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  1. 9 points
    For the life of me, where does a families permissive or non-permissive sexual ethic come into BSA? I do not equate being an inclusive organization as being a reflection of any sexual ethic.
  2. 8 points
    Why does this disease that everything has to be bigger, better, blingy-er always infect organizations? Instead of Bechtel, BSA could have done so much more good if it had developed a program to help retain Council level camps and properties on a regional basis. Property management expertise, help in setting up regional joint purchasing agreements to maximize cost efficiencies, marketing help, seed money to help transition some holdings into public ownership rather than being lost to sale and development. We are not scouts if we can't get kids outside. We are losing too many council camp properties.
  3. 7 points
    I think that you have swallowed the bait. We Southerners have always used a slow speech pattern to deceive carpetbaggers into underestimating us while we separated them from their money and women...
  4. 6 points
    One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
  5. 6 points
    I hope and pray my thoughts here will be articulated in a way that will generate a positive response and greater unity of understanding and discourse by those who read it. I notice that the impending separation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America has garnered much discussion about the motivations, ideology and mechanics behind this process. However, as I member of that faith, I also see that there has been an unfortunate trend by some to use this as an opportunity to make sideway comments voicing their opinions about our beliefs, our organization, our doctrines, our history, et cetera. It is entirely appropriate and healthy to maintain an open dialogue about how these coming changes will affect Scouting, the youth, the programs, and all other such related issues. It is also good to ask questions about why our church is making these changes and where our thoughts and feelings come from. However, is it appropriate for these discussions to be used as a platform for members to express incorrect information or inflammatory opinions about our faith? Is that a Scout-like thing to do? Is it ever right to deride in any way a religion or its leadership, to make accusations or spread calumny about another's faith? I cannot believe that it is. I do not only express this concern as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I speak thus on behalf of any and all faiths - Judaism, Islam, Buddhist, Hindu, Protestant, Evangelical, even atheist - whatever it may be, it behooves us to speak with nothing but respect and kindness about the religions of others - especially those of a fellow American. I think we can do better in these forums in regards to preserving goodwill between all faiths. I will gladly strive to improve my discourse here in regards to the ideals and thoughts of others, but that means I hope for the same from all here. That concept, the concept of fighting to preserve the right of all people to live and express their faith, is central to Scouting. A Scout is brave; a Scout is reverent. Those go hand in hand. Joseph Smith Jr. himself one wrote: So as we discuss at length the tremendous wave of changes that both the Church and Scouting face with the coming of the new year, let's keep the discussions kind and civil, and not use them to put down ANY faith or religion, whether explicitly or subtly. This website, filled with the thoughts of Scouters, leaders, and good people, should be an example of goodwill, grace, and respect. Let's watch what we say, and how we say it. I hope I am not too forward in sharing my feelings about this here, but know that I commit myself to do better from here on out before asking it of any of you. I hope others might be willing to do the same.
  6. 6 points
    Bottom up and scout-driven. All Scouting is local. Provide an adventurous, scout-run scouting program in our units and our enthused scouts will spread the word. My $0.02,
  7. 6 points
    Gotta wonder, will the (new) OA open casinos at Philmont and Summit?
  8. 6 points
    First, thread title edited. second, my late Dad was a CPA. When he discovered businesses were borrowing for operating funds instead of capital growth, he’d get out of any positions he held in them forthwith. I pray the National Council does not need these funds for operating revenues. If they do, BSA is on some form of borrowed time.
  9. 5 points
    Just be sure not to wear a red shirt! 😂
  10. 5 points
    To boldly camp where most will not camp anymore!
  11. 5 points
    Instead of viewing it as reducing bureaucracy at the Council and National levels, view it as restoring TRUST in unit volunteers. Train'em, trust 'em and maybe even treat them as adults. Some thoughts... Units can easily tract advancement themselves either with the old paper scout advancement record or whatever software they are using. No need for a National database. No need to send Eagle workbooks to National either (what do they do with them?) Actually the whole Eagle workbook should be replaced with just a signoff sheet and one page project description. Units can also discreetly decide alternate advancement requirements on their own. No need to violate the privacy of special needs families who are being asked to send documented requests to strangers on a Council Advancement Committee. My $0.02,
  12. 5 points
    I've always thought that underdeveloped rural areas face many of the same challenges as impoverished inner city areas. Crime, drugs, poor schools, broken families and few economic opportunities. As others have already said, there are people and leaders of character in every community that are fighting the good fight. You need to find those people and partner with them. That starts with not going about it in a judgmental manner. These people may have different lifestyles and challenges in their lives than you do, but that's not always a reflection on their character and capability.
  13. 4 points
    So a number of random thoughts, most of them pessimistic..... One might argue that the BSA was most relevant when communities were most relevant. By community I mean small groups of people living, working, and serving together (and actually knowing each others names) within a geographic region. Could be a small town, neighborhoods in larger towns, etc. It made sense for the local parish, church, Legion, Moose, Rotary Club to sponsor a youth program for the boys in their town or neighborhood. It helped keep the boys out of trouble, and, provided guidance for the next generation of leaders in that community. As community has become less relevant to American life, the organizations that were tied to community (all of those mentioned above and more) have become more and more irrelevant. Not because their mission isn't right and good, but, because there is no target beneficiary. I'd hold out 4H and FFA as organizations that have figured out how to keep connected to communities, particularly rural communities, and those programs continued success, but, they are more close tied to community and government (i.e. extension services and schools). At the same time as the decline of communities, we have the irrational rise in bubble-wrapped children. Whether that's due to people having fewer children, sensationalized TV news coverage, or whatever else doesn't matter. The program the BSA offered for decades (with @qwazse permission, boys hiking and camping independently with their mates) became totally out-of-date and dangerously irresponsible. Kids simply don't spend time outside like they used to, further making the program irrelevant. We live in a society today that at least some folks consider adolescence extending until 24 years of age (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/01/19/adulthood-now-begins-24-say-scientists-young-people-delay-work/). A program designed to breed personal leadership, independence, and responsibility in teenagers is hopelessly out-of-date. I think the BSA has also forgotten a simple truth about large organizations, that is, Simple Rules for Complex Societies. By attempting to nationalize everything, they've create a bureaucracy that nobody can love. The G2SS is seen as laughably restrictive in some places in America (squirt gun fights, really? How's that playing in Peoria?) and way too permissive in other corners of society. Advancement has been turned into paperwork drudgery that serves nobody but the bureaucrats. So to the question, how do you make the program relevant without changing it more? The short answer is you can't. The foundations that used to make the program relevant are gone or disintegrating, and new structures are growing up in their places. The program skills, well many, are viewed as irrelevant. We've heard people say society has changed and the BSA has to keep up. That may be true. But, it also means the BSA has to change, and it will be far beyond just membership changes. The departure of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints will be the vanguard of the migration of the BSA into a suburban/urban program, more so that it is already today. I've mentioned in other posts that beyond the remaining membership fights there will be battles about the BSA's relationship with the NRA, and guns in general, and the terror of boys carrying pen knives in open society, etc. The BSA will continue, but, it will be different, I suspect very different. Whether that's good or bad will depend on your perspective. I think for the OP the better question is, "what image do we want to project in 10 years?"
  14. 4 points
    As I recall, back in the 70's BSA was hard on the ropes due to an unpopular war, declining numbers, a negative image and program changes that the rank and file were unprepared for. But, overtime National was able to save it's self. The waters may be rough, but the ship is still afloat. I've a feeling it's still too early for the eulogy, and that the storm can be endured...
  15. 4 points
    I don't see where anyone is singling out the Mormon faith. In fact, the opposite seems true. For decades, Scouting worked to accommodate the wishes of the LDS church, to the point where BSA allowed a customized program within a program. I personally was never comfortable with that as I think Scouting should generally work in any faith environment or in any interfaith mix. Any minor accommodations should perhaps be more appropriately limited to the CO and unit level. I also personally had an issue with the gender disparities in the LDS church, as I do when they occur in any religion from Christianity to Judaism to Islam. If BSA had built a customized program for hundreds of thousands of Catholics, Jews or Muslims and then they decided to part company, I think we'd be having the same kinds of discussions. It has nothing specific to do with LDS. Scouting has been nothing but a good friend to the LDS church. Your proviso to part without rancor perhaps would be better pointed at LDS leadership, not BSA. As far as I can see, Scouters are sad to see these kids exiting the program and I hope it's clear that they will always be welcomed back should they decide they and their families miss Scouting.
  16. 4 points
    These things don’t magically happen. It takes dedication of many volunteers inside and outside the units at the District level to put on good programs. Yes, our unit has a lot of our own events throughout the year but it is greatly enhanced by broader outings. I could add some districts have talented unit commissions that help out struggling units. If districts and councils don’t matter, then why do certain council areas flourish and over perform in terms of youth participating in scouting and others languish? I don’t believe that is random. I believe when councils and district professionals find and support their experienced/solid council and district volunteers, it absolutely helps units perform well and deliver and improved program. Perhaps I should amend my initial summary... good Districts and Councils are vital to scouting.
  17. 4 points
    This is kind of the problem. D-Day thinking. "General" driven, top down leadership. Confidentiality rather than transparency. Battle plans. The world has changed. This kind of thinking is outdated. BSA needs to recalibrate to be relevant. We are more "at war" with ourselves than anyone else. National, councils, and units are all on different pages, and nothing has demonstrated that more than the recent fee increase debacle. While I think there are definitely some girls out there that we haven't reached yet who will enjoy scouting, why in the world would we think tens of thousands of them will suddenly abandon their sports and marching bands and other activities to join scouts any more than the boys would? If we are relying on them to save our future, it's not realistic. It's very convenient to blame other youth programs for BSA's ills and to think we need to "do battle", but the problems we have have been self inflicted. BSA needs to retool to serve the needs of the local unit and help get kids outdoors and in the community.
  18. 4 points
    Much of your information is incorrect, and I must take a moment to clarify the false allegations of this post. Clearly you have a vendetta against our people, so I must as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints counter your claims so that the facts can be weighed to the benefit of the members here and the discussion at hand. We have a PROFOUND respect for the separation of church and state - but that idea is not, as some might assume, the right of the state to prohibit religions from taking political stand on issues that have moral and civil ramifications. You need to study what the separation of church and state really means. It does NOT mean that the two exist in separate worlds. Rather, it is a means of living in harmony together. Religions need government - and government needs religion. They cannot be utterly divorced, nor were they meant to be. The concept of freedom of religion, including the right to practice that religion, means that we have to right to our values and principles, and to proclaim them as well. To use our pulpits as platforms to declare our moral positions and effect social change is not, in fact, illegal. Nothing the church did during Prop 8 was illegal - I know, because I was there, and I was a part of it. The freedom of religion as defined in the constitution protects our right to preach our values and to work to effect social change and preserve social values. We participate in civil discourse entirely within the parameters of the law, and for you to make these broad false claims in this forum is both inflammatory - and off-topic. So let's get back to our relationship with the BSA, and leave Prop 8 to a discussion elsewhere, where the true facts can be considered without bias. As for our position in the BSA (since that IS what we are discussing here), there was never any "punitive" action taken by the church - we do expect our youth organizations to support our beliefs and standards, and when the BSA started making dramatic changes to its central values and membership standards, we had to make a choice between accepting these changes and being complicit with the fundamental change of moral ideology that would express, or standing by our beliefs and values at the cost of our long and treasured partnership. We held to our beliefs, yet also tried to do whatever we could to save that partnership, because we have loved it and helped millions of boys through it - but we can't cling to something forever when it just doesn't align with our core values anymore. The BSA, on the other hand, did not "stand on principle" - the very opposite - it changed and conformed and let itself be swept along by the tide of current social and political ideologies. It didn't "refuse to be exhorted" by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - first of all, because that's not really what the word exhort means (I suppose you mean something else but can't quite ascertain what it might be) - secondly, because in our day The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needs a global program that adheres to the values and ideals for which we stand and in which we believe - and the BSA no longer fits that description. Our principles have stayed the same. Those of the BSA have been adapted to fit the current climate. If anybody moved, it was they. On top of all this, our new program has finally been released in tremendous detail, and it is exciting, inspired, and can be shared by the millions of Latter-day Saint youth all over the world. Youth who wish can use Scouting as part of their own personalized program of goals and learning if they wish, but now they have a whole host of options before them, with a program that will build faith and help them grow physically, spiritually, socially and intellectually. With all this in mind, BSA just doesn't fully serve the needs of our youth anymore, and so we have amicably, and with great love and tenderness, closed our official partnership. But as another one of our church leaders also said, "we have been and will always be friends." If there is resentment, then it is unwarranted. 106 years of partnership was a wonderful thing for BOTH of our organizations, but it cannot have been expected to last forever. Why this is happening no longer merits discussion. It's happening, so let us part ways as friends, and move on with love and kind feelings and hopes that both organizations will continue to thrive and grow in the future. The youth of today deserve to see with these changes faith and goodwill from both parties. Even if you have doubts, or concerns, or even fear or resentment - put on a smile, then look back with fondness, look forward with courage, and press on with hope - for their sakes. In the end we'll all be the better for it.
  19. 4 points
    What many miss in this discussion is that it's not a question of sexual ethics, it's a question of equality. A growing number of people today have reached the conclusion that neither sexual preference and gender identity are questions of choice - they are part of who we are. So, more and more people were reaching the conclusion that the BSA was discriminating in it's membership based on factors not in the control of the individual. Further, sexual preference and gender identity are separate topics. I've seen youth we historically would label a boy go through Scouting who clearly identify as a girl. This was well before they were even thinking of sexual preference. Permissive or restrictive sexual ethics have nothing to do with this topic. You can have a youth who identifies as a girl or is attracted to the sane biological sex who is not sexually permissive at all. I look at my kids schools - most of the high schools have Gay-Straight Alliance groups. My kids openly discuss topics of sexual preference and gender identify - yet complain when a movie gets too raunchy. That one boy likes another boy is no more a big deal than that a boy likes a girl. So, as the BSA was continuing to exclude people for reasons of gender identity & sexual preference, more and more people were reaching the conclusion that the BSA was out of touch with contemporary American values. Basically the BSA was in the middle of the evolution of our understanding of equality and had picked the wrong side.
  20. 4 points
    Sadly they (BSA National) does not seem to look for outside talent. You have to be part of the club, raised in the club, dedicated to the club, in order to be anointed to run the club. Likely some of the issues with finance and direction, currently impacting the organization, may have been lessened if leaders with some outside experience and different professional path had been in charge.
  21. 4 points
    I'll have to disagree....When it comes to the social agenda, the Mormon Church has never respected separation of church and state. This course of action that the Mormon hierarchy decided to pursue was purely punitive, their original intent was to force BSA to back down from social changes that they strongly disagreed with. Recall Prop 8, California's Equal Rights amendment where the Mormon church illegally used the pulpit and deceptively named grassroots groups to enlist supporters against the amendment. It should be obvious that the Mormon church placed the BSA in a no win situation... to either conform to Mormon values to keep the dollars flowing into BSA coffers; or, to adjust the program to current societal changes and loose LDS support. As I see it, BSA took the right course by standing on principle and refusing to be exhorted by the LDS
  22. 4 points
    I'd love to see them bring in someone from the outside for this. The organization is at a critical juncture. Rather than tapping someone in the system, it would be better to have the absolute best person in the role.
  23. 4 points
    A fool's errand? Of course it is. So when has that ever stopped us? I've been a part of such an attempt twice, once in a poor part of Maryland (tobacco fields and 20 year old pickups), once in a urban setting where ankle monitors on the scouts were not uncommon. From my very limited experience 1- you can NOT help someone who does not want to be helped. All you can do is make sure they know the offer is there. 2- parents have more influence than a scout leader. 3- there are some who are looking for a way out, something better. Even if they try to hide it in order to fit in or act tough . These are the kids you are looking for. The few who make it worth the stress and the effort. 4- start with the churches.
  24. 3 points
    I love being a scouter, and one of the activities I most enjoy is being a merit badge counselor for subjects that I truly care about....especially Communications (which I regard as the single most important life skill for someone aspiring to a leadership role of any kind). In every class, we've written "letters to the editor" as part of requirement 7a. Normally, that's the end of it. After counseling more than 100 scouts on this MB, I can't recall hearing that the boys' letters actually got published --- or even got read by anybody outside the class. Now, I have an example to point to of an MB class that wrote a group letter to a newspaper, which actually published it on their website....cool! https://www.theolympian.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article237568074.html
  25. 3 points
    You mistakenly conflate the methods by which one learns as the same things as the topic being taught. Yes, people (let's acknowledge that not all boys or girls learn in the same way) have different methods by which they assimilate knowledge but none of that should have any bearing whether or not a person, should be taught how to tie a bowline knot or how to use a compass properly. BSA teaches life skills, not boy skills.