Gates Foundation. Please Help Us
By: Mike Walton (blackeagle)
Posted On: 2020-10-19
Shutterstock Image used under Fair Usage Guidelines
See those smiling faces? I wish I had an image of smile Scouting youth and adult faces, but this will have to do for now.
On 12 August 2020, the BSA's National teams working under the "Churchill Project" made some recommendations to the National Executive Board, the guiding group within the BSA responsible for all decisions on behalf of the national organization. While these recommendations are not binding, the manner and composition of the volunteer and professional teams making up the "Churchill Project" ensure that their statements and opinions count and will be listened/read to by the National Board.
The group started to meet back in late 2018 -- well before the current coronavirus issues came up and well before the assault on the Boy Scouts of America by several legal firms all wanting to locate and file suits on behalf of former BSA youth and adult members which were subjects of abuse by the hands of BSA volunteers and professionals from as far back as the late 50s and as far current as of the early 2000s. It is important to know as a reminder that ALL of those abuse cases have been completed and legally adjudicated well before 2008 and that those affected have already been previously compensated.
The Churchill Project, instead, set to chart the "way forward" for the Boy Scouts of America as they entered the second century of service and leadership in America. Faced with reductions in youth and adult membership, the loss of several national partners including two religious, national partner organizations, and the changing American demographic landscape, the BSA needed to set an azimuth and determine which trails they need to enhance -- and unfortunately which trails that they need to close off or abandon as time moved forward. "There are no sacred cows," the Chief Scout Executive publically and privately proclaimed. "There will be no holding back -- it is going to hurt."
There are 28 proposals that were generated from this group of national, regional, and local volunteers, supported by national professional members. These volunteers included those who have received the BSA's highest volunteer honor, called the Silver Buffalo Award; those who are members of the BSA's national honorary called the Order of the Arrow (OA); those were representing key national partner organizations; those with no national or regional leadership roles but who have been volunteering in Scouting in various local roles for well over 30 years. They met by teleconferencing and until the emergence of the COVID-19 national emergency, in person.
Most importantly, the BSA declared that this process would be as transparent as it could possibly be under the current circumstances. This meant that for good or bad, that input from the field -- including from people like myself -- was solicited, documented, and discussed. There were a LOT of GREAT IDEAS shared, and those "good idea fairies" were in abundance.
A set of recommendations ensures into three areas for further research and approvals. The areas included keeping youth safety at the forefront, engaging and empowering our volunteers, and streamlining to enable local Council success.
From the BSA's press release...what many in the field have been waiting for:
"Recommendations that were paused for possible consideration of implementation in the future, include:
-- Establishing a fee-based structure for councils in place of the National BSA collecting membership fees from councils, and
-- Creating a non-traditional membership category for families that is focused on experiences, rather than advancement.
The Management Team will be reviewing those two recommendations while they are on pause for how they may be beneficial to the Movement in the future.
Three recommendations will NOT be considered at this time:
Combining Sea Scouting into Exploring; ending all youth programs at the age of 18; and discontinuing the Learning for Life curriculum
(hence the reason for the cheering as illustrated in the image above.)
Although we are not moving forward with these recommendations, we will continue the dialog that prompted the to ensure that we continue to benefit as a Movement from the evaluation and analysis conducted by the Churchill teams that studied those areas."
So to those who continue to say that "the field has no say in how the BSA is run or managed" and that "only those who have money get to decide how things in the BSA goes" here's the proof that it is simply NOT TRUE.
So let's together start a NEW campaign for people and organizations like the Gates Foundation. Please help the Boy Scouts of America to get out of its financial holes and to lend your voices and prominence to help Americans understand the importance of the Boy Scouts of America in contemporary, modern American life!