Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: Charter Organization Woes (Long)
Re: Charter Organization Woes (Long)
Wed, 21 Apr 1999 12:48:16 -0400
<Bobbie Beatson wrote>
We have been chartered by the elementary school PTO for the last 17
years although they were never involved as long as I've been in the
Pack (4 years now). We also have a new principal who signed the
charter papers before actually being handed the reigns because the old
principal didn't want to do it.
... snip ...
All of a sudden, the PTO never knew they were our charter org. for the
last 17 years (even though we consistently have at least 3 parents
involved in both organizations every year) and the new principal now
says he's not going to sign the papers come December and "the Cub
Scout thing" seems to be a big headache for everybody.
... snip ...
What would be the best course of action at this point?
There are two things you should actively do at this point: 1) Talk to
your Unit Commissioner (UC), District Commissioner, and/or District
Chairman. Let them know what the situation is, what has been done,
what hasn't been done, and what you've already planned to do. They'll
have several bits of advice on how to proceed; one of which may be
another meeting with the principal, the PTO, and the district folks.
Their job, BTW, is to help you out in this sort of situation. They'll
probably also involve the District Executive.
2) Mobilize! If it seems no one is too concerned about this situation,
it could be that they aren't aware of the situation or its
consequences. Are all of the parents aware of what this action by the
PTO means to the pack? Do they know that it means there won't BE a
pack if the PTO says they can't support it? Communicating this
information (don't sensationalize it or turn it into propaganda, and
whatever you do DO NOT INFORM THE MEDIA!) would be one way to spur a
little support from the PTO members who are also in the pack.
Once you do these things several actions will be taken from several
directions which will directly lead to a resolution of the situation.
The main thrust will involve a meeting between the pack, the PTO, and
several members of the district staff. The purpose of this meeting is
to make sure each side knows where the other is coming from. It is
very possible this meeting could resolve the problem with no further
action required (it happens all the time).
At the same time, the DE and other members of the district staff will
start making a list of potential sponsors in the area and making
discreet contacts. This will provide them with a backup in case the
situation with the PTO can't be resolved and the pack needs a new
sponsor. Most districts maintain this sort of list constantly, and use
it to organize new units. Whatever work is done searching for a new
sponsor won't effect the meeting with the PTO since the district
staff's first priority is to keep the pack where it is.
It's important to keep the pack members informed, but don't panic
them. It's also important to try to convince the PTO they have nothing
to worry about. The worst way to do this, though, is to send press
releases to the local media. In at least one case that I know of a
well meaning parent did just that when their Scout troop was in a
similar situation. While it got the plight of the troop on the front
page of the local paper, generated several letters to the editor, and
even made it to the 6 and 11 o'clock news (in Cleveland), the
reporting was rather sensationalized and did very little to resolve
the situation. Half of the news reports concentrated on the
accusations of vandalism made by the town council (the troop was
sponsored by the police department but met in the town hall), and the
other half concentrated on the poor little Scouts not having a place
Now, it's important to remember something most units seem to forget
when they find themselves in this sort of situation. There is nothing,
and I do mean nothing, stopping the PTO from dropping the charter.
It's very easy to do. The reason most sponsors tend to wait until the
charter expires is because they don't realize how easy it is. In
effect, all the PTO has to do is communicate to the unit and the local
council that they don't wish to sponsor the unit any longer. In one
troop I was involved in the sponsor called and gave us two weeks to
"get all your stuff out of the building." There had been no prior
warning and no indication that there was a problem.
The problem here seems to be the difference between what the charter
agreement says, and what the pack expects. The principal may be afraid
you'll ask for something in the agreement even though you've already
made it clear you don't expect it. They may have had a bad experience
with a Scout unit at another school or some other time in his life as
well. The problem is that many traditional sponsors no longer have the
motivation to sponsor Scout units for one reason or another. Recent
events in Illinois do not help the matter.
A. J. Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org , Scoutmaster Troop 381
Home of the Unofficial Win95 Boy Scout Desktop Theme,
Old Portage District, Great Trail Council, BSA
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