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  1. 7 points
    There can be no doubt that BSA refusal to include homosexuals or girls until forced to do so due to social and financial pressure has had an impact on membership. It might not have affected it in terms of scouts immediately withdrawing, but it has definitely had an impact on recruitment and image. Its recalcitrance definitely cost BSA financial support from such high profile donors as the United Way to Levi Strauss. Why would that happen if not a reflection of increasingly negative public opinion? In the nearly 20 years I've been involved in scouting, I've seen schools gradually cut involvement due to BSA's perceived discriminatory policies, had recruitment signs stolen and defaced, been honked and yelled at while setting them out, and have had scouts who wore their uniforms to school ridiculed to the point where parents refused to participate in uniform spirit days. Those are all anecdotal points, I admit, but times are different and BSA's actions, as well as the abuse scandal, have materially changed how we are viewed. I'm not exactly clear on what is being argued here but if there is any doubt about that being the case, it's hard to understand how that could be a realistic viewpoint. BSA's traditional image has perhaps been fatally damaged. The only way to survive may be to completely redesign and reposition it. I don't say that because I dismiss the impact that traditional scouting has had on many lives. To the contrary, I say that because I recognize the positive impacts and support many aspects of scouting. I would rather adapt and have some version of it survive rather than cling stubbornly to the past and see it serve fewer and fewer youth and ultimately die. It also seems unrealistic not to understand that the piggy bank is broken and the pieces are never going to go back together the same way. Whatever entity that comes out of the bankruptcy case is going to be vastly different than what is still operating now. I can appreciate the history that is often presented here of how the program has been subject to changes and the skepticism that long time scouters have developed. However, the difference is that, whether those changes were good or bad, they have cumulatively resulted in our being where we are now: possibly on the verge of becoming extinct. Many parts of our future are largely out of BSA control. The upcoming bankruptcy trial will also likely result in another wave of truly bad publicity. Most of the parents in my unit are only dimly aware that BSA has declared bankruptcy and are being reassured by council and district missives that if they will only help pay their share via the new council fee, scouting will remain strong and be better than ever! No problems here!... Within a year or two, though, a generation of Americans are going to read about the BSA having to pay out millions if not billions to abuse victims; they are likely going to read about the sale of summer camps and possibly high profile legacy HA properties; in a worst case scenario, they may also read about their local churches and community organizations being sued because of "us"; even worse, although far fewer, despite all the measures, a handful of scouting child abuse cases are still occurring in real time and being reported upon. We can't expect to present ourselves as anything at all like the "old" BSA under such a scenario. It might not be as dire as I've projected here, but no matter what it is not going to be a good look. To a limited degree, going back in time -- truly back in time, not the 1970s -- could be part of the answer. BSA's relentless corporatization of scouts, with its focus on marketing, has driven the organization away from its roots. In the early handbooks, scouting was much more outdoors and action based, not deliberately controversial in a social sense, with minimal focus on advancement, costly uniform bling, and religion. One of the big problems with scouting is that is has suffered from perhaps well intentioned but certainly poor management over decades and this has negatively affected aspects of the program both big and small. I've listed most of these things continually in various posts, but to consolidate, here are some things I think would change it for the better or help it survive. I don't have a clue whether they are specific enough or wildly offensive or at all helpful or insightful. I am throwing them out based on my experiences with multiple youth organizations, nearly 20 years in scouting in almost every unit role there is as well as with some district and council experience, and as a parent of two sons who have been scouts for the purpose of rational discussion. I hope that those who disagree will do so civilly and not result to another round of belittling comments: - Restructure the organization. National's silo based, top down organizational structure is dysfunctional and is inherently not built to support the end customer -- scouts, units, and COs. Like other organizations, BSA needs to not only recruit managerial talent from within but from without in order to update its practices and perceptions. Throughout its history BSA has been insular to the point where there is a large degree of organizational arrogance. This has resulted in top management that has been inexplicably blind to pit falls that other organizations, including other youth organizations, routinely avoid. Some PR blunders have been self inflicted. These problems have affected recruitment. - Any restructuring needs to include the CO model, which is also dysfunctional. Part of the reason why BSA was so vulnerable to predators was because of the unclear chain of responsibility between COs and BSA. BSAs expected COs to "own" their unit but without a functional oversight mechanism to ensure that they indeed were doing so, responsibility gaps were created. Some COs assumed complete control to the point where they became territorial fiefdoms or extensions of the CO and did scouting "their" way and created a program within a program. LDS units are one large example. Other COs wanted nothing to do with ownership other than offering space and benign support. BSA also had no effective mechanism to monitor these "absentee" COs who were not paying attention to what was going on in a unit. Being marketing and membership driven, BSA, through Councils and Districts, have always been reluctant to push back in any way on COs that could result in a loss of units or membership. One of the other problems this dysfunctional model has created is wildly different experiences by unit across the scouting universe. BSA has described scouting and the CO model as a quasi franchise arrangement. However, there is little to no enforcement of franchise expectations. If you walk into a McDonald's it shouldn't feel like a Wendy's. Conversely, in a truly national organization, if you join a Troop in Maine it should function basically the same as a Troop in New Mexico. In most other youth organizations that don't have to deal with such a muddled structure, that's largely true -- but not in scouts. This Forum is Exhibit A on how different we all are. This is something that confounds many prospective families. - A broadly functional IT platform that would streamline and standardize administrative functions and volunteer roles as well as facilitate collaboration across units, districts, and even councils. The BSA structure has developed around too much redundant and unnecessary bureaucracy, positions, and volunteer roles. Common sense efficiencies, like national group purchasing programs that could save money for camps who wanted to utilize such a service, have never been developed despite BSA becoming a fairly large corporate entity. We've had to endure all the negatives of being part of a corporation without any of the benefits. The pool of volunteers is declining. We need to make the roles easier, not harder. This could also help make scouting more portable. Rather than being so completely attached to specific units, it could be easier for scouts to temporarily hook up with units for a high adventure trip or an advancement opportunity. - Develop social media platforms that can be used as public relations/information, recruitment, training tools. - Cost efficiency is also one of our current challenges. At a time when other youth organizations provided refunds or discounts, BSA has actually increased fees. An IT platform could also offer central purchasing options. Scout gear, uniforms, bling, also need to be streamlined with a focus on function and reasonable cost. What we have now is market driven rather than function driven. Every uniform change or enhancement is meant to raise more money for BSA and yet the traditionalists buy it. Scouting has to find ways to become more cost efficient to appeal to more families. - Reposition ourselves as the nation's premiere outdoors resource for scouts. We missed a huge opportunity this summer to offer home based outdoor programming opportunities to the nation's youth during Covid. Some Councils/Districts/Units did a great job, but it was localized and focused on kids already in scouting, not prospective scouts. Nothing driven by National. Incorporate more outdoors skills into the main program. Too much outdoors curriculum has been outsourced to Merit badges. Every scout should learn more about things like tracking, birding, fishing, canoeing, endangered species, adverse weather, wildlife encounters and dangers, etc. Some of this exists but it is very topical. Develop partnerships with other outdoors related organizations to provide content and add interest. I tried to develop a local relationship between the Sierra Club and our Pack's Wolf Dens. Most young kids love animals and so do their parents. Why don't we capitalize on that within the various ranks? There are so many useful conservation lessons that are lost. The outdoors, unlike religion and social issues, is almost universally appealing and without controversy with Millennial and Gen X and soon Gen Z parents as long as you don't get into Climate Change. We could better align with the Parks Service, Outdoors Outfitters, Conservation Organizations of all types like Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Audubon, etc., etc. There are so many possibilities out there.The reality is even amongst our most experienced outdoors leaders the curriculum is really limited. Also jettison JTE, which is pointless and toothless, and instead require a minimal number of outdoor activities to be held in order to recharter or else be put on provisional status. And why are there so few COs who are conservation centers? - De emphasize advancement and the push to Eagle. In its most traditional sense, scouting is supposed to be fun -- a game with a purpose. Yet too many units don't do anything that isn't linked to advancement. For example, my son's Troop repeats the same hiking loops every year because they dovetail perfectly with the hiking merit badge and hiking requirements in the program. We live in an area where there are literally hundreds of cool places to hike, but there's no time to explore them because everyone is pushing for Eagle and needs to do the hikes that fit into the formula. Where is the sense of fun and adventure? Don't get me wrong, they still have fun, but this isn't the highest experience that scouting can offer them. - De emphasize religion. It's too much and just gets us into trouble. No one should be using scouting as an extension of their Sunday school or Hebrew school or whatever. BSA should never have allowed LDS to create a program within a program. The scouting program should be available to all who are interested, but since a scout is courteous and kind it should never have allowed itself to be used by organizations who wanted to exclude people. - Find new ways to provide training. Whether traditionalists like it or not it's clear that Millennial, Gen X and soon Gen Z adults are less interested in investing endless hours in training, volunteering or spending time away from their kids and families even though it is needed more than ever. I read one post on this thread recapping some proposed training scheme and my first thought was that none of the parents in my unit would ever do this. We'll have to innovate ways to build skills. Campouts may need to become family affairs where parents are still with their kids and also possibly getting some chunks of training themselves. - If District Executive positions survive post bankruptcy this needs to become more of a unit support and resource role than a fund raising one. This position may need to make up for training gaps among unit volunteers and be a source of expertise for outdoor activities. - Leadership. I think we need to give up on positioning BSA as a Civic Leadership experience. I personally think we no longer do a good job with it. From the general public perspective, our organization is not well led. Leadership approaches that worked 50 years ago are different today. Scouts is very top down and militaristic in its approach but leadership models are becoming much more collaborative and organic. Kids today are much more individualistic and their parents encourage that. The Patrol method works, but it needs some updating. Kids are not coming to scouts with some of the conflict resolution skills they had 50 years ago and it is a problem whether you are trying to develop peer to peer leadership or older scouts leading younger scouts. There needs to be some stepped path to leadership because throwing a bunch of kids into a group and expecting them to be able to sort it out and emerge as leaders is becoming more problematic. Many schools no longer have students work in group projects because of this. - Consider advancement tracking. Families today increasingly want experiences that are specific to their needs. Many other youth organizations have adopted this. By this I mean STEM Emphasis Eagle track, Outdoors Emphasis Eagle track, Citizenship Emphasis Eagle track. Have a common core but let kids specialize based on their interests. What I want for scouts is to survive in some fashion. I want it to be relevant for more families. I want it to be more outdoors oriented. I want it to have more competent leadership that is more outwards and forwards looking and be more scandal proof. I want the organization as a whole to reorient around the scout and the units. I want to get rid of crippling disconnects and conflicts of purpose between the tiers of National, Council, District, Units and COs who all seem to have different missions and marching plans. What I also want is more research, conducted by an independent source. There is a ton of general research about Millennials and Gen X's and Gen Z's that support what we are seeing across the country with trends regarding all youth organizations, not just scouts, but it would be helpful to have something specific to us.
  2. 5 points
    They need something in place. I went into today to buy 7 Whittlin Chip cards at .19 cents each. I left with a new 3 Burner Propane Camp Chef stove and a new cast iron griddle. Because "Camping Equipment Sale"
  3. 4 points
    Request respected and appreciated. We're all passionate about Scouting and this most certainly is a very difficult issue for all of us.
  4. 3 points
  5. 3 points
    In my experience the biggest obstacles to succession planning are: Scoutmasters/Cubmasters who do too much - they don't delegate which makes the job appear huge. Someone who isn't looking for a 20 hour a week job isn't going to sign-up when the current SM/CM is doing that much. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Make sure you don't need a Scoutmaster to keep functioning before you go find a new one. Troops/Packs without sufficient adult support - similar reason. When the SM/CM realizes that other adults are not their to support them, they don't want to take the job on. Lack of suitable candidates - you don't promote a new person to be President of the company. Similarly don't attempt to take a parent and make them Scoutmaster. If you don't have ASMs/ACMs doing significant work already, then succession planning is not going to occur. To get an ASM doing significant work, you first have to have ASMs doing small projects. In short, you need a farm team. To me this is a core structure problem - fix the structure and succession planning is easier to address.
  6. 3 points
    Well said.. I was observing a newly elected PLC of a half dozen PLs and SPL and ASPL. The Scoutmaster wanted them to rough out the next years schedule. They sat there WAITING (that was exactly what they were doing) for the SM to TELL them what to do, what to WANT to do. The SM made some suggestions, things the Troop had done in the past, new ideas he had heard from other Scouts... finally, the SPL said, "you mean I can make that decision ? ?" The SM spread out his hands and said "DUUUHHH ?"" the year eventually was planned and the Troop had some old and some new adventures. Before he aged out , that SPL finally was brow beat by the SM to complete his Life requirements and was awarded his First Class, his Star and his Life all at the same, last, CoH. He eventually became a head cashier for local bank. He did Scouting.... BP's idea was that the older Scouts teach the younger ones. MAYBE the adults teach the older Scouts (Totin Chip, Orienteering, Pioneering, etc.) but the Troop Instructors, the Troop Guides, the PLs must be the ones who example and role model the skills and Scout stuff. Otherwise, "my parents make me come" will be the reason rather than "Jake taught me how to set up my tent and cook over a fire.".
  7. 3 points
    I have often said (only semi-jokingly) that the demise of kids interpersonal and conflict resolution skills was organized sports. Organized sports have pushed down to the youngest ages and subsumed all sportsplay activities. Prior kids would play kickball, or tag or or street hockey in their neighborhood. They made up games too. When the inevitable conflict, you're out/safe, arose there was no adult making the call and the kids had to figure out a resolution. The most common was "do over". Kids didn't just make this up, they learned that from the older kid who learned from other older kids years before. In organized sports, the adults manage the teams, plan the games, are the umpires/refs managing the game, eliminating kid-kid conflict. The kids just play the game without learning any real life skills. The neighborhood kids playing the games developed a neighborhood culture, invented games, created/re-created teams, solved problems, resolved conflicts... all without adult interference. I opine, adults organizing the kids into "little league for 4 year olds" are the soul-crusher of kids sportsplay activities and thus deny kids the opportunity to learn, grow, resolve. This is also why kids and adults are having an even more difficult time with youth-led and patrol method. The kids do not have the neighborhood sportsplay experiences, and the adults think they must organize and solve everything. This is a (the) problem and the solution is self-evident. Give the kids more opportunity to do the things which require them to make decisions, interact, solve, etc... without having adults meddle. In the scouting world this can result in "lord of the flies" which is ok at first. Immediately after the SM/ASM uses that as an opportunity to train the scout leaders (PLs). Adults training scouts should be following the patrol structure. PLs then train APLs and their patrol. The SM should NOT intervene with a patrol (immediate safety concern notwithstanding) but allow the patrol to operate under the leadership of the PL. After, and ongoing the SM should be interacting with the PL to help him/her learn and grow. A SPL and/or troop guide will likely emerge after a time to alleviate some of the SM tutelage of the PLs.
  8. 3 points
    @Eagle94-A1 is a the Scoutmaster I would have killed for (metaphorically) when I was a Scout. Just gets it. @ParkMan you've described the problem really well, many adults don't understand it, and they either waffle between two extremes, stepping in and "fixing" things just so the Scouts have something to do and then never stop "fixing" and start developing or teaching the youth how to do it themselves. Or they take a hands off approach and it's Lord of the Flies, 21st century addition. Ideally the patrol method allows the Scouts to "make their own fun." This fufills both the purpose of teaching leadership and good citizenship, while also being fun. In theory, the BSA Scoutmaster training and Wood Badge is supposed to teach this balance, but it fails to. My own experience with implementing the "fun" patrol method is mostly from my experiences as a Scout, my involvement in this forum, and devouring as many books and blogs that I could get my hands on. I often thing of EDGE/Stages of Team development from NYLT/ Wood Badge. The Scouts won't just start operating the patrol method when we say, "You're in patrols, now decide what you want to do!" They need it to demonstrated and guided for them either by senior youth or the adults. NYLT is an OK start, but NYLT does not teach a Scout how to implement the patrol method in their own troops. It assumes that their troop already has the structure in place. If it's in place already NYLT can be powerful in sustaining it, but my own experience tells me that Scouts cannot build the patrol method without the willing guidance and permission of the adults. If left to their own devices outside of Scouting, youth naturally form gangs or patrols. The biggest oversight of BSA training as a whole: It does not allow for imperfect structure or conditions, nor does it help a Troop get to the ideal. Having a few older Scouts or Patrol leaders NYLT trained is a big help for actually operating patrols once your unit has them. When I went to NYLT, I came back to my Troop, and my troop adults were clueless in helping me apply what I had learned and what my vision was. When I stayed on with the Troop as an ASM, that launched my patrol method/youth leadership crusade, which is well documented on this forum. I'm going to do my best to elaborate, but it will never be perfect: Senior Scouts or Scoutmasters have to help the Scouts see what is possible, expand their horizons and assist them putting together plans. This where I think EDGE/Stages of Team development is appropriate. As the patrol goes from being a new group to an experienced patrol, what they need from the SPL or the Adults will diminish over time. It's very cool to see patrols with self sustaining cultures, but it takes time and effort to get there. Scouts should pick their own patrols. New Scouts can be in new Scout patrols, but I think its better to seed them into established patrols as appropriate. I'd leave that up to your Scouts to decide. Scouts will typically form patrols around mutual friends and mutual interests. That's ok. The role of Troop level officers like Guides, Instructors, Quartermasters and SPL's are to facilitate the needs of patrols. Ideally a SPL or ASPL will help a new patrol leader get started with putting together patrol activities and outings. The patrol leader will also solicit ideas from the patrol about Troop outings and take them to the PLC. It's ok to have the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster available as a resource when the patrol leader or (A)SPL calls for it. Part of how we built the patrol method in my troop was with the weekly meetings. The PLC would select weekly/monthly meeting themes, sometimes outing themes, and the meetings would be tailored around that. For example, pioneering might have been the theme, and the patrol activity/ game would be a lashing relay or a stretcher run. This gives the patrol leader a target on what to work with his patrol on during patrol corners, and the competition builds patrol spirit. We'd typically hand out ribbons or dollar store trinkets as rewards for patrol winners of competitions, and they'd display that nonsense on their patrol flags. For added responsibility, patrols can rotate responsibility for creating and running the patrol challenge activities. On Outings, it's important for there to be time for patrols to do their own thing. We had an outing where some of the younger Scouts wanted to work on their totin chit, while the older Scout patrol wanted to go hike in the State park. It's perfectly fine for the patrols to do their own thing, but many Troops won't allow that. Happy to answer questions, elaborate further, or get my opinion torn to shreds. This is possibly one of my favorite topics. I could probably write a book.
  9. 3 points
    Very well written. I'd add a few points. Religion ... <modified your point> ... I don't want to remove religion because I value my faith. But I agree, de-emphasizing is reasonable because at no time has scouting been a primary channel for teaching faith. BUT, there needs to be a comfort and tolerance in scouting with having faith present and having a place for faith. I'm not sure we really have to do much different or if anything needs to change. It's just that I think scouting shines in the outdoors. I'm not sure scouting shines when we start talking specifics with politics or faith or STEM or .... Promote patrol over troop ... Fundamental redesign. Consider Many troops stagnate and ruin scouting for their scouts. Trouble making patrols significant and the primary unit of scouting. Troop meetings often poisoning the opinion of many scouts on scouting. Troop meetings subvert patrols as the fundamental unit of scouting. ... aka 60 to 90 minute troop meeting with 10 to 15 minutes allocated for patrols ... even then patrols have to be "released" from the troop meeting to their patrol time. Then, they are called back into the troop meeting. Worse, troop plans often leave no time for the patrols. ... IMHO, troop meeting structure 100% subverts patrols as the fundamental unit of scouting. Idea - Synthesize concepts from cubs and girl scouts to make patrols the primary unit. Scouts experience scouting in their patrols. Scout's uniform re-considered to de-emphasize troop. As much as I'd care, it could be line 1 <name> patrol line 2 <city>, <state> (city or area or ??? ), 10 to 15 patrol leaders gather to form a troop and organize troop activities. Patrols focus on being active and getting out and doing things. Patrol members help each other advance. Patrol size could be 6 to 16 scouts. Related Girl scout "Troops" are more like Boy Scout "Patrols". Cubs experience scouting mostly in their den with periodic pack activities. Rethink the need for "charter" organizations. Rather, it's a set of parents that support their patrol. ... aka like Girl Scouts Move advancement out of the patrol and troop to an organizational level. Could be district boards of review. Thoughts I'm not fully sold on if this is needed or even a good idea. ... just a suggestion to think about. My sons have benefited most when we get out to tent, bike, hike, paddle, tour, etc. My sons have benefited very very little from troop meetings. If I had my druthers, I would not have a troop meeting unless we were preparing for the next event / activity or celebrating. The idea of having a troop meeting for the sake of having a troop meeting is a thing of the past.
  10. 3 points
    I don't mind that you keep saying that you're better than us. The thing I do mind is that you describe yourself as humble while you are saying that you're better than us.
  11. 3 points
    Dear Cynic, how do we know it would not be embraced.? First, one would have to try it. The Patrol Method - Scouting's Essential Method. BSA started deemphasizing the Patrol Method in about 1960 when, after fifty years, it stopped chartering patrols. Planning forms for patrol meeting went away over forty years ago. Patrol Leader stopped being capitalized (unlike Senior Patrol Leader) and the "Unit Leader" became the Scoutmaster. The literature changed to prohibit patrol activities that conflicted with troop activities sometime more than forty years ago. They made Bill, who invented our version of the Patrol Method, retire in 1969 and went all in on the indoor program. BSA has not coherently explained the Patrol Method in nearly fifty years. It says it expects a Scout candidate to "explain it," but, repeatedly and politely asked, cannot say what it is. What "does not work" has not been tried by BSA in over forty years and BSA does not know what it is that "does not work." Their focus is on revenue, not program . In 2017 , BSA posted on line, in "Orientation for New Scout Parents," that "the Patrol Method is one component of what we call the youth-led troop." That statement is still there as I type. Go ahead, look up the "youth-led troop method." As the then head of training at BSA told me in 2014, "it's not so much a conscious policy change as they misplacing Scouting." The Outdoor Program - "Since its inception, Boy Scouting has relied heavily on an outdoor program to achieve its objectives. This program meets more of the purposes of Scouting than any other single feature." You could make Eagle without starting a single fire under the 1971 "Improved Scouting Program." The camping goal for a troop was lowered to a pathetic five weekend campouts from a modest ten. There were no goals for patrol activities. The awful Handbook , which our Museum cannot give away - literally - taught about answering the telephone and walking home from school. "Better teach about rat-bite than snake-bite" was the rallying cry of the indoor program advocates. Of course, they had never asked the customers what they wanted, only academic former sperts, who endorsed "Urban-centered Scouting." When they finally asked, wondering where all the Scouts and Scouters were going in their tens of thousands, they found they had it backwards. Bill was brought back and wrote a new, more "traditional" Handbook, and stemmed the bleeding, but he was regarded by the folks in the corporate tower as old and obsolete even as he tried to save them from themselves - the "Scoutmaster to the World" as something of a joke. The Fieldbook, when last I looked, said nothing about fire, ropes, woods tools, cooking, or most outdoor skills. The focus was on administration - in the FIELDBOOK! The Journey to Mediocrity in its, Q & A, defines "weekend campout" to include an indoor "lock in" playing video games. As it was explained to me by a representative at National: Camping is desirable; indoor activities are also desirable; therefore, indoor activities count as "camping. " ["You have no idea, said the rep (not born when I had twenty years in as a Scouter)] how hard it is to get kids to do anything." We took 67 kids to our troop-operated summer camp that Summer - six seven entire days in camp plus two more for travel to Twin Lakes, PA. Three Scouts were tied up in high school athletics. A former member got his dad to bring him from Pittsburgh so he could have another campout with his patrol. He earned - EARNED - two merit badges. They built SUPER expedient brush shelters for Wilderness Survival because the Ranger wanted an area "thinned out." Training in the Outdoor program for Scouts and Scouters has declined in breadth and depth. One-third as much time is devoted for basic training of Scoutmasters and SA's in outdoor as was devoted in 1981, when I re-upped as a dad after the move across country/grad school/teaching/law school/start family break. The lake spillway lulled us to sleep each night. All this time of BSA membership decline, public Interest in the outdoors skyrocketed, based on recorded visits to parks and state and federal forests, but not at BSA, based on behavior. A positive effect of the crowds in the back country was the "buy in" by BSA on LNT, although they seem to think it's a set of rules to be memorized. In 2019, the camping requirement for First Class was reduced to a pitiful three days and nights. Since 1981, the Council has sold off three of its four camps, plus 250 acres at the fourth camp, and it sold, solely for revenue, one of the camps that it acquired through merger - a camp that it absolutely needed in Summer, even after adding seven sites at the main camp used for Summer Camp. In 2019, all sites were filled for five of the weeks, but nine of that year's sites are now gone with Camp Stigwandish on the Grand River (sold without open bidding) if anything is left of summer camp for 2021. I live on hope, but the trend has been established for nearly fifty years. The compensation at BSA's top levels has climbed and climbed as youth served declined and declined. Talk about "adapt" or "die." The "good Volunteer," I was told by our very effective middle-manager in charge of capital development, is not about being willing and able to do the work but, instead, almost solely about donating money to meet payroll (She did not say the words. Instead, she rubbed her thumb in a circular motion against her first two fingers of that hand. You know the gesture.) Then she was laid off because capital money that she raised, literally in the $millions as Golden age Scouters died off, does not meet the monthly payroll - it is only useful for the relatively unimportant future. The most common communication that I receive from Council, our districts having been abolished in favor of "teams" led by employees looking for "good volunteers," are reminders to "do my duty" by estate planning to "support Scouting." "Have you remembered Scouting in your estate plan." Indeed, I do remember. Few do.
  12. 3 points
    I feel that to some degree we are discussing things that are wishful thinking and not reality. Yes, it would be helpful if some higher power swooped in and absolved BSA of responsibility for questionable or unprovable claims from 60 years ago. However, in the current environment where we literally have states and some national voices considering how to assess reparations for events that happened 200 to 400 years ago, I would not hold my breath over expecting anyone on the federal level to get involved in reducing statutes of limitations. Or, in legislating some good will measure that exonerates a group like BSA because it performs some beneficial role in society. As I also outlined earlier, we really can't claim to perform an essential service for the nation's youth. We serve a diminishingly small slice of it and have had to deal with some explosive social issues while doing so and are now facing a raft of bad publicity with the bankruptcy case. I can't picture the champion for that fight so I'm not sure what we are really trying to hash out here. Should the BSA shoulder its responsibility to victims? Yes. Is it fair for the current scouting community to shoulder that burden? No. Will it likely happen anyway? I fear that, yes, it will.
  13. 2 points
    Does BSA get any protection for the scouts chartered to government organizations? This is at least 10,400 units in 2004. From my limited understanding, past liability was re-opened by recent law changes. BUT, that liability was not re-opened for public schools and other governmental organizations. I'm trying to understand ... So BSA can be sued, but the charter organizations of many can't be sued even though they selected the leaders, provided the building, owned the materials and implemented the specifics ? From what I read below, as of 2004, 400 units were sponsored by military bases and another 10,000 were sponsored by public schools. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts_of_America_membership_controversies#Governmental_sponsorship_of_Scouting_units Are there any claim limitations for people that were in the 10,000 public school chartered units and 400 military units? It just doesn't make sense. If the professional expertise of teachers and public school administrators failed to protect those scouting youth and were closer to the units, how can BSA that is a further step away be liable. Seriously. NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE. Yes, the past abuse was outrageous. But that was the past. AND, much was done right. The BSA files were an aggressive attempt to protect youth. I doubt such files were kept by other groups. BSA put YPT, rules and expectations in place years before other youth organizations. BSA is in at least it's 20th year of YPT improvements. This is just wrong.
  14. 2 points
    if the adults are not trained properly, the "natural" thing they tend to do is be "helpful." " Here, let me help. You will burn that pancake [taking the flipper in hand]." Hence the counsel of my first Sm: "No one ever died of a burned flapjack." The primary job of a Scoutmaster, beyond insuring safety, is training the leaders to lead their patrols and troop. But if, the adults don't know where they are supposed to be going, the odds of getting lost are rather high. So the BSA deemphasis on adult training , including of lack of knowledge about the Scouting program themselves, is having predictable results
  15. 2 points
    Could that be because many of those claims are nothing more than a response to lawyers hawking the idea of a big payday? I know for a fact that abuse did occur, and have first hand knowledge from more than 50 years ago. I also cannot believe, based on the few real cases I have first hand knowledge of, that the true numbers are anywhere near what the lawyers want the public to think. We had a discussion at a council leadership event almost a year ago on this topic, and what was likely to come in regards to bankruptcy. We were given the example of someone who filed a claim, but could not recall the name of the council (it hasn't changed in 99 years); they also could not remember the name of the camp the alleged incident took place at (only camp in the council, same name for 70 years); they could not remember the time period or what unit or who abused them, nor could they remember what the abuse was, just that something happened somewhere and at some time, and the council should pay them for it. I would think a lot of that remaining 60% of claims may be similar. We don't know when, where, what, or who, but we deserve money. I have no problem with helping those who really were harmed, and have been unable to recover from what happened to them. I was told by a member of the national executive committee familiar with this issue that national has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past few years, paying the therapist of the victim's choice, without questioning their claim's validity. Once the lawyers got done with their suits against churches and turned their sights on the BSA, that was no longer considered an acceptable response. As to the lawyers wanting CO information going back countless decades and unit rosters as far back as they may exist, I see that as a case of 'here is a list of troops that used to exist where you once lived, pick one out and then look at the roster and pick a name, preferably of someone who is no longer around to dispute your claim.' Sorry if this went on too long, but there is a reason why statutes of limitation exist, and this is a prime example of why. It is almost useless to try to prove something did or did not happen 50, 60, or 70 years ago; which is exactly what these lawyers count on to help make today's scouts line their pockets.
  16. 2 points
    The emphasized sentence concerns me greatly because if trained Scouters do not understand this, we are in deep trouble. YOUTH LED VIA THE PATROL METHOD IS THE FOUNDATION OF SCOUTING! (emphasis). The fun programs you mention and others: sports, 4-H, band, robotics, church groups, school, etc all have adults telling the kids what to do, how to do it, etc. Scouting is suppose to let the youth be in charge with adults guiding and mentoring. Youth make the decisions, do the planning and organizing, conduct the activities, etc. For many youth in Scouting, this the first time they actually do what they want to do, and it IS magical. Youth led is messy, disorganized, and full of trial and error. The Scouts may seem like they are flailing about. BUT, in the long term they learn and grow so much faster. Sadly I am seeing more adult led troops and troops that allow adults to interfere needlessly in the patrols. My sons and I left a troop like that because it was not Scouting. Scouts were getting frustrated at the adult interference to the point they "zoned out." They had no true reason to be there except because they wanted to get Eagle or they were forced to. When we switched to a true youth-led troop, it was a world of difference in attitudes. My boys went from apathetic and sarcastic complainers who gave up trying to run their patrols to active, sympathetic, Scouts willing to take charge and be successful with fun activities. I have worked with youth professionally in my career. I have been deeply concerned how many youth today have no interest in taking initiative and responsibility for themselves. I have seen it when i was organizing job shadowing experiences at the hospital, and I see it at the college. Parents making all the decisions and doing all the work for their high school, and in some cases college students. Worse case, mom was ticked off she could not be at the academic counseling session due to COVID. Student got the schedule and classes he wanted. When Mom was informed, she was ticked off, yelled through the door the schedule is screwed up and she will be redoing it as soon as she is able to. What life lessons did that college student learn? Youth led does a heck of a lot more than "make a tedious program more enjoyable." It gives them a chance to make decisions, problem solve, responsibility, plan, provide leadership, make mistakes and learn from them, independence, and self reliance. I agree with you the advancement. The Advancement Method has been so corrupted over the years by National, that is is nowhere near it's original purpose by Baden-Powell. The original purpose of Advancement was to provide a series of skills and experiences that Scouts challenged themselves to complete. Mastery of the skill was required, and rewarded with a badge. Nowadays the focus is on getting First Class in a year, getting Eagle, getting X number of MBs, etc that some Scouts are not truly getting the full benefit of the advancement program. I'd rather have the 16 year old Life Scout who did a 50 miler in the Canadian wilderness who truly earned First Aid MB do first aid on me to save my life than the Life Scout, about to make Eagle, who did not know what shock was and how to treat it at a first aid competition. The purpose of advancement is to learn life skills, not get Eagle, X number of MBs, etc. And too many adults have forgotten that. One of the reasons it is fun is because they have their freedom. They make the decisions. They have the responsibility. Yes camping is fun. But deciding where to camp, what activity THEY want to do, what meals THEY want to cook, etc is freedom that they do not have in other fun activities.
  17. 2 points
    True. Other adult led programs are fun for kids. But there IS something magical about youth-led. That is it directly leads to the mission of Scouting. Without it, adults make the (majority of) decisions. Scouts cannot learn to make good decisions without having the opportunity to make any decisions. Scouting as youth-led and via the patrol method is the structure which allows scouts to make decisions (including bad ones) and learn from them all while having fun.
  18. 2 points
    ... because some adults lose track of the "fun" part when running the program that they plan and lead. Kids may not want to grind away at a merit badge every single meeting at some advancement mill. You won't see many kids turning out for baseball who dislike baseball. unless dad is trying to live vicariously through his child. (which does happen - like the dad who never got Eagle, but his kid WILL!!) Kids mainly join Scouting to have fun with friends, not to "benefit from" an educational program to make them good citizens. The later sounds like school, which has become near year-round for many, even those not on a sports (year-'round) team.
  19. 2 points
  20. 2 points
    Here's a quote from the Moderator Policy "When a discussion deteriorates into a stagnant endurance contest, a moderator may interject that both sides "Agree to Disagree" and instruct that discussion move on or the moderator may lock the topic pending review." We agree to disagree and move on? Or should I lock topic? @John-in-KC @MattR
  21. 2 points
    One interesting part of being on our Philmont trip last year was watching the boys figure this out. They had chosen the route based on activities, but after a couple of days, these teenagers really needed sleep. And so they started talking about the activities, and what was worth getting up early for and what was a lower priority. The other thing was reviewing their work with them. why was it taking them 2+ hours to get up, get breakfast, pack and leave? Once they realized if they could pack up in an hour, they could sleep longer! They started dividing up tasks and really getting efficient with their time. It was great to see. So let the boys prioritize what activities they want to do. If the boys at summer camp want to skip the campfire and stay in camp playing cards, the SPL should go with the group's decision. I guess I'm preaching to the choir.
  22. 2 points
    But that's the point I asked in another thread about following rules. It isn't the CO's "youth program". If the only limitation you want to impose is "don't meddle with advancement" then you don't have a cohesive organization or program. Unit A can decide it will do away with BSA's Youth Protection, Unit B can be limited to only white children, etc. Then you don't have Boy Scouts of America. You've got an off the shelf, customizable mess in which anyone can slap the label on their program and call it "Boy Scouts" or "Scouts, BSA."
  23. 2 points
    Where the BSA screwed up was in how they fought it. The BSA made an issue out of something that never needed to be an issue. The three contentious membership issues are clearly sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and gender. Imagine if instead of three, there had been just one - gender. If sexual orientation and religious beliefs were local options, we never would have had the fight we had. We never would have ticked off the politically motivated people who fought the BSA. If we had not made it the issue we did and then changed our answer, we never would have lost alumni support. We got so hung up on these issues that we picked a fight we didn't need and one that did us not benefit. If we won the argument we'd have lost. If we lost the argument we'd have lost Frankly - the argument was never all that germane to Scouting to start with. As such we had an argument we never even really needed to have and ticked everyone off in the process. EDIT: BTW - I have a suspicion that if we'd never picked the fight on the other two issues, the gender issue would never have been that big a deal.
  24. 2 points
    I agree. Where the understanding gets muddy is who applied the pressure. The claim and assumption in this discussion is that the pressure came from families, but that is not the case. If one looks at membership trends, the slopes don't show membership changing as events drove the BSA. It is true that a lot of business drew back their support in the late 90s, but that was politically driven, not public. Activist were busy pushing (threating in some cases) companies to remove their support to the BSA, mainly over the gay issues. I remember a lot of folks felt Levi Co withdraw was indicative of the public support, but a report came out and showed that Levi's Co was a leader in gay activism. What folks didn't understand is that while loosing those sponsors did hurt the BSA some, the main funding came from alumni support. That is why no more was heard from National for another 10 years. I once talked to a professional in Campfire Kids organization and he said all scouting organizations envied the alumni support of the BSA. Just look at the Philmont to understand how the passion of scouting drove alumni support. But, as you pointed out, the external pressure from activism eventually took it tole and National started making noise of change. THAT is were National started loosing the alumni support 10 to 15 years ago, and that is were they started feeling the pressure between the activist and their mainline funding. Events occurred very quickly at that time with the gay membership changes and who knows when the bottom dropped out. National probably saw the writing on the walls with the abuse law suit and loosing a 3rd of the membership with the Mormons, the future must have looked bleak. One last note of record, it was the homosexual activism that drove the change. There was never pressure to add girls to the program. Let's not reinvent history. And there is a simple reason why female activists never pushed or threatened the BSA. Can anyone guess? I will give you a hint; GSUSA. The women's equality activist entered into the Girls Scouts program back in the 70s. Their plan was not equality of boys and girls. If you remember back then, Women's movement was about women. That is why even today nobody is touching any female organization for combining the boys and girls. Campfire Kids made the change in the 80's as a strategic move to increase membership. They started recruiting boys in 1st grade, which is year before the BSA recruited cubs. That is why the Tiger program was created. The pressure that both Campfire Girls at the time and the BSA felt today is funding. As a result of loss of support from the alumni, the BSA made the bold move to grab a share of the GS's membership. And the GSUSA is not letting it happen without a fight. But, there is still no push for the GS program to accept boys. And there won't be. Of course there is more a head. I was told by a gay activist leader in 1992 that the enemy of culture is religion because morality is the constraint for social freedom. He said that any and all organizations that are based on moral principles will feel the pressure to change their moral principles. And look where we are at. The BSA will give way to god as well. And once that foundation falls, living the oath and law will basically mean do what feels good at the time. The suggestion in this discussion is that if the BSA relaxes on it's basic founding principles, it will appeal to more of the public. It did work for the Canadian scouts and I think the reason is the forces that pushed the Canadian Scouts to change came from activist, not the public. I think the same is happening with the BSA. The public in general supports the BSA program as they know it. The recent changes and future changes are from activism, and, well, the law suit. But, it's probably just as well, the culture will not allow a principled youth program program. Barry
  25. 2 points
    Program is king. "Active troops" attract and retain youth. Scouting leaders should keep focus here. Of course "active" does not mean meetings and sitting down quietly. "Active" means "active". Getting out. Doing things. Camping. Outings. Adventures. Some merit badges, but more about doing things. The challenge is marketing to today's "INVOLVED" parents. They are looking for one of many things. Organization? Reputation? Troop goals? Compatibility with family vision? I'm not really sure anymore. "active" can actually scare these parents away as it might hurt competing objectives. I just fear that today's INVOLVED parent changes the dynamic of scouting ... at least the ages 11 to 17 where we want the scout to experience scouting mainly on their own.
  26. 2 points
    This is a good concrete recommendation. Yes - let's do some market research to determine why people drop out of the program or never join.
  27. 2 points
    You may be correct. BSA may be beyond redemption. I have never suggested recreating the 1960s program. Like Girl Scouts then, it was heavy on chopping things down, for one thing. My troop as a Scout was regarded as "strange" for minimizing open fires and using WW II "squad stoves" for cooking. Not all change is bad. Not all change is good. As to what I "want," I have been fairly clear. I "want" program that stresses the Patrol Method, Outdoor activities, conservation, and service. If that does not restore relative membership, such a program still seems preferable - to me - to the focus almost solely on revenue to make payroll. I have no objection to changes otherwise. I helped convinced BSA to allow female participants in our NYLT course in 2010 - a year early. (They were all Staff the next year - superior leaders.) I again ask what you "want"? The end of BSA? The end of Scouting? A wholly indoor program? More like school?
  28. 2 points
    Or maybe it's because those with some continuity in the program recognize that the BSA keeps adapting without an underlying plan or vision. As a result, the BSA keeps rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic without really dealing with the primary issues. Those issues become apparent when people see it happen a few times and recognize the pattern. History is full of failed organizations that adapted to the wrong trends. It's not simply adaptation that's important - it's making the right adaptations.
  29. 2 points
  30. 2 points
    We had a claim where the plaintiff supplies copious details. We could find no information within the Telephone Company that the plaintiff existed, much less that one of our trucks hit him in a Cleveland street then left the alleged scene. It was late on the night of a storm, and we had nearly twenty trucks out working, some in that area. All the trucks were carefully inspected - by us and the CPD, with no indication of an impact. He also had a medical reports attesting to his injuries - a fractured pelvis and broken arm included. Fortunately, we could prove he was in jail in Toledo that night, following an automobile accident If his claim was allowed fifty years later, it would have likely gone to a jury.
  31. 2 points
    This whole topic is about the bankruptcy of the Boy Scouts of America. What high adventure bases will be sold, which councils will go bankrupt, which local camps will close, and now which chartered organizations will pay. We've already seen the impact of insurance companies paying in the form of higher insurance premiums to kids. There is no scenario under which the BSA does not pay money. With that in mind, just what is the third option that does not result in the choice: deny abuse victims compensation for those reprehensible things that BSA leadership overlooked or failed to follow-up on? penalize the kids of the United States today because some volunteers many years ago did reprehensible things and some professionals many years ago did equally reprehensible things by not preventing that from happening? Please articulate a third option that does not mean we choose between these two.
  32. 2 points
    But we all got signed off on all the requirements when we took IOLS. My understanding is that it was supposed to be enough for an adult to teach a scout the skills. After having swung the axe half a dozen times before teaching someone else how to swing it this sounds like guaranteed frustration for everyone involved - the new leader, the IOLS instructor and the scout. This thread is all about online training being a mistake. My only point is that solving this problem won't solve the bigger issue of accepting that all of the skills take time to learn. Online training could be part of the solution, I wouldn't rule it out. But in person training isn't sufficient.
  33. 2 points
    I agree, wood tools needs more time in training AND information in the SHB. When I reviewed the last time I did IOLS, the section on wood tools in the BSHB was missing so much info compared to older BSHBs, that I handed out sections from my 1960s FB and some other sources. Mixed emotions on this one. While I agree the older Scouts should be able to teach the younger Scouts and new adults these skills, I've seen a few things that make me question the idea. First the idea of "One and Done" is so prevalent, I am seeing fewer and fewer Scouts that actually have the skills to do the teaching. Sad but true. Best example is the 17 year old Life Scout who could not do basic T-2-1 first aid skills because " i took it my first year at summer camp, I don't remember them." The second concern is adults intimidating Scouts. I have seen and heard about adults intimidate Scouts, sometimes to disastrous effects. I have seen adults trying to change OA elections get "upset" to the point that I had to intervene and defend the youth. And one of the reasons my sons and I left a troop was because 2 adults intimidated the Scouts to the point that the SPL walked away. What was supposed to be a good trip and recruiting opportunity was a total charley foxtrot. Not only did none of the Webelos who were suppose to camp with us join the troop, we left the troop because of the yahoos and their actions that weekend. I wish I was there with the troop to put a stop to them. I have had older Scouts staff my IOLS, just like they do WB now. It works.
  34. 2 points
    In other words scouters should work their way through the advancement program to 1st class ... getting signed off by an SPL or JASM as they obtain skill mastery.
  35. 2 points
    My single favorite moment from Cub Scouts was when my son''s Bear den leader taught knife skills. He spent three whole meetings on it. Week 1 - he brought in the largest selection of knives I've ever seen. Hunting knives, cooking knives, utility knives, you name it. He explained blade construction. He explained handles design. The scouts got to handle everything and see how they worked. He then taught the boys how to sharpen a blade. He had more sharpening stones than I've ever seen. He explained how to remove gauges and how to progress through different stones to get the best edge. He explained why you need oil on a stone. He had every Scout try it. Week 2 - he taught the scouts how to handle and cut with a knife. I learned things in that meeting as the asst. den leader that I use in my kitchen every day. How to hold food with the tips of my fingers pointing down. He explained how different knives were better for different applications - how a scalpel is good for cutting skin, how an kitchen knife is good for food, how a hunting knife good for splitting bones. Week 3 - the scouts worked on carving different substances. There were no games those weeks, no other advancement. It was a serious discussion with a bunch of 9 year olds on how to use knives. You know what - they loved it. To this day, the depth of knowledge he shared was amazing. If I had my way, that's what we'd do with adults too - not try to condense learning to use an axe to an hour or do it online.
  36. 1 point
    Yes, delegation is key. So is ongoing mentoring/training of ASMs so that they are not trying to figure ot all out on their own. In another thread I wrote about having ASMs sit in on SM conferences to learn how to do them well. Along with this mentoring, the SM should view his ASMs as his patrol. He should be focused on building up the ASMs much like the PL builds up his patrol mates. I would also encourage the SM to invite a PL (at appropriate times) to sit in and listen to how the SM runs his SM/ASM meetings. This modeling of how to run a productive meeting will help the PL and also demonstrate some engagement strategies. Of course, a follow up discussion with the PL about what he observed and learned.
  37. 1 point
    Yes, but herein lies the the interests of the National and the insurance companies. They are going to want (and are asking, see the claim's form) something more than "someone did something bad to me at some time when I was a scout".
  38. 1 point
    Everything can be politicized. Everything has been politicized. That's not a slight on Scouting as much as it is a reflection of modern America
  39. 1 point
    From the Baptist Press Boy Scouts bankruptcy could leave churches liable in future sex abuse claims "Churches who chartered or have ever hosted a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troop should seek legal counsel now in case they are named in future sex abuse claims against the BSA, a Southern Baptist legal representative told Baptist Press." https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/boy-scouts-bankruptcy-could-leave-churches-liable-in-future-sex-abuse-claims/
  40. 1 point
    Ahh - of course, you're thinking about it from the CO perspective - as you should I still am a fan of local option. Here's how I would approach it and argue the BSA should have as well: sexual orientation - The BSA should have no restrictions on who can join the program and shall make no requirements on who can join. If a local CO has specific requirements for membership in their program, then so be it. If, for example, a Catholic Church said that their youth and adult members in their programming had to be of one particular sexual orientation than so be it - it's their youth program. If the elementary school down the street said that there were no restrictions then again, so be it. The CO is simply utilizing the program of the BSA in running their own youth program. The BSA should make no requirements on who they either can or must admit to their youth program. religious beliefs - The BSA should have no restrictions on who can join the program based on religious beliefs. If a Methodist church said it wanted all their members to be devout Methodists then great. If a Methodist church said that it didn't care, then so be it. If a Baptist church wants to open every meeting with a prayer, then great. If a Lutheran church wants to discuss religion in the context of character development - then great. But, in short - it's the CO's program. Let them run their program their own way. The only restriction being that you cannot add nor take away from advancement requirements. The BSA should not make any attempt to become a wholly secular organization. Similarly, the BSA should make no attempt to be a religious one either. At district/council functions, there should be room for this to all coexist. Scouts and Scouters should learn to respect the beliefs of others and so if there are members present who would benefit from grace before meals, then say grace. The BSA should be about respecting the plurality of it's members - that plurality includes religious diversity. Yes, some guidance would undoubtly have to be given so that this all is done appropriately - i.e., you cannot hold a mandatory 45 minute religious service at the start of a meal. But you could hold an optional 45 minute service, take a quick break, and then reconvene and have lunch. The message within the BSA should be about respecting each other, treating each other with respect, and doing the right thing.
  41. 1 point
    Friend showed me a DIY gravity set up. 2L drink bottle with the bottom cut out for water intake. Screw on a Sawyer Squeeze filter to the bottle. And get some food grade hose from a home improvement store. It works.
  42. 1 point
    Hah! We also had one of the higher output one burner versions too - for large pots of water, soups, etc... That thing sounded like a jet engine.
  43. 1 point
    It's called disagreeing, not bias. I am disagreeing with you.
  44. 1 point
    Just what do you think they need? Not want, NEED; these are not synonymous. The answers being delivered up are observations that some of us think they need. One of the reasons so many of us think traditional training and organizational structure are the answer is because they worked. Do you honestly think families today are more broken than families in the 1920s and 30s? Scouting got its reputation because it provided not just outdoor skills but genuine leadership training, the ability to plan and deal with the unexpected, etc. The growth of companies like REI, EMS, etc. tells us the modern family is actually interested in the outdoors. Don't you think it would behoove Scouting to really teach outdoor skills? Employers want employees that can think, learn, plan, teach, improvise, etc. All of these were skills that Scouting used to teach. The Patrol Method was a proven method for developing leadership skills which is why a few here keep harping on returning to using it. No, it's not a matter of just wanting things the way they were. It's a matter of realizing that the program did certain things that worked and that catering to contemporary trends has not. This is very much like the difference between the Air Force and the Marine Corps in the 90s and 00s -- the Air Force keeps reinventing itself every decade or so and then wonders why it lost direction. The Marines modernized but kept their identity and core principles (until relatively recently anyway). People knew what Marines were, what they represented, and were shocked when a Marine wasn't what they thought (for good or bad). There's adaptation (the Marines adopted and embraced IT superiority among other things) and being so flexible and adaptable that you have no structure. All the "adaptation" that the BSA has done in the past 3 decades has only weakened it -- and done so at a time when it should have blossomed due to the increase in interest in camping, hiking, and general outdoor activities. Now, I don't believe it's all BSA National's fault because at the same time there has been a concerted effort by various forces who despise American culture and heritage to tear down the pillars of American society. IMO, a great deal of the lawsuit (as well as some of the internal change from National) is driven more by a desire to tear down Scouting as one such pillar than to protect youth today or right past wrongs. As such, no settlement will ever satisfy those forces (IMO) and the bankruptcy will not (IMO) be the end of this. The COs will be the next target no matter what because they represent another pillar of society. The only way to respond to this kind of attack would have been to counter-attack it but Robert Gates and company rolled over and even abetted the attacks.
  45. 1 point
    Another question that has come to mind is are these "lawyers" investigating cases where the actual perpetrator is known? If so, did they go beyond their participation in BSA? Were they possibly employed by some kind of youth related group or agency? Did they also work with youth sports or the Y, or Boys and Girls club? If so, were there possible similar complaints there? Finally, it is odd, at least to me, that there are claims that are saying they do not remember who, or what unit, or where they met, and so on. IF it traumatized them from that long ago period, you would think they might remember some of the details, and not just that some "ambulance chasing legal group" suggests that they may make a vague claim with little or no need for documentation. Not suggesting there is no validity to some of the claimants, only that the openly vague option is just that, open and vague. But what would I know. I keep thinking that we should maybe look beyond the accusation and require at least a modicum of validation. And I also feel that the comparative stats related to other groups should be in play as far as the claims that nothing was done. We have already noted that nobody else kept records, or at least none of which we are aware. That in itself is more effort to root the worst out, than most.
  46. 1 point
    That sounds great, and that may have been a 19th century view of things, but as a legal matter, it matters not a whit. All "Congressional charter" means is "I got pull in Congress". And BSA did. 100 years ago. Now, to try and use the fact that it has a congressional charter as some sort of shield from abuse claims? "Sorry you got molested and all, but we have a Congressional Charter, so too bad." And I'm sorry, but if I'm a lawfirm and you write a law that allows for absolute waivers of liability as long as I can somehow register as a charity? I'm all over that. Sorry you were molested kid and our organizations leaders knew, but you can't sue us because we are a charity? A not-for-profit? And how "prominent" do you have to be? If your gross income is over $100 million a year you get a "molest all the kids, stay out of legal liability" pass? What about $10 million? $1 million? BSA (the organizational leaders thereof) did this to itself. Their poor choices means there are two generations of victims: those who were abused and those who now suffer due to the decline in the program. I will never, ever, EVER blame the victim or seek protection for an organization that KNEW what was happening and failed to act sufficiently or to exercise due diligence. EDIT: One final note. Part of being an incorporated entity, one of the benefits, is being able to avoid personal legal liability. There's no talk of seizing the PERSONAL assets of the former Scout CEOs and other leaders who knew, should have known, and did nothing. So under this theory, so long as you run a not-for-profit staffed with pedophile volunteer leaders: 1) You can't hold the not-for-profit that trained and oversaw the pedophile volunteer accountable because it is a not-for-profit 2) You can't hold personally liable the paid officers of the organization ("pierce the corporate veil") because it is an incorporated entity Therefore, out of the two sets of wrongdoers (the not-for-profit and its officers PLUS the pedophile) one gets to skate? No, thank you.
  47. 1 point
    Concur, but that is why they call it the "Introduction to..." Is there a BSA course for adults to learn these skills in any depth? Not in my experience...even went to National Camp School twice for Scoutcraft (back in the day). It was better, but still didn't hit the mark. It wasn't until I started reading my Scout Handbook and the merit badge pamphlets, putting together the materials and skills so I could teach them at Scout camp...(served on 15 camp staffs in various disciplines.) I have taught many IOLS classes...and too many people are looking for the "easy" answer or some magic pill for skills. They are only won by study, diligence, and practice. (Same as for Scouts ) Now, when a Scout or adult asks me a skills question, my first response is usually, "Let's see what the Scout Handbook says?" And then we sit down and read through the section together. It's really amazing what you find. Over 112 years of knowledge distilled in there...
  48. 1 point
    LOL ... colorful intrepresentation of history. ... based on settlement of a massive anti-trust lawsuit. One of my final undergraduate courses was an independent research project for credit based on the AT&T breakup. 80 typed pages of research ... before Google, before search engines and largely before the modern internet. Libraries. Copy machines. Phone calls. A retired AT&T employee sent me a book they had called Heritage & Destiny by Alvin von Auw. I still have the book. I was about to donate it to Goodwill. https://www.amazon.com/Heritage-destiny-Reflections-System-transition/dp/0030696070 AT&T is a fascinating case The problem understanding the breakup is it's so absolutely huge, painfully detailed, drawn out over years and the implications go every direction.
  49. 1 point
    Get rid of all of the badges for doing things that are part of other badges/belt loops. The entire "generic emblems" section on the scout shop website could be eliminated. My cubs don't need a police station visit badge, they get the belt loop that includes that as a requirement. They the generic hiking badge, they do Webelos Walkabout and get the pin for that. They have a parade badge, a flag ceremony badge, a campfire badge. Some stuff doesn't need a badge, it's just part of scouting and could very easily go un-badged. Also, stop making different stuff for every cub rank. One neckerchief, one belt buckle, if you want to distinguish rank with something visual, keep the rank hats, that's all. My Pack got our own custom neckerchiefs, scouts use one neckerchief all through cub scouts. We (leaders and parents) got tired of the new-rank-neckerchief-every-year madness.
  50. 1 point
    That's another one that brings out the legalists...and you wouldn't believe the discussions I have heard on this (actually, you probably would)... Scouter 1: "12 years, 364 days old cannot tent with 15 years, zero days old. 15 minus 12 is 3! But on his birthday tomorrow, he can! (15 minus 13 is 2)" Scouter 2: "Oh no, tomorrow, he is 15 plus one day, minus 13 plus zero days is 2 years and a day...no tenting together!" Me: "What about Leap Years?" and run away smh...
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