Re: Intro and Question on merging
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Mon, 20 Jun 1994 09:51:47 EDT
Randy Finder <NARAHT@DRYCAS.CLUB.CC.CMU.EDU> writes:
>Well that was kind of dry. :)
No, Brother Randy, it's not.....glad to see you on here!
>I decided to join scouts-L (on digest) becuase Maj. Walton's post on joining
>scouts-L came in at about the same time as a particularly ugly post on
well...thanks....but Rec.Scouting is STILL going through some "growth
pains" and I hope that you, like the others here that have "dual
memberships" on both lists, won't abandon Rec.Scouting for Scouts-l
"exclusively"...there are still *some* good discussions from there
that sometimes finds its way here, and vice-versa.
>I see a lot of posts about mergers of councils. Does this mean
>a) National BSA has decided the optimum size of a council is larger than
> it thought before?
Nope. The relative size of a local Council is STILL dependent upon
the chartered partners of that Council. We still have some pretty
"small" Councils in scope of membership, units and "real estate".
We also have some large Councils which despirately need to be split
because they are NOT doing well financially.
>b) These merging councils have shrunk (# of scouts) that significantly
> since their founding.
Nope. There are many Councils that have GROWN exponentially relative
to what they've had when the Council first organized. This is mainly
due to the explosion of Exploring, in-school Scouting (in the 70s),
and the "demands" of the Scout Executive to "get more than our
represenative one-third of all youth....get two-thirds or more!" and
aggressive professional (and volunteer) staffs that have done just
that. The only problem was, they just didn't have the finances and
support resources to keep up with the massive growth. So you have a
large Council in terms of youth membership and units, but a small
Council in terms of unit support and finances.
>c) There are an approximately equal number of council splits and these
>are not publicized as much?
Nope. We Scouters cannot keep our mouths shut when it comes to
mergers, hints of mergers, and spliting of local Councils!! There are
about 30 Council mergers each year, projected to the end of the 1996-7
program year, which will "slim down" the total number of Councils to a
number under 300 (from 428). Some Councils decided on their own to
consolidate services rather than have National come in and tell them
to split or merge NOW, and that's added to the National number that
they wanted to merge in that year. Add that to the ones that
financially had to merge or die, and you get a pretty good idea that
at least in this aspect, only the "strongest survive".
And then, Brother Randy, there are the Sciotas (Sciota Area Council,
headquartered in Portsmouth, Ohio and serves youth in a small area of
southeastern Ohio and northeastern Kentucky) that have "bucked" merger
and consoldation either with Tri-State Area, Dan Beard, or even
Bluegrass Councils. Despite their small numbers, both in membership
and numbers of units, their Council amazingly has held on financially
because of the extremely loyal and strong-willed volunteers there (and
a great three-man professional staff that is willing to bend over
backwards to make the *program work* in their areas!).
>d) something else?
As you probably figured out from the other "nopes", it is because of
two elements: finances and National's desire.
The National Executive Board two and a half years back inked a
document outlying the "Boy Scouts of America" of the "future". They
envisioned 200 or so local Councils and four "overseas" Councils.
They envisioned larger professional staffs, with at least five
professionals in a local Council as opposed to three or two. They
envisioned "area camps" whereby one large Council camp will
accommodate up to 250 campers a week, elimininating the need for each
Council to have their own camping facility for anything except
short-term camping. Finally, they envisioned a financial base which
would allow the local Council to go out and enroll kids in
hard-to-register areas without the "temptation" to create "ghost
units" because the money for supporting urban and rural units would be
there through the savings in other areas.
(Did I leave anything out, Kathie?)
The implementation of the plan started with the reduction of the
Regional support and elimination of two Regions...the North Central
Region and the South Central Region. This allowed for the creation of
"super areas", which consists of the largest Councils within each
Region (to ease comparisons between those largest Councils and the
smaller ones within the Area). The Regional Area boundaries were
redrawned to make more sense and to allow for television and radio
advertisements about Scouting to be more "localized" in nature. Area
Directors (the professional supervising five or more local Councils)
were given Associates to assist them in their roles (and those
associate Area Directors came from the elimination of the two
Regions, for the most part).
The next stage started soon after the Regional elimination, with the
reductions of the local Council camps in many Councils. Then, the
start of the National-"mandated" Council mergers. The Councils which
were targeted first were those local Councils which did not meet their
financial goals set by their Councils for two of the previous three
years; those Councils that have had a steady decrease in membership
over the past three years; and those local Councils that were deemed
"too small" to be able to provide a Scouting program for an increased
number of youth and units. This told all of the Councils to meet or
surpass their goals, to do a better job of providing key services to
the chartered partners, and to maintain if not increase the number of
youth and units.
The next stage, Randy, will start with the next spring as the "Area
Camps" will take shape. There are already plans for those Councils
with larger camps to start proactively informing neigboring local
Councils of the availability of camping slots. At the same time,
those Council camps which cannot "fill in the holes" of their camp
sites will lose their Camps.
It looks like that all of this has already been on the "fast track",
as we've discussed elements of all three "stages" here on Scouts-L.
The bottom line, Brother Randy, is that the BSA, like many
organizations and businesses, is wanting to "downsize" at the same
time as "upgrade" their level of services to their communities. From
the National Office, whereby a 20 percent reduction of professional
staff has forced many to do two roles; to local Councils that had to
employ more "professional-multiple persons" to manage two Districts
(or more); to National's reluctant decision to "re-establish"
Paraprofessionals and other part-time "professional-technical"
positions in order to meet the needs of urban and rural areas where
Scouting is seen to have its best chance of growth and recapture of
the previous growth now lost to sports and other competing youth
(wow....I didn't think that I would write this much about this
matter! Sorry if I've bored anyone with this rehashed summary, but
as Randy mentioned, there will be a LOT of folks coming over here from
Rec.Scouting in the coming months....)
Hope that this answers your basic questions about the BSA's
preoccupation with mergers. BTW, is the Girl Scouts of the USA doing
a similar "downsizing" as well? Lynn? Carole?
Again Randy (and Michelle...I saw your intro letter earlier this
morning!), welcome to Scouts-l!
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
(h) 502-782-7992 (f) 502-781-7279 (w) 502-782-7467 |-=-|]
3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -=====-
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