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48 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Wow! What a mess.

First off, you claim your running one of the best programs, but not getting any feedback. What feedback do you want? My experience with a struggling Commissioner corp program is that the resources are applied to units that need help. Do you need help?

You state that the commissioner is the liaison of units to the Council. Commissioners are the liaison the DISTRCT. The DE is your liaison to the council, if you need it. Whether the DE does their job through commissioner corp or personally is up in the air and dependent of their character of how they work. What do you want to know about Council to continue to run your fine program?  

I do agree the commissioner Crop is there to help you build a quality program, but again, if you have a quality program, what else do you want? If your commissioner corp is lacking and struggling, and I have the "Been there done that T-Shirt", then help them by not taking recourses you don't need. Use them when you need them for situations that are beyond the experience of the unit volunteers.

As for the missing DE, OK, so. But you really want to see is the District Commissioner. The DC has the most power to influence units. Sadly, most districts don't understand their power and they seem to fill the position with someone who doesn't have the skills. But, if you really want to invite District/Council to see your program, the DC is the person you want because that is the Key 3 connection to the outside world.

Finally, I cheer your desire to become a commissioner, but let me point out that you can only be as good as your District Commissioner manager (DC). And you aren't painting a very pretty picture of your DC.. Every situation is different, but my suggestion is to get on the District Committee somewhere where you can do good work and earn your way to the District Commissioner position. I took that route, and I was offered the DC position. I was Sadly, the offer came 5 years after I retired from scouting and I wasn't ready to jump back in. I was flattered they remembered me and felt I was their person for the job, but I moved on with my life. To bad really, I believe the District Commissioner has the most power for influencing program in the units. I believe a unit should never see the DE if the commissioner corp is doing their job correctly.

I'm always excited to read your grounded opinions of scouting. I believe some of your thoughts will be influenced with district level volunteering. I know it changed a lot of my idealism. I look forward to reading your future posts.

Barry

Barry,

The observation on our program is mine, when looking at other units, and speaking with volunteers and parents at multiple events.  And, I totally get that Commissioners' attention should be first and foremost to units that are struggling.  My point is just what you sussed out:  our council/district/unit Commissioner apparatus is broken, and I believe it directly affects the quality of programs at each level.

The secondary point is that, if we did experience an issue we needed help with, I'd have no idea who to call directly.  We do not have a Unit Commissioner assigned, nor have we had any interaction with a Commissioner (except for Roundtables) for about 2 years.  And the last was a request by me to do a unit contact to "check the health", from which we got zero Commissioner feedback.  (No news is good news?)

But, I see it as a DE (and the other two of the Key 3) responsibility to recruit Commissioners.  Am I wrong?  It ain't happening here.

And the liaison bit was a direct quote pulled from the Administration of Commissioner Service manual https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34501.pdf

Finally, I am trying to tactfully engage our SE to find some way forward (to get off his blacklist), but he is swamped with funding/bankruptcy/DE&I/YPT issues.  So I remain on the back burner until his bandwidth is more open (sorry for the mixed metaphor ;) ).

 

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We're talking different things here. I started my comments in this thread saying that national needs to reduce fees.  I believe that $15-$20 a month for dues is too much - but mostly because ther

A friend of mine is an accountant and did see the books. There is no accounting system set up for my council. There is only one account. Nobody could ask, for example, what is the net on a summer camp

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How is it that a discussion about council budgets went back to a discussion about volunteers? Cost of running a council, and whether there's value for that cost is being related to how good the volunteers are. That tells me that the $600/year should entirely go to helping those volunteers. This is why budgets need to be transparent. And not at a one page view but where all the money is spent. If it turns out that camp infrastructure (dining halls, showers, wifi, etc) is where all the money is going and none of this is helping the volunteers put on camporees, and nobody really cares for the summer camp, then the money is going to the wrong place. This is what I meant by tough questions.

I just know my council, but this idea of supporting volunteers is not happening. When some council says hooray, we will lower fees because FOS was high enough, all I can think is the parents donating more money is just delaying the inevitable. Cost keeps going up but value does not. That's not a recipe for success.

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25 minutes ago, MattR said:

How is it that a discussion about council budgets went back to a discussion about volunteers? Cost of running a council, and whether there's value for that cost is being related to how good the volunteers are. That tells me that the $600/year should entirely go to helping those volunteers. This is why budgets need to be transparent. And not at a one page view but where all the money is spent. If it turns out that camp infrastructure (dining halls, showers, wifi, etc) is where all the money is going and none of this is helping the volunteers put on camporees, and nobody really cares for the summer camp, then the money is going to the wrong place. This is what I meant by tough questions.

I just know my council, but this idea of supporting volunteers is not happening. When some council says hooray, we will lower fees because FOS was high enough, all I can think is the parents donating more money is just delaying the inevitable. Cost keeps going up but value does not. That's not a recipe for success.

Awww @MattR, the occasional rabbit hole is fine, right??

Council fees should help fund professionals who go out and recruit and train (or see that training is provided to) adult volunteers (Commissioners included) to run the program.

Tracing it backwards, bad program is usually a result of poor adult volunteerism, which is usually a result of a lack of recruiting/training by professionals, who get paid by the council fees...

I firmly believe, if the program was the focus, the fees and fundraising would fall into place with no issues.  That does not seem to be the mindset here (in this council)...

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2 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

The observation on our program is mine, when looking at other units, and speaking with volunteers and parents at multiple events.  And, I totally get that Commissioners' attention should be first and foremost to units that are struggling.  My point is just what you sussed out:  our council/district/unit Commissioner apparatus is broken, and I believe it directly affects the quality of programs at each level.

It's not that attention should be paid first to the struggling units, it's that those are bigger fires that need attention. I know that sounds the same, but typically struggling commission corps are the cause of struggling units and they in their unstructured mind only fix big problems. Units would likely see their UC in a well run corp. But, many folks feel they should see their UC every week, That is not the case.

2 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

The secondary point is that, if we did experience an issue we needed help with, I'd have no idea who to call directly.  We do not have a Unit Commissioner assigned, nor have we had any interaction with a Commissioner (except for Roundtables) for about 2 years.  And the last was a request by me to do a unit contact to "check the health", from which we got zero Commissioner feedback.  (No news is good news?)

You contact the District commissior. Infact, all units should know the District commissioner. They are usually the one that handles the more challenging problems. UC's are usually more observers and advisors. But, in a well run District, the UC is reporting to the DC and they are working together on any guidance if needed. Quality units usually typically come from the vision of the District Commissioner. The DC is the heart of the District Program. The UC is supposed to be working at the guidance and permission of the District Commissioner. 

 

2 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

But, I see it as a DE (and the other two of the Key 3) responsibility to recruit Commissioners.  Am I wrong?  It ain't happening here.

 

The DE is the council representative for the district. If the DE is doing the job correctly, they recruit a capable District commissioner. Recruiting UCs would take a lot of time and work for a DE. The District Chairmen runs the District committee and is not expected to recruit for each subcommittee member.

 

2 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

And the liaison bit was a direct quote pulled from the Administration of Commissioner Service manual https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34501.pdf

 

Yes, but let's keep the hierarchy in context; the UC works for the DC. The DC is the member of the Key 3 and liaison for the council and district. The UC is the liaison to the DC. If noting else, the UC/DC are a filter for what a unit really needs directly from the Council level. 

As I said, I believe the quality of a District comes from the District Commissioner. A district could have a mediocre DE and District Chair, but still have a high quality program with a good DC. On the other hand, a good DE will recruit a good DC. 

I believe the bad commission reputation has come from a lacking to understand the value of the District Commissioner. As a result, most don't do a good job. So, the UCs are left to their own without general district guidance. 

Barry

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40 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Awww @MattR, the occasional rabbit hole is fine, right??

I wasn't wearing my moderator hat. Continue burrowing.

I believe the rest of your post contained many shoulds, that aren't happening. No disagreement there.

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40 minutes ago, MattR said:

How is it that a discussion about council budgets went back to a discussion about volunteers? Cost of running a council, and whether there's value for that cost is being related to how good the volunteers are. That tells me that the $600/year should entirely go to helping those volunteers. This is why budgets need to be transparent. And not at a one page view but where all the money is spent. If it turns out that camp infrastructure (dining halls, showers, wifi, etc) is where all the money is going and none of this is helping the volunteers put on camporees, and nobody really cares for the summer camp, then the money is going to the wrong place. This is what I meant by tough questions.

I just know my council, but this idea of supporting volunteers is not happening. When some council says hooray, we will lower fees because FOS was high enough, all I can think is the parents donating more money is just delaying the inevitable. Cost keeps going up but value does not. That's not a recipe for success.

@MattR

When Scouters talk about council value add, they often come back to program activities.  Almost all program activities are driven by council/district volunteers today.  I'm all for increasing the council focus and shifting financial resources towards enabling volunteers to be successful. 

I suspect that the best way for this to happen is for a council to spend more money on:

  • district/council volunteer training
  • district/council volunteer support
  • improve council infrastructure for activities

Beyond that, I wonder - what should a council do to help volunteers organize camporees?  What should a council do to help volunteers organize a pinewood derby?

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We have gone from the partrol focus to the trrop focus to the council focus?  Youth learns leadership, self-reliance, democracy,  and responsibility how?  Is program an objective or a tool?

 

 

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3 hours ago, MattR said:

This is why budgets need to be transparent. And not at a one page view but where all the money is spent. If it turns out that camp infrastructure (dining halls, showers, wifi, etc) is where all the money is going and none of this is helping the volunteers put on camporees, and nobody really cares for the summer camp, then the money is going to the wrong place. This is what I meant by tough questions.

Again, have you asked your council? As I noted in at least 1/2 of states you are allowed to inspect their books and/or audited financial statement BY LAW. You want to get into budget line items? Go right ahead.

But the problem is we have people who say a) I don't want all the details but b) I want assurances that the money is not going somewhere I, personally, don't think it should be going to (camp wifi).

You can't have it both ways. You want the information, file a request under your state laws and show up at council (the laws say you can inspect, it does NOT say they have to mail it to you).

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9 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Again, have you asked your council? As I noted in at least 1/2 of states you are allowed to inspect their books and/or audited financial statement BY LAW. You want to get into budget line items? Go right ahead.

But the problem is we have people who say a) I don't want all the details but b) I want assurances that the money is not going somewhere I, personally, don't think it should be going to (camp wifi).

You can't have it both ways. You want the information, file a request under your state laws and show up at council (the laws say you can inspect, it does NOT say they have to mail it to you).

Nor do they have to provide you copies.  This was a speed bump, but I understand they don't need to spend time making copies.  So, I asked if it would be scanned to a file.  No, definitely not, was the answer.  Now the speed bump is a road block.  So I just wait until items are available on Charity Navigator or GuideStar and then distribute for public information.  This is part of why I am blacklisted.  I see it as just facilitating transparency ;)

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3 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Awww @MattR, the occasional rabbit hole is fine, right??

Council fees should help fund professionals who go out and recruit and train (or see that training is provided to) adult volunteers (Commissioners included) to run the program.

Tracing it backwards, bad program is usually a result of poor adult volunteerism, which is usually a result of a lack of recruiting/training by professionals, who get paid by the council fees...

I firmly believe, if the program was the focus, the fees and fundraising would fall into place with no issues.  That does not seem to be the mindset here (in this council)...

BAed on my experience in fourt councils over fifty years:  Professionals rarely train volunteers, except than one junior staffer on each WB course is typically an employee;  professionals rarely see that training takes place - the job of the Council Training Chair, and the Distict Training Chaor, when the "professionls" have not eliminated ditricts alltogether;  our current SE eliminated the majority of training time for volunteers even befor COVID;  "profesionals" do not run any program other than Summer Camp; "professionals" do run recruiting events.    In my principal council, they primailry run fund-raising, and they consume over 90% of the funds raised in the form of salary and benefits.  I was successful in FOS season because I pitched the crowd on the many hours the employees (once ) spent in forming units and intervening when they were in trouble.  I did NOT say the money was to "send a kid to camp," or "buy a kid a unifom," as I often heard.

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13 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

We have gone from the partrol focus to the trrop focus to the council focus?  Youth learns leadership, self-reliance, democracy,  and responsibility how?  Is program an objective or a tool?

 

 

A tool, of course, but one of the best in the tool box of things to attract, recruit, engage, and retain youth.

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3 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Tracing it backwards, bad program is usually a result of poor adult volunteerism, which is usually a result of a lack of recruiting/training by professionals, who get paid by the council fees...

Shouldn't the units help identify and develop volunteers?

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Then it is well that volunteers plan and run program, and the closer they are to the untis, the more likely the program will serve unti needs.   And the youth sould be planning and leading, not council employees.

Adult planned and run program is like teaching a kid to ride a bike by having the kid to only sit in a chair and watch an adult ride the bike.  Scouting is allegedly "experiential learning" - includong the expoerience of leadership - no emphasized by being made a sprarate "AIM" of Scouting, rather than being a part of Citizenship.

 

"Guide"  "Enable" 

 

DAD, TEAM COACH, PITCHES SON'S LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM TO DISTRICT CROWN: " I HAD TO TAKE OVER; NONE OF THE BOYS COULD THROW STRIKES"

[img]https://i.imgur.com/3up0W1K.png[/img]

 

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