Jump to content

Recommended Posts

On the occasion of BSA getting a new CSE, I thought Id take the opportunity to think about what changes I would make if I were King of the BSA. Figured Id put it here since its all speculation and at least one bullet point will probably devolve to an I&P thread anyway:


In no particular order:


1. I would thank RichardB for his service, but inform him that his philosophy on safety was not in line with mine and that we would be hiring a replacement. I would then hire a new Chief Liability Officer who would be tasked with a ground-up rewrite of the G2SS. His or her mission would be to create a guide that emphasized training, and the development of judgment, skill, and personal responsibility when engaged in potentially dangerous activities, rather than rigid rules of what is and is not permitted. Any activities banned by the G2SS that are routinely engaged in by youth outside of Scouting would require significant justification for continuing to ban or even recommend against on the grounds of safety. Activities that have risk associated with them would describe reasonable and appropriate training for participants and supervisors. The CLO would also be charged with securing liability coverage in line with these guidelines and objectives, as well as with promoting reasonable, fair and productive liability laws. BSA would be a leader in the effort to reverse the trend of litigation driving public policy.


2. I would aggressively trim expenses, looking to reduce overhead wherever possible. This would almost certainly take the form of reduced salaries (including my own) and reduced headcount, replacing paid positions with volunteers where possible. Apologies to the professionals whos salaries would be impacted, Im sure youre doing a great job, but money is tight.


3. I would create the Outdoor Access group, charged with ensuring youth in every part of the nation have reasonable, affordable, access to camping and backpacking. Employees and volunteers in this group would work with local councils to keep camps open and affordable, and work with land managers to ensure low-cost, reasonable access to public lands by Scout groups. They would provide units with easily accessed suggestions for a wide range of outdoor activities. Perhaps BSA would even publish local Hiking/camping/boating guides.


4. I would require the merchandising division to provide quality uniform equipment at costs in line with non-BSA branded clothing, and also ask them to at least provide the option of a Made in USA version of all uniform articles. Non-uniform gear could continue to come with a markup and serve as a fund raising avenue, but items essential to the Uniform Method would not be profit centers. (wondering where the money saved by the cost cutting would go?).


5. I would try to recruit Mike Rowe as Chief Scout. And I would set the expectations that we always have a respected Chief Scout, preferably someone youth will look up to and take encouragement from. I would also create Assistant Chief Scout positions, or Junior Chief Scout positions, that are held by accomplished public figures(entertainment, sports, business, military, etc) in their 20s and 30s, using their status to help combat the scouting isnt cool perception among older youths.


6. I would make some changes in the IT department. Not sure what looking from the outside, but definitely something needs to change. The current BSA web presence is terrible.


7. I would create the National Youth Serving Organization Protection Initiative, dedicated to identifying and evangelizing best practices for youth-serving organizations to combat child predators. The goal would be to provide organizations, volunteers, parents and youths with the most effective information and guidelines for preventing child predators from using youth organizations as hunting grounds.


8. Advancement guidelines would be revamped to emphasize mastery of the skills rather than one-time demonstration of them. T-2-1 ranks would no longer allow for concurrent progress. A scout would need to earn Tenderfoot rank before being signed off on 2nd Class requirements, and 2nd class rank before being signed off on 1st Class requirements. This would be to encourage mastery of the skills as well as maturity in the program, each rank building upon the character development of the previous rank. FCFY would be dropped. BORs for T-2-1 would be conducted by the PLC (or older scouts for smaller troops), with guidance from the adult leadership. Senior scouts would also be encouraged to participate in BORs for Star, Life and Eagle. The list of PORs acceptable for Star, Life and Eagle would be cut back to those with leadership requirements (PL/APL, SPL/ASPL, TG, JASM, as well as venturing/seascout leadership positions), and would require the SM to sign off on the scout having fulfilled the requirements of the position, not just served time in it.


9. I would institute a Local Choice policy for membership, but also couple it with a policy of providing legal defense for any COs sued over membership policies. BSA National would aggressively defend the right of Charter Orgs to set their membership policies, but would defer to the individual Charter Orgs on what those membership policies are.


10. I would create the Scouters Always Learning program, essentially a set of Program Helps for councils and districts to organize and run ongoing adult training to provide for the continuous acquisition and development of youth mentoring and outdoor skills needed by the adults in a successful program. The objective would be a program that respects volunteers time while providing opportunities to learn and master important skills.


11. FOS would be directly only at businesses, foundations, and large donors. Families and volunteers would not be targeted for fundraising. The annual FOS presentation to units would be changed from one requesting donations (with targets no less) to one explaining where the money actually goes and closing with suggestions for how families can help raise money for the district/council/national, such as reminders about employee matching programs and requests to pass on information to any large donors the family members may be connected to. Budgets would be published with adequate detail for volunteers and donors to evaluate the efficiency of the organization.


12. Recruiting Helps would be a major initiative, providing units with more help, ideas, and support, for recruiting drives.


Okay, that's my pitch for the job. What's yours?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 58
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Wow, what a list. Some personal thoughts on each:I actually see several of those could really work.


1. I really like your idea of providing Richard another opportunity.

2. Is kind of what the National Council did a few years back. A lot of folks were let go, but there should be room for more trimmings.

3. Sounds like an excellent "strategic vision" for the OA in the future. Would serve a much better purpose to some of the things they are asked to do at all levels.

4. Interesting thought. I was surprised a few years back when that nation wide survey went out and the results were lowering the cost on the uniform was more important that where it was made. I have been pleasantly surprised on the reduction in price on some uniform items in recent years. Thankfully the day of $70 Venturing pants in gone. I do like your theory of uniforms costs. I do wonder if it would really make a different in getting everyone uniformed. For my vantage point, it is usually the leader setting the example and communicating its importance.

5. Interesting, but I think Mike Rowe would not want to take the pay cut

6. Amen...there are rumors of major changes already coming down the pike, but this cannot happen quick enough.

7. This one sort of happens now, but a lot of room to expand its reach.

8. Major changes in advancement were announced to take effect I think in the 2014-2015 program year.

9. This motion was brought up at the National Business Meeting and referred to a committee to study, but I don't think it will do too far based on our National Charter Partners. They have been pretty clear on this regardless of what their local congregations may say.

10. Interesting thought.

11. Would be nice, but the fact of the matter is that nearly 80% of all charitable giving, (Not just the BSA) is provided by people, not business or foundations. You hear about the big foundation gifts and the like, but most funds are made possible by people.

12. I like the idea, but the ones that the BSA has put out have not been too used to widely. Things like Be a Scout, and some of the best methods portals actually have seen very little use. The best recruitment method is happy customers telling their friends, which I believe is the push behing the Voice of the Scout program. I hope this program gains momentum.


You have really given this some thought! It would be a heck of a roadmap!


Some of mine that I would add would be:

1. Get rid of Tiger Cubs or allow them to do something. Too many kids get way too bored. We lose too many kids before they actually have a chance to "get it".

2. Drop Learning for Life and all staff associated with it. We should focus efforts on Scouting, not classroom lesson plans.

3. Make all applications have an online option to reduce chasing folks around.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I like it, except I would keep RichardB.. How many others from National take the time or interest to even care what us worker bees are thinking..


He would just need to go through reprogramming to undo the brain-washing of Mazzuca rein, along with probably some other savable people..


Get rid of those who are more into their own pompous selfs, and not caring about the program.. I don't think RichardB is in that catagory.


Added thought


Remove BSA Soccer!!! And any other attempts to move Scouting out of outing and into anything and everything we can possibly think of to just get $$$$$ selling out on the original vision of what Scouting is all about.(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ummm. BSA is a large and diverse organization with a wide variety of constituencies.


Someone who came in with a pet program they intended to implement without regard to possible problems and conflicts would almost certainly fail if they weren't fired first.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Number 6 hits very close to home.


In my paying Job, I'm a Software QA Analyst. I would have people drawn and quartered for the quality of the Internal IT systems and Customer/Volunteer facing websites that the BSA has.


The ground up G2SS rewrite would be awesome.


The one major thing that I would add to your list is that I would immediately focus on working toward a co-ed program at all levels, that Local units could choose to implement.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Like many of the newer tech options, Be A Scout is so obtuse in its design that many cannot figure it out, so just ignore it. It does not help that there is an almost unknown link in My Scouting to Be A Scout that allows unit personalization. Fixing the inefficiencies of many of the on-line programs and so on would go a long way in improving those areas for which they were implemented in the first place. All of us continue to get frustrated with the tech problems, and strange twists in the designs of many.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm good with JMs list.


I may expand on his advancement plank and send everyone on the national advancement team to Moose's re-education camp -- or put them on the bus too. We've got to get rid of the check-box mentality (someone on another thread called it "credentialism"? Okay, sounds snazzy.) Everything I see coming from the advancement team redefines the requirements or procedures to the easiest possible level. The mantra is neither add nor subtract, but when was the last time you saw something out of national which made advancement more of a challenge or supported unit leaders who strive to set high standards for their Scouts?


And actually, I really like what RichardB & Co. are doiing with programs like ATV and PWC. I hope/pray that the recent cluster-flub policy on tool use was pushed through by some moron in legal -- it's way out of line with the other program initiatives.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, everyone here liked RichardB up until the wheelbarrow/wagon age limit notice, and all RichardB did was explain it, he did not say he authored it, or was the person from on high who demanded it to be created.. Yet all of a sudden, everyone now is ready to lynch him.. I am not happy with that at all.


Twocub I agree with your analysis of Advancement. Yes there are some who make advancement ridiculously hard.. But more so are the ones who make ridiculously easy.. If BSA wants to retain youth, how about not encouraging the 13 yo eagle mentality? All the easing up on advancement does is promote the image that BSA is for wimps, due to the caliber of the Eagles produced, and helps to not retain the scouts as BS becomes a program you can do in a year, then your out of scouting.. Sorry Venturers, maybe in some areas you can pick up the 13 yo eagles, but not in most.. Don't even know if they would be interested after being programmed to do nothing but check boxes for their rewards, a program that has no program and a very weak reward system isn't what they have been trained to function in. They need to find something else to put on their resume.


Kind of makes you worried about the "radical" changes Bobwhite hints at which are coming down the pike in 2013-2014 for Advancement doesn't it? Really how much more can they weaken the program?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The HEalth and Safety guy is never the most popular in an organization...I speak from first hand experience. From the rank and file, you get ridicule "because we've always done it this way and I ain't dead yet" and from management, you get "I need to spend money for WHAT??? and it's going to save me money in the long run???" There are external forces, not the least of which are federal and state regulations, to which are added the demands of insurance carriers who must be apoplectic at the prospect of taking kids on high adventure trips by middle-aged volunteers. Now, that said, I am not aware of a legal regulation that prohibits anyone from using a wheelbarrow...but I don't believe that RichardB made it up to make our lives miserable. Personally, i would focus on the more egregious risks I have witnessed, like allowing Cubs to feed a wood chipper, and having a DE climb a tree with a running chainsaw tied to his belt (that required a trip to the ER).(This message has been edited by papadaddy)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd make some modifications, overall spot on.


In regards to RichardB, I'ld keep him on not only for the reasons mentioned.


One thing I'd add though is ALL national folks, from the part-time Scout Shop clerk to the CSE, need to take a 2 week, preferably 4 but don't think feasible except in some positions, trip to a local summer camp to work as staffers and get a dfeel for those of us in the field.


I recommend that because when I was working for national supply in a pilot program, my immediate boss could not understand some of the things I both needed to do and wanted to do. That is until the boss was assigned to be on jambo staff and lived like I did, ok I had a cabin and the boss lived in a tent, and worked some of the hours I worked, boss had me beat there as jambo staff only worked forty hours, I did between 70-90 each week depending upon what was goign on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that National folks should be more in touch with the boots on the ground, but I don't think that a 2 week stint at Summer camp is the best way to do it.


For starters, Summer camp is not a representative sample of the way most scouting occurs for boys 51 weeks a year.


Second, Unless you are including Cub Day Camp, You are ignoring about 2/3 of the registered scouts, and their leaders.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Make it impossible to attain eagle at 13.....


Structure first class to be attained in two years not one.





Eliminate DE's, Never happen....How about requiring the DE to keep a time log and make it public so we know exactly what he is doing......


Reduce SE salaries to around $100k.


Require Council finances to be completely open and NOT to allow them to play games with membership numbers or the financial numbers.


Require council to publish the cost of operation and revenue from each of its camps.....Include utilization as well.



I have a problem supporting an organization that hide or falsifies membership numbers and finance.....


My current council published an annual report........I compared the numbers in the report with the numbers listed on the individual districts membership pages and they are significantly different.....Finances.....Who knows.....Looks like all lies to me......



Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to change the subject, but Bobwhite89 mentioned "major changes in advancement" for (he thinks) the 14-15 year, that were announced at the recent annual meeting. Maybe I missed something, but what are these changes? Or was it just announced that there are going to be changes, with no specifics? I looked at the BSA web site for an announcement, but did not see it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd take #9 one step further and allow coed scouting if that is the choice of the sponsoring organization. The USA is one of the few countries left without a coed scouting option at all levels of the program.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...