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CynicalScouter

Update on new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion MB

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42 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

That will be an interesting thing to watch.  I can see your point - simply making larger, less manageable councils won't necessarily solve anything.

Yet, I look around the map and see lots of small councils with probably just a couple thousand Scouts.  I suspect that in some of the less well managed councils one of the primary issues is the lack of operational knowledge.  Lots of inefficient, mismanaged teams - council boards that don't know how to build council & district teams to accomplish their goals.  I believe the core theory is that by merging an underperforming council with a high performing council that things will improve.  The fallacy of that of course is that the governance model in Scouting makes that exceptionally hard to achieve.

 

Day 1, DE's are told to prevent units from merging at all cost. All it does is weaken scouting. Two units merge....all you end up with is one week unit. Instead, put all your resources into helping that weak unit get back on it's feet. 

 

Kinda makes you wonder why they (National) always go straight to merging when dealing with a weak council then. 

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23 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Day 1, DE's are told to prevent units from merging at all cost. All it does is weaken scouting. Two units merge....all you end up with is one week unit. Instead, put all your resources into helping that weak unit get back on it's feet. 

Kinda makes you wonder why they (National) always go straight to merging when dealing with a weak council then. 

Interesting observation.  I'm going to guess that it is because they know that national doesn't possess the technical capabilities to do a council turn around.  I've argued a few times that they best thing national could do is to establish a consulting group within the BSA that can go out and work with target councils on how to improve operations.  For example - as a district leader, I would welcome the availability of a group of experts that I could work with on improving district operations.  I would rather fix our operational issues than continue to just apply band-aid after band-aid. But, there is nothing like that which I can see.

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20 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

What this will do is encourage districts and councils to overlook dysfunctional COs and units in favor of chasing quotas. Same old story, different day. 

Additionally, most of the difficulties with recruiting more diverse units and scouts are social and economic and councils, districts, and units are ill equipped to overcome those without a lot of support.
 

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SO, when BSA exceeds the stated goal of 50% female membership, do they become FSA, Female Scouts of America?  Girl Scouts is taken...

Edited by JoeBob
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3 hours ago, carebear3895 said:

Day 1, DE's are told to prevent units from merging at all cost. All it does is weaken scouting. Two units merge....all you end up with is one week unit. Instead, put all your resources into helping that weak unit get back on it's feet. 

Is this the case even for really small units?  In our troop (still small through growing some), I’ve been very aware of critical mass effects — for example, that we don’t have enough adults to share leader load, that when we are small there’s the risk of an activity getting scheduled and then only have 1 or 2 scouts end up actually participating when the day comes, etc.  I’d assumed that there would be a benefit in merging two units that were weak that way (vs. being weak in terms of putting on a bad program), but would be interested in hearing more if that hasn’t been the experience.

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I am saddened by this MB, but not surprised. Irrespective of the value of this MB it does not help the core program: fun with a purpose. This will likely be one more boring MB. Purpose without fun is just homework and kids can get that for free. It's one more reason not to join scouting. It's not helping units run a better program.

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On 11/11/2020 at 2:42 PM, carebear3895 said:

Day 1, DE's are told to prevent units from merging at all cost. All it does is weaken scouting. Two units merge....all you end up with is one week unit. Instead, put all your resources into helping that weak unit get back on it's feet. 

 

Kinda makes you wonder why they (National) always go straight to merging when dealing with a weak council then. 

When 2 units merge, that is one Charter Fee that is not collected.  Better for National to keep multiple units to increase the Charter Fees.

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The logic behind not merging weak units is that it doesn't really address the underlying problems - a lack of organizational strength in the unit.  Most units that fail do so because they don't have the sufficient structure to support the unit leaders.  Unit leaders get burned out and then the programs shrink and eventually go away.  It's seen it time after time after time.  

When I see a unit that has a weak leadership team, I know it's days are numbered.  Putting two weak units together rarely results in a strong unit - it just delays the inevitable.  The better approach is to help the unit rebuild it's organization.  It's like the old quote: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."  A good DE should rally support for the unit such that they rebuild themselves.  I'm not sure how often this really happens though.

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We had a unit with 25 Scouts and failed Scouters and no functioning committee.  At the initiative of district leadership, the unit was not rechartered by agreement with the CO, which had suffered lots of property damage in their church from out-of-control Scouts.  85% of the Scouts were channeled to successful units.   Two made Eagle.  A third was elected permanent PL of his NYLT class.  A fourth was elected SPL of the Klondike Derby by his fellow SPLs.   So there was youth material there - just inadequate Scouters.  Not a one of the four had taken any Scouter training whatsoever.

The DE was furious.  Asked to "check the prospective SM out,  had told him that the designated SM's employer saw him as woefully unqualified to even test for management - "Nice guy and a decent bus driver but child-like in many respects.  Does not deal well with conflict or disagreement.  Has trouble with changes in practices."  The DE turned up the unit to help with his metrics; he told me so. at the time.  It lasted the one tempestuous year.  We gave the former CO $2000 to help with repairs.

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18 hours ago, MattR said:

I am saddened by this MB, but not surprised. Irrespective of the value of this MB it does not help the core program: fun with a purpose. This will likely be one more boring MB. Purpose without fun is just homework and kids can get that for free. It's one more reason not to join scouting. It's not helping units run a better program.

The Girl Scout program lost its vision much the same way by replacing character building activities with lectures, instructions, and advancement social exercises. The BSA always had the superior program because boys learned through their actions. GSUSA assumes theirs scouts will be better leaders simply by telling them they are better leaders. I knew National lost their way when they added the Leadership Development Aim last year. This mb is just anther example.

Barry

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On 11/10/2020 at 6:16 PM, RememberSchiff said:

 

So does National expect councils to go DRAFTING "youth of color" and girls to get their percentages up?  These kinds of mandates are what drive phony registrations -- something that should be a warning sign.  I am so glad I've retired from Scouting because National gets dumber and dumber every year, just like the mainstream media, public education, and Hollywood.  Quotas are inherently unAmerican.

When I was in the National Capitol Region, one of the best-behaved, most disciplined troops I'd see at Goshen was an inner city troop from DC but we rarely saw "youth of color" express any interest in Scouting (or the outdoors in general for that matter) in the suburbs.  I saw the same general disinterest in Central Florida and the Rocky Mountains.  Scouting is already teetering but these kinds of mandates are organizational suicide.

Edited by HICO_Eagle
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8 hours ago, HICO_Eagle said:

 

So does National expect councils to go DRAFTING "youth of color" and girls to get their percentages up?  These kinds of mandates are what drive phony registrations -- something that should be a warning sign.  I am so glad I've retired from Scouting because National gets dumber and dumber every year, just like the mainstream media, public education, and Hollywood.  Quotas are inherently unAmerican.

When I was in the National Capitol Region, one of the best-behaved, most disciplined troops I'd see at Goshen was an inner city troop from DC but we rarely saw "youth of color" express any interest in Scouting (or the outdoors in general for that matter) in the suburbs.  I saw the same general disinterest in Central Florida and the Rocky Mountains.  Scouting is already teetering but these kinds of mandates are organizational suicide.

Pretty sure that National intends for councils to develop recruiting strategies that increase the number of "youth of color" and girls.  

Why is it dumb for them to encourage councils to develop proactive strategies that increase membership among demographics that are underserved today?  Biggest problem in our council today with membership is that we have effectively don't have a proactive strategy.

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"Biggest problem in our council today with membership is that we have effectively don't have a proactive strategy."  

 

Too true.

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58 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Pretty sure that National intends for councils to develop recruiting strategies that increase the number of "youth of color" and girls.  

Why is it dumb for them to encourage councils to develop proactive strategies that increase membership among demographics that are underserved today?  Biggest problem in our council today with membership is that we have effectively don't have a proactive strategy.

While it is not dumb to encourage strategies to increase membership, setting quotas is because it WILL (emphasis) lead some professionals to cut corners, have creative membership numbers, ghost units, ad nauseum. You will have some unscrupulous pros who will do whatever it takes to meet these quotas. I hate to be pessimistic, but have seen it as a volunteer and as a professional. It does happen.

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More importantly, since this initiative is overtly a response to BLM, youth membership quotas do not directly address misplaced attitudes of supremacy in America’s youth.

To do that, one should provide youth with mentors from minorities and the opposite sex. Not because someone from that group would be particularly well versed in the subject. (They may not even hew to the expected rhetoric.) Rather, by having youth from majorities mentored on occasion by people of integrity from minority groups, those youth gain memories of positive interactions that may offset seeds of bias that would otherwise be planted.

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