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NAM (National Annual Meeting) 2021


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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

1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

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.

It’s a real shame, because I know some amazing and I mean truly incredible scouters who should be up there running the organization and instead we have the same people who can hardly use a computer.  I hope BSA can bring in younger board members with newer ideas, but that seems pretty far fetched.  Any “new ideas” this board comes up with like LGBT+ or female Eagle Scouts is all just a PR show to try to build membership instead backfiring in their faces.

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I just watched the most recent fireside chat. Three days ago I thing it was posted. 
 

These guys had absolutely nothing substantive to say. Gates in particular was glummer than he appeared on 9/11. 
 

The unspoken parts were 1) the Councils are furious and won’t listen to these guys any longer; 2) he’s terrified by the realization this thing is going to blow up (“we stick together or we hang separately”).
 

National leadership is neither respected nor feared. 
 

LC’s seriously contemplating breaking away and taking their chances negotiating as a collective without National involvement which it regards as responsible for disaster after disaster. 

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46 minutes ago, 100thEagleScout said:

It’s a real shame, because I know some amazing and I mean truly incredible scouters who should be up there running the organization and instead we have the same people who can hardly use a computer.

Since the Board selects the Board, there is no real chance of progress.

That said, I think these last few posts belong on the NAM thread, not the Ch. 11

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6 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Since the Board selects the Board, there is no real chance of progress.

That said, I think these last few posts belong on the NAM thread, not the Ch. 11

Wasn’t aware there was one, thanks for pointing that out

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44 minutes ago, Muttsy said:

LC’s seriously contemplating breaking away and taking their chances negotiating as a collective without National involvement which it regards as responsible for disaster after disaster. 

I did not pick up on that from the governance Fireside chat at all. I believe that the governance was that:

1) LCs insist they are independent entities that are administratively and legally separate from National, therefore National should stick to "programming" and not tell councils how to run themselves.

2) National which has in the past in the name of "programming" shove requirement on councils that dictate how they should operate.

This is why when people say "National should just admit in the bankruptcy they control the LCs" is it NOT that clear cut.

Putting this back in the context of the bankruptcy for a second

  • Multiple LCs, for example, simply refused to put into their articles of incorporation National's mandated, or rather "mandated", language that upon dissolution all LC assets go to National.
  • Multiple LCs (I think I heard 61) submitted identical resolutions that, among other things, demand seats on the national board for smaller LCs and changes in the way that National treats the LCs.
  • The LCs, in their pleadings (such as Circle Ten), identify themselves as independent, autonomous, franchises. The Ad Hoc Local Committee of Local Councils puts it this way
Quote

The relationships between the Debtors and Local Councils are akin to franchisor and franchisees.  Courts have previously held that the organizational structure of a charitable nonprofit organization like the Boy Scouts of America –the Girl Scouts of America –is a franchise...Like any other franchisor/franchisee relationship, the Debtors’ relationship to the multitude of Local Councils is fundamentally one of contract.  As a result, the most that can accurately be said about the Debtors putative reversionary interests is that they form part of the contract with Local Councils.  Another part of that contract comprises the Local Council charters and bylaws. 

And so on.

When Gates and others at the National level talk about working together and surviving or dying together, I think he means that a National BSA that exist bankruptcy only to see some/many/most of the LCs go into bankruptcy right behind them would simply kill whatever is left of the organization.

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 But wouldn’t BSA “sticking to programming” be the same thing as “there should not be a national organization to ensure uniform and high standards of leadership” which was the fundamental premise behind the Congressional Charter? 
 

If so, it begs the question: Why does scouting need a BSA at all? Can’t or shouldn’t LC’s have the freedom to develop programming that is tailored to the needs of its scouts and community?

States do many things much better than the federal government because the federal bureaucracy tries to push out one size fits all “programs” that don’t work for every community. 

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So, assuming a global deal or partial global deal gets worked out, will local councils be pacified by some of the governance changes alluded to on the fireside? 
 

Is the LC anger just hot air or are they in a position to force meaningful changes?

Do you think the brand still has the same value? It has been so damaged I question whether it is an asset or a liability. 

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On 5/29/2021 at 8:46 AM, ThenNow said:

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?

Sorta. There was always supposed to be a balance between pay-to-play and seats that went to people who were actually involved in scouting at the unit level (either current or former). It is why all Chartered Organizations are, ex officio, Council members although they rarely or never show up.

My feeling, at least as to my council, is that over the years the council is almost entirely pay-to-play. That's not a good way to run things.

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12 minutes ago, Muttsy said:

So, assuming a global deal or partial global deal gets worked out, will local councils be pacified by some of the governance changes alluded to on the fireside?

Is the LC anger just hot air or are they in a position to force meaningful changes?

Do you think the brand still has the same value? It has been so damaged I question whether it is an asset or a liability. 

So, about this.

  1. LCs have demanded a ton of autonomy from National for years. National allowed segregated units and Council until well into the 1970s. This is cyclical: National gives, National takes. LCs gripe, LCs get things. The problem is that again, as they talked about in the Governance fireside chat, is that the "fun bus" (Programming) which National does control encroaches on everything and is used as an excuse to tell councils how to run themselves. Take, for example, position trained. National has said that it will NOT require unit leaders to be position trained, only YP trained. MY council, however requires you be position trained within 90 days. National has talked/muttered about imposing the same: MANDATING that all leaders (or at least youth/direct contact leaders) be position trained. They claim it helps to ensure program integrity: how do you know how to be a den leader if you don't take the 1.5 hour Den Leader Training program on training.scouting.org? On top of the 1.5 hour YP training? You can see how LCs would prefer that National butt the heck out and let them decide whether to mandate on their local volunteers or not.
  2. LCs are angry because they feel as if National doesn't listen to their concerns, which they hear from local units. So, some of the solutions (guaranteed seats on the National Board for smaller Local Councils, etc.) are valid. But as someone pointed out: a LARGE majority of the current National board are already current or former Council officials. The other thing to consider is that the only way National changes is if National desires it. The resolutions committee, which came up, opened up who could submit resolutions for bylaws amendments. 61 councils put in bylaws changes like the guaranteed seats. The problem is twofold. First, NO changes are going to take place until post-bankruptcy to the structure or organization of BSA. Absolutely none. Second, the CURRENT board has to approve any such changes. If the current board likes the way things are going just fine and thinks the LCs are spoiled brats, the resolutions get voted down or watered down to nothing.
  3. The brand's the only thing BSA has, but listen to the marketing message. Every fireside chat and NAM talked about reaching out to NEW parents, NEW people who may never have heard of scouting or may have not know it was in their area. That's the give away: people who HAVE heard of BSA are likely drawing negative connotations, so the marketing is going to focus on never-heard-of-you types. And on thing Tillerson and the rest repeated over and over: there is a BIG money/PR push to rebrand BSA as "safe" the minute the bankruptcy is over. That's to attract the people who ARE aware of BSA and the abuse.
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2 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

NO changes are going to take place until post-bankruptcy to the structure or organization of BSA.

Well, except the BSA doing alway with 2 levels of the structure and redefining what national means to councils and the focus of volunteers supporting that role. 
 

Maybe a better word is no changes to governance. The structure did change. 

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8 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

Well, except the BSA doing alway with 2 levels of the structure and redefining what national means to councils and the focus of volunteers supporting that role.

Maybe a better word is no changes to governance. The structure did change. 

You are right. I should have said "governance structure" including and especially the composition of the National Board. Of course, it is perhaps a testament to how little the regional/area/territory system matters that in the midst of the bankruptcy the lawyers decided to let that move ahead. If it had any actual relevance to how BSA operates, it too would have been postponed until post-bankruptcy.

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On 5/28/2021 at 2:58 PM, CynicalScouter said:

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.

Did you mean Robert Gates?  He was a terrible DCI, worse SECDEF, and absolutely horrible President of Scouting.  I'm not surprised he delivered this bit of shinola.  Technically, he may be correct in that National owns the intellectual property of handbooks, uniforms, symbols, etc. and probably the loyalty of most of the SEs but it sure would be heartening for some of the LC boards to at least investigate their options in adhering to Scouting's ultimate purpose by separating from the disastrous decisions that have been coming out of Irving, TX for the past decade or two.  My impression is that the National Board is a paragon of incestuous relationships and will be dragged kicking and screaming into any kind of reform.

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