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14 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

David CO, are you saying that the early guys saw a money-making opportunity in the Scouting movement, quickly incorporated, merchandised the operation, eliminated the competition, and used their influence to garner a Congressional Charter to seal their virtual monopoly?

Say it wasn't so!!

Very close.  The early guys (including Boyce) had always intended for scouting to have a broad appeal that reached beyond social and economic classes.  The charter reflects this attitude.  The first scout executive (West) pulled off a palace coup, and drove out most of the organization's founders
(including Boyce).  He then transformed BSA into a money-making operation, eliminated the competition, and secured an astronomical salary for himself.

This would make a great TV miniseries.  I'm surprised it has never been done.

Edited by David CO
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I struggle though with how to reconcile the gains and successes we've had as a country in the last 50 years.  Even in my lifetime, I see a noticeable difference in the amount of racism and increase in

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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Also Owls...some public information that most SE's don't want to see the light of day...salary info.

But, as 501 c 3's, they receive a public benefit of not having to pay taxes, so the IRS requires certain info to be made public in their IRS Form 990 filings...easily obtainable...

For example, I see you live in Montana...a quick search yielded the 2018 IRS 990 for Montana Council, and, at the time, Interim Scout Executive was paid $150,208, while the retiring SE was paid $143,691...you can add up to total salary paid...  that's where much of your council fees are going.

If you dared, you could ask your council office for their current IRS 990, which they are required, by law, to provide to the public upon request.

Fair warning...in doing so, you will quickly become persona non grata...


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@InquisitiveScouter That is a lot higher salary than I expected. My expectations of him will be much higher now. Note that Montana does not have a Council fee. They have been upgrading camp facilities a lot over the past 5 years. I suspect Montana has permanent investment funds that helps fund the council on an annual basis. Out of the loop, so I do not know if they are running deficits or surpluses. 


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Here is the link to the 2018 IRS 990


you can get a lot of info there...see line 10, Investment Income, $1,258,846 ...further broken down into $375,217 investment income...and a sale of $4,358,597 in securities, netting a capital gain of $883,629 (a gain of 25% from their basis of $3,474,968...that's good money, depending on the time held!!)

Enjoy the read...

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

Not to defend National too much, but, they've made several attempts to reach underserved youth.  That was part of the thrust of the ISP.  Learning for Life, Scoutreach, Scouting and Soccer, generally fall into that category.  They may be bad at it, but, they've certainly tried.

Sorry.  Any defense of national is too much.


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2 hours ago, David CO said:

This is the same argument that James West and William Boyce had 100 years ago.  Boyce wanted to expand scouting to include working class boys.  West wanted to build a program that would appeal more to middle-class and white-collar households.  The executives have always wanted an elitist scouting program.  That's where the $$$ is.

I can't completely blame the executives.  Even in our troop it's more fun to go on high adventure trips and have lots of great gear.  Keeping the program economical is a choice - but there are certainly costs of that choice.  I've watched how units (and council) have scrimped to  save a few dollars on fees.  Then I'll get done, hop in the car, and grab lunch with my son for $20.  It takes a choice by people to know the potential of what could be, yet to continually work to do it in the most economical fashion.  I can see that there are many who say - "why do we work so hard to save money?"

I think it's easy to assume it's all about the money - but I think it's a lot more complicated than that.  Many who get involved in Scouting do so to have a great Scouting experience - not run a charity.  Again, I think we just need to reconcile that as a movement.  Are we a charity or are we not?

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2 hours ago, Owls_are_cool said:

Question for a newbie to council politics: Who selects the Scout Executive who runs the Council? Is it some sort of council committee or is it a group higher up the chain? Is this a bottom up selection or is it top down?

Who selects the District Executive? A district committee or the council? 

If these are top-down decisions, then I highly think there is not much one can do to bring more accountability on behalf of customers. If it is bottom up, then many of us in the lower levels need to get involved beyond our local units. 

Despite what many here will tell you, volunteers do have tremendous sway that the council level. 

Many of these issues that we talk about here often result from people in council positions that simply just don't have the awareness to make the best choices.  I'm a bit of an optimist, but I generally find that people are trying to make the right decisions.  The challenge is that there are relatively few Scouters who progress from unit leader to the council level.  Because of that, boards are often a mixture of friends of board members (folks who travel in the board circuit) and a few long time dedicated volunteers. 

I think Scouting would be a lot better off if more unit leaders got involved at the district and then the council level.  Not so much because they'd blow up the council - but more so because they would be engaged in small decision after small decision and we'd see many more small decisions made with the unit leader or parent mindset in consideration.  As these small decisions start to accumulate, we'd see a culture shift in thinking at the council level.


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3 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Respectfully disagree. If they didn't learn when FOS donations started dwindling because of lack of service, what makes you think they will do any better when a mandatory fee is added? That is guaranteed money.

My council has had problems for over 20 years. They have lost all kinds of stuff: day camp registration forms and check, youth and adult applications, Popcorn checks and paperwork, advancement reports, eagle applications, ad nauseum. They have tried to blame the local post office, but even when things were hand delivered, the items at the office got lost. Long story short, because of my council's issues, FOS started dropping, and units no longer participate in popcorn sales.

Let me rephrase my point, competently run councils should learn.

Dwindling family FoS contributions are too easy to blame on a variety of factors - the DE didn't try hard enough, the district doesn't have enough volunteers, the unit leader isn't supporting the effort, etc.  Not contributing is something of a passive response.

Families and units revolting to fees is another.  If a family says - no, I will not pay, then that is harder to ignore.  A family saying, we are leaving because you are charging too much is harder to ignore.

I've no idea if councils will really listen- but they should be if they are paying attention.


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43 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Not to defend National too much, but, they've made several attempts to reach underserved youth.  That was part of the thrust of the ISP.  Learning for Life, Scoutreach, Scouting and Soccer, generally fall into that category.  They may be bad at it, but, they've certainly tried.

There have been efforts but the BSA organization itself is not structured to be very workable in at risk communities. Other youth organizations, like youth sports, have managed to do a fairly good job but not BSA. And none of those other youth organizations claim many if any of the higher goals so vocally promoted by scouting. It is an odd disconnect. I'm not saying BSA should have organized itself around serving inner city or rural poor youth, just that it shouldn't be so difficult and expensive no matter who you are to implement the program.

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