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The Patrol Method

Lessons and questions of Scout leadership and operating troop program


    • Those are exactly the kinds of questions BSA needs to be asking and researching. I would say 4H has survived because it hasn't been afraid to change and because it has remained relevant to an evolving youth market. It's much more elastic. You can say the same of youth sports and other youth organizations. BSA is pretty moribund.  
    • I think it is an interesting exercise but I would put it this way. As PACAN noted Why the decline? There's a lot of internal pointing that there were programmatic failures and that BSA National caused its own downfall. I also want to suggest something else: BSA Scouting has run its course, was created and functional of a certain time and place that no longer exists, and that it will shamble on a husk NOT because of anything BSA did internally but because the environment changed. In other words, the "crisis" in Boy Scouts of America was it was designed, shaped, built, premised, and principled for America circa 1930. Maybe post-WW2. But that's it. Robert Putnam alluded to this 20 years ago in Bowling Alone: these kinds of organizations are simply dying out. And millennials are apt to volunteer/sponsor/participate in a single program and then jump to another one in a matter of months. You cannot build a sustained organization like that. Put BSA in the historical context of such a collapse and it makes "sense" that BSA is likely going to drop in terms of membership. THEN add in the missteps by National. THEN add in a society that looks at mid-20th century Americana as anachronistic, implicitly invalid (racist, sexist, etc.), and so on. I would also perhaps put BSA in contrast with other organizations. Put it in context. Was BSA's decline in numbers similar to that in others? 4-H was in freefall for years, starting in 1974 when it peaked at 7.4 million. It dropped to around 5.5 million by the 1990s but is back up to 6 million or so now. Why did they come back (or at least remain stable) while BSA dropped like a stone?  
    • HICO, you are fighting physiology there...the point is, that part of the brain isn't done growing in yet...they do not have the physical structures needed for that kind of "adult" thinking.  But, what we can do, is train them in the processes and form the habits of planning, forecasting, and leading.   Eagle94, please do look for that!  I'd like to read that one (as a lifelong learner  )   Qwazse, right on!  Even BP said " First-class Scout A BOY does not really get the value of the Scout training until he is a First-class Scout. The Second-class is only a step to that standing. But it is a lamentable fact that a good many are content to remain as Second-class Scouts once they have gained a few badges of proficiency. It is for that reason, mainly, that the All Round Cords are now obtainable only by First-class Scouts. This move has been welcomed by Scoutmasters as giving an incentive to the lads to keep progressing in their training.       Of course, the main objection to it is that it necessitates the boys learning to swim, and facilities for this do not exist in all centres. It has, therefore, been suggested in one or two cases that this rule should be relaxed. I am afraid that I have been very "sticky" about it, and although I generally make things as elastic as possible, I may have appeared unnaturally obstinate in this one particular; but I had reasons, and experience has now shown that those reasons were right.       When a boy has become a First-class Scout -- but not before then -- he has got a grounding in the qualities, mental, moral, and physical, that go to make a good useful man. And I look on swimming as a very important step, combining as it does attributes of all three of those classes ? mentally it gives the boy a new sense of self-confidence and pluck; morally, it gives him the power of helping others in distress and puts a responsibility upon him of actually risking his life at any moment for others; and physically, it is a grand exercise for developing wind and limb.       Every man ought to be able to swim; and in Norway and Sweden, the home of practical education, every boy and girl is taught swimming at school.       The fact that swimming has got to be learnt by the Boy Scout before he can gain his first-class badge has had the effect of putting the character of the lads in very many cases to a hard and strengthening test.       At first they complained that there was no place near where they could learn to swim. But when they found this was not accepted as an excuse, they set to work to make places or to get to where such places existed. I have heard of boys riding five miles on their bicycles day after day to swimming-baths; streams in many country places have been dammed up, and bathing-places made by the Scouts; the summer Camp has been established at some seaside or river-side spot for the special purpose of getting everyone trained in swimming.       It can be done if everybody sets his mind to it. If the boys are put to extra trouble in bringing it about, so much the better for their character training. In any case, I look upon swimming as an essential qualification for First-class Scout, and for every man.   Also, I don't consider a boy is a real Scout till he has passed his first-class tests. February, 1914. (copied from http://usscouts.org/history/bpoutlook2.asp )
    • Not coming back? I can tell my little supremacists that they don’t have to earn the badge, stop chasing bling, and look at the trail map and plan our next hike ... preferably to a cafe I know that serves the best gumbo in town.
    • The beatings will continue until morale improves.  
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