scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Re: FW: Pubs on "The Web" (1/2)
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Thu Jun 15 2000 - 02:00:50 CDT
I have to split this up into two parts to fully answer some of Randall's
concerns and comments:
Randall Reed wrote in part:
>Since the listserve probably found this response too personal to put out on
>the list, I still feel jazzed up about the whole issue to forward the
>following diatribe to you as vented. I should probably edit out the
>emotions, but on second, third, and fourth reading, I believe in my heart in
>what I said and how I said it the first time. Sorry, Mike, but there is a
>price to pay in personal credibility for being the apologist for the
>professional Scouting bureaucracy...
That's fine with me....I always carry and can done Nomex with the best of them
when I start seeing flames!! *heheheeheheheee*
>Press releases are not what I consider
>value-added information. And your recounting that you had to beg for
> information that was commonly available to hundreds of news outlets
> supports my contention that national is medieval in their attitudes
> towards communicating with the field.
The BSA's 37 Fact Sheets are in fact, press releases. But they are also
valuable pieces of information which support national programming and why
we have such programming. Many volunteers never get that information from
their Council and for all they know, the Service to America campaign was
"dreamed up" by someone working OA issues in their Council. It's not until
they read Scouting (IF they read Scouting!) that they see that it is
indeed, a national progam emphasis (and NOT ALL COUNCILS ARE PARTICIPATING,
as it it THEIR OPTION to decide to participate or not.)
>We are sitting on an information explosion via the
> internet and the National and Council BSA offices are acting like it is 1980
>instead of 2000.
If so, Randall, the BSA would NOT have a website. They would NOT
communicate in-house through a Intranet nor provided each of the
professional members an electronic mail account. If the BSA was still
acting like it was 1980, we would NOT be getting a Chief Scout Executive
who knows where the on/off switch is on a PC (as Chief Scout Love
demonstrated his inability to do so during the 1985 National Scout
Jamboree...not a high-water mark for the "moving forward BSA")
If this was 1980, we would still have over 400 local Councils, all
clamoring for their "piece of the pie" from National and we would not have
streamlined our operations through consolidations and Council splits.
>My point remains: They do not have to be solely available
>from the Council. Or only by mail from National. It can take weeks to get
> information that could be at my fingertips for, as you say, pennies.
Or a few minutes, long enough for you to get to your Council office or to
have them to fax you the information. I contacted today a Council in
Tennessee to get a copy of a National Tour Permit because the Council I
associate myself with here locally didn't have any in stock. The Tour
permit appeared in the fax box a scant 14 minutes after I completed the
phone call request. Could I have gone online and tried to find a current
National Tour Permit on the Internet?? Yeah...I could. But it was much
easier to make the phone call and MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK to get the items I
And that's why we have so many Council offices...not just to support the
Scouts and Scouters in that area, but to support Scouts and Scouters
EVERYWHERE. That's why we can camp at each others' camping and outdoor
facilities and why we can train "out of council".
>And why is that incredibly useful listing not on the BSA site?
Because it's available for the ASKING from the BSA's 1-800 phone line.
Eventually, it will be available on the BSA's site.
>That is hogwash!
No, Randall, it is REALITY. The BSA operates through some 200+ plus local
operations, each one with the ability to take the BSA's policies and adapt
them to their own local situation. I had this argument back in 1992 with
a guy from Alaska who thought the same way you thought about the way the
BSA ran. Rhett felt that there was "one BSA, one set of rules", when in
reality his Council in Alaska was given authority to circumvent many of the
BSA's rules and regulations because of the time difference and the expanse
of the membership in the Council.
Each local Council has to take the BSA's rules and regulations, and other
policies and MAKE THEM WORK in THEIR TERRITORY and with THEIR VOLUNTEERS.
We would love to feel that the policies are universal, but they truly are
not in their application.
>An Eagle earned in Mississippi is the same as one earned in Beverly Hills.
Technically, yes, and that's part of the universality of Scouting in
America. But the reality is, Randall, that an Eagle Scout in rural
Mississippi has to work a little harder to find a Eagle Scout service
project perhaps than the Eagle Scout in Bev Hills. Or,
we can twist this around....a Scout in Verdugo Hills (which Bev Hills is
part of) may find it harder to find a Eagle Scout service project (a REAL
project) than perhaps that Scout in Folsom, Mississippi.
There's a couple other elements involved: The local Council may authorize
the District in one case to conduct the Board of Review for Eagle and in
another Council, the UNIT may be authorized to do the Board of Review for
Eagle. And, the Council's Advancement Chair in Mississippi may apply a
different "slant" to what constitutes a "Eagle Scout service project" with
the complete cooperation of the longtime Scout Executive of that Council;
while the Council Executive in Verdugo Hills, decides that "whatever the
Scout did to help others....painting fences, handing out hand bills,
coordinating a a food drive, or parking cars for the Oscars(r)...that's a
Eagle Scout Service Project in OUR Council and I'll approve it".
See what I mean?
>To say that we have to go through Council for BIN publications so that
they can >be "localized" is just screwy. Have you every received a BIN pub
from Council >where something was scratched out and annotated by a council
employee to say >"Ignore this part, it does not apply here in Backwoods
I was HOPING you would ask that VERY QUESTION. I have, in my file
cabinet, a BIN item....a training course handout.....which explains the
various Cub Scout Awards. The COUNCIL SCOUT EXECUTIVE in one Council where
I have worked at, LINED AND Xed OUT the paragraph dealing with "how the
awards are earned and processed and in block letters on the edge stated
"THIS IS NOT HOW THIS COUNCIL IS GOING TO DO THIS...." and INITIALED IT
with HIS INITIALS!!!!!!!
Yes, I sent a photocopy of that along with some other materials to the Area
Director, who years before was my professional advisor when I was the
state's Exploring youth chair. The Area Director sent a copy of the
information to his boss, and the Regional Director and Area Director had a
sit-down with this gentleman. It was not good, and it did me no good after
their meeting was over. I was told "it would be better if you would go
back home to Kentucky or wherever you came from..." Of course, I didn't
listen.....besides, I had a home there....
Yes, Randall, Council Scout Executives CAN AND DO have the authority to
"line out" stuff and apply their own rhyme and reasoning to their
operations. But if they get caught, or if the policy they are applying are
clearly OUT OF LINE with the BSA's established policies (the bold-faced
ones, not the recommendations which are in most part, make up the BSA's
various policies!), they can expect to justify their reasoning to their
boss and their boss' boss. They are held accountable just like we
volunteers are held accountable.
The bottom line is that while National makes the rules, the way those rules
are applied is up to each and every Council.
> I don't have time to traipse over there for information that could be
> provided to me, day or night, in the comfort of my living room.
Then you're lazy. Sorry to say so, but you are. That's why we have
Council Service Centers, Randall. They exist for you and me. I visit my
Council Service Center once every month. It is MY SOURCE of information
about what is going on in MY COUNCIL. I may not be able to meet with the
young woman managing our District when I show up there, but I do get some
information there which is NOT available from the BSA's website because the
information applies to MY COUNCIL and the volunteers in MY COUNCIL.
And that's the way it SHOULD be. If you can't get to your Council because
of distance (and I've been there, done it more times than you I'm sure!),
then there's always the fax and the phone. National does NOT EXIST for us;
they exist for your COUNCIL and every other Council in the BSA.
(more on the followup to this posting...)
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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