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When OJ was a little fellow I signed him up to attend the R/C school that was part of the church we attend.

In time he joined the Pack that the church chartered.

I was on a couple of Council committees. Kinda not doing very much, other than writing the odd check. Somehow, someway I got talked into becoming Cubmaster.

Even if I say so myself, I did a fairly good job.

The Pack grew to having about 70 Cub Scouts, most of them were not Catholic. Along with the kids we selected and managed to enlist a lot of adult help.

Most of the adults were not Catholic.

The Parish Priest wasn't very good with kids. He was a very deeply religious fellow. But he accepted the Pack I think because it was there before he arrived.

Every year I'd pop in for a visit and he'd sign anything I'd put under his nose. If he wasn't around I left the papers with the church secretary and I'd pick up the signed papers a little later.

Yes we were allowed the use of the church hall for Pack Meetings.

Yes we held a Scout Sunday Service once a year and he did a wonderful job.

OJ grew and went on to become a Boy Scout in a Troop chartered by a United Methodist Church. He left this Troop to join a Troop chartered by a Civic Group for a small town down the road, not the town we live in.


I went on to become District Commissioner and then District Chairman.

When there was a problem with a Scouting unit within the District. Many of the Scouter's called the DE, some called me.

I can't think of one that ever called the CO.

Time after time in this forum I read about CO's who do nothing or next to nothing for the Scout units that charter.

Every now and then someone will post "It's up to the CO"!

When I see this I can't help thinking that if the truth were known most CO's not only don't know what is going on with the Scouting unit, but more than that most don't really care.

Sure we have a few that do and some that really do.

The Pack I was CM has now folded. We don't have a R/C Pack in the District, we still have Catholic kids, many who are Cub Scouts. Both they and their parents seem to be happy Scouting in Packs that are chartered by other organizations.


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The position and power of the CO in the BSA structure is somewhat underrated, I suppose. But, given the right issue, the CO can carry a big stick.

Case in point, the UMC church which sponsors our Troop suddenly decided last spring that all youth leaders in the church (which would include all leaders in the troop) would need to take the official UMC course called Safe Sanctuary. From my understanding it is similar to what we get in BSA Youth Protection. They gave us a window of time to get all troop leaders through it. I'm still on the "to-do" list but will-do when I can.

Long story short, several of the troop adults got in a twist at the first session of this class. They basically badgered the instructor that BSA YP was all they needed, that they would only follow BSA YP protocol and would not sign the document that they would submit to the church's Safe Sanctuary guidelines. All this was done, according to several reports, in a less-than-cheerful spirit.

I was present at a committee meeting shortly thereafter where a letter was read by our COR from the Pastor of the church. In short and this is my ad-lib, "do this Safe Sanctuary training, and do it with a smile, or this Troop which has been a part of this Church for 50 years will have to find another place to meet. Period."

The only reason I felt it appropriate to post this is that there are many who view this forum who might say "I don't know who our COR is?" or "The IH of our Charter Org. never shows up at anything?"

That may simply mean that everything is going swimmingly in the relationship. Try obstructing the CO's policy deployment, and you will likely get to know those people really fast!

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E., I was hopeful the other thread you started, Fussin' and Fightin', would stick more to the subject of COs, but it seems to focused on Fussin' and Fightin' so I've quit reading it.


I am rather of two minds when it comes to BSA's concept of chartered partners and I suppose that's because there seems to be a lot of positives and negatives to the system. The whole thing seems to be an anachronism going back to the early days when BSA needed other, established organizations to get Scouting off the ground.


The wide-spread support Scouting generates through its relationships with many other community organizations is a great positive. The resources BSA taps into through it's COs are also tremendous assests. Our troop has free run use of our scout building which we share with the den meetings and a couple GSUSA troops which meet during the week. Were it not for the use of the church facilities, I rather doubt the troop would be around.


Everytime I think BSA should ditch the CO system, all I have to do is look at the Girl Scouts to see what life would be like. Without our COs we would likely be bunch of patrol-sized units meeting in homes and garages (something the hard-core patrol method supports may like). But that leads to many, small, unstable units. Of all the girls we know my sons' ages who were in Girl Scouts, none remain. None of their troops even exist anymore.


We do a joint School Night For Scouts with the Girl Scouts. Every year most of the girls who want to join are told there is no room for them and are placed on a waiting list hoping for new troops to form. Because our CO gives us as much meeting space as we want, the Cub Pack has always taken all comers -- sometimes ending up with 120+ Cubs!


Too many units take their CO relationship for granted. How many units run into problems when the demographics of their CO change and most of the kids in the units are no longer members of the CO? We're somewhat in that position and have to work to make sure the church members see the troop and pack as an important part of the church's mission, not just another community group looking for meeting space. A presence at Scout Sunday, helping out with church fund raisers and steering Eagle projects toward the church are important. I look for excuses to stick my head in the minister's office and update him on troop happenings. Invite the minister to Blue & Golds and Court of Honors, even if you know he/she probably won't come.


For all the positives our COs bring us there are some negatives to the system, too. Of course, over the past few years units charterd to public schools or municipal departments have been an problem due to discrimination policies, but I think BSA generally got out ahead of that and has tried to quietly convert most of those units to other COs.


I think BSA uses the CO system to hide from problems within the units. Councils are more than happy taping into local units for volunteers and money, but when there is a conflict within a unit's leadership or over money, the council folks look like my father-in-law when the waiter brings the bill for dinner -- they dive for cover. They're pretty quick to throw up their hands and hide behind "that's a CO problem," as Eamonn notes.


Councils could change that if they wanted to. While the relationship between BSA and CO have been compared to a franchisor/franchisee relationship, local councils need to see their role like that of a broker. They should earn their "commission" by maintaining the relationship between the "home office" and the "customer." How many of the personality or money problems which are posted here could be solved by a knowledgable council representative (vol or pro) if it weren't for artifical barriers. When the cubmaster is feuding with the chairman because a den leader and treasurer are foolin' around and ran off with pack money, is the chartered organization head really going to be upset of someone from the council office steps in and helps?


And what has to be the biggest joke in Scouting is that the CORs are the official voting members of the local councils. Why not allow a CO - or for that matter, each unit -- to send a small "R" representative to the council annual meeting. Maybe instead of having 10% or less of the COs representated at the meetings, they would get active, involved Scouters. Why not? Because they would also get the p'd-off volunteers who spend a week at summer camp without a shower because no one at council knows what a septic pump is, would show up armed for bear. You don't want to get too close to your customers, do you?


I realize some of this is probably buried in the bowels of the national charter and bylaws, but those things can be changed.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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Well said, Twocubdad. The only thing I would add to the description of the system is that it undoubtedly also limits liability to some extent.


There is no doubt that COs vary from completely uninvolved all the way up to what LDS does, and to those troops that only accept members from within the CO's ranks. Regardless of how involved the CO is, though, I think that any troop that thinks they can ignore an instruction from the CO is likely to find out quickly how the system is set up. Heck, Scoutmasters have been let go for such things.


As for COs having a large voice, I think that only happens when the national body of the group speaks to BSA National on behalf of all of their units. Then, as noted in many places, there can be a significant impact.


For many troops, if their CO declined to continue to sponsor them, it would be no big deal to find another CO. For others, it could be an issue. For some (e.g., an LDS unit), I think it would be essentially impossible.


If Catholics dropped sponsorship of Scouts, I think many of the troops would move and the Scouts would stay involved. If LDS dropped Scouts, a lot of those people would largely disappear from BSA, I think, although I'm sure there are a number of LDS people who would join another troop. How big of an impact would that be? Hard to say. The council of my youth only has one LDS troop. I'm sure some councils in Utah would just about have to fold up camp. LDS runs their units so independently that it certainly wouldn't have much impact on my unit. The real question would go to council finances.


But I still don't get why the LDS would need to stop sponsoring units. They appear to believe that women shouldn't be Scoutmasters, and women can't camp with the troop. And that troops shouldn't be active on Sunday. Etc. But they have no problem being in BSA, since they have the local option to do as they choose in these matters. It seems to me that you would want to either 1)design your own program, like Royal Rangers, that matches all your religious views, or 2)accept that other groups that sponsor units will have different values from you.

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Hear, hear.


Another thread recently discussed revamping and strengthening the commissioners' service. Imagine what good could come if National put a new emphasis on strengthening CO relationships! Real training and coaching in their roles and responsibilities ... being invited on unit trips and treks ... getting a copy of the council newsletter ... even the small things could wake up some snoozing CORs.


Yes, there are some CORs or IHs who personally want a hands-off relationship with their units. They've got bigger fish to fry and more important things to worry about. If that's their choice, don't worry about them.


But even if the number of *active* CORs were increased by 20 percent in your district or council, that would be a huge boon to the units and really send shockwaves through the hierarchy. An SE would really have to pay attention then.

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For what it is worth ...

I have been an active participant, with my son, in both the Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop chartered by our Catholic church in Central Massachusetts for over ten years. I have 'progressed' from a Den Leader, to Cubmaster, to the current Chartered Organization Rep for both units.

Our Pastor (Chartered Org Executive) is not very directly involved in the workings of the units, but I suspect that is at least partly due to his age. He is entering that phase of life where quiet activities, with a very tight focus, are more appealing. Scout meetings tend to be loud and full of activity, and at times unfocused, so he tends to stay away unless there is a specific need - or it's a fundraising meal (where we provide a ticket).

All that said, it is good for our units to remember that while the CO has its responsibilities to them, they also have some responsibilities to the CO. How many Troops and Packs actively looks for service opportunities within that framework? Do you propose age-appropriate activities to benefit the CO, or wait to be asked what you are going to do? As Cubmaster, we actively sought ways to raise our profile within the parish community while providing service - and most of our Cub Scouts and families were not members of the parish.

It comes down to a rather simple point. If we take our mission seriously as Scouters, we need to consistantly model the behaviours we are trying to instill in the youth membership. Sometimes, that means we need to make a difficult decision and carry it through - but that is what real life is all about too.

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Welcome to the forums.


In reference to CORs, ithink this is one of the most misunderstood and least explained PORs. To be honest it wasn't until within the past 2 years that I found out CORs are defacto exec board members with voting rights, and I was a DE for Pete's sake. No oen tells these folsk what they have as their is no push for htem to get trained and understand their powers.


As for the power of a CO over a unit, It is there and you need to develop a relationship with the IH as well as the COR. You don't develop a relationship, your wunit will suffer. one example was while a DE I had an IH decide to dissolve the pack, wouldn't see me, and no matter what I told the COR, the IH made the decision and that was that, no arguing.


Another is my old troop. I was a member of a troop that switched COs b/c the first CO was no longer supporting the troop and really wanted us to go away. We found a CO that had an uber supporting IH than was begging for a troop and it was great. Unfortunately when he left,the new IH had a anti-BSA bias (to the point that she called the cops on us for trespassing), and we wound up looking for another CO.

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I am not trying to be difficult, but as many people new to scouting read these pages, I want to point out something. The COR (Chartering Organization Representative) is not an POR (Position of Responsibility) a POR is a requirement for a youth to hold to be eligible for advancement to the ranks of Star, Life and Eagle. The Charter Organization Representative is an adult position within the BSA, not a youth position.

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Well my 2 cents worth. The CO can, and will, be as involved with it's sponsored unit(s) to the extent that the units show some interest in the charter partner and it's programs. Example - My troop (I'm the SM) is sponsored by a VFW post. Four of the troop leaders are members of the sponsoring organization and 2 are officers. A number of the post members have or had family members in scouting and know what the program is. Recently one of our scouts completed his Eagle Scout Service Project (ESSP) geared entierly around service to the local veterans community, the sponsoring organization and the local veterans home. The response from the VFW was teriffic (the members asked if the recognition event could become an annual event), the veterans home received some needed supplies and the post got a time consuming administrative project completed by the scouts working on the ESSP. For the scout's Eagle BOR the IH served on the board and as such we show the CO and community our value and maintain a good relationship.

As to COR's as voting members look what happened in the Chicago Area Council over the last few years. Some actions were undertaken by the Council Executive Board that did not sit well with the traditional scouting community and the CORs were mobilized to vote down (more than once) a slate of council offices. Finally a slate more in tune with the desires of the traditional membership base was submitted and the COR's voted to accept it and a relative calm has returned. Chartered Organizations, IH's and COR's are a plus and realy will be involved if we engage them in the program and keep them informed of why we are a value added to the community and their organization.

OK I also admit you can't do anything with a IH who has a bias against scouting.

As for meeting any requirements of the CO for YPT type training required or administered by that organization (i.e.United Methodist Church training referenced above) DO THE TRAINING and keep a good relationship with charter partner. Every training session I have attended I learned something even if I have already "been there, done that, got the T shirt" in some other form. We require YPT every 2 years so why not see things from a different light.

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When I was a Scout, my Troop was Chartered through a Lutheran church. We had 1 Scout out of 100 as a member.


As a Scouter, my Troop is Chartered again through a Lutheran church. We have zero Scouts in the Church, but we do have one family in the Troop that are members. The boys have all Eagled and hit 18+. The father has stayed on as our COR and we have a great relationship. We come to the church clean-up day. We provide lunch for their annual family picnic. If I can get my Venture Crew really going, I hope to have the older kids from the church youth group involved in some high adventure.

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We go through the same issue with the church's version of youth protection every second or third year, when the members of the responsible church committee turn over. They want us to complete applications and agree to background checks. We take them copies of all the pertinent BSA stuff and explain that BSA leaders are all subject to background checks by BSA. One year we had to have our DE call and explain the background check process, since the troop doesn't have any paperwork to show that everyone passed. The clincher is when the church folks realize that between the troop and pack we have upwards of 60 registered leaders and what the cost to the church will be to run that many background checks. Eventually they agree that the BSA program is probably superior to that run by the church anyway.


Of course I don't know what precipitated WAKWIB's situation, but many times problems like this pop up when new CO leaders are confronted with a problem in their unit. "What do yo mean they're on our insurance?" "What do you mean they're operating under our tax ID number?" I don't think, and I certainly hope no DE or new unit organizer would intentionally mislead a potential new IH, but human nature is to soft-sell the risk in any venture. The technicalities of the CO relationship is fairly deep in the program. Even trained leaders may have heard that the CO "owns" the unit, but unless they've worked through a problem, tried to open a bank account or document a 501©3 status, I doubt most rank and file Scouters have thought much about it.


One thing to note is there seems to regional differences in COs across the country. In the south, it is rare of an organization other than a church to sponsor a unit. I think it generally relates to facilities. It is very rare that social or community groups other than churches in the south have facilities like those in the northern areas. And because of the Bible Belt's traditional tight controls on alcohol sales, the many civic club facilities are defacto private bars. Our local VFW hut is really just a big party room with a bar in one end and not really suitable for Scouting. These clubs also tend to keep odd hours, with the bar open for members instead of just for their weekly meeting. I know of only one pack in our immediate area not chartered to a troop. It is chartered to a civic club which has no facilities of its own, so the pack meets at a church. Most folks just assume the pack is sponsored by the church anyway.


And certainly some denominations, like LDS and Methodists, have very strong insitutional ties to Scouting. Their sheer numbers give them particular sway at national. During the heat of the BSA v. Dale debate, our Scout Executive's standard stump speech ended with the line "Scouting's values are not for sale!" I always chuckled to my self that they're not for sale because we've already sold them. You just have to understand that the coin of the relm is in members and units, not dollars.


(And please, I don't intend that as a knock on the LDS, Methodists or anyone else. Neither am I trying to open a debate about BSA selling out. It's is only an observation regarding where the power lies within the organization.)

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Eagle92, do you have a reference for that? I -- like OGE -- have only ever seen POR used in reference to Scout positions for advancement purposes. Adults DO have positions, sometimes with responsibility, but I have never heard the term POR used with adult positions in my 20+ years of being an adult Scouter.

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The reality of CO's is that most are nothing more than signatures on paper with no involvement in the unit, yes there are rare exceptions, but for the most part if any serious problem occurred with the unit the CO would drop them faster than you can say CO.


As far as the COR's going to training or council board meetings regularly, or even once, that has not been successful for the past century in spite of numerous appeals, and I doubt it will be any more successful in the next one. Why, because the bottom line is that almost all CO's do not feel they are part of the BSA, and really don't want to be. As far church CO's are concerned as soon as you get a new pastor who feels the scouting unit is getting in the way of church activities they drop them with little notice. I have seen this first hand as both a DE and a volunteer leader happen time and time again. This is the reality of the BSA organization today, and no matter what ideas or enticements you all come up with that reality is not going to change.


If the BSA made training of the IH and COR mandatory in order to charter a unit you watch how fast the CO's would drop their scout units. The BSA views the CO as the risk taker to remove the BSA from liability problems, nothing more, and that is not a very good starting point to establish a relationship is it.

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Eamonn, always with a discussion starter.

I agree with 2cubdad and BadenP. There are three basic types of CO's in my experience:

** the CO of convenience: gimme the charter to sign, have fun see you next year g'bye. We had a local hospital like that, and a local hardware store.(HW store owner loves Scouting).

** the CO that needs the Scout model for it's own purposes: LDS and some other Faiths, and other organizations.

** the CO that WANTS Scouting to flourish and will do almost anything organizationally to promote it: the church pastor was an Eagle/SM/Philmont Ranger, etc. The VFW post or Am. Legion sees Scouting as a mission to American youth.

We had a group of parents at a local elementary school get together and organize a Cub Pack (15 kids!) without the benefit of a CO, and THEN start the search for a CO! They had everything but a Pack flag (DE gave them a "provisional" Pack number). We could not find a local org to take that role.

Many were the organizations that said, " gee we love Scouting, but..." (we don't have the money,the space, afraid of the responsibility, don't know that much about it, don't want to take on anything we can't participate in 'cause of time constraints, etc. ) and ultimately, if there isn't some love of Scouting somewhere in the CO, it ain't gonna work. This lonesome Pack eventually got an Am. Leg. some distance away to be their "CO of Convenience". They meet in the school's MP room.

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