Why don't you work for the BSA? You've truly have helped me and so many other Scouters out over the months/years! You explain the rules and policies in ways that I can understand them -- I may not like them - but I can understand them and I'm able to tell my people without pulling out a lot of books. You take the time to answer all of our emails! I know your wife must be a really patient person to put up with that, and the phone calls and other things I'm sure you get. It's a shame, though, that you do this as a volunteer. You should be paid by the letter for each item you post to the lists, to the newsgroups, and to individuals like me with some many questions. And to answer one of your questions - why don't I call my professional and ask him these things I'm asking you and others?? Because they seem not to have time for me. They don't answer my questions and when they do, they tell me to "look it up" (like I'm supposed to have the entire BSA library in my home!) or tell me to "see (name or position of individual)", who doesn't know because they're asking ME. He tells me that "people like" you don't have the right answers, and that I should rely on what he tells me because "he's there and you're not".... but he NEVER gives me the answer!! Then, to beat it all, when he DOES finally break down and call me back or see me at a meeting, he gives me this dance about "I'm sorry, but I don't know the answer...give me a couple of days and I'll have it for you." By then, I've already gotten the CORRECT ANSWER from you or someone else online... so, Mike, Why AREN'T YOU employed by the BSA to answer our questions and to be our sounding board? It would surely cut some of the "crap" many of us out here are getting from our professionals and some of our fellow volunteers!! I tell you what, Mike Walton, if you EVER decide to relocate to (name of Council, country, state, or city/community), I will personally see to it that you be named (Council or District volunteer position)!! You're too valuable to have sitting "on the sidelines!"
I blush deep purple whenever I receive postings like this sent to me, or worse, sent to entire groups of people online. They truly make my day and makes up for any and/or all postings telling me to find something else to do (and I do receive those from time to time as well!).
Thank you for allowing me (and other Scouters) to answer your questions, to resolve your concerns or fears or issues, and for giving me the opportunity to explain why the BSA does some of the things they do. I truly enjoy assisting other Scouts and Scouters over the last 15 years, and will continue to do so as long as I am able to do so, as long as there is a valid need for me to do so.
I am afraid that if I were employed by the BSA to do these things, friend, that I would have to explain things as they would allow me to do so. That's the problem of being employed by a firm...you must adhere to their rules, their environment, their ways of resolving issues and answering questions. I do not know if this would lessen my effectiveness or not in answering and explaining items to others...but I am ALWAYS open to hearing ways that I (or others!) can assist Scouters online while still maintaining a definite separation from the official management of the program.
The BSA does not employ me solely because they choose not to employ me to do this role. If enough Scouters would send letters and talk with their Councils, I am sure that myself (or someone else, if the BSA feels that I would not be a suitable candidate for this role, for whatever reason they may have - and it IS their program, after all!) would be honored to start receiving and answering 2 to 3 THOUSAND emails a day from Scouts, Scouters, parents and organizations asking everything from a copy of the Rules and Regulations to "Pedro's" autograph! (Laughter)
Professionals are taught (remember, I used to be a part-time one!) to either answer the question, or to put volunteers off until they can find the answer. Unfortunately, most professionals forgot the part about "following up with those answers to those questions" that they've put off by that "standard NEI/PEI" answer (NEI/PEI is the BSA's National Executive Institute now called the Professional Executive Institute, the professional's "ground school").
I have chosen not to answer the question sent electronically to me until I DID know the answer, based upon the few books and manuals I have access to here and the resources I have access to. In this way, when you receive an answer from me, it contains the answer to the question or a request from me to please be patient while I research and find the answer out for you. You're right; sometimes the answers are NOT all "positive, sure, you can do it!" There are many times in which I have to inform a Scouter or Scout that they are doing things wrong or not according to the BSA's policies or rules and regulations...and this does unfortunately get the Scout or Scouter angry enough to respond back to me with "What do YOU know about it, anyways?" or something equally as angry. I can understand the anger, but when you ask me a question, I will do my best to find what I call "the definitive answer", the answer that works in most all situations and locations. But also as your professional friend informed you, I don't know the answer to everything and you should not use me or anyone else online solely as a source of your answers. Look it up, ask other Scouters locally, even ask your professional and see what he or she can come up with. In most cases, however, what I or some other Scouters here online respond with comes from the basic books and manuals, and coupled with our own personal experiences, are the answers that most Councils will also accept as that "definitive answer".
Many Scouters have sent me patches, coffeemugs or certificates to show their appreciation to me for helping them, and I treasure those items. The certificates and letters I keep in a file folder; I drink from the coffeemugs and store them; the patches are for the most part kept in a separate binder (I do trade some of them off, however, as I've received several of the same items over the years, and when Scouts ask me for a "patch from your location", I'll send them one of the patches which was given to me along with an explanation...it makes it a little more special to them that I'm sharing something given to me rather than for me to go to the local Scout Shop(tm) or Council Service Center, purchasing a patch or two, and mailing it out to the Scout).
Finally, I want to thank you and all of the other Scouts and Scouters out there for your confidence in me and what I do for you and other Scouts and Scouters. I try my best to be as upfront as I can be about the information I get, the answers to your questions, and how to solve your question, concern or issue. I feel that I do a good job...not a GREAT job, but a good job at this. I ask you to please don't stop asking but also please don't stop asking your local folks too. The program of Scouting depends on your relationship with the local Council, keeping them in business so to speak. I don't represent the BSA. I don't work for the BSA. I don't speak for the BSA. I do understand the relationships between local Council and national organization and I do understand the conflicts between the BSA and its membership in the field. I try to keep those things in mind as I answer you and answer you as if the BSA would answer and explain "why" or "why not" to you.
I would love to come to your Council someday, meet you and other Scouters, and perhaps help your Council to raise the monies it needs to continue operating; to train and coach its volunteers, especially its volunteer commissioner cadre; and to assist with presenting and recognizing personal and group achievements through our programs and program support options. Let me know how I can be of service to you!
That's ALL I do, and I've been so very blessed in being able to assist you and others!
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