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  1. 11 points
    Three generations of Eagle Scouts happened tonight.
  2. 10 points
    Well, that's sort of where I am going with this, and I do not think the "gender correlation" is anywhere near 100% - or more to the point, is not likely to be anywhere near 100% with the girls who are going to join the Cub Scouts or the Whatever (11-17) Scouts. Boys (and girls) are already pretty different just within their own genders. Some are much more athletic than others (and everything in between.) Same thing with their enthusiasm for different parts of the program. (I have seen boys who actually liked the Eagle-required "homework-badges", and liked camping and hiking and backpacking a little less - and vice versa, of course. I will never forget the kid who, at age 15 or so, brought the book "C++ for Dummies" on a camping trip, which I thought was hilarious.) Same thing with their interest in being leaders. (My son was never interested in being THE leader, either as PL or SPL. He was an APL and then his POR's were Den Chief and then Instructor. But there were times he was thrust into being the acting PL or ASPL, and 2 or 3 times, acting SPL, and in my unbiased opinion (ha ha) he did a great job. I thought he was a "natural" leader - he just wasn't that interested in leading.) Same thing with every other part of being a Scout. Girls have the same differences among themselves, although one might speculate that the "average" girl who decides to join the BSA might be more enthusiastic about the more strenuous outdoor activities, and might in general be a little "bolder" (perhaps even "tougher") than the "average" girl in general. Even if one accepts that the "average boy" is different from the "average girl" (and I do), I think that if everybody calms down and just sees what happens, the transition will be smoother - and the pressure to "adjust" or "modify" the "program" will be less - than a lot of people here expect.
  3. 9 points
    Well, our 83 year old Pack just had our first girl den meeting... and I believe the Earth is still rotating. No media present but we did have some pictures taken of the girls. Most were in uniform and no skorts. Overall it was a lot calmer than a boy den meeting. We have 3 den leaders working the 3 separate age groups present. All of us we experienced in the Pack and we remarked that we need to prepare more as the girls got through the material more quickly than we planned. That could be due to smaller groups, but they were also a bit more focused. Several of the girls were talking about getting friends to join, so we will see if this grows before the fall. The skit I planned to work with them on was a failure (it dealt with fake spitting into buckets but the young ones didn’t quite pull off the fake part and and kept spitting on me). There may me some media (all optional) later in the week as we are one of a few Packs in the area doing the early adopter program. I’m greatful that our council let us run a standard den meeting without pushing for media access and the TV cameras I’ve seen in other markets. They were very hands off and simply thanked us for taking this on.
  4. 8 points
    ... physical evidence to prove that we—a rogue, high-adventure Boy Scouts of America Explorer troop of teenage girls in the 1970s—existed. As a group, we hiked the Appalachian Trail, paddled more than 1,000 miles of rivers in the Carolinas, and climbed some of the highest peaks in the Smokies on horseback. My quest was spurred by the October announcement from the BSA that it would begin accepting girls as Cub and Eagle scouts for the first time in its 107-year history. The media trumpeted that the gender barrier was falling, but I knew the Girl Rangers brought it down more than 48 years ago... Interesting article with photos. https://www.outsideonline.com/2300691/lost-legend-girl-rangers
  5. 8 points
    One of the grandkids explained it to me tonight. She always has dinner with us before going to Religious Education on Wednesday evenings. She doesn't play with "Magic" cards, but she knows about them. She has a completely different take on the issue. She thinks that those of us who are opposed to having girls in boy scouting should embrace the idea of boys playing nerdy fantasy card games at scout campouts. Nothing could be more effective at keeping the girls out.
  6. 8 points
    Boy did I ever derail this thread. Back on topic, my daughter earned her Bobcat last night.
  7. 8 points
    I think we're way off topic at this point, but on the subject of advancement... It kind of seems like no matter what pace a kid takes, it will bother someone. Go too fast and you're missing out on the journey. Go too slow and earn eagle in the 11th hour before turning 18 and they didn't take it seriously, didn't plan ahead, procrastinated, etc., etc., etc. My feeling is if this is supposed to be about the journey, let it be a journey that fits each scout. No two journeys end up being the same. The kids have their list of requirements, but even within that there is a lot of choice and different angles of approach. We want them to become leaders but we don't want then to lead on their own advancement trail? If we're going to say this is still a youth-led program, we should let up on the criticism of how they approach their own advancement. If the benefits of the program are so heavily dependent on time spent in the program, then we should have a requirement on the books that puts more time between ranks. Unless/until that happens, the boys should decide their own pace, whatever works for them, even if that means fast-tracking.
  8. 8 points
    Update: of 17 Tigers 10 will be awarded the rank. 4 never showed up after recruitment and 3 didn't show up but a couple of times. AND I can call em all by name too.
  9. 8 points
    The same reporter broke the news of the Girl Scout letter back to the BSA. She has a source. What I learned is that BSa leadership are clearly struggling with how to create a Boy Scout level parallel program and read scouter.com. *whistles quietly* *opens profile* *changes location to Alaska*
  10. 7 points
    ::Putting on moderator hat combat helmet:: This discussion of who (if anyone) is "dishonest" is over. Now. The discussion of who or what is a "terrorist" or "terrorist organization," at least in the context of people and groups who have not been convicted of such an offense, is also over. Also Now. Thank you all for your cooperation. @RememberSchiff @LeCastor
  11. 6 points
    The endgame for the BSA is the end to the phrases "boy scouts" and "girl scouts" in conjunction with it's program. It's just "scouts" now. We don't say "girl venturers" and "boy venturers" - it's just venturers. I'd suggest that as a community, we ought to embrace the new term and own in. Like it or not, it is what the program is now. Seems like we ought to get the most mileage from it we can.
  12. 6 points
    It's Tuesday and apparently there was a survey and the survey was of people (families) that are not involved in the Boy Scouts of America at this time (in fact some do not even live on this planet much less this particular dimensional plane) but they were overwhelming supportive of and interested in possibly becoming involved with an organization that perhaps was not named Boy Scouts of America and then there was a vote of the National Board of the currently named Boy Scouts of America and the vote was 123.2% in favor of possibly changing the name to something else (sadly Dallas Cowboys, Manchester United, and New York Yankees were already taken) and the hope is that the new name will generate a tremendous amount of revenue what with merchandising and knick knack sales that will help support the underfunded pension liabilities and balloon payments for the currently named Summit Bechtel Reserve and drive hundreds of thousands more youth and adults to join the newly renamed and rebranded organization
  13. 6 points
    I can sympathize with your situation. I can also understand why you and he want to be active in this aspect of your scout's life. But, let's keep in mind that scouting is not for us. It isn't for the adults or the parents or our close loved-ones. It is for the kids and there may be, and will be circumstances where we do things for the kids that may either disadvantage the adults or otherwise not be in the adults best interests. If you and your boyfriend feel this strongly about him being an attending adult in activities then I encourage you to do two things. 1. Have him register as an adult volunteer. 2. Have him request an expungement and/or a pardon. This could a strong life lesson for your scout as well as other scouts in the unit. Demonstrate that he is taking the steps to correct his prior transgressions and that he is willing to do the hard work necessary to be an active member of the unit. Lastly, this isn't about what the other adults do in their personal time or what they might be guilty of. This is and should be about your boyfriend "doing his best" to be the best role model he can be to your scout and if that means his involvement is limited due to past behavior (even past behavior that might otherwise be legal today in some states), then what better way to illustrate that actions have consequences and that sometimes life is not fair. How the two of you respond to this situation can either be an exceptional opportunity for growth or an exceptional opportunity to create resentment.
  14. 6 points
    The major point here for me (setting aside the criminal record for a moment) is that this is your boyfriend. He is not a parent, step-parent, legal guardian, or registered adult leader. For this reason alone he should not attend a cub function unless invited by the cubmaster and only within his /her parameters. I think you might be focusing too much on the criminal record piece and missing this important facet.
  15. 6 points
    @Tampa Turtle Thank you. I am actually not walking away from BSA - BSA walked away from me. I have stayed the same - Scouting has changed. I am not leaving in protest and anger. Rather I am leaving in sadness for what has been lost. I have a lifetime of good Scouting memories, and I'm especially grateful my son was able to experience it before BSA lost its way. It has been a wonderful ride. To be clear - these membership changes are rooted in financial desperation. It won't work. As BSA adds girls it will lose even more boys, and thus the membership declines will continue. When girls are not attracted in sufficient numbers, BSA will implement additional changes to make Scouting more girl-friendly all while the boys continue to walk away. I can't bear to watch the downfall of something I have dearly loved, so it's time for me to leave.
  16. 6 points
    As Tolkien wisely wrote, "he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." The reason the advancement program is so vital to what Scouting is comes from the fact that, at it's core, it teaches boys how to make, and accomplish, worthwhile goals, in a manner which boys can understand. They learn planning, work, and preparation. When they fail or don't quite meet the requirements, they look back and learn from their initial attempt and keep trying till they succeed. It gives focus to their inborn energies and desires to achieve by giving healthy, stimulating and enlightening goals that let them stretch themselves in constructive, meaningful, and exciting ways. It replaces mindless entertainment with the more robust exhilaration of adventure and exploration, both geographical and cerebral. And when he earns the token signifying he has met the requirements for whatever badge or rank he has worked towards, well, what to some might seem just another "silly patch" (oh the naive innocence of the over-experienced!) is, to that boy who truly worked for it, a sign that he has learned how to develop certain skills or knowledge that he didn't have before, but in which he has now gained a proficiency. He wears on his sleeve what he feels in his heart - dignity and self-respect. With each merit badge he feels he has dipped his toes in a potential new interest, hobby, even career. With each rank he feels he has grown more in character and capacity and self-reliance. And while the Scout may not be able to articulate that sentiment, the emblems he sews on after each award are cues that help him turn those esoteric ideals into the reality of his character. Sure, the lazy, detached or burnt-out leader might brush it all off as useless bling, but I find these people have forgotten what it is like to be a young person just beginning to see what kind of man he can become, while for the boys and burgeoning young men who are Scouting itself, the colorful badges and ribbons and medals actually let them visualize what might otherwise be intangible concepts - accomplishment, inner strength, maturity, self-mastery, and self-respect. I believe it is only the inability to clearly see the vision of what Scouting should be that impedes us from appreciating the magnitude of Baden-Powell's genius and profound grasp of what growing boys want AND need. His simple methods - uniforms, the outdoors, the advancement program, all of them - they are all one needs to change lives. But cynical, tired skeptics who aren't seeing their own vision of Scouting try to place the blame any place they can to assuage the frustration they feel when they cannot get their program going - they will say boys are different these days, or that they can't run the program right because the committee/council/national/tooth fairy/parents make it impossible, or that the program has deteriorated, or whatever. And so they suggest - change the program! Lose advancement! Ditch uniforms! Toss the committee! To that I say, you are looking the wrong way. Don't tear it down, but build it back up - with the very materials we have always had. Outdoor learning. Patrol method. Advancement. Uniforms. Boy led. If you can get the boys to FEEL what you want them to LEARN, they will make their own program flourish, as it is supposed to happen. But to suggest shedding core elements of the program is simply giving up on the hope that it will work. In which case, beware lest your skepticism taint the minds of those under your guardianship as a Scout leader or parent. If the advancement program's purpose has been distorted or inflated by those who cannot see what it truly should be, do not fault the system, but those who abuse and misuse it for warped ambitions such as status, reputation, prestige or gain. They are the problem, not the program. My rule is never to tell a boy that Eagle Scout looks good on a college application or a resume. Only that it shows him what he is capable of doing, who he has been able to become, and what he will prove to give back in his future. Am I defensive of the advancement program? Of course, as I am of all the ideals at the core of Scouting. Though the world slides downward faster each year, I hold that the methods are just as effective and crucial now as they were on Brownsea over a century ago. And I mean that as much for the boys coming into the program now as for our more chronologically-enhanced Scouters, many of whom seem to have coldly given up on the future while looking towards a past that has passed them by, and because they fail to see the potential of the present, they have forgotten that, yes, one person can make a difference - and that person needs to be you. If the program isn't what it could and should be, don't start by looking for who or what is to blame. Start by making a change in yourself, and how YOU are going to make the difference.
  17. 6 points
    @.40AET, please do not leave the board or even the discussion. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, as is @CalicoPenn In my opinion, one of the major problems with our society is the urgency with which we settle into a position, and how entrenched we become, during (or even prior to) a discussion. Too often we weaponize debate and there is no real chance to have a discussion that might help solve a problem. If you are for gun control legislation you are for tyranny and against individual rights if you are against gun control legislation you are for murdering children and against public safety. We are all to blame for where we are. The politicians stake out hardline partisan positions and hold on to them doggedly in order to get reelected because not solving a problem gives them something to rail against, but nothing to be accountable for. The media promotes the partisan conflict and 30 second sound bites because conflict sells and they want to gain viewers/readers.subscribers. Or worse, depending on the media outlet, they have staked out their own positions and rather than report, they lobby. And "we the people" reward them by continuing to send the same buffoons back to DC, even though 80+ percent of us disapprove of the job they are doing.
  18. 6 points
    I would slightly differ in that view. BSA National and pretty much every interview CSE has had emphasized and at times over emphasized family. He talks about families doing things together, that families want programs they can do together, and that scouting can be the program they can do together. The surveys tell them family is key and they want to do things. As a family. One can infer that if the new families that come into Cubs with the family transition to Scouts, the expectation is the family will come along. Those of us that are dinosaur troops, all male leaders on outings, using patrol methods, scouts off by themselves, referring scouts to their SPL for questions, will be (I assume) be expected to welcome the families. Even if we are all male and the Scouts potentially crossing over are male, this family focus will be a challenge.
  19. 6 points
    You keep asking that question and we answering it. The program changed a lot with the admittance of women leaders. There didn't appear to be a lot of changes from the outside, but it was obvious from the inside. As I've said several times (I believe to you, but I could be wrong), the massive training course changes in 2000 were largely a result of bringing women into the troop. Not because they were women, but because they had no Boy Scouting experienced. The BSA was so overwhelmed with un-experienced adult leaders that they had to rethink how to train them. And I think most of us who were leading Troop programs back then would say that Patrol Method has suffered greatly. Adults today don't get patrol method because training doesn't teach it well and there aren't enough experienced leaders to encourage it at Council or district level. Bringing in girls will increase the number of un-experienced unit adult leaders. If there was any hope that the program 10 years from now resembled today's program, calling it a family program killed it. Calling it a family program will add more confusion between leadership and parents. It will eventually sort itself out if scouting survives, but it won't be the same program. Barry
  20. 6 points
    The only thing that can doom Scouting is people who allow themselves to believe that Scouting is doomed. If we embrace the pessimistic idea that Scouting's days are numbered, then sure, it won't last long. But while I may not be able to rescue the perceptions of cynics and fatalists, I can certainly save Scouting in the eyes of the boys in my Den or Troop. I can instill in them the ideals and aims of Scouting, and lead them to believe in the power of this movement, however it may be distorted or warped by reactionaries and so-called 'progressives.' I can motivate them to live the Scout Oath and Law, and learn the lessons and skills embodied in the Scouting movement since the beginning. Scouting is only dead if you let it die. But so long as it lives in me, and in those who believe in it, it can never truly go away. So why give up hope, when you can instead labor to instill hope in the boys you work with? You fear the end of Scouting as you watch the top come crumbling down? Then counteract the collapse by establishing a foundation of bulwarks from the bottom up - build it up in the boys, and they will hold it up in the future. I refuse to subscribe to fatalist ideologies that simply wait to claim "I saw it coming!" when they end comes. Poor fools; they just end up waiting and waiting forever ....
  21. 6 points
    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
  22. 6 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.
  23. 6 points
    Some months back, I was tapped for taking over as our troop's Scoutmaster. The biggest top of mind I had was bringing fun back to the meetings. I happened to be in a World Market store and saw a $7 iron squirrel doorstop, and picked it up because I thought I could use it at some point as the trophy for some games we were kicking around. It has since become one of the mainstays in our troop monthly program, now dubbed the "Iron Squirrel Competition." Each month the adult leaders come up with a challenge that all the scouts participate in. These should combine some type of useful training/skill with the competition. This has become the boy's favorite monthly program piece and has heightened the fun and competition in the troop. This taught me a few things: Making sure to keep it fun. Fun covers a lot of flaws! Create something that is your own. While Iron Squirrel Competition is now a part of our Troop DNA, finding something that your troop "owns" would be fun. Not just the award, but the flavor. Go cheap and tawdry. Don't have to put a lot into this. Find something unique though that is funny. I am interested in what you other folks have done that are unique to your troop that is keeping it fun. Here is a link to our "Iron Squirrel" webpage.
  24. 6 points
    Whether this belongs here or scouting round the world I thought I'd swing by and show off our troop review of the year on Youtube here. Seemed to go down well with the troop tonight! A very happy and peaceful Christmas to you all
  25. 6 points
    I think we need to remember a couple of things here: 1. The BSA, as far as I know, has not responded to Ms. Ireland's request. Therefore, any comments along the line about how National has devalued the Eagle, made it worthless, cheated previous recipients, etc. etc., are incorrect, because National has not done anything on this subject. Personally I think National is going to reject her request for all of the reasons that have been discussed in this forum. But whatever may happen, it hasn't happened yet and we shouldn't treat it as if it has. 2. Let's please remember that this is a 16-year-old girl we are talking about, and not just some hypothetical 16-year-old girl, but a specific named 16-year-old girl. She is not some evil monster. She is an ambitious person, and she is asking for something that almost everybody agrees she shouldn't get, but it does not make her a bad person. I admire what she has done, at least up to this point, even though I disagree with some of what she has said and I disagree with her recent request.
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