Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: BSA Organiztion/National
Re: BSA Organiztion/National
Steven G. Tyler
Wed, 28 Apr 1999 14:19:50 -0400
Anthony Mako wrote, in part:
> Except, Steven, that the BSA's line of communication involves
> snail-mail. The BSA wants to maintain it's current line of
> communication, which puts the primary contact a lot closer to you an
> me than National.
That sort of begs the question, doesn't it, Anthony? "BSA's line of
communication uses snail-mail, because BSA *wants* to use snail mail."
As to "putting the primary contact closer", I'll comment later.
> If the BSA were to publish an email address, the
> folks at the local council would suddenly find themselves blind-sided.
> Instead of hearing about problems from the local volunteers, they'd
> hear about them from National. That means every conversation you have
> with a local council professional will start with "Why didn't you come
> to me first?"
This would occur only if National set it up that way. National could and
should refer local issues to the councils for resolution, as I said in
my post. OTOH, if National *does* answer a national-level question with
a different answer than the council would have given, are you suggesting
that each council should be free to "make it up" as they go, rather than
getting an authoritative answer. From on-line posts, it's *real* clear
that the individual councils are coming up with widely varying answers
to what should be uniform interpretations -- which is one reason that
National needs a public voice.
> Most large organizations DO NOT rely on local field personnel to
> handle day-to-day business. Most large organizations are extremely
> centralized and don't even have local field personnel in some areas.
> These organizations have no choice but to hire someone to screen email
> because there's no one else to talk to! The BSA is extremely
> DECENTRALIZED and relies on its local representatives to handle
> whatever comes up.
With all due respect, Anthony, that's pure baloney! National
organizations have not developed e-mail response systems because they
don't have field personnel. I see no major difference between
coporations with extensive direct-sales forces, those that do business
with resellers, and those selling only to manufacturers -- *all* are
adopting e-mail response systems to *supplement* other methods to
respond to their client base, ther employees and the public.
> And just what is National supposed to do with a bunch of emails asking
> about the availability of Boy Scout Handbooks in Scranton, PA or where
> are the troops in Bellingham, WA. The BSA has hired and trained
> individuals and placed them in Scranton and Bellingham to provide
> personal, direct answers to those questions.
. . . and that's why I suggested, in parts of my post you snipped, that
queries relevant only to a particular council be routed to that council,
with a cc: to the requestor so s/he can follow up.
> Steven, what is the first thing you would do with an email address for
> National BSA? Most likely you would send them an email containing a
> question that is extremely important to you.
Well, actually I would first add it to my address book, then add it to
our Troop Web site's resources page, then make sure it was published in
the Troop newsletter.
> Now, ask yourself how
> long you are willing to wait for a response. 2 days? 5 days? A week?
> Longer? Finally, ask yourself is there isn't SOMEONE at your local
> council who could answer that question a lot faster. That's what the
> BSA has had for most of its life, and it's a communication system that
> works well. For the most part, the BSA HAS discovered email, they just
> want to maintain their traditional communication system so that THOSE
> WHO SERVE ARE AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE TO THOSE BEING SERVED!!!!
Again, redirecting a council-specific query can take place immediately,
and will, I suspect, generate a council response a lot quicker than
You seem to think I'm suggesting *replacing* snail-mail with e-mail --
I'm not. I *am* suggesting that responsiveness (national *and* councils)
will increase dramatically by using e-mail. Moreover, there will be a
much better chance of getting *consistent* answers if National is part
of the loop. As I said before, we are now getting widely different (and
occasionally dead wrong!) answers from different councils to the same
> The BSA would not be able to serve you or your Scouts any better with
> an email address than McDonalds would be able to serve you if you had
> to order everything through their corporate headquarters!
I'm also not suggesting replacing the *councils* with an e-mail system.
I *am* suggesting that the quality and uniformity of the information
"hamburgers" served up by Scouting at all levels would improve if
national was producing them on a national level and distributing, rather
than having each council kill, butcher and grind up its own "cows"!
I'm not sure what is behind National's reluctance to join the wired
world (lethargy, hide-bound tradition and incompetance come to mind,
though), and doubt you do either, Anthony. What I *am* clear about is
that, in 1999, there *are* no good reasons not to have some means to
contact the national organization by e-mail.
YIS, Steve on Cattail Creek (Steven G. Tyler, Esq.) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Computer Counselor -- Technology Consulting for the Law Office
Advancement Chair and Webmaster, Troop 339, BAC, BSA