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If your unit was shopping for a new chartered org, what would be your factors to consider?

Here is my initial list.  I realize some of these are not normal and beyond basic expectations.  Just trying to come up with as expansive a list as possible.

  • Indoor space available for Unit use for meetings ( I know they are supposed to provide this but not all CO's do)
  • Outdoor space for Unit to use for meetings
  • Outdoor space to store equipment (shed or trailer)
  • Approach to managing unit (hands on or hands off)
  • Longevity of the chartered org
  • What type of organization is the CO? (religious, community org, community association, etc..)
  • Tax Status (and willingness to extend tax status to the units)
  • Ability to extend insurance coverage to adults volunteers? (versus individuals purchasing umbrella policies on their own)
  • Requires "background check" for all adults (meaning even non-BSA registered adults)
  • Willingness to assist with fundraising
  • Willingness to start a new charter given BSA's current bankruptcy's situation

What would you add to this list?

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I expect the BSA at all levels knows the CO model is broken.  If they truly implemented the model, @David CO is correct.  No unit can switch COs as the unit is simply the extension of the CO.  If the

They do.  They paid for the insurance policies. Now its up to the execs and lawyers at BSA to make sure the insurance companies pay the claims.

1) Tax status is automatically extended to the unit because, for legal and BSA purposes, the unit is simply an appendage of the CO. If your CO is tax exempt, so is your unit. It if is for profit, so i

50 minutes ago, Dixit said:
  • Tax Status (and willingness to extend tax status to the units)
  • Ability to extend insurance coverage to adults volunteers? (versus individuals purchasing umbrella policies on their own)

1) Tax status is automatically extended to the unit because, for legal and BSA purposes, the unit is simply an appendage of the CO. If your CO is tax exempt, so is your unit. It if is for profit, so is your unit.

2) Extending insurance coverage is again not up to the CO. If they are volunteers APPROVED BY THE CO, they are automatically covered by whatever insurance National and the local council have AND (by virtue of being volunteers) whatever the CO has.

THIS was a huge problem and why many COs are getting sued into oblivion because they thought they could charted a unit and were not otherwise legally responsible for anything that unit did. They failed to supervise the adult leaders who then proceeded to abuse scouts. Now, the COs are getting sued and wondering why oh why? Because CO, or COR, it was YOUR signature on the adult application. It was YOUR responsibility to oversee and supervise the unit.

As I explained here

As for this

51 minutes ago, Dixit said:

Approach to managing unit (hands on or hands off)

For their own legal safety, COs had better start managing and engaging with their units or else this will simply repeat again.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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Great topic !  We've discussed this a bit and we're looking to switch to the new approach of a council chartered unit by a "group of citizens".   

At the same time, we're hoping our current CO still lets us use their space on a priority basis.  I really don't think the CO sees a difference as they've never actively overseen the troop.  It's more a liability issue.  At the same time, your criteria is a good starting point.

49 minutes ago, Dixit said:
  • IMPORTANT - Indoor space available for Unit use for meetings ( I know they are supposed to provide this but not all CO's do)
  • IMPORTANT - Outdoor space for Unit to use for meetings
  • NICE - (we have off-site storage) - Outdoor space to store equipment (shed or trailer)
  • PREFER HANDS OFF - Approach to managing unit (hands on or hands off) ... I've seen both.  Too often I've seen a slightly involved person get in a power position by being the COR.  Too much of a chance for someone to insert themselves too far.  
  • NOT IMPORTANT - Longevity of the chartered org
  • NOT IMPORTANT (as long as no negatives) - What type of organization is the CO? (religious, community org, community association, etc..)
  • NOT IMPORTANT (can work around) - Tax Status (and willingness to extend tax status to the units)
  • NOT IMPORTANT (can work around) - Ability to extend insurance coverage to adults volunteers? (versus individuals purchasing umbrella policies on their own)
  • MANDATORY TO FOLLOW BSA (we follow BSA's requirements) - Requires "background check" for all adults (meaning even non-BSA registered adults)
  • NOT IMPORTANT - Willingness to assist with fundraising
  • IMPORTANT - Willingness to start a new charter given BSA's current bankruptcy's situation

What would you add to this list?

 

Much of the criteria is similar to choosing a scoutmaster.  .... "Does he have a truck that can pull the troop trailer?  Yes.  Great.  Then he's the scoutmaster."

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Regarding tax status, during my research it wasn't clear if tax-exempt status flowed to the unit automatically or whether it had to be "granted" via the CO's EIN

For example, this Council (http://www.bsa-la.org/miscellaneous/tax-exempt-status.html) says the following:

If a troop's chartering organization is a church (and tax exempt), the troop could be considered tax exempt only if the church let the troop use the church's EIN, or the troop's EIN was included within the church's group exemption by the church

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19 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

THIS was a huge problem and why many COs are getting sued into oblivion because they thought they could charted a unit and were not otherwise legally responsible for anything that unit did. They failed to supervise the adult leaders who then proceeded to abuse scouts. Now, the COs are getting sued and wondering why oh why? Because CO, or COR, it was YOUR signature on the adult application. It was YOUR responsibility to oversee and supervise the unit.

As I explained here

As for this

For their own legal safety, COs had better start managing and engaging with their units or else this will simply repeat again.

It is a huge problem but I don't understand the anger directed at COs.  BSA through the Councils has a supervisory responsibility. If COs are dysfunctional, which many are, why are their charters routinely renewed? The answer is that BSA has always promoted membership and numbers over proper management. Many COs are legacy churches or community organizations. All they know is that some nice person from scouts comes to see them once a year so they can sign some paperwork, and BSA has had no interest in rocking the boat except in extreme situations. 

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46 minutes ago, yknot said:

It is a huge problem but I don't understand the anger directed at COs.  BSA through the Councils has a supervisory responsibility. If COs are dysfunctional, which many are, why are their charters routinely renewed?

It isn't anger. It is a realization that the CO-BSA model has been a joke for years.

The theory back in the early days of BSA was that a group of locals of good moral character would select what we now call the Key-3 from among themselves or others in the community that they personally knew/could vouch for.

In theory.

In practice what you now have, and had for DECADES, is COs who were under the impression they were just there to give free space for the unit, not be involved, etc. Of course, units were often only too happy to let that impression stick because it meant they could run "their" unit "their" way.

And then the reality smacked COs in the face that no, they were LEGALLY on the hook, that units were LEGALLY SPEAKING, appendages. The example I use is for a church, of course the pastor is going to know and personally approve who is running the Sunday School. But are OK with renting out the fellowship hall for free because they viewed the BSA unit as a "community group", NOT part of the church.

Of course now that the reality is setting in, COs are dropping units in droves, BSA has had to shift to allowing units to charter with their Councils (and the former-COs are NOW LEGALLY simply renting space).

There's plenty of blame.

COs not reading the LEGALLY BINDING document they sign every year. The units not even trying to engage with the CO beyond that once a year signing. Etc.

BSA, happily and blissfully OK, with the COs being completely checked out. Here's a tracking mechanism: every CO is, ex officio, a voting member of the Local Council. I will bet, cash on the barrel-head bet, that no council has more than 10% CO participation in those votes/activities. And BSA, rather than looking at that as a problem, looked at it as a positive.

So now we reap the whirlwind with COs dropping units.

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36 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

It isn't anger. It is a realization that the CO-BSA model has been a joke for years.

The theory back in the early days of BSA was that a group of locals of good moral character would select what we now call the Key-3 from among themselves or others in the community that they personally knew/could vouch for.

In theory.

In practice what you now have, and had for DECADES, is COs who were under the impression they were just there to give free space for the unit, not be involved, etc. Of course, units were often only too happy to let that impression stick because it meant they could run "their" unit "their" way.

And then the reality smacked COs in the face that no, they were LEGALLY on the hook, that units were LEGALLY SPEAKING, appendages. The example I use is for a church, of course the pastor is going to know and personally approve who is running the Sunday School. But are OK with renting out the fellowship hall for free because they viewed the BSA unit as a "community group", NOT part of the church.

Of course now that the reality is setting in, COs are dropping units in droves, BSA has had to shift to allowing units to charter with their Councils (and the former-COs are NOW LEGALLY simply renting space).

There's plenty of blame.

COs not reading the LEGALLY BINDING document they sign every year. The units not even trying to engage with the CO beyond that once a year signing. Etc.

BSA, happily and blissfully OK, with the COs being completely checked out. Here's a tracking mechanism: every CO is, ex officio, a voting member of the Local Council. I will bet, cash on the barrel-head bet, that no council has more than 10% CO participation in those votes/activities. And BSA, rather than looking at that as a problem, looked at it as a positive.

So now we reap the whirlwind with COs dropping units.

I meant anger more in general. It's a frequent comment that the COs should be held liable and not BSA. The model has been willfully dysfunctional, as you point out, for decades. This is known.

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2 hours ago, yknot said:

All they know is that some nice person from scouts comes to see them once a year so they can sign some paperwork, and BSA has had no interest in rocking the boat except in extreme situations. 

Why would they not share liability?   They directly know (or should know) the people face-to-face and have people on-premise.  They directly sign a statement they are vouching for the people involved.

 

1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

It isn't anger. It is a realization that the CO-BSA model has been a joke for years.

The theory back in the early days of BSA was that a group of locals of good moral character would select what we now call the Key-3 from among themselves or others in the community that they personally knew/could vouch for.

In theory.

In practice what you now have, and had for DECADES, is COs who were under the impression they were just there to give free space for the unit, not be involved, etc. Of course, units were often only too happy to let that impression stick because it meant they could run "their" unit "their" way.

And then the reality smacked COs in the face that no, they were LEGALLY on the hook, that units were LEGALLY SPEAKING, appendages. The example I use is for a church, of course the pastor is going to know and personally approve who is running the Sunday School. But are OK with renting out the fellowship hall for free because they viewed the BSA unit as a "community group", NOT part of the church.

Of course now that the reality is setting in, COs are dropping units in droves, BSA has had to shift to allowing units to charter with their Councils (and the former-COs are NOW LEGALLY simply renting space).

There's plenty of blame.

COs not reading the LEGALLY BINDING document they sign every year. The units not even trying to engage with the CO beyond that once a year signing. Etc.

BSA, happily and blissfully OK, with the COs being completely checked out. Here's a tracking mechanism: every CO is, ex officio, a voting member of the Local Council. I will bet, cash on the barrel-head bet, that no council has more than 10% CO participation in those votes/activities. And BSA, rather than looking at that as a problem, looked at it as a positive.

So now we reap the whirlwind with COs dropping units.

 

My view is the current situation is rather unfair to BSA.  So, I only am less sympathetic to COs because of how unfair things are to BSA.  I know multiple COs where youth pastors and volunteer leaders have gotten into trouble.  ... So, if the argument extends to BSA ... it should extend to the COs too.

Personally, reaching back decades on this stuff before the nation understood abuse and legal liabilities evolved is ridiculous.   ... but that's a different discussion thread.  Best left in that thread..  

Edited by fred8033
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3 hours ago, Dixit said:

If your unit was shopping for a new chartered org, what would be your factors to consider?

The first thing to consider is if the act of Chartered Organization shopping is contributing to the problems in scouting.  It reinforces the mistaken idea that a scout unit is a separate entity from the CO.  Do your scouts want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?

Edited by David CO
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3 minutes ago, David CO said:

It reinforces the mistaken idea that a scout unit is a separate entity from the CO.

Three cheers for this point. CO shopping is just another word for "finding someone to let us get away with stuff and stay out of our way."

COs refusing to exercise at least a modicum of control and/or oversight is at least a partial reason for the sexual abuse scandals.

Of course now COs are starting to overreact and throw units out when what should have happened all along was a happy medium.

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22 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

Why would they not share liability? 

They do.  They paid for the insurance policies. Now its up to the execs and lawyers at BSA to make sure the insurance companies pay the claims.

Edited by David CO
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2 hours ago, David CO said:

The first thing to consider is if the act of Chartered Organization shopping is contributing to the problems in scouting.  It reinforces the mistaken idea that a scout unit is a separate entity from the CO.  Do your scouts want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?

In my particular case, our existing CO is considering ending chartering its units.  So "shopping" in this context is finding the right fit for our unit with a new CO.  As we begin this journey, we want to consider all relevant factors are we approach new potential CO's

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I don't understand why you are disagreeing?  If the current CO no longer is willing or able to charter Scout units, what do you expect them to do?  Finding a CO that is a good fit is important.  We recently switched CO's because 95% of our scouts were no longer within 30 minutes of the location and we needed a place to meet. So when we begun our search, the district commissioner had a couple of Church's that were looking to charter a ship.

The prior CO was a great organization, but they understood why we needed to move.  Location was causing  scouts not being able to attend, now they have the ability to attend.

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To the original poster, it historically has been difficult to find a good, active chartered organization who will actively participate with your unit. The vast majority, despite the charter agreement, have viewed the relationship as providing space for a community organization, not the ownership and accountability for the program. And this is likely to haunt several chartered organizations in the not too distant future - perhaps for decisions that were made decades ago by a whole different set of leaders.

Keep in mind that there is an option now that the council can be the "sponsor" of your unit. While some Scout executives do not promote this option but it is available.  You will need to work with the council to find an appropriate meeting spot, in that instance.

Make sure that both you and the chartered organization understand what you are getting into.  Accountability requires oversight and involvement. Some of our chartered organizations locally have now required their COR to be present at many unit activities including camping and to attend unit committee meetings.  Some, such as ours, have done formal annual reviews of the program performance using national standards. The Scouting program is regularly discussed and reviewed at the monthly program ministries meeting. And for your own protection, you need a chartered partner who will provide this oversight as well as space and other support. This is a big undertaking for the chartered organization.  One that, unfortunately, some are just now discovering.

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