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  1. 12 points
    Hi everyone, it's me, again, a moderator. It seems that the temperature on social media has gone up in the past week. I've seen some really ugly things posted on facebook recently by scouters I know. Bad enough that I'm wondering why I should even be in scouting anymore, much less trying to keep the peace on this forum. But then I remember that scouting is good for the world and I try for another day. While things are not too ugly here, I see people talking past each other. Buried down in the core of this argument is something worth discussing but instead people get hung up on peripheral comments that were either not well thought out or taken the wrong way. Either way they aren't helping getting any sort of solution to the core of the problem. What is very clear to me is that before anyone can deal with bigotry they have to first master Courteous.
  2. 11 points
    Well, most of them aren't very tall to begin with. 😁
  3. 11 points
    The friendship knot, especially tied loose like those will come undone very easily, you only need to pull one tail out and the whole thing falls apart. I blame the World Jamboree of course, all those foreign degenerates with their casual unit t-shirts, friendship knots, and gaudy patches, leading your fine upstanding smart Boy Scouts astray, and now they've taken the trend back to their units, spreading the abborance like a virus.
  4. 11 points
    It's ironic that the BSA claims it knows how to develop leadership.
  5. 11 points
    While there is less community it certainly isn't less relevant (look at suicide rates over the past 50 years), and I think that's the key to your last question: what image should the BSA project? There may be fewer parents interested in developing responsibility and self sufficiency in their kids, but the BSA isn't even close to getting the attention of those that are left. But I do agree that the image problem is a wreck. Part of the problem is the need for some better PR. Maybe we can get our UK friends to ask the Duchess of Cambridge if she'd pop on over and visit some scout troops around here. Unfortunately, the bigger issue is we're stuck in the middle of the culture war. Fifteen years ago all the liberals I knew viewed the BSA as a youth military development organization, Jr Jr ROTC, if you will. And while they still do, now the conservatives see us as morally bankrupt. Who wants to put their kids in that mess? And before anyone says "that's not my troop!" it's the image we have. And yes, this image is compounded by the fiscal incompetence of national. People with little or no experience with scouts are who the message needs to be focused on. So, the culture war, which led to the enormous split in this country, is getting worse and the BSA is a lightning rod for it. In the meantime there are parents looking for healthy activities for their kids. Talk about needing leadership at the highest level. Kool-aid drinkers need not apply. Here's a message: Not only a message but a way to focus a program that has gotten bloated. The simplest way I can describe the bloat in the current program is to consider a very old idea that I'm paraphrasing: Nobody cares what you know or think, they only care about what you do. Put another way, the methods don't support the aims as well as they could. In a nutshell, every method needs to be gone over to see what is supporting the aims and what is getting in the way. Since the BSA doesn't even describe how the methods lead to the aims, I'm fairly sure they don't do this. Here's an off the top of my head view. First, advancement: Other than safety related issues, all of the describe and discuss requirements are nothing but a drag on having fun. They do not promote fun, leadership, independence, or responsibility so chuck them. Everyone knows that most of the requirements to get eagle are just a slog of check boxes. That's what's killing the program. Next, add requirements that develop creative problem solving, both individually and as a patrol. By creative problem solving I mean find a problem and fix it. The eagle project should be the last in a series of problem solving projects and not just the only one. Give the scouts more freedom and encourage them to pick their own projects. A first class requirement could be to organize an outdoor activity for your patrol and lead your patrol in that activity. I know, this is close to a very old requirement but I like it. Along with the above, to encourage community, teamwork, and just plain getting along with each other, make a few rank requirements be for the entire patrol. Advancement is completely personal and yet we're trying to develop people skills. To support this, make some MB's that are patrol based. So, as a patrol, learn a skill and then go do it. That's a simple way to encourage patrol method, do something different, and do something other than cook as a patrol. It could be as simple as making some requirements that encourage a patrol to do a MB together and follow through with an activity based on it. The MB program is a hidden gem that has been sidelined and obfuscated by boring requirements and MB mills. Use them to be part of the program. Next, quit trying to teach everything a kid should know with advancement. Cyber security, nutrition, Citizenship in the Nation, etc are things that are either taught in school or are so far from having fun learning to be responsible that they're just a drag. We can't be everything for everyone. Figure out where the line is. As for the adult method, the adults don't understand the program. The program is how the methods lead to the aims and we know how well that's taught. So teach it. Next, it's easy for a troop to get in a rut. I have never seen any training from the BSA that describes typical problems and how to solve them. They only teach skills that you have to do. So there are no case studies in how to fix a failing troop. Many people here say there are plenty of good units and I agree, but there are a lot more mediocre units. JTE was supposed to help those units. It hasn't and it won't. Giving people metrics won't teach them how to solve their problems. It's like telling an alcoholic to just drink less. Outdoor method: I think kids still like it. Wilderness survival skills are always a hit. However, there are issues. First, IOLS is way too short and fewer adults know the skills they need to teach. Take half of woodbadge and put it back to teaching outdoor skills and making fun activities using them. And if scouts are tired of the same campouts, how about a hike somewhere fun? Or star gazing from inside your sleeping bag? It doesn't need to only be a campout. The biggest challenge and biggest reward is getting scouts to learn how to solve their own problems and come up with their own events. That should be a big focus of all the methods starting at the first rank. Uniform: Just simplify it so the scouts can own it and afford them. I would much rather see a $10 shirt that a scout can raise his own money to pay for, and 1/10th the patches, so the scouts can put them on themselves (how about POR and rank pins?), then the high tech bling boards we have now. Quit thinking of it as a dress uniform and more of a field uniform and scouts will start wearing them in the field, and maybe even to school. There is nothing inherently wrong with scouts, the aims, or the methods, but there is a huge need for real leadership that is willing to ask some hard questions and get away from the mindset that we have to do something because that's how we always have done it. I completely agree with the comments about changing the hiring practices, controlling costs, and giving volunteers more room to innovate. It won't be a simple fix, but it's doable with the right people.
  6. 9 points
    He turns 18 in a couple of months. I watched him go up and receive a couple of MB’s that he has earned. The SM asked him to talk about his Eagle Project that he is going to try to get completed over the next two months. He is such a confident and well spoken young man. Scouting had a big part to play in that...leadership roles in the troop (including SPL), weekends camping with his troop, weeks at summer camp, working a summer at summer camp, a trip to the National Jamboree, relationships with his adult leaders. I am positive that these things have been net positives for him in his growth to being a young man. I am so happy that he came home with the “flyer” in the 1st grade. It has been a wonderful journey....one that I was with him on through Cubs and one where I have been more behind him in Boy Scouts. He is not a gung-ho Scout...honestly, if I had said “Hey, you are busy....you don’t have to be a member if you don’t want to” he would have quit in a heartbeat. But he stuck it out and hopefully will make it to Eagle....but if he doesn’t that is ok too. I used to read you guys posting that statement and I would think no way but I get it now. It really is about the journey. But....I really do hope he makes it. 🙂 Thank you guys for providing this opportunity for the youth of your nation. It matters.
  7. 9 points
    Today was a long but good day. My Facebook Memory for today was May 28, 2014. My oldest attended his first PLC as the PL of the New Scout Patrol. i commented how he was a little overwhelmed at times, but represented his patrol well. He did a really good job as PL. So good in fact, that when his term as PL ended, he was nominated for, and won the SPL position, beating out slightly older and experienced Scouts (troop he was in at the time was 2 years olds and the oldest Scouts were 13) Well tonight, he had his Eagle BOR. Paperwork is being cent to the council tomorrow, and onwards for national confirmation. Here's the funny thing. I knew since he became SPL at 11 he was going to make it. I admit I tried to talk him out of being SPL at 11. I talked about the challenges he would be facing, especially as an 11 year old. But the last time I tried to talk him out of it, he said something that made me realized he got everything we try to teach these Scouts, summed up nicely as servant leadership. he told me, "Dad, the troop elected me SPL, I can't let them down. I gotta do the best job I can for them." Life at the moment is very good.
  8. 9 points
  9. 9 points
    I think you treat this at face value. We are here to serve the Scouts. If a Scout calls you up and says he'd like to visit your troop and even join, you tell him the time and place and welcome him. While I understand the feeling that you should tell the other Scoutmaster, I would suggest that you do not. This is not a situation where you actively pursued the Scout. As such, a change of troop is hard enough. If you tell the Scoutmaster, that may result in added pressure on the Scout. This is the Scout's journey and it's the Scouts choice who to tell and when. Now, after the Scout joins your troop there is nothing wrong with a courtesy call to the Scoutmaster to let them know. At that time, if you learn something as a Scouter you can certainly pass it along - that is assuming it was not shared in confidence or you were asked not to share it. Discretion is important here. I'm reminded in this discussion that retention does not lead to a healthy troop. Strong program and recruiting lead to a healthy troop. Retention is a byproduct of a strong program. But, even the best troops lose Scouts. Troops are all different just as Scouts are all different. Better for the Scout to stay in Scouting in a troop they love.
  10. 9 points
    I concur with @Eagle94-A1, I've got bad feeling too. I'm glad to see the gains, but they are modest at best. They mostly represent motivated girls, the ones who have been waiting to join the BSA and did so as soon as they could. While there are still more girls that will join and excel, I doubt the additions will offset the other much larger losses the BSA is facing. Factor in other issues: 1. Adult volunteer fatigue/burnout/resignations 2. National's woeful financial status; its commitment to bureaucracy and poor communication; its ham-fisted management style with volunteers (and even council level pros) 3. Units inactive or not rechartering (several to my personal knowledge) 4. Ongoing litigation and insurance crises I think the BSA is an organization at risk. A good example: National's decision to put Philmont in hock. When you resort to taking grandma's wedding ring to the local pawn shop, you're one step from the poor house.
  11. 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.
  12. 9 points
    Our shirts have an upside down camp map on the front. That way, they can lift up the bottom of the front of their shirt and have a camp map ready at all times.
  13. 8 points
    Get rid of popcorn! Sacred Cow that I'd love to be part of the slaughter. We're still in suspension of all in person activities here in MA until June 15, but, yup, today we got the email from Council about the start of the Trail's End selling season...
  14. 8 points
    Agreed. Lets rip the bandaid off. We need to put these cases behind us for good, and protect the CO's from potential liability. I hope my council participates in the settlement. Ideally try to keep local camp properties if the council can afford them. I'd be sad to see us lose the HA bases, but they aren't the meat and potatoes like summer camp is. I share @MattRs concern. The program has always been about character building and citizenship development. Camping and outdoor fun is important because it (along with the patrol method) is how we accomplish these bigger goals. If Scouting becomes a purely camping club, particularly a family camping club, I have no need to participate. Even if I have kids, I could do cheaper, more robust, less restrictive outdoor activities with them than I can with the Scouts. No juggling other peoples calendars, no sending money to Irving.
  15. 8 points
    Just one, huh? This is kind of like eating potato chips. Proposal #1: refocus every member (employees and volunteers) of the BSA to the core principles of scouting - having fun in the outdoors as a means to develop responsibility and good character. Support #1: The program is the most critical aspect of scouting but it has been watered down because of a lack of focus. Rather, there seem to be silos in the BSA that are diluting the focus. There is advancement, popcorn, making money selling scout stuff, scouting-as-a-way-to-a-better-career, JTE, leave no trace, STEM and just a really bloated program that tries to be everything to everyone. This is expensive and has little appeal to young parents that have no history with scouting. By focusing on outdoors and responsibility the silo that should rise to the top should be developing scouts that the adults can trust to make their own decisions. That means improving patrol method and scout run programs. It means having more fun at summer camp and making it less like school. It means rewriting requirements so scouts are doing rather than talking about it. It means taking every aspect of scouting and checking it against the core program. If it's not supporting the basic program than consider chucking it. It's like cleaning your basement. Think of it as Start, Stop, Continue, only with focus on what makes scouting great. Proposal #2: Change the hiring practices so external people can be hired into councils rather than only promoting from within. Support #2: Newly hired DE's make very little money and consequently all those great scouts that were trained in the program tend to find jobs elsewhere, where the pay is better. Consequently, the vast majority of people working for the BSA have no experience as scouts. Not only that but there is a fair number that have no experience working for well run operations. This results in a lot of problems such as: Council execs that have no training in running non-profits and few people that understand how scouting should run. Most of the people I see working at the BSA are focused on one thing - making more money for the council or the BSA to pay for programs that have little to do with the core program. Please note that proposal 2 is really just one instance of what proposal 1 is trying to address. The hiring model is not supporting the core program, so change it to match what every other non-profit uses.
  16. 8 points
    Some advice from the National Park Service:
  17. 8 points
    y'all sound like a bunch of grumpy people. If the youth want to wear the friendship knot, let them.
  18. 8 points
    I mean "erosion" in this sense: Originally, troops were made up of patrols. Now troops are divided into patrols. Patrols used to be more or less permanent, with traditions of their own, composed of Scouts of all ages, with the older Scouts being responsible for younger Scouts and competitions among patrols. Now, patrols frequently change membership, change names, and disappear out of existence (the New Scout Patrol is even designed to be temporary). Every member of a patrol used to have a job with a title and real responsibilities, and the younger Scouts earned their way to positions of greater and greater responsibility. Now, there often isn't much for patrol members to do because the work is being done at the troop level by Scouts who need recognized Positions of Responsibility for advancement. Patrol members used to tent together, away from other patrols. Now, Scouts are often just jumbled together in a troop campsite. I could go on, but the larger point is that the Patrol was where a Scout learned teamwork -- or, more properly, citizenship -- by committing to work, play, and live in a little community in which success depended on the efforts of every member despite age differences, background differences, skill and experience differences, and personality differences. All too often these days, patrols are just temporary groupings for the purpose of troop administration.
  19. 8 points
    1000% agree. Unless I'm missing something, it would be incredibly stupid for councils to start merging now. Why would any financially strong council merge with a weaker one in the face of litigation? Depending on how the national bankruptcy shakes out, I could see lawyers going after councils and a series of bankruptcies there (or perhaps councils brought into the National bankruptcy). Now, post bankruptcies, I think it really depends on what is left of the BSA. If, as rumored, a lot of work will transfer from National to councils, then it probably makes sense for many council mergers. However, it seems too early to even consider given the litigation we are facing.
  20. 8 points
    I'm sitting in Rwanda right now. I've been in Africa for 2 weeks. Some Safari but mostly I've been in poor areas. Over half the population makes less than $1.50 a day. That said, most people are quick to smile. I wave and smile at people and nearly everyone just lights up with a smile and waves back. In a way, it's part of their culture. But I've found it to be more than that. Some people I wave to are clearly down. Its not so much that they have little money but that they have little dignity. Many Rwandan children have been abandoned by their parents and are not in loving homes. Essentially, they are a burden on some other relative and they know it. Many parents are distraught over having to abandon their children. So what happens when someone smiles at these people? A smile says I'm happy to see you. That tiny bit of dignity can mean so much to someone that is down. I would look at adults, look right at their eyes, so they knew I was thinking of them, and I simply smiled and waved. Most would break out with a huge smile. It's as if I just affirmed that they were important. All of these interactions and I don't speak Rwandan. So when you see someone clearly having a bad day, try smiling at them. Let them know you're thinking of them. That's all a part of being cheerful.
  21. 8 points
    A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, "I'm sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away." The distressed woman wailed, "Are you sure?" "Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead," replied the vet. "How can you be so sure?" she protested. "I mean you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something." The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room. The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck." The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman. The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "$150!" she cried, "$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!" The vet shrugged, "I'm sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it's now $150."
  22. 8 points
    I'm on something like my fourth retirement from various aspects of Scouting that I no longer found fulfilling. The first was Cub Scouting. When I first started, I loved the skits and dumb jokes and costumes and den meetings. But after about a dozen years or so of doing about every job in a couple of different packs, it just didn't hold my interest anymore. By that time I was Scoutmaster of my second troop, and Boy Scouts was my joy. The second was district work. I had been Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner, Unit Commissioner, District Committee member and Vice Chair, and I was still a Scoutmaster, and I just wanted to focus on my troop. So I stepped back from the district stuff for four or five years. The third was Scoutmastering. More and more the parents and other leaders had become focused on doing advancement when I believed it was the natural consequence of doing the fun stuff. And I was tired of dealing with the adult issues. After that, I started re-engaging with district stuff and also got involved at the council level with our camps. After another six or seven years of that, I was tired of struggling against bureaucratic priorities, and my personal life was changing in good ways, which provided a good opportunity to step out of most roles. My main "official" role now is coordinating volunteer service days at one of our camps, mainly doing "handyman" work. And I pop in on some district meetings just to stay on top of things. Popping in on forums like this, only when I feel like it, helps keep me engaged in the Movement without meetings or bureaucracy. When I was Scoutmaster, I saw a need to provide more opportunities for Scouts to just play and work on basic skills which would involve real learning, not "one-and-done" signoffs. They weren't getting it at meetings, and campouts weren't always the best venues for working on skills one-on-one. So I started once-a-week 45 minute sessions at my house: Scouts could come by with a parent, and the parents were invited to bring a chair and watch, and I'd help the Scouts who came with whatever hands-on skills they were interested in: knots, fire building, wood tools, etc. I called it "Garage Scouting," since we were either in the garage or the yard next to it. It was a lot of fun, and I know Scouts and parents appreciated the extra attention.
  23. 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.
  24. 8 points
    I know we argue about Sports versus Scouting. I ran across this on another Scout Facebook page. It is long, but worthy of your reading. I attribute it to the name at the top. 'Nuf said... Brock Moore October 23 at 9:26 AM I promised myself years ago, every time I saw this I would re-post. Happens about twice a year. Rings true EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.... Here goes!!! Most people won't take the time to read this all the way to the end. I hope that you will. 17 INCHES" - you will not regret reading this An excellent article to read from beginning to end. Twenty years ago, in Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA's convention. While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.” Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there. In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate. Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy? After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage. Then, finally … “You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.” Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer. “That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?” Another long pause. “Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach. “That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?” “Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident. “You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?” “Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison. “Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”............“Seventeen inches!” “RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues? “Seventeen inches!” “SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello !” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter. “What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. If you can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'” Pause. “Coaches… what do we do when your best player shows up late to practice? or when our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate? " The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We just widen the plate!” Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?” Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves! And we allow it.” “And the same is true with our government. Our so-called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate! We see our country falling into a dark abyss while we just watch.” I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path. “If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: "If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …” With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “…We have dark days ahead!.” Note: Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches." And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and now go out there and fix it! "Don't widen the plate."
  25. 8 points
    At our school we have this poster which helps distinguish rude vs mean vs bullying.
  26. 8 points
    While I appreciate your optimism I think this is simply naive. First, no matter what settlement comes out of the bankruptcy, it will be belittled in the MSM and progressive media as insufficient. The BSA will be portrayed as a greedy organization trying to short-change the victims by declaring bankruptcy. Second, I can think of at least 4 additional membership fights to come (in no particular order): Local option for fully co-ed packs and troops because separate but equal isn't working Mandatory fully co-ed packs and troops because nobody should be allowed to discriminate Removal of the DRP, changing of the Oath/Law local option to allow atheists, because it's already happening anyway Mandatory allowance of atheists and changes to Oath/Law because nobody should be allowed to discriminate One can imagine all sorts of additional issues the "cause" will take up: BSA isn't doing enough to recruit girls (or insert your favorite intersectional group here) BSA advancement structure is a remnant of the hierarchical male power structure and has to change BSA is still utilizing the Catholic Church (or Baptists or whatever) to deliver their programs, they haven't really changed at all BSA discriminates against "trans" by having boy/girl handbooks rather than using truly neutral pronouns language BSA discriminates against urban youth by having outdoor requirements (stop me if you've heard this one before) etc. The problem with "cause" movements is once they've met their initial goals, they have to seek out new targets or cease to exist. As long as the BSA is standing, it will be a target, no matter how many concessions it makes to the postmodern mob. Why do I believe the BSA will continue to be a target you ask? Here's why. Your discussion is a BSA redemption story, but, redemption is a two-part processes. The "sinner" has to sincerely repent, and, the aggrieved/offended has to sincerely forgive. An by forgive I'm not talking about "that's ok but hold a grudge" forgiveness. It's a "thank you for acknowledging the hurt, I believe you are sincere, let's rebuild our relationship without reference to the previous sin(s)" forgiveness. The current zeitgeist, progressive and populist, isn't exactly overflowing with that kind of forgiveness. Until that kind of forgiveness is available, donors aren't coming back, nor is membership, nor is "societal opinion" of the BSA. The BSA will probably survive, but, it will be unrecognizable.
  27. 8 points
    You should probably ask the older scouts Mom as she obviously has set the rule.
  28. 7 points
    Not sure scandalous conveys the true stupidity that is The Summit. What was billed as a donation and 4th Crown Jewel is a grossly underused and over developed vanity project. Basically a development looking for relevance. Why is the BSA bankrupt? Look no further than $500 - $750 million shoved down a rat hole in West Virginia
  29. 7 points
    When I was a scout in the 1980s, I was a member of a troop that was not diverse, not because of anything that the Scouts had done, but because I grew up in an area where African American families were redlined out of their ability to live for an extended period of time. I didn't know that as a young scout, though as I got somewhat older and learned some of the complicated history of race and politics in the area I came to understand that the way things were when I was a kid depended on things that had been done many years before. It wasn't a value judgement about my troop or its actions, it wasn't a judgement about me, but the fact that it wasn't my fault didn't make it any less the reality and didn't make it any less unfair. I heard stories about issues of racism in Scouting, and I certainly witnessed events that made clear to me that the legacy of what had been done intentionally before -- and the reality of things that were still happening then -- meant that there were still forces and realities that affected some members of society in ways that I was not affected as a white learning-to-be-a-man. As a result, I can say I was proud when I received that email from BSA a few days ago, and -- though some have said that creating a new merit badge isn't substantial -- I thought that was actually a valuable step BSA could take in accordance with what Scouting is supposed to do, educate youth into valuable members of society. The requirements that are put in place are a statement by the organization of what is important. Swimming requirements have been in place for a long time. Sustainability became a merit badge when that was viewed as important. And now something focused on diversity and inclusion is being added as important. The goal of the program is to teach, and -- if the new badge is designed well, which given the references to American Cultures and American Heritage, I expect it to be -- I believe that it could make a real contribution to the youth that earn it understanding the complicated history of race in this country, since ignorance of that complexity is not a help in finding a path forward. I know that some of the merit badges I took as a scout had a lasting impact on my thinking, and I have watched my daughter grow through some of the citizenship and other merit badges she has been working on as well. In other places this has been characterized as a knee jerk reaction, but I am not sure that I see that. Having returned to scouting not too long ago since BSA opened to my daughter and because I agreed with the organization's changes to become more tolerant with respect to sexual orientation, I was planning on going to the Wood Badge session before coronavirus disrupted it -- since I felt that it was important that I learned what the organization thought I needed to know to do a good job. One of my mentors related to our current troop, a very long tenured Scouter, gave me a heads up that an element of diversity and inclusion had been part of the Wood Badge curriculum for some time now, and that I should think about how that would be part of my ticket -- though since I was working with a female troop, my ticket might be viewed as having that already as a part of it. So I don't see this as knee jerk, even if it is responding to events that are happening in real time. I also would push back on the characterizations of the content of that statement being anti-police and so somehow BSA not being "pro-police," and -- furthermore -- push back on setting up discussion as a conflict between people protesting for their rights and law enforcement. The history of policing in this country is also complicated, with extreme good and extreme ill. Use of force does fall more heavily on some than others, and the outcomes of interactions between law enforcement and individuals can differ based on more than just their behavior when that interaction happens. And the legacy of what law enforcement has been used for in our country's history, like the past events that led my troop to be all white, still have effects that persist to the present day. And before you tell me I don't understand police, I do. I work with police officers as part of my job. In watching through even the imperfect window that posted cell phone video has given into what has happened in the recent protests, I have seen much to be amazingly proud of in the officers who have successfully both protected public order and protected citizens' exercise of their Constitutional rights. That doesn't surprise me given some of the men and women I know who are officers and since the oath most of those officers took was to uphold the Constitution, so they have a responsibility to do both. But I have also seen behavior by officers that I cannot defend, even as someone who has much more knowledge about police tactics, equipment, and procedures than the average person and is less likely to jump to conclusions based on always incomplete evidence. I also am surprised to have seen in these postings over the last few days a thread of argument that it should be ok for things to be different in troops across the country, and that top down intervention to impose something like this new merit badge is somehow inappropriate. That has surprised me because, in so many other discussions, the argument seems to always be that there should be uniformity and fundamental standards, with statements like "the program is the program," "units that aren't doing the Patrol Method properly are doing it wrong," and "things must be done with the spirit of Scouting in mind." Some of that push back was in response to some posts of mine where I was asking questions that were interpreted as pushing boundaries beyond what scouting should be. But now, when this is the issue, local variation is now presented as the ideal rather than undermining the program. That troubles me and that, as much as anything, was why I came back to post -- since some of the push back I'd gotten before had led me to the conclusion that perhaps I wasn't as welcome at this campfire as I thought it was and should limit myself to lurking in search of tidbits of information that National hadn't yet gotten around to disseminating broadly to volunteers. When I came back to Scouting, I had been impressed by how things were changing. When my daughter said she wanted to join Scouts BSA -- since she'd been more interested in the stories I told about when I was a scout than what she'd heard about what our local girl scout troops were doing -- I actually sat down to have a sober talk with her about what she might be getting into. I prepared her for, frankly, discrimination because of how people might react to the change of co-ed Scouting based on what I remembered from my time as a scout years ago. Interesting that in an organization supposedly fully centered in the Scout Oath and Law, that was my concern going in. But she wasn't worried, and - at least so far - it turns out she was right. Even at a camporee far afield from our largely suburban area, the few small female troops who were there didn't get any more flak than the boy troops did, and when some came their way they -- and the scouts from their "brother troop" -- stood side by side and, in both a friendly and courteous way, explained to the source that they weren't living up to the Scout Oath and Law. And subsequently, when she started working on Scouting Heritage merit badge and was interviewing some of the people who were involved in the forming of their troop, I got more insight into why: when it was being discussed, there was actually some opposition among some adults to the idea of starting a female troop, so the committee decided to ask some members of the existing boy troop what they thought about the idea. And they advocated for doing it because they thought it was important. So, in this case, the "progressiveness" that I have heard criticized elsewhere on this board, with the implication it was coming from adults like me, was scout led. Which I have also heard here is how it should be done. Do I think a new merit badge will solve the complexities of race in America? No, but it is a step to provide an opportunity for some of the next generation to at least be exposed to some of the complicated history about it and think it through for themselves. My daughter learned more from one of the citizenship merit badge requirements that required her to rewrite a passage from one of our Founding documents in her own words than a week of some of her classes in school. In the scouts I have had the privilege to help support over the last few months, I have seen extremely intelligent and impressive individuals. I doubt that all will reach the same conclusions as they do the requirements of such a merit badge as I might, and I doubt that -- whatever the political persuasion of the author of the pamphlet -- the conclusions they will reach can be predetermined. But, it can expose them to some history that they might not encounter elsewhere, and then they will decide what they think for themselves. And, just as I think regarding the requirements of many other merit badges, we will all be better for that.
  30. 7 points
    The main problems with the "local option" argument are: 1.That is exactly what allowed segregation to exist in BSA troops until the 1970s. 2. Hypocritically, it was some outside COs, troops, councils,... who pushed the "no gay scouts & leaders" doctrine to disallow gay scouts and scouters in troops which were not theirs. The Dale case was the result. We know the rest. I understand some have significant personal objections regarding those who are gay. There were those who had significant objections to mixed race troops too. It took 50 years and we are mostly past the latter. Hopefully it won't take 50 more years to be mostly past the former too.
  31. 7 points
    Why would the BSA feel the need to wade into this? Does National not know the Scout oath and the Scout law? I just marked a Scouts rank advancement tonight about how he lives the law and the oath in his daily life. As Scouts that is what we are called to do. Does National not think we take take the law and the oath seriously. We must all share in the collective guilt, right. Purely political. Sad.
  32. 7 points
    This sub thread to "major changes announced - councils impacted" sounds like a question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. So, putting on my moderator hat, let's just have our better angels out on the dance floor. There are protests, violence, frustration, fear, a pandemic and a whole lot of anger going on in our nation. If there's ever a time for the Scout Oath and Law it's right now. I seem to have lost my cheerful. Has anyone seen it? It's probably with my glasses.
  33. 7 points
    Where to begin. I no longer trust professionals in general. This is sad because I used to be one, and know there are some out there who do care about the movement. But they either burn out trying to have a successful program and meet goals, get frustrated and leave, or get corrupted by the system in order to advance. I have seen proffessionals at the council level ignore the long time volunteers who know the program, know the community, and have established relationships that can build the movement. And the movement suffers with a loss of experienced volunteers who made it successful. And national is no better. They hire people with no experience or knowledge of the program, and put them in positions where they have no idea what they are doing. Look all the stuff supply has try to sell over the years. Arrow of Light beltbuckle anyone? Or how about the training director with only academic credentials and no Scouting experience? Or how about a former national IT director with no IT experience, just being a former SE? And National has misled, ignored, and hidden things from the volunteers, including those they have handpicked. There is enough evidence for me to show that membership changes were going to be made without any regard to existing members. From the selection of the last CSE, the gender neutral language of the June 2017 applications, to the timing and requirements of the townhalls, to the lack of releasing the results of those polls, National has not inspired trust. Add onto that Philmont's mortgage without telling the Philmomt committee and a host of minor stuff like the "instapalms," shows that national does not care one bit about what the members think. And now BSA is reaping what it sowed. When DALE was in the courts, you had people defending and supporting BSA. National has alienated so many folks, that people do not care what happens to the BSA any more. In fact, some longtime volunteers are looking forward to bankruptcy because they feel it is the only way to fix BSA problems, not thinking about the impact on their units bankruptcy will have. I am very concerned about the movement. I have invested over 35 years of blood, sweat, tears, and treasure to the movement. I drank the Flavoraid at times and supported BSA even when I disagreed with it, because the program has so much to offer. I want my sons to have the same, if not better, opportunities than I had. And I feel like I was betrayed by the professionals.
  34. 7 points
    When those of us here on the forums gripe about Family Scouting, we aren't talking about girls, or families renting a campsite at camp outside of summer camp. We're talking about the BSA encouraging families to attend monthly troop outings. Most of us have seen it in our units, or others. It's normally a mess of helicopter parenting and demotivated youth. It breaks down the patrol method, and stifles team development and learning of self sufficiency. Nothing wrong with a parent coming along to volunteer or observe. I imagine the idea of having families camp at the summer camp while the program is going on is a total non-starter for most of us here. Scouts carpool to and from summer camp, so most of the families in my troop don't take their scouts to or from summer camp. This is a solution in search of a problem. As for the survey, maybe you got one, but almost nobody else on this forum did. Many of us have been longtime volunteers, involved in units, Districts and Councils for quite a long time. Many (although not me) have their kids in the program too. The data collection methods weren't really published, so it's impossible for us to know how valid the survey was, other than assurances from BSA national, and they haven't always conducted themselves with integrity or transparency.
  35. 7 points
    The idea that YPT is a feature of the program seems to be a very unfortunate, yet common viewpoint today. YPT is certainly a critical component of BSA activities, but a "feature"? When you start getting to a point where limitations and risk mitigation requirements are viewed as features, it's a pretty sad state of affairs. That's like choosing a school for your kids based upon the fact that they have metal detectors, bulletproof glass and regular armed patrols in the hallways. What's worse is that the stepped up rules changes aren't even to combat current problems with the program, they are to deal with a perception problem based upon problems from 30-50 years ago (and of course to appease lawyers). And while it would be nice to think that maybe some of these things could be changed in the future, it is usually VERY hard to roll back the restrictions dial because the only way to do it is for the organization to say "We went too far and this is unnecessary", and no one ever likes to do that. That might be what it should do, but in today's society I suspect that will only happen a portion of the time and the rest of the time units will just fold up because they can no longer function on the 3-4 active adults they have when no one else steps up. Off the cuff, I'd suspect the reason you can't comprehend it is that you haven't been particularly impacted by it at this point. If your troop has been operating like so many do, functioning with a single large group with little to no patrol activity (except on paper) and plenty of adult involvement to "keep things running smoothly", these changes probably won't even be noticeable. Plus you don't seem to see pushing the kids to function independently as a particularly critical component of the program the way I do. But for someone that grew up with independent patrols going on camp-outs alone together and a troop where the scouts really did run things with the SM sitting in his chair over with the "Ups", seeing the mandating of more and more adult involvement just makes me sad for my teenager who is desperately trying to figure out how to get the adults to "back off" so he and his PLC can do things their own way. I think you aren't making a distinction between venues. When I'm dealing with scouts, "This is the way we will have to do it, how do we make it work" is the approach I take. I've agreed to follow the BSA's rules by being a member. (or at least ignoring the really stupid ones quietly *cough*Age appropriate tool use*cough*) But the notion that anything put forward as "Being for Youth Protection" should be considered sacrosanct and incontestable is a dangerous idea. There have been plenty of pretty silly and even destructive notions put forward over the years to "protect kids" that lead me to believe that saying something out loud in an appropriate forum is clearly what's called for when ruling bodies start going overboard. BSA doesn't really accept much in the way of user feedback beyond their surveys, so I'm left with the option of forum posts and in-person discussions with interested parties hoping that maybe I'll strike a chord in someone who actually has an official ear listening to them.
  36. 7 points
    As a Backpacking MBC I do not count Philmont as completing the requirement. They didn't create the itinerary, they didn't create an emergency plan, they didn't create the menu and so forth. The most they could possible do on a Philmont Trek for this requirement is create a daily schedule and a budget for the trip but will miss some obvious valuable lessons if they used a trip they create on their own. I.E. the true cost of feeding a crew for 5 days and how to keep the cost low.
  37. 7 points
    This is a perfect example of where the BSA began its decline. Using the patrol method, it would be the scout's patrol leader teaching the new scout how to make the fire. Not an adult. The new scout learned a valuable skill, the patrol leader learned how to teach and lead, and they both developed character without a bunch of lectures. Mr Mazzuca, if memory serves, started during the '70s Improved Scouting Program that pushed outdoor skills to the back burner. An exec can make it to the top in the BSA and not have a clue about our organization's rich history, culture, and best practices.
  38. 7 points
    @dkurtenbach, I concur with one small exception: despite the best efforts of some councils and districts, I think unit operations will be negatively impacted quite soon. This will largely be due to the factors you mentioned: declining numbers, increasing fees, and negative publicity. "The bankruptcy is certainly a big problem, but membership decline is BSA's real crisis and BSA isn't going to do anything about it -- either because they are too preoccupied with the bankruptcy or (as I think) because they gave up on it long ago." That statement is absolutely spot on! Indeed, the BSA gave up 20 years ago. Zero effort to shape strategic level dialogue. Scant communication with, and loyalty to, unit level scouters. And with the future of the organization at stake, what do I receive in my email this morning? Scouting Wire. Top story: "All Merit Badges Ranked from Most to Least Popular." Not a word from Mr. Mosby, aside from the tepid interview he granted a couple weeks ago.
  39. 7 points
    In the case of Scouting, the BSA may dissolve in this bankruptcy, if so, it will be replaced and Scouting will move on. IMHO, Scouting is an idea, a philosophy of life, not an organization. Another $0.02,
  40. 7 points
    IMHO, I do NOT think we will see - any changes to the torte system coming in time for this case. - the Federal government bailing out the BSA or any non-profits. - taxpayers paying for a reparation fund or for another government oversight agency. For an organization whose motto is "Be Prepared", I think many will say accept the consequences and fix your own problems. My $0.02,
  41. 7 points
    I wouldn't mind it (the trolling) so much if the financial impact of the lawsuits fell on the wrongdoers. As it is, the burden of paying off the lawsuits is falling on the kids, through increased dues and fees, even though most of the kids in scouting had not even been born yet when these abuses occurred.
  42. 7 points
    When your organizational leadership acts as if the "customer's" desires are wrong, you get Sears.
  43. 7 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.
  44. 7 points
    By Larry Geiger on January 25, 2012 in Scoutmastership,The Patrol System Adult leaders often say things like; “I don’t override the boys decisions at all. ” “I asked them what they wanted to do.” “This was their decision.” What most of us fail to recognize is that many of these ‘boy led’ decisions were probably coerced, at least in part, by the presence of adults when they were discussed. It’s not that the adults shined bright lights in their eyes or twisted their arms behind their backs – it is much more subtle than that. When adults are present youth leadership – the Scouting way- is not happening. Say what? You mean when I am in the room listening and not talking I am somehow affecting the outcome of their decision making process? Yes! So I want to suggest that you lead by walking away. Let Me explain: When adults are listening, watching or talking Scouts are instinctively looking for the assent and approval of the adults. This is a result what they do at School and at home; listen to adults and seek their approval. So even if you say absolutely nothing at all your presence is somewhat coercive. It’s not that you are a bad person or anything – it’s just the way things are. So if we are not supposed to be around and not supposed to talk to them and not supposed to watch what they are doing, how do we do our jobs as adult leaders? Excellent question. We use very specific, scheduled, regular, and commonly understood opportunities to interact with youth leadership. Otherwise we leave them alone; alone enough that sometimes we cannot see them or hear them. I have found that one good opportunity to exercise this concept is when patrols go grocery shopping. The Scouts create a menu, estimate how much money they need, schedule a time and place, their parents drop them off and leave them to shop. No adult leaders or parents accompany them into the store. They work totally autonomously until they exit the store after successfully shopping and paying. Are you comfortable with doing something like that? What do you think would happen if you did? No adult is assigning, watching, checking, offering oversight or any other means of interference or intervention. Drop them off at the door and pick them up when they exit the store. Only the patrol leader works with his guys to get it done. A patrol leader given this opportunity is leading; if adults are present he is looking for their approval. In my experience his is true of all Scouts up to around age sixteen or so. Here’s a few of the times when adults and youth leaders talk with one another: 1. Occasional reflections with a senior patrol leader or patrol leader after a Scout meeting. 2. Scoutmaster Conferences. 3. Scoutmaster senior patrol leader two-minute chat before a patrol leader’s council. 4. Scoutmaster’s minute. 5. Troop Leadership Training. This is the Scoutmaster’s show. [BSA says the SPL should help lead the training .] 6. When a senior patrol leader or patrol leader walks over and asks the Scoutmaster a specific question or asks for help. [Note: "senior patrol leader" vs "Scoutmaster. How about "Senior Patrol Leader"?] Here’s times when you should refrain from interacting with youth leadership: 1. During patrol and troop meetings. 2. During patrol leader’s councils. [Even if they ask a question?] 3. During campouts. 4. During the troop annual planning conference. 5. During summer camp at meals/around the picnic table during the day/etc. 6. During patrol shopping trips. 7. During patrol and troop activities when a Scout is in charge. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to realize that when adults are physically present Scouts are looking for approval – not leading. Think about this, think about it a lot; When adults are physically present Scouts are looking for approval – not leading. Start observing how this happens and change the way you do things; I’d be interested to hear the results!
  45. 7 points
    As for PR, I know many of the people on this board has seen it, but perhaps many of you haven't. This is from Scout South Africa, and this is that kind of advertising that the BSA needs.
  46. 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...
  47. 7 points
    A lot lot lot of focus on Cubs. Looking on my council website; picture of a Cub, Lots of Cub Training, Lot of Spook-o-ree stuff. When they put in Tiger Cubs in 82, a good number of us thought that was a bit much. As many have noted, Cubs is less a fun program and more of a slog. We have had many boys over the years that bailed on Cubs / Webelos but came into Scouts. They were just tired of the same thing over and over. Input also is that 5th graders are not really into the family camping, they want to build fires and tell crude jokes The BSA's strength and distinction in the market place is the Outdoor Focus. If a unit does this, they will recruit and retain Scouts. The STEM stuff, Schools do it better. Duty to God, the Church youth groups likely has the better program. Leadership and independent thinking, learning life skills outdoors, yeah, THAT is what we do and what we SHOULD be focusing on. National is doing it's level best to limit the risk and activities, but many units plunge ahead. They have also WAAAAY over sold the Eagle rank. Yes it is good and yes it is a long term project, but that is not WHY we are running units, that is not the reason. Ranks advancement is a by product of good program, not the reason for it.
  48. 7 points
    Here's my take on why. Back in the 60s most organizations were very top down. The Japanese took advantage of it using an American's idea, and started making better quality cars and electronics. They were hungry and more amenable to trying something new, like a more bottom up problem solving culture. The US auto industry eventually caught up. The BSA, however, hasn't. They haven't been hungry because there were always people around to make donations. Case in point: the failed idea that one can get eagle without camping. They had to bring Hillcourt out of retirement to fix that mess. There are no more Hillcourts. Scouting is still a good idea. It's the BSA that needs fixing. They have not adapted to anything other than push eagle and push membership, which is really just about money. While there are challenges there will always be kids that enjoy camping with their friends and parents that want them to learn responsibility.
  49. 7 points
    If you like good news, I have some to report. The patrols in our unit are much stronger now. I nudged a little, and the SM and ASMs were quite open to the changes. There was a reforming of the patrols along the lines of natural gangs I spoke of in my original post. The patrol with the older boys chose to keep their old patrol name. The patrol of younger guys created a new patrol with its own new identity. There is now no question who is in what patrol. No more going to the list at the back of the room to check. There is now a patrol meeting during each troop meeting. These are not very productive, perhaps, but the patrols meet separately during the troop meeting. We held a pioneering event with a competition, and the two patrols were 'against' each other. They used to create ad hoc teams for that. When planning for outings, each patrol does meal planning and tent arrangements separately. This used to be done as a troop. On Troop outings, the patrols are next to each other but separate. They used to be all mixed where-ever. The younger Scout patrol has met twice outside of troop events; once a service project, once to design a flag. Plus they have a patrol hike coming up. Its far from done. For instance, the other patrol has not yet had a patrol gathering outside a troop meeting or troop outing. Its too early to tell if this will help with the aims of Scouting, or if the boys are happier, or if its made anything easier. In fact it seems a little more work. But certainly the younger patrol fellows are more engaged in their own Scout destiny. As far as Scout-led, I don't know, there is still some adults taking over the meeting, and one of them was me. But there is less of adults planning for the Scouts outings. I think we're on the right path.
  50. 7 points
    I wanted to share some success from this weekend. Since I joined two years-ish ago, I have been trying to effect a change in our troop to move towards the Patrol Method. I was accompanied by a very experienced ASM who joined in the spring. Together we've been talking to the SM about the Patrol Method, tag teaming him in small ways with encouragement etc that makes the SM more inclined to think Patrol Method. Stuff he already knows, but hasn't been doing. He and the "Wanna-Be-SM" have been making excuses about why they aren't doing the Patrol Method. Really stupid excuses like "but you know they won't do it" and other things. Yah, they won't do X when they know you will do it. Or the scouts tried to do X and then SM/Wanna-Be-SM barge in and take everything over, brushing anything the scouts have done out of the way. So this weekend the SM saw me talking with the new SPL. I was explaining basic Patrol Method stuff. I had his ear driving to the campsite too, along with the acting ASPL. The SM supported it for the first time I've ever seen. The wanna-be-SM also saw how the wind was blowing and stood back more than normal. It's a step in the right direction. Us adults talked Patrol Method at several points in the day. We started mentoring the scout leadership group (SPLs & PLs) in things they needed to know in how to lead their troop/patrol. We pushed the scouts back to their troop leaders to find the answers they needed. We let them make mistakes and work through them for the most part. Can't get all the adults out of their habits in a single weekend. All in all, a very nice and good step in the right direction. I'm hoping to keep that progress and will continue to do what I can to encourage things to the right direction. My next major goal is having a PLC without extra adults in the room trying to run things. Haven't seen a PLC in all the time I've been in this troop.
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