Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Annual Fees
Re: Annual Fees
Wed, 14 Oct 1998 21:40:21 +0000
Auke wrote me privately and explained that the Far East Council is
asking for $35 per youth member as part of their SME "drive".
This doesn't add up, then.
It does NOT take $9 PER BOY (or in Auke's case of his Troop size,
which he wrote me as about 20, $180) to send the charter and other
materials to Sunnyvale, California!!!
For $180, I can send ALL of the charters of all of units in that
Council (all 122 of them, if the numbers are right from last
spring!!) to the Regional Office via Federal Express!!
Auke, would you please verify that the Council's asking for $35 a
UNIT or PER YOUTH and let us all know??
As I stated (and as some of you wrote me privately, thanks!), $35
isn't a "budget buster" for a unit to contribute to the Council's
well-being; but $35 times 20 or $700 IS a lot of money to ask to
give to the local Council...no matter where that Council is!!
Note that the minimum for the West Fellowship is a Kilo (Grand,
thousand)...this would make a unit of 30 eligible for the West
Fellowship...and there's a lot of Cub Scout Packs in the FEC that
boasts of 80 or so *youth members*!!
It just doesn't sound right....that's all.
Auke told me that he was concerned about the "form" with the
signatures of the parents (which has to be "countersigned" by the
local District and the adult leadership of the unit).
If this was a new unit, you would have to have signatures
anyway...of the parents of youth that would join the unit. The
signatures doesn't obligate the unit to give...and as long as they
are not printing their names...it's just a gimmick that the Council
devised to emphasize the SME aspect of their operation.
I don't know about the Navy or Marine Corps, but the Departments of
Defense, Army, Air Force, and the National Guard Bureau all have
STRICT AND VERY STRONG POLICIES about "armtwisting" service members
for contributions to organizations....military and otherwise. So if
there's a parent (or group of parents) that object to being
"included" in such a promotion, they can choose NOT to sign.
Remember, as long as their applications are signed, and the
Charter's signed by the appropriate volunteers (and professional
once it's returned to the Council/District office), those folks are
still BSA members!!
>It would also help if the council would have informed us about
>their difficult financial situation but there is hardly any
>communication other than for scout advancements, etc.
Councils are kinda gun-shy and a little embarassed with regard to
telling you and other volunteers that they are "robbing Peter to
pay Paul", as many families would be if they were in despirate
financial straits!! They have to keep this "brave front" forward
to insure it's continued ability to attract key volunteers,
businesses and companies, and yes, military people, toward the
Council and the good things they are doing.
At the same time, your Council like so many others here, are going
through a period whereby the "well's almost dry" and the "pump
needs priming". The "well's almost dry" because there has been an
explosion of non-profits out there, all of them vieing for those
same limited dollars from the same communities. Everyone of them
have their own story to tell, the way life is out there for a
group, a population, a segment of society and how *their
organization* is in a position to do something positive about that
situation...and in the long run, make things better for everyone
(sorry...the PR man in me gets going a bit, Auke! *grinning*).
The BSA is in the same running with organizations that oppose and
in some cases, denounce the BSA for doing what it's been doing all
of these years....running a program for strong citizens of positive
character. If you ever went through a busy airport with everyone
yelling to get your attention...you have some idea of what the BSA
and every other non-profit out there is doing today!
The "pump needs priming" because people are tired. Our
professionals are tired of going to the same places, giving the
same pitch, and getting less and less for their efforts. Some
volunteers are in that same rut. The national organization, for
their good, has come out with some innovative ads but only
one-sixth of all of the local Councils are using the ads, posters,
billboards and other media...it costs MONEY to get them, to put
them up and to capitalize on them and many are going to wait until
Scouting's big month in Feburary to purchase a *few* and do a
project sale to get them out there where they can be seen.
And with the BSA not having a major *significant national event* in
1999, makes it even rougher for the national and local
organizations to "get their names out there".
Far East, Direct Service and Transatlantic also have an additional
problem: getting the word out there WITHOUT offending or
embarrassing their "hosts". In some countries, the mere tacking up
a poster about Scouting is frowned very heavily upon. Scouters and
Scouts in other countries have to be very careful about "waving the
American flag" (not literally, but doing things like parades and
even public camping). So in addition to everyone else's problems
here in the States, the CEs of those three Councils have to think
"how can I get the needed funding for Scouting in our Council
without offending our hosts or endangering our membership. Or my
In TAC, some key Scouters have been auctioning off older insignia,
uniforms, and other memoribilia of the earlier days of that Council
to the public...and those funds goes back into the "kitty" of that
Council. In Direct Service, like in FEC, letters are being sent to
Scouters and parents asking for their contributions to FOS (I typed
in "SME", and I got a note back from one Council Scout Executive
here whom asked me to "please don't use SME anymore...the BSA is
trying to retire that term". I'll try, Neal...but it's *hard to
break old confortable habits!* *smiling*)
If it's $35 a boy, Auke, I don't know how to answer you except to
say that your Council wouldn't be asking if they *really didn't
need the money* and I would ask you to consider doing a fund raiser
to raise some if not all of that money for the Council. Believe me
when I say that they are raising some of it on their own..but they
need all of the help they can get!!
But it's $35 per UNIT (and I've got a strong suspicion that this is
the case...other Councils are doing the same *pitch*), then go
ahead and cut that check to the Far East Council and mail it in to
the offices in Tokyo!
(c) 1998 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") firstname.lastname@example.org
http://mninter.net/~blkeagle Burnsville, MN 55306-7130 (612) 435-3085
privately at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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