I love the picture!
As a Scout, I served as a Den Chief. The den leader was a big ham radio fan - he had all kinds of equipment. Every so often he'd break it out and we'd get to hear messages from around the world. I was a life long memory. You experience looks so much like that. Thanks for refreshing a wonderful memory!
Yes! Our district made it a weekend camping program. We had 6 scouts complete the radio merit badge and 4 begin pioneering. We are in NJ and we connected to folks, some scouts, in Maine, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Canada and Germany. It was open to cubs, scouts and venturers. It was cold, but lots of fun!
I don't disagree with any of what you just said. Just not sure what I can do with it.
As a local volunteer, I have three choices:
ignore the rules and run a program like in the old days
follow the rules, but try to find solutions to the obstacles they present.
blindly follow the rules, decide I can't do what I want, and run a crappy program
I like choice two. So while I agree with your premise (and most often others on this forum) I find myself saying "yeah, these new rules are a pain, but how can I make them work."
I would be surprised if the percentage of 11 year olds who have EVER cut raw chicken at home exceeded the mid teens; I would not assume at all that they have any knowledge of how to handle raw chicken or any other fresh meat. Most of our younger scouts have never cooked anything more challenging than pancakes.
P.S. I expect that by age 11 kids ought to have learned at home not to do "cutting tomatoes right after cutting raw chicken" and the importance of handwashing after using the facilities. However, since most of our families have dishwashers that do the santizing for you, they may not have learned how to wash dishes by hand.