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How to Upset your Volunteers


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Well my council is at it again.  I really wish professional training had courses on gaining trust, working with ticked off volunteers, etc.

We had a district event this weekend. No DEs were there as they were sent to another district's event instead. Not a good move to build bridges, especially since they are selling the local camp, which has ticked off folks.

And to make matter worse, found out supplies that were requested were never ordered. So the event chair was running around Thursday and Friday, paying out of pocket for items. Happened to me once back in the day.

And the pros do not understand why no one likes the council.

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8 hours ago, jcousino said:

love to see who completed the Short term camping forms.

The Scout exec could have come or CC (lol).

 

NCAC approval was done by volunteer who is certified. Never seen pros certify events except summer camp when regional inspectors are invovled and no local ones.

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One of them pro  sign off as the last person.

If something goes wrong, it rests in their lap too

been proven wrong too many times that part of their job is to make sure scouting policies and rules are practiced.

 

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5 hours ago, jcousino said:

One of them pro  sign off as the last person.

No, that is on Part A and the site Approval (SE or designer). Both are done prior to the event. The final part, part B, only has the signature of the STCA. 

Source: training and forms required to be submitted before and after assessment. 

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once again thanks 

but once if there is a problem its going to be in their laps Let the vol. run and plan the event just be their if needed , helps when you come to me asking for money if i have talked with you at events. 

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On 10/30/2022 at 8:48 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

And to make matter worse, found out supplies that were requested were never ordered. So the event chair was running around Thursday and Friday, paying out of pocket for items. Happened to me once back in the day.

I think that was an episode on "As The Stomach Turns."

Sorry to hear that it has been syndicated and now in reruns.

Experienced it once myself to embarrassing effect. (Breakfast for 20 purchased when 160 attended. Professional solution was to double the lunch food. Lovely. We should adopt a guiding principle, like, "Be Prepared," or some such.)

Know many others who paid for many things, budget approved things, who weren't reimbursed by the council.

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5 hours ago, jcousino said:

but once if there is a problem its going to be in their laps

Nice sentiment, but when was the last district or council event that a professional was the "Face Of The Event?"

In my experience, never.  (My impression is "Let the volunteers take the heat.")

Volunteers names are slathered all over the lead-up flyers, web pages, Roundtable announcements…everywhere.  A professional may be listed but as an advisor, but their role is limited by design, in my opinion. ("Hey, I'm not in charge, call the lead volunteer.") Plausible Deniability?

And what does it mean that it will "be in their laps?"

The event is over.  The professionals were likely not at the event, or so far in the background as to be barely visible. Lightning rods, they aren't.

The ugly, whatever it was, has happened. And can no longer be "fixed."  It is over and whatever effect or impression it had is limited to those who experienced it (small, typically), and will fade quickly.  If it did not generate police reports (something criminal) and a follow-up investigation, even earnest volunteer/parent inquiries of the lead volunteers and professionals will wither through neglect. The volunteers are not trained to deal with such issues, nor feel authorized to take any action. The professionals won't advance their careers by bringing ugly things to the attention of their Scout Executive.

So, I just don't see any significant repercussions to professionals. "Yeah, we were surprised too.  Had we known, we would not have chosen XXX to run this event."

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6 hours ago, jcousino said:

helps when you come to me asking for money if i have talked with you at events. 

I know many folks who have turned to making their contributions to the Movement by making gifts in kind, instead of cash, and one person who changed their entire estate plan to the tune of about a million, and another of $750,000.

Councils do not see the folks whose contributions are changed from Boy Scouts to other charities.  The councils never knew of the potential bequests, and never hear that the BSA has been dropped as a beneficiary.

Immeasurable Phantom Losses.

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9 hours ago, jcousino said:

 Let the vol. run and plan the event just be their if needed , helps when you come to me asking for money if i have talked with you at events. 

When I was a DE, we had to go to every district event for that very reason. Heck I remember flying in from Dallas after two weeks of training, washing clothes while packing a backpack, and going to camp to help teach the district ITOLS class the very day I got home. Another DE, on medically endorsed light duties after a surgery, had to commute back and forth from his house to a camporee, about 1:15 drive one way.

 

3 hours ago, SiouxRanger said:

Nice sentiment, but when was the last district or council event that a professional was the "Face Of The Event?"

In my experience, never.  (My impression is "Let the volunteers take the heat.")

That IS the way it is. It is always the volunteers fault, XYZ happened.  Everyone has examples of that one.

AND in the rare cases that volunteers are not involved, it is always the DE's fault, never the council's upper management. I saw a professional lose their job over a fundraising dinner that the upper management organized and NEVER told him that he was responsible for until 2 months before the event. No advertising was done prior to him taking over, and the keynote speaker passed away between when it was first planned, and when the pro was given responsibility for it. YET the SE did not tell him about the death, and all the advertisements had the deceased's name as the keynote. It was a disaster, and he lost his job over it.

3 hours ago, SiouxRanger said:

I know many folks who have turned to making their contributions to the Movement by making gifts in kind, instead of cash, and one person who changed their entire estate plan to the tune of about a million, and another of $750,000.

In my neck of the woods, most gifts in kind were towards the local camp, which is now being sold. Equipment that was donated for the express purpose of helping maintain that camp was taken to the main camp, despite the camp being open for over a year after the equipment was removed. No one was told about this, and it was discovered when folks when to clean up the camp for an event, and the equipment they relied on was gone. They even took some personal equipment that folks left at the camp so they didn't have to bring it back and forth. They got their stuff back only when they threatened to file a police report.

As for donations of any kind, I do not know anyone at the unit level who is contributing to FOS. Many units no longer buy supplies from the local council, instead going to two nearby, and closer, out of council stores.

Quote

Councils do not see the folks whose contributions are changed from Boy Scouts to other charities.  The councils never knew of the potential bequests, and never hear that the BSA has been dropped as a beneficiary.

Immeasurable Phantom Losses.

Understatement. I know two large contributors who have stopped supporting Scouting altogether, and I would not doubt changed their wills. Another donor is only making contributions to a specific event. His goal is to cut registration so that as many Scouts can go to it as possible.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Out unit does not sell popcorn, camp cards or FOS.  When we look at the council roster of staff roughly 30% of the folks are specifically related to "development"  I was at a troop event and the area director advised that scouting was a success due to amount of money raised at a dinner

When they list a new person coming on as a DE, they list FOS, popcorn, and camp cards as their main functions.  Then ONLY time we see our local DE, it's about money.  Honestly not sure what the guy does 40 hours per week.  We have maybe 20 units in the district.  3 of those at our CO.  Basically 1 day per week should be focused on "assisting" our units.  Yeah, guess he's out raising money.

We don't bother the council and they don't bother us.  We did speak with one field director.  I advised if he could advise on # of Cubs / Scouts / Explorers in the council in 1975 and the number of council staff (Pro Scouts, rangers, admins, etc) and the # of  Cubs / Scouts / Explorers in the council at the start of 2022 and the number of council staff (Pro Scouts, rangers, admins, etc), then we could see how they are managing overhead and discuss.  We're still waiting

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Most of the issues I've seen recently have either been issues with timeliness (for example, patches or awards for event participants that were ordered far too late to actually be presented at the event) or quantity.

Quantity has been a recurring issue spanning multiple DEs: we have some volunteers that offer to run the warming stations at winter events (basically, a warm building with coffee/hot cocoa/snacks.) Those volunteers know how much they should have on hand given the attendee count, and the quantities that end up being purchased are always lower than what was requested (or missing, like no sweeteners or creamer to go with coffee; or in some cases the wrong items entirely), requiring someone to run out mid-event to resupply. The proper amounts were always budgeted for in the event budget; that didn't seem to matter. 

Finally got to the point where the volunteers would just purchase and donate the required supplies out of frustration, because they wanted to be sure that a kid who came in to warm up and get some hot cocoa actually got some. 

It all seems to stem from who puts their hands on the money. In nearly all of the cases, volunteers were more than willing to actually handle the purchasing and seek reimbursement, even within a given budget, but the insistence from professionals was that they handle the purchasing directly.  They've even been reluctant to shop with a volunteer in tow. 

I know that with the current membership situation and the council payments to the bankruptcy settlement that the money situation is challenging, but when you're charging event attendees an amount that covers the budgeted items, you give them what they're paying for. 

Edited by slocumscout
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