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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. 6 points
    I just read that the President and First Lady have tested positive for covid. My prayers go out to them for a safe and speedy recovery.
  3. 5 points
    I don't think the concern is that GS posted the 5 justices. I think the concern is that the GS took down the post as a result of "woke" pressure because one of the justices was Amy Coney Barrett.
  4. 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"
  5. 5 points
    Wow. I don't think the problem is girls or girl parents at all. The problem is that not enough kids are interested in the program to begin with and that not enough people of any kind are growing up with meaningful outdoor experience and common sense. The leader pool with those skills is shrinking. Franky, I'm a little insulted by this attitude. I'm a girl, and I know at least as much and to be honest probably quite a bit more about outdoor skills than any "boy" in my Troop. But your opinion explains a lot.
  6. 4 points
    Why? They were trying to recognize success of women to the highest court in the land. Regardless of your political leading, there have only been 5 female justices. It is wholly within their mission to provide examples that women can do Anything they put their mind to. That is a positive message for young girls and women as they grow,
  7. 4 points
    @walk in the woods, although I understand the “go out with a bang” mentality, it’s unlikely that all of the adults in a unit may share it. For example, my contributions to the troop for the past 5 years have nothing to do with my children — all adults. It would bother me greatly if those were squandered on individuals instead of helping some other troops keep rolling.
  8. 4 points
    No. No, no, no, no. No. There's no way anyone is going to agree to that kind of taxpayer support for the victims of a private organization. Nope. And no, not "everyone knew". That was the point. As for why you can't sue school systems or the government. First, for state and local schools, you can sue in federal court. Second, there's the idea of sovereign immunity: the government cannot be sued without its consent. And the arguments are entirely different. BSA is a PRIVATE volunteer youth organization. The government is, well, the government. PUBLIC. I do not want to get into a major legal discussion here but there's a giant, massive legal difference between 1) BSA, a private not for profit which agreed to work with children and which is accused of failing to monitor and properly deal with cases of abuse it knew or should have know and 2) The federal government
  9. 4 points
  10. 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.
  11. 4 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.
  12. 4 points
    Don't approach the murder kitten like this guy did. Note that her kittens were nearby which puts her in defensive mode. Get big, get loud, don't run away. You can't out run it and running away puts the cougar in predator mode. DO NOT BEND DOWN! Note when this guy bends down the cougar charges. It makes you look small. Find a branch or something you can grab and throw without bending down. He eventually threw rocks and the cougar ran off. If you have trekking poles, water bottles, etc. throw them. Put the damn phone away so you have both hands free.
  13. 4 points
    Alas, a training course for a minimum of thirty trainees on "leadership," is hard to limit only to topics helpful to every single trainee. A training course is not better than the staff, end especially its leadership. So not every Wood Badge course is the same experience, contrary to BSA's impossible goal of dead-level uniformity in experience. (Not to mention that each trainee's experience is a lens through which he or she views that course, making BSA's stated goal even more impossible.) I attended many "continuing legal education, " as well as Scouting training courses, and have taught at dozens in both fields. My modest goal, as a trainee, was to add something each time to my competency as an attorney or a Scouter, respectively. You applied a more stringent standard, as is your right. It's your time and your money. More general training courses, on topics as wide as "leadership" would not seem to be a good match for you. Perhaps self-guided instruction is your best route to add anything to what you already know. Some have found it to be so. As a trainer, I hoped to teach and also to learn. "My" last patrol of Wood Badge "participants " ( silly label) included two ladies - never in any BSA program except for one year as a Den Leader; two men who were never in any BSA program (one White and 27; one Black and 54); and two Eagle Scouts who had never been Cubs and had been out of Scouting for over a decade (one White and 60 ; one Black and 30). As is my want, I asked them all to contribute what they could on the theory that the seven if us, collectively, had something to share. (Pretty silly to try to present on rope work alone with a veteran firefighter who teaches rope work at an academy in the class.) As a student, I think I have taken away something useful from every course I have taken and think that, as a teacher, I have learned some things from trainees in every course that I have staffed.
  14. 4 points
    Aside from my anxieties. I am the sort of person where I just want the material. I am willing to sit there all day and watch it being presented. Keep a supply of snacks during the day and Im good. I have no tolerance for reflection and group discussions. Just get it done. I have 5 ticket ideas that I will probably go ahead and implement. I dont need a new neckerchief or beads to know I am doing what needs to get done for my Unit. I just wont be part of the club.
  15. 4 points
    Ok, there's a second level you are picking at. Mine was macro (larger U.S. trends). Yours micro. But mine leads to yours. The need to put membership & money ahead of program. The arbitrary changes to YPT. The last-minute fee hikes. Why do you think that is? The abuse cases + collapse in membership = financial stress + bankruptcy + the need for YPT changes (semi-constantly) in order to avoid any additional legal liability and prop up an organization that has seen massive membership declines. BSA lost its authenticity. Its claim to moral clarity (remember calling someone a "boy scout" once mean squeaky clean and trustworthy, pure Americana) is gone. Its claim to financial goodwill in the form of donations is gone. It alienated the traditionalists and non-traditionalists. BSA was built and developed for a post World War II era and relied on public trust and confidence in institutions of all sorts. Those are gone. Name a single institution that can garner majority support. The courts are the only one (and that's as a whole, poll the African American community how they view the institution of the courts). Military also still polls over 50%. Check out Gallup. https://news.gallup.com/poll/1597/confidence-institutions.aspx Even if BSA was 100% "authentic", even if the abuse cases never happened, no COVID, nothing, the organization was going to collapse because it relies in an undercurrent (60s Americana and a devotion to country) that is gone. Add in the abuse cases, and you get what we have now. And the "gays and girls" drove out a lot of the "traditionalists." Pushed around by DEs and council volunteers: First, some of this is baked in the cake of any organization that consists of more than 1 level. The higher level folks never, ever "get" those who are in the level(s) below. I'd lay odds complaints about "National doesn't get it" goes back at least to the 1970s Improved Scout Program. Second, see above. DEs and council volunteers are being told: boost your numbers and funding or your district/council dies. Funding and numbers are down, all around, in general (yes, there are bright spots). No one wants to get merged. So they press what buttons need to get pressed. And there you have it. BSA has no authentic leadership, it is trying to tread water and stop the bleeding in order to get to something that looks like a stable membership and business model (and yes, I said business model). That doesn't mean Roger Mosby as an individual leader isn't authentic. Maybe he is. But he's coming into an organization where the cupboard is bare in terms of good will and faith. What they need is Scouters who can say "I trust National is trying to do the best it can in a bad situation." What they got, instead, is "What the heck is National doing?"
  16. 3 points
    What is legally right is not always morally right.
  17. 3 points
    Oh, and I'm buying cookies from any scout who knocks or phones.
  18. 3 points
    Just a reminder, our bankruptcy is because BSA waited way too long to install hearty youth protection from abuse. Many of us (myself included) used to laugh at that … then a co worker of mine, an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member, got to visit Club Fed for child pedophilia. I remember calling the Council Director of Support Services as the word of the arrest (it was at work and public) filtered through our workforce. When I got him, he had been tipped off by the US Attorney, and was already preparing the severance letter. I've never laughed about YP since.
  19. 3 points
    Scout Myers, 12, has been participating in the walk since he was 4, becoming the star fundraiser of the Littleton (CO) chapter — now called the Foothills CROP Walk. This year, he brought along some friends: his fellow Boy Scouts of Troop 36, who trudged five miles up Waterton Canyon on Oct. 24 to recognize struggles faced by people far less fortunate — with several of the boys carrying gallon water jugs to symbolize how far people in the developing world must walk for clean water. “So many people in the world face hardships and hunger, and it's easy for people who have food to forget,” Myers said. “I'm just trying to do what I can for them.” ... The CROP walk, which stands for Community Response to Overcome Poverty, dates to 1947, when it started as an effort to send seeds and farming supplies to war-ravaged Europe. Managed by the Church World Service, the annual walk-a-thon raises money for local, national and international food relief efforts. https://highlandsranchherald.net/stories/boy-scouts-take-strides-for-those-less-fortunate,315727 https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=7685 Well done Scouts.
  20. 3 points
    The way I see it, if National is allowing online outdoor training now, changes to advancement so that virtual camping is allowed for ranks AND MBs, changes to OA eligibility to include virtual camping, etc, then everything is on the table due to COVID.
  21. 3 points
    I have not been involved with Cubs in many years - before the Cyber Chip was added - so take this from an almost-outsider. It seems to me this discussion is missing an opportunity and possibly missing the point. What I read is that your kids do have access to the internet - it is restricted and supervised - but they do have access. I read the intent of the waiver option as being for kids (families) who truly have no access - or no practical access. The requirement does not say for them to do the Cyber Chip on their own, or by themselves and I don't think that is the intent. The whole Cub program, and especially the Tiger program, is intended to be done with a parent/guardian/family. So - isn't the solution as simple as spending the time to do the Cyber Chip together with your Scout(s)?
  22. 3 points
    It is against the G2SS foe a cub pack to run a shooting sports activity with BB guns or greater. So, this seems to all be in violation, assuming it is what it says it is. just sayin’
  23. 3 points
    Succession planning is key. Getting the right adult in charge is vital. I have seen what happens when the wrong adult takes over. He nearly destroyed a troop. Having an Interim or Emergency SM is fine, but EVERYONE needs to be working on finding a successor. A few comments. 1) Unit key three (SM, CC, and COR) need to meet to come up with a list of potential names. 2) At least 2 of the three, but all three if possible, should meet with the prospective successor, and make the pitch. This needs to be done privately so if the person declines and you need to go to the next person on the list, no one feels slighted. TRUST ME ON THIS! (emphasis). One new SM found out he was not the old SM and CC's first pick, and it created a problems for all involved, including the one who rejected the position. 3) Delegation and having a good, supportive ASM team is vital. SM's can't do everything, they need to delegate to reliable people. And you got to know your folks strengths and weaknesses. We have one ASM who cannot camp on weekends due to his job. But Saturday trips, summer camp, etc he is "da bomb." 4) Me personally, I would avoid just from the Cub Scout ranks adults as SM. They need to "unlearn what you have learned" as Master Yoda would say. They need time to make the adjustment to Scouts BSA, and some mentoring in troop culture.
  24. 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.".
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 3 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.
  31. 3 points
    Nope. And I don't think that more girl moms or more boy moms are bad either. I've always found the best indicator for success in Scouting is a desire to be a great leader. I'm thrilled with the diversity we see amongst the leaders.
  32. 3 points
    Nor have they mastered teaching outdoor skills on line. Not nearly. More pretend accomplishment.
  33. 3 points
    This the theory behind the newer WB course, and mine at the time in 2000. But, there are a few unexpected complications that seem to upset the theory. 1. Scouters, even those coming from Packs, are expecting to learn some hands on scouting skills, especially leadership skills. 2. The staffs don't really understand what WB is trying to pass along, so they aren't selling their program very well in their course. Just reflect back on all the posts in this thread where WB is called a leadership course. It doesn't matter how much previous training a participant brings to WB, if it is called a Leadership Training course, they expect a leadership training course. AND, even the participants coming from packs believe the training is basically Troop related, if not intended. Don't get me wrong, I like the intended course, but if it's not presented properly, a lot of unsatisfied participants come out of the course. Maybe what is needed is a train the the WB trainer course. I would love to be on that staff. Barry
  34. 3 points
    Yes. National changed their membership policy in 1990 to accept women troop leaders. The unforeseen consequence was the sudden rush of unexperienced troop leaders needing training for a troop leader experience. Wood Badge was at the time an "ADVANCED" Scoutmaster training course designed for EXPERIENCED Scoutmasters who wanted to expand their skills. As an advanced course, the curriculum was heaving into using an idealistic simulator troop environment and culture as well as using scout skills for teaching models. The simulated troop and scout skills were just props for teaching ADVANCED TEACHING SKILLS. Not Troop Leadership skills. Big difference. You would think that Wood Badge would be the ideal course to for adults with absolutely no scouting experience to learn the scouting program because the participants live as boy scouts for 7 days. BUT, as I said, the course curriculum was an idealistic model for experienced participants, it was not intended as a demonstration for the common troop. However, because the participants didn't have any experience, they took the course as the idealistic model for their troop, and they went back to duplicate a troop where the adults eat all their meals with the scouts, then did skills trainings all day long and sang songs all night long. As a result, National we getting a lot of negative comments along with a drop in membership. National realized that if they were going to deal with a large percentage of new adults without a scouting experience, they needed a way to bring them up to speed on the Goals and Aims of the BSA program and give them better initial adult skills. That is what the course started as in 2000. Not sure what it is now, but I don't think it is all that different. I know it certainly isn't a troop leadership course. As someone who was asked to work with struggling units while on District, I liked the new WB course because the vast majority of the issues I was dealing with were adults who didn't understand the goals of the program and didn't know how to operate as a team. Scouts skills (at all levels, Cubs Troops, venturing) were not issues causing these units to struggle. Understanding why they were there and working as a team was the number one issue I was dealing with. Where National failed with the new WB was they took the WB name and respected reputation to develop the team building course. They should have started with something completely new. Now everybody wants a woggle. Shesh.
  35. 3 points
    I've ran into those critters. I've also ran into critters who believed if you aren't wearing beads, you don't know squat. I found it interesting that when i suggested something, it was ignored. When my beaded friend suggested the same thing, it was brilliant. Focus on your scouts. Do what is best for them. Don't worry about anyone else.
  36. 3 points
    I've never done WB and any interest in it died the first time I watched a bunch of grown adults sing that kooky song at a COH that led to two of our newly crossed over scout families immediately pulling their scouts out, lol. However, I've known a lot of people who have gone through the training and are just great people and seem to have gotten something out of it. I think the point is it isn't for everyone and a weekend or two of training doesn't a leader make. Sometimes it only makes bad leaders worse because now they have a badge. While I didn't ever do Wood Badge, I and another person did do someone else's ticket for them without realizing it so I think I at least qualify for a Wood Chip.
  37. 3 points
    In other words, your instructor was inauthentic.
  38. 3 points
    The stupid rules undermine the necessary rules. Once you get used to fudging: using a wheel barrow, picking up your nephew on the way to scouts, tossing water balloons, playing laser tag, and ringing the kettle bell; it's easier to let: chainsaws, one on one contact, alcohol, range safety violations, and political campaigning in uniform, leak into your program. For those who reflexively advocate obeying every rule; how many years have you wasted driving the speed limit while impeding the flow of traffic and being a general hazard on the highway?
  39. 3 points
    It's an inherent conflict of interest. Most of the COs around here are the same. They are legacy COs and believe their responsibility is to provide meeting space and benign support. I know ours doesn't have any real clue that they "own" our unit. BSA, through the Councils, has been more focused on retaining units and membership than in building relationships with COs. It's not a priority. Short of egregious circumstances, they usually will not do anything to damage a CO relationship and risk closing a unit. This is not to say that there aren't model COs but they aren't necessarily the norm. BSA has described itself as a franchise operation but it doesn't actually manage the organization that way. If you walk into a McDonald's it shouldn't look like a Wendy's, but from this forum we know there are units and councils that are almost unrecognizable to each other.
  40. 3 points
  41. 3 points
    @Eagledad @ParkMan I requested it be locked because people were reading DavidCos vague posts and assuming he was taking his Troop to Rally for Life events. That is not the case. They were continuing to pile on, even after he finally clarified. Locking the thread lets people read all the posts and get things back on topic.
  42. 3 points
    Maybe DavidCo's last comment can clarify that he's not using his troop to attend Pro Life Marches... It's part of the school he teaches at. Maybe this thread could use a couple hours being locked so people can read through all the posts and we can get back on topic, myself included....if there is even a topic to get back to.
  43. 3 points
    Nowhere in his posts did he directly mention his Scouting unit going to Pro Life Events. If he and his Scouts go, (probably organized by the school he works for) as a school and not as a Scout Troop it has nothing to do with Scouting. Tons of potential risk there for personal safety, but not a BSA issue.
  44. 3 points
    I have never seen discrimination towards Catholic Scouts in person, but I'm not going to be ignorant and say it doesn't happen either. It really sucks your Scouts experienced that and I'm sorry that is happening. That said....WHAT THE &#(@ ARE YOU DOING TAKING SCOUTS TO A PRO-LIFE RALLEY. My God man, use some common sense. Politics of the event aside, those always have the potential to get out of control. Don't put kids in that position. I'll await my downvote.
  45. 3 points
    I can vouch for the anti-Catholic discrimination @David CO is getting. I was lucky growing up. My hometown is largely Catholic, 90+% of the private schools are Catholic, and I did not face the discrimination. Moving to NC, Is were I first encountered anti-Catholic bias. I've have heard it at restaurants, children's' playgrounds, and yes at Scouting functions. When I was a DE, I had one new pack's leadership all set and ready to go. I had about 40 new Cubs signed up, just needed the money and a CO for them. When the local Catholic Church offered to charter the pack, the potential CM called me, cursed me out, and stated he was not going to join any organization that allows Catholics in it. He did not know I was Catholic. While I was glad he stepped down, but so did the rest of the potential pack leadership. Out of 40 kids, only 5 started the new pack. Bias was still felt, and the pack folded within a year because they could not get more Cubs or leaders. At Scouting functions, when I mention I am Catholic, I get the shocked, "You're a heathen" look at times.
  46. 3 points
    That fact that something is "Done to protect children" doesn't automatically mean that action should be considered sacrosanct and accepted without question. There have been plenty of foolish, stupid and even dangerous things (eg: banning books, banning sex ed, helicopter parenting) done over the years "to protect the children" and so rules should always be continuously reviewed to see if they are reasonable, if they function as intended, if they have unintended consequences or if they are even necessary anymore. In the case of YP and the GSS, we have a set of rules that have in some cases gone so far past reasonable that they violate some of the key principles of rules making. As a result, scorn for those rules in general is just natural. In fact, that's the biggest problem with making stupid rules; when you do it, it makes it much too easy for people to simply decide "all these rules are stupid and unimportant". The fact that the BSA generally refuses to even acknowledge that their rules and guides are poorly handled only further intensifies the feeling that they are out of touch or incompetent. And just to be clear, the fundamental problem with BSA rules are that they violate the following principles: If a rule immediately requires exceptions and extensive explainations, it's a bad rule. (Two Deep Leadership being required for every activity) Don't make rules that you know are going to be ignored. (attempting to mandate Two Deep Leadership in people's home lives) Don't make rules that are inherently nonsensical or conflict with your own program. (Age Appropriate tool Use)
  47. 3 points
    These positions actually do exist. There is an ACSE of Outdoors adventures (but his primary role is oversseing the HA bases). There is a National Director of Program. She is actually an oddity in that she was never a Professional. She was directly hired to the position. Under her are: National Director of Cub Scouts National Director of Scouts BSA National Director of Exploring. I believe they eliminated the Venturing/Sea Scout Director position. I have said this before on this forum, but am very open and candid with the volunteers I work with. My philosophy has always been "if someone is going to help me solve a problem, then they need to know the problem first". Not to brag, but I believe honesty and integrity have led me to have a great working relationship with all my volunteers and my district has directly benefited from it. It DOES however have a tendency to annoy my SE. But hey, hard to argue with results.
  48. 3 points
    I avoid the "bad kids" debate. My view is scouting can be good for everyone, but everyone is not good for scouting. Each individual has to be willing to work within scouting's boudnaries and expectations. If the individual can't, then the individual should find somewhere else to spend their time.
  49. 3 points
    I'm curious if we can leverage some lessons for the Scouts from all of this. Let's go back to the original topic of this discussion - authenticity. I've felt for a very long time that a significant portion of the Scouting volunteers do not respect the BSA national organization nor many of the councils. They find the decisions of the organization difficult to understand. They believe that decisions are made that do not reflect the needs of the Scout or the units. Perhaps in a sense, the BSA leadership themselves are missing the point of authenticity in their own leadership style?
  50. 3 points
    My DE believes that the new NCAP standards are a way to shut down small camps within a 500 mile range of the Summit so that it would get more business, especially with summer camps. And I thought I was jaded.
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