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  1. Equipment Reviews & Discussions

    Discussions dealing with equipment topics (tents, lights, packs, boots, stoves, etc.)

  2. Camp Recipes and Cooking

    Tales of Scout cooks, prized techniques and yummy recipes for gathering around the fire.


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    • Both. Scouting has always been a game with a purpose.  It's a good game.  It's a good purpose.  But scouting has never been this all-important, world changing movement that many die-hard scouters keep imagining.  The stewards and guides of the program broke it by giving it this inflated sense of greatness.  They encouraged adults to treat scouting like some sort of religious cult.  It is not at all surprising that child sexual abuse (and a cover up) arose out of this mentality.  Sexual abuse often occurs in cults, or cult like organizations. Many people still fail to understand that this cult-like attitude is what created the problem.  Their cult-like devotion to scouting is what perpetuates the problem.  They see themselves as the solution, but they are actually the problem.  
    • Well, I guess I look at it a bit differently.  If we have a program that really can change the world for the better, then we have an obligation to get as many people into it as we can.  If it isn't growing, that means one of two things:  Either the program isn't that great after all, or the stewards and guides of the program over the years broke it.  We can't blame the evolution of society for membership decline.  The job of stewards and guides is to maintain the fundamental operating principles of the program while keeping it current and relevant to the changing needs and preferences of our target market.  
    • Once, our troop was back-packing in mid-October in the mountains of western Pennsylvania on a narrow, slanting trial above a steep slope that went down several hundred rocky feet to a cold reservoir.  Freezing rain began - instant ice. The issue was whether to go back to the cars at the trail-head, four miles back,  or to  push on the the campsite  twice as far down the trail, located in a steep bowl.  The two adults, not commissioned Scouters - parents, insisted that the troop go on.  The SPL decided to return to the cars, and all the Scouts accompanied him  as the adults loudly questioned his judgment and courage ("wimp").  That SPL was remarkable.  I suspect that a more typical SPL , even at sixteen, would have been intimidated onto going on.  Neither adult was his parent.  We made sure in the future that they were never alone with the Scouts absent commissioned Scouters, although they had attended a unit of training that stressed that Scouts were not a commando unit and safety came first.  He was probably aided by the strong Troop culture that the SPL was the leader of the Troop at Troop activities.  The Troop took almost two full days to get home from the parking lot, instead of six hours, due to the many trees, utility poles, and utility wires down across the roads.  The U.S. Forest Rangers and state and local authorities had to rescue several thousand hikers, backpackers, and campers from that area due to the ice.   There were broken bones due to falls.  Not our SPL's troop.
    • A Scout patrol is to be a largely self-selected team.  Adult's may influence, but the decision should be by the team members collectively. Even-sized patrols is an adult fascination unrelated to kids.  The Troop Guide is a coach/adviser/resource, not the Patrol leader, who is, of course, elected by the patrol members and no one else whatsoever. If patrol members are not going on campouts, the program is not likely attractive to those "customers." One might ask them why.  Will the PLC agree to what they want?  Can the patrol or troop supply what they expect?  Once we reached 2/3 of all Scout-age boys at least for some time.  Now, it's under 5%.  Only so much can be done.  However, if we fail, it would be nice if we at least tried Scouting.  Few troops do these days. If they are not interested in Scouting, as can be the case, they are not customers. Was it their idea to join or the parents?  If the latter, the odds were always against active participation for very long, if ever.  (They WILL escape if it's not their idea: "Dad,  I'd like to go but I have math homework I really, really need to do.") Adults'primary responsibility, beyond safety, is training youth to lead.  Get outside help if, as is often the case given average tenure, you need it.  The Patrol Leaders are critical to keeping the patrol teams together.  If a PL is a total disaster after trying everything available to help him or her do better, the PLC should be counselled to consider a new election.  Election of a leader is not a mutual suicide pact.
    • Plaintiffs' lawyers are after money.  That is their only objective for the most part.  If the BSA gets "destroyed," they could not care less.  The more they say, "It's not about money," the more it's about the money.  For the victims, money can be secondary.
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