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​Is today's scouting too prissy?

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  • #46
    Here is a thought, scouting isn't more prissy, it's selection bias. The guys that are here talking about "when I was a scout" aren't a random selection of scouts, they are the scouts that thought this was an important enough program to introduce their sons to AND serve as a volunteer. I have a few adults that, like me, were cub scouts as a kid, just got our first former boy scout to join as a leader - excited for that. I found cub scouting a valuable part of my childhood and wanted it for my son. I remember civic virtues and citizenship as the core of the program, and doing arts and crafts. The other former cub scouts kind of laughed about their experience, they didn't sign up as a leader. So are my experiences representative of it? Who knows, they weren't representative of the other cubs, but I'm the leader that posts on this forum, they'll show up for activities -- maybe. But all of you that were "non prissy" Scouts as a kid aren't a random selection of Scouts, you're the ones who found scouting the adventure of their childhood, and are their recreating it. All the guys that were scouts when you were that aren't registering their son as a cub scout? Those guys were just as prissy as today's prissy scouts.

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    • #47
      Per the OP's question... a strong yes. I see the softness, and lack of outdoor skills everytime I take a crew out on the river.... I've had crews in the past loaded with Eagles who's outdoor's skill sets were no better then Tenderfoots! Would have to spend the week just covering the basics....

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      • #48
        It isn't that scouting has become too prissy but that the lazy, fat , scout leaders whose idea of the outdoor experience is driving to a local beach or park and sitting on their padded camping lounge chairs guzzling down soda chips coffee while the boys run wild with no agenda to follow. This was the case at a district camporee our crew was asked to help out with, all but two SM's sat around and did NOTHING, all of them 300 lbs or more while the crew and the two SM's created an activities schedule for them while I talked to the SM's sitting around about their responsibilities to the boys and giving them heck for their laziness and sloth. It is the quality of the current troop leaders, their lack of useful training, and that the outdoors to most of them is to go find a place to hang out and plan or do nothing . Online training for the most part a joke when it comes to preparing a new leader to lead a unit of boys down the scouting trail. That's why the BSA membership will continue to shrink, units will fold, and the demise of scouting will be imminent . Time for a radical change of direction for scouting starting with National. The BSA needs to develop high quality leaders and programs if they hope to compete with all the other youth organizations available today.
        Last edited by BadenP; 07-31-2013, 12:45 PM.

        Comment


        • perdidochas
          perdidochas commented
          Editing a comment
          Camporee activities should be set weeks before the Camporee. Sounds like the problem was the planning committee.

          Online training would have been better than the 'live" training I had for IOLS. The "highlight" was when they showed us that we should use matchlite charcoal in chimney charcoal starters. Did learn a bit about LNT and backpacking, but most was a waster of time for this former Tenderfoot. I've had Safe Swim both online and offline, and I've learned more from the online version. It was complete. Took about the same amount of time. I do agree training should be better. I wish all but IOLS was online, and that AOLS (Advanced Outdoor Skills) was a requirement.

      • #49
        http://www.scoutmastercg.com/nostalg...e-of-scouting/

        Some think we've diminished the ideals of ’manliness’ , traditional patriotism, bootstrap initiative, competitiveness and rigor in achievement but have they really examined what those ideas actually mean? Scouting does not consider that these things are scarce, unobtainable qualities, but that each individual Scout has vast potential to develop them .

        We wrangle and argue over measurements; what is ‘true’ manliness, patriotism, achievement? Instead of a system of measurement Scouting sets a star to travel by: the full realization of each individual Scout’s potential. Our principal aim is that individual ideal; interdependent, useful human beings who become active citizens and make the world a better place.

        Detractors invoke creeping ‘political correctness’ and suggest that we have watered down our decisiveness and morality. This old chestnut of an argument was used to condemn innovation and change since the dawn of civilization; “Romans are so trendy and effete – what ever happened to good old Etruscans?” In their opinion all we have to do is reprint the original edition of the Scout handbook and return to our imagined ideal past that, of course, never existed. Nostalgia is pleasant, but it is not history. Our forebears had to muddle through the same sorts of flaws and pressures we encounter. They did there best and so can we.

        Scouting has always been, and will always remain, something that principally happens when we are out-of-doors camping and trekking our way through the natural world. This is our tradition, but we don’t do follow tradition blindly.

        We don’t go camping as a romantic, aesthetic, throwback to the good old days. We go camping because it is the most useful way to achieve the aims of Scouting. We use patrols and engage youth in leadership not because it’s a quaint, anachronistic, tradition but because that’s how we achieve the aims of Scouting.

        Most importantly we do these things because that is what our Scouts want to do! Despite a century of societal and cultural changes there’s not much difference between present day Scouts and those few that camped out on Brownsea island at the dawn of the Scouting movement.
        That’s our past, present and future all rolled into one.

        Our Scouts neither need, nor do they particularly want, big flashy programs and entertainments. We aren't trying to entertain, we want to engage our Scouts.

        Scouting is relevant, and it will always be, so long as we don’t make it into a historic re-enactment, blindly follow tradition, and resist the temptation to misdirect it’s simple intentions.

        Scouting is not about recreating the past, we are looking toward the future.
        Last edited by Brewmeister; 09-11-2013, 11:57 AM.

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        • fred johnson
          fred johnson commented
          Editing a comment
          Great article ... Fully agree.

          Please note that I am not an advocate for re-creating the past. My original post was about having a strong character and to know the jobs such that you can say it as it is. (John Wayne scouter). Likewise, there is a value in being laid back and letting things work out (letting the scouts solve the issue) and not getting overly uptight. (Peter Fonda scouter).

          I was frustrated at the time with the "Felix Unger" scouters and the "Donald Trump" scouters that I was dealing with.

      • #50
        Originally posted by le Voyageur View Post
        Per the OP's question... a strong yes. I see the softness, and lack of outdoor skills everytime I take a crew out on the river.... I've had crews in the past loaded with Eagles who's outdoor's skill sets were no better then Tenderfoots!
        Tenderfoot is about right.

        In what Baden-Powell called Scouting, every rank is tested by a backwoods Journey of increasing difficulty.

        In some countries, the test of Second Class is an eight mile backwoods map work Journey without adults or older Scouts to guide you. How many Eagle Scouts have followed a map & compass for eight miles without two-deep helicopters? One in ten thousand?

        According to Baden-Powell, the test of a First Class Scout is a fourteen mile overnight by backpack or boat, solo or with another Second Class Scout.

        Likewise after First Class, most Journey tests are either land or boat:

        http://inquiry.net/advancement/tradi...quirements.htm

        However, the whole point of Camping Merit Badge requirement 9b is to get indoor prissy boys to Eagle without a single night of what Baden-Powell called "camping."

        Correct me if I'm wrong: Camping is the ONLY Merit Badge that lets you do something else if you don't like the subject matter (walk into the woods with a pack on your back)!

        Imagine how popular the BSA would be if we offered a "requirement 9b" for EVERY Merit Badge!

        "Oh, so you don't like Personal Management because you are a normal boy? That's OK! Here, instead you can ride your bike around for four hours and then eat cup cakes while floating downstream on an inner tube, just like you did for 'Camping' Merit Badge requirement 9b!"


        Comment


        • NJCubScouter
          NJCubScouter commented
          Editing a comment
          I don't why I even bother, but...



          Kudu, isn't the "subject matter" of Camping Merit Badge, um, camping? Requirement 9a requires the Scouts to go camping. Requirement 9b makes backpacking (i.e. "walking into the woods with a pack on your back") an optional additional activity to do on one of the camping trips. But that does not make backpacking "the" subject manner of the merit badge. Backpacking is the subject matter of the Backpacking Merit Badge. Hiking is the subject matter of the Hiking Merit Badge. Was backpacking ever REQUIRED to earn the Camping Merit Badge? If I recall correctly from 40 years ago (which I might not), when I earned Camping MB I don't think I had ever been backpacking. I did later, at Philmont and many times on the Appalachian Trail, and as a result I earned the Hiking MB (the Backpacking MB did not exist when I was a Boy Scout.) But the point is, you do have to go camping to earn the Camping MB.
          Last edited by NJCubScouter; 09-11-2013, 06:35 PM. Reason: Update, now I know why I never earned Backpacking MB, it didn't exist back then

        • Kudu
          Kudu commented
          Editing a comment
          My post was clear: In what Baden-Powell called Scouting, sleeping in a canvas town did not get you much past Tenderfoot.

          Le Voyageur's assessment is literally the same as that of Baden-Powell.

          Camping Merit Badge requirement 9b dumbs down the previous requirement 8b: "On one of these camping trips, hike 1.5 miles or more each way to and from your campsite. Pack your own gear plus your share of patrol gear and food."

          The international standard for First Class (including the Scoutcraft program specified in our Congressional Charter) is 14 or 15 miles without adult supervision.

          To walk three (3) miles in the woods with a pack on your back was too high a standard for Eagle Scouts.

          Prissy much?

        • NJCubScouter
          NJCubScouter commented
          Editing a comment
          Kudu, I agree with you that the three-mile backpacking requirement for Camping MB should have been kept, rather than being replaced by an "optional" version. I was not aware that it had been there, since (after some digging through the Internet) that change seems to have been made in 2000, when I was still a Cub Scout leader and not yet re-involved in the Boy Scout program. And although I don't really remember from 40 years ago, I suspect that when I earned the Camping MB way back when, there was a requirement to hike with a pack to a campsite. I wasn't even considering that "backpacking."

          The thing is, I don't understand why we can't have discussions like this without someone(s) using words like prissy, sissy, or (though I haven't seen it lately) cupcake. If we think some of the old requirements should be brought back, we can just say so, and tell National, without needing to "label" the program, or the kids.
          Last edited by NJCubScouter; 09-12-2013, 01:35 PM. Reason: Clarify

      • #51
        Well, ok, I'm enjoying the context of the discussion very much. It's rare to get in deep philosophical and intelectual discussions on this forum because emotions tend to take over. Brewmeister's post is profound to me because it says the issue isn't about tradition and trying to get back to the old ways, it's about understanding why some of the old ways worked. At the root, boys of today are the same of boys of yesterday and we need to understand what makes them tick to understand why the program is more prissy (sissy) or not. I do appreciate Kudus part of the discussion, but sometimes quotes without reasoning just aren't enough. Because of the challenges of WWII, my dad was not only an Eagle, but also a teenage Scoutmaster of his troop back in the early 40's. Through him I can learn what actual scouting was like at least that far back. When I ask him about hiking 14 miles for 1st class, well he laughed. Mind you my dad's troop rarely used vehicles to go camping because of the cost of fuel, they met at the church and hike out of town to their camp site. So it's not like they didn't hike. They were literly a back packing troop. I have a lot of respect for Kudu's vision of scouting and mean no disrepect, but how far back do we have to go to not be prissy or sissy? How far do our sons have to hike alone in the woods over night to prove themselves? As Brewmeister says "We go camping because it is the most useful way of achieving the aims of Scouting". Everything else is just clutter that slows down or even stops that process. I really think that is what Kudu is also trying to say. I would love to ask more questions, but my pragmatic nature sometimes pushes discussions off the edge. So I will just watch and enjoy. Barry

        Comment


        • Kudu
          Kudu commented
          Editing a comment
          A potential 80% market-share is irrelevant? In that you share common ground with Wood Badge!

        • Basementdweller
          Basementdweller commented
          Editing a comment
          It is irrelevant, Because like you I am not permited that kind of access. I would never be permited to hold a recruiting assembly in the middle of the day in a middle school.

          I am permitted to put up a table at open house, curriculum and dance nights.

          So while your grand presentation from your website is great and effective, Locally it is no longer permitted.

        • Kudu
          Kudu commented
          Editing a comment
          I was told the same thing up north: Policy forbids recruitment during school hours. One of my hooligans knew that the vice principal in charge of detention was a Scoutmaster, and he (the hooligan) arranged the recruiting assemblies "in the middle of the day in a middle school" that I describe. When I left, the new Eagle Scoutmaster made excuses for not recruiting, as do 99% of all the Scoutmasters reading this sentence.

          When I moved here the DE did the school hours presentations. When he moved people told me the policy had changed, but a couple days ago our feeder Pack's Cubmaster told me the local schools allow him to recruit on their morning shows. I didn't know that. I substitute for a gym teacher that needs an Eagle Project done for his school, if I was a Scoutmaster I would follow up on that. I would also look for private schools, university "laboratory" schools, as well as public school administers involved in Scouting.

          Seek Logic: The fact that it is irrelevant to you that 80% of sixth-grade boys can get just as excited about outdoor adventure as sixth-graders did on June 15, 1916, does NOT in turn prove your assertion that they don't join because of the competition of World of War Craft or Black Ops, because "they lack the stomach for physical discomfort and stress of being outdoors," or because their friends point out that the prissy program promoted by our Chief Scout Executive is "for pussys, or it is gay and for whimps."

      • #52
        Originally posted by Eagledad View Post
        how far back do we have to go to not be prissy?
        Answer: June 15, 1916

        The Boy Scouts of America agreed to that standard because the 1916 program (as defined by the advancement requirements) is a timeless, perfectly reasonable 21st century "core program" standard of Scoutcraft:

        http://inquiry.net/advancement/tf-1st_require_1911.htm

        Given modern lightweight equipment and the invention of the backpack waist strap, our nation's legal definition of Scouting is far easier to meet now than it was in 1916.

        "Prissy" is a polite euphemism for the term used by tens of millions of boys who have quit (or would never join a Cub Scout program for teens).

        Originally posted by Eagledad View Post
        How far do our sons have to hike alone in the woods over night to prove themselves?
        Answer: 14 miles

        To prove themselves equal to the international standard of a First Class Scout.

        Star (Scout Cord) is a similar two day, one night Journey

        Life (Bushman's Cord) requires a Journey of at least 20 miles on foot or by boat, with not more than 3 other Scouts.

        Eagle (King's Scout) requires the Scout to lead an "Expedition" of not more than 5 other Scouts at least 50 miles in wild country by land or water, with 3 nights spent at different campsites, or by horse back at least 200 miles in wild country.

        http://inquiry.net/advancement/tradi...quirements.htm

        What red-blooded American boy would not prefer to "prove" his leadership skills in such an outdoor-specific program?

        Comment


        • #53
          Scout son's OA lodge had it's fall ordeal weekend, picked up scout son from it late yesterday afternoon. This was the first ordeal weekend he staffed and he was an assistant supervisor on a work crew.

          On the return trip he said that by breakfast saturday morning 3 boys were homesick and had to leave, by lunch 2 more left and by dinner 5 left. Really 10 boys out of 60 or so candidates had to leave because they were home sick.

          Did I miss something?

          These guys are supposed to be honor campers, the cream of BSA's crop. So explain to me exactly how they got their nights camping in????? or did they?????


          I don't think the BSA has become prissy, It is society......and the type of boys who are now active in the BSA. a couple of years ago, the first time we took the new crossovers on a camping trip, had a mom and son in tears in the parking lot as we were trying to leave......Scout hid in his tent the second it was up and mom found us Saturday morning and took the boy home.......She even came with mcdonalds for him to eat so he wouldn't be hungry......Well we never saw him again.


          Seriously homesick overnight??????

          Comment


          • JoeBob
            JoeBob commented
            Editing a comment
            BD - You're right. Now we have to figure out what to do with about it.

            As SM, I'm being pulled in different directions.
            1- "Toughen 'em up!" Run an old-fashioned scouting program that challenges boys who are willing to stick it out.
            2- Coddle the boys with enough screen time and car-camping to keep my enrollment up. And the city-dwelling adults off my back.

            Every day is a compromise, but I'm weary of the right choice always being the hardest.

        • #54
          Yes, my first ordel as an adult in 1995 was quite a shock. Compared to the Ordeals of the 60s and 70s, I am now ashamed of the OA. For those who don't understand, some of the requirements differences are that OA candidates in the 70s had to be at least 14 years old and only two scouts could be elected by their peers from each troop. Eleven year olds can go now and a troop can send all their scouts if they want. As a result, most scouts going to Ordeal have less than a year experience. Hardly enough time to earn the honor of honor camper. I don't know when OA changed the requirments, but I'm sure the pressure to change was a reflection of our culture. Barry

          Comment


          • #55
            Originally posted by Basementdweller View Post
            Scout son's OA lodge had it's fall ordeal weekend, picked up scout son from it late yesterday afternoon. This was the first ordeal weekend he staffed and he was an assistant supervisor on a work crew.

            On the return trip he said that by breakfast saturday morning 3 boys were homesick and had to leave, by lunch 2 more left and by dinner 5 left. Really 10 boys out of 60 or so candidates had to leave because they were home sick.

            Did I miss something?

            These guys are supposed to be honor campers, the cream of BSA's crop. So explain to me exactly how they got their nights camping in????? or did they?????


            I don't think the BSA has become prissy, It is society......and the type of boys who are now active in the BSA. a couple of years ago, the first time we took the new crossovers on a camping trip, had a mom and son in tears in the parking lot as we were trying to leave......Scout hid in his tent the second it was up and mom found us Saturday morning and took the boy home.......She even came with mcdonalds for him to eat so he wouldn't be hungry......Well we never saw him again.


            Seriously homesick overnight??????
            That's unbelievable. My boys were homesick their first (and second for the oldest, sympathy for homesick younger brother), but they never contemplated going home for that. By the time they did their Ordeal, homesickness was unthinkable.

            I do agree that our society is producing prissier people, and it's most noticeable in Scout aged boys. When I was WDL, I had several boys that didn't crossover because they (and their mothers) didn't think they could take camping without their mother. I think the boy was lazy (Mom did everything on the Family/Webelos camps we did), and the Mom overprotective. Had others that did crossover that didn't last long--two or three campouts. IMHO, your son's OA lodge was lucky that those 10 boys didn't finish the Ordeal. They weren't mature enough to be in the OA.

            Comment


            • #56
              The OA thing is a failure of the Scoutmaster......You have got to know your boys. You know who is ready or not. Who can pitch a tent and follow directions.

              But I remember Krampus and his parents saying that his opinion that a boys wasn't ready wasn't good enough. There had to be a rule in writing somewhere.....

              Comment


              • Eagledad
                Eagledad commented
                Editing a comment
                OA isn't about honor camping anymore, its about another patch on the shirt, that's all. Only 10 percent of OA members last a year anyway. It's a great program for that 10% who hang around, but it still doesn have the prestige it carried back when I was a scout. Why do you think OA change the qualifications of the candidates? Barry

              • Kudu
                Kudu commented
                Editing a comment
                Eagledad commented:

                "almost 1/2 of the SMs never had a scouting experience, they don't know what honor camping is."

                Baden-Powell designed a seven day immersion course to teach indoor volunteers how think like outdoorsmen.

                Now we teach indoor volunteers how to think like office managers.

              • Basementdweller
                Basementdweller commented
                Editing a comment
                hmmmm

                So this a patch to be put on a 13 year olds Eagle court of honor uniform just before he quits.

            • #57
              Want to strengthen OA? Let the green girls in.

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