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Friends of Scouting Mandatory?

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#1 Krampus

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 01:06 PM

Received an interesting email from our District Chairman. It basically said "Every Unit, no matter the size, is expected to participate in this year’s FOS campaign...". This pretty much turned off our whole TC and adult leadership, so much so we are going to forego FoS this year.

 

Has anyone else had this sort of strong-arm statement from their district essentially dictating whether they will or won't participate in FoS? 


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#2 scoutldr

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 01:12 PM

Sounds like a DE is getting desperate to meet his goal to "Fund Our Salaries". I've seen it before. We would give them a date to come give their pitch at a Blue and Gold or COH. We would not actively promote it or follow up on pledge cards that they failed to get signed that night.
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#3 Krampus

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 01:29 PM

Sounds like a DE is getting desperate to meet his goal to "Fund Our Salaries". I've seen it before. We would give them a date to come give their pitch at a Blue and Gold or COH. We would not actively promote it or follow up on pledge cards that they failed to get signed that night.

 

We ask them every year to make the presentation under 10 mins, we give them a table outside the hall to conduct their business, and we used to always meet our previous year's contribution or more. One year they took 45 mins and sat in the COH in the back disrupting the service. After that we stopped inviting them. They invite themselves. We give them five mins and they're lucky to get $200. Then they want *US* to follow up on the cards handed out. 

 

Even when we contributed well the district was unresponsive to our requests. No reasons to contribute.


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#4 CalicoPenn

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 02:03 PM

I'd send a money order for $1.00 from the Troop as a token FOS contribution along with a copy of the e-mail to the Council President (the top volunteer) and a note explaining that this should meet the DE's "mandatory participation requirement" and that you will be instructing all of the adults in your unit that they should recycle any letters from the Council requesting FOS contributions that might be mailed to their homes.


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#5 Lurking...

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 03:11 PM

We just ignore them.  They go away after a while.  Haven't had a FOS presentation for many moons now.  Don't miss them one bit.


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#6 qwazse

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 03:12 PM

Your horror stories make me proud of (The Great) Seneca district and how they train their FoS volunteers in the utmost courtesy.


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#7 Krampus

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 04:06 PM

Your horror stories make me proud of (The Great) Seneca district and how they train their FoS volunteers in the utmost courtesy.

 

I'd post the actual (3 page) email the exec sent out but I know he visits this board every so often. It is a piece of work.

 

I was always taught to communicate effectively you keep things short, bullet-point main points, etc. These folks ramble on and on and on. Last time they gave a presentation two old silver beavers spent 20 minutes talking about THEIR experiences in scouting. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. We actually had several families leave the COH. I had to stop them and ask them to give me a chance to yank those jokers off the stage. Thank goodness for a "problem" with the a/v gear. ;)


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#8 NJCubScouter

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 07:55 PM

Apparently our CC can't withstand whatever pressure is put on her to have one of these things once a year, so we do have them. I don't know whether that makes it "mandatory" or not because I don't know what "they" say to her. Their return from presentations in our unit is very low as I understand it.
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#9 Krampus

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 07:37 AM

Apparently our CC can't withstand whatever pressure is put on her to have one of these things once a year, so we do have them. I don't know whether that makes it "mandatory" or not because I don't know what "they" say to her. Their return from presentations in our unit is very low as I understand it.

 

Our unit still serves the district though: we run their ranges at Cub events, when we use council camps (maybe once a year, if that) we conduct a full day's service project, we have one adult running one of their committees, we send a representative or two to RTs, we participate in the district service project (SFF) and usually collect the most food despite having a poor area from which to work.

 

We suffer from two problems. First, we cannot sell our parents on the difference between supporting the unit and supporting the council. The parents see them all as "Boy Scouts". With the gear, uniforms, camp and events costing so much, it is hard for them to dig deeper and fund programs which their kids may never use. Second, and perhaps most important, is the sheer pomposity with which the council/district folks act before, during and after the FOS presentation. When my "Joe Average" *and* my "Gung Ho" parents walk out of a COH because they feel like they're being spoken down to, then the FOS folks have a problem.


Edited by Krampus, 08 December 2015 - 07:39 AM.

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#10 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 08:32 AM

I can sympathize.  I've done FOS presentations and I try to keep them short, sweet, and to the point.  I admit I do take up about 10 minutes total.  I give a brief talk on where FOS goes and I have Scouts handing out the brochures to the parents.  Scouts are usually still handing out brochures ort picking up completed one after I'm finished talking. Thats about 7-9 minutes.

 

Just before everything is over, I ask for another minute or 2 to say how much was raised, and more importantly THANK EVERYONE.  

 

IF the FOS patches are available, I'll stayy afterwards and hand those out to those who qualify. We give out special FOS CSPs for those who give a specified amount. Basically what it costs the council per scout to operate.


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#11 Lurking...

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 09:07 AM

And there you have it. 

 

Parents aren't going to pay for something their boy isn't getting.  "What's in it for me" is the #1 motivation for contributing to FOS.  People who feel this way will justify their stand by using the guilt by association model.  If BSA is wasting money on STEM trucks to tour the country, and all the local councis are overcharging summer camps to make ends meet, why should my money go to the troop where it'll be wasted.  Of course they don't make the association that the local troop is watching every penny and milking it for all it's worth.

 

And the high cost of uniforms and such?  BSA has always overcharged for it's products and a lot of people felt it was worth it.  I remember as a kid standing in front of the scout counter at the J. C. Penny's needing to buy a cap, necker, slide, shirt, patches, belt, pants and socks.  My family was not well off financially so if I was going to be in Scouts, I had to pay my own way.  I'm thinking the difference in attitude between me and contemporary parents might be the world of Scouting I grew up in is not the world of Scouting of today.  Today all you need is the shirt and a couple of patches and you're golden...... Whatever it takes to get by with the minimum investment for the greatest return.  By the way, how much does a Eagle status cost nowadays?


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#12 Krampus

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 09:13 AM

By the way, how much does a Eagle status cost nowadays?

 

Far less than dancing lessons/competitions or select sports. ;)


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#13 Lurking...

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 09:33 AM

Far less than dancing lessons/competitions or select sports. ;)

 

But what you learn in Scouting is a forever lesson in character.  Dancing and sports will last only as long as you are physically able to do so.  One can still follow the Scout Oath and Law and be restricted to a nursing home.  Not many nursing homes have basketball pickup games.  Come to think of it, I don't ever recall seeing a gymnasium in a nursing home, but I still visit some of the Old Guard Scouters there.  The ROI is far greater in Scouting than any other program out there, yet the complaints just keep on rolling in.


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#14 desertrat77

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 01:46 PM

I've seen similar strong arm tactics.    It backfires on the council every time.   Amazing.  Don't they teach communication skills in DE charm school and in WB?  :)

 

From here on out, I've decided to peg my FOS contributions directly to the tangibles the council provides to the units in the district.   Total thus far:  zero.   Even considering the intangibles, still zero.

 

Not sure how the council is going to meet pay roll, pay the mortgage, etc.   The council did not consult the volunteers before building the budget and making financial commitments.   Yet the volunteers are supposed to foot the bill?   That's quite a business model.


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#15 John-in-KC

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 02:06 PM

Moderator's Note:

 

Moving this to the fundraising forum.  A "find me" tag will remain in OD:  Program


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#16 SeattlePioneer

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 02:50 PM

<<Received an interesting email from our District Chairman. It basically said "Every Unit, no matter the size, is expected to participate in this year’s FOS campaign...". This pretty much turned off our whole TC and adult leadership, so much so we are going to forego FoS this year.>> 

 

 

 

This kind of approach is dumb and counter productive.

 

 

For many years,  our district leadership has been respectful of units in soliciting voluntary FOS contributions.  That approach works better than any other,  in my opinion.

 

Frankly,  a unit which refuses to participate in FOS should be a useful warning to district leaders that there are problems  with the unit or with the district or council than need to be identified and corrected  ---- in my opinion.  

 

​Using this approach,  our district has consistently met it allocated FOS goal each year except for one,  at the bottom of the recent recession.


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#17 JoeBob

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 03:22 PM

If your FoS presenter is an unwelcome pain, you could always do a troop presentation immediately after.  "The money you give to the DE goes to the council camp that we don't attend.  If you want your money to go directly to your son's program, use the envelope that the boys are passing out now that has our troop treasurer's address on it.  Thank you!"

 

I bet the FoS guys leave you alone next year.

 

FWIW, our council is sensitive to our time when they visit.  They usually get around two grand from our 45 man troop.


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#18 NJCubScouter

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 03:43 PM

We suffer from two problems. First, we cannot sell our parents on the difference between supporting the unit and supporting the council. The parents see them all as "Boy Scouts". With the gear, uniforms, camp and events costing so much, it is hard for them to dig deeper and fund programs which their kids may never use. Second, and perhaps most important, is the sheer pomposity with which the council/district folks act before, during and after the FOS presentation. When my "Joe Average" *and* my "Gung Ho" parents walk out of a COH because they feel like they're being spoken down to, then the FOS folks have a problem.


We have had the same issues. In the past couple years our FOS presentations have been done by one of our own ASM's who is also a UC, so the "pomposity" factor has not been much of an issue. But the reason he does it is that the troop committee has made clear that we didn't appreciate the "attitude" we got from some of the "outside" presenters in the past. So this guy stepped in and volunteered to do presentations that won't tick off our parents, for which he deserves applause. (But I don't think his presentations raise much money from our unit.)

I also think that parents in general take the attitude that their son joined a troop - not a district, not a council, not a national. They realize they have to pay the annual registration fees, which are built into our troop dues. But beyond that, the parents don't see the council/district as providing much value, if any.
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#19 andysmom

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Posted 09 December 2015 - 07:48 AM

Our district had roundtable last night with the council key 3, the VP of Programs and the camping and properties chair.  One of these 5 is a paid professional, the other 4 are volunteers.

Much of their visit was to speak about plans for possibly selling one of our camps and money.

 

This year our council did away with FOS.  They have implimented a manditory $24 "activity fee" on every registration instead.

 

Councils need money for staff (bookkeeper, paperwork processor, etc), to run training and to maintain camps (taxes, maintenance, improvements, etc.)  Without councils we couldn't function.  All of that money comes through fundraising and FOS.

In our council less than 12% of families participate in FOS, only 50% of units participate in popcorn sales and less than 10% of units participate in the sale of nuts.

 

We have 3 council run camps, only 1 of which makes money, between the 3 camps council suffers a net loss of about $75,000 a year and they have deferred maintanance on all the camps for the last 7 years.  It is very sad when a scout camp has to be sold but councils cannot run loosing money when they are not getting support from the units.

 

Just another perspective.


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#20 walk in the woods

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Posted 09 December 2015 - 08:43 AM

Our district had roundtable last night with the council key 3, the VP of Programs and the camping and properties chair.  One of these 5 is a paid professional, the other 4 are volunteers.

Much of their visit was to speak about plans for possibly selling one of our camps and money.

 

This year our council did away with FOS.  They have implimented a manditory $24 "activity fee" on every registration instead.

 

Councils need money for staff (bookkeeper, paperwork processor, etc), to run training and to maintain camps (taxes, maintenance, improvements, etc.)  Without councils we couldn't function.  All of that money comes through fundraising and FOS.

In our council less than 12% of families participate in FOS, only 50% of units participate in popcorn sales and less than 10% of units participate in the sale of nuts.

 

We have 3 council run camps, only 1 of which makes money, between the 3 camps council suffers a net loss of about $75,000 a year and they have deferred maintanance on all the camps for the last 7 years.  It is very sad when a scout camp has to be sold but councils cannot run loosing money when they are not getting support from the units.

 

Just another perspective.

 

To be honest I like the activity fee idea better than FOS.  I think it would be easier to sell parent at registration every year by saying "yep, it's $75 a year to be in scouting.  1/3 goes to national, 1/3 to council and 1/3 to the unit.  Write one check now and we'll do local fundraisers for all the rest."  That's better than constantly coming back to the unit asking for more money.

 

FWIW, The units support the council and national by existing and running the program.  They don't owe the organization anything beyond that.  Rather, the organization exists to support the units.


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