Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: new member introduction
Re: new member introduction
Settummanque, the blackeagle
Sat, 12 Jun 1999 09:21:59 -0500
Tawnya Hartberger wrote:
>Well, I was going to wait 'til after the summer, but I guess I was just
>feeling sorry for myself reading about all the help available from
>professional (and volunteer) Scouters--none of which I imagined
>existed. As a Direct Service Council, it SEEMS that all our requests,
>questions, and merchandise orders go through one incredibly >understaffed
and overworked office. So we've been feelin' kinda lonely >over here....
Hey Tawnya, don't feel sorry for the lack of volunteer and professional
help; MANY US Scouters are in the SAME BOAT (they have them just like you
do, but they either are only on paper (the volunteers, that is) or they
never want to come around and even say "Hi"!)!!
As far as the professionals are concerned, they have a responsibility to see
and visit EVERY unit in their territory at least once a quarter. If your DE
isn't doing this, then it's perhaps a time you write or post him and let him
know that you want him to stop by!!
Direct Service has a bigger challenge than the rest of the BSA (okay, the
rest except the Transatlantic and Far East Councils, and those extremely
large Councils in the States like Montana and Northern Lights). The
challenge is in providing an equilvent level of Scouting as what is done
Stateside. It's not met easily...a lot of DSC units fold because the
membership demands more than what the community, its adult volunteers and in
many cases, the country itself, can provide for them.
We (Stateside) Americans have it made in the shade with lemonade. We can go
camping in any number of locations, basically with two handshakes and a
phone call. We can get trained in our positions locally, and if our
locality is stingy about when they are offering the training, we can always
go to a neighboring local Council. There's at least two District or Council
activities a month, and summer camp is boring but at least we can go there
for a week once a year.
Try doing those things in Singapore, or Jordan, or the Ivory Coast. Try to
organize a campout for your Troop and a neighboring Troop in Guatemala or
Belize. And District-level activities? What's that?? In "Direct Service"
parlance, a "District-level" activity is anytime you get more than one unit
together in a geographical area!!
Once you get your Troop organized for camping, there's the necessary
clearances which must be undertaken by the American Embassy on behalf of the
Scout unit. Then, there's the security concerns: in some countries,
travelling by public transportation (buses, taxis, etc.) is prohibited
because of terrioristic activity in that country. And because many
Embassies and Missions don't have buses large enough for all of the Scouts,
their leaders, and their gear...it becomes a family-type event.
Then, its the place where they camp. While the BSA's International Division
(where the DSC is co-located within) does an EXCEPTIONAL job in paving the
way for American Scouts and Scouters to use host-nation camping and outdoor
facilities; and while some of them are 200 TIMES BETTER than anything we'll
see in the USA (Kenya, Ireland, Israel...), others are less than the worst
camping facilities in the States and are indeed "extremely primative" which
really means "there's nothing there except ground. Bring in EVERYTHING --
water, food, shelter and you might want to also bring protection too..."
Finally, it's the activity that is to be conducted, and like many of us here
on Scouts-L, a lot of Direct Service Scouters are brand new or within their
first year of Scouting leadership and service. Without the books, training
materials (which many times gets self-taught because of a lack of, you've
guessed it...Commissioners!), and resource material, many of those Scouters
give up quickly and leave it to "someone who's been in Scouts".
This is good and bad...good because you've had someone whom has had the
Scouting experience to serve as a Scouter. Bad because the last time they
were a Scouter was before Youth Protection, before the "song restriction",
and before the current changes to the Boy Scout and Cub Scout advancement
programs. (And I still say that the best volunteer Scouters are those that
have never been in Scouting before!)
A good example of this would be the question posed to me by a Scouter when I
attended a Court of Honor in El Salvador last month. He looked at my OA
flap and asked me "Can I wear my old OA flap; I was a member of (I forgot
the name of the lodge he was a part of) as a youth; can I still wear it?"
The answer I gave him was "Yeah, you can, but you really should be wearing
the OA flap from Gameonwinink Lodge...the OA Lodge serving the Direct
Service Council (I wasn't wearing a GL flap)".
He looked at me with that funny look like "I heard what you said but I don't
believe it". I then added "You *did know* that Direct Service has an OA
He shook his head in the negative. I told him that as soon as I get
information about the Lodge, I would send it out to him.
So, fellow Scouters, when we're talking about the difficulties in getting
things done in our Councils, of the volunteers that don't want to work or we
can't get them to work, and of professionals that are never around when we
need them...remember, that you COULD be like Tawnya or Bruce or Russ or
those other DSC Scouters...!!
>I WILL be asking for help now and then. There's still a lot I need to
>find out about. And we'd like to have more (any!) contact with some
>other Troop and/or Scouters out there, so if you're ever in the
The word's been put out!!
(and if you need help, you now have a new resource...more than 1500 others
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
Joint Information Bureau Deputy Director
US SOUTHCOM FCE (Enhanced New Horizons)
APO Miami, AA 34042 (Soto Cano AB, Honduras)
personal inquiries via email@example.com,
blackeagle@SCOUTER.net or firstname.lastname@example.org
professional inquiries via email@example.com or
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