scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: inconsistency in fundraising, etc.
Jason Cruse (jcruse@SOCKET.NET
Wed Apr 19 2000 - 18:24:31 CDT
I will admit that I am venting a bit here, but I do think I have some good
reason to. All of the following is based on my personal experiences, as
well as things relayed to me or verified to an extent by former scouters,
volunteer and professional.
It concerns fundraising. In that past, many of you will recall that I have
asked questions regarding the relationship with the United Way, black outs,
and so forth. Currently, my troop is working on a project that, ideally,
calls for outside funding assistance--sponsorships. We have an approved
money-earning application, etc.
A week or two ago, someone in our community called the council office and
complained about us seeking sponsorships for our fundraiser. The claim was
made that since the council seeks FOS dollars from businesses, we should not
be allowed to also seek sponsorships from businesses. The problem was
dumped into the lap of our very young, new DE, who, presumably, was given
the message "tell them to knock it off."
Now, my troop has had this problem before...once. Someone complained, the
DE commanded we quit asking for sponsors, saying it violated FOS policies,
and we complied. However, this time, I asked the assistant scout exec about
such policies, and replied that there were none, and we could seek sponsors
if we wanted. So, when the DE called with his cease and desist order, I
simply replied that the assistant had already approved it. He seemed
surprised, not that it was okay, but that we had checked and that he had
still been called. Needless to say, we have not ceased.
Now, I have tried to be good for a long time now. Some of the really
old-timers to list may recall my not so infrequent rants about professional
scouting. And I'm not going to deviate from being good here.
However, I do feel, as a scoutmaster, that, in my area at least, scouting
has not set up a workable financial environment. As long as the council
gets its FOS, they don't care what happens to the troops. A friend who used
to be a professional has told me privately that she felt that the
professional side of scouting would really prefer young, rich kids in
scouting--then there is more moeny. She believed that the inner-city
programs that we hear so much about are high-profile things only, designed
to get more grant money, but that scouting is not interested in working with
small, financially strapped communities. FOS starts for businesses the
first of the year...and by April, any troop that tries to work with
businesses are turned away.
Now, do not misunderstand me. I do realize the importance of FOS. I
give...and encourage my parents to do the same. My frustration comes from
being hung out to dry by scouting where money is concerned. We followed the
process and outlined our plan carefully. There were no problems with our
application--until someone complained. Then scouting took no responsibility
The kicker is, our scout exec does not, evidently, respond to questions from
volunteers nor explain himself. I have asked some questions, not in an
attempt to be a pain, but for information. He reacts, however, as though
every volunteer is out to get him. Now, in my council, that may,
unfortunately, be the case. However, I do think that it is not unreasonable
to at least expect short replies to notes and letters (we aren't advanced
enough to have email). Yet there are none coming.
All right...I'll climb down from my mountain top. But I will say this, both
to the volunteers in council positions on this list, as well as the silently
listening professionals. I have been a scoutmaster for 5 years. I am an
Eagle and have my beads, blah blah blah. My scouting resume is long. In
part as aresult of how bad relations are between volunteers and
professionals, in my area at least, I have told my CoH that I want to leave,
and have been assured that by the end of the summer, we will make a
transition in our troop...and that transition could be closing our troop
altogether, because our CoH has had problems with scouting, separate from
mine. He, too, has a long resume of scouting...