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  1. 10 points
    No dog in this fight (BTW - do not support dog fighting but it's a great old expression) as our unit has eschewed any camporees, etc. The judging of "best" troop or "best" patrol at events when there are NOT objective measurements is suspect at best. Have a camporee competition where Scouts paddle a canoe out and back, lowest time wins, great. Tie 8 knots in a relay, lowest time wins, super. When you start adding mystery "Bonus" points for patrol spirit, team effort, appearance, etc etc, then the competition becomes no longer a competition, but an anointing by the camporee adults of who they think (or feel?) should win. The Scouts can see through this sham very quickly
  2. 8 points
    I am Scoutmaster for a 22-member all-girl Troop that is "stand-alone" and not linked to an existing unit. In fact, we are the only youth program at the church that serves as our CO. I'm a 30-year Scouter and have done it all. I will observe that the girls attracted to our group represent a normal cross-section of girls in our city in terms of income, race and interests. 8 crossed-over from an all-girl Webelos den at anther CO, which they just loved. 5 came over from GSUSA for a variety of reasons. Two remain dual-registered. We have had four troop meetings, one day hike and go on our first camp out this weekend. We have a very full program outlined for the next 20 months. We have attracted a 15-person Troop committee and have a Scoutmaster staff of 7. I am here to tell you that even at this early stage I sense this is going to be a very successful move for the BSA. First, the Boy Scout program is working perfectly with the girls. They love it and as an earlier commenter forecast, they really like to "do stuff". Second, the parents are thrilled with BSA-style organization and program implementation for an all-girl program. The welcome from our community has been crazy-approving. Third, our district volunteer Scouters and fellow Scoutmasters of nearby all-boy Troops are thrilled to the point where they went out of their way to entirely outfit five of our girls from under-resourced families with gently-used uniforms, sleeping bags, packpacks, the works. The naysayers with the nasty blog comments have not in any manner impacted popular and supportive opinion in our local Scouting movement or city. The folks who departed after the membership policy changes are not taking people away because of the move to include girls. My experience is so counter to the things those folks have been writing over the past year that I am starting to conclude many must not be actual active Scouters -- I just have not experienced negativity and I would have noticed it. I believe that as long as the generally-smaller linked girl troops scale up quickly and the BSA does a better PR job when the financial restructuring is announced, we will be looking at significant growth that can reverse our recent membership losses. These conclusions are based on my experience in planning, organizing and now operating a best-practices Scouts BSA Troop for girls. We should do at least as good as the girl Cub Scout numbers.
  3. 7 points
    We were coming back from an outing last week, stopped for lunch, saw the Girl Scouts were selling cookies nearby so we wandered over and bought some cookies, talked about our recent outing, heard about their projects, and we went on our way. The sky did not open, everyone was pleasant, and we ate several boxes of Samoas before we got back to the church
  4. 7 points
    It’s almost official! My EBOR went fantastic, the scouter from the district was amazing. We talked for almost 2 hours about all different kinds of stuff and it was great! Thanks to everyone who answered my questions on here. My scouting journey has only just started. Now the final thing to do is to drop off the application at council to get sent to national.
  5. 7 points
    "You are no longer a Cub, you are now a Scout."
  6. 6 points
    Not a prize that I was looking for, but it's the world we live in. 😪 Just a reminder, folks: use that "Report" button for posts that seem a little "off". (Not off base - that could be my posts on any given day!) That just don't add up logically. Feel free to look at a user's other posts to see if they "hang together" like they are something that would come from a single scout or scouter. That's tough because we all have multiple positions, official and unofficial. This poster's give-away was when he/she/it reported volunteering in a BSA program, then started a thread purporting to be in a country that did not use that program. Didn't add up. I noticed the obtuse replies before I noticed that each reply had a quotation of an established forum member had links to vile content in it. Then, I clicked "report" for each similar post (i.e., all of today's from this one account). Thanks @John-in-KC for prompt action! I'm sorry for everyone else who got hijacked.
  7. 6 points
    JTE is definitely a corporate Lean type site measurement that was brought it. We typically get Gold status, but not sure it's something we focus on, but moving on... In JTE measurement the challenge I have is that Budget for the unit has the same equivalency as Short Term camping. A troop can be a Gold unit and in a year do only 4 short term campouts and going to summer camp. The JTE certainly does hopefully move units to do certain things, but clearly (IMHO) any unit that is "GOLD" should be camping 9 -12 times per year as short term, some of those campouts should be backpacking or hike in, they should be somewhat physically challenging and involve some HA type activity (kayaking, climbing, etc), and some of these should be 2 night activities. Rather than outdoor be only max of 20% (400 points max for #6 and #7, out of 2,000 max for the 11 items) that should be a much much larger component. Have a robust outdoor program or a unit is not "Gold". That simple. This is what can and should differentiate Scouting in the marketplace. On Mondays at school when a 7th grader is talking to friends rather than "I played 2 soccer games on Saturday", maybe a kid is telling how he went "hiking down in some gorge and was sliding on rocks into a pool of water and it was great!". That is what sells the program, not budgets, etc.
  8. 5 points
    What an awful disgrace from the adult organizers here. I would have some blunt feedback for the District Chair after this. The people organizing this Camporee need some better guidance going forward. One thing that particularly saddens me is that this kind of behavior always backfires. There are lots of Scouters out there who are apprehensive about the impact of girls entering the program. We've seen several instances of that in just this topic alone. It only serves to further feed that apprehension when nonsense like this occurs. Volunteers have to approach troops for girls and troops for boys on a level playing field. No special exceptions either way. It's better for the girls that way, it's better for the boys that way.
  9. 5 points
    You've put your finger on a larger issue than boys vs. girls ... re: my comments at bottom. Bingo. Four years ago I'd just taken a troop that hadn't been to Camporee in over a decade. The PLC agreed to send one patrol as a "test", and our next-to-youngest patrol was registered. Our scouts took to heart the Campmaster's instruction to "enjoy the experience" and my ASM and I left them alone. Agreed, they weren't one-month-fresh, but they certainly were among the least prepared. This as opposed to other troops' patrols, which annually take the whole thing so seriously they hold "camporee-prep" campouts and the like. Result? Yep, our naive-but-eager scouts took top-honors, as opposed to the others which had been preparing for weeks. Was there an adult agenda? Yes: energy & enthusiasm (which to ParkMan's point could easily account for the girls' success). Is such an agenda proper? Personally I hope we can soon get passed all these "agendas" and get to what defines quality in scouting. Candidly I can't easily define such "quality" - Is it trail-to-first-class scout skills? Or energy & enthusiasm? Regardless, how should performance be fairly assessed & graded? I believe this is the crux of the matter.
  10. 5 points
    Then I misunderstood what you meant when you said " the boys aren't just competing against girls, but the adults as well." And "no hope because I've never heard of a new scouts doing so well so fast ...  " Either the adults tipped the scales, or they did not. So, you don't believe they tipped the scales? Fine. We agree. If they did not, then these particular new scouts actually did well. They either did well because they are endowed with gifts that boys could never possess. Or, they are really excited about the program, and practiced hard and looked sharp for the big game. I choose to believe the latter. Because if that's true then I can tell that losing patrol to start practicing for the win next year. If the former is true, then we are stuck with a "Sorry boys, there goes your safe space" whine that just smacks of defeatism. If all you are saying is that you find the biased hype aggravating, I kind of agree. I think 'Schiff points to it in the misconception below: They are no more "rookies" than any other newly formed patrol. Many have been working on skills for months or years. Some could have already been friends for some time. That friendship might have forged by one common interest ... They just love this scouting stuff.
  11. 5 points
    I had a girl troop last weekend at the camporee I was a planner for. They were full uniformed, excellent attitudes and were within the top three scores on every event. They also knocked it out of the park on the other optional point items and took home top troop of the district for the event. Definitely a big thumbs up from me on girls in scouting.
  12. 5 points
    Or most likely, the boots-on-the-ground don't give a rip over their respective organization's battle for brand identity. So, they are leveraging their collaboration to do good in the world.
  13. 5 points
    Urgh! Under the collar? What's wrong with you people?
  14. 5 points
    I wouldn't say I'm disturbed, but a bit disappointed. National sometimes has challenges getting the verbiage crystal clear on the first roll out. When the changes to the tenting rules and YPT were made in 2019, that language was updated to: "Youth sharing tents must be no more than two years apart in age." Which is clear, concise, and decisive. It leaves no room for interpretation. YPT is important and shouldn't have grey areas and interpretive "wiggle room" in it. I get it. National doesn't really have that much staff. Less than volunteers would think there are. Those folks are underpaid and overworked, and they aren't doing the work to become rich, but because they love and care about Scouting. I think it's important for both the pros and the volunteers to recognize in each other that we both love and care about this program, and that requires an extra dose of patience, some honest discussion and disagreement. Consider this, if the members of this forum, who are likely some of the most engaged and active Scouters in the country, are having these discussions and confusion regarding the rules, what does that mean for the typical unit?
  15. 5 points
    This reply doesn't really apply to the OP, but this is one of the few times where I disagree with malraux. At my first Blue and Gold as a CM, I went over to talk to the two Webelos dens who were crossing over that night. Most all the scouts were going to one troop. I asked the scouts why they chose that troop, and the general answer was that troop had the best game of all the troop meetings they visited. A year later I checked and 90% of those scouts had dropped out. I believe adults should have at least 50% participation in finding a troop. There should be a family discussion along with the Den Leader, but sons and parents have two different objectives for joining a troop. Both should be considered. While malraux gives a good example of why the parent needs to listen to the son, my experience is his example is generally the opposite. The Webelos doesn't see the whole program because he is focused on the few minutes of the visit. Make the choice a family decision, otherwise the risk are huge. Barry
  16. 5 points
    The BSA leadership really needs to separate out the LDS numbers. While it seems like Scouting is declining rapidly, I suspect much of that is around the LDS decision. Would be better to be more transparent here. Our district had steady membership the past two years.
  17. 5 points
    That was in fact the bet, that the girls will be a growth opportunity. All the chips for the future were put on G and the wheel was spun. Honestly the ball is still bouncing and we do not know if that bet will pay off. As was noted in the bankruptcy conversations several months back with the exposure on insurance, dwindling numbers, spending at the Summit, and unfunded pension liabilities the BSA needed more members. The registration fee went up significantly in 2017, so that was a lifeline toss. Recruiting more boys to the program has been a challenge. During his listening and speaking tours CSE Sourbaugh admitted as much, in that they were out of ideas, so heck fire, let the girls in. Possibly the program folks need to look at all the stem focus, continuing efforts by many well intentioned councils for more class focus activities (MB universities come to mind), and troops making Boy Scouts just more school and less adventure as possibly reasons for lower numbers. Adding more girls seeking outdoor adventure may nudge the organization back to it's roots, hopefully. The BSA can be great part of a well rounded youth's activities (sports, school, religious, hobbies being some others). There is a lot of outdoor adventure out there, it's where we can differentiate in a crowded marketplace for a youth's time and efforts. Rather than Scout Me In our marketing should be We Go Do Stuff. Let the program sell itself at the local level. Get away from JTE, uniform police, leaders focused on district/council and not youth and laser focus back to Scouting outdoor activities and youth (Cubs, Scouts BSA*, Ventures and Explorers) doing things. * really think changing the flagship program's name to a generic name was a monumentally bad decision...
  18. 5 points
    @ItsBrian enjoy your last day as a Life Scout! 😉
  19. 5 points
  20. 5 points
    Sorry, folks, I just found this thread, and feel I want to make a contribution with my own story. This is a story about the unseen, unknown fruits of your efforts over a very long time. But please excuse me if this seems like I am boasting, or tooting my own horn - I am typing this with tears in my (middle-aged) eyes, as this story chokes me up when I tell it (which is rarely). Bear with me, it is long: In 1978 I was a young Life Scout in my troop in Central NJ - chartered by a Catholic church in a typical NY suburb. Casting about for a suitable Eagle project, none of the "build a ____ at the park" or "raise awareness by ___" type projects resonated with me. I had already earned my Ad Altari Dei, and as part of that, my troop's advisor had us volunteer periodically at the Woodbridge (NJ ) Home for Boys in their Scout troop, working with boys who had Down's Syndrome and other handicaps. I enjoyed working with them, and felt moved to explore service to people with mental handicaps. I am not sure who brought it to my attention, but I realized that my church had a Sunday school program (called CCD- Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) for regular children, but nothing offered for mentally handicapped kids was available. So for my Eagle project I started a religious education program for these unserved kids. I advertised to families in our parish and surrounding parishes for children who could enroll, recruited volunteer teachers, obtained classroom space in the church school on Saturdays, and with the help of the John Newman society at Rutgers University came up with a curriculum and teacher training materials. We started in September with a dozen students and a 1-1 teacher ratio. I was one of the teachers. by the end of the year in June, we had about 20 students, of which half earned their first communion, and one was confirmed. You see, no one had made the effort to teach these children before. At the end of the year, I wrote that up for my Eagle project, and earned my Eagle rank a year later. I arranged for the nuns who ran the regular CCD program to maintain the program for handicapped children after I left for college. Payoff number one: In 1981 I graduated from high school, and went to college. I wrote my college admission essay about my CCD program. I was accepted to an Ivy-League school, and was placed in a class taught by the president of the college. I found out later that year that I had been admitted (despite only ranking in the top fifth of my high school class) largely on the strength of the CCD program and my essay - when he bragged about me in a letter he sent to our 10,000 alumni. Unexpected dividend! Payoff number two: About ten years later I go to a funeral of a family from church, and one of the parents of a student in my program comes over to my parents and relates how grateful their family was that I started the program (their daughter received her communion in the program). More dividends! Payoff number three: And why I have tears in my eyes as I type this: A long time passes. I go to work at one career, get married, have kids, switch careers, and find myself working back in my home town in 1997. I get introduced around to the new co-workers, nearly all of which are a good deal older than me. None of them do I recognize, nor do they know me. I sit down on a coffee break with a woman in her early sixties who somehow gets on the topic of the Catholic Church and it's shortcomings. She goes on and on, not even asking if I am a churchgoer or Catholic or anything, but then stops, and reconsiders. And she starts telling me that the only thing her church has ever done for her and her family was that many years earlier they started a CCD program for handicapped children - and her son could finally get religious instruction and not feel left out or shunned. Literally, that was the ONLY thing she thought her religion had done for her and she was quite adamant about it. She had no idea that I was the 16 year old kid that did that for her. I was floored, and still am, that something I did in Scouting had an effect on generations to come, and was thought of so warmly over so many years. Big time payoff number three! And a lesson I have never forgot about the power of Scouting to change lives. Thanks for listening.
  21. 5 points
    That's ridiculous. I run recruiting for my Pack and I'd quit the job in an instant if my district wanted that much control over how we recruit. Guess I'm lucky. My DE showed up at our last recruiting night and the only time he talked to me was to just say that he was impressed with what we were doing. Beyond that he watched from the sidelines and that's exactly where a district rep belongs at a recruitment event.
  22. 4 points
    And maybe the girls were smart enough to realise there would be people that think like this and would re-double their efforts and be extra motivated to do well to prove them wrong. As it turns out, even if they did prove them wrong, those people belittling them would find another reason why it wasn't actually the girls efforts that got them where they are. Handy tip: If you're ever standing with my Explorers Scouts, don't ever refer to the girls as the weaker sex, they would...not be impressed.
  23. 4 points
    Found this blog on the American History page. The battle between Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts is as old as the programs started. Nice pictures though. A Scout By Any Other Name By Tim Winkle, Amanda B. Moniz, and Amelia Grabowski, March 12, 2019 In May 2018, the Boy Scouts of America changed the name of its program for older children to Scouts BSA and opened membership to girls for the first time. Girl Scouts of the USA initially responded to the change by emphasizing the unique nature of its program for girls. However, in November 2018 Girl Scouts filed a lawsuit against BSA in federal court, claiming trademark infringement, unfair competition, and brand confusion related to the decision to remove the “Boy” from “Scouts.” Cooperation and conflict between the two organizations has waxed and waned over time, and the separation and overlap of scouting for boys and girls has been a sometimes contentious issue from the beginnings of the groups, over 100 years ago. Such disagreements, both in the past and today, remind us that volunteer organizations and organizations for children can be important indicators of larger cultural conversations around gender and equality. James E. West was not pleased. In 1913, just one year after its foundation, the Girl Guides of America had changed its name to the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. West, the Chief Boy Scout Executive, worried that use of the term “scouts” by the all-girls’ group “trivialized” and “sissified” his Boy Scouts. West wrote letter after letter to that effect, and brought legal challenges against Girl Scouts in an effort to control the moniker. West’s objections to the group did not stop there. Boy Scouts wore khaki uniforms, similar to the military uniforms of the day. When Girl Scouts started wearing khaki uniforms too, West called them “mannish.” Couldn’t they be more like the Camp Fire Girls? For that matter, why couldn’t they just merge? This early khaki Girl Scout uniform dates to around 1918. In the early decades of the Boy Scouts of America, West and his supporters saw any crossover with Girl Scouts as a blow to the burgeoning masculinity of Boy Scouts. They feared boys wouldn’t want to do anything that girls were also doing. Critics also worried about girls becoming “tomboys” who would reject the more socially acceptable roles for women in the domestic sphere—homemaker, wife, mother. In contrast, the more popular scouting group for young women at the time, the Camp Fire Girls of America, promoted “womanly qualities.” Instead of badges, Camp Fire Girls had a system of bead rewards, called “honors,” that recognized repeated tasks and skills such as cooking, sewing, or caring for the sick and injured. Even skills that fell under “camp craft” and “nature lore” had underlying domestic applications. And unlike the Girl Scouts, the Camp Fire Girls steered clear of overlap with the Boy Scout program. Camp Fire Girls founders, having worked with James E. West to develop the organization, actively partnered with the BSA to create activities that were, as West put it, “fundamentally different from those of the boys.” Instead of the Girl Scouts quasi-military uniforms, Camp Fire Girls wore ceremonial garments, along with earned beads called “honors.” Camp Fire Girls merged a simplistic view of a Native American past with a focus on bringing meaning, and even romance, to domestic duties. The Girl Scouts, on the other hand, sought to prepare citizens—not just homemakers. Badges were still awarded for domestic tasks like housekeeping and sewing, but also for things like automobiling and civics. As one national Girl Scouts board member wrote, “Now that [the right to vote] has been extended to women of this state . . . I believe there is no better way for [children] to learn to become good citizens than to learn to become the best kind of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.” In 1913, the year the Girl Scouts changed their name, many Western states had already given women the right to vote, as this postcard illustrates. Girl Scouts detractors referenced the right to vote in their objections as well. In 1922 one Boy Scout commissioner complained that “since the ballot came through,” women want to “wear the breeches,” “bob her hair,” and “assume rights and privileges of men.” However, not all Boy Scouts shared these opinions. One Boy Scout master contacted Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low personally, writing, “Boys and girls play together and must in these times learn to work together. Men and women are united in the struggle for Democracy. . . . I am convinced that Girls are just as good Scouts as Boys.” Indeed, the similarity between Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts isn’t surprising. Both trace their roots back to the same person: Robert Baden-Powell. An officer in the British Army in the late 1800s and early 1900s, he developed a training regimen that focused on outdoor activity, skill development, and character building for his officers. When he published his “scout method,” it became wildly popular with young men and youth groups, so Baden-Powell republished it as a handbook for civilian youth. Back in the United States, there had been a burgeoning “back to nature” movement since the late 1800s. Youth organizations and scout-like groups were popping up to ensure children were exposed to healthy outdoor activities. Baden-Powell’s scout handbook made its way to the States, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts soon followed. The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 by newspaper publisher W.D. Boyce, who soon after handed the reins to James E. West. The Girl Scouts were founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912. They were originally modeled on the British “Girl Guides” founded by Agnes Baden-Powell, Robert’s younger sister. When the American Girl Guides changed its names to Girl Scouts and their uniforms to khaki—that’s when the trouble really started. Juliette Gordon Low oversaw the publication of this early Girl Scout manual, published in 1916. It was adapted from "How Girls Can Help Build Up the Empire," the first handbook of Britain’s Girl Guides. During those first decades of American scouting, the tension between the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts was never truly resolved. Eventually, the Girl Scouts surpassed Camp Fire Girls as the most popular scouting group. Several elements collaborated to blunt the anti-Girl Scout criticism. Larger cultural shifts like women’s suffrage gained momentum, and Girl Scouts demonstrated effective service on the home front during the First World War. In the mid-1920s, the group even changed its uniforms to green, moving away from the more militaristic khaki. Both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts organizations grew into hallmarks of American childhood. But West never got over the name change. He kept complaining about it until his retirement in the 1940s.
  24. 4 points
    I don't have anywhere near the wisdom or experience of the people who have already replied on this thread (and I think you've had some GREAT advice) - but I do have a couple of thoughts. Give me a moment to tell you where we are and what we're doing, and then I have a few ideas for you as well. We have moved to a different Council entirely since my older kids were Scout age (my first two kids are adults now). So we started over entirely last year when my then 7 year old daughter joined a Wolf den. We signed up with what at the time was the only Family Pack in the area and it didn't work out due to major leadership conflicts mainly among the CC, the COR, and the CM. Earlier this Scouting year my daughter's entire den and the CM withdrew from the pack that we started with and convinced another small local Pack to open up a girl den for our (now Bear) girls; the boys in our pack just joined the existing den. The CM became ACM and that's where we are now. The now-ACM also has a daughter who is in Webelos. She's the only one in her girl den and I think there might be one or two in a boy den now that we've changed packs. I'm not sure exactly what they are doing with the Webelos program but her husband is the Boy Bear Den Leader and I'm the Girl Bear Den Leader and a Committee Member. What we are seeing is that there aren't any girl troops forming in our area of town other than the one we had major conflicts with in our former Pack. So even though neither of us has girls who are ready to join Scouts BSA yet, we are actively recruiting like-minded leadership and girls and are negotiating with a couple of possible COs to start a new girl troop. We are more than open to starting a tethered troop with a new CO, or join a CO that already has a boy troop, or start with just girls - but right now we have about half a dozen girls and a full committee ready to hit the ground running as soon as we have a CO. Personally, my goal in being involved at this level right now is to have a troop up and running with some experienced youth leaders already in place by the time my daughter crosses over in a couple of years. I also have a 4 year old daughter so I expect I'm going to have kids in Scouting for the next 14 years... maybe longer if they move on to Venturing like my oldest did when she (long story) aged out of Boy Scouts. So here's my thought for you - don't limit your discussions in your Pack to just "what troop should we be moving towards" but also "what can we as adult leaders do to create a successful program for our Bears to cross over into." Talk to the Troop's committee and point out that the SM really needs to be COR, remind them how important that job is, but also less critical that the COR attend all the camping trips and things, and see if you can nudge the current SM into the position he really ought to be holding and get new SMs in place for both boys and girls - possibly out of your active and enthusiastic Cub Scout leadership pool. See if you can recruit some more parents of Cub Scouts to step up and help pick up the slack in the Pack to free up some of your more experienced leadership to spend time with the Troops. Remind them that the goal of this is to create an exciting program for the kids to move into. Get them thinking forward. Oh, and make sure EVERYONE gets trained!! And if that doesn't work, either due to lack of volunteers or due to immovability on the part of the current Troop leadership, propose that you talk to other Troops in the area about a merger, and if that doesn't fly either, just take your family to a Troop where they are running a good program - and get involved there. If your COR at your current troop won't work to make a successful program now for the boys, don't expect them to do any better for the girls; better to get another organization with experience at running a *successful* Troop to charter one for your girls. Kids should never feel like Scouting is a drag. If your son is feeling that way, he needs to be in a better troop. You either create that for him where he is, or you move him to somewhere that it's already happening. Sorry that was so long!
  25. 4 points
    The new program name is "Scouts BSA", but the Scouts themselves are just called "Scouts": Scouts BSA Program Resources: FAQ (page 10) Also the Guide to Advancement: https://www.scouting.org/resources/guide-to-advancement/mechanics-of-advancement/scouts-bsa/