Those that travel frequently hear it all the time, "This will be the final boarding announcement for flight . . ." for those traveling by air or "All Aboard!" for those by train. The council is moving forward and I NEED YOUR HELP.
I do like analogies, they help me visualize what I am trying to state. Here's a thought, if when driving down the road, if the driver spends more time looking out the rear of the vehicle than looking out the front, they will most likely come to an abrupt halt. I saw a facebook post recently that said, there is a reason why the windshield of the car is so big and the rearview mirror so small. Both of these statements reflect the importance of looking and moving forward in life. It is important to be aware of the past, but the past should not be the focus.
My letter to units in November 2015 and my last blog post from December 2015, both describe my vision for our path forward. But first some unfinished business. I promised to provide an overview of the finances related to the construction of Bayport Scout Reservation.
Overall Project Revenue:
$5,375,000 Sale of Chickahominy
$4,109,000 Capital Campaign Payments from 2003 - 2015
$6,000,000 Bank Loan
Overall Project Expenses:
$2,920,000 Land & Timber Rights
$9,238,772 Construction & Buildout
$6,000,000 Bank Loan Principle Repayment
$4,026,628 Loan Interest and Bank Fees Paid
-$6,701,400 Money transferred within council to Capital Fund from Operating Fund and owed back to Operating Fund plus the Current Loan Balance of $5,774,526
Please remember that the bank loan was taken because at the time of construction (2005, 2006 and early 2007), not all the capital campaign pledges had been paid and the cash was needed to complete paying for the land/timber rights and construction/buildout.
A few have requested a forensic financial audit of the council. The numbers presented above account for revenue and expenses and the balance accounts for the money owed to the operating fund and the bank loan balance. There are no missing funds as alleged. We did inquire about the expense of doing a forensic audit of the magnitude required. Minimally direct cost would be $250,000 plus staff time to pull all the records and information. We were told by the expert in the field that if we were only "gathering information" and that we did not intend on prosecuting, that we were in fact wasting funds and resources now. Based on the data we have gathered and presented above, we do not intend on using current council funds to perform a forensic audit.
I have also promised to provide the 2016 Council Operating Budget. A copy of it can be found by clicking the button here:
I have done my part in providing the information I had promised to present. I NEED YOUR HELP TO MOVE FORWARD, for the sake of local Scouting and our Scouts. If this council is lost, Scouting and the support of Scouting in our area will never be the same. Every council in the country requires financial support for critical overhead expenses that support the overall program. Councils/districts provide membership, training and advancement records, provide staff resources for assistance, provide accident and liability insurance and means to have certificates of insurance for events or activities that require them, provide training such as Woodbadge and NYLT, coordinate National Scout Jamboree Council Contingents, facilitate membership and rechartering processes, and also provide the process for Eagle Scout project and application submission and approval. These are just some of the often "taken for granted" services local councils provide for units. To do so requires financial support.
In my letter in November 2015, I asked for your help. Here is the letter.
I am asking for each unit to conduct their own internal Family Friends of Scouting Campaign. The right Unit Leader is more effective with communicating and explaining the need than someone from the district invited in to do the presentation. The latter is a stranger asking for money for council, you are a trusted unit leader asking for support of local Scouting program. Very different. Here is the new campaign pledge form.
I Need Your Help. Please commit to doing a presentation in your unit.
I know that some units are talking internally on other ways to help the council. Some have decided to do a fundraiser where all the proceeds will be given to the council. I greatly appreciate that level of commitment. The council has about $20,000 of left over popcorn from the sale this past fall since sales were down. This product was ordered by the council anticipating the need from units and with sales down we still have it. Can your unit help, here is the current inventory as of this posting:
Cheese Lover's Collection 239
Chocolatey Caramel Crunch 8
White Chocolate Pretzels 5
Caramel Corn with APC 58
Chocolatey Triple Delight 1
Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese 19
Kettlecorn Microwave 119
Unbelievable Butter Microwave 15
Butter Light Microwave 127
Caramel Corn 80
Units can contact me at email@example.com to discuss a sales and commission plan. I need to have this sold, we have already paid the invoice for it in full and we cannot return it to Trail's End. Camp cards sales have been down the past two years and we will not be doing this fundraiser in 2016. The time and resources required to get business commitments to participate are not worth the net revenue provided. We have fewer and fewer units selling and thousands of cards left over each year wasting money.
The council ended 2015 in a much improved financial position and was not as some said that I heard "in dire straits". Unit recharters are being processed daily with membership cards sent to units as soon as possible. The Scout Shop continues to improve both with inventory and customers, most all getting everything needed when visiting. But just like your car's gas tank, after a fill up and driving around town, the needle starts to point to "E". While the council had a full tank at the beginning of the year, enough with no additional funds to go through March, it requires, just like every other council, regular financial filling. This is not doom and gloom, this is the reality all council's face. They all require year round financing to continue operations. No council begins the year with enough funds to operate all year long with no additional income.
Will you help by providing the means necessary to refill the council's financial gas tank?