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Modern scouting a For-profit business


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#1 baggss

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:33 PM

Is it me or is scouting becoming more like K-mart? Slowly losing market share, sells off assets to pay exec salrys, closes stores, offers new things nobody wants, etc
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#2 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 06:28 AM

Touche.
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#3 LeCastor

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 07:08 AM

Hey, @baggss, I think many would argue that this corporate attitude you describe came along in 1972 when the BSA thought it would be better for the biz if we shifted away from the outdoors and focused more on the inner city. Green Bar Bill was called up in 1979 to fix it and get back to basics...but I think we've veered off course again and need another GBB to come along and re-energize us. Just this morning I heard an NPR spot on how the Chipotle board voted strongly against increasing the already bloated salaries of the top two execs. I think we need to find a way to keep the costs down and, at the same time, keep the eyes focused on how basic Scouting is. We have a pretty core set of fundamentals but we are seeing more and more attempts to appeal to today's youth when we might be better off just getting back to basics...
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#4 Eagle92

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 08:08 PM

As a former pro, I can tell you I saw both the good and bad. I saw some things that I shook my head at, and I saw some things that made me very proud. The problem is this: we do need a small, stressing SMALL, cadre of professionals and support staff to run the organization. Compared to other scouting associations, we are very fortunate in a lot of what we had. The first camp I worked at in the UK was so small, that 230+ camps that size could fit in the Salmen Scout Reservation outside Kiln, MS. And we do need to compensate them justly, Trust me, I had friends double, and in one case triple, their salary when they left the profession and went into the private sector. That said, we do need to trim the fat, since National is using BMI ;), and get back to the basics, Some divisions are just out there at times.
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#5 King Ding Dong

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 08:52 PM

K-mart has not been a for-profit business for a very long time, BSA is not a for-profit business, it is just a very poorly run business and has been for some time,
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#6 TAHAWK

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 01:58 PM

Let's see. Mostly work with adults, not youth. Low salaries. Long hours. Metrics. Big turnover as most of those who can leave do leave. Other consequences?
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#7 BadenP

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 11:46 PM

I think baggs is correct. The BSA has taken a turn for the worse starting with the 1970's urban scouting, as a former DE myself in the late 80's seeing some of the internal corruption on the council and national levels first hand, and watching the continuing and increasing trend of closing councils and selling camps to cover up severe financial mismanagement by council scout executives while on the other hand seeing scouts proud of receiving badges they have worked so hard to earn, and enjoying learning outdoor and leadership skills, makes me wonder where and why the disconnect. Why has the BSA continued to lose the respect of both scouters and the public at large and can it recover from the hole it has dug so deeply for itself.
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#8 packsaddle

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 05:49 AM

Even back in the 60s my school mates who lived in a more urban area would comment something along the lines, "The 'Y' has a basketball court and swimming pool and we can go there any time we want and it doesn't cost anything and all 'you' do is go camping." I was speechless. I even went with them to the 'Y' for a while. The pool was great but I sucked at basketball. So I went camping.
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#9 boomerscout

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 01:01 PM

Does anyone know how much Seton, Beard and Hillcourt were paid by the BSA? How did their salaries compare with comparable positions in retailing of the time?
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#10 David CO

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 10:39 AM

BSA has always been a "for-profit-company" in the eyes of many of the volunteers. I remember Scouters talking the same way about it 40 years ago. The execs always had high salaries. Nothing new here. Scout execs used to remind us that all the stuff we paid for, with the exception of a very minimal registration fee, was completely voluntary. BSA did not require units to buy uniforms, badges, etc.. BSA councils did not require units to use their camp grounds or participate in their fundraisers. They made a good point. Has this changed? I think it has. BSA is becoming much more coercive than they used to be.
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#11 TAHAWK

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 12:54 PM

BSA has always been a "for-profit-company" in the eyes of many of the volunteers. I remember Scouters talking the same way about it 40 years ago. The execs always had high salaries. Nothing new here.

Scout execs used to remind us that all the stuff we paid for, with the exception of a very minimal registration fee, was completely voluntary. BSA did not require units to buy uniforms, badges, etc.. BSA councils did not require units to use their camp grounds or participate in their fundraisers.

They made a good point. Has this changed? I think it has. BSA is becoming much more coercive than they used to be.



used to be


And what is your prospective? Twenty years? Thirty years? Forty Years? More? Less?

At least in the three councils where I Scout, no unit is required to buy uniforms, badges, etc, or to use council camp grounds - not even pressured. Encouraged? Sure.

B.S.A. specifically orders that a unifform is not a requirement for boards of review, including for Eagle.
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#12 Old_OX_Eagle83

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:36 AM

BSA is like every corp out there in that those at the top receive ridiculous compensation, and those at the bottom have trouble making ends meet. Knowing a bit about how BSA is set up, and who is making what, I'd say start at the SE level, which need a 25% pay cut, to be divided equally between every paid employee of the council. From there, working toward the top, cut all staffs by 50%, and all executive salaries by 50 %, putting the savings into property budgets. The CSE could do with a 60% cut in total compensation, and a 75% cut in allowable expenses, these funds could be used to offset the participant cost of national programs. There ya go, all fixed ... now who's going to get this passed? BTW, the same plan could be applied to nearly every US corporation, and in doing so nearly every issue in this nation would vanish in a few short years. Greed is bad, and has no place in BSA.
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#13 Stosh

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:19 PM

A for-profit or not for-profit entity is not defined as to how they pay their employees. What people think it means and what it really is often times are no where near in the long run. It would bode well if people actually discussed the issues rather than the myths of what they think are the issues. Okay, the SE and DE get paid too much. So what. Business entities are in the market to acquire talent. They pay for what they get. One could hire college grads and put them into the SE and DE positions at a lot less than what they have now. Oh, you want experience? Well, there's a cost involved with that, how much are you willing to pay for experience? Oh? successful experience, costs more than just showing up for work. We had a guy like that but someone else snatched him up for $20,000/year more. He had a wife and kids so he couldn't afford to come in at your offer. Business talent is a marketable commodity, but very few take that into consideration when they complain about the costs. If your car breaks down and you go to the cheapest repair shop, do you get the same results as you have had you gone to a more expensive one? And the ones at the bottom of the payroll? No, they don't have to work for the BSA. If their marketable skills are such, the can move on to a bigger and better job at any time. Are we to pay them a better salary because they are married and have kids? Or are they hired to do a job for the business. A person is offered a job at a certain pay. Then immediately they begin to complain about not getting paid enough? Why were they so stupid as to take the job in the first place? I got a solution. Take the council secretary who's getting paid pittance and make them the SE and the SE can go and get a job that pays better anyway. That should take care of everything and you can sit back and let the complaining begin! Stosh
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#14 Old_OX_Eagle83

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:10 PM

Stosh, I create corporations every day, this isn’t a question of legal definition, it’s a question of being held accountable to those who your organization serves. “Business talent is a marketable commodity”, you’re buying into the corporate myth. Headhunting the “top gun” for your position is huge mistake, a train wreck you pay a premium to experience. These “top guys” have no loyalty to your organization, it’s purpose, or goals, they only care about the money. The top talent are looking to catch the next head hunters attention the day they go to work for you, creating a short term plan that will translate into a better pitch for a better job, while wreaking long term havoc on your company, creating a deception destined to implode at some future date, when they’re long gone. The problem is the people making these hiring decisions are the same type of pinstriped pirate as the guy the hire, playing the same game, and the steaks are the future of the organization and its employees and members. I’m talking about BSA, but this sad story translates to nearly every type and size of American business today.
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#15 Stosh

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 06:45 PM

Oh, I wouldn't disagree one bit. But we have DE's moving up in the ranks to SE's all the time. Cream rises to the top. The good ones eventually realize this and they're gone. A lot of non-profits run their businesses for altruistic reasons and not good business sense and so for the most part they are the training ground for "real" jobs. Those that can't get better jobs outside of BSA stay on and garner annual salary increases over the years just like anyone else. A 5% raise each year compounds rather quickly over a 20 year career and the SE is only 40 years old, another 25 to go. Yes, the salary can be substantial. Of course they all move up to the big councils that are financially able to support the better salaries and the less financially well off can't afford them anymore and are continually drained of any good talent they might have developed over the years. In the 20+ years I have been with this council, every position has changed multiple times. Couple that with the Peter Principle and there you have the BSA in a nutshell. :) Stosh
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#16 David CO

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 11:26 PM

Poor examples. Every time scout exec salaries are discussed, somebody starts making comparisons with compensation packages offered in other private sector businesses and argues that BSA needs to be financially competitive in order to recruit and retain good people. But why only compare BSA salaries with other business models? Why not also compare them with our military and clergy? High ranking military officers and religious leaders are often highly educated, skilled, and experienced people who work for far less than our top scout execs. Yet these dedicated people don't seem to be leaving in droves for better paying jobs. It is clear that most of our military and clergy are motivated by higher ideals than personal gain and self-promotion. Why can't BSA be expected to do the same? .
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#17 Stosh

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 12:48 AM

Neither the military nor the clergy provide a program sold to the public. It would seem as well that parochial school teachers and administrators are paid less than their public school counterparts. Our military is a volunteer military, not mercenary soldiers. Sometimes people aren't in it for the money. Idealistically maybe BSA should be, but it isn't and no amount of wishing is going to change that. Stosh
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#18 David CO

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 01:51 AM

I would disagree with those who say that BSA sells a program to the public, and should therefore follow the practices of business who actually do sell to the public. I would maintain that if BSA sells a program to anyone, it is to Chartered Organizations, not to the public. I would also point out that CO's are not supposed to be merely customers of BSA, they are voting members. Since BSA is comprised largely of altruistically minded CO's, it should follow their example and reflect their practices. BSA should not act as though it were a business.
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#19 Stosh

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 07:39 AM

Hmmm, 1) BSA provides literature, material goods, training, sells memberships , provides publications, establishes exclusive franchises with it's member organizations and organizes activities. All at a minimal fee. Their annual and capital fund drives go a long way to pay for these programs, making sure the cost to the membership is subsidized. If they aren't selling a program, I'd be hard pressed to define it any other way. 2) The Courtesy Corporation establishes contractual exclusive franchises that in fact do sell Big Macs and shakes to the public. BSA does that as well through it's exclusive franchises (CO's). CO's are not customers of BSA they are franchises. I have never heard of any CO's that ever voted on anything the BSA does. 3) The BSA provides the franchises and no business is expected to follow the dictates of it's franchisees. 4) There are those that think the BSA should not act as though it were a business, but with budgets, programming, selling of goods and services, I find it very difficult to define it's not a business. Next time one pay's their membership fees to the country club, try and think of it as these people are providing golfing facilities altruistically to all the golfers that come around to pay green fees and rent carts after having stopped by the pro shop dropped and dime and had a liquid beverage before heading out to the links should have a say-so in how much the professional people of the organization get paid. Like that is ever going to happen. 5) BSA does not have a board of directors, thus it is a non-profit organization, just like a church, YMCA, Lions Club, VFW, or any other non-profit service organization. How it defines itself and runs it's operations is dependent only of what the membership is willing to pay for, not what it says on how it should run its operation. The military is funded through taxation, whole different ballgame. As a matter of fact, it is not a business entity at all even though it uses business model definitions like budgets, payroll, etc. Churches are funded through donations, not sales of goods and/or services, again, a whole different ballgame. Whereas BSA is a non-profit organization, one must realize there are different types of business models that fall under this definition. When was the last time anyone heard of the privates in the army being able to dictate the amount of money the generals get? And, by the way, the general can resign his commission at any time. Clergy is a grey area, some feel they are called to service, others simply hired and fired, so it's hard pressed to have a specific model. Church organizations use different models, i.e. the Call Model, the Placement Model, the Hiring Model. Also remember, clergy are considered by some government entities as self-employed and are exempt from some other taxations. Do the kids in the Boy & Girls Club get a say-so in how much the local or national directors get? Nope. So the students in a parochial school get a say-so in how much the teachers and staff get paid? Nope So I'm thinking we're talking apples and oranges in some of the business models being suggested here. Next time someone thinks the professional staff of BSA are getting too many perks, let's try and see what we can do about getting them free housing for them and their families over and above the normal employee benefits. Then let's work on getting their taxes reduced or removed, too. Or maybe put them in harms way 24/7/365 for a pittance. Oh, the brass get more than pittance? My mistake. Stosh
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#20 boomerscout

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 09:46 AM

Most non-profits have a board of directors. I believe BSA has the National Executive Board - comprised of about 72 members. Many franchisees sue their franchisor; some of these lawsuits are won by the franchisee. Anyone recall Chicken Delight? While business CEOs may make the bucks, CEOs of non-profits usually have little business experience. These people chose the feel-good majors in college, and run their enterprises on feelings rather than the bottom-line (usually). So, saying they could make more in the business world may not hold. Perhaps chief Scouters should be restricted to recently retired business execs. They are still young enough to be vital, don't need a paycheck because their investment income is more than most of out paychecks, and are probably more realistic in goal planning
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