BSA vs. CAP from mission to scale there is no comparision

Started by Eclipse, July 16, 2013, 04:18:39 pm

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Eclipse

I attended my son's Scout meeting last night - he's considering moving to a new Troop - and some of the conversation
led me to do a little more research and I was frankly more then shocked.

As background:
I was a Scout myself and fairly active.  I made it to First Class, primarily so I could be part of the Leadership Corps and
eat steak on campouts instead of cold beans.  I definitely enjoyed it, learned a lot, but alas suffered from the same
thing many Scouts and Cadets do - no direct school friends in the program, and when I hit high school age, my progression
had ground to a halt, and teenage inertia set in.  I think I quit my sophomore year(?)

Since my kids have been involved in Cub, and now Boy Scouts, I've been somewhat surprised how little a factor money is.
They seem to be fundraising constantly - I don't think there has been a time when we aren't selling candy bars, and
a >lot< of the money goes directly back to the Scout for their "Scout Account", which is an interesting idea, but not likely
a good fit for CAP.  By "a lot" I mean hundreds of dollars if the Scout is an active fundraiser - and then that money can
be used for just about anything Scout-related, uniforms, equipment, activities, etc.

The meeting was sparse because, just like CAP, summer activities have sapped a lot of Scouts to "other",
not the least of which is two Scouts going to the National Jamboree that we "discussed" in another thread.

This is where things got both interesting and shocking.

The participant fee for the summit is $850 per Scout or Adult Leader over 26 ($425 for 18-25 year olds).  Not too
bad in comparison to some of the higher-end NCSAs like flight academies, until you start to factor in ancillary
costs such as transportation, equipment, "misc", and also realize that a significant number of the staff and leadership
are also volunteers and paying to be there as well.    Local Area Councils are also free to add additional cost to that
amount.  That price includes food, tents / shelters, and use of the impressive facilities (more on that below).

A CAP flight academy is similar in cost, because...you learn how to fly a plane.  However the average CAP encampment,
which also includes meals, lodging and activities, is usually around $100-300, depending on the wheres and whats.

Private summer camps can be pricey, but in those cases the counselors and staff are paid, and the organization is
generally a for-profit enterprise.

One Scout mentioned that the BSA was in serious financial trouble because of the Summit and because membership
was down due to the recent change of their membership policies.

Here's where things got "interesting" and "eye-opening"...

http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/15/19488798-west-virginia-mega-camp-adds-to-the-boy-scouts-troubles
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/15/us-boyscouts-finances-specialreport-idUSBRE96E08B20130715

Wow. 

"The Summit gives us the opportunity to reintroduce ourselves to America and raise $1 billion for the best youth development in the world," says a slide from a June 2010 presentation on the project.

That's with a "B". 

For those not inclined to read the article, this single facility, which will be used for HAAs in the years between Jamborees, has a development budget which will grow
to $439 Million dollars by 2015 (it doesn't say what the annual operating cost will be).

CAP's annual appropriation is under $30M, total expenditures probably under $50-60 Million, including AFAMs - heck, push that to $100M if you want and it still
pales in comparison.   And the AFAMs aren't really comparable, since those are service back, not service consumed, and their ROI to the taxpayer
is arguably a multiplier of that figure.  The Summit makes HMRS, a source for constant gnashing of teeth because of the facility cost, look like a corner park in comparison.

The place looks awesome, but it's not somewhere I'd send my kids without serous consideration.  The scuttle is that's it's hugly crowded - the comparison to
a Disney park is apt.  The cool stuff has all kinds of lines, and the set-ins for large gatherings can take 1/2 the day (the amphitheater can hold
85,000 people).   As I mentioned in the other thread, it's not unusual for Scouts to be sitting 3-6+ hours while a gathering is brought together.
Seriously, imagine herding 30-40,000 12-15 year old cats without any drill or marching.  At best they have their Patrols, which are generally just a gaggle of
Scouts in a smaller squad.

So what does this mean in a CAP context?

Well, for starters, just as trying to compare the CGAux to CAP is pretty much a waste of time, so is comparing the BSA to CAP.  Just as to the general
public, "everyone in camo is in the Army", the organizations may look the same to the uninitiated, but once you are involved, you see they are vastly different.

Next, the constant excuse in CAP of "no money" is clearly just that, an excuse - I'm sure there are plenty of Troops from impoverished areas where money
is an issue, but looking at the mean of both organizations - stable middle class with some disposable income - money is not the end-all answer.  Troops
have the same issues of available host facilities, disinterested parents, and low / declining youth membership, and, more importantly, purpose as CAP.

The BSA, and I've discussed this with accomplished leaders that are shared between the orgs (i.e. Eagle / Spaatz's who are now Troop leaders / Unit staff leaders, etc.),
is clearly a more social, less structured, and family-based organization then CAP, which has both an operational mission and a paramilitary / AE career focus.
Their challenge is that the traditional family structure and social hierarchy and fabric that encouraged membership in these types of organizations is eroding and
evolving.  Their top-down support comes from old-school business and civic leaders who are (fairly rapidly) dying out.   The next wave is not nearly as focused on
church involvement or even "joining" as a concept (unless it means social media), and many of their host facilities feel besieged and are pushing back on them and
their changing policies, and pushing them out, both literally and figuratively.

Both organizations can be significant positive influences, teach youth all sorts of important life lessons, and expose them to areas outside their comfort zone
that the average couch-rider will never see, however I think that CAP's mission(s) give it an "advantage of purpose" that the BSA doesn't enjoy.  Sadly,
because of our own inertia and failure to choose leaders and staff wisely, many units never take advantage of the ability to draw straight lines between
participation and results.  Both organizations suffer greatly from issues of "local failure / national blame", and both have far too many units that
"meet on Tuesday because we have always met on Tuesday" with no greater purpose or plan then "meeting on Tuesday".

This doesn't wrap up neatly with my fix, I wish it did.  I just was pretty shocked to see those numbers, which clearly
demonstrated the differences in the sheer scale of the organizations that are so often compared because they "kinda look the same".







caphornbuckle

Being involved in the BSA for almost 30 years and in CAP for almost 25, I think CAP has a better handle on things because they are ran as a national organization with policies and regulations that are specific to each member from the top down as well as receive federal funding.  Scouting, because they receive no federal funding, can run how they please.  As I have said on here in the past, the local units are not "owned" by the BSA, they are "owned" by their chartered organization.  All equipment and money belong to the chartered organization.  Looking at CAP, everything is owned by CAP.

The BSA also has another situation that CAP doesn't.  They own approximately 150,000 acres of property (not counting local council camps, which is a whole different story) with a paid staff to accommodate them.  They also have a paid staff from the national level all the way down to the district levels.  From what I gather, CAP does not have anywhere near the paid staff the BSA has.  Wouldn't it be great if all of the national, region, wing, and group staff members got paid?

So, when you look at general numbers, it costs way much more to keep the scouting program afloat than it does in CAP.  Add to it that the long-time declining membership (even before the new policy) due to the internet and video games, it is no wonder they are in need of funds.
Lt Col Samuel L. Hornbuckle, CAP

JeffDG

Quote from: caphornbuckle on July 17, 2013, 07:00:29 am
Wouldn't it be great if all of the national, region, wing, and group staff members got paid?
No, it wouldn't.  And I say that as someone who is both a Group and Wing staff person.

An absolutely essential character of CAP is "Volunteer Service".  You start paying folks, and now you end up with a situation where you get people who take jobs because they need the money, not because they choose to serve, and that opens a whole new can-of-worms to deal with.  Then there's the fact that you probably wouldn't be able to compete for top-tier people in the paid market.  As a volunteer, I'll give my time freely to CAP.  If my job were paying, I'd say "Yeah, you're not paying near enough for my time."

bflynn

They are different programs. 

If a top down, structured organization with centralized planning is your goal, then CAP is your choice.  You join as a cadet, get and properly wear your uniform, do your Curry etc.  There is little variation betwen squadrons.

Scouts are organized to be a bottom up organization.  If you'd rather work on your hiking merit badge than swimming, then it's your choice.  Each troop has a different character and each scout really plots their own way through scouting.  Diversity is the keyword.

In the end it isn't a competition, they are different options.

BTW, if YOU'RE selling candy bars, I think you're missing a key point in the exercise.  It isn't just about getting money for the troop, if that's all it was, they could come shake you down for it.

NCRblues

Quote from: bflynn on July 17, 2013, 01:26:30 pm
  There is little variation betwen squadrons


I got a very good laugh out of that this morning, thank you!
In god we trust, all others we run through NCIC

Майор Хаткевич


NIN

Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
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lordmonar

Quote from: JeffDG on July 17, 2013, 12:57:16 pm
Quote from: caphornbuckle on July 17, 2013, 07:00:29 am
Wouldn't it be great if all of the national, region, wing, and group staff members got paid?
No, it wouldn't.  And I say that as someone who is both a Group and Wing staff person.

An absolutely essential character of CAP is "Volunteer Service".  You start paying folks, and now you end up with a situation where you get people who take jobs because they need the money, not because they choose to serve, and that opens a whole new can-of-worms to deal with.  Then there's the fact that you probably wouldn't be able to compete for top-tier people in the paid market.  As a volunteer, I'll give my time freely to CAP.  If my job were paying, I'd say "Yeah, you're not paying near enough for my time."
My father was a Paid BSA District Executive......and I got say BS on this.   The BSA has a model built around a paid staff and a volunteer staff at all levels of the organization.

The council (state) has a paid leader, and paid district executives...who have specific duties to BSA and the BSA mission.....but it is the Council Chairman and his Committee that "own" the council and set local policy.  Just like at the National Level there is a whole bunch of paid staffers....but the National Committee and The National Chair that own the BSA program.

Paid leaders....actually in charge does not diminish  the character of volunteer service in the BSA at all.

Also to note.......the primary duties of a District Executive of the BSA are as follows........SME (fund raising), Recruiting (new units and new members) and Training District Volunteer Leaders.

My father spent maybe %70 of his time fund raising....with recruiting and training being a surge thing that happened in the fall.  Everything else was run by a staff of volunteer leaders.
PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP

bflynn

Quote from: NIN on July 17, 2013, 05:12:44 pm
Quote from: NCRblues on July 17, 2013, 03:03:17 pm
Quote from: bflynn on July 17, 2013, 01:26:30 pm
  There is little variation betwen squadrons


I got a very good laugh out of that this morning, thank you!


Me too! :)


Really?  You mean there are squadrons that don't require cadets to wear a proper uniform and get their Curry award first?  I didn't know that....

You obviously had the impression that I was saying that every squadron was the same, which of course they are not.  Local leadership makes a big difference.  What I mean is that the requirements of every cadet are the same, they are dictated from above, as is the order of performing them.

Boy scouts are far less structured.  There is one uniform and a great deal of personal variation in wearing it.  Merit badge requirements are dictated, but not the requirement that you ever have to do a single one.

They are different organizations.

lordmonar

That is not quite true.

For Eagle you have to earn a total of 21 merit badges including 12 required merit badges.

Starting at Star you have to start working on merit badges to work up to the eagle requirements.

The BSA does have a set program for individual scouts....the have to work on Scout, Tenderfoot, 2d Class, 1st Class, star, Life, Eagle in that order just like CAP has to work from curry to Spaatz...in that order.

the big difference between CAP and BSA is that once you get to 1st Class...the focus is more on leadership and personal study as opposed to troop providing the training for you.

From Scout to 1st Class the requires have a lot of small "critical" skill tasks that a scout is expected to learn spread out through their advancement.....and you can earn them in any order....but there is still a set progression.

Yes....BSA and CAP Cadet programs are different organizations with different teaching models.....but they are both have the same aim of creating better youth leaders for America.

PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP

RiverAux

Quote from: Eclipse on July 16, 2013, 04:18:39 pm

Well, for starters, just as trying to compare the CGAux to CAP is pretty much a waste of time, so is comparing the BSA to CAP.  Just as to the general public, "everyone in camo is in the Army", the organizations may look the same to the uninitiated, but once you are involved, you see they are vastly different.


Well, it depends on what sort of comparisons you want to make.  Where there are similar goals between the organizations, comparisons of the approaches they take to achieve them can be useful.  And, I'm not just talking about big-picture goals.

For example, if the goal is the best way to train and quality members to carry out certain operational tasks, both CAP (in the ES area) and CG Aux generally follow the same model --- trainees have to meet some prerequisites and then carry out a certain number of tasks under the supervision of someone qualified in that skill.  With some tasks, such as CAP mission pilot and Aux boatcrew member and coxswain you have to pass a final field test of your skills by someone considered an expert in that area. Now, given that the organizations do a lot in this area in a similar way, if you wanted to look at how each organization actually processes requests for qualification in these skills you would find that the Aux still does everything on paper while CAP has mostly gone electronic.  Could the Aux learn something from how CAP does this?  Sure.

In general, the Aux and CAP are far more similar in the issues they face than they are different. 

Anyone who doesn't think that CAP can learn a lot from other organizations (and that they can learn from CAP) has a very restricted view of the world. 

Eclipse

Quote from: RiverAux on July 17, 2013, 07:27:50 pmIn general, the Aux and CAP are far more similar in the issues they face than they are different.

I don't really think they do - mission, role, scope, culture, and membership are all significantly different, not to mention funding, facilities, and core competencies.

Quote from: RiverAux on July 17, 2013, 07:27:50 pm
Anyone who doesn't think that CAP can learn a lot from other organizations (and that they can learn from CAP) has a very restricted view of the world.

I don't disagree, but most comparisons fall flat since the organizations are too different to really compare.