Hello, Awesome Members of Outdoor Service Guides! This is our seasonal update on all things OSG. We are so happy to have you all scouting and guiding with us! As the weather warms up, our groups are planning lots of camping, adventures, and events!
Updates From the Board
The OSG board has had some turnover. Jillian Tate joined the board over the winter, after a unanimous vote by the board to bring her on. Her position was added as a 3-year commitment, and once that is over, she will be up for re-election by the community.
Our current secretary and treasurer are stepping down and new faces are stepping up. Shane Heroux from Colorado has joined the board, after working as registrar for the last year. He will now be our secretary! You can contact Shane at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can help you with any issues you have with registration, charters, and background checks.
As a result of the Treasurer stepping down for personal reasons, the board is seeking another individual to join the board. To nominate someone, please reach out to HQ@osg-us.org with a nomination.
As a reminder, each seat on the board can be appointed by the board if needed, with term limits and elections that are voted on by our GSMs annually. Each year, our board should have members rotating on and off the board as a way to keep institutional knowledge present, but also bring in new members often. This will hopefully help prevent burnout by our volunteers.
Last year was possibly our most expensive year ever as an organization. The work of the name change resulted in the need to purchase new patches, badges, and other items in bulk. Historically, these purchases have been spread out and done slowly. However, rebranding with our new name was an important step forward for us all. So, we committed to the work. Making purchases through the QM store can help us pay for those purchases.
Unfortunately, due to Covid, our membership numbers have dropped and are still recovering. As a result, our income is also down, as membership dues are a primary source of income for our organization. If your group is scouting with us, please make sure to pay your membership and charter dues. These help us keep running our barebones, all-volunteer organization.
As a reminder, no members of OSG are paid for their work. So, where does the money go? Our most important expense is paying for background checks for all of our adult members. We use funds to provide training, including paying for volunteer trainers to travel outside of their own regions so we can help groups get started in new locations. We have fees for our websites and servers. We pay to keep our store stocked with badges, uniforms, and hats, even when sales are down. We don’t want our groups to be unable to get those essential items. We also have costs associated with our handbooks. These handbooks are offered to our membership for free as PDFs but are not entirely free to create. Fees for editing and artwork have been necessary with the new versions of the Pathfinder and Timberwolf handbooks. While the vast majority of work on those was done by volunteers, having some professional help to make a professional-looking product was necessary.
To make registration more straightforward and easier for our members and GSMs, we will be making changes to our registration policies. Historically, if you registered with OSG, your membership was good for one calendar year. This meant that if members joined your group in February, their membership every year needed renewed in February even if the rest of your group was registered in September. For groups where the group GSM or quartermaster did all the registrations for the group, it could lead to needing to check registrations monthly instead of annually after a few years of having a group. We have realized that this can cause unnecessary stress on our GSMs, our registrars, and secretary. Thus, we are making a change.
As of this fall, all group charters and individual memberships must be renewed by November 1st of each scouting year. This will allow time for groups to get started in the fall after school starts, and hopefully get their charter work done once a year with all renewals happening at a single time. If you prefer to do your group sooner in the fall, there is no penalty, and those registering their group in August of 2023, for example, will have their membership renewal date still be Nov. 1 of 2024. This gives you a single, regular date that you can check and rely on.
This change is consistent with other organizations that have annual registrations. We sincerely hope it makes it possible for our groups to reduce stress and get their registrations done on time. This will also mean less work for secretaries and registrars who have had to hunt down delinquent groups and let them know that their group all needed to be renewed on some random date. If you have questions, please send them to email@example.com.
The Training Committee has planned three BTC leader training events for this spring! You can see below the list of upcoming training. Please contact your regional commissioner to attend a training and be sure to fill out the sign-up forms! Signing up is very important so that we can be sure there is enough food at the event. No one enjoys camping hungry! The event coordinators appreciate early sign-ups so that they can plan the best possible event.
- Pacific North West: April 28th to May 1
- NE Region- May 6-7th
- Midwest- Minnesota- May 19-21
In addition to those, the training committee has been working on developing a new version of VOLT. VOLT stands for Virtual Onboarding Leadership Training and was first developed in 2020, as people wanted to start groups, but in-person BTCs were at a standstill for safety reasons. We have found that there is still interest in having training online. The interest is fueled primarily by those still nervous about travel and getting together in large groups. However, working to expand the ways we can offer training so that more groups can join our organization is a goal we wish to meet.
If you would like to know more about the updated VOLT program, please reach out to our training committee.
West Coast Fun
The North West Region is planning some amazing events for this summer! If you are a Rover or Pathfinder who wants to do some canoeing, you’re in luck! Please reach out to Ethan Jewett for more information about the paddle events, or to sign up for hullaballoo!
- Paddle Camp for Pathfinders June 19-22
- Hullabaloo- June 22-25
- Paddlepalooza – 100 MILES in A Canoe- July 9-15