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CynicalScouter

Churchill Plan Proposed New Territory Structure and Council Standards

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Posted to reddit just now.

This is just. Wow.

BSA Council Basic Standards

•Adhere to brand standards

•Adhere to rules, regulations, and policies of BSA

•Current on national fees

•Council governed by volunteers

•Provide programs consistent with BSA Guidelines

Council Performance Standards Charter

The council performance standards committee identified and recommended following items to measure:

•Youth Safety –98% Youth Protection Training

•Youth Market Share –2%

•Youth Retention –62%

•Financial Sustainability –minimum of three months of cash liquidity for operations

•Youth Ethnic and Gender Diversity –10% of membership is female; membership reflects community’s youth of color percentage

Leading Indicators of Successful Councils

Finance

•Net camping operation surplus (inclusive of direct and indirect costs, and depreciation)

•Growth in endowment fund and appropriate earnings distribution

Membership

•Multi-year plan based on data and year over year growth

•Youth in market share, strong volunteer engagement, emphasizes and identifies youth markets with growth potential (ethnic, gender, socio-economic, religious, various communities, etc)

Unit Service

•Effective commissioner team serving every unit

•Continually knows health of every unit

Board Governance

•Diverse board (gender, ethnicity, age, professional experience, Scouting & non-Scouting, backgrounds, tenure, etc)

•Clear understanding of status on all performance standards

•Understands the council’s strategic priorities

Strategic Plan

•Developed as team (staff & volunteers)

•Rolling 3 years

•Living document that drives annual priorities and budget

•Guides executive board and staff agendas

 

 

BSA_Churchill_Plan-Proposed_New_Territory_Structure_and_Council_Standards_presentation_10.6.20.pdf

Edited by CynicalScouter

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Over the years before Chapter 11, can anyone point to a  3,4, or 5 year National or Council Strategic Plan with its assorted org charts, flow charts, stovepipes, pillars, silos, best in class, centers of excellence, ...oh the MBA-wannabe double-talk jargon ...that did anything more than act as a diversion while wasting time and money during its formulation and before results can be evaluated...diversion, time to work on next Strategic Plan.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/84zg3a6lccmza2p/BSA Churchill Plan-Proposed New Territory Structure and Council Standards presentation 10.6.20.pdf?dl=0

No mention of Chapter 11.

Ugh.

 

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2 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

Ugh.

 

I am slumped next to you staring into the campfire... 

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12 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

Over the years before Chapter 11, can anyone point to a  3,4, or 5 year National or Council Strategic Plan with its assorted org charts, flow charts, stovepipes, pillars, silos, best in class, centers of excellence, ...oh the MBA-wannabe double-talk jargon ...that did anything more than act as a diversion while wasting time and money during its formulation and before results can be evaluated...diversion, time to work on next Strategic Plan.

 

From what I can see, these things are all fine.  The issue isn't that the council has a strategic plan with lots of business jargon.  The issue is that councils don't know how to use them to achieve the results they desire.  

Similarly, this national plan is fine and it's probably marginally better than what we have now.  It is however lacking a key understanding of how councils will operationalize all of this.  They appear to be setting up a big stick approach by holding the threat of merging councils out there as incentive to meet these objectives.  The plan is lacking two key components though:

  • how to better focus the program in a way to increase the attractiveness and marketability of Scouting to youth.
  • how districts will realistically operationalize any of this in a way to achieve results.

For example - I see councils now writing up a membership plan based on numbers and demographics, but having no idea how to then turn that into new Scouts in the program.  Membership is inherently a unit activity and so all the council membership plans by council board members will be meaningless until they are turned into something that units can act on.

Another example - I see a requirement that every unit have a commissioner.  We've been trying in Scouting for 40 years to achieve that, but it has not happened.  Council commissioners will now create new mandates that every district commissioner recruit a full team.  Yet, district commissioners are not equipped to do this.  The issue here is not one of intent, it's one of technical skills.  How does a district commissioner really go out in an era of declining Scouting membership and recruit experienced Scouters to serve as unit commissioners?  

These things are all fine ideas, but until councils figure out how to operationalize these things, they will continue to struggle.  Perhaps this new structure will find a way to recognize best practices from councils that are successful and then promote them so that less successful councils can learn from them.  But, with diminished professional staffing it seems like a long shot.  

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Yea...because DE's just choose not to recruit minorities...That's why we have that issue /s

Nobody wins with quotas. 

 

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1 hour ago, carebear3895 said:

Nobody wins with quotas. 

Didn't National give out recruitment goals  back in the 1980s and 1990s and some pro came up with "creative ways" of meeting those goals? 

The powers that be do not appear to have a clue what is going on.

 

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Didn't National give out recruitment goals  back in the 1980s and 1990s and some pro came up with "creative ways" of meeting those goals? 

The powers that be do not appear to have a clue what is going on.

 

Boypower Manpower...worked so well in the late 60' and 70's.  Basically DE's registered all the names one could find in the graveyards.  That was followed by the always popular In School Scouting in the 90's, which got you lots of Scouts that had no idea they were Scouts as they used donations to provide registration fees.

They will keep trying and trying quotas until they get it right

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

Boypower Manpower...worked so well in the late 60' and 70's.  Basically DE's registered all the names one could find in the graveyards.  That was followed by the always popular In School Scouting in the 90's, which got you lots of Scouts that had no idea they were Scouts as they used donations to provide registration fees.

They will keep trying and trying quotas until they get it right

Which is the core issue with the management of the professional.  There is too much pressure on professionals to meet metrics.  Aside from shady accounting, the current manifestation of this pressure is that professionals have a tendency to make numbers however they can without fixing the core issues.  In our district, 20% of the units account for 80% of the membership.  As such, professionals squeeze the performing units to add a few more scouts while no one is addressing the issues that are preventing the small units from  growing.

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On 11/10/2020 at 5:45 PM, CynicalScouter said:

Membership

•Multi-year plan based on data and year over year growth

That's not a goal. That's just a threat. I mean, how did JTE work? Why will this be any different?

How about improving units. Or even what a quality unit is. So, nothing about serving units.

Nothing to see here. Everyone will just ignore it.

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16 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Boypower Manpower...worked so well in the late 60' and 70's.  Basically DE's registered all the names one could find in the graveyards.  That was followed by the always popular In School Scouting in the 90's, which got you lots of Scouts that had no idea they were Scouts as they used donations to provide registration fees.

They will keep trying and trying quotas until they get it right

I know all to well.

 

15 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Which is the core issue with the management of the professional.  There is too much pressure on professionals to meet metrics.  Aside from shady accounting, the current manifestation of this pressure is that professionals have a tendency to make numbers however they can without fixing the core issues.  In our district, 20% of the units account for 80% of the membership.  As such, professionals squeeze the performing units to add a few more scouts while no one is addressing the issues that are preventing the small units from  growing.

Reason for not fixing core issues is variety of issues. First and foremost it takes too long. Creating a program takes several years. Majority of pros only care about the here and now due to the pressure to meet goals. Plus more and more Pros have little to no experience in the Movement. They have no idea what Scouting is suppose to be like. Heck, I found out that Pros are no longer required to do any program training, i.e. DL, CM, Pack Committee (Cub Scout Basic Leader in my day),  SM Specific and IOLS (SM Fundamentals in my day), or Venturing Leader Specific ( Exploring Leader Basic in my day).

That leads me to the second issue: lack of program experience among professionals. Let's face it, the majority of DEs are fresh out of college, desperate for a job, and have no experience in Scouting. In my PDL-1 class of 80, when we broke out into those with Scouting experience and those without, about 16 of us had experience.  3 months later, at the All Hands Conference that every single professional had to attend, between 25% and 30% of my PDL Class remained. Out of the number 3 of us with Scouting experience remained.

And don't get me started on the national level. While in some areas folks with outside experience are needed, IT immediately comes to mind, other areas like program and training, we need folks with experience in movement. PhDs are nice, but they are theory based, not reality based. trust me, I work with a bunch of them.

Third, it takes a lot of volunteers to do the job, and you got to get all of them unified in the vision to fix the problems. Recruiting the right people takes time. Gathering their ideas on the problems and coming up with unified vision takes a lot of time, debating, planning, and organizing. Especially with the problems we have. It is not just one issue, but many. Sadly pros will hyperfocus on one issue, and ignore everything else. If folks try to bring up the other issues, or try to discuss different solutions, they get removed from their positions, and replaced by 'Yes Men."

Fourth, folks who have been doing it their way will resist any change. Unless councils and national are willing to get tough, and potentially lose units, these folks will continue with their weak programs. Worse, if enough complain National will cave in to their demands. Anyone remember when the June 2015 Cub Scout Program got revamped in December 2016 without any prior warning, including to those on the 411 committee that came up with the 2015 changes? Anyone remember how the 411 committee's January 2016 to July 2017 First Class Rank requirements that 6 camp outs needed to be First Class, which was downgraded to 4 camp outs in August 2017? All because the 411 committee's changes were too hard.

Five, pros, especially National, ignores the volunteers. The 411 committee above is one example. It takes about 3 years to fully implement change. The 411 committee got a lot of input from those in the field because I am told many were still involved in the field. I know my contact on the 411 Commitee was still involved in Cub Scouts at the local and council levels. They came up with a program that actually improved the quality of the program. The units i am familiar with that attended the RTs prior to implementation, and actually planned accordingly had some challenges, but to be expected. In fact  my sons' pack refused to implement the December 2016 program changes immediately because they had already planned their year out to May, and were not going to create havoc by changing midyear. And don't forget the Instapalm survey where 94% of the polled were against (18%) or strongly against (76%) instapalms.

7 hours ago, MattR said:

That's not a goal. That's just a threat. I mean, how did JTE work? Why will this be any different?

How about improving units. Or even what a quality unit is. So, nothing about serving units.

Nothing to see here. Everyone will just ignore it.

Just as volunteers have been ignored by national, the boots on the ground see this for what it is, realize it is a joke, and will follow national's example: ingoring it.

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2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Just as volunteers have been ignored by national, the boots on the ground see this for what it is, realize it is a joke, and will follow national's example: ingoring it.

I think it's just not something that is terribly relevant at the district  level and below.  I'm fine that the region/area level is taking this on - and I commend them for doing a thorough job at it.  It's just difficult for that level to have an impact on trends like recruiting and volunteerism without some larger, increasingly bold moves.  They really have to dig down into the hard problems such as why districts and councils struggle and come up with concrete solutions to those problems.  Perhaps their lighthouse council notion is sufficient for this - it just strikes me as too subtle a change to have a measurable impact

2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Reason for not fixing core issues is variety of issues. First and foremost it takes too long. Creating a program takes several years. Majority of pros only care about the here and now due to the pressure to meet goals. Plus more and more Pros have little to no experience in the Movement. They have no idea what Scouting is suppose to be like. Heck, I found out that Pros are no longer required to do any program training, i.e. DL, CM, Pack Committee (Cub Scout Basic Leader in my day),  SM Specific and IOLS (SM Fundamentals in my day), or Venturing Leader Specific ( Exploring Leader Basic in my day).

[...]

That's a remarkably well thought out analysis.  Yes - I would concur with just about everything you wrote in the five different items.  I can attest that I see similar things in my neck of the woods.

Perhaps what is needed is for the district I am in to come up with a 4-5 year plan to change things.  If we can get success in our district from it, maybe it's an approach that others can adapt in their own districts as well.  I do see that in our district, we are very short sighted - what does our Webelos camping event look like next spring?  What training courses will we hold next fall.  Those decisions are being made in a vacuum outside of a larger results oriented plan.  Maybe that's where we start.

I'm not too worried about the professional overreach in our area.  It's a funny thing - the problem is so overwhelming for our poor overworked professional, I'm not sure how effective he really is.  It's a crying shame because he's a really good guy with strong volunteer program experience.  He'll listen to volunteers and work to make them successful.  He's just doing 20 different things because that's what the job asks of him.  I'd rather focus him on 4 or 5 important things - but that's not my call.

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35 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I'm not too worried about the professional overreach in our area.  It's a funny thing - the problem is so overwhelming for our poor overworked professional, I'm not sure how effective he really is.  It's a crying shame because he's a really good guy with strong volunteer program experience.  He'll listen to volunteers and work to make them successful.  He's just doing 20 different things because that's what the job asks of him.  I'd rather focus him on 4 or 5 important things - but that's not my call.

Sadly the professional overreach is real in my area. When I was a DE. my SE and DFS were telling me I needed to get rid of folks because they did not toe the line with them. I told them we needed the best people for the job, even if they didn't agree 110%, and that some of their ideas I thought were valid ones. That also did not go well. In the 17 years i have been back in my old district, only 1 SE did not push volunteers out of the way. When he left, a lot of folks got sidelined because they disagreed with the pros. Others got so frustrated with the overreach, they resigned from district/council PORs, although they may have been kept on the council books in those PORs. I stepped down from all district duties except MBC due to pro overreach. I was still listed on the district charter in the POR that I stepped down from for 3 years. And I was not the only one who stepped down. We lost a district commissioner, several district chairmen (I think it was 3 in a 18 month period. I remember 1 lasted 3 months), and several district committee members. One guy, a camporee chief, got so ticked off with the pros interfering, he quit and told them to run it. They did nothing. Only a group of SMs getting together to come up with a fun weekend did the camporee continue, and with no support from council.

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If they want to have numbers like they did in the 60s and 70s, they need to act like they did in those decades.  Scouts join Scouting because it's fun.  To most boys, an element of danger is fun.  When you take that away, it's no longer fun.  Limiting the height of pioneer structures to 6ft is crazy.  There's no sense of danger there.  Taking away the games we used to play in the 80s, like Stargazers, no activities that remotely resemble shooting at people, and the general babying of the program isn't going to bring kids in.  T-ball has more danger in it.  We used to jump off 20ft high cliffs.  Now you can't exceed your height?  While catering to certain people, and covering one's rear, they don't invite adventure, but seem more of a canned experience.

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Back in my day, If I had come home with a broken arm from falling off the monkey bridge, my Dad would have said, "that was dumb...maybe you'll be more careful next time."  Today's parents view it as an invitation to litigate and get a nice settlement, because, "someone must pay."

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22 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Sadly the professional overreach is real in my area. When I was a DE. my SE and DFS were telling me I needed to get rid of folks because they did not toe the line with them. I told them we needed the best people for the job, even if they didn't agree 110%, and that some of their ideas I thought were valid ones. That also did not go well. In the 17 years i have been back in my old district, only 1 SE did not push volunteers out of the way. When he left, a lot of folks got sidelined because they disagreed with the pros. Others got so frustrated with the overreach, they resigned from district/council PORs, although they may have been kept on the council books in those PORs. I stepped down from all district duties except MBC due to pro overreach. I was still listed on the district charter in the POR that I stepped down from for 3 years. And I was not the only one who stepped down. We lost a district commissioner, several district chairmen (I think it was 3 in a 18 month period. I remember 1 lasted 3 months), and several district committee members. One guy, a camporee chief, got so ticked off with the pros interfering, he quit and told them to run it. They did nothing. Only a group of SMs getting together to come up with a fun weekend did the camporee continue, and with no support from council.

Your council is one that continues to break my heart.  I have a pretty good council - sure, it's not perfect and I've been known to grumble and have a rant or two.  But, all in all, it's a pretty capable group and everyone - professionals and volunteers alike are working to make it a good place where Scouting can flourish.  

Your council though just continues to sound absurd.  I sincerely hope that this new effort leads someone at the territory level to recognize the problems with the professional overreach in your council.  I hope this results in some changes in the makeup to your council's board driven by territory.

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