Re: Alaska (I shortened this one by not quoting)
(no name) ((no email))
Sun, 18 Feb 1996 22:40:11 -0600
>One question I have is why not abolish the council system totally >and have
everyone report to national and have little scout shops >to buy supplies you
need from? Is that what national wants?
Nope. What National does want is a reduction in the number of
"UNPROFITABLE" local Councils. Follow me please, because I'm
NOT talking "profits" as in "money".
Each local Council is responsible for the ADMINISTRATION of the
Scouting programs in a geographic area. In those areas where it
is unfeasable to maintain a local Council office, or whereby it
presents a major obsticle to getting materials and support to the
youth, the BSA has set up a DIRECT SERVICE COUNCIL, operating from
it's national office, with a professional staff of seven that goes
literally around the world to provide Scouting services to youth.
For everyone else, we have a local Council. Some Councils, Rhett,
in the past, have NOT "made a lot of money". When I say this, what I'm
REALLY SAYING is that it does not support a large number of youth, in a
large number of units, with a financial base to
support the Council's operation, the employment of a professional
staff and a camping facility (or facilities), in turn to support
the number of youth it has. It was getting to a point whereby
the "top 50" of the BSA's local Councils were supporting themselves and the
rest of the BSA's 418 local Councils, and it
was patently unfair for this to happen.
So, about five years ago, the BSA decided to slim down like all
other industries. They started at the top, and sliced their
professional staffs at the National offices and the distribution centers,
closing one. Then, they set out for the Regions, and
closed two Regional offices, one right up the Road serving Scouts in the
South Central USA; and the other in Kansas City, serving
youth in the North Central USA. They cut a LOT of professionals
also that were "non-productive" all over the USA, and created new
"management positions" whereby senior entry-level professionals
would now supervise junior entry-level professionals, thereby
cutting a lot of middle-management positions out completely in
a lot of medium and larger Councils.
We, as I stated earlier, are in the fifth year of the cut, which
is designed to cut us down to 200 or so local Councils to support
our youth all over. There's a GOOD CHANCE that there will be a lot MORE
"statewide" local Councils by the time this is all over!
You stated, with some frustration, I read, that perhaps the BSA
should try to create a Council from the entire western United
States, and see how it runs...and gave some examples of how the
Southeast Alaska Council is not really running. That's a good
example of why the BSA may want to consoldate all programs in
Alaska from one or two Councils instead of the three which were
formed, but is not meeting the needs of the Council's youth.
>You mention that the coast guard helps us.
No. I never mention that the Coast Guard helps the Council's
operation....just the Alaska National Guard. The Adjutant General
of the Alaska National Guard as well as the Commander of the 3rd
Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division are both members of the
Council Executive Board of the Western Alaska Council; the Commander of Fort
Greely is on the Council's Executive Board of
the Midnight Sun Council and the AK National Guard DOES provide
services to Scouting...they say so, in the 1993 _National_Guard_Yearbook_,
under "civil-military cooperation".
You and other volunteers may not see that, because its not
something that gets a lot of play there...in a lot of communities,
the Army (and in particular, the Guard), are not great neighbors, the way I
>I also want to say that the TAC is a poor model for any mergers >to
follow...you say they go and set up troops allover, but then >if they do
that why then even bother having scouting >organizations for Great Britian,
The host nation's Scouting organizations work closely with TAC
to insure that every American child that wants to become a Cub,
Scout or Explorer gets the opportunity...whether or not a
"military facility" is anywhere around. Remember what I stated,
Rhett...Americans can not only be found in "American ghettos" around the few
military bases left in TAC; they can also be found anywhere where American
corporations or institutions are found
in that country. TAC serves now 22 countries, including Russia
In those few areas where TAC DOES NOT serve Americans, for example
in Idar Oberstein, they receive services from the Direct Service
>BSA is for Americans living abroad PERIOD....so to say they are >the same
is absolutely incorrect.
It is correct, or else the TAC, the Far East Council, the Aloha
Council, nor the Direct Service Council would not exist, we would not have
450 Eagle Scouts coming from those areas in 1994, we would not have had 86
Wood Badge participants from all three Councils in 1994, nor would we have
well over 27,000 youth involved in 443 units from all three Councils in that
(this is broken down with 7922 youth in TAC, 6631 youth in FEC,
and 3310 youth reported from DSC. I don't have anything from
Aloha for 1994, but 1993's Annual Report says 9122...my math
says that's close to 27,000 youth).
Let's compare this to 9600 youth served by all three Councils in
Alaska in 1993 (those are the only figures I have...if you have
better ones, please let me know; my source was the 1993 Annual
Report of the BSA)
>To say that servicing clumps of americans living in Europe is >just the
same as serving americans living in the US is not quite >right.
I think so, because the BASIC MISSION of ALL Councils are the same: to serve
the youth of their geographic area, through an organization with a executive
board, officers, professional members to assist the leaders and other
volunteers in their geographic territory.
>As for National wanting to combine and save money...if they >truely want to
do that, then they need to totally rework their >program.
We have, Rhett....where have you been?? We've reorganized our
Cub Scouting program, adding an additional year for our WEBELOS
to transition to Boy Scouting; we've added a new option for units
with older boys (used to be two); we've added a Learning for Life
program and a Career Awareness Exploring program to work within
our school systems and other organizations. We're restructured
our delivery of the program, from unit committees that weren't doing
nothing, to ones that are being FORCED to "take up the slack"...to Districts
and Councils which were top-heavy with a
lot of volunteers and we've forced EVERYONE to have a PRIMARY
JOB if they can with A UNIT, and we've trimmed our Area, Regional and
National volunteer committees to almost the bare bone in order
to make them more responsive and not a "holding area" for a lot
of "dead weight". We're realigned our publications, redesigned our uniform
insignia so that it blends a little better, and we've
even taken our Order of the Arrow, Explorer Officers, and National
Eagle Scout Associations and have trimmed them downward so that
while they work, they work to the direction of their local Council...and not
the National organization.
Some of these changes, Rhett, I don't like as well as other Scouters.
Others have embraced them and said that "this is the best stuff since
Scouting's been invented". Others have taken what
we've been given, worked within the program and modified it so
it WILL work the way they feel that it was supposed to in the first offstart.
>Get away from councils all together, and find a system that saves >money,
whatever. Perhaps find a way of distributing information >to scouts another
way instead of this council method...since the >council method seems to be
broken in some peoples opinion!
One of the things this Technology committee has been looking at
is the way that the BSA distributes and funnels information to
the youth through the local Councils. I think that you will see
some of those results this spring, summer and fall, and you may or
may not like them. The local Council, however, is the operating
arm of the BSA. That's NOT going to change, because *overall* it
is a delivery method and operating structure that DOES WORK.
As I've stated, you and I may see the SIZE of those structures
balloon, but it's there.
(continued on next post)
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
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