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SctDad

FoS and Funding District/Council

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jhankins

 

I think your reply is a little more idealistic than it is realistic. If a council SE really is using donations to the benefit of the members that will be seen in an increase or improvement in the quality of the facilities and programs the council offers offers, this will make an FOS campaign much easier to sell to prospective donors. However if the money is being used for hiring more professionals or giving large raises to those on staff then you got a real problem. Donors want to see a return on their investment, they want a visible scouting presence helping out in their communities, a great camp where scouts can hone their skills, and young people becoming productive leaders and citizens, to name a few.

 

Instead what many wind up seeing is a revolving door of scouting professionals who don't stay long enough to have any real connection to the community or the scouters and scouts in the council. Money being squandered on pet projects of the SE, council camps having to be sold out to pay for fiscal mismanagement by the professionals, and a shrinking number of youth involved with scouting. That's why FOS fails to make its goals in many councils, prospective donors no longer see it as a good investment.

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I know this may be an abberation, BadenP, but in my council, the only recent increase in the professional staff has been in the program department. In the last five years, it's gone from three staffers to seven. We now have full-time camp directors/council program directors at each of our council camps, plus two full-time camp rangers, and a director of support services to supervise them all. It's a huge improvement over hiring temporary summer camp directors who wouldn't have much institutional knowledge.

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well shortridge

 

That is five additional salaries which total over $250,000 a year (with benefits) or more for an eight week program, some in your council may not think that is a wise investment.

 

In any case the council I was in as a DE we each took turns being camp director as part of our regular duties, the only investment was the cost of sending each of us to National Camp School. Must be nice to be in a council where they can add five additional year round paid positions to the staff. By the way how does your FOS campaign turn out each year?

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BadenP,

 

That's an interesting model (DEs as summer camp directors), and one that my council hasn't used in the time I've been active.

 

The system now is to have these pros on-site or nearby who serve as camp director during the summer and coordinate council program activities during the year - plus coordinating year-round programming at their camps, of course. They serve as staff advisors to council committees coordinating HA, Philmont, Jambo, civic service, camping/outdoor adventure, OA, etc. Those are roles DEs used to fill (when I was a Scout, the senior DE was the staff advisor to the OA lodge), but now the DEs concentrate more on their districts and the fundraising/recruitment/startup duties.

 

I don't have the FOS details, sorry.

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shortridge, the organizational structure that you mention is something that I've proposed in my Council. It met a lot of resistance from the professional staff, but once I pointed out that the DEs would be relieved of all the multiple staff adviser jobs and could concentrate on their districts, it made sense to professionals.

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I think it makes sense ... but I can certainly see how the DEs would really enjoy that summer break from fundraising and all the rest to concentrate on program! The more I've learned about what they do, the more I think "Lordy, that'd be an awful job."

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Our council used to use DE's to run the camp programs. It was a disaster. In the first place, the selection was always the "short straw" method. As soon as a new guy came marginally suitable for the job, he was the new CD. Most of these guys had families and kids and had no interest living a camp for six weeks.

 

Secondly, through the spring, when a CD should really be earning his keep planning for the upcoming season, DEs were hot and heavy into FOS season. FOS goals are critical career path items. Summer camp isn't . Guess how that worked out?

 

Last, while about half these guys "got it" the other half had the doe-in-headlights look when it came to working with Scouts. The whole idea of getting down on one knee and interacting with a 10-year-old was a foreign concept.

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I've mixed emotions on a professional totally dedicated to program, and the use of DEs for program.

 

On one hand, the program pros are an asset b/c they can focus on providing a great program year round. My council has one, and another council I was in had one. While they are an extra salary to provide for, there are ways for them to raise funds to pay for their salaries and provide for the camp, usually by allowing outside groups to rent the camp, and providing great programs that make people want to come to camp. However I bet if you get the wrong person as a PD, it can cause major problems. Fortuantely the two PDs I know/knew were excellent.

 

On the other hand having DEs work camp does A) give them a break form normal duties, B) lets them see first hand what they are working so hard, and C) allows them to better relations with the volunteers. I know that working summer camp my first year as a pro was fun and did the above. Second year I worked a week and it wasn't as much fun, but then again I was just married and the PTB changed my week assignment to the week after I got married, having to cut the honeymoon short ;)

 

BUT some pros are not meant to go near program. Trust me I had to work with a pro who was CD and was not program oriented, and it nearly destroyed the staff, the camp, and the program. The CD was so bad, they sent in another pro as business manager to act as a go between for the staff and the CD. Yes it was that bad, and eventually all the CD did was stay in his room watching TV.

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One of the common complaints I hear in this forum is that all a DE is concerned about is Money and Numbers and is usually out of touch with whats going on program wide in their districts and council. The council I was a DE for was a small council with a very limited budget and the DE being camp director was one way of connecting with the council volunteers and seeing scouting was much more than money and numbers. A good camp director needs to know how to be a good organizer, put out all the little fires that occur among staff, and deal with all the problems that come up at camp. With all three DE's trained as CD's there was consistency and stability year to year, and yes it was a nice break from the business end of scouting.

 

With councils shrinking or being absorbed in other ones or disappearing altogether at an all time high, and a long term recession, it justs seem fiscally irresponsible to create five new full time positions that will not bring in enough additional income to the council to pay for themselves. Personally I think being a CD made us better DE's. There are always pluses and minuses with any approach you take but IMHO the path shortridges council took was a fiscally irresponsible one.

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My comments about the BSA Business plan come from looking at some of the activities that I have seen this summer. For those that went and staffed the National Jamboree. How much money did you pay to go there and volunteeer/work. Then you just have to go and buy multiple sets of uniforms and patches. So you end up giveing the BSA MORE money to go and take your time off. Like I said, paying to work.

 

Why is it when I went to help staff our Section OA event, not only did I have to pay to work there, but I paid $20 more than Those OA members coming from other lodges.

 

Those are the types of things that I mean when I pay to work with the BSA.

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