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Is Scouting Becoming Irrelevant?

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  • Is Scouting Becoming Irrelevant?

    The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.

    The ability of boys to do things for themselves and others.

    Helicopter parenting. More grown kids living at home. On your parent's health care plan until you're 26. Moms and dads showing up at job interviews. Exploding disability and food stamp rolls and more government programs to take care of you on your behalf.

    to train them in scoutcraft

    The demise of scoutcraft and proficiency has been often lamented in these forums. Traditional scoutcraft skills viewed as irrelevant in the information age.

    patriotism

    Increased balkanization of the country and identification with groups rather than a national culture. Traditional patriotism increasingly passe or even seen as jingoistic.

    self-reliance

    See above.

    kindred virtues

    Moral relativism.

    using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.

    As above.

    Has time passed Scouting by?


  • #2
    For my sons:

    The ability of boys to do things for themselves and others.

    Sons pack for their own trips. Maintain Troop gear and load trailer.

    to train them in scoutcraft

    Can start fires many different ways including fire-bow. Knows and uses different knots. Can identify trees, plants,and critters on hikes and backpacking.

    patriotism

    I do not know how many flag ceremonies, church meetings, and civic occasions I have had to drive my boys to because they really, really wanted to be in the color guard.

    self-reliance

    I know my sons (one more than another) can plan, pack, and carry his load on a trip without me being there. He tracks his own achievements and pursues sign offs, etc. I have less and less to do...

    kindred virtues

    Yeah times change. If you mean kindness...they do a lot of serving the homeless at our local soup kitchen because they think it is fun and the right thing to do.

    using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.

    Yeah I wish they did more scoutcraft and there were less bureaucracy but the program still works if you work it. For my sons it has remained a central activity for them.

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    • #3
      kindred virtues

      Moral relativism.

      I've only ever seen straw-man moral relativists; what do you mean by "Moral relativism" (and "kindred virtues" for that matter)?

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      • #4
        For the dinosaurs and republicans maybe, for us no. Improvise, adapt, overcome.

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        • #5
          Your concerns are reasonable ones, but I have been hearing the same overall question - Is Scouting Becoming Irrelevant? - for at least the last 40 years. It was the impetus for the much-maligned "improved Scouting program" of the early 70s and many other changes since then. And yet the BSA is still here, not with the same membership numbers, but it is still here. On one specific point, Scoutcraft skills may be viewed as irrelevant by some, but not by the Scouts and leaders in "my" troop, and from my perspective, that's what counts the most.

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          • #6
            Scouting is still relevant. So are all the hallmarks of the successful years of scouting--scoutcraft, duty to God, country, others, etc.

            Scouting only seems irrelevant (to some) because the BSA has willingly downplayed the successful hallmarks of scouting, and replaced them with that which is sedentary and uninspiring.

            Look at the world today. Despite claims to the contrary, I'd hardly call this an enlightened age. The world didn't get this way because of scouting. But our communities, and specifically our youth, could greatly benefit from the time-honored hallmarks of scouting. Scouting is exactly what we need.(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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            • #7
              Brew

              If you mean the current watered down, classroom oriented, and overly simplified scouting programs with little to no outdoor scoutcraft, challenges, or fun coming out of National today then the answer is a resounding YES!

              If you are talking about the core essence of scouting its morals, values, and the skills needed to not only live in the outdoors but to learn a real appreciation and the desire to protect our natural resources then the answer is a big NO!

              There are still some very dedicated unit leaders out there who are staying true to what I call the true core of scouting, and our units are thriving with youth who REALLY want what true scouting is supposed to be all about. Robotics, chess, and the internet are all fine and good in their proper place, but not in scouting, that is not what we are all about as an organization. As the BSA continues to try to squeeze in these non scouting activities and alter the program from an outdoor emphasis to an indoor sedentary activity base we will continue to lose youth and adults at an ever increasing rate.

              Case in point, this past week our crew reached 90 active youth, our crew committee has decided to split the group officially into two crews so that we can handle the numbers that are still wanting to join our outdoor high adventure oriented crew. We will still do activites together but with two groups of leaders the youth will get the proper attention they want or need.

              So to all you naysayers out there who feel we should allow National to continue to take us further and further away from our roots in the outdoors I say you don't really know what you are talking about, and neither does National with their radical switch of emphasis in all scouting programs.

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              • #8
                Pssst.....

                Kindred Virtues means virtues similar to patriotism, self-reliance and courage - it does not mean morals, or any such thing.

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                • #9
                  Every body poo poos video games.

                  By son operates a clan in Call of Duty Series, he says it has 40 members....they played black ops, Modern Warfare3 and Black ops 2.

                  He organizes the matches against the other clans, monitors behavior and performance of his guys, recruits new members. to be real honest I was impressed. they have a website and email system similar to what many boy scout troops have.

                  While not all kids play video games in that manner, It is what scouting once was. Next to zero adult involvement. He did it on his own with dads permission.

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                  • #10
                    Scouting in America may be becoming irrelevant only because the BSA fails to keep up with the times. Scouting can easily be something cool and adventurous but instead it's seen as an alternative for kids who don't do well in sports (i.e., geeks, nerds and autistic kids).

                    And look at the popularity of wilderness survivalist TV shows, rock climbing, snowboarding, skateboarding, and the X-Games. We would be slammed with new kids if we had a X-Game type and wilderness survival competitions.

                    But long ago, the BSA has hooked their wagon to the religious right which has received a real a drubbing by most Americans. Organized religion is perceived to be hypocritical, judgmental and discriminatory and the BSA is an arm of organized religion.

                    I think helicopter parenting is a response to the fear of child abduction, mass murderers, and youth organizations and some churches to adequately protect children. Many parents feel that it is safer to keep their kids at home playing video games than to go outside and experience an otherwise dangerous world. Many parents also resist allowing their kids to fail fearing that their self-esteem will be irreparably harmed.

                    Scouting as a brand is very damaged. But I don't think irreparably damaged.

                    If I were the King of the BSA, I would start a campaign called "Ready for Anything." It would emphasize adventure and danger, self-defense/martial arts, wilderness survival, extreme sports, environmentalism, health/fitness, the Maker Movement, leadership, and acceptance of everyone (gays, girls, and atheists).

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                    • #11
                      "Every body poo poos video games.

                      By son operates a clan in Call of Duty Series, he says it has 40 members....they played black ops, Modern Warfare3 and Black ops 2.

                      He organizes the matches against the other clans, monitors behavior and performance of his guys, recruits new members. to be real honest I was impressed. they have a website and email system similar to what many boy scout troops have.

                      While not all kids play video games in that manner, It is what scouting once was. Next to zero adult involvement. He did it on his own with dads permission."

                      Basementdweller: When I was your sons age, I'm 19, so not too long ago, I played in a gaming group like that. It was very much like Scouting, and at times I enjoyed it more. As I got older, I got involved in Scouting more heavily and I quit that sort of competitive gaming.

                      If your son is the 11-13 age group, he should be careful. There are adults in those groups, and sometimes that could be trouble. Most of them have good intentions and just enjoy playing these games with skilled players, others may have other purposes. Not trying to scare you or anything (I doubt I can anyways. =P)

                      By and large I felt the need to comment, because I've never seen an adult give online gaming activities such validity before..


                      Moving on to the OP topic, I think Scouting is very relevant. Part of the beauty of the program is the variance. Each Troop adapts to it's Boys and their needs and abilities. Some troops can be into huge wilderness explorations where they could all beat down Bear Grylls in a skills competition. Some troops are a bit more plop and drop trailer camping. I think both approaches are equally valid.

                      Yours in Scouting,
                      Sentinel947

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                      • #12
                        Scouting tries to be alot of things with good intentions but trying to do too much always has the potential to lose focus. The BSA wants to appeal to boys that love the outdoors and those that hate the outdoors - You can't have both and be successful at both. So what is most important to the BSA? I'm still trying to figure that out. Is it "STEM", backpacking, hiking, wilderness survival, primitive camping, indoor merit badge colleges, flag ceremonies, service projects, etc.

                        While Scouting talks about the outdoors, the reality is only 23 nights of camping are required for Eagle - (20 for camping merit badge and about 3 for 1st Class). Double-check me on the numbers but it's still not much. This requirement alone appeals to those that want keep the outdoors to a minimum. Now, most Eagle Scouts I have seen have clocked alot camping time, but I was at an Eagle COH one time where the Eagle Scout had only put in 31 nights of camping in the 6 years he was with the Troop. That's right 31, but he surpassed the minimum requirement.

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                        • #13
                          the only TV in the house is in the main room of the house...... The only objection I have is the swearing and the white supremacy hilly billy crap that gets spouted. I take user names and report the idiots that due it.....Usually results in a 30 day suspension from xbox live.

                          I keep a pretty close eye on it from the edges.

                          My sons clan is basically the Troop with some non scouting friends and friends of friends.

                          Our troop gets 30 days of camping a year....so our first class scouts have pretty typically 40-45 nights.


                          Brew...I have wondered the same thing.

                          There are a few boys in the troop that love to backpack
                          There are a few boys in the troop that love to volunteer at the food pantry
                          There are a few boys in the troop that love merit badges
                          Parades, rifle shooting, cooking, plop camping, building fires, canoeing, swimming, rappelling, being den cheifs

                          an equal amount hate those very things too.
                          on and on. It isn't my job to try to please them all.

                          Our boys are different. Country boys the adventure might be an urban one? Museums, urban hikes, concert, urban nature centers...

                          Urban guys getting out into the country is it....Time in the woods exploring a rotting log and the excitement of the first salamander found.


                          We need to remember adventure thru the eyes of a 12 year old.

                          (This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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                          • #14
                            This question is a bit stale (no offence), simply because it's really similar to the "our kids are getting worse and here's why" phraseology.

                            If you look 100 years back and try to compare, then yeah. Everything is gonna seem dumbed down. But Scouting changes with society. Back then, an 8th Grade education was sufficient enough to become independent. Now, it's moving toward a "why don't you have a Masters?" mentality. And considering the cost of college... yeah. You're gonna have kids living at home still. Hell, I'm still trying to find a big boy job because $10/hr won't work. In that case, helicopter parenting isn't the key issue.

                            As for woodlore, outdoor skills, etc., it's still the same principle. Considering most kids see sunshine and trees through a video game screen, lashing two poles with some rope is p. damn impressive. This isn't Minecraft after all.

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                            • #15
                              Environment is higher on the profile, making our LNT philosophy critical.
                              Service has been required at many schools, so our service requirements work.
                              Outdoors has become adventure, and is celebrated. We should own this.

                              So those 3 are MORE relevant now. Our local REI has several Eagles working there, and i would love to see a better partnership with REI as well. REI does a ton of outdoors training, and offers wilderness first aid regularly as well.

                              Patriotism is still important. My Pack runs the September 11th associated Patriot Day morning assembly every year at our local public school.

                              Making good, moral choices (anti-bullying, helping others, etc.) never goes out of style. Some might argue the definition of morality, but there is still morality.

                              We are still relevant, we just need to work on our messaging and marketing to reach today's youth and their parents.

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