Re: When to start a new unit
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Tue, 8 Aug 1995 10:32:16 CDT
Bill Warde <billw@OKWAY.OKSTATE.EDU> writes:
> Several years ago at a Philmont training conference, one of the ideas
> from National was that we should reoll about a third of our units each
> year. By this, the idea for a 30 unit district to start about 10 new
> units with brand new, gung-ho leadership; and to fold about 10 units
> with tired and burned out leadership.
Yeah. I remember talking to a couple of the professionals that
attended the session. The idea was to somehow "recycle" those old,
tired, dead units by folding or merging them into established,
well-running units and organizing brand new units (or bring out of
moth balls older units with new chartering partners) as part of the
BSA's organization and extension needs.
We talked about a couple of major problems with the approach, while we
all agreed that it would work in a majority of our Districts. The
biggest problem is "how would that 10 percent be ascertained?" By
using stats of all of the units in the District, a unit can appear to
be dead on paper and reality be a great program for the youth in that
community (not EVERY community can afford to have nine Assistant
Scoumasters, a full Troop Committee and a supportive chartering
partner organization). There's a possiblity that in taking the
deadwood out you also take with it historic units that have served a
small town or village and which the entire community rallies around.
This leads to the second reason, purely financial. Those historic
units, units that understand the relationship between the local
Council's success and their success, give in comparibly larger amounts
to the local Council's SME/FOS campaign, and can be counted to
continue to give at the same or increased levels year after year. If
as a DE I have a goal of $17,200, and I know that Troop 000 gives us
$2000 each year, I would be hard-pressed to fold or merge that unit
unless it it is REALLY on death's doorstop!
The third reason has something to do with the attitude of the
professional toward unit organization. (placing former
Paraprofessioal hat on) I WANT AS MANY UNITS AS I CAN GET in my
District or service area! By restricting the number of units in my
District stifles my chance for promotion and recognition amoung my
peers in the local Council (remember, although this may be a BSA
policy, my Council Executive has the power to say "we will go along
with this policy when and if we really have to; in the meantime, *I
say* that we get out there and develop Scouting relationships in all
of the communities in the Council service area!"). Even if the
Council Executive goes with the flow and states that we will implement
the policy, there will still be old-timer Field Directors (and my
Director of Field Services) that will somehow "add to" the
requirements for 30 units and state that "out of the 30," for
instance," 18 or so of them will be located in county X and 4 in
county Y and the rest spread out in the other two counties." If
county X cannot support realistically 18 units, I'm forced to create
new units in places where Scouting is really NOT needed (which is the
true intent of the Philmont policy.)
(former ParaPro hat off)
> Neat if it works, but most DEs like the first part and won't do the
> second. In my district, everything possible is done to retain a unit
> even if it is almost fictional.
It shouldn't be that way, but it is in a LOT of Districts, Bill.
That's where a strong District Commissioner will step in and either
personally lead or assign a strong ADC to lead a team in getting that
unit reorganized or moved, keeping the same chartered partner but
meeting in a different location. I've used that approach in the
past. It seems that kids, like us, associate places to experiences.
If kids had a terrible experience at the Youth Center, it's time to
move the location of the meeting place to the Baptist Church. The
same leadership is there (with the move, perhaps an increase in the
amount of adult leadership), the same chartering partner is used, but
only the location is changed to "spice up" the unit.
Some parents won't send their kids to the Youth Center (things they've
heard, seen, talked about or read), but will send their kids to a
church or school or even a park if they haven't heard anything
negative about it.
I organized a Troop which met at the Youth Activities Center on a
military base. The Troop grew for about three months and all of a
sudden, kids stopped coming to the Troop meetings. The Scoutmaster
and his Assistants were all very competent, experienced Scouters (the
Scoutmaster was the Scoutmaster of a Wood Badge course three years
before and was looking for a new challenge; ALL of the Assistants were
Wood Badge holders and the Troop's Committee, while small, was very
committed to the kids and included the parents of several of the
boys), so I looked at perhaps the place where the Troop was meeting.
The YAC had a reputation, I'd found, as being a "hangout" for drug
deals and that the military police had been called there several times
to pick up or stop fights there on the nights that they did not meet
on. Parents reading the post newspaper would tell their sons "not to
be seen around that place if they valued their lives", and that lead
to the absence of Scouts from the center.
Once we moved the meeting place from the Center to a nearby building
occupied by a military unit, the unit regained its membership and then
some and it continued to be a strong unit.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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