Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: National pt. 1 of 2 (forwarded from Mike Walton)
Re: National pt. 1 of 2 (forwarded from Mike Walton)
Mon, 26 Apr 1999 12:48:08 -0700
I recently posted asking the question, "Who is
National?" I have received several replies, including
one from Mike Walton who, as you may remember, is in
Central America doing our (yours and my) work in
relieving the suffering caused by that region's recent
Mike asked me to forward his reply to the List, which
I gladly do.
--- KYBLKEAGLE@aol.com wrote:
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 17:50:42 EDT
Subject: Re: Annoyed at National
To: Paul Thompson <email@example.com>
(Paul, would you please be so kind to post this over
to Scouts-L too; my ability to directly respond from
my "regular account" is zero and I have to cut and
paste your question to my AOL account; not much of a
pain than what some Scouters are getting from
"national", huh?? *smiling* Thanks ever so much!)
> Paul Thompson asked:
>As long as I can recall, I have never seen anybody
explain exactly who it is that runs the BSA. I have
seen obscure references to "National", but no real
explanation as to who that is.
Okay. The Boy Scouts of America are "run" by two
major groups of individuals. One set of individuals
serves as the "executive body" of the other
organization of individuals.
Your Council, Paul and EVERY local Council, has a set
of "National Council Representatives" whom are elected
by the membership of your Council yearly. There are
three "automatic" representatives: Your Council Scout
Executive (whom has NO VOTE and only serves as
"secretary" to your Council's "contingent"), your
Council President and your Council Commissioner.
Depending on the SIZE and MEMBERSHIP numbers of your
Council, your Council may have two, three or four
additional individuals. The larger BSA local Councils
have up to seven.
These are ALL VOLUNTEERS except for the Council
They are automatic members of the BSA's NATIONAL
COUNCIL, which makes decisions and provide the
national structure for the movement. It is this body
which elects the National officers and Regional
officers as well as to "confirm" members of the BSA's
National Executive Board.
The BSA's National Executive Board is the other body.
This body is composed of appointed individuals whom
are "confirmed" by the National Council as well as
three youth members. The BSA's Chief Scout Executive
and two other professionals are also members of the
National Executive Board but DO NOT HAVE A VOTE. My
last information is that the National Executive Board
has 43 members, to include two youth members: the
National Chief of the Order of the Arrow and the
National Explorer President (until the end of this
year; he will be replaced by the first National
The National Executive Board serves as the final
authority for all programming, support and policies of
the Boy Scouts of America.
>Apparently, "National" sets the policies and
procedures of the BSA which we, as paying members, are
free to follow or leave.
Actually, Paul, while the National Executive Board
does set policy and procedure, each local Council has
the power to implement them and to what degree they
will be implemented. If a local Council finds that a
particular policy would be hard to implement or carry
out, they will adapt the policy to best need the needs
of the members residing in that "territory" (this is,
of course, without some risks: if a local Council
decides to adapt a National policy or procedure, and
something happens negatively in the implementation of
that decision, the local Council can be disbanded for
not following National policy; or at least the Council
Executive fired and replaced).
>Do we have any real say in the policies of the BSA?
Is there a referendum held every so often to gauge the
sentiment of the members?
Yep, there's a National Meeting of the BSA in which
you and me as volunteers can go and attend and make
some input; there's also the "power of the pen" in
which you can directly write to the BSA's National
Office with specific questions and concerns.
>May the head of the BSA be likened to a corporate
The Chief Scout Executive of the BSA can be likened to
a CEO; for its the Chief Scout Executive, and not the
President, that provides day-to-day management and
leadership over the program in the absence of the
>If so, who comprises the board of directors and how
did they acquire their positions?
The members of the National Executive Board serves as
the BSA's "board of directors" just like a local
Council's Executive Board performs that same kind of
role for the local Council. Members come on board
in a variety of ways: some are longtime volunteer
Scouters that started out as District Chairs many
years ago and later became Council Presidents or
Commissioners, then Regional Presidents, and then
later onward Board members. Some are appointed
because of their relationship with other youth
programs and their potential for service with the BSA.
Others are appointed because of specific longterm
relationships with the BSA's national chartering
organizations. Finally, some are appointed, and let's
be truthful about it, because of their name and/or
financial potential to support the BSA's many
>Is the BSA head more like a president, elected
through popular vote? Is he appointed for life, like
The National President and all volunteers are elected
for one-year terms of office, and normally are not
re-elected (although there have been cases in which
several National Presidents have been re-elected or
appointed to fill out vacancies caused by death).
The Chief Scout Executive is appointed by the National
Executive Board to serve an undetermined number of
years ("at the pleasure of the National Executive
Board and the National Council, Boy Scouts of
America"); there has been no CSE that have lasted more
than eleven years (Love was, I believe, the second
longest; West was the longest)
>Who are these mysterious people we call "National"?
Well, for one, *I* used to be one of those "mysterious
people", Paul; there are other national volunteers
whom are members of this list and some like me, whom
at one time in our volunteer service, served at the
national level. Someone else on another list stated
correctly that "National is US", and he was
contradicted by someone else as "not true. We would
LIKE to THINK that "national is US", but in reality it
There's a good balance between what I and others say
here that "the BSA is all of us, working together" and
those that say that "the politics of the BSA makes it
impossible for anything but carefully selected
representative to serve as our representatives".
It depends greatly upon the ability of that volunteer
to see things BOTH from the field volunteer's point of
view as well as from the corporate standpoint of the
Boy Scouts of America.
Paul S. Thompson, CC
Pack 287, Romeo, Michigan
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