Re: Volunteer attitudes toward professionals
Charles R. Stone (stone@OCSONLINE.COM)
Sat, 6 Dec 1997 20:33:41 -0500
Ian-Thanks for the interesting and informative data on UK Scouting. For =
clarification, the 5,000 professionals figure I mentioned includes all =
professionals at every level. Also, I need to amend my youth figure to =
just under 4 million as of Nov. 1.
From: Ian N Ford FRSH[SMTP:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, December 06, 1997 4:29 AM
To: Charles R. Stone
Cc: Multiple recipients of list SCOUTS-L
Subject: Re: Volunteer attitudes toward professionals
On Fri, 5 Dec 1997, Charles R. Stone wrote:
> Norman MacLeod made an interesting reply to the "us v. them" question, =
I do beg to differ with him on one point. He said that in many =
there are very few Scout professionals, who rely heavily on dedicated
part-time volunteers to administer program. That sounded accurate. The =
I differ with is when he said, "however, the BSA is not one of these".
> Currently, there are over 4 million young people involved in BSA =
There are several hundred thousand adult leaders serving those young =
To the best of my knowledge, there are only about 5,000 BSA =
scouters. If my calculator works, that means
there are on average about 1,000 youth and 100 volunteers
for every professional.
> Norman, are you sure BSA doesn't qualify? :)
Again, just for information and without saying what is the " right " =
The Scout Association UK has over 600,000 members and about two hundred=20
paid staff ... including office workers, groundsmen, cooks and cleaners.
If you look at the equivalent of " Scout Executives " there are NO=20
professionals at district or county level unless the district or county=20
raises the money to employ someone. There may be a paid administator,=20
camp site warden or an outreach worker developing Scouting in particular =
communities, but they are not " policy makers " and there is no career=20
structure. They are not employed by Headquarters, and do not report to=20
anybody other than the County or District Executive Committee.
Headquarters has less than sixty people involved in any sort of " policy
formation " - mainly involved in programme development, relationships=20
with national organisations and government, and international liaison.
That includes the two lawyers in the Legal Department
Depending on how you define " field " staff, a figure of one to every=20
50,000 members might be about right.
I'm not sure if the BSA figure included just " executives " or their =
What we don't have in UK are paid staff at district and county levels=20
processing advancement reports, tour permits, membership applications =
As a Group Scout Leader my " advancement reporting " consisted of a =
to be completed once a year that said that my group had awarded a=20
certain number of each award, and a breakdown of membership by age and=20
As District secretary I collated these figures, added some information =
leader training and district leaders and passed it to county, where=20
another volunteer would collate ther district replies and pass then to =
where presumably a clerk was paid to enter them onto the database.
In twenty five years as a British Leader I have had one visit from a=20
professional to my unit. This was exceptional ... most youth will never=20
see a professional apart from staff at a jamboree or large event. We =
doing a field trial of an experimental training program for Air Scouts,=20
and I invited the Field Commissioner ( in BSA terms that would be the=20
senior regional executive ) to visit. He had to obtain agreement from=20
the County and District Commissioners to visit one of " their " units,
because the " chain of command " is :
Section Leader -> Group Scout Leader -> District Commissioner -> County
Commissioner -> Committee of the Council.
There are no " membership drives " organised by professionals, and no
" Friends of Scouting " solications either. Professionals' salaries are=20
costed into the annual membership subscription, and depending on the=20
budgets set by the leaders in each district and county this may be =
$20 and $30 per member. This includes a substantial liability insurance=20
and a limited accident insurance.
That does not mean that " Headquarters " is not available ... to the=20
contrary, any leader, and youth member for that matter, can call or =
to Headquarters. However, the National Commissioners for each program=20
area are volunteers ; they have a paid support staff. Nearly twenty =
ago the rule was that Cub Scouts had to wear short trousers, and most of =
the members disliked this. So we had our regular Sixers' Council ( a=20
meeting of the Sixers (denners) and Leaders ) and one of the boys wrote =
letter to the National Commissioner for Cub Scouts. A few weeks later we
had an acknowlegement. Two years later there was a change in " Policy,=20
Organisation and Rules " in response to pressure from units. That Sixer=20
was by now a Scout, but when the rules were changed I told the Cubs that
" our Sixers Council helped to change that "... a practical lesson in =
Perhaps we in the UK have too few paid support staff ... I know that all =
the HQ departments are at full stretch and then some. I am not saying =
this is the right solution. There is cuirrently a consultation on how HQ =
should be supporting counties, districts and groups, and one option will =
involve an investment in more salaries staff " in the field ". But I=20
hope that it will help to flesh out the bare statistics.
Special Needs adviser, Greenwich District Scout Council, London UK=20
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City