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Eagledad last won the day on May 13

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  1. Looking back, our troop was successful on this part and I will give credit to "(Eagle is not supposed to be 'got', it is supposed to be earned)". Our program focused on the scout journey because we learned that each scout's individual vision is each scouts individual vision. And as a result, our program developed a reputation for boy run, fun, and adventure. Our troop averaged a new Eagle every 2.5 month at the average age of 16. That was the result of a fun program of adventure with a focus on Patrol Method, Not a focus on Eagle. The Eagle was just a by product of having fun. Usually 90% of our older scouts attended summer camp until they aged out. I used summer camp as point because older scouts don't in general like to repeat summer camp over and over. And, I know that "aged out" could suggest not continuing into to adult leadership, but it was a term of bragging for us because 95% of our Eagles were active youth in our troop until age 18. I think the BSA can try and make a go of it as some kind of outdoors program. But what made scouting a noble program was it's values (character). I don't feel the present management doesn't has the will to include values as even an equal benefit to outdoors, much less as the main objective. I heard the BSA Mission and Vision were recently changed. I will have to check that out. Still, I think there is some debate of what drove the long success of the program, values or adventure. For our program Values drove us to build a program of adventure that all the scouts would not only enjoy participating, but but growing as well. Barry
  2. In 1993, I was introduced by a friend to her friend, the regional gay activist. In a brief discussion about the BSA, he said they were taking down the organization because of it's moral ideals that are contrary to the modern culture. I thought the guy was nuts at the time. Now, I understand. I feel sorry for the future families who will miss out on the scouting program that my dad, my sons and I got to experience. While is was a values program, it didn't have any foothold in the political nature. Activism has changed that. I'm feeling especially sorry for the more liberal families that would enjoy even today's program because I can see that Scouting is becoming more projected as a conservative program. In this political climate, I'm am not sure that scouting can ever appeal as a non political program ever again. Barry
  3. So true. The mother of a 14 year old scout told me that her 17 year old son went on a high school field outing and the forecast was lots of rain. The 17 year old went and asked the 14 year old how to dress for the outing. The 14 year old couldn't figure out the big deal. National may now be forced to do that very thing. I might be interested in getting my grandkids into that program. Barry
  4. That may be more profound that we realize. Our troop started out with heavy patrol boxes that required four scouts to carry from the trailer to the campsite. When we decided to become a dedicated backpacking troop (meaning carry all gear into camp with personal packs), we decided to make the switch over 6 month period. We thought the scouts would have a hard time getting away from the patrol boxes. Boy were we wrong. None of the six patrols took a patrol box ever again after the decision was made. We became an instant back packing troop, well except for the adults. Patrol Boxes were "work" in just about every aspect of the word. Camping out of the back pack was fun because it was basic. Patrols liked backpacking so long as they were moving to new camps. But, the dreaded hiking without gear (5 mile hike) or coming back to the same camp with gear as we often did for shake downs was not considered fun. Camping is fun if it isn't work. But only the scouts could define what is and isn't work. Barry
  5. I agree. I polled our older scouts (14 and older) at the height of our troop program as to why they liked our troop, less than 25% said it was for the activities side of the program. First on their list was hanging out with their friends. I believe there was more to that because what would make our program more attractive than other Troops if it were really only about hanging out with friends. At the time, we had more age 14 and older scouts than any other troop or Venturing program unit in the council. But that is still a pretty awakening statistic. Barry
  6. Sadly, this is basically the model of the majority troops. I call them 1st Class troops because they do is 1st Class requirements type of program. The older scouts get bored because after surviving 3 years of following a 1st class type program, they are expected to repeat their experience as the leaders of the same program designed for the younger scouts. It's is what many adults call a babysitting program. Ironically, it's the program they made and support, but don't understand how limits scout maturity. A troop that focuses on activities that challenges all levels of maturity and experiences are the programs where older scouts enjoy mentoring younger scouts while still enjoying challenging mature activities. Barry
  7. This used to be the expectation of Explorers before it was pushed as Troop older scout program. I know my scuba Explorers was very much a higher maturity experience. I grew up a lot in that program. I think what has to change is first get rid of the Troop Venture Patrol program and then bring back Explorers in the context of specific sponsors who associate to the specific theme like Law Enforcement, Rescue, Emergency care, Aviation and so forth. Leave the general outdoor adventure activities like backpacking and canoeing to the Venturing program for troop programs. Barry
  8. I kind of like that idea. A large group of adults (50/50 men and women) become scouters for their own personal adventure. Right or wrong, there are A LOT of them. Wood Badge was a natural temptation for these adults because it was an adult oriented honor society that doesn't fit with the unit level volunteerism. But, as a volunteer corp with the prestige of outdoors expertise with the actions of selfless noble service, it might have an attraction for adults that would keep them out of the scouts way. Hmm, thinking, thinking. Barry
  9. Hmm, Actually my comments were more towards the older scouts attitude of babysitting, but I do also believe advancement or Eagle heavy programs also drive a lot of older scouts out. I found that most Eagle heavy type programs have an average older scout age of 14. Now I can't say how girl troops fit with my observations of boys, there are a lot of unknown variables there including that girls are different than boys. But I can say that less than 5 percent of the scouts in my troop were specifically in it for the Eagle. And, if the Eagle was the primary motivation, they eventually left for another troop. That being said, we averaged one Eagle every 2.5 months. You might find it interesting that 3 out of 4 new Venturing Crews are started by Troop leaders who need a program to keep their older scouts. AND, 3 out of 5 of Venturing crews close up shop just after 3.5 years. The crews that last the longest typically have no affiliation with a troop. Crews affiliated with troops that are successful typically require the Venturing age scouts stay involved at the troop level. That included the Venturing girls even before girls were accepted into troops. That Scouts stay in the programs mainly for the fun is really a myth. Scouts typically stay in their unit because of the way program they feel about themselves as a scout. Sure, the fun factor has a lot of drive in the beginning, but let's face it, after 30 camp outs, can number 31 really be the driver to come to next weeks meeting. The feeling of how they like themselves in the troop typically comes from the accomplishments of responsibility (character growth), not adventure or advancement. Responsibility in the troop typically includes some aspect of role modeling to other scouts. Camping and advancement are just tools for building character, they are not the goals of the program. Barry
  10. My apologies, I wasn't trying to be personal, I meant to talk in generalities for the many different readers of the posts. Ah! You just made it personal. And I can say with confidence that any unit where babysitting is a word to describe their program, THEY ARE DOING IT WRONG. And please, I'm not saying I know your program, but I worked with a lot of units where they started with this attitude and I helped them to see where the program needed to change. Babysitting is an attitude generated by adults, not youth. Every unit has the same basic parents, so how do some units get past a program where they believe older scouts don't want to hang around younger scouts because the All Mighty Eagle is the main thing. Well, in short, the adult leaders learn focus less on scout out comes and more on turning responsibility into fun actions for all the scouts. We older scouters call it, youth run and patrol method. Knowledge and expertise often appears as arrogance to those with limited experience. Where the two meet is through humility. You can trust that I don't usually show such confidence in areas of scouting where I have limited experience, such as managing a Venturing unit. But I have a great deal of knowledge in how scouts of the troop are motivated and discouraged in the troop program. My knowledge wasn't developed just from my successes, but my many failures as well. So, while the program moves forward (forward?) from today's challenges, I will still be here to posts on the bigger picture of building leaders of integrity and citizens of character. Because that goal doesn't change with time. Barry
  11. Who is babysitting who! Doesn't matter, if babysitting is a word being used in your unit, they they are doing it wrong. And why would girls leave venturing for troops? If the boys are leaving because of babysitting, what is the attraction for girls? The unit leaders are doing it wrong. Chuckhardt has never hid his Troop's purpose of earning Eagles, but I know from experience that once the shininess of the Eagle wears off, the program better have something else. That something else is where the BSA will live or die in the future. Our troop when I was an active leader had the largest group of scouts 14 and older in the council. We were approached several times by council to start a Venturing Crew, but that didn't make sense to us. If our troop was so successful without venturing, why risk dividing up the program. Our formula for success was adventure. Besides our fun monthly camp outs, our troop averaged 6 High Adventure Outtings a year. And there were no age requirements or limitations. If an 11 year old was mentally and physically capable, they were welcome to the crew. That's not to say we didn't have Eagles, our troop averaged an Eagle every 2.5 months. But advancement was the scout's responsibility. The secret to our scouts earning Eagles was keeping them around until they were 18. The average age our scouts passed their EBOR was 16.5 years old. If a scout hangs around long enough, they trip over the Eagle. We had a program were scouts wanted to come and hang out. It was program where young adults were respected as young adults and they like that.
  12. It might be good press, but it also shows how Boy Scouts is viewed more as a youth after school program instead of a Community Service organization. We saw the same thing here in Oklahoma City recently after a tornado tore up the south part of town. Our council, which is accustom to organizing assistance was told to stay out by FEMA. I'm told it's a litigation issue. Scouts are still allowed to help in smaller towns, but it's a challenge in the bigger city. There are still ways the scouts can help, but it wasn't that long ago that we were considered an integral part in the community disaster relief. Beary
  13. Goodness I've tried. I brought up discussions in my leaders courses and even created a council leaders course specifically on the subject of giving scouts the trust to screw up because they develop character from the decisions. A couple of adults come back and tell me stories of how they changed their program from the course, but in general I found the loud crickets in the background. I believe our parental instinct to protect our kids is greater than the wisdom of letting youth learn by their own efforts. The reason that scouting carries on with adults who have a youth scouting experience isn't so much those adults value the growth from making independent decisions, they are simply doing the easy thing of continuing the scouting experience of their youth. That certainly was the case for me. I do believe if National took and interest of showing the relationship between giving scouts independence to make decisions and the resulting growth, more adults would take interest. But, in these times of adding more adult participation for youth protection, I don't see that happening. In fact, the membership changes over last few years are bringing in even more adults without a youth scouting experience, which is making the problem more complex. Eventually this program will become saturated enough with adults who have a youth scouting experience to carry tradition forward, but what kind of program did they experience. I'm confident it won't be much like the traditional program that my dad, me and my son's experienced. Is it a program that my son's will want for my grand kids? Barry
  14. Something has to be said, the challenge is who is going to say it. Barry
  15. I came from the 70's so I didn't see the effects of the changes. For me, the first obvious sign of the end was the creation of the New Scout Patrols. What appears small created a ripple effect that forced adults to become more intrusive in just about all the personal decisions scouts made in planning their activities. The intrusiveness was doubled down with the implementation of the First Class in First Year program. Equally, if not greater, to the negative program effects from the New Scout Patrols was the unforeseen effects of a degrading Patrol Method concept after National changed the adult membership to include female troop leaders. The program killer had nothing do with gender, but instead the issue was experience. Or more directly, lack of a youth scouting experience. The massive influx of inexperienced adults forced incomprehension into a program that at that time relied heavily on adult leaders with a youth scouting experience. Even National was shocked at the sudden trend away from a boy lead program. They attempted to bring some balance with all new training syllabuses in 2000, but evidence shows that nothing replaces experience for continuing the concept of giving youth independence for making bad decisions with the intention of developing good character? Barry
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