Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: Can A Scout Transfer? [Corporate Scouting Revisited]
Re: Can A Scout Transfer? [Corporate Scouting Revisited]
Fri, 19 Feb 1999 14:05:02 -0500
<Linda Heinz wrote>
One of the troops in our town has the following statement in their Welcome
Packet which is given to all their incoming Scouts and to all boys who visit
"Scouts are _not_ allowed to change patrols or change troops in the same
city, except in extenuating circumstances. This is a national guideline."
Is this a national guideline?
The short answer is NO! National guidelines DO allow a Scout to transfer
from one unit to another, and there is no restriction on where a Scout can
transfer. As far as patrols are concerned, that's not part of the national
registration data, so a policy concerning transferring from one patrol to
another is entirely up to the unit.
Most likely this unit is trying to ensure their survival. They probably
experienced a period of deterioration at some point where Scouts from their
troop transferred to another troop because they didn't like the program, or
the leaders. When a unit is run like a corporation, the first thought
whenever a problem is discovered is to figure a way to stop the effects of
the problem. In this case, ruling that Scouts cannot transfer basically
stopped the outflow of members to other troops, but it didn't address the
fundamental reason for that outflow. The troop would still have experienced
a loss of membership, but it would more likely take the form of "drops"
rather than transfers. (Most Scouts are smart enough to figure out that, if
they can't transfer, they can still drop out of one unit and drop in to
Please carefully note the wording of the "regulation." The last sentence is
designed to cut off any questions about this policy. It is a classic example
of a "Corporate Scouting" regulation. Here they use the national guideline
statement to justify the regulation, and to keep people from asking why the
regulation exists. If anyone does ask, their answer is probably: "There's
nothing we can do, it's a national policy, not ours!" The problem with their
logic is that someday, someone who is well versed in national policy will
ask about the rule. Upon getting the standard reply to the question, she/he
will then inquire about which national publication contains this rule.
For those of you who are new to the list, or missed the discussion on
Corporate Scouting last spring(?), there is an extensive archive from the
list on this topic (if you want the dates, I can find them in my own
archive, just can't remember them exactly at the moment). Basically,
Corporate Scouting is a description of how some units work, that involves
writing lengthy and legalistic regulations to cover nearly every possible
circumstance, or to correct a problem. Corporate Scouting is not a sign of a
healthy unit since everything moves from the top down. The committee
determines all of the rules on its own, passes them to the middle-management
adult leaders who are charged with enforcing the rules. The adult leaders
then pass the rules down to the Scouts (who are seen as both the "workers"
and the "product") who either follow the rules, or get out. Only the
committee can remove a rule, other levels may add to the rules, but they
can't take away from the rules.
Typically, Corporate Scouting units end up with rules regulating everything
from who can be a member, how many members there can be, and how to go about
becoming a member, to "enhancements" and "explanations" of advancement and
merit badge requirements, policies concerning how to interpret advancement
requirements, and even attendance requirements for continued membership.
This is not to be confused with the OLD Corporate Scouting where major
corporations sponsored Scouting units (and in some cases still do), which is
an entirely different thing.
A. J. Mako, email@example.com , Scoutmaster Troop 381
Home of the Unofficial Win95 Boy Scout Desktop Theme,
Old Portage District, Great Trail Council, BSA
"I used to be an Eagle (C-7-97), but I'll always be an Eagle (1981)"