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oldsm

Hangers-on

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It's rechartering time again for my district. The time when we see how our records match those from the council, formalize who's new and who's leaving.

 

The problem I see every year is with hangers-on. I'm not sure what we should do with them. I'll explain.

 

We are rechartering tomorrow with 18 boys and 31 adults.

 

18 scouts (all ages)

1 SM

4 ASM (active)

3 ASM (inactive)

1 Committee Chair

1 IH

1 COR

20 Committee Members

 

All except 1 of the Scouts are active. The other is the 2nd son of an active ASM. He attends exactly one event year (an out-of-council ski event that his parents also attend). We keep him on mostly "in case he decides he wants to get active again" (the boy has been Tenderfoot since forever - he's a HS sophomore now). I don't see it happening.

 

We have about 6 or so active Committee members. Most of the others have been on the roster for years and never show their faces. They dutifully pay their $10 registration fee in order to "stay affiliated" with scouting. A few are Eagles who earned their rank in the troop. But we never see them. Some are parents of those Eagles, and some are parents of former non-Eagles who just stay on. They contribute nothing. They don't come to COH or committee meetings, or sit on BOR. They aren't interested in being MB counselors. They are busy with their own lives. There has been personal contact and invitation to come to events, with the thought that we might be able to use their expertise. Their only value to the troop seems to be one of keeping the membership numbers up. (And letting the CC hang onto some vision that the troop has a lot of adults.)

 

On our internal troop roster, we have listed inactive scouts as members of the "No-See-Um" patrol. Inactive ASMs get listed as "Adjunct Leaders". Inactive committee members don't even make our published roster.

 

With rechartering, there is no provision other an ASM or Committee Member for those inactive people. I would like to see some provision for people to be "subscribing members" or something similar for those who want to keep some tenuous link to BSA without actively committing to strengthening the program.

 

Or should we just thank them for their past support and drop them from the Official Roster?

 

These are not paper members. They are living people who pay their $10. But they contribute nothing to the program, and in most cases have been inactive so long that what legacy they may have had has disappeared.

 

What does your troop do with hangers-on?

 

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Clean house. There is absolutely no reason to keep them on the roster. If they ask why are they being dropped, tell them. You owe them nothing more. The adults need to be active to some level, but since these adults are not involved at all, that would be an easy call for me.

 

Same goes with the Scouts. If they are inactive and/or behind in their dues (which pays the re-charter fees), drop them.

 

We just re-chartered. We dropped 4 Scouts. One moved to Arizona. Another moved back to Columbia, South America. Another turned 18. Another was just inactive. He has since became active again and paid up his dues. We have a really good program as always, and he told his Scout friends he missed it. Glad to have him back. No adults were dropped. They're all active.

 

We keep membership simple. You're involved, or you're not.

 

sst3rd

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We also have several adults who were once active and a few boys on the roster who aged out at whatever rank and weren't quite ready to move on. Personally I think it is confusing, esp. to new troop members, to see people listed who haven't been active in years, yet who are on the roster. I know for myself, it made me wonder who the heck these people were and why I had never met them. I think, if you politely explain to them why you are dropping them, most will understand. A few may become active again. Very few are likely to get upset. After all, they can always register again in the future if they're interested in re-activating themselves.

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What are the costs of these hangers?

Do they pay their dues? Do they take any resources from the unit?

There is no deception here. Leave them on your roster.

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We are just finishing up our recharted. Our CC who is a former SM calls all the inactive members each year and asks if they wish to stay on. To do so, He asks that they pay their registration fee, and make a donation which th CC uses as a FOS donation from the troop. Most of the inactive adults are more then glad to donate. Every year we make our FOS recharter requirement. This year we reupped with only 12 scouts, plus 4 crossovers this coming weekend and probably 20-25 adult members, the SM, 8-10 ASM's and 10-15 CM's

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oldsm,

 

Lets see, 12-14 committee member who pay (jointly) $120-140 annually to BSA, don't cause any trouble and cost the unit zip, nil, nada? Math looks great to me!

So, what's the real issue?

 

Anarchist

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My opinion is, let them all stay registered as long as the pay the registration fee and complete any other requirements.

 

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We too have some extra members on our committee. Why not try to find one thing for them to do during the year? One of ours arranghes the catering for our annual dinner, another coaches our first aid team, another arranges the site for our Pancake breakfast. Its not much, but this way they all contribute and help the troop in some small way.

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Our Troop has three old-timers on the charter that are dormant. I call them every year to see if they want to re-up. They always do. We always have a great conversation about the Good Old Days (I've learned to make the call when I have a lot of time). They always chat about how the Troop is doing. They always say they're going to get a little more active, but don't. They enjoy Scouting Magazine, our Council newsletter, and our Troop newsletter. One of them gives to our FOS campaign every year. Scouting means a lot to them and is a fond memory for them. I wouldn't dream of dumping them.

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These old-timers don't add anything to the troop. They don't/won't coordinate an activity. A few of them (not all) still have money in their ancient troop accounts that gets hit to pay their dues.

 

LisaBob makes some good points. From the perspective of those who weren't around many years ago, who are these people? Why are they there? I think it leads to confusion.

 

I have to keep them in Troopmaster or I can't use it to recharter. It makes for (legitimate) bloated numbers and just makes this more convoluted. The only relationship they have is with the CC.

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Just needed to say that our local Lions club had several members who did not attend meetings, help at service projects, etc. The club president asked them at their renewal time if and why they wanted to continue. Found out most just wanted to claim the affiliation with a service organization. My thought on the hangers-on is that they need to be contributing and not just taking credit for your good name. The organization is about service, not just looking good on the resume.

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"What does your troop do with hangers-on?"

 

Well, first we don't identify them with a derogatory label. Second, we use recharter as an opportune time to dialog with them in hopes of returning them to an active status. I would never de-list someone without their permission, especially if they are paying either with an annual check or debit to a carryover scout account. Unless you speak with them, you do not understand their motivations. Understanding motivations is the first step to recruiting their re-involvement. I don't see where some names on a piece of paper or a once-a-year check leads to any degree of confusion that can't be resolved in a few seconds.

 

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I guess when I said it led to confusion I was thinking about a particular experience with a certain troop that had a LOT of these long-time, but inactive members. When prospective new members came along one thing that some leaders talked up was the extensive adult support in place, as evidenced by all these adults registered as ASMs. In reality almost 1/3 were on-paper only. This is misleading (in my view).

 

Second, I suppose I was thinking about our own troop, which either pays for recharter out of our general fund, or asks our CO to pay some/all of our recharter fee. Individual adult leaders pay nothing out of pocket toward recharter. This year recharter cost more than $1000. That's a lot of money and (again, in my view) people who are not active should not expect to continue to be carried at a cost to the troop or the CO.

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oldsm,

 

My knee-jerk response would be to take them off.

 

I agree that "inactives" should not be put on a published roster. That's a practical policy that makes sense. Adults that are not active do not deserve to be published as Troop Leadership.

 

Remove them from the roster completely? Talk with your CC and active committee and set a policy on this matter. Ask the "inactives" if there is anything they are doing at the District, Council, or National Level that you may not be aware of.

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