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FireKat

BSA not allowing scouts to ring bells for Salvation Army

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"Our pack and troop has rang, proudly in uniform and with Council knowledge, for Salvation Army for as long as I can remember."

 

"You had a choice of helping the Salvation Army without violating BSA policies. You simply chose not to."

 

Schiff might not have been violating any BSA policy.

 

From the BSA Insignia Guide -

 

"The official uniforms are intended primarily for use in connection with Scouting activities as defined by the national Executive Board, and their use may be approved by the local council executive board for council events or activities under conditions consistent with the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America."

 

Similar wording is found in the Guide to Unit Money-Earning Projects.

 

Schiff states that they have worn their uniforms "WITH COUNCIL KNOWLEDGE". This means that their use was most likely approved by his local council executive board, as stipulated in the BSA rules and regulations.

 

Firecat - You stated that you could not find any email address to contact BSA National. Have you looked thru the National web site lately?

 

http://www.scouting.org/

 

They have made it VERY easy to contact the SPECIFIC area that you have questions on.

 

If you look at the top of the home page you will see tabs for different divisions (Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing, Youth Protection, Scouting Safely, International, Information Center). If you click on each tab, you will see at the top where you can print the page, subscribe to the BSA media feeds, or send an email to that specific division. For your particular questions I would recommend the email link on the Information Center tab, or on one of the sections under the Information Center such as Organizational Identity, or Insignia Guide.

 

 

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"knowledge of" and "permission to" are not the same thing.

 

Bottom line the BSA specifically prohibits the use of scouts to raise money in uniform for other agencies.

 

The Unit wants to help the Salvation Army, that is a wonderful thing. The BSA requires that you not wear the uniform, that is their legal right and authority.

 

Nothing prevents the unit from both doing what they want and doing what the BSA requires except for the behavior of the unit leaders.

 

Is their anything I have just posted that is incorrect?

 

 

 

 

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Well, from what I understand the Council has knowledge of the units ringing bells for the Salvation Army as Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts. So, let us not berate the unit leaders without at least a wagging finger pointed at the Council as well.

I agree Unit Leaders should know the Rules but then, so should the Council

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I think I see the disconnect here for many people, including me. Our Troop and Crew ring the bell in full uniform for the Salvation Army each year. We do it as a service project....not as a fund raising project. Yes, we are raising funds for a worthy charity, but we are not raising funds for our units. It never entered anyone's mind ot fill out a fund raising form to do a service project for a charity. Therefore, the rules to not do so are out of sight, out of mind. I'm not excusing our actions, just explaining what I beleive is happening. I'm an ASM and not involved in the fund raising or service side of the committee. We have folks on the committee who handle those items. I will make them aware of it though.

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"knowledge of" and "permission to" are not the same thing.

 

I agree. I am not even sure what "Council knowledge" is. Only a few people have authority to speak for the Council and the regulation specifically says that it is the Council executive board that must give approval. The one time I have seen "Council approval" (which wasn't even requested) was right after 9/11, when the council hooked up with some other organization (I am not sure whether it was the Red Cross or some consortium that had been thrown together on the spot) and the SE wrote a letter to all units requesting that we raise money and in-kind contributions for the relief effort. It specifically said to do so in uniform, and to do so in conjunction with popcorn sales if applicable. Our pack had this letter by 9/13, and coincidentally our popcorn show-and-sell was scheduled for Saturday 9/15. We had signs on the table saying that we would accept 9/11 donations and that we were also donating a percentage of the pack's profits from the popcorn sale to the relief effort (which probably also would have been against the rules if not for the letter from the SE.) I think we ended up giving more than $400 to the relief efforts, about half from straight donations and half from our popcorn money. It was a very hectic and confusing day because suddenly every organization in the community was out there with us, soliciting donations, while we were trying to have our little popcorn sale. Meanwhile everybody was still in shell-shock because we are within 90 minutes of New York City and many people had some personal connection, or near-connection, to what had happened.

 

Interestingly, now that I think about it, the letter was just from the SE. I don't think it mentioned the executive board anywhere, and in all likelihood the executive board had not met in the 36 hours or so since the attacks. In that kind of extreme emergency, I don't think anyone was splitting hairs, and I imagine that the executive board probably ratified the SE's actions later, if necessary.

 

Added note: I do agree with OGE, though. If the "council" really does "know", then there is enough "blame" to go around.(This message has been edited by njcubscouter)

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The fact that you are raising funds for another organization using the the Scouting uniform is what makes it against the rules.

 

Whearing the uniform while you raise money for the unit or for Scouting is rarely an issue unless you are selling a commercial product or service.

 

You are prohibiting from soliciting in the Scouting uniform for other organizations.

 

OGE

Isn't saying 'the council knows it's wrong so they can stop me if they want', just the smae as saying 'I can go 50 mph in a 30mph zone, because the police know its wrong and they can stop me if they want'?

 

I thought that as good role models adults would be wanting to do what's right not what they want until they get caught or told to stop?

 

Why cant the unit help the Salvation Army and follow the rules at the same time?

 

As a Rountable Commission we had the SA in every year registering units to help man bell ringing locations, but we remined the units of the regulations that they were not to be in uniform when they participated. That never stopped anyone from helping.

 

What is it that stops the unit from both helping and following the rules?

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...Not to mention wear-and-tear on the uniforms. As for the concept of 'council knowledge', if there was ever a list of places where I would NOT look for important knowledge, the council would be near the top of the list. Or perhaps I misunderstood something...;)

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Yah, as good role models and good scouters our job is to understand the reasons for a law or regulation, and serve that faithfully - without doing other harm. And probably to understand da limits of the BSA's authority.

 

When you purchase a Boy Scout uniform, the uniform becomes your personal property. You may wear it backwards, you may donate it, you may cut it up and use it for rags. The BSA has no authority to tell you how to treat your personal property, or when to wear green pants. You can wear your uniform to work, or to church on Sunday, or when working the Booster Club booth after your scout meeting. You can even use it to lampoon the BSA on YouTube. Nor does the BSA have any authority to tell youth members they can't solicit money for other organizations. Youth and adult members are personally free to solicit for any organization they see fit.

 

Da BSA holds a trademark to its symbols, to protect its commercial image. So long as you don't do anything to harm da BSA's commercial image or reputation, and don't claim or imply that you're representing the national organization, it's just fine to wear the uniform. Ring bells, go caroling, help wrap presents for the PTO fundraiser, whatever. Don't go on TV in uniform and say that on behalf of Scouting, everybody should give to gay pride week. If you're not doing a unit activity or representing yourself as being part of the BSA, you can do whatever you want.

 

That's it, eh? If you're goin' to go do a service project for Salvation Army or Catholic Relief Services or whatever, you of course can do it in uniform as a unit activity. Even ring bells and carol and shovel sidewalks for the church's annual raffle for the homeless. What you shouldn't do is represent to others that the BSA endorses another cause.

 

Is anybody other than an anonymous internet scouter goin' to bother you if there's nothing but community service and a positive vibe afoot in your activities? Of course not.

 

Beavah

 

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Thank you, Hal. I will try that the next time I run across that junk.

As to allowing scouts to help others in uniform. How can we work on convincing Nat'l to change policy? I wish to follow the rules and I know that many are glad to see the Boy Scouts helping others. It is good PR. Everyone knows that the monies are NOT for the scouts but for the Salvation Army. The boys are just working to man the bells and watch the kettles. All other service groups in our area do this too - in uniform - Lions, VFW, etc. I would like Nat'l to reconcider that policy snd get others to voice their feelings on it too. We are part of BSA, why can't we have some input into policy?

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Bob, why would you say that allowing the boys to wear the uniform while preforming a service to a well known helpful group be opening the door to more abuse of the uniform? It is good PR for the BSA.

Did you try the uniform picture search I suggested? Tilt at the right windmills. BSA needs all the good PR it can get, not hide under a rock for fear of misuse. If people see the uniforms in the correct context more they will then know and speak up more when someone abuses it. Many people think BSA no long exists. See the interview of Scout Exec. Massucia(sp) on his lapel pin. We NEED to be more visable.

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Gee bob, I was reacting to

 

"Nothing prevents the unit from both doing what they want and doing what the BSA requires except for the behavior of the unit leaders."

 

Didnt think it right to jut call out the unit leaders when the Council knows about it. Now, we could get into a semantical argument over who Council is and what the Council is and argue about who has the authority to do what to whome and most likley all that would do is ellicit a comment like, well Councils have been know to be wrong to and that is correct,

 

By all means the Salvation Army should be helped by the units and the units should follow the rules. if I am a new leader to the unit and the experienced leaders tell me this is what we do and no one says not to, even when I read the Fundraising rules, I am not sure I would connect it to the Salvation Army thing. So, the Boy Scouts are out there raising money for the Salvation Army and its agains the rules. Can't say I give a spit and hope Schiff's group raises lots of money cause lots of people need it

 

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"..even when I read the Fundraising rules, I am not sure I would connect it to the Salvation Army thing"

 

OGE here is what the rules ays, explain how you could NOT connect it to the Salvation Army thing?

 

 

Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for their chartered organizations, for the local council, or in support of other organizations. Adult and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events.

 

For example: Scouts and leaders should not identify

themselves as Scouts or as a troop participate

in the Salvation Armys Christmas Bell Ringing

program. This would be raising money for another

organization.

 

So just how does someone read that and not know that it includes the Salvation Army Bell ringing program?

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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After re-reading the rule that is being referenced for the original post, it clearly states that "Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for their chartered organizations, for the local council, or in support of other organizations." Now forgive me if I am misinterpreting this, but shouldn't this apply to popcorn sales? Considered the money that is raised by selling popcorn goes to the local council (an approximate 80-20 split), are we bumping up against ambiguous rules and/or wording from National again? I don't want to be a nit-picker, or trying to find out the definition of "is," but the wording that is there can be interpreted in many different ways. I agree with many that have said the BSA needs more positive press; what better way than having uniformed scouts ringing bells for the Salvation Army? Don' both organizations have the same goal, to help people?

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