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FAQ Answers from Mark Luttier

June 4, 2012

To all Scouters and Parents,

Thank you for all of your responses to my initial letter. The responses were overwhelmingly positive and leave no doubt that we all as one team will accomplish what has to be done to ensure the continued success of the Gulf Stream Council!

Many of you asked two questions: How did we get in our current financial situation, and what does the Council do for Units? Below you will find many of the answers.

How did we get here?

  • State mandated unbudgeted/unfunded cost of Scout Lake cleanup at Tanah Keeta in excess of $300,000.
  • Major reduction of United Way support to scouting over the last decade exceeding $400,000 annually.
  • Less than half of our units participate in the Council wide annual Friends of Scouting, and Popcorn and Camp Card sales fundraisers.
  • Preference was given to local vendor payments in order to insure program delivery and National BSA debts accumulated during that time.
  • Diminished FOS (Friends of Scouting), donations and grant funding due to national economic conditions. Most Districts are not meeting their FOS goals.
  • Camp maintenance expenses far exceed the income generated by camp activities by as much as $80,000 annually: electric service, mandatory water testing, pool chemicals, fuel, septic services, Ranger salaries and housing, maintenance of buildings, latrines, vehicles, mowers, tools, etc.
  • Uninsured expenses to restore camp after the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005.
  • Costs to replace the roof and interior of the Council offices in 2011 as a result of 2005 hurricane damage.
  • Cost overruns at Council events due to lack of Unit participation.

What does the Council provide for Units?

  • Provide, maintain, and improve, as needed, our three camps for unit use.
  • Provide and maintain space (Council Office) for meetings, trainings, and a National Scout Shop for units and families.
  • Provide General Liability Insurance for all registered leaders and Charter Partners.
  • Employ a professional staff to advise and assist volunteers to organize and carry out
  • District and Council programming for our youth.
  • Provide professional accounting and accountability for all revenue and expenses.
  • Recruit, train, and develop Charter Partners to sponsor new units.
  • Membership processing and record keeping.
  • Merit Badge Counselor processing.
  • Unit Advancement administration including Eagle Rank processing.
  • Recording of volunteer training
  • Processing of volunteer awards and recognitions through the local and National Council.
  • Creation and maintenance of a website for dissemination of information to volunteers and parents
  • Creation and distribution of a monthly eNews letter to volunteers and parents.
  • Creation and production of program and registration materials for events and activities.
  • Receipting, recording, and processing of registrations for activities and events.
  • Management of camp usage by processing requests for reservations
  • Handling requests for program information and procedures from leaders and parents.
  • Administration and operating costs of 2 Council-wide unit fundraisers.
  • Process Tour Permits for unit travel.
  • Raise funds to provide assistance to enable youth participation when help is needed.
  • Provide training materials for classroom style volunteer basic, advanced, and supplemental training.
  • Provide training material and collection bags for annual Scouting for Food drive.
  • Provide leadership staff for multicultural scouting units.
  • Maintain and fuel a vehicle for Council approved scouting activities.
  • Provide training and materials for School Night for Scouting.
  • Operate and maintain a Council Office facility to accommodate the employees necessary to provide above services. The Council has only 15 full-time and 7 part-time employees serving a 7 county area with nearly 10,000 members.

This is not a comprehensive list of everything our Council provides our Units. In truth, every task done by Council staff and employees is done solely in support of Scouting in our communities for our youth members at the unit level. Our staff are some of the most dedicated people in our Council. I personally have gone to headquarters and spent many hours with them. It is truly amazing the amount of work they do and the commitment they have to the Council. They deserve a big thank you from all of us. Please thank them when you have the opportunity to do so.

As a non-profit corporation, all funding for our Council comes from member and donor support or foundation grants. We receive no income from the National BSA, nor any portion of membership fees which go directly to National.

As I said in my first letter, how we got where we are is not necessarily as important as getting done what needs to be done to ensure the continued existence and success of the Council. Many of you agreed and have shown by your efforts that you are dedicated to the cause.

The OA has stepped up and committed its resources to eliminating the debt to National through various fundraising opportunities. They have already donated funds to reduce the debt. This is a great example of our honor Scouts of how to be a team member and leader. Congrats to OA!

Also, many units and Scouts doubled their efforts since my initial letter and sold more camp cards. I am happy to let you know that as a result you have sold over 98,845 camp cards, which is 66% more than last year, and it looks like we will sell all 100,000 cards when all receipts are turned in!

Many of you have committed to the Council-wide car wash on September 15, 2012. More information will be coming soon on this big event.

Lastly, I am happy to report that the legal community has begun to show its support for our Council and we have received significant donations from several law firms to be used to reduce our debt to National BSA.

For all you Wood Badgers, remember “Feedback is a gift” and in the game of life, we can all win.

Thank you for all your efforts! Keep up the good work and we will all win!

Yours in Scouting,

Mark Luttier
Council President

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