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fred8033

Leadership as "Authenticity"

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As a Scout, my troop, sponsored by a Methodist congregation, had about 20% Catholic Scouts, scattered amongst our patrols and two crews.  By instruction of the Archbishop of Los Angeles, they could not present the colors on Sunday at the CO's services. Those of us who were not Catholic could present the colors at Mass at our local Catholic congregations, which I, at least, found interesting.  We put it all down to that strange species - adults.   

Those of us who ended up in high school sports, did think it unfair that the Catholic schools like Mater Dei could recruit from wherever, including out of state.  Funnily, the Monarch's best player, back then and probably ever (not that Matt Leinart was chopped liver ) was a local  kid, John Huarte, later of Notre Dame Heisman fame. Sadly, he threw sidearm, and mostly rolling out, a real limitation in the pros.  

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

There is entirely an anti-council, anti-national, anti-Wood Badge, (and probably others) tone in Scouting. 

And don't forget anti-Commissioner (read: spying spies who spy).

Seriously, I was somewhat taken aback by the anti-Wood Badge.

And another one that I've seen: anti-knots. Just seeing on the uniform. I've had people comment that is just a sign that "All that means is they went to training."

They are all (gold tabs, silver tabs, wood badge beads, knots) signs of "institutionalization". That you must have become part of "them" or one of "them". Not "us" "real" scouters/unit leaders.

Many people don't want to be told how to run "their" program. BSA rules get in the way? Screw them and screw "their" rules.

Here's the biggest, hardest part; how to inform about the rules without lecturing about the rules. The second hardest is the push back. The tradition of "don't kill the messenger" does not always happen.

I've seen it happen. The scouter who is BRAND NEW who comes back from University of Scouting and says "Uh, hey, so we really should be doing it this way" has a chance at change. The "outsider" or long-time scouter who transfers in with their kid or who comes to the unit as a DE, Council, District volunteer, wood badge grad, etc. slams into a brick wall.

So

1) Are you running YOUR youth program using BSA's MATERIALS (including logos, images, names, and ranks)?

2) Are you running a BSA program using your youth?

If you view this as a BSA program that your youth are participating in (Option 2), then you are going to have a much easier time accepting outside help/advice. If not, well, you'll be mean, "not very cordial" to borrow a phrase, and openly hostile.

If you are Option 1 (MY youth program that uses BSA's MATERIALS only) then you are absolutely not going to accept anyone telling you what to do. At all.

And I know I've posted this before, but it comes down to do you take the following seriously or not?

1) The Adult Application

Quote

I hereby certify that I agree to comply with the rules and regulations of the BSA and the local council, including the Scouter Code of Conduct.

2) The Scouter Code of Conduct

Quote

I will respect and abide by the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, BSA policies, and BSA-provided training,

3) The Charter Organization Agreement

Quote

The Chartered Organization agrees to...Conduct the Scouting program consistent with BSA rules, regulations, and policies.

 

Edited by CynicalScouter
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25 minutes ago, elitts said:

In my experience, there's a much easier way to get rid of those pesky Council gnats than being rude or inhospitable.

My District Chair had a solution for this thanks to COVID.

She got sick and tired of hearing "Council does nothing. Council sux." and being in the middle of the mess. And getting Council leadership, especially the Key-3, to come to a district committee meeting was impossible.

So she came up with a solution: a Zoom session town hall with the Council Key-3 AND council staff (not all, some) AND council committee. Zoom meant not having to work about getting people to drive from all over, take tons of time out of their night, etc. Every registered adult leader in the district was invited. Unit leaders were told to forward to every parent. EVERY ADULT was invited directly or indirectly. Everyone was also told if they had questions and could NOT attend to send them in by email and it was 100% guaranteed she (the District Chair) would ask the question to get an answer.

Night of Zoom. 20 adults; most of whom were the "usual suspects" (i.e. the ones who show for District Committee and/or Roundtable) That's it. The Council Key-3 introduces themselves, said thanks for all you do, gave a 10 minute overview of how Council was handling COVID, and then opened it to questions. Two questions. Done.

Now when she gets complaints about Council she simply says "They came. They were open. You had an opportunity to express your concerns. You chose not to."

It separates those with legitimate concerns and those who simply want to belly ache.

 

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

Our society is becoming more aware of the impact of all kinds of forms of discrimination 

I'm sure they don't see it as discrimination.  They think it's a form of anti-discrimination to call us out on our religious beliefs.  There is no point arguing with them.  We just end up in a "you're a bigot/no you're the bigot" exchange of insults.  It is much better to just distance ourselves.  They can go camping at council.  We'll camp at the church.  Problem solved.

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

Those of us who ended up in high school sports, did think it unfair that the Catholic schools like Mater Dei could recruit from wherever, including out of state. 

We can, but we are penalized for it.  Catholic High Schools usually have to play against public schools with a larger student population.  They don't play against public schools of the same size.  

Our Catholic high school never plays against our local public high school, since they are roughly the same size.  The kids want to play each other, but the league won't allow it.

Edited by David CO

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42 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Night of Zoom. 20 adults; most of whom were the "usual suspects" (i.e. the ones who show for District Committee and/or Roundtable) That's it. The Council Key-3 introduces themselves, said thanks for all you do, gave a 10 minute overview of how Council was handling COVID, and then opened it to questions. Two questions. Done.

Now when she gets complaints about Council she simply says "They came. They were open. You had an opportunity to express your concerns. You chose not to."

It separates those with legitimate concerns and those who simply want to belly ache.

 

Yeah, I'd imagine if we did it, I could rattle off the names of the 8-10 parents who would actually attend.  Though I know part of that is because many of the parents know who already complains about which issues and knows that whatever concern they might have, will likely be represented by one of those "usual suspects" as you say.  (In our council about 90% of the complaints are about administrative issues)  Sadly, every council person knows about all of the problems they have with admin stuff, they've known about it for decades and yet no one has ever managed to come up with a solution.  I assume because none of the "powers that be" actually think paying for quality administrative staff is a worthwhile expense.

Either that or there's too much entrenched "this is how we do things" for the average admin person to cut through so even if they know how to fix the problem, they can't get buy-in from the crusty old farts.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, TAHAWK said:

As a Scout, my troop, sponsored by a Methodist congregation, had about 20% Catholic Scouts, scattered amongst our patrols and two crews.  By instruction of the Archbishop of Los Angeles, they could not present the colors on Sunday at the CO's services. Those of us who were not Catholic could present the colors at Mass at our local Catholic congregations, which I, at least, found interesting.  We put it all down to that strange species - adults.   

If presenting the colors at a Methodist church meant handling the flag of the Methodist Church, I can see why the Archbishop would forbid it. If non Catholics want to carry our flag around, that's up to them. Catholics are also forbidden from participating in Communion at Churches that deny the real presence of Jesus Christ in communion. Non Catholics are not permitted to receive communion at a Catholic church. 

1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

And don't forget anti-Commissioner (read: spying spies who spy).

Seriously, I was somewhat taken aback by the anti-Wood Badge.

And another one that I've seen: anti-knots. Just seeing on the uniform. I've had people comment that is just a sign that "All that means is they went to training."

They are all (gold tabs, silver tabs, wood badge beads, knots) signs of "institutionalization". That you must have become part of "them" or one of "them". Not "us" "real" scouters/unit leaders.

Many people don't want to be told how to run "their" program. BSA rules get in the way? Screw them and screw "their" rules.

Here's the biggest, hardest part; how to inform about the rules without lecturing about the rules. The second hardest is the push back. The tradition of "don't kill the messenger" does not always happen.

I've seen it happen. The scouter who is BRAND NEW who comes back from University of Scouting and says "Uh, hey, so we really should be doing it this way" has a chance at change. The "outsider" or long-time scouter who transfers in with their kid or who comes to the unit as a DE, Council, District volunteer, wood badge grad, etc. slams into a brick wall.

By all accounts, I'm an institutional BSA Scouter:  Eagle Scout, OA Brotherhood member, Completed Wood Badge, NYLT Adult staff X 3, District Training Committee, Summer Camp Staff, Shooting Sports Committee. I've got no problem supporting and defending the rules, even if sometimes their application is detrimental.

Changing Troops internal procedures is an exercise in change management. It has very little to with knots, beads, or experience. It has everything to do with the person initiating.  Their ability to influence others and their ties to the unit. An outsider, experienced or not, who joins a unit and wants to change things (even if they are well intentioned and correct.) will hit a brick wall. It took me several years to make changes in my Troop, and that was after serving as a highly visible youth leader and then adult volunteer. After about 3 or 4 years of working with the youth and adults, I was able to achieve a breakthrough and win some progress towards a stronger Troop Program. An outsider would have stood no chance. And mind you, this is a unit that is frequently held up my our District as a "Gold Standard" unit that other Troops should emulate. Still many thorny unfixed problems, like utilization of the Patrol method, and having a consistently engaging program. Now I'm "retired" from the troop and still volunteer with NYLT and my District.

Disestablishment folks have bad feelings about "institutional Scouters" (Wood Badge, Knots, DE's, Gold/Silver Tabs) because just like anything else, some people in those groups can be utterly annoying, and often wrong too. "Institutional Scouters" have built a bad reputation with many units, because they are frequently bossy, holier than thou, come around during FOS or Beading ceremonies, take up more time than they should and then disappear until they need something again. Not all of them mind you, but enough of them that it colors many people's perceptions.  In my own Troop, our 3rd Scoutmaster went to Wood Badge back in the late 90's. We didn't have another leader go until the 5th Scoutmaster and I went in 2015. In between we had one adult who transferred into our unit who had attended Wood Badge. They were clueless about how Scouting was supposed to be done. We actually discussed some of the broad points of this institutional distrust between Scouters, through Wood Badge specifically in this topic: https://www.scouter.com/topic/30580-wood-badge-roses-and-thorns/

 

For my entire Scouting life, my troop never had a UC. We finally got one in early 2020. He attended one meeting, and sent the current (6th) Scoutmaster a long email of suggestions and improvements. He has many good suggestions, some things I've attempted to implement over the last 9 years, and some that were fresh ideas. Our current Scoutmaster was a little taken aback by it. To me it's the exact wrong approach to helping a unit improve. Get to know us for a few weeks, build some relationships. Get to know our past, our goals, and our challenges before dropping unsolicited advice on people. 

There are really two types of disestablishment units. 1A. There are those that run pretty good programs, but their leadership had bad experiences with "Institutional folks" and doesn't want to engage with them. Then there are units that are unmitigated dumpster fires, both from a rule compliance perspective and a program quality perspective. Sometimes it's intentional 2A, sometimes it's out of ignorance 2B. 2A is entirely unfixable. 1A and 2B can be fixed by being a friendly and helpful face, showing some humility, and being a good partner. 

 

Edited by Sentinel947
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2 minutes ago, elitts said:

I assume because none of the "powers that be" actually think paying for quality administrative staff is a worthwhile expense.

I will tell you this. I got a committee chair in another unit I met at roundtable. Our district was trying to get a new DE and about ready to post to the web and it came up at RT. Committee chair asked how much they make and was told the salary range. "Part time?" He said. Nope. 4 counties, full time. Nights and weekends. He thought they were joking.

Of course our District Chair and everyone absolutely agreed it was underpaid, but that is what they had to budget, so, that was it.

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7 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

For my entire Scouting life, my troop never had a DE. We finally got one in early 2020. He attended one meeting, and sent the current (6th) Scoutmaster a long email of suggestions and improvements. He has many good suggestions, some things I've attempted to implement over the last 9 years, and some that were fresh ideas. Our current Scoutmaster was a little taken aback by it. To me it's the exact wrong approach to helping a unit improve

I'm guessing two things: 

1. He's a previous volunteer

2. He's not going to last long

But all in all, that's not his job. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, David CO said:

There is a lot of anti-Catholic bigotry in scouting.  Always has been.  We would rather camp at our church-owned facility rather than put up that nonsense.  After all, the kids join scouting to have fun.

We expect to be yelled at, cursed at, and physically threatened at highly politicized events like pro-life rallies.  The kids are ready for it.  They have been trained to handle it.  They will anticipate the crowds calling them all sorts of ugly names (like bigot and hater).  They understand that this is the price for adhering to their faith.

We Catholic leaders understand that we cannot insulate our children from all of the ugliness in the world.  They need to know about it, because they are certain to encounter it.  But we don't think they need to encounter it at scouting activities.

 

I have never seen discrimination towards Catholic Scouts in person, but I'm not going to be ignorant and say it doesn't happen either. It really sucks your Scouts experienced that and I'm sorry that is happening. 

That said....WHAT THE &#(@ ARE YOU DOING TAKING SCOUTS TO A PRO-LIFE RALLEY. My God man, use some common sense. 

Politics of the event aside, those always have the potential to get out of control. Don't put kids in that position. 

 

I'll await my downvote. 

Edited by carebear3895
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10 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

I will tell you this. I got a committee chair in another unit I met at roundtable. Our district was trying to get a new DE and about ready to post to the web and it came up at RT. Committee chair asked how much they make and was told the salary range. "Part time?" He said. Nope. 4 counties, full time. Nights and weekends. He thought they were joking.

Of course our District Chair and everyone absolutely agreed it was underpaid, but that is what they had to budget, so, that was it.

Yeah, I can't profess any kind of substantial knowledge of how our council's budget is organized, but I know the work expected for the pay offered is very very sub-par for most of the staff.  Though I'll admit to being somewhat concerned on occasion (back in the 2000s) because I was regularly interacting with with one employee (I don't remember his technical title) and from what he described, while his pay was somewhere around 30-35k per year, his transportation and training budget was immense.  He was out of state attending some conference or training at least once every other month, often monthly, for 3-5 days.  He didn't handle all of this own bookings, but he estimated that the council spent at least half again his salary on sending him all over the country.

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8 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Politics of the event aside, those always have the potential to get out of control. Don't put kids in that position. 

My diocese encourages teenagers to attend these pro-life rallies.  I really don't care if you approve or not.  It's not your call.

 

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28 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

I'm guessing two things: 

1. He's a previous volunteer

2. He's not going to last long

But all in all, that's not his job. 

Sorry. I screwed up. I wrote DE, mean UC. Too many acronyms! 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, David CO said:

My diocese encourages teenagers to attend these pro-life rallies.  I really don't care if you approve or not.  It's not your call.

If you are doing this as a "Scout event" however, it absolutely Council and National's call (as has been pointed out to you over and over again). Even if not for the fact it violates the political practices rule, it does (as you note) get potentially dangerous which means insurance/liability coverage.

If your Catholic Parish wants to have the Pro-Life Kids Club go to it, great. But if "Troop 123" is going as "Troop 123" then you are in violation of at least 4 different BSA policies up to and including (and I'd say most importantly) Guide to Safe Scouting because, as even you admit, it can get "dangerous".

I have said it before and I will say it again: I am honestly without hyperbole worried about the health/safety/welfare of any scouts in your program.

And since you refuse to engage in any dialogue, I'll too will await my downvote. 

Edited by CynicalScouter
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2 hours ago, David CO said:

Mostly, but not entirely.

There is a lot of anti-Catholic bigotry in scouting.  Always has been.  We would rather camp at our church-owned facility rather than put up that nonsense.  After all, the kids join scouting to have fun.

We expect to be yelled at, cursed at, and physically threatened at highly politicized events like pro-life rallies.  The kids are ready for it.  They have been trained to handle it.  They will anticipate the crowds calling them all sorts of ugly names (like bigot and hater).  They understand that this is the price for adhering to their faith.

We Catholic leaders understand that we cannot insulate our children from all of the ugliness in the world.  They need to know about it, because they are certain to encounter it.  But we don't think they need to encounter it at scouting activities.

 

You and other parents take your kids to a highly politicized Pro-Life rally where adults call everybody names at these rallies all over the United Stand and you think the bias is because you're Catholics? You portray yourself as an activist who is using the youth to help push your cause. Something doesn't add up here. 

Barry

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