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Historical Misconceptions and Program Level Confusion

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  • #16
    I don't think you're picking on me. I understand the concern and you may be right. If something happens to one of these boys, the family can have everything I own - I won't need it in the dark room where I'll be spending the rest of my days.

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    • #17
      Why it is important to have A Legal Guardian along on anything you do. Scouting is No different any other aspect of Life..
      Ever have a sleep over for one of your Kid's and allow their Friends over?
      Ever go with one of your Kid's Sports team out for Pizza after that Big Game?
      Ever have a Cook Out in the Old Back yard and Invite Friends Over?
      Ever Take your Kid and some of their Friends to the Movies and Drop them off?

      If you have ever done anything you have opened yourself to possible Law Suits.
      Myself I try to enjoy life and share my Experiences with a Newer Generation of Scouters...Treat them like babies all their Lives and they will be.

      Would I be worried about a Group of Cub Scouts at a State Park with their Families right next to my Camp Grounds....NO
      Would I be Worried if I saw a Unit Leader with Young Blind Folded Scouters heading out into a Blizzard in the Alaskan Wilderness Barely dressed for Wilderness Training? Heck yes

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      • #18
        Our culture is no longer connected to the natural environment as those of 50 - 100 years ago. Scouting was an opportunity to enjoy this connection. We no longer have adult leadership capable of even coordinating our youth to make a connection that these adults never made. Whereas nature used to be a part of these peoples' existence, it's just a nice place to visit for us "modern folk".

        I don't think the old-timers are trying to bring back the "good old days" in a much as trying to maintain the connection with nature that seems to disappear more and more as time moves on.

        With the loss of our agrarian roots we have become disconnected from nature. Our farmers ride machinery rather than walk in the dirt that produces life, our food comes from stores, highly processed and lacking in nutrition rather than from backyard gardens. Pioneers and native Americans never had stores from which to buy anything, but if our economy were to fail, our people would die sitting in an abundance of food all around. Our world shuts out the natural world with windows, screens, heavily insulated homes. We don't even cut our fuel for food and warm anymore, it just shows up. We don't even need to leave the home to survive. We can work from home, have food delivered and never have to speak to our next door neighbors..... and BSA wants to become more relevant to this Brave New World we find ourselves in.

        Sorry, I fight every day against it's influence. I may be crazy, but if I lose my can opener, I'm not going to starve.

        Stosh

        Stosh

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        • #19
          Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
          Our culture is no longer connected to the natural environment as those of 50 - 100 years ago. Scouting was an opportunity to enjoy this connection. We no longer have adult leadership capable of even coordinating our youth to make a connection that these adults never made. Whereas nature used to be a part of these peoples' existence, it's just a nice place to visit for us "modern folk".

          I don't think the old-timers are trying to bring back the "good old days" in a much as trying to maintain the connection with nature that seems to disappear more and more as time moves on.

          With the loss of our agrarian roots we have become disconnected from nature. Our farmers ride machinery rather than walk in the dirt that produces life, our food comes from stores, highly processed and lacking in nutrition rather than from backyard gardens. Pioneers and native Americans never had stores from which to buy anything, but if our economy were to fail, our people would die sitting in an abundance of food all around. Our world shuts out the natural world with windows, screens, heavily insulated homes. We don't even cut our fuel for food and warm anymore, it just shows up. We don't even need to leave the home to survive. We can work from home, have food delivered and never have to speak to our next door neighbors..... and BSA wants to become more relevant to this Brave New World we find ourselves in.

          Sorry, I fight every day against it's influence. I may be crazy, but if I lose my can opener, I'm not going to starve.

          Stosh

          Stosh
          This. It isn't just scouting and it isn't just in the USA. it has been a shift that has really been going on since the late 60's early 70's. We have access to more information today but less access to actually experiencing it. Nature has become something yo u visit and look at rather than something you experience.

          For those who have not read it I recommend reading Last Child in the Woods which attepts to make connection on how we evolved over the last 40 years.

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          • #20
            Like nature, outdoor education is somewhat cyclic. Some of the events along that timeline: learning nature, agriculture from the American Indian as we "settled" West, colleges offer degrees in Agriculture, Scouting/4H, recycling for war effort, victory gardens, colleges offer degrees in Forestry/Land management, Earth Day Movement (ecology), recycling for the environment, Outward Bound/NOLS, colleges offer degrees in Environmental Science, community gardens...Last Child in the Woods (1998), colleges offer degrees in outdoor recreation.

            So periodically, some adults wake up and realize what has been forgotten from the past and re-institute it. LNT is but one example. In recent years, I have found that many local middle and high schools have developed successful outdoor programs. To me it seems ironic, that the schools are offering outdoor programs and the BSA is offering STEM programs, each attempting to fill a void created by the other. Go figure.

            My $0.02

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            • #21
              Even with a lot of the outdoor programs, the approach often puts up barriers between boys and nature. Although I believe in LNT, too often is is taught as a bunch of rules saying DONT. Wilderness Survival is taught as a struggle against nature. The most frequent word a lot of scouts hear is DONT - don't play in the stream, don't get dirty, don't use your knife on that dead branch, dont climb that tree, don't put sticks in the fire, don't skip rocks, dont get wet, etc. I tell scouts (and their parents) that the best part about scouting is that it is the one time you can get dirty and won't get in trouble. I think there should be a tree climbing merit badge. I loan knives (including my 7 inch bushcraft knife) to scouts for cutting and carving (dead wood of course). I encourage them to find things in nature to use as tinder for a fire. I take breaks during backpacking trips to lay down on a meadow, relax on a rock or cool my feet in a stream. I let them eat blueberries and blackberries they find. I encourage them to hike at night, without flashlights. I want them to play in the woods. I can't change the worlds view of nature, but I can change the view of a handful of boys.
              Last edited by Hedgehog; 07-28-2014, 08:26 AM.

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              • #22
                Tree climbing? Without a brain bucket and belayed? Shhh. Don't let Texas know about that.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                  Tree climbing? Without a brain bucket and belayed? Shhh. Don't let Texas know about that.
                  Tree Climbing was a Cub Scout rank or arrow elective requirement back in 60's. I think it was for Wolf. I remember climbing a neighbor's tree as high as her roof.

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                  • #24
                    My wife fully admits she climbed trees all the time as a child. She has an absolute cow every time the boys try to do it now,

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                      My wife fully admits she climbed trees all the time as a child. She has an absolute cow every time the boys try to do it now,
                      Maybe she knows first hand what it means to fall out of a tree and land on your head.

                      Stosh

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                      • #26
                        Hmmmm. I grew up climbing trees and never injured myself. My son on the other hand, broke his arm falling from school playground equipment onto a bed of neatly manicured mulch.

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                        • #27
                          Some things are better than in the 1950's -1960's, not to mention the really early years BB (before Bill)..

                          Some things are worse.

                          As for
                          "But all the hew and cry about how the "old" program" was so much better is simply nonsense,"
                          I submit that there" is nothing "simple" about an historical analysis of any significant social institution over nearly 106 years. (And if you think it's 104 - even in the U.S. - you are not in a position to discuss the history. Hint: there were 99 troops in Cleveland when the B.S.A. first showed up in 1912, and many were four years old.)

                          Scouting for the first twenty years looked pretty questionable from the standpoint of a teenager at the height of "Fifty Years" in 1960. There was no Patrol Method "back then." Adults were told in so many words not to trust boy leaders. Some of the early scoutcraft ideas were frankly silly. (Can we post pictues here? I have some doozies - like standing on the log to "buck" it betwwen your feet.) Some of the early first aid was dangerous. The advice not to drink water when exercising - "Suck on a pebble." - was a special laugh for Scouts when I was one. Gear had been primitive (Ours was so "advanced": wood back boards with unpadded canvas straps; even actual aluminum frames! [no waist belts]). Stewardship of nature had been heavily into "Subdue the Earth" (and was still fairly axe/saw oriented + "Burn/bash/bury."). And those uniforms - jeesh!!

                          But, even allowing for the tinted glasses of age, kids were more disciplined (if less sophisticated){Mom was at home.), advancement was harder to achieve (1% Eagles), and everyone knew the very few troops that did not follow the Patrol Method as laid out by Bill in 1950. Our Council annually and publically recpognized the vast majority certified as following TPM, and by negative implication the few that did not. I can't seem to convince our Council to do that recognition thing. Popcorn? Yes FOS? Yes. 100% Boy's Life? Yes. Not TPM.

                          It's that last issue that grates, The Patrol Method was supposed to be the big thing -- method off all methods. All else sprang from that. (E.g. you wanted to go camping with your friends; it was time with your friends ! ) B.S.A. still says so. I cannot find a single even slightly veteran Scouter who does not believe that the Patrol Method has been allowed to deteriorate. Now, I run Klondike evensts and the "patrol" members have trouble telling me what patrol they are in, have a five-minute flag, and confess they are just together 'for the Klondike." I work with a troop where, when I joined, even the "Patrol Leaders" literally could not tell me what patrol they were in. And that Scoutmaster had just been named "Scoutmaster of the Year." If you think that is how it was in the 1950's and 1960's, I have a "simple" for you.

                          One thing that history has taught anyone who looks: it's not always onwards and upwards. Change is not inevitable improvement. Some things are worth keeping and, so, worth fighting for.

                          I distingush working and fighting from jus' bitching. I still hope. (New SM syllabus coming out.)

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Hedgehog View Post
                            Even with a lot of the outdoor programs, the approach often puts up barriers between boys and nature. Although I believe in LNT, too often is is taught as a bunch of rules saying DONT. Wilderness Survival is taught as a struggle against nature. The most frequent word a lot of scouts hear is DONT - don't play in the stream, don't get dirty, don't use your knife on that dead branch, dont climb that tree, don't put sticks in the fire, don't skip rocks, dont get wet, etc. I tell scouts (and their parents) that the best part about scouting is that it is the one time you can get dirty and won't get in trouble. I think there should be a tree climbing merit badge. I loan knives (including my 7 inch bushcraft knife) to scouts for cutting and carving (dead wood of course). I encourage them to find things in nature to use as tinder for a fire. I take breaks during backpacking trips to lay down on a meadow, relax on a rock or cool my feet in a stream. I let them eat blueberries and blackberries they find. I encourage them to hike at night, without flashlights. I want them to play in the woods. I can't change the worlds view of nature, but I can change the view of a handful of boys.
                            Sounds super.

                            You might try another LNT presenter. I scouted for years with two Master Educators. Their first principle is, "It's not about rules. It's about a way of thinking about nature." They spent at least 75% of their time with Scouts just showing them stuff out in the "field." They feel the "RULES" guys ("Environmental Police") are the bane of their existence.

                            I don't teach Wilderness Survival that way, but then I started with the primitive living version by Larry Dean Olsen The "Counslor" on that MB in Camp this year didn't teach it that way, to they extent he could teach with 15.5 mins/candidate/week.

                            The misunderstanding about BSA policy on knives and the zero tolerance (zero judgment) rules are pet peeves. (But a sparkle of good news. Camp this year ended 23 years (or yarns, if you prefer) of ZT in favor of "Carry in bag not on person." Not sure that's actually safer if you fall, but it's something. Next step is: "Carry, but only in a safe sheath" actual knowledge-based rule-making. Lots of bad sheaths out there, as I am sure you have observed.)
                            Last edited by TAHAWK; 07-29-2014, 12:18 AM.

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                            • #29
                              I question the BSA having a merit badge for just about everything. When you have as many merit badges as we have it becomes a buffet. You get exposure to a lot of items but you don't focus on any. So we can complain that the scouts don't have the indepth knowledge on how to tie knots but they probably know a little bit about other subjects.

                              I also question some of the focus on STEM. When taught correctly you can incorporate SEM into an outdoor setting (personally I think that T is part of the problem with scouts not being outdoors). But I have a feeling that a lot of this (especially at the cub level) is going to end up being more classroom and less hands on experience with nature. I was recently at a scout camp and they were proud of their brand new STEM building, it was a great camp I just wished that they would have come up with a way to incorporate STEM into the outdoors rather than building a classroom.

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                              • #30
                                The admin building and maintenance should be the only buildings at a scout camp.

                                Everything else detracts from the intent of camp.

                                Stosh

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