BrigadeLeader.com has been around for nearly 10 years!
This site was created because I believe the better equipped a Brigade Leader is the more effective he will be in reaching his boys. That's it. No other reason. The work, money and time are all invested for that single purpose.
On this site, a leader has had available -
All here. Free. For the local leader. Nothing like these or the other tools here are available from CSB, Cadets, Trail Life or even Scouting USA. There are great tools available here.
Additionally, the discussion here on the forum and via email has been beneficial to many CSB Units and leaders. Dozens of CSB units came here to find the solution to the Shape N Race wood issues last year, dozens of CSB units made use of our Stockade material guide, review and other help files. This site has provided an open means of communication for any Brigade leaders.
I believe this is my 38th leadership year in CSB with 31 of those years also serving as a CSB Staff Associate. My group meets on 3 different nights each week and I've participated 2,850+ Stockade and Battalion meetings as a leader and 354 All-Nighters. Like many Brigade Leaders across the country, I have given CSB my all.
For a number years it seems that in my role as a local leader the majority of my interaction with CSB national has been a struggle or involving disagreement, issues with CSB national in identity, new material design/cost/availability, national leadership changes, regional leadership changes, and non-elected board without any voice or accountability for it's "partners", which is the local level.
This is all distracting at best and some of it, in my opinion, disingenuous.
Looking for change when it's not desired becomes tiresome. Offering to be of assistance and being refused, month after month and year after year, creates exhaustion. Wanting to be part of a solution while looked upon as a problem, is depressing. It's energy stealing. It's not healthy.
The fatherless, the non-christians, the other boys in my (our) groups, they're what's important. I want to build stronger relationships with the boys in my unit and through that be a vessel for the Holy Spirit to reach them for Christ. The boys are the priority, not CSB folklore, not CSB national, not parenting, not mens conferences. It's about the boys.
Despite the last few years, I consider myself being truly blessed for my association with CSB and humbled by what God can do with flawed people (me) wanting to be of service.
It's been no secret within CSB national or on this site that 2 years ago the CSB Committee at my church, after a complete evaluation of our boys ministry, made the difficult decision to begin a partial switch to a similar ministry that has it's roots in CSB. This new group, though similar, is not the Brigade I love and have served for so many years. But, the Brigade of today is not the Brigade of 30 years ago, 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. Brigade has changed. It's run differently than before. It's seems to have different goals and purposes with an increasing chasm between the national decision makers and the leaders at the local level.
The new group my church moving towards is strange to me. I'm sure, in time, I will become more comfortable with the foreign vernacular, different uniform, abundant materials and unfamiliar traditions. It won't be the same though. As the old saying goes, one I heard from Brigade founder Joe Coughlin himself, I "bleed green". That won't change with a different uniform. My passion is with Brigade. However, sometimes passions need to change in order to survive and remain healthy.
As this change with my boys ministry progresses it has become difficult to remain focused on equipping Brigade Leaders. I can only do so much without the support of CSB national in this. Almost 10 years is a long time to be spinning in the wind.
I have decided to move on and shut down BrigadeLeader.com. I'll still be running my Stockade(s), helping with Battalion (Cadets), and still willing to assist my region as a Staff Associate when called upon.
It has been fun and maybe one day something will change and this site will return in one form or another. I hope so.
I've learned something important as my church has performed our ministry evaluation - the "program" you purchase is not of great concern. What's important is investing the energy and effort into reaching and influencing boys in your town, neighborhood and church. Whether you call yourself a Brigadier, Cadet or Trailman is not as important as being known as a servant of Christ and serving through reaching boys.
The work you are doing with boys is what is paramount. The rest, well, it's simply curriculum.
As always, remain, "Bright and Keen for Christ".