Why is the BSA so resistant to the 21st century?? Why can't I call up National and have them to send someone down to our Council and fix our problems with our (title of professional)? There should be a person at National that gets all of the complaints and then figures out if they are valid or not and then sends them to the Chief Scout or someone to get them all fixed...is that why you're online?? Is that what you do in Scouting?

Once again, I DO NOT WORK for the Boy Scouts of America in ANY CAPACITY. I am not an "online ombudsman" for them (although I like the title; someone suggested it to me) officially.

The reason why you cannot call up "national" and have someone to come to your Council and "straighten your Council out" (or its professionals), is because technically, those professionals DO NOT BELONG to the BSA, Inc. They belong to your Council. Volunteers in your Council hires the Council Scout Executive. He or she hires all of the other professionals. The BSA provides ways for them to become promoted, and the professionals themselves with help from the Regional office handle transfers between one local Council and another. So, if you have problems with your professionals, you need to NOT call upon "national" but rather your Council's volunteers and the Regional Director under which they are being "managed" from instead.

Now, saying all of this, Council Scout Executives ARE in fear of one (or maybe two) people. One of those persons is a Regional professional called an Area Director. Regions employ Regional Area Directors based on a formula that changes every two years. Basically, just like with your Council, they hire "X" number of Regional Area Directors based on how many Regional Areas the Region is divided along and the size of those Areas. Some Areas, because of their land or number of Councils size, have a "two person team". So you may have an Area Director and an Associate Area Director. Other Regional Areas only have that one person.

Their main job is to mentor and coach the Council Scout Executives and the professionals within their Councils. In other words, the Area Director is the Scout Executive's BOSS. If you have a problem with a Council Scout Executive, THIS is the person whom you want involved in the resolution ALONG WITH YOUR COUNCIL'S VOLUNTEERS. This person maintains office space either somewhere in your Area (a group of Councils), or at the Regional Office of the BSA. He or she is on the road a lot, visiting all of the Councils, and visiting key volunteers in the Area. He or she has a volunteer counterpart called an Area Chairman (sounds familiar, doesn't it?) but NO "Area Commissioner" yet. I always steer people away from the Regional Area Director unless the situation is SO MESSED UP that he or she needs to be there. Most cases can be handled by volunteers in your Council, or by volunteers residing in your Regional Area.

I will NOT come between an Area Director and a Scout Executive on your behalf. That's your call, and all I can do is to provide you the resources to make the call. Area Directors have an awful lot of power. They can fire Scout Executives and they have the authority to fire other professionals as well.

The BSA is "resistant" to the ways of the Internet and the World Wide Web because for 90 years, they have been doing things in their own developed way of doing them and for the most part, they still work. That's where the structure of the Regions, the Areas, the Councils, the Districts, and the units come from. There have been some changes to adapt to changes in America as well as changes in the way kids relate to each other and to adults. Some of you may not be old enough to recall that the BSA only had females serving as "Den Mothers" and fathers served as unregistered "Den Dads". You may not be old enough to recall that the BSA had something called a "Safe Driving Road Rally" for Explorers; or that the Arrow of Light was called the WEBELOS Award. Some of you may not recall "National Program Representative" or an "Educational Executive". And some folks don't know what an "Ace" was in Scouting. Or a PACE.

Give the BSA some time to warm up to the Internet, gang. They have already made the first steps by setting up intranets and email accounts in-house, along with a nice website that they are paying for. As time goes onward, eventually, we'll be sending our advancement reports in via a web interface, and scheduling trips to Philmont or the Jamboree via email.

This also eventually means that folks like me will have to find OTHER things to do, as eventually, even the Mike Waltons of the world will be replaced by either professionals, a "helpdesk" or a series of frequently asked questions (like these, except in more detail!).

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