Padding the Books (Computers and BSA)
David D. Miller +49 6221 404415 (DDM@DHDIBM1.BITNET)
Wed, 16 Sep 1992 10:46:04 CST
This is always a hot topic in UK Scouting, because of the different
procedures for registering a Unit and registering Scouts.
A British Scout Group (family of Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Ventures and
adults) is registered when it is first formed. This registration is
for life: There is no annual recharter.
When a Scout joins a UK Scout Troop, there is almost no formality.
A prospective new Scout simply turns up at a meeting and starts
taking part in activities. The legal liability and medical issues are
simply not important. The point of joining is when the new Scout makes
his promise at an Investiture Ceremony - by which time he or she has
done at least one outdoor activity, and at least one Patrol activity.
Records of individual membership and advancement are kept within the
There is an annual census of members, where the number of boys and girls
in each age bracket is collected by headquarters. At the same time, the
annual membership fee is paid, at a fixed rate per person. (Scouts
joining mid-year don't pay anything to National until the next census.)
Now the fun comes in deciding how many Scouts are in the Group! Do you
declare all the Scouts on the books? Only the 'active' membership? Only
those who pay the fee to the Group on time? Only those who were
invested before 13 February?
It's all too easy to reduce the numbers and reduce the costs, but the
insurance cover is based on the number of members declared on the
census. (Scouts who join after the census are still covered, even
without paying.) Now imagine declaring 15 Scouts, and then having
25 injured in a single road accident on the way to camp just three days
later! The insurers might smell a rat and refuse to pay.
Alternatively, a small Troop may need to boost the numbers slightly to
be kept as a viable Troop. There are special rules for very small
Troops in remote areas, but there are minimum standards for Troops where
there is a larger Group nearby. Of course, the visiting District
Commissioner is going to notice when there are only four Scouts at a
meeting out of the registered 15. An undersize Group has one year to
recover before being formally closed.
In the U.K., Headquarters simply cannot check up on who is or isn't
in a Troop. The leaders have to be trusted to put in the right number.
David D. Miller
Scouting in Europe - A Unique Experience
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City