Re: About Professional Scouters (1/2) *long*
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Mon, 8 Dec 1997 19:21:46 -0600
*This posting is LONG* and comes in two parts because I couldn't respond to
the posting in our 200 line cut-off.
I'm going to try and respond to several comments and questions in the same
posting. Here goes..
Paul Meyermann started the string with asking a series of questions:
>In conversation with scouters absent any professionals, I have noticed a
>theme of negative attitudes regarding the professionals they must deal
>with. I have always thought that this was counter productive and often
> Why is this?
Many professionals, Paul, are viewed as "excess" and "not important" to the
overall District management. Many volunteers see their professional in one
or two "roles": that of being the "head fundraiser, youth recruiter, and
paper-pusher" of the District and only looks to them to solve problems or
questions dealing with those areas; or that of being the "person that gets
all of the problems that we can't answer ourselves and the person that
insures that we're doing "Boy Scouts" whenever we meet" because in many of
those Districts, they have either a poor or non-existant Commissioners'
staff and that professional must assume much or all of the District's
Commissioners' staff roles.
And yes, both points-of-view are counterproductive and also borderline
> Is it because as volunteers working for free, there is a resentment that
> they "do it for the money" while volunteers work for free and therefore
> have noble motives?
Only until those volunteers find out that their professional or
professionals also work "for free" as volunteers for units that cannot or
will not provide their own adult leadership because "the boys need Scouting
here". There's a lot of pros out there that will literally overturn stumps
to find volunteers....they are members of several organizations outside of
Scouting and will find themselves constantly "networking" to find that
Scoutmaster or that Cubmaster or that committee to get new or dead units
going. Very few of them are sitting at their homes in the evening, watching
"Wheel" and yelling at the screen "Say R!!". They are too busy eating a
fast meal, catching up with their spouces on what happened during the day
while he or she was "at the office" and before kissing the spouse, telling
him or her "Hey...I'm going to be in late...don't wait up...I love you!"
before running to the car, uniform or bookbag in hand.
It's a part of their job to be "out in the field" and depending on how the
professional worked their schedule, you can find a professional in a given
Council out "in the field" as late as midnight...and then, having to rest at
home only to come into the "office" the next morning at 6:30 or 7:00 am.
>Is it because they are not providing the support and services actually
> needed by scouters?
Some of us, Paul, have already raised our hands up high and have told our
professionals "Just do it....I don't have time nor the desire to do it".
And those professionals have indeed "done it", and we're now complaining
that "That's not the way it should have been done."
And you know what?? Those professionals turn around, look at us, and tell
us "remember, *I* asked you to do it your way....and what did you say to
me?? Something like "I don't have time to do this"???
At least it's getting done.
As far as services and support, he or she (or both) are supposed to be there
to "train and coach a volunteer support structure". That's you and me,
Paul....not him or her. WE are the "support and program services" that the
District and Council uses to run their programming by. Those few
professionals serve as "consultants" and "managers" for us when we can't do
it.....and there's a lot more of them "doing our jobs for us" than it is us
doing the jobs called upon by our job descriptions and guidance from our
Council Presidents and District Chairs.
>Is it because there job description calls for them to cajole volunteers
>into giving ever increasing amounts of time to the program and then to
>also support it financially?
EVERYONE in the District (INCLUDING THE PROFESSIONAL(S)) are expected to
support Scouting financially......and believe me, those professionals do
give their fair share of their income and time toward the success of the
District or Council.
As far as cajoling us into giving more time and energies, I don't know of a
professional that doesn't look at a volunteer and honestly told him or her
"Look Mike, I really would like you to do this....but only if you're going
to do a good job at it". Maybe you do. All I know that if there's a pro
out there that constantly moves you further and further when you really
don't want to move, is one that is constantly looking around for new
volunteers for key jobs!
>Is it because as a group they do not have the skills and experience >needed
to be successful?
Some may not have the skills and the experience needed. Some have a lot
more than the average volunteer. Some professionals bring to the Scouting
movement in America an unusually high amount of experience and training and
dealing with volunteers; it's all in what you get and what that local
Council demands of what they hire.
Remember, it's not an issue of National "pushing someone" to serve as
District Executive or Associate District Executive. It's a matter of the
Council knowing what they are wanting and going to their Region and seeing
that they get what they've asked to interview and not "just a list of names"
and blindly (okay, they have ONE interview) picking one name from the list!
>Is it because we wish that they would take responsibility for the making
>sure that volunteer run activities run smoothly and successfully?
There's just *so much* that our pros can do, Paul. Professionals cannot
MAKE us "do our jobs", and that's why they must come in and "take up our
slack" and do (or redo, in some cases) what we are supposed to be
doing...what we "raised our hands up and VOLUNTEERED TO DO. A lot of us
volunteers look at our volunteer roles in Scouting as something close to a
hobby....we do it "because we like it, and because it's something I'm
interested in", not because it's a task which MUST BE DONE in order to keep
the program going. There's nothing wrong with enjoying what we do....we're
supposed to enjoy what we're doing in Scouting. But we also have to look at
the "bigger picture", the one that if we don't what we volunteered to
do...that it brings the program down *just that little bit*.
Enough people "not doing what they volunteered to do" and it brings the
program down far enough to whereby the professional either HAS to step in to
hold it back up or he or she will find it harder to bring Scouting to that
community or neighborhood in successive years or even months!!
Ian added from the point-of-view of the British Scouting Association:
>If you look at the equivalent of " Scout Executives " there are NO
>professionals at district or county level unless the district or county
>raises the money to employ someone. There may be a paid administator,
>camp site warden or an outreach worker developing Scouting in particular
>communities, but they are not " policy makers " and there is no career
>structure. They are not employed by Headquarters, and do not report to
>anybody other than the County or District Executive Committee.
That's the way the BSA was in it's younger days, Ian. However, as the BSA
quickly moved to well over a million boys nationally, and as the sheer
numbers and kinds of questions in American society was raised ("Can we have
separate programs for Blacks and the Indians?", "Can we run Scouting like a
youth club?", "What are the rules for awarding the Eagle to people that have
given our Troop money...can we make them "honorary Eagles?", "We want to
wear the official uniform....how can we make our own or where can we
purchase the official uniform and add our own "local badges" to it??" and
more...), the BSA quickly knew that doing it all from New York City or from
North Brunswick, New Jersey would not work.
They needed that LOCAL OPERATION to insure that the volunteers were running
Scouting in the way the national organization says and to allow for *local
variations* as to how the BSA and its programs are run *in our particular
area of the country*.
District and Council Executives are NOT employees of the BSA, Inc...they are
employees of the local Council ("Cardinal Council, BSA, Inc.") and therefore
while having national standards of practice and behavior, can be hired or
fired by either National or the local Council Executive Board.
>Depending on how you define " field " staff, a figure of one to every
>50,000 members might be about right.
The BSA defines "field staff" as those professionals working directly or
indirectly with local Council or regional program development or execution.
So, this means that everyone with the exeception of the Council Scout
Executive, the Associate Council Executive, and perhaps the senior program
directors at the local Council level in larger Councils, are considered
There's a forumla that is followed pretty closely in most Councils that
basically state that for every 1200 youth members, that there should be
about a quarter of that number that are volunteers (about 300 or so) and one
professional supporting that number. As the number of youth increases, the
number of volunteers must increase to support those youth and therefore, the
support that a professional provides must increase either with more
responsibilities or an increase in the number of pros.
>I'm not sure if the BSA figure included just " executives " or their staff.
The BSA includes ALL of their professional members...those working in
Irving, Texas, as well as those that are "detailed" to work as part of the
World Association of Scouting Movements Regions in countries around the
world, those four Regional Directors and their staffs, and the 237 or so
local Councils and their professional staffs. That number does NOT,
however, include clerical staff, nor does it include Rangers and workers at
the four National Outdoor Adventure facilities, nor does it include
part-time professionals and other employees at the Distribution Center, what
the BSA calls "professional-technical" staff members.
More in the followup....
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
241 Fairview Dr., Henderson, KY 42420-4339 email@example.com
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