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New Charter Org

Out of curiosity…

Does anyone happen to know who is responsible for making sure a new CO gets their contract signed?

Our CO dropped us without warning back in March, just as the pandemic shut everything down. We have been working hard the last couple of months to find a new CO, and we have finally found one. But when I emailed our DEs to let them know, all they did was forward us the charter and tell us we need to have them sign it. I sort of figured the DEs would be the ones to meet with the CO and get it signed. Not quite sure why it’s my responsibility as committee chair to do it, but I’m curious to know what other councils would say.

Well, if you want to get going why not just get it signed? It is not that hard? I would think the DE’s would facilitate some, but if you are trying to stay afloat just get it done.

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I never said I wasn’t going to get it done. Your comment is not kind, nor is it helpful. Unless you have a true answer to my question about whose responsibility it is, please don’t respond any further.

I didn’t observe anything unkind in Donovan’s post. It looks to me like he’s just answering your question.

Our Cub Pack had to change COs with no warning a few years back. Our Charter Organization Representative took care the whole thing.

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Perception, then. Asking “is it not that hard?” doesn’t seem overly kind to me. I felt that his post was condescending.

Hello Melissa! I see that as a request for more information from you. What’s preventing that from happening? That’s the real question.

I’m used to the unit committee taking the lead on finding and “signing” a new chartering org, when one declines to renew the unit’s charter. I’ve seen district personnel involved in recruiting new charters to start new units occasionally, but I don’t know if it’s specifically in the district’s wheelhouse to coordinate the paperwork for a new chartering org for an existing unit.

Personally, it seems like a representative of the council/district should be involved, since the the agreement is between the chartering org and the council, not the chartering org and the unit. It also seems like having that representative be the DE would make sense, as he or she is a paid employee of the BSA. I just don’t know that there’s a requirement either way.

Thanks, Charley! This is exactly why I asked, it does seem as though someone “professional” should be involved.

When a CO is lost, the authority for their chartered organization representative to operate as one with the unit is also lost. I believe the following needs to happen:

  1. The new organization needs to approve all adult leaders.
  2. The council Scouting Executive needs to meet with the new organization and the “The New Unit” form English [524-402] PDF icon or Spanish [524-202] PDF icon completed and signed. This agreement is with BSA (national) and for BSA is signed by the “Scout executive or designee”.
  3. The new chartered organization needs to assign and register a member of their organization as their representative.
  4. A revised unit charter needs to be signed by the new COR and submitted to update the unit registration.
  5. Adult leaders need to registrar with new application forms.

Our chartered org rep always takes care of this. So, I would say that if the DE isn’t doing it for you, this would be a great task for the new COR.

My Pack and Troop went through this about five years ago, when I was the Committee Chair for both units.

Short version - based on our experience, control your own destiny by owning the process, and getting help where needed. It’s a lot of work.

Longer version:

We drove the change from the unit level, as we wanted to keep a continuous charter as we approached our 75th year. After verbal notice from our old CO that the church was closing, here are the steps we took:

  1. Asked the COR for a letter to council announcing their intention not to renew. This came in October with our charter due to expire December 31st.
  2. Called the District Executive the next day to explain the situation and solicit advice.
  3. Met with the DE and the Assistant District Commissioner to review the process.
  4. Contacted multiple community organizations in our town, and met with them to explain what was needed. Got a verbal expression of interest from another church that was even older than the one we were at.
  5. Prepared a presentation for the gaining CO’s executive board, and presented it to them with the DE and ADC in attendance. They were there to support us and answer any programmatic questions, e.g., youth protection policies and insurance coverage needs. Got an approval at the board meeting.
  6. On advice from the DE, asked the old CO for a letter turning over all claims on troop/pack equipment and accounts to the new CO. Drafted the letter for them and got a signature.
  7. Prepared the New Unit Application along with the charter renewal package to change the charter over to the new CO as of January 1st. DE facilitated briefing the council registrar so that the move would be painless from that perspective.
  8. Met with the new institution head / COR to sign everything in early December.
  9. Started moving our stuff from the old church to the new one the next day. It took about 10-15 truck trips, and we got rid of a lot of stuff. Fortunately the move was only three blocks.
  10. Held our first Troop meeting in the new church on our regular schedule.
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In an ideal District, there would be a volunteer “New Unit Organizer” as well as a “New Unit Commissioner” to help. Checkout the Build the Unit page in the Commissioners section of scouting.org.

Sadly, most of us don’t live in such a district. But usually there’s a Membership committee member or Commissioner who knows the ropes of rechartering, starting a new unit from scratch, or (in those all to common instances) finding a new CO, who can help.

I’m sure most DEs will do all they can to get paperwork signed and submitted, especially if the unit has done much of the work.

Like many things in scouting, it takes a combination of unit volunteers, district volunteers and professionals to keep this movement going. While certain things require specific individuals (like who signs on the dotted line), many tasks can be accomplished by whomever knows the ropes and is willing and able to get the job done. Getting signatures is a great example of that.

The more people who help, the more we can do.

So if anyone’s been down this road a few times, consider stepping up to be a resource in your District to help other units.

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"build the unit’ is only part of the process. For more see the Unit Performance Guide page 23 and following.

Neither of these positions associated with this method of building a new unit is permanent. The “new unit organizer” job ceases to exist when the unit charter is signed. The “new unit commissioner” is a long-term assignment.

When we changed charter orgs we drafted the letter also. Our old CO exec didn’t at first want to sign it because there was (in her mind) no need, we could just keep our stuff. When I tried to explain that “our stuff” is actually “their stuff” it took her some time to understand. The kicker for her was when I said, “Okay, you don’t have to legally hand over the pack equipment. Where would you like the Pinewood Derby Track, on your front porch or your back porch?”

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Fair point. I guess I was trying to say that there should be District volunteers that can help in this situation.

A well functioning district should have at least one, if not several new-unit teams who know the ropes of getting a new CO on board (though as you point out, they would normally be focused on a specific new unit/CO). There also should be a larger Membership/Relationships committee and Commissioner corps who’s purview this would normally fall under.

Though, to the original question, if a unit committee is on the ball, there’s no reason they can’t take the lead in identifying and getting a new CO up to speed when circumstances dictate.

However it’s also been my experience that DEs will jump over backwards in these situations to help keep the unit afloat.

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Big question for you on this – were you allowed to keep your veteran unit status when changing CO’s? We’ve not been given clear guidance on this, so are dragging our feet on making a much-needed move; we’d hate to have our Cub Scout Pack lose their veteran unit status because we moved the CO over from the Knights of Columbus to the Parish…

Steve,

We had no break, and our charter package last year noted 960 months of continuous service. It took having a knowledgeable registrar involved in recording the change to make that happen. Prime the pump early!

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Hello Melissa,

Quick question? Do you have a Chartered Organization Rep? The DE may be confused because you have a committee but missing a CO Rep? The CO Rep is the one that creates the committee, they pick the committee chair and unit leader. They are one of the Key 3. They are the liason between the committee and the CO, so they would be the one that would have it signed, along with anything else, like your leader applications, etc.

Basically the CO assigns a Chartered Organization Rep, they create the Pack committee after the new charter is signed. The COR would be the one making sure the charter is signed.

Secondly, I know you didn’t ask this, but in some cases you can not use the same number as your old chartered organization unless you have permission to do so. So if you were Pack 109, you might be assigned a new unit number. Just double check with your DE.

… but if you lose your Chartered Organization, you’ve lost your COR automatically. That person may still be around and willing to help, but they don’t have any position of authority in your unit any longer; and may not be eligible to continue being your COR with a new Chartered Organization.

Ken, I am interested in chatting with your registrar to find out how this is done. We have been told if you change your chartering organization, your tenure starts over.