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Scouts is Uncool

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  • #31
    Sentinel, there isn't much BSA could do that WasEng61 would like. His stepson is a Boy Scout and this guy would rather he lean more to Sports. Of course, when the step son's natual father died in June 2011, he came here looking for Counsel and got a lot of good advice which he appreaciated, well, he said he appreciated it but still, if there is a bad thing to say about the BSA, he will say it.

    At least with Merlyn LeRoy, I kinda get where he is comming from and why he posts here, WasE61? I am not sure, but if it brightens his day by disparaging Scouting and reading our responses, at least we brought some joy in his life(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)


    • #32
      One of the things one has to also remember is that the current scout has grown up in the electronics age. Texting, video games, lan parties, etc. all allow them to not develop social skills necessary to function well in a scouting environment. A boy that grows up in front of TV, migrates to computers, and cell phone messaging doesn't really need to come out of his room for any extended periods of time. Most people blow off activities as "not cool" because they need some sort of justification for not participating. Why would kids be any different?

      Getting sent to one's room was a punishment for my generation, now it's a reward!

      So why would anyone developed under these premises ever want to go with a group of guys out into the woods? For some, anyone with more than three trees in their front yard thinks they are living in the woods. For some of our urban troops, even seeing a tree for real is a big deal.

      These are the dynamics we are struggling with and it all begins with the lack of developmental social skills necessary to do more than hang out with one's buds at the mall checking out the new video games.

      There's got to be a bit more to life than viewing the world through a window, that is if one's basement actually has them.



      • #33
        Ah. Thanks OGE. I'm still pretty new here and I don't know everybody's backgrounds.

        And JBlake I do think growing up in the digital age has some sort of factor in kids development, but I'm not sure how accurately it goes with kids not doing Scouting.


        • #34
          Much of what the scout does reflects from the family interactions. Over the years I have had a fairly substantial number of scouts that always have a book, or sometimes more than one, with them on outings and at summer camp. On occasion, they have had to be asked to please put it away while we did an activity; and it is rather nice to see a boy leaning on a tree in the woods reading. What has often been the case in that regard in the families is that TV was either not allowed (in a few cases) or drastically monitored; same with computer related things as the age has developed. Most did not have phones until high school, and they were very limited plans, meant for real needed use only. While they all relished visiting other kids without those limitations (the overheard grapevine), they mostly were more polite, better at things in general because they actually read instructions and the book maybe, and did well in school. Many also were involved in sports, though they tended towards the more singular type such as track or wrestling.

          Give a group of scouts, or just kids, the resources and minimal knowledge within the group, then put them on their own to interact. Someone will soon take charge and they will have fun, mostly without much advanced gear. But, it will only happen if there is no other option in many cases.

          I do now have a bit of a problem with the video games and so on becoming a distraction, even when they are not actually there. A few scouts cannot talk about anything else it seems, if not given a specific challenge or goal. They will generally not argue about going back to the task at hand, though they need to be monitored closely, which is the PL and SPL biggest challenges now.

          I am surprised at times that so many kids, who can play computer type games non stop, do not seem to have much grasp of the more useful computer skills in many cases. The joke that you need to call the kid to fix the computer is not so accurate anymore.

          It will always be a challenge to face the image problems of various activities, and the PC stuff related to Scouting currently is not helpful. But, most of the kids know little about it until they are older teens, and they seem to understand that it is not a real part of the unit interaction for the most part.

          If it was easy, then it might be considered less beneficial too. Do "your best"; that is all that can really be asked.


          • #35
            Being a Cub Scout is cool. During middle school, Boy Scouts becomes "uncool". Is it the uniforms? I'm not so sure - it's rare to see Scouts outside of Scouting wearing a uniform. Is it because of sports? I don't know - I've seen too many lads that are active in both to say yes.

            My opinion is that it's related to increased peer pressure brought on by the transition to adolescence. I believe the period we are most susceptible to peer pressure is the middle school years - we're transitioning from childhood to mini-adulthood. Hit 11 years old and its time to put away the childhood things and "grow up". No more trick-or-treating, no more sitting on Santa's lap, no more reading Dr. Suess, no more playing with GI Joe or Transformers or playing tag in the yard. Scouting? Well, our experience is with Cub Scouts, and that's something we did when we were kids. Now, our peers are telling us it's time to grow up and put that stuff aside. Bullying tends to be more intense in this period, and is often related to the "childish" things we might still do that our peers are trying to get us to stop doing, mostly because they're insecure about their own positions. So, Scouting becomes Uncool and something to be hidden.

            Then it starts changing again in High School. We're no longer trying to mold the herd, now we're trying to become individuals. We start to value each other as individuals rather than as part of the herd. Boy Scouts (as a whole) may not become "cool" but it's no longer seen as a childish thing and is therefore no longer "uncool". In fact, while Boy Scouts may not be seen as cool, things you do in Boy Scouts are seen as cool. When you start answering questions about what you did over the summer/weekend with "I went on a 25-mile overnight canoe trip down the Fox River" or "I spent a week in New Mexico backpacking", the response is often "cool". Perform at your high school's homecoming half time dressed as an Indian and dancing through flaming rings of steel and your peers will be telling you how awesome that was and wanting to join.

            I had some of the same experiences Horizon did in High School. My favorite was the ole "What are you, an Eagle Scout?" question answered by 4 people in class "Yeah, I am".

            The question really shouldn't be how do we change the perception that Boy Scouts is uncool, it should be how do we make our Scouts understand that what they are doing is really cool.


            • #36
              "Scouting promises you the great outdoors. As a Scout, you can learn how to camp and hike without leaving a trace and how to take care of the land. Youll study wildlife up close and learn about nature all around you. There are plenty of skills for you to master, and you can teach others what you have learned."

              Sounds like fun. Let's join a troop! Lessee...I can do the Tenderfoot requirements, half of which I just did in Webelos...let's work on the Personal Fitness merit badge...boy that looks really familiar too...Family Life...ditto...ooh look, 3 citizenship merit badges, what fun!

              Scouting brings the "uncool" on itself by too much bookwork and not enough outdoor work. Now I'm starting to sound like Kudu....


              • #37
                So brew what you are saying is we should kill the cub program????


                • #38
                  I always thought that my years of ASM/SM got me out in the woods a lot. However, since I'm no longer involved directly in a troop, after 25 years, I actually now spend more time in the out-of-doors. I got a week in Shenandoah National Park, 150th Anniversary of Antietam (6 days of very primitive camping), 54 mile kayak trip, 2 weeks of deer hunting, just to name a few of the highlights of the past 6 months. A troop would have taken just one of these as a major trip in a 12 month period. As soon as the snow falls, the skis come out and are used 3-5 times a week. Oh, and by-the-way, how this all work out with the Mrs.? Well, she gets out more than I do.

                  I agree with Brewmeister, way too much book-learnin' and not enough get out there and have fun.

                  Now a certain amount of knowledge is necessary to get the boys ready, but there is way too much time "in school" than suits my fancy. I can see why a lot of boys, especially those 15+ that find troop activities rather "mundane" to say the least.

                  If the Scout Motto is "Be Prepared", then all the FC boys should be able to handle a "road trip" pretty easily.



                  • #39
                    >>So brew what you are saying is we should kill the cub program????

                    If you've read what I've written over time, which I know you have, you would realize what a ridiculous question that is.

                    Even needing to accommodate for boys that come into the program rather than working their way up through tigers, there is no need for such verbatim repetion of parts that are only tangentially related to scout craft and that are related not at all to the fun part.

                    But that's just my opinion. At least my son hasn't had to describe the food pyramid for a four time. (Maybe he hasn't gotten to that part yet...)


                    • #40

                      >>I agree with Brewmeister, way too much book-learnin' and not enough get out there and have fun.


                      • #41
                        Ask yourself an honest question. What percentage of your boys have read the Boy Scout Handbook more than what is necessary for advancement? What percentage of your boys have read any of the MB books more than what is necessary for advancement? Then ask yourself does book learnin' really work or do the boys get more out of the hands on instruction that goes with the requirements and what the MB counselor has to say?

                        How many boys read a book on fire starting, setting up a tent/fly, food prep, etc. The boys learn from watching others and doing. Sure they might look at the pictures to see the diagrams on how to tie bandages or knots, but for the most part they don't read the paragraph telling how and why the knot is being used. Sure they can tie a knot, but they know every little about why and where it's used. I find that even much the BSA literature knows very little about such things so the reading parts are pretty useless.

                        Take the sheet bend knot for example. Well before grommets, sails on the big ships had ropes fastened to them with the sheet (sail) bend knot. Today it is taught to use a rock or grommet to hold fast a sheet, both which tend to rip out in a strong wind.

                        Tension on a lashing is better finished off with a clove hitch as instructed, but most boys tie the knot completely losing tension in the process, but if tied 1/2 at a time maintains tension and secures the lash. Try showing that in a book's diagram.

                        Too much time is spent looking at words and pictures and not enough time out in the woods watching and learning from others who know the skills already and can give explanation why it works.

                        For me the MB mills that pose as major activities in most councils and troops that spend time doing MB's at their meetings might produce a lot of Eagles, but they produce very few woodsmen.

                        In many respects, I fully understand why a lot of young men think Scouting is uncool because it is just like all other activities that are designed to instruct. Read the book, review in class, and maybe someday go out and actually use the skill taught.

                        It happens in church youth groups, too. Everything is fun until the pastor drags out a Bible for the requisite Bible study. Kids would prefer sorting tons of canned goods at the local food pantry over anything that is related to a book.

                        School is uncool and when BSA adopts school-like dynamics, it's uncool too. "We're going rock climbing today!" "Here's a rope, a helmet, gloves and harness." "And here's a book to show you how to do it all." At what point did these comments turn uncool? It's pretty obvious.



                        • #42
                          >>In many respects, I fully understand why a lot of young men think Scouting is uncool because it is just like all other activities that are designed to instruct. Read the book, review in class, and maybe someday go out and actually use the skill taught.


                          • #43
                            Last Monday I visited the troop I am commissioner for. The boys spent the whole meeting working on Citizenship in the Nation. Only one of the boys had done the "homework" in prep for the meeting. The rest had to have the lesson read to them. I thought the meeting was "uncool". I should have taken a poll, and maybe I would have been convinced otherwise. Unfortunately for me, I could have thought of a thousand other things I would have preferred doing than wasting my time with that meeting. I sure hope that EagleDad is correct in his assessment, because that's the way I see the BSA going. But then I also see a lot of discussion, including this thread, that Scouting is uncool.



                            • #44
                              I see an almost knee jerk reaction to books and reading yet Harry Potter and Hunger Games books sell quite well. It is not baby boomers reading them all.

                              The key is to make the youth want to read and learn and therein is the issue...


                              • #45
                                >> I sure hope that EagleDad is correct in his assessment,