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"These boys will be used as soldiers"

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  • "These boys will be used as soldiers"

    It turns out that the occasional objection that Boy Scouts are being "trained as soldiers" is nothing new. A hundred years ago today, an editorial to that effect appeared in a Tacoma newspaper. I have the full article at my blog:

    http://onetuberadio.com/category/scouting/

    Interestingly, one thing I didn't know was that (at least according to this author), the "Boy Scout movement has been opposed by members of union labor in almost all countries where it has been organized." It never occurred to me that Scouting might be "anti-labor", but at least this guy seemed to think so.

  • #2
    Speaking just about US labor unions...

    From the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History...uts_of_America
    "The original handbook used a wealth of material from Baden-Powell's handbook. The comments on loyalty to employers concerned the labor unions– the Industrial Workers of the World in Portland, Oregon protested loudly during the 1912 tour. These comments were removed from the 1911 edition and West made much of the labor positions of the rival American Boy Scouts"

    As mentioned boy scouts were often thought in training to be soldiers and soldiers had been used against labor unions, e.g. the bloody Pullman Strike. As a result of this tragedy, President Cleveland and Congress added Labor Day as a federal holiday. Soldiers would continued to be called to break up boycotts and strikes. So unions were not pro-military, pro-police or any similar group.

    Scouts may have freely worked on projects thus denying union members paid work.

    Another point, scouts were more likely from middle and upper middle income families and not union families.

    My $0.02
    Last edited by RememberSchiff; 08-31-2014, 07:14 PM.

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    • #3
      You also had at least two other Boy Scout groups at that time, including one that was very militarily slanted.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RememberSchiff View Post
        Speaking just about US labor unions...
        Another point, scouts were more likely from middle and upper middle income families and not union families.
        Scouting arose in great part due to concerns among men of the era of the effects of urban life on the men of the nation, upon which, of course, the future of the nation rested. It was actually the working class who were most profoundly feeling these effects, thus Scouting aimed for these boys. War orphans, dropouts, families whose parents were absent due to work. The Woodcraft Indians, E.T. Seton's forerunner to Scouting, also targeted these boys; it's founding campout was by invitation to boys who were spending their free time vandalizing Seton's property.

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        • #5
          Maybe if one had the money or hand-me-downs, but money was tight, real tight.

          My father told me that in the 30's. he and his buddies joined various Harrisburg boy scout troops for just a month at a time, as after 30 days you needed a uniform. Now my father and his buddies were from union families mostly local mills. None owned a home. My father said he could put all his clothes in one shopping bag with room for his shoes. Soon they gave up on Scouting and went to the Y for a variety of youth programs which were cheaper than scouts. For lower income, urban youth the Y not Scouting was the place.

          My $0.02

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          • #6
            R.S. - That is happening again with the rise in registration fees. I have a number of crew who drop and sign up part-year when there is an activity they want to attend.

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            • #7
              It's just a matter of financial priorities.

              I always seem to find the money for those things I think are truly important. Not everyone does.

              Stosh

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              • #8
                Qwazse, Yeah, saw some of that when I was briefly a Crew Advisor, as school sports and clubs started charging activity fees.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
                  It's just a matter of financial priorities.

                  I always seem to find the money for those things I think are truly important. Not everyone does.

                  Stosh
                  Agreed. These kids are finding hiking and camping independently to be truly important. So, they make spending that $20 on a weekend in the woods a priority over a registration card in their pocket -- the cost of which goes to background check a cadre of adults who they don't need or want around anyway. They pick adventure over Venturing. What a shock!

                  You depression era folks can go say "been there, done that", but that's RS's point. Most of us did scouting when there was a slush fund (inherited, or hours learning the family business, mom's fundraisers, or working odd jobs, it really doesn't matter from a boy's perspective) that could cover the cost of every activity a boy had time to join.

                  But, what I'm seeing is: teens' free time has remained fixed (maybe grown 'cause fewer have religious obligations), their school time stayed fixed (maybe a little more summer prep- work, or lots more for the geniuses who take advanced placement, or the flunkies who are assigned to summer remedial classes). Anyway, they have about the same time to dedicate to extracurriculars as before. And most of them want to pick a balanced menu. However; their earnings potential has decreased, while participation fees have increased. That means their calculus includes a time-per-dollar calculation that very few of my buddies ever made.

                  About the only thing that seems to contained cost per time involved: video games.

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