scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: FW: Pubs on "The Web" (2/2)
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Thu Jun 15 2000 - 02:38:27 CDT
(This is the second half of my responses to Randall Reed)
>I downloaded a document from the web that goes on for pages listing titles
>of pubs and pamphlets, guides, and inserts available from National.
I would grant you that the information is outdated. Even some of the
information on my website is outdated. Much of the titles and listing of
BSA publications have not been updated since 1997, the last "update period"
and many of them are no longer available due to the split between Exploring
>Those documents are not on the national Web site, but can be ordered from
them >via snail mail, many for free. Why are these pubs not on the Web?
As I explained earlier, because they are publications with very little
"appeal" and little reasoning for having them on the website. If the
demand for, say, the record "cards" for each training award increases, then
the BSA will place those items onto their website and authorize local
Councils to make them available on their local websites. In the meantime,
if I want a record card for the District Commissioner Key Award, I either
have to pull out my own copy of the BSA's Training booklet and photocopy
it, or go down to MY COUNCIL office and get the pre-printed (and sometimes
overstamped) version. For free.
>If it is because National wants to protect their revenue stream, then
raise Scout >registration a buck or two....
That's why you and I don't have EVERYTHING that perhaps Auntie Beans
(Wendie) or "Professor Beaver" (Mike Bowman) would have...we're not doing
their Health and Safety nor Commissioner Training roles in our Councils.
Why should I have that information except to "hoard it" and make myself
"feel big", like "I'm getting everything that the BSA offers.." that's
silly....I've got stuff here that was given to me just because "they might
come in handy..." Never used them. But I can tell you where they are on my
> (a) The assertion that the Council needs to filter my information is absurd.
Face it, not all Councils run the same way. They are all structured
differently. Different structures, different needs for some information.
Are you aware, Randall, that there are some 14 or 15 Councils NOT
participating in the BSA's Service to America program? How about this: the
OA is the BSA's national service and outdoor honorary....but hey....there
are some nine or ten Councils which DO NOT HAVE A OA LODGE. They have
chosen either NOT to have a honor camping program, created their own, or
uses some other national honorary instead...ALL WHICH IS JUST FINE WITH THE
So when the BSA sends information about Service to America or OA to your
Council, and your Council is NOT using those programs, why should they
"send that information to you anyway??"
> (b) The most efficient method of delivering information to those who
need it is to >let the users determine what they need and provide a
painless way for them to >retrieve it themselves.
That, I can agree with you on.....that's why Scouts-L and the other "Ls"
have been so successful over the many years...
>If it's not National causing the problem, then they darn well have the
solution >within their grasp to fix it. If Councils are the impediment, it
is not rocket science >to derive a solution: Eliminate the Councils from
the information delivery process. >The method: The Web.
Nice try. You're not going to eliminate the local Council and the Council
Service delivery method for the reasoning I outlined earlier. Because the
BSA cannot be everywhere, local Councils are established to manage Scouting
in a given territory. This requires face-to-face interaction, not
"interaction by proxy". While the BSA may eventually provide more of their
Library online, the vast majority of their pubs will still be available in
paper and still be available through a local Council.
>Not everyone has "family room" access to the Web, but nearly every school
and >public library has public-access Web terminals. And at this point, the
knowledge >about accessing the Web is probably more common than is the
knowledge of how >to access BIN numbers and place an order to National's
All someone has to do, Randall, is look on the bottom of the form, pick up
their phone and call tollfree 1 800 BSA INFO. That's the National Office
phone line, by the way...and once the operator comes on the line, simply
tell her or him the BIN number and they'll transfer you to the Division
that handles that item. You can order it over the phone, or (the BEST way)
via a personal letter to the National Office requesting those items.
>If they trust me with the well-being of two dozen boys, they can darn well
trust >me with information, particularly with the ability to know what I do
and do not >need to do my volunteer job better.
Remember, it is NOT the BSA that is trusting you with the well-being....the
BSA is going along with your chartered partner organization. It is the
chartered partner organization that decides if you're trusting enough for
the two-dozen Scouts.
> The point you are missing is that no one needs the Council to filter
policy >information that has already been published in official, national
I haven't missed your point, Randall, believe me I haven't. But perhaps
you've missed the BSA's point: local Councils decide how they are going to
interpret and distribute policy. Those Councils are made up of volunteers
and professionals. They decide. They decide if the material is worth
distributing, worth talking about and worth promoting, based on their
financial and membership status. If they choose not to promote a national
program or event, or even position, that's it. It is hopeful that the
volunteers in that Council can make more sense out of the material that is
sent to EVERY COUNCIL EQUALLY and will be in the best position to convince
the professional team that indeed, we DO need a OA lodge or we DO need to
send a Troop or two to the National Scout Jamboree next year.
But every Council makes that decision for its membership; the membership
does not make the decision for the Council. That's why we have volunteer
officers elected each year.
>The logic of that statement seems so transparent and so moot, I am
astounded that >someone as erudite as yourself could hold a countering view.
Just remember that I do agree with you some, but for the most part, the
BSA's way of distribution has worked for 90 years, and until they are
convinced that anything new will work in ALL areas of the nation, the BSA
is NOT going to change how they distribute things outward. Every Council
has to be given that independence that the BSA promised them when they
became a local Council.
>If Council wants to distribute a concordance to clarify some national
policy >missive, so be it; that doesn't affect the fact that I get that
information on line >when I need it, with minimum delay. If I order from
National, via snail mail, I get it >just the same, without any varnishing
of the facts from Council. It just takes two >weeks longer and expends
time better spent elsewhere.
But why are you so fearful of your Council?? You see, there's a solution
for such fear...get it from another Council!! If you're so concerned that
your Council is going to "white out" parts of the information and deprive
you of some information you
think you can't do without, then get the same information from another
Making everything available via the Web only gives those who CAN get it
power to have it....I would rather have things the way they are now: either
EVERYONE can get it or NOBODY gets it. (that's not even
fair....*smiling*...because Councils are notorious for "handing out things"
to people left and right "just because I think you might need this...")
>With any very large organization, a key element for success is getting
the >information to the user as quickly, as cheaply, and as accurately as
possible. >Going to Council, trying to make long-distance calls from work,
or writing letters >or filling out order forms via snail mail is not the
most efficient method for >gathering information.
But that's why we PAY to have such facilities in our territories for,
Randall. That's their reason for being. That's why we hire
professionals....to do some of that work for us. In one District I worked
in, the District Executive would come to MY office to deliver my stuff that
I've requested from the Council office. He was in the neighborhood,
anyway.... and now, with tollfree numbers for both fax and regular voice,
there's still not an excuse....even from work. As far as writing letters,
I still do it because it gives me some assurance that yes, on March 22nd, I
sent you a letter asking this item....and I haven't received a reply.
Yeah, I can do that via email too....with the same results.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
[Purchase Your Binder! for Scouting's Y2K's publications!]
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