think "adventurous" and "new and interesting" is far more important than trying to plan a "classicly fun" program.  My secret to being a Cubmaster was to either stick with activities that were more of the "adventurous" variety (BB guns, archery, fires, knives, etc.), or to keep things new and interesting by taking the usual activities and then adding silly rules or restrictions to make it harder.  Examples:

  • Two-man-three-legged tag:  Where the scouts had to pair up and then they had to stay connected.  They could walk normally, but could only run while using 3 legs or less.  
  • Backpack tag: where the Webelos 2s were "it" but they had to carry Tigers on their back and while the Webelos were "It", only the tiger could tag people out.
  • Marshmallow/toothpick tower building: Each team gets a box of toothpicks and a bag of marshmallows.  But instead of the normal group effort, they had to pick builders and planners and the builders couldn't talk and the planners couldn't touch to marshmallows or toothpicks. 

Similarly, hikes were far more interesting with rules or games added in.  My standard rule was "We don't need no stinking bridges..." and no-one but the "old folks" were allowed to use existing bridges.  Or randomly deciding "Only the Bears can touch the ground here and they need to find a way for everyone else to cross"

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34 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

The District schedules too many events, if you can believe it.

I was both an sm and district camping chair. As an sm the district events could help the scouts fill in the calendar but when they had an abundance of ideas, camporees got replaced. As camping chair I understood that. I also tried to make camporees fun and challenging so the scouts wanted to be there. As for the other events mentioned I didn't organize any of those. We didn't have the bandwidth.

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23 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

Dumb question: I've been reading and re-reading BSA's "how districts should be run" books.

  1. How many of you have an actual nominating committee? Mine does not and hasn't in years.
  2. How many of you have actual Council members sitting on your District Committee Nominating committee (I'm not talking about District Chairs who are ex officio Council members). Mine is 0.
  3. What percent of your district committees are unit leaders? Mine is 100% cubmasters, scoutmasters, and unit committee and they are all burnt out.

I'll take the bait.  And, I'll answer for the month before covid.  Things are rebuilding right now.

#1  Yes.  It was one person, but then they'd use the whole district committee to drive nominations.  The person took the job seriously.

#2  "Council" members?  Is that a requirement to have some outside "council" person on the "district" nominating committee?  I would have never known and I've taken lots of training.

#3  All were unit leaders at some point.  50% to 70% still are, but usually at the ASM level or unit committee level.  None were SMs at that time.  It's just too much work to be a CM/SM and district committee at same time.  A few were retired scouters looking for a place to spend time.  

 

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When I said "wholesome classic Cub Scout experience", I meant make it about the kids, and not power-tripping old farts.  

elitts  All good ideas.  Thanks for taking the time to share all that with us and all who find it via Google search.  You're gonna do a lot of good with that.  

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