Since my post about the MBC project, I have talked with a former staff member about some of the issues that we have dealt with that has led us to this decision of changing the cabin. We also discussed the frustration that we face when trying to provide excellent facilities for our staff who seemingly cannot take care of them. It has been mentioned to me before that it is usually only a handful of individuals that make housing or the bathrooms a "pig sty". I have no doubt that this is true, but then it saddens me to know that the majority allow it to happen. The funny thing is that I have lived through all this. I was a young scout my first season on the CP staff and it was a battle to keep my tent-cabin (wooden floor, partial wall wood/tent and ceiling tent) as clean as possible, but I did get it that way at the end of each week......despite my first roommate. Laundry was a chore, but I was able to muster the energy to get it done and although I often thought about emptying someones wet clothes onto the counter, I put them in the dryer......staff take care of staff. I know that things pile up, heck this happens in my current house today and I have to make a conscious effort to get rid of things I don't need. Unfortunately though, my idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.
Human nature must be that way. At my professional job we have a dedicated lounge that is a comfortable place to relax, have a beverage of soda, tea, coffee, milk, etc as well as a variety of snack foods; muffins, bagels, etc. My colleagues are well educated individuals all of whom have post-graduate degrees, married and have successful careers. So what do I face every time I walk into that lounge to get a cup of coffee? I find a small carton of milk (you know, the school sized ones) open, sitting on the counter with no one around. Someone doesn't like the creamer, so they go into the refrigerator, open a carton of milk, put just a drop or two into their precious coffee/tea and go on their merry way. If you did that home what would your mom or dad say......what would your wife say? So, do I throw it away not knowing how long it was there for or should I put it into the refrigerator? I open the refrigerator and there are seven......7....open cartons of milk.....???!!! You go to get a bagel or a donut or a muffin and the first thing you see is one that is partially torn apart. Someone didn't want a whole one, so instead they either tore a portion of one off or worse, they picked at it then left it behind. It was like the mice got to it. Look, eat it or use a knife to cut a piece off.....don't take your filthy hands and tear off a piece and leave us to mop up the crumbs you self-centered educated idiot!! You look around and find half empty soda pop cans, plates of food, plastic wrappings left on the counters and tables. What my educated colleagues need is a house mother to remind them of basic manners. Shameful.
......and now I expect my staff to perform or behave better?
I may not approve but I "get" the pile of wet clothes in the corner of the cabin, the un-made bed, clothes everywhere. What I don't get is the food. Why would you ever just let food go bad and rot because you just left it on your desk or the floor....and then why complain when the raccoons and mice show up for a snack?
However, to get to the root of the frustrations regarding our staff facilities is the physical damage done to our property. Season after season we some how cannot keep a door on its frame. I don't think that our staff goes around their home, their school or Seattle opening doors by kicking them open with their feet. Most people who are sentient usually reach out their arm and use their hand to turn the doorknob to open a door......apparently not our staff however. Maybe that is a Scout Physics law I have yet to define. Throwing things into the wall, putting holes through the walls, putting graffiti on the walls, I mean I could go on and on. The housing for staff is simple, but the worst we offer is a small cabin with bunk beds, an electric heater, lights and outlets which they might have to share with one or two of their peers. It protects them from the wind, rain and cold.....why wouldn't you take care of this? I could go on about the bathrooms but I try to keep this blog family friendly.
I am tired of designating money for repairing staff housing for things inflicted by the staff.....it takes away from other important things that we have to do. So as we renovate our buildings, I really have to think about how are we going to assure that they remain in good working order, at least for a few years. This may be a good start to get the staff to care for their home.