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All Involved in BSA Should Read Cross Road’s Recommendation

There is some interesting stuff in the Cross Roads Recommendation: Unit Focused Scouting. I’d recommend everyone involved in BSA read it, because this is described by our Area Leaders as a pilot of changes to come to the rest of the Boy Scouts of America.

The recommendation was the result of The Area Two Study and involved 110 volunteers and professional staffers over a nine month period. The recommendation is to merge all the 11 Council’s in Michigan (However, Toledo and the UP opted out.) into a new Mega-Council (my name, not their’s) and establish Five Regional Field Councils that are focused on the local units. The Recommendation, which recently passed, calls for many Unit Serving Executive (USEs) to be hired as the “sales force” of Scouting.

The Recommendation says” “Scouting needs more sales personnel than it needs managers. Instead of an up or out model of professional development, it is recommended that we develop professionals who see themselves in the long term as primarily the face of Scouting in a community where they live and work. A professional’s expected tenure in a community should increase to several years rather than months of service, and compensation should be performance based. Over time, a good salesperson of Scouting will develop community relationships that will enable him or her to recruit and retain the right mix of volunteers to assure success in both program and fundraising.”

The Regional Field Councils will be administratively supported by the new mega-council who handle the business operations of scouting, managing camps and supervise funding efforts. “We will bring more youth to Scouting and more Scouting to youth,” concludes the Executive Summary.

The Outdoor Task Force Section of The Recommendation states its Mission as “…develop the optimal Outdoor Program model and delivery network for Scouting in the coming century. We will focus our efforts on the youth that we serve. We will create a model that will attract, enrich and retain youth by centering the highest quality program delivered in a variety of accessible venues within a financially sustainable framework.” The recommendation also says “The Area Outdoor Program Task Force does not currently recommend the sale of any Council operated outdoor program property.”

In the pro-forma financials of the new consolidated Michigan Mega-Council it also says that “Camping expense ($9.1 M) includes a net loss of approximately $300k-$600k overall, but this is inexact because of the variety of accounting practices now used.” At a 3% to 6% loss, they would be really close to being financially sustainable with the existing camps and this doesn’t reflect the increased revenues from increased usage expected through the centralized coordination of camps and outdoor programs or the decreased expenses from increased operating efficiencies.

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