Re: Rumor Control
or blackeagle ("Settummanque)
Wed, 8 Apr 1992 17:23:00 EDT
You and I must have seen the same draft program document.....
However, I have to differ with you on your statement that Council personnel
are "overhead". The program is generated FROM THE COUNCIL....therefore, there
MUST be professional personnel onhand for the program to be carried out to
Your 5000 figure is, well, lets say its in the ballpark (almost center!).
The 35,000 potential members is somewhat off a bit....I remember seeing
32K but that's not a biggie.....
The issue is not in merging Councils...but how?? The BSA has been doing a
great job in expanding the program to include almost 100 new Councils organized
in the late 60s-early 70s. Those Councils have loyal supporters (finacially
and emotionally) and a merger with a larger council just because "that's where t
the monies are" bring discord and in many cases, outright anger toward the
"host council" and the BSA in general!
I will give you a small example. The council where I did my paraprofessional
work was a small council called the Lonesome Pine Council, headquartered in
Pikeville, Kentucky. It was one of those councils organized in the late 50s
as the economy (and the coal industry, the center of much of eastern Kentucky)
took off. In the seventies, a series of events, economic and natural occured.
As a result, the old Council offices located in downtown Pikeville (a city the
size of present-day Danville, Illinois or Chico, California (two cities it has
been compared to in size) )was flooded and had to be relocated uphill.
Then, the downturn in the economy hit and finally the lack of corporate leaders
to support Scouting in the twelve counties comprising the Council. The Council
camp lost big bucks as Troops would go to nearby camps in Logan, West Virginia
(2 hours away from Pikeville) or Mt.Sterling, Kentucky (two and a half hours
away) for summer camp. The Council finally merged (the second such merger
involving the Bluegrass Council, headquartered in Lexington...the first one
happened in the late 60s when the Cumberland Council in Somerset, Kentucky
merged with its northern neighbor) creating the largest Council in size (50
of Kentucky's 120 counties belong to this Council) and a financial and
The Council survived only because Lexington, Frankfort and several smaller
cities (Richmond, Somerset, Pikeville, Mt.Sterling, Morehead and the Lexington
suburban area---a four county area surrounding the "horse capitol of the world"
)footed the bill. In the past five years, however, that support has dwindled
off to a trickle! In the meantime, the Lonesome Pine DISTRICT (no longer a
three-man and two woman operation, but now a one-SDE (senior District Executive)
operation (with occasional help from a longtime executive now serving as
Director of Field Services) district that is having bigtime problems meeting
their FOS goals. In addition, it is hard to get that large unit support to
various Council activities because traditions die hard and many of the volunteer
s were used to having their OWN "Council" training and support programs right
there....and one person, no matter how talented (and they have had some REALLY
TALENTED guys work there.....one man in particular has went on to a Field
Director's job in another Council right off the bat!) they are *cannot* match
the abilities of three people doing the same jobs getting to a much larger
number of people.
I don't care how much you *want* to cut the support (read that as "professional"
) staff in a local Council, they ALL perform many functions that we volunteer
don't want to, can't do, or we give to them to do for us. Creating a "magical"
number that matches the volunteer to the professional (currently its 730 youth
and 221 volunteers to one professional....1991) don't really work because its
NOT the numbers that dicate how many pros you need....its the *level of
knowledge* that the volunteers have that dictates how many professionals you
Merging several Councils is a really great finacial solution....but when we
are talking PEOPLE (and that's what Scouting is all about!), merging can
create more problems than its really, really worth!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City