(no name) ((no email))
Fri, 2 Aug 1991 13:52:00 EDT
Thanks for the good words and encouragement.
To answer your question on why National (BSA) does not have access to this
list, it is a very simple response: They choose not to.
When the national office wants to know what's going on in the "grass roots",
they employ one of three methods. All of them have worked with a great deal
of success in the past and I am quite sure that even in this time of
interactive computers and faxed queries, that they are unwilling to move
a great deal "forward" (more on that in a minute or two).
The first method involves the professional (fulltime) staffs. Each summer and
winter, the professional staffs of a particular region meet together in
something called a "all hands meeting". The purpose of the summer meeting is
to announce and exchange ideas; the winter meeting is designed to "pump up
the staffs" as well as a goalsetting series of workshops.
During this time, continuing education for our professionals are conducted
by experienced Scout/Council Executives, members of the Regional staff and
Area Directors. This continuing education, as one could guess goes both ways
and serves as the basis for either continued study or "improvements/changes"
to the basic or administration of the programs.
The second method involved a careful interview and selection of key volunteers
in the Districts/Councils/Areas/Regions that the National office wants input
from. In their opioion, who else except those actually working in the "trenches"
can tell us about the successes or failures of our programs?? Unfortunately,
as several of us longtime Scouters can express, they *never* come to the
smaller councils or Areas with predominetly rural youth to "test case" new
programs or interview volunteers. The councils that usually get selected are
the top 20 in each Region (that 120 possible councils from 412) as far as
membership, finance and units are concerned. Of course, even with some minor
changes, whatever is said there is usaully a reflection of the succees of the
Council's program (I would like for the National office to send people to
the Bismarks, the Camdens, the Elys and the Logans...all small councils that
face extinsion any day now!!!). The professionals involved in the interviews
are a national staff person from the Operations group, a Area Director (of
the Area in which the Council is NOT located within) and the Council executive.
The third method involved key volunteers at the national level and this is the
one that I hold much stock in (even though many of them are businessmen and
women and people whom do NOT understand our involvement in Scouting). Many
times, as I expressed to Don Izard on this list, the professionals are so far
removed from what is actually going on that they only way that change can
occur is through the volunteer committees on the national and regional levels.
Each committee is chaired by a volunteer businessperson and has a "professional
staff member" as a advisor and secretary (executive secretary). The information
flow comes to the professional (just like in our Councils) and it is his or
her OBLIGATION to share that with the committee...even if as Don and I discussed
"it would not work" or "This is silly" (for the record, I did not think it was
either...and neither should the professional that responded to your letter!).
[A while back, we were discussing possible uses for the BS Skill Awards. Don
suggested that we convert them to be used instead of the WEBELOS activity
badge pins, since the skill award belt loops would go around a belt and there
is less chance of loss...and besides, there are lots of those things still out
there gathering dust. I told him that the idea was sound even though it may
require some refinement (there are 20 WEBELOS awards; 12 skill award loops)
and that he should write the National Cub Scout Committee and recommend it.
He got back a tersely written reply that basically called him some what of
a crazy person for even suggesting it...furthermore, this guy even went as
far as stating that the skillawards are no longer available for purchase
(even though both Don and I have went to councils where there are stockpiles
of the awards...and my contact at the national supply center stated that they
were "pushing" those things out to councils to sell or even give away!)]
During the committee meeting (which most committees meet quarterly), all new
ideas or program enhancements are brought up, either RECOMMENDED, TABLED,
RESEARCHED by the professional staff and/or by some of the committee's
volunteers or DISAPPROVED. Those that are recommended go to the National
Executive Board for final discussion and decision. Those that are tabled
can come back up again at a later time. Researched ones are supposed to come
up again at the next meeting (after all, this is part of what those 384
professionals do at the national offices!), but my experience is that it
comes back up usually the following year.
As I mentioned before, these three methods have worked successfully in
the BSA program for so long that any attempt to change it ends up in
disaster...or less monetary success. The recent "video new Troop teleconference
event" conducted between 1988-90 was one such experience the BSA would
rather not state too much about.
The idea was sound: to get Scouters of new troops and experienced Scouters
from older troops together and to interact by teleconferencing at over 350
sites worldwide. The link failed several times, the opening tape was
terrible, and many of the Scouters were in areas where timing prevented them
from participating. We as the BSA "ate that turkey" several times, as it
was attempted again with better success in 1989 but failed mercibly in 1990.
I don't think that as a result that we have learned anything new from the
"grass roots" like we wanted to. (I wrote the national director of program
and asked if we could try it on a Regional basis...the smaller the area,
the better the response, my thinking. He said "thanks, but we may not be
doing this again anyway").
Settummanque!@ HEY! Keep those letters to national rolling..SOMEBODY Does
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City