scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Re: Volunteers vs. Professionals (longish)
Mark Gillis (troop857@YAHOO.COM
Fri Jun 23 2000 - 22:37:36 CDT
I'm sad to say, yes, I feel your pain. About 2 and
1/2 years ago, I moved into an area smack dab in the
middle of an all-out brush war between the volunteers
and professionals in my district. In fact, it wasn't
that long ago that I beseeched the list much as you
I've had volunteers tell me things about various
professionals, accusations almost of a Nurnburg
Tribunal scale. I've also listened to professionals
accuse some volunteers of most unScoutly behavior.
I've decided that I'm in a unique position. I try to
act as a sort of liason between the factions. I've
camped with and worked with most of the Scouters in my
district. They are a great group! I'm happy to say I
can learn a lot here.
I've also worked with sevral of the professionals, and
have never seen any criminal or morally reprehensable
It's sad, because at the very core, the motiviation of
both groups is basically the same -- Scouting, and
helping boys become good men. The methods are
different, as is the scope. The volunteers work
locally, down to the individual boy. Ask a volunteer,
he'll tell you that's where Scouting really is. The
pros fly at higher altitudes, District and Council
level, working to promote Scouting as a concept and
institution. Shaking trees and drumming up support,
members, and money. They'll tell you that the most
important part of Scouting is the program, and without
them, there wouldn't be a program, therefore nothing
with which to interest a youth.
Both side have their points and merits. IMHO, there
is need for both sides. In fact, in a perfect world,
this argument should not come up, as both vols and
pros would respect the activities and intentions of
That begs the question, could Scouting exist without
the efforts of the professionals? Of course it could!
It did! Each unit could "do their own thing", run
their own program, etc.
But, I like having Council camps to go to in the
summer. I like District camporees. I like the things
the infrastructure of Scouting Inc. brings.
So, when I'm around my fellow Scoutmasters, I'll say
nice things about various pros. When I'm working with
the pros, I'll preach the wonderful programs my
brethren have in their troops.
So far, I've managed not to seriously annoy either
side. Unless you mention the time we were working on
the new shower up at camp. Lots of sweat and no
chance of a shower kinda makes being offensive a sure
When I get full-up with stories about who did what, I
go back to my personal roots. I'll sit and talk with
the Eagles in my troop, and remember their projects
and challenges. Or even better, I'll review the
advancement of some Tenderfoots. That's where
Scouting is, to me. THe professionals, and all the
structure they provide, are just a means to an end.
THe production of young men, hopefully Eagles, ready
to add to America's strength.
Wow. I'm sorry. I'm really on my soapbox. Anyways,
mail me directly, we can chew it some more. Hang in
there, and take your kids camping.
OA Chapter Adviser
New Convert to the Truth of Velcro!
--- Bill Corwin <bcorwin@COIN.ORG> wrote:
> Hello List,
> Here's an eternal problem, and if we are truly
> scouters why can't we get along? In the council I
> am in it seems there is alot of problems between the
> "paid" and the "volunteers", maybe I'm a bit slow,
> and have only been a leader for about 3 1/2 years,
> but what is the deal. Any Ideal on how I might end
> this rift. It seems to me the only group lossing is
> the boys. We teach the scout law and it seems we
> should also live by it. I just returned from PTC
> and full of vim and vigor, and continuly run into
> this strife.
> Enough for my soap box, has anyone had similar
> experiences and how can you get changes to take
> Thanks for you time,
> Bill Corwin
> ASM Troop 90/CM Pack 90
> Centralia, MO
> A good ole Bobwhite, too.
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