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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/01/18 in Posts

  1. 5 points
    First of all, thank you for the link to that article @Eagledad. I found it well-written, level-headed, and much-needed voice of sense in society's ongoing war against families. As for the idea of Scouting focusing on "leadership training and character development," and those being "gender-neutral" (never one of my favorite terms) -you will find after reading through Scouting's published materials over the years that those have been pushed and emphasized far more now in the past two decades than they ever were before. Yes, they were always a part of it, but you are failing to recognize that the very idea of Scouting, the core of its foundation and the center of all its facets, was the idea that boys are different from girls, with a greater need for active, adventurous learning, and that society lacks, indeed, desperately needs, a channel through which restless boys could learn the skills and knowledge they need to become strong, intelligent, honorable men. Who would dare presume that masculinity is important to Scouting, that "making boys into men" somehow matters in our programs? Oh yes. Lieutenant-General Robert Stevenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell. Or just Old BP as the kids called 'im. If you do not understand the central place masculine development has in Scouting, and the massive importance it had to Baden-Powell, Daniel Carter Beard, William Hillcourt, Earnest Thompson Seaton, and all the early founders of Scouting, then you do not understand what Scouting was meant to accomplish. The very impetus of Scouting was the recognition that more and more boys were growing up in urban or suburban settings without opportunities to develop in ways that align with masculine development. Boys learn differently from girls, and new trends in lifestyles made it increasingly difficult for millions of boys to get the physical, intellectually stimulating and involved experiences they require to prepare themselves for life. This became painfully clear at the end of the 19th century, when tens of thousands of boys, scions of the industrial revolution, wandered the dirty and polluted streets of cities around the world looking for whatever activities might keep them busy in a world of stifling urban development and increasing poverty. They needed something to pull them out of the slums and gangs and troubles of their situation so that they could become good and honest men who could learn to work and provide for their families and contribute to their communities. They needed to be rescued. It was the general recognition of that need that caused multiple Scout-like organizations to suddenly appear all over America at the same time Baden-Powell was refining his "Scouting project" in England with one purpose in mind - not to create a leadership factory, but to help boys avoid the pitfalls and bleak futures of a continually emasculating society by creating a program that would counter the disturbing trends of the day with a program that would help active boys become strong men, help curious boys become intelligent men, help honest boys become honorable men. So effective was his model that soon all the other organizations in America adopted his program, added to it their own structure and cultural flavor, and created the Boy Scouts of America. Its immediate explosion of growth can be attributed to one single idea - boys want to become good men, and Scouting can help show them how. That was the heart of Scouting - boys could enlist in a Troop, have exciting adventure and run their own groups all while having loads of fun - and all of it was designed to help those boys become better men, by tailoring it specifically to how boys learn, what boys love, and what boys need. You cannot take that idea of "making boys into better men" out of Scouting unless you completely and utterly ignore its very raison d'etre. It is meant to help develop positive masculine virtues in boys to create better men, who then become better leaders, citizens, and family members. And the trend of the last two decades towards taking that part out of it, as can be seen in the changes to the Scouting Handbook over the past few editions, has affected the BSA in negative ways. Scouting was truly a place for boys to explore their world and channel their energies in safe and productive ways as they figured out what it meant to be a man. Now that it is slowly feels the pressure to become just another activity program to put on a resume, it is losing the very thing it tries so hard to build in its member - confidence. And the declining numbers of the past few years is reflecting that. If National would ignore the boo hoos of the far left and stick to its central purpose, of making boys into better men, it would probably surprise itself with how successful the program could be again.
  2. 4 points
    Yes I do. Just as much as you do in fact, and your question, while rhetorical I assume, brings out an important point that must be made. It is a bit condescending to imply that, if one really knew BP's writings (as you do), he would come to different conclusions than the ones I have drawn. You imply that you must have a broader knowledge of his works than I do. However, I have also read nearly all his writings available in the US, and a few still found only in Britain, so I'm afraid your attempt to undermine my comments by labeling them as "unique interpretations" cannot be based on a greater familiarity with his writings, nor on any other evident advantage of intellect or literacy - so it can only be based on the fact that you disagree, and so you want to dismantle the conclusions of my post by trying to show a superior understanding of the Scouting program than mine, made through a suggestion that what I got out of his works really wasn't important - it's really just knights and such, nothing important. Unfortunately that is not so. I have also read every edition of the Scouting Handbook (all of which I own), all of William Hillcourts writings, decades of manuals and fieldbooks and magazines and articles - yes, I understand what Scouting was meant to accomplish every bit as much as you do. And we disagree. And - that's okay, There will always be differences of opinion. But before we can find a place of accord where we can more forward, we have to find where we agree. You did not, for example, seem to have read my post very carefully. I never said character was not important in the early days. I said that it has been emphasized far more now than it was before - and that has always been a changing feature of the program. For a few early decades the push was all about the outdoors and woodcraft (a term we never hear in Scouting anymore). Then there was a period where it seemed citizenship was the holy center of all things Scouting (oh those heady WWII years), and in the 70's there was that odd attempt to focus on skills of Scouting instead of the aims of Scouting. During all periods, the same things are taught and the same virtues are extolled, but with each new generation different aspects of Scouting seemed to capture the wants and needs of families.These days it's leadership and character development. But in the earliest days, frankly, much of it was "making boys into better men." I see I received my first downvote ever for my last post. In a way, that makes me feel like I must have said something right. Nowadays, to claim that any activity, character trait, or quality of character is inherently masculine or feminine is anathema, and considered a dated concept. But I hold to the essential idea that men and women are different in fundamental ways, and that neither can reach its full potential without the other, because each is distinct from the other. Our complementary natures make us more than the sum of our parts. Nowadays, that's going to be looked down upon as we gender-wash our programs. But the early leaders and founders would have taken those differences for granted. It's amazing that in these times, they have to be defended. Fortunately, I don't mind being unpopular for doing so.
  3. 3 points
    A local SM retired after 25+ years at the helm. Get got a great picture of Rockwell's "The Scoutmaster" that was framed. Around the border, all the Scouts and parents got to sign special messages to him. Thing was huge (36"x30") and very well done. Nice hardwood rustic frame. Brought the guy to tears. Nice shadow box of patches Scouts donated of various memories over the years was also presented. Total cost was $200 and was paid by parents and Scouts (past and present).
  4. 2 points
    $600 is crazy. How about a $50 gift card to a local restaurant for him and his wife to go to dinner, and then get a Scouting book of some kind and have everybody sign it at a pack meeting or the B&G.
  5. 2 points
    Perhaps it really is that what BSA offers, "the skills and knowledge [kids] need to become strong, intelligent, honorable [adults], is also greatly desired by girls (and their parents) in this modern age and they don't think they can get the same experience from Girl Scouts. I think of the so-called "masculine skills" as things that adults of both genders need in our society. One hundred years ago, those skills were neither needed nor really desired by girls. Now with girls/women being active in all aspects of our society and economy, they are looking for the same (or very similar) experience. *shrug* Just spit-balling again but is it making them better "men" or simply making them better adults and citizens? Is there something inherently masculine about BSA skills? I don't think so. Maybe 100 years ago but not today. Every kid wants to become a better leader, citizen, and family member. BSA offers something that apparently both genders crave. That IS A GOOD THING. Doesn't mean it can't get better but I would think BSA is at least doing something correctly if girls and parents of girls are fighting so hard to be a part of it. *Shrug*
  6. 2 points
    Sadly, my most problematic Scouters have been Eagles. Others seem to be more willing to not fall back on, "When I was a scout..."
  7. 2 points
    What I am starting to see is several dads who only had daughters volunteer to be leaders. One was a former ASM, Eagle Scout and OA member. He only had girls so stopped his involvement if BSA and is now interested in volunteering as his girls are getting involved. We are also seeing other parents volunteer as they are talking of having their daughters join. Right now we have the possibility of adding 26 scouts to our pack of 71 over the next 2 weeks. 4 are boys and 22 girls (2 boys joined along with their sisters). 7 of the girls are from a separate school who’s Pack is not adding girls at this time. So far, there are 5 new parents volunteering to be leaders in our Pack along with these 22 potential scouts. I don’t expect all to join right now, but it does seem that there are parents out there willing to volunteer along with having their daughters join. I will say adding this program midstream has been a lot of work, but I think it is helping us understand how we should add girls to our Pack Early on I was one concerned that we couldn’t do separate girl only dens due to volunteers. What I am seeing is that we should be able to maintain separate dens (with the additional volunteers I am seeing) and there are benefits. So, going into the fall we will be enforcing separate Girl/boy dens.
  8. 1 point
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/455874/toxic-masculinity-myth-fuels-culture-wars Yah, I change the title just a bit. But the article described, at least to me, exactly what has been going on in the BSA for the last 15 years. For many of us, Boy Scouts is where a boy becomes a man of character. A man proud to be a husband, father, civic leader and a moral role model. It wasn't a boys club where male boys huddled together conspiring to bring out the worst of humanism, just as some here still believe. Scouting is a culture that challenges the masculinity of young men so that they can learn how to shape themselves into citizens of character and leaders of integrity. Scouting is a culture where young adult males find the limits of their character without the interference of guilt to prevent the lesson of learning their role in the community. Scouting was a safe place where a boy could face the limitations of maleness in a complex world without feeling guilty. It's not an anti female culture. Quite the contrary, the scout program is a pro equal culture program. It just does it by taking out out the static of multi-humanist biases and opinions until each scout can sort our their deficiencies in practicing the Scout Law and Oath, and then make a conscious change to better themselves for their future in the community. I am a full believer in building ethical and moral decision makers. I've been in the middle of the BSA cultural discussions about as long as they have been on Scouter.com. So, I know the debates. I laugh because I remember when 90 percent of the discussions on Scouter.com were in the "Patrol Method", "Cub Scouts", "Advancement", "Camping", and "Open Discussion" forums. Those were the good ol days of discussing scouting stuff. We haven't seen that in a while. I think this article describes the Scouting Cultural divide very well. I don't expect anything to change. But I think the article helps explains why some of us scouters believe the traditional program has a more positive influence on the community than this new program that is just turning into another after school youth program. Enjoy. Barry
  9. 1 point
    We do it too. It prevents injuries.
  10. 1 point
  11. 1 point
    We do it to be consistent. No open toed shoes at scout functions; meetings, outings, service projects, etc. Just easier to implement and our meetings are very active.
  12. 1 point
    When discussing Baden-Powell, the Boy Scouts and Masculinity, we can't forget to consider the time period where his ideas were formed. Baden Powell was very much a Victorian - as such, his ideas on masculinity were heavily influenced by the Victorian attitudes toward masculinity which were mostly formed within the religious and spirituality sphere of Victorian life. Masculinity wasn't about being a hero or a protector - it was about being pure, about having the proper sexuality (indeed, masculinity was never really a concept that was discussed until the Victorians started trying to figure out how homosexuals fit into the normal gender roles of society). Masculinity was ultimately about getting married and having children - being "normal".
  13. 1 point
    $600 does seem a might steep. We had a long term SM retire. We did not even entertain a gift card. We gave him a troop flag folded into one of the display boxes with the troop numbers showing, also we dedicated a portion of the scout area at the CO in his name. We did invite many of the scouts from his tenure to come to the meeting, then we passed the microphone around and they shared brief memories and thank you's. That was the best part.
  14. 1 point
    My issue with the "masculinity" mantra is that, having met scouts from other countries who are no more or no less paragons of their respective sexes, I found men who are no less masculine nor women who are no less feminine than our own citizens. My impression is that boys become masculine with or without the presence of girls in their troop. The cultural influences that foster gender dysphoria (or identity discovery, as a progressive may call it) may overwhelm notions of male or female mystique. This may be especially true in (BSA or GS/USA) troops who value ideals to the near exclusion of the promise of scouting in the outdoors. In contrast, the pioneer spirit of men and women working together to settle in a strange land side-by-side may be what youth need to rekindle the notion that we humans were created uniquely to complement one another. But, that would require any set of boys and girls to be tasked with monthly challenges of hiking and camping independently with their mates.
  15. 1 point
    $600 is obscene and most leaders I know would turn that down. A $50 plaque and a nice goodbye. A picture signed by all the scouts. Put the other $550 to use for the boys.
  16. 1 point
    That’s ridiculous.
  17. 1 point
    Character building has been central (emphasized) from day one. Often BP when talking to scouts asked if they had done their good deed for today.
  18. 1 point
    I agree with the plaque idea; in fact the Scout Store offers a number of examples that would be perfect, appropriate gifts. Have it engraved with a lovely message and relevant information regarding his tenure, and it would be just the thing. Regardless of whether it's entirely appropriate or not, I feel a gift card is the gift that says you don't know me. A nice plaque or even a statuette is a dignified memento he can put among his personal effects in a place of honor. I would go with that if possible.
  19. 1 point
    I was stationed on a small NATO bombing range north of Munich in the late 60's. We were remote, so we had our own little clubhouse where we had fussbol, a pinball machine, small jukebox, and where we showed our own movies from a reel machine. There were only 9 of us stationed there, and we had local German workers for building target stuff on the range and even keeping up the little house we used for a barrack and office. When we showed movies, which we would get from Munich fifty miles south, we opened the clubhouse to the locals if they wanted. They also would play bingo with us once a week. Always at least two cases of beer, usually double, half chilled and half warm. We got the Battle of the Bulge in one time, and we had locals begging to see it. Few of them had any animosity towards us. One worker even spent most of the war in a camp in the states. The funny comment that was common though from those that had been in the War was that they fought on the Russian front. The veteran NCO that ran the site (officers were sent TDY to talk to pilots, but not permanent) had actually bombed the area we were in as a crew chief on a large bomber. It was an interesting experience. b
  20. 1 point
    I know when I became a Scouter, it was a VERY hard transition. First summer camp after turning 18 proved it. I was the ASM in charge since the SM and none of the other ASMs could be there the entire week. To put it mildly, I turned into a dictator. When the SM showed up for his 1/2 week, we had a long conversation about how I screwed up. That's when the mentoring started. In all honesty it has never stopped. I still come here to get advice.
  21. 1 point
    I'm still struggling with the "masculinity" part of the equation. For starters, I never felt like cultivating masculinity was ever a keystone of Scouting. The whole "turning boys into men" thing, I know that's the ultimate goal of Scouting for some folks here, but officially it's leadership training and character development, as it has been for ages. Two things that are gender-neutral and not dependent on masculinity to achieve. Masculinity isn't under attack as the author of the article in the original post suggests. It is being redefined, and I think rightfully so. The writer longs for the continuation of depictions of masculinity being portrayed by men, when that's just not reality anymore. Women are soldiers, firefighters, etc., and some of them are as tough as they come. So what if masculinity now extends beyond the image of the physically strong man covered in mud and scars? And are we really supposed to just keep pretending that only men can be masculine? Bear Grylls can send a woman survivalist ahead to scout locations for his show, taking more risks than him, but God forbid we put her on camera doing it. I guess I just don't understand what people expect to happen. Are we supposed to just go back to men only doing manly jobs and tell our daughters to just be teachers and nurses again? The genie isn't going back in the bottle on this one. Masculinity, to me, is in what we do, and not in who does it. What made the program ever seem manly, the adventure and the intense activities, the camping, the dirt and mud, the military-style aspects of the uniform, the ceremonies, etc., there is nothing happening that asks any of us to stop doing that stuff. Girls in the BSA aren't the problem, they're not even here yet. Although I'm sure in 10 years if things seem even less "manly" in Scouting, the girls will get all of the blame anyway. I'm hoping maybe some girls will come around to Scouting and show these boys how to be tough again.
  22. 1 point
    There are plenty of scouting forums that ban discussion of the 3G's and politics and general. I don't mind that there's a mix of both. I'm trying to get my head around lots of things. Only some days is it the patrol method or scoutcraft. This week I'm dealing with a couple of young relatives (an their dad) who are about done with scouting because the SM vetoes the boys requests to camp every month, freaked out when the one 14 y/o boy wanted to spend the night sleeping out in 30 degree weather (south Floridians) , and avoids back-country like the plague. On top of it, the dad and I got skunked fishing this morning, so we had nothing to distract us from our little worlds of trouble! On weeks like this I don't enjoy hearing that someone like @Eagle94-A1 also has adults who refuse to deliver on the promise of scouting, so it's nice to have a forum that I can look to for a decent current I&P back-and-forth where I can simply up- or down- vote.
  23. 1 point
    The best camporees are never at a boy scout camp. No soliciting. Period. I would however encourage leaders to put up a "flyer wall" announcing troop fundraisers and such. Some of us are looking to visit some breakfasts/dinners on the weekends. All soda machines, lunch carts, ice cream trucks, etc ... 2 miles away. That said, it wouldn't hurt to have some venturing advisor (especcially one in a wide-brimmed leather hat ) and your council/district VOA officers wheeling around a keg of root beer and ice cream to undisclosed locations ... doling out rootbeer floats. Or, from "nuggets" patrols win at competitions, they can "purchase" ingredients to make their own trail snacks and beverages throughout the day. Merit badges??? Are you guys insane??? Pioneering weekend, yes! Pioneering blue card management, no!!!!!!! If the O/A sells anything, how about a small craft kit and time instructing on making some native beadwork or leatherwork? With all due respect to your SPL, I would not enforce a uniforms, but I wouldn't outright ban them either. Heck I would offer an inspection station where if a scout scores 80%, he wins the coordinates of the next expected location of the rootbeer float cart! Maybe a build-your-own activity shirt station would be kinda cool. What would that look like? No clue. But each patrol would come out looking proudly unique.
  24. 1 point
    I know what the Scouters look for....
  25. 0 points
    In fact, tonight I had to tell an Eagle Scouter that he needed to wear shoes to the troop meetings..... It is on our troop code of conduct and adults should follow it too. Then I go to check on the meeting. And an ASM comes to tell me how they are saying "where in BSA does it say we have to wear closed toe shoes.....". Later he starts talked about all the BSA training he has taken. sigh
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