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​Is today's scouting too prissy?

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  • #16
    While we're putting labels on people, my question is: What label should we put on people who insist on putting a label on everybody else?

    In the past we have had this issue with ideological labels like conservative, liberal, progressive etc. (this was a particular pet peeve of our departed friend OGE), but I guess there is no end to the kinds of labels, categories, overgeneralizations, etc. that people can think up for each other. Some descriptive terms can be helpful, though I find this is most often true when it is label applied by someone to themselves. In other words if someone says "I am a ____________" I usually tend to believe him/her unless there is evidence to the contrary. But "That guy over there is a __________" is not so useful most of the time.


    • bwest64098
      bwest64098 commented
      Editing a comment
      "What label should we put on people who insist on putting a label on everybody else?"

      Ans - Label-ers DUH!

  • #17
    I don't know if it's about prissy vs manly so much as adventure. And there are lots of ways to have an adventure. (I would be in on the bucket of snakes)

    I like the phrase "here there be dragons" supposedly written on the edge of maps indicating the unknown. Combine that with Be Prepared and that, to me, is how a calendar should be figured out. But it's hard to find scouts that will go for it. Adventure is about challenging yourself, and that implies a possibility of failure. I don't know, maybe a lot of kids don't know how to fail gracefully, so they stay away from any challenge. Seems to me society doesn't like young winners and losers (although winning is everything for adults, but that's another thread).

    We just did a biking based high adventure trip and everyone was challenged and the range of abilities was all over the map. We had different ability groups so everyone got pushed, everyone struggled, and we had a ton of fun. If I could do that troop wide, it would be great.

    Maybe we need to emphasize to scouts how to fail gracefully and also win gracefully by helping those that are struggling.


    • #18
      Personally I don't think its about outdoors or adventure, my scouts do and did a lot more high adventure stuff than I did as a scout. But I definitely think that scouting is more prissy. I think it's there is less freedom for boys to express themselves as boys. Adults are A LOT more guarded today about what boys can say, do or even meet. We put limits on knives and other woods tools. It was no big deal for my patrol to go on a five mile with a map and compass, but adults today would struggle to let a patrol hike through the safe parts of our town without some kind of oversite. How many boys can ride their bike accross town without getting permission? Our culture has closed in on our youths freedom of expression and freedom to move about. The culture is more prissy, and we don't have very many adults who remember how it used to be. Barry


      • ThomasJefferson
        ThomasJefferson commented
        Editing a comment
        Wrong, jblack47. That is exactly not what a theory is.

        A scientific theory is a proven out body of scientific knowledge that, while not the final word on the topic because more information is always becoming available, is fact.

        Gravity, for example, is a theory. Do you disbelieve in it?

        You are confusing hypothesis, which is a speculation based on observation, with a theory, which is what we get when we test a hypothesis and find out the truth.

        Find me a valid scientific study on personality that shows women are feelers and men aren't. I will refer you to the work Amy Cuddy, the foremost expert on the field of Social Psychology who studied personality types vs. chemical balance in the brain, and identified four types, not two, and found them balanced within the sexes, not differentiated.

        OMG science is not taught in schools in this country worth a crap. No wonder we are somewhere at the bottom of first world nations.

      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment

        1) A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
        2) The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice: a fine musician who had never studied theory.
        3) A set of theorems that constitute a systematic view of a branch of mathematics.
        4) Abstract reasoning; speculation: a decision based on experience rather than theory.
        5) A belief or principle that guides action or assists comprehension or judgment: staked out the house on the theory that criminals usually return to the scene of the crime.
        6) An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

        Nope, nowhere in any definition is:"A scientific theory is a proven out body of scientific knowledge that, while not the final word on the topic because more information is always becoming available, is fact."

        One premise must be based on fact if facts are to be used. The only way something becomes fact is with proof and nowhere under the Theory definition does one ever find the word proof. When and if proof is ever found, the term theory is dropped. So far none of that has happened. The premise of your argument is not based on fact, as theory it is based on such words as speculation, devised principles, abstract reasoning, beliefs and assumptions. None of the definitions use the term scientific proof. LOL! as a matter of fact, theory is more closely aligned to God than it is to science.

        And according to the "experts" in the field, psychology is not even an exact science.

        Kinda leaves the door open on whether or not to interpret such comments as valid.

        I did pay attention in my science classes, including a degree in psychology.
        Last edited by jblake47; 06-22-2013, 12:23 PM.

      • ThomasJefferson
        ThomasJefferson commented
        Editing a comment
        You forgot what you learned in science classes. Your definitions are not scientific. They are colloquial usage where hypothesis, theory, and speculation are equal. Not so in the lab.

        When scientists use the word theory, it has a different meaning to normal everyday use. It all comes down to the multiple meanings of the word theory. If you said to a scientist that you didn't believe in evolution because it was "just a theory", they'd probably be a bit puzzled.

        In everyday use, theory means a guess or a hunch, something that maybe needs proof. In science, a theory is not a guess, not a hunch. It's a well-substantiated, well-supported, well-documented explanation for our observations. It ties together all the facts about something, providing an explanation that fits all the observations and can be used to make predictions. In science, theory is the ultimate goal, the explanation. It's as close to proven as anything in science can be.

        Some people think that in science, you have a theory, and once it's proven, it becomes a law. That's not how it works. In science, we collect facts, or observations, we use laws to describe them, and a theory to explain them. You don't promote a theory to a law by proving it. A theory never becomes a law.

        This bears repeating. A theory never becomes a law. In fact, if there was a hierarchy of science, theories would be higher than laws. There is nothing higher, or better, than a theory. Laws describe things, theories explain them. An example will help you to understand this. There's a law of gravity, which is the description of gravity. It basically says that if you let go of something it'll fall. It doesn't say why. Then there's the theory of gravity, which is an attempt to explain why. Actually, Newton's Theory of Gravity did a pretty good job, but Einstein's Theory of Relativity does a better job of explaining it. These explanations are called theories, and will always be theories. They can't be changed into laws, because laws are different things. Laws describe, and theories explain.

        Just because it's called a theory of gravity, doesn't mean that it's just a guess. It's been tested. All our observations are supported by it, as well as its predictions that we've tested. Also, gravity is real! You can observe it for yourself. Just because it's real doesn't mean that the explanation is a law. The explanation, in scientific terms, is called a theory.

    • #19
      NJCubScouter - Point well made. I mainly used labels for the John Wayne and Peter Fonda as people can picture the Cowboy and the Easy Rider. I just wish I could find more of them in scouting. That's all. It's one reason my sons are in scouting. To heck with all the MBA driven paperwork. My sons get that enough in school. I want them to get dirt, scratches and a little bit of muscle built up. Oh, and to make friends along the way.

      Eagledad - You're dead on. I used to disappear for most of the day starting when I was 10 or 11 years old. Bike across town to the YMCA. Bike five miles to my friend's house. I'd generally let me mom know, but it was more for meal planning than for permission. And to be courteous.
      Last edited by fred johnson; 06-20-2013, 03:48 PM.


      • #20
        Fred and Eagledad, what you're describing is well written in the book The Last Child in the Woods. This is more a society thing than the Boy Scouts. I can't do anything about society but I can work with my patrol leaders. I'm always happy for a PL to ask if he can take his patrol on a 5 mile hike without adults. I've suggested it with only a little luck. Next week is summer camp and maybe I'll have the PLs plan their own 5 mile hike for the new scouts in their patrol.

        One magical thing about boys is they will find the fun in a new situation. Maybe they don't know how to create their own new situation. When my son was little he'd be sitting inside and I'd tell him to go outside and he'd complain and moan but finally go outside. About 4 hours later I'm wondering around looking for him. He had a blast. Maybe I just need to tell my patrols to get out of camp.


        • #21
          Maybe the BSA is to prissy, tough call. Certainly some troops are. Just be thankful the BSA has not resorted to Incident Reports. Every time a kid stubs his toe or swallows water at a pool you have to fill out the dreaded two page incident report. That would kill scouting. I wouldn't put up with it. Even if a scout breaks a leg on a campout, is there a form to fill out? I can't recall one. That's not prissy.


          • #22
            Incident Information Report


          • #23
            Related to this thread: Things "back in the day" always seem better than they are in the present.


            • jblake47
              jblake47 commented
              Editing a comment
              Correct me if I'm wrong... Because the telegraph made the Pony Express obsolete, none of us should be riding horses anymore? Or is it more in line with the boys ought to be spending more time emailing their friends from camp on their SmartPhone instead of sending a camp postcard to Mom?

            • TSS_Chris
              TSS_Chris commented
              Editing a comment
              The post card is the problem! If we didn't have those darn post cards, boys would spend the time to sit down and write their mothers a real letter like boys did when I was a Scout.

          • #24
            RichardB - before I begin, I appreciate your contributions and the tough position you are in (as I recall - you are at National). But let me look at the reporting requirements at the bottom level (where no ER / Hospital visit):

            • Near miss
            • Injury/illness not requiring first aid

            By the end of the unit recharter year, do the following:
            1. Complete a Near Miss Incident Information
            Report, No. 680-017.
            2. Keep the report in your unit or forward to the
            enterprise risk management contact.
            3. Evaluate near misses in your unit or council
            each year for any lessons learned and/or
            program enhancements.

            Do you really expect a unit to fill out a report for every cut with a knife, every burn from a stove or fire, every bruise from a fall? This reporting requirement (and I have read all of this) either pushes me to ignore the BSA requirements, or to stop doing anything risky.

            I have told new helicopter parents the following "If you send your son with us camping, he will get cut, burned, bruised, dirty and will probably eat some nasty food at least once that he might have cooked himself. If that does NOT happen, we haven't given them enough space to grow. We are there with all of the medical records, first aid kits, and volunteers with the appropriate levels of training."

            Our jobs as leaders is to balance boy led, adventure and safety. Reading that table, however, with a required form for what appears to be the lowest level of "incident" does not appear to encourage me to run a good program.

            If I was really feeling grumpy, I could bury our DE in "near miss" incident reports. I don't think that is what YOU want, but the mere existence of the table and form infers a different level of review.


            • #25
              I think Q wrote in some past post.....

              "As an SM my job is to take the boys to see the face of god, Just not leave them there." I really like it.....

              whether it is a misty dewy sunrise with turkeys gobblin,, a sunset off the tooth of time or rappelling off a 200 foot cliff......

              Shame it is getting buried in the paperwork.


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                Aw shucks, BD. Nice paraphrase. The line was from my introduction to the boys about the sandwich principle:

                "Safe scouting: bringing you as close to your creator as possible without making it a permanent stay."

            • #26
              Well, if anything, this discussion has motivated me to take my Webelos on an off-road bike ride rather than on a field trip to the newspaper office.


              • packsaddle
                packsaddle commented
                Editing a comment
                That's great! Who says these forums don't have a positive effect!?

                Richard B, to respond to your question, "...why is it bad to know what actually happens in the program?", this presumes that filling out your forms is all it takes for you to understand what happens in the program. Egad! What does that say about the program that you expect? What does that say about BSA National? What does that say about YOU? Good grief! I'm channeling Kudu now...deep breaths....

              • King Ding Dong
                King Ding Dong commented
                Editing a comment
                I really had a good chuckle with Near Miss Report. That is what scouting is supposed to be. An endless series of near misses, with a few direct hits along the way. Am I really supposed to carry two reams of forms with me ? Good grief is right.

                Richard, if you want to know what is going on in the program get outdoors and visit the program. If it makes you feel better, the next time we require professional medical attention I will fill out a form. I love the bottom of that page: "a Scout is trustworthy: be sure to report." How about a Scout is courteous and doesn't waste people's time with forms that no one is ever going read.

                You are going take a good ribbing here. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are just doing your job and the Near Miss nonsense was cooked up by the insurance company and lawyers.

                Next time we encounter a thunderstorm we will settle under a fly with a stack of Near Miss Reports and a count how close each lightning strike was. "Oo ohh, that one was even closer!, scribble , scribble". What is your mail stop at national ?

                You know, until you opened your mouth "Prissy" was a topic of debate. Now the case is closed.

              • blw2
                blw2 commented
                Editing a comment
                I always get a chuckle out of the term "near miss".

                If it's nearly a miss, what is it?.... A Hit!

            • #27
              The troop I was in as a Youth in the 70's did nothing but "primitive camping" meaning no running water was available, no bathrooms to walk to, no electricity to hook up to anything. We had to build fires if we wanted to cook even in rainy weather (yes, you can get a fire started from wet wood). We did not cancel campouts due to inclement weather. Yes, we did leave camp one time for shelter due to a very severe thunderstorm but we never canceled an outing. We had better outdoor skills and training because it was forced upon us. We sometimes backpacked into our campsites. Building self-reliance and being prepared was the theme of our Troop. Was it fun? Oh yeah, great fun!

              My most recent experience was with a Troop that only camped at Parks with running water, flush toilets, and electricity. The boys cooked on propane stoves always. In reality, they did not effectively learn outdoor skills because the modern conveniences of home were always with them. Very few boys owned backpacks because they were not required/needed. I witnessed Star and Life scouts struggling to get a fire started with good wood.

              Is it too prissy today? Read the above again.


              • #28
                I see Richard stepped on this skunk in January. That was funny. The correct question is: "Is Texas Prissy?"


                • #29
                  You folks really crack me up. I'm not sure knowing what happens quailfies as Prissy. I've know Prissy as my FIL's dog.

                  Lots of assumptions expressed. Hoping that there are few here who have the ability to think a little outside your sandbox and imagine the possibilities. Look at the reason that knowing about incidents and yes, near misses might be important to an organization who is truely committed to the health and safety of youth. It has nothing to do with lawyers or insurance. It is the right thing to do. Read this try and understand. Repeat as necessary.

                  On a serious note I hope the king will never have to make a call about the one did not miss or the person not coming home. Google may enlighten you to the probability you will make a call.

                  And once again, please don't assume.


                  • King Ding Dong
                    King Ding Dong commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I don't send my kids to the BSA for health and safety. They will be very safe in my basement sucked into the vortex of video games.

                    That is something you just don't seem to understand.

                  • RichardB
                    RichardB commented
                    Editing a comment
                    So king, I see in another thread your plan as mentioned above and I quote: "...Next time we encounter a thunderstorm we will settle under a fly with a stack of Near Miss Reports and a count how close each lightning strike was. "Oo ohh, that one was even closer!, scribble , scribble". What is your mail stop at national ?..." would not have been a good plan or work out so well. Also in that particular thread there is a call for or reference to incident reporting. Are you all still so sure that having factual data from those involved in incidents is a waste of time or would you think that maybe it is important (although a lagging indicator) to know what went on. I really do want to know why there is push back on incident reporting. If you all actually read the guidelines published there is NO requirement for a near miss to be reported for a unit. There are near miss reporting requirements for some programs administered by councils. For the record, my mailstop is It is SUM 202. However, your unit is charted by your local council. NOT the national council. Reports go there.

                    As to motives please remember that "...Parents who entrust Scout leaders with their children justifiably expect them to return uninjured..." Does anyone here have a problem with that?

                  • perdidochas
                    perdidochas commented
                    Editing a comment
                    "...Parents who entrust Scout leaders with their children justifiably expect them to return uninjured..."

                    I have a big problem with that. Partly, because it is a lie. It is impossible to prevent injury--even playing video games in the basement, and as a pediatrician told my wife, it is impossible to cover everything with bubblewrap. I hope my Troop's parents don't read that :-) I do agree that safety is the highest priority for adult leaders, but by that, I am mainly thinking safety from major injuries--drowning, heat stroke, etc.

                • #30
                  Here's the real problem: Culture. The US no longer has the culture that supported and called for a Scouting program. It was founded in the early 20th Century by the progressive movement as a reaction to the industrial revolution and its pollution and child abuse. Today's kids don't need saving from the industrial revolution. They are no longer in need of rescue. They are not unhappy with their conditions. A kid in 1910 went camping and conditions improved for him. A kid in 2010 went camping and he was without anything he wanted around him basically suffering.

                  Scouting membership was buffed up dramatically by the two world wars as the US government included scouting in propaganda laced throughout media. They stopped doing that in 1948, and twelve years later, kids born and raised without that propaganda became old enough to become boy scouts - and didn't want to. And the downhill decline continues.

                  Here's what we don't want to face:

                  * Our kids don't want to go scouting. They want to be in the air conditioning and play video games
                  * Our kids don't want to learn patriotism. They are on the Internet talking with people from around the globe. They are citizens of the world, not this nation.
                  * Our kids no longer have any freedom at home. Their parents are afraid for them to walk to the bus stop alone without adults guarding them. Scouting used to be patrols with no adults going camping and hiking. Today, there is an adult for every kid.

                  The Boy Scouts have run out of water to sail their ship on. We can protest about values and citizenship and resumes with eagle badges all we want. The ugly, ugly truth that even I, your leftist atheist does not want to face is this: Game over.

                  There is no soil in which to grow scouting. It is a dying activity. Our kids are being raised in a world where very soon robots will do the work and talking, self-aware computers will teach them. You may see that as necessitating scouting for the good of the kids. But you cannot force kids to do something. They don't like it. They don't want it.

                  It isn't a prissy problem. It's not an advertising problem. It's really just a simple problem of we are not those people any more, and our kids don't even like those kinds of people.

                  Were you looking at the survey on gays? We said no, the kids - 90% of them - said yes. They don't want to be like us. They don't want to do this. I'm happy to provide what I do for the kids that do, but I'm not going to believe for a second that us talking or anything BSA does is going to fix it.

                  BSA has hastened the end of scouting through stupidity, but really, they can't fix the problem, because the problem isn't a problem at all. It's just a fact of life I don't want to wear a three cornered hat and stockings, and they don't want to go outside and play.