Scouts Canada's Finances: Crossroads IV

Did we miss the turn?

We are presenting the fourth Crossroads Report. In this report we are challenged to ask WHY? As Scouter Joseph Grittani says, it's a simple question. That simple question can, however, raise numerous serious issues.

It is pretty clear that our Scouts Canada National Organization is not asking enough "Why?" questions.

When our Scouts Canada organization is suffering, some would say haemorrhaging, 10% membership losses each year, it is a fair question to ask WHY. Our CEO asserts in his recent memo that Scouting is good value. Why does the public not believe the CEO's assertion of value and WHY do so many leaders likewise not believe the CEO's assertion. If the public and Scouting's leadership actually believed this they would not be abandoning the organization at the rate noted above. Indeed they would be joining the movement. WHY are they leaving?

The ugly fact that no one seems to want to address in any public way is that membership in Scouts Canada is not seen as good value for money spent. The losses that we are suffering are quintessentially summed up in the word decimated. This word signifies a defeat in which a large proportion of a force is lost. Originally it was one in ten - deci being a one tenth part. Prior to the institution of By-law No. 2 we were suffering membership decline averaging about 5% per year. This was not a good situation. Since the institution of By-law No.2 (effectively September 2002 but officially June 1, 2003) the annual decline has not been less than 9.5%. How our National Leadership can continue to assert the we are on the right road is beyond comprehension.

WHY would anyone think that a movement can effectively be controlled from Baseline Road headquarters? A movement depends on the grass roots participation of the members in a democratic fashion. A movement acts locally and must have effective local governance structures in order to yield positive results. WHY does our National Organization studiously ignore this fundamental principle of Scouting adopted by the World Organization of the Scout Movement. By creating an inward looking, self-perpetuating, governance structure our National Organization has created the means for its own demise. They are like a kid using toilet paper tubes and pretending those tubes are a pair of binoculars. In fact, they have merely limited their field of vision. The results are painfully obvious.

An organization without vision will only continue to repeat the same mistakes instead of learning from those mistakes. Instead of admitting that it has erred our organization keeps on telling us that financial and membership nirvana is just over the next hill. The fact is that year by year the hills are getting steeper and steeper. Nirvana is nowhere in sight, it is only a myth and a mantra.

Without democratic participation these "WHY?" questions will never get answered despite the fact that they may repeatedly be asked. More bureaucratic fixes certainly will not be the answer. There being no accountability to the membership at any level the questions will simply continue to be ignored while the financial documentation is re-jigged to meet the latest justification for continuing on the road that leads only to decreased membership and increased fees that follow each other as night follows day.

I urge you to take the time to read Scouter Joseph's report and then start asking "WHY".

Scouter Ted Claxton

Previous Financial Reports

SCOUT eh! encourages you to read the previous financial reports and note the accuracy of Scouter Joseph's predictions.