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NAM (National Annual Meeting) 2021


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Posted (edited)

So, I sat through NAM and some of the fireside chats. The message is that

  1. BSA is "almost done" or "finishing up" the bankruptcy and this will all be over very, very soon. That's the message: we are done. Light at the end of the tunnel. All is well. Just a little bit longer.
  2. They have hired a big PR company to rebrand and make people who don't even know what scouting is aware of what scouting is the minute the bankruptcy is over.
  3. There was not a word about local councils or COs.
  4. Anyone expecting big changes to YP are going to be disappointed. The only major "shift" was to move to BSA SAFE and away from the the Sweet 16 of BSA Safety which boils down to shifting from one mnemonic device to another and appears to have no policy implications whatsoever.
  5. I'm not surprised there was no talk about the bankruptcy other than a load of happy talk and NO conversations about LCs and COs. The actual presentation at the NAM Business Meeting was as scripted as a hostage video and was read with a monotone. Clearly, every single word was parsed, re-parsed, and re-re parsed by BSA Legal and Bankruptcy Counsel.
  6. The Fireside Chat about how to recruit young people into the program (and adults, too) seemed to really emphasize the untapped market of people who were not ever aware scouting was an option in their area. Absolutely no indication that BSA has already said, in writing to the court, they expect to see declines for years.

Videos from these sessions should be up in the next week or so.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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Only in the last 2 years did I even know that NAM existed. I was excited when it was streamed last year, that is, until I listened. Even then it was very plasticine and fake. This year, I could only t

So, I sat through NAM and some of the fireside chats. The message is that BSA is "almost done" or "finishing up" the bankruptcy and this will all be over very, very soon. That's the message: we

First, isn't it sad that an organization has an annual meeting and effectively tries to bury it? They truly, truly don't get it. Second, I think some the people are sincere, but they are in a box

Posted (edited)

One last point about this. Most of the audience at NAM are BSA professionals and council level volunteers (Council Board members). I would not expect a message of "We are dead, go back to your councils and prepare to be destroyed in court" but I was honestly a tad taken aback by the sheer "We are done! Hurrah!" messaging.

We come back to the problem when NAM told Local Councils that no matter what, none of the bankruptcy will blow back onto LCs. Either

  1. BSA National knew that was a fiction and proceeded to lie
  2. BSA National knew there was going to be SOME, LITTLE blowback and decided to put on a happy face
  3. BSA National truly did think it would have no impact on LCs and just got caught like deer in the headlights

We have a similar situation here

  1. BSA National knows this is far from over for BSA National (and forget about LCs and COs, they are so, so up a creek at this point) and is simply lying so as to not scare the local councils leaders
  2. BSA National thinks it is going to be done by August and while it is going to be bad, it won't be THAT bad (read: cramdown toggle)
  3. BSA National truly thinks this is all over for everyone (read: global plan) and is blissfully naive

EDIT: Or, perhaps option 4: a deal really has been reached and BSA is prepared to come to the June 4 hearing with something that looks like a deal.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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7 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

One last point about this. Most of the audience at NAM are BSA professionals and council level volunteers (Council Board members). I would not expect a message of "We are dead, go back to your councils and prepare to be destroyed in court" but I was honestly a tad taken aback by the sheer "We are done! Hurrah!" messaging.

We come back to the problem when NAM told Local Councils that no matter what, none of the bankruptcy will blow back onto LCs. Either

  1. BSA National knew that was a fiction and proceeded to lie
  2. BSA National knew there was going to be SOME, LITTLE blowback and decided to put on a happy face
  3. BSA National truly did think it would have no impact on LCs and just got caught like deer in the headlights

We have a similar situation here

  1. BSA National knows this is far from over for BSA National (and forget about LCs and COs, they are so, so up a creek at this point) and is simply lying so as to not scare the local councils leaders
  2. BSA National thinks it is going to be done by August and while it is going to be bad, it won't be THAT bad (read: cramdown toggle)
  3. BSA National truly thinks this is all over for everyone (read: global plan) and is blissfully naive

EDIT: Or, perhaps option 4: a deal really has been reached and BSA is prepared to come to the June 4 hearing with something that looks like a deal.

You have to remember that the NAM is not actually a meeting - it's a event designed to generate enthusiasm and encouragements amongst the members.  It's something akin to the big annual stockholders meetings that corporations have.

All the real information sharing happens outside of these sorts of meetings.

Yes, activist members could find a way to highjack the meeting - but rarely does that happen.

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No. All speeches. There was a LOT that was not livestreamed (there was mention of a "general session" meeting that was NOT streamed) and was brought up during today's Fireside Chat about "Governance".

A resolution, or series of resolutions, has been introduced by around 50 councils to address "concerns" over the relationship between LCs and BSA National. There are absolutely no copies available for the general public. From what I gather people were asking to see copies of these resolutions but were not given access.

During today's Fireside chat on "Governance" former CEO head honcho Bill Gates said that "LCs need BSA National. Without BSA National, there are no LCs. We are in this together." I wish, just wish, I could have seen the looks on some Council Key-3 faces. I'm sure there was a lot of teeth grinding.

As I mentioned previously/in another thread: the NAM Business Meeting (which was streamed) looked like a hostage video. It was clear Mosby and others were reading prepared remarks.

Mosby is staying on at least another few years ("through the bankruptcy").

Every noise being uttered in the Fireside chats and the streamed portions is that the bankruptcy is over or nearly over and we'll be out soon. Of course, there were a slew of non-streamed committee and subcommittee meetings where I am sure a lot was said that maybe didn't contradict this but may have been a slightly different hue.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

You have to remember that the NAM is not actually a meeting - it's a event designed to generate enthusiasm and encouragements amongst the members.  It's something akin to the big annual stockholders meetings that corporations have.

Exactly. There were clearly references to other meetings occurring elsewhere or before/after what was livestreamed. What was streamed was all happy talk. No lawyers. Nothing but precanned remarks.

Questions were vetted through Zoom and, in the case of the Fireside chat on Women on Boards, simply turned off completely.

One thing that got people upset: during the Women on Boards a Zoom poll noted that around 10% of BSA National's Executive Board and LC Boards were female. What should that percent be? 15? 33%? Precisely 50%? MOST people (585%) who responded said women should only have 33% of board seats. Only 38% backed the 50% plan and 4% supported only having 15% of seats held by women.

That did not go over well.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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Only in the last 2 years did I even know that NAM existed. I was excited when it was streamed last year, that is, until I listened. Even then it was very plasticine and fake. This year, I could only take about 20 minutes of the membership growth meeting. It just doesn't seem real or sincere. 

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Just now, mrjohns2 said:

This year, I could only take about 20 minutes of the membership growth meeting. It just doesn't seem real or sincere. 

First, isn't it sad that an organization has an annual meeting and effectively tries to bury it? They truly, truly don't get it.

Second, I think some the people are sincere, but they are in a box. The Scout Executive for San Cabo was energetic, passionate, and very eager to expand and grow scouting, or at least sent off those vibes. The Women on Boards: as soon as I logged in and saw the Q&A was turned off I got the message: shut up and listen. Governance was the same: lot of executive level speak. If I'm a den leader in Pack 123 in the plains of South Dakota do I give a crud that Bill Gates renamed the HQ the National "service center"? Heck no. He brought it up anyway.

You are given a topic and told to talk about it knowing that a) it will fly over the heads of 99% of volunteers b) it will be parsed out by lawyers for anything. During the Governance it was mentioned several times that this conversation was in part a carryover from the legal fights where for the last year BSA has said over and over the LCs are independent and autonomous.

We're all adults (well, most) and we all know: the real conversations don't happen in the public eye; they are in a room, or a Zoom session, where things get hashed out. There's an entire song "Room Where It Happens" for cripes sake. You are in the room or outside. 99.99% of scouters are outside that room and 99% of scouters may not even know that room even exists.

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27 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

You are in the room or outside. 99.99% of scouters are outside that room and 99% of scouters may not even know that room even exists.

And I guess this is the point of why BSA doesn't make a big deal out of NAM. If you are a den leader, or ASM in some town somewhere what the heck do you care about governance, number of women on council boards, etc. NAM is NOT for you. It's for the Council executives and above. And I get that. If your view of your contribution to scouting really is "one hour a week" on den night or just sitting around while the patrol meeting happens, then what do you care I suppose.

But there's the weird niche: the long term scouters, or those with a commitment to the movement, or BSA, or both that will never, ever be the ones to get tapped to be on some committee, called to get their views, or anything else. Some of it is good-old-boy-ism (now good-old-girl-ism, too?). Some is raw cash (I can name at least two councils who will flat out say that the minimum FOS contribution for a Council seat is X, for a exec board position is Y), etc.

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14 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

Some is raw cash (I can name at least two councils who will flat out say that the minimum FOS contribution for a Council seat is X, for a exec board position is Y), etc.

What do you mean by this, since I’m not familiar with the historic BSA model? Many boards have pay to play seats. Is that not typically done throughout Scouting to attract high-level donors?

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This is hard evidence nothing will change in this organization. If you wonder whether BSA is doomed, watch these guys. They are borderline delusional. 
 

It’s true, for scouting to live, BSA must die. The movement needs a new birth of freedom to wash away decades of failed, discredited, amoral National non-leadership. 

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14 minutes ago, Muttsy said:

This is hard evidence nothing will change in this organization. If you wonder whether BSA is doomed, watch these guys. They are borderline delusional. 
 

It’s true, for scouting to live, BSA must die. The movement needs a new birth of freedom to wash away decades of failed, discredited, amoral National non-leadership. 

Kind of a shame I like Rex Tillerson but he’s acting like all of the others at the moment.  Everything is fine while the walls are crashing down.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, 100thEagleScout said:

Everything is fine while the walls are crashing down.

They mentioned at every step of the way, in all the fireside chats and main business meeting, that the bankruptcy is almost over, etc.

They don't view this bankruptcy as anywhere close to "walls crashing down." They are convinced (or trying to convince others) we are at or near the end of the bankruptcy process.

They also, TO A PERSON, view this as "past history", that YP made everything better, and that all the bad things happened prior to them showing up and had nothing to do with them/current leadership.

But keep in mind their target audience is Council-level Key-3 and above. These are NOT unit level people trying to put dens together or ASMs putting together a hike.

I also note that for the main business meeting at least EVERY single word was no doubt reviewed by legal counsel and that NO major changes would be taking place in the middle of the bankruptcy.

They were NOT about to say or do something that would or could be used by the victim's attorneys, the TCC, or anyone in the midst of the bankruptcy.

And imagine if they did. What would you want them to say or do? Mosby hasn't got the power to terminate the Board (only the Board can eliminate itself, thanks to the way the charter reads). So, from a legal perspective, this was all fluff.

This was a show to try and cheer up the dedicated faithful, preaching to the choir if you will. NOTHING of legal significance was going to be mentioned or done. Even the proposed changes to the bylaws and electing new board members were shelved pending the conclusion of the bankruptcy.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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