(no name) ((no email))
Fri, 23 Oct 1992 16:09:36 CDT
Hi Jim and all...
I hope that everyone's enjoying the warm/semi war day as I have here!
(I miss my kids and this was to be a weekend with them...another
The BSA *does* conduct surveys into all parts of its program.
However, as I mentioned in an earlier posting (sometime lst year about
this time), not ALL units/districts/councils/areas/regions get asked
the same questions or the questions at all.
The BSA uses what professionals call "quality assessments" to
determine policy and new programs (and modifications to existing
ones). If your Council has been a Quality Council in the past five
years, more than likely your Council will be including on new issues
and asked questions of its KEY VOLUNTEERS and PROFESSIONALS ONLY!
It works something like this:
In Janurary of each year, regions get the results on the previous
year. As we all know, this is when the program year REALLY starts,
not in the fall with "roundups". In March, the local Councils are
told of which Districts and local Councils get tapped for Quality
honors. The criteria for Quality District and Quality Council are
similar to that of Quality units (I'll explain that in a separate
posting). Those Areas meeting their Quality goals and the Regions
that exceed their goals are the ones tapped as Quality Areas and
As a sidebar to this, March is the primetime for most movement of
professional staffs. The other time is in May, after the local
Councils' SME/FOS drive and before summer camps.
The Quality Councils/Districts and Regions are the ones that BSA
professionals from the National office concentrate their questions and
research in, even though neighboring Councils may have not met the
Quality goals and have a better program. It all comes down to that
familiar phrase: "Increase your money, your members and your units".
That is also, Jim, why you will not see a "true" national survey done
in _Scouting_ or any other magazine (_Exploring_ used to do that a
while back, but national staffers complained about it and they
abandoned it the following year). On any topic.
As far as answering your first question (the one about the written
policies), I agree with you. There should be a handbook written for
the District and Council leaders called the "BSA Policy Handbook",
which would answer those and many other questions from the "field"..
I seriously doubt that this would happen. The reason is because we
are dealing with many local Councils which can interpret (as with the
local tour permits) how they want the national policy carried out. For
instance, in Kentucky's four local Councils, one Council requires ANY
trip by a unit to have a tour permit filed for it (Bluegrass); another
requires a local tour permit ONLY if they are going to the Council
camp or another camping facility within the Council (Old Kentucky
Home); another does not require one except as part of a overnight
camp or outing involving a "significant number of the youth members"
(and there is NO illustration on what that "significant number" is
(Four Rivers) and this Council (Audobon) requires local tour permits
for any unit excursion of 50 miles or more EXCEPT for trips to
Indiana (which is in another Council) which in all cases HAVE to have
See how confusing this is??? And its all because of the differences
in the territories covered by the local Councils--NOT because of the
National policy. That is the reason why the policies were broadly
written (and why we as volunteers have a tough time pinning down our
pros and asking "just what IS the policy??")
They have to go back and ask THEIR bosses!!
I know that this was not a great answer, but I hope that I've cleared
up one the questions...its not that BSA don't want to do a survey,
but as I told someone else, "the BSA is *not* a democracy...its an
organization and they don't have to listen to nobody but their own
(National Executive) Board. And after all, who's on that board??
National (corporate) Executives."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City