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  • How About We Simply Work the Program to the Best of Our Abilities

    Hey, why don't we simply quit worrying about the politicization of Scouting anywhere, and simply offer the program to the best of our abilities, dealing with "occasional" problems as they occur?

    We will NOT solve the political issues nor the religious ones either, as some will simply refuse to even be remotely reasonable. So, just hunker down and do Scouting, keeping as close to the foundational principles as we can.

  • #2
    I agree 100%


    • #3
      I agree too, with a dash of local option.


      • #4
        Skeptic, why can't someone fulfill their role(s) in their unit(s) and/or district, council, etc., AND come here occasionally to discuss the issues facing the BSA as a whole? That's what I do, and I think it's what most of us here do. Posting here does not have to interfere with other activities, including "on the ground" Scouting.


        • #5
          I think skeptic's post applies to outside this forum. I've had quite a few adults (and one or two scouts) bring up the gay issue. I know district and council leaders have had this as a routine part of half of their conversations. Someone called our HQ proporting to represent our troop with an opinion completely opposite of how the SM and I operate. We could be talking about who's bringing a keg of root beer to the next camporee, but this political material keeps invading the conversation. Meanwhile, I was talking to one of the electors who attended the national meeting, and much of the more interesting stuff has received zero coverage. So all this chat about how scouting handles the sexualization of America's unmarried youth does seem to get in the way of teaching boys how to light fires and girls how to balance the load on their packs.


          • Eagledad
            Eagledad commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, even Packsaddle couldn't keep focused on the orginal intent of the subject. The media and BSA dissenters has stigmatized the organization enough that the average Tiger parent isn't going to want to hassle with it. Barry

          • NJCubScouter
            NJCubScouter commented
            Editing a comment
            quazse, I am not hearing much discussion of this in "real life" Scouting at all. There were flurries of discussion (not involving Scouts) when things were actually happening, that is, back in January-February and then before and after the big (non) decision in May, but other than that, people in my troop are focusing on Scouting. As for what people on the district and council level are talking about, I don't know, I try to stay as far away from them as possible. (No offense to district and council Scouters who are reading this, but my experience is that conversations with district and council people are often dominated by "office politics" and money, rather than day-to-day Scouting.)

          • qwazse
            qwazse commented
            Editing a comment
            NJ, Maybe folks aren't as divisive on your side of the Appalachians! Consider yourself fortunate.

            Or maybe not. I like our involvement at the district and council levels. (It's almost a requirement for venturing crew officers.) My district and council people have been nothing but helpful most days (and generally take a step back when we make it clear they aren't helping). They've given my youth (both troop and crew) support for truly unique programs and service projects. So, when they stop by at camp - as they did this summer, they have my ear. And they have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out which COR's may need some TLC when rechartering time comes around. I'm hoping next time we cross paths that I can do them the favor of directing the conversation to how my youth can contribute to the next camporee, or the venturing advancement roadmap, or promoting the recent Islamic religious awards.

            (Oh, by the way, blessed fast to those starting Ramadan!)

        • #6
          No. That is not how America works.

          Everyone gets a say in how things work in this country, and lobbying, handshaking, baby kissing, and speech giving to convince people of your position is a time-honored tradition.

          I reject the approach suggested because it is "Why can't we just stick our heads in the sand and not get involved and stand up for what we believe in."

          Scouts, more than others, should be passionate advocates of their beliefs.


          • #7
            Well and good T.J.; but there is a place for these things. And it is not where it disrupts the program or intrudes on others' rights. One of the recent reinforcements in the resolution just passed is that of NO POLITICAL ACTIVISM that suggests BSA is pro or con in any particular issue. BSA is a-political in theory, and certainly does not have lobbyists or other pols that push agendas. Still, this specific forum was set up for those that choose to do these things, so as to hopefully keep them from disrupting the other forums. My point is simply that the argument never ending and we can better spend our time if we really care about the program and the kids involved. As I have pointed out numerous times, NOBODY is required to join BSA. It is a choice, so if you choose to not agree, then you can simply do other things that better reflect your positions.


            • #8
              I am focused on the boys when on the ground. The only time this issue has come up is when someone thinks we need a unit policy for dealing with when one Scout doesn't want to tent with a gay Scout. I simply asked why we needed something specific to gays - every campout there can be a scramble to avoid tenting with any particular Scout for a variety of reasons.

              I have kept my actions at the National and District level only so fa.

              Barry - The BSA stigmatized themselves through their actions, communications and lack of communications through the years. We as an organization are obviously still learning how to handle PR in the modern, connected world.


            • #9
              Scouter99 - he wants a policy for allowing kids to refuse to tent with the gay kid.


              • Scouter99
                Scouter99 commented
                Editing a comment
                Silly either way. I can't imagine anyone forcing kids to tent with anyone they don't want to, so what would be the point. Ah well.

              • Horizon
                Horizon commented
                Editing a comment
                That was my thought as well. I always counseled the Patrol Leader on the subject on the best way to deal with the conflict. Part of my job description I felt - help train future leaders on how to deal with conflicts in the field.

                This is the only time so far that the issue has come up, and it has been raised by an adult not by a youth. Then again, the unit has a problem with adult pushed rule books that the youth barely look.

            • #10
              Skeptic and TJ and packsaddle all have good points. Discussion and disagreement is good, but we also have to agree to disagree and move on.

              I went and looked at the onmyhonor website as they had a "major" announcement today. Well, the announcement was a bust but I did look at their forums. Besides arguing over dumb stuff like what to call the equivalent to Eagle, there is a thread on membership requirements. Turns out I wouldn't be allowed to be a scoutmaster there, even though they do want to make it non-denominational. I guess we have different definitions. But I did notice an argument as to who would be allowed. One guy said Jews and Christians should be allowed but not Muslims or Buddhists. That started a fight. They've just shifted the line but they sound just the same. The point being, there will always be people that disagree and we should learn to be civil. We're all volunteers and we're all trying.


              • Sentinel947
                Sentinel947 commented
                Editing a comment
                I can't wait to watch this group crash and burn. They screamed and made a ton of noise when they left, but had no exit strategy. Sounds like a bunch of adults that just wanted to start their own organization and now have an excuse to do so.

              • Scouter99
                Scouter99 commented
                Editing a comment
                So if they're going to allow gay youth, why leave BSA to begin with? Babies.

              • perdidochas
                perdidochas commented
                Editing a comment

                My thought exactly. What's the difference between their policy and the BSA policy. My main worry is that they will attract away leaders/scouts in certain areas making them harder to keep BSA going in their area.

            • #11
              I learned a few years ago to do my best to avoid the garbage that comes from our local council all the way up to National. I feel if we bring that stuff to the troop level, we are doing a dis-service to those we serve. I know we aren't liked very much by those that get paid to do this but no one can argue our success. We don't have kids quitting and a very high percentage EARN their Eagle rank. We are an out of the box troop but are pretty tight when it comes to the aims of scouting. Regarding the whole "I don't want to tent with....." Almost all our boys solo tent so it's never an issue except at summer camp and then some boys bring their own tents and/or hammocks. Each unit needs to do what works for them and their boys and that is always changing depending on the type of boys you have.


              • #12
                If y'all want to discuss Politics and or the Membership Policy we do have a sub forum for that. The reason we have separate forums isn't so that people can avoid discussing the political/culture war issues, but rather that those issues will dominate the whole forum, and there won't be an easily identifiable way to find out other Scouting relevant information. So we have a nice separate forum for that. Lets keep it that way. If ANYBODY thinks by them preaching and pontificating on an internet forum like this one that they are making a noble contribution to the political causes they care about, and they really helping shape the real world events involving those causes, they need to get a serious reality check.


                • DeanRx
                  DeanRx commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sentinel, I might take a slight objection to your theory that blowing wind on these forums doesn't have anything to do with shaping real world events / causes... I know of at least one or two folks from national that troll on here (one that has posted that I know of). This forum and others like it were calling for a census so to speak for about the last 3 years regarding the membership policy criteria.... it finally happened. Now, it might be a coincidence, or maybe not, but the GOOD part about this forum is it allows for the discussion of topics that may not be kosher (to borrow the word) at a round table, or to bring up to the local council, etc...

                  Especially, outside of the Issues / Politics forum. I have asked and answered several "What would you do / How have you handled this...." types of questions. Many I would not feel comfortable asking / answering at a round table meeting, nor on a one-on-one with a paid scouter rep from district / council. That is the beauty of the internet, right?

              • #13
                Skeptic, I believe from what I read here that that's what we are doing. Most of us are just doing our regular Scouting gigs and hopefully not discussing the negative stuff except when it will serve a purpose. I certainly continue to support Scouting financially and by doing what I can to help out. We just need a place to vent our frustrations and hope that some of the folks at National follow these threads enough to know what we think. To me, it's kind of encouraging that this relatively small group of Scouters take their grievances here, rather than quitting to join the Honor group or just stay out of youth related activities.


                • #14
                  ""I learned a few years ago to do my best to avoid the garbage that comes from our local council all the way up to National. I feel if we bring that stuff to the troop level, we are doing a dis-service to those we serve."" Agreed, but this has gone way way above National into the limelight of the national media and political process. Every person (youth and adults) who considers going to a scouting activitity (recruiting?) is wondering which side of the "us against them" they are on. And there will constant reminders by the media and politicians of just who side you should be on. We the people (sheep really) let the Pop Culture take our program away from us. Barry


                  • Twocubdad
                    Twocubdad commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I've been surprised at the number of people who have approached me wanting to discuss this. A lot of folks around know I'm The Scout Guy and I think are genuinely interested to know about the issue first hand. And some want to give their opinion and just have someone listen (this tends to be folks involved in the program at some level). I try to listen and do my best to give my understanding of the factual issues and my personal view on the topic -- and to identify both. I keep waiting for someone to approach me with an ax to grind, but (knock, knock) so far the folks have been very civil and engaging.

                • #15
                  In reading various recent historical efforts on Scouting, and going back and reading older ones, it is apparent that there is little similarity between today's professional and the ones that were working prior to 1950 or so. Story after story about how they were paid next to nothing, ran camps all summer, went without pay at times, had huge issues with which to deal that today we would simply not see; yet they persevered and kept the basics in focus most of the time. While I would not like to see today's pro's have to live with some of those conditions, I would like to see more of them allowed to focus more on the youth than numbers of any kind. And I really would like to see National make some serious adjustments to the inequities in pay between the men that still try to do the job at the lowest levels, and the few that have somehow made it near the top. Like in all corporations almost, the highest few could lose about half their salaries and still be well paid; and that money could be used to keep people at the lower levels long enough to build more consistency within councils. Better yet, would love to see ALL high level pro's, including council top men, spend at least a month working directly with the real units, including on staff at summer camp and day camp for at least a couple of days straight, doing the job of counselor or even working in the kitchen or maintenance. We might actually see a bit more recognition of the realities of the challenges we face.

                  Another great change, at least for me, would be an actual National policy that would require each council board, all the way up to the National level, to have about one quarter of the people on it be involved in units directly in some capacity. That would mean either using COR's on local level as active members of the board, not just paper signatures, or pulling people from unit committees or districts. Of course, that also would require the COR to actually know what his job really is. One can dream I suppose. But I am not holding my breath.
                  Last edited by skeptic; 07-10-2013, 10:19 AM. Reason: spelling and minor grammar


                  • Scouter99
                    Scouter99 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Do you have examples? The scouting history "The Scouting Party" says exactly the opposite: Dan Beard spent half his time complaining about how much more money than him that the other pros were making, he charged troops/councils for visits, and kept publishing his own camping books post-BSA to supplement his income. Seton was more generous, but an extreme ego. Boyce promised $10,000/yr then never coughed it up for years til the board begged him for it.

                    There's no broad stroke to paint the past with; it doesn't serve to over-romanticize.

                  • skeptic
                    skeptic commented
                    Editing a comment

                    You need to understand the difference between founders and pro's. While Beard and Seton were established youth group men with their own organizations, and were directly involved early (Beard until his death), they were not paid exectuives working in the field. Read Win Davis' new book, MEN OF SCHIFF, or A PIONEER'S JOURNAL of SCOUTING STORIES, by Waldo Shaver, or Harold Pote's FIFTY YEARS of SCOUTING IN AMERICA. There are others, but these are major ones.

                    And Boyce promised $1,000 per month, not $10,000 per year; see Petterchak book on Boyce. On page 70 and 71 there are a number of references regarding Boyce's financial support. "In January, 1911, Boyce supplied funding for Robinson (YMCA co-founder) to open an office at 200 Fifth Ave, N.Y.......The new stationery listed 75 National Council members, including Boyce ...." (p 70). "Boyce company treasurer Frank Reynolds recalls that he was responsible for sending money to West 'every month, not only for salary, but also for incidental expenses. Mr. Boyce never questioned the amount. In getting the national charter for the Boy Scouts of America, Mr. Boyce paid all expenses, including legal fees."

                    After reading these, perhaps you will get a better understanding of the huge differences.