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HICO_Eagle last won the day on December 12 2015

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About HICO_Eagle

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  1. Just what do you think they need? Not want, NEED; these are not synonymous. The answers being delivered up are observations that some of us think they need. One of the reasons so many of us think traditional training and organizational structure are the answer is because they worked. Do you honestly think families today are more broken than families in the 1920s and 30s? Scouting got its reputation because it provided not just outdoor skills but genuine leadership training, the ability to plan and deal with the unexpected, etc. The growth of companies like REI, EMS, etc. tells us the modern family is actually interested in the outdoors. Don't you think it would behoove Scouting to really teach outdoor skills? Employers want employees that can think, learn, plan, teach, improvise, etc. All of these were skills that Scouting used to teach. The Patrol Method was a proven method for developing leadership skills which is why a few here keep harping on returning to using it. No, it's not a matter of just wanting things the way they were. It's a matter of realizing that the program did certain things that worked and that catering to contemporary trends has not. This is very much like the difference between the Air Force and the Marine Corps in the 90s and 00s -- the Air Force keeps reinventing itself every decade or so and then wonders why it lost direction. The Marines modernized but kept their identity and core principles (until relatively recently anyway). People knew what Marines were, what they represented, and were shocked when a Marine wasn't what they thought (for good or bad). There's adaptation (the Marines adopted and embraced IT superiority among other things) and being so flexible and adaptable that you have no structure. All the "adaptation" that the BSA has done in the past 3 decades has only weakened it -- and done so at a time when it should have blossomed due to the increase in interest in camping, hiking, and general outdoor activities. Now, I don't believe it's all BSA National's fault because at the same time there has been a concerted effort by various forces who despise American culture and heritage to tear down the pillars of American society. IMO, a great deal of the lawsuit (as well as some of the internal change from National) is driven more by a desire to tear down Scouting as one such pillar than to protect youth today or right past wrongs. As such, no settlement will ever satisfy those forces (IMO) and the bankruptcy will not (IMO) be the end of this. The COs will be the next target no matter what because they represent another pillar of society. The only way to respond to this kind of attack would have been to counter-attack it but Robert Gates and company rolled over and even abetted the attacks.
  2. Agreed. A lot of us predicted overall loss of membership due to parent burnout when Tigers were announced. One of the points I tried to make at bridging ceremonies was that we were maturing the boys and while we wanted parent participation, they shouldn't feel they needed to be at every activity or every meeting. I would close with a recollection that in my time as a Scout, some of the best campouts and hikes were ones where the parents were as far away as possible (usually got a laugh). Okay, I don't regard patches and t-shirts as "bling" -- they're simply recognition and souvenirs of certain events. I did wear a Philmont or commemorative belt buckles on my uniform but I tried to avoid the "look at me" stuff. You either have the skills or you don't and you don't need to put fancy stuff on to demonstrate the skills. My general rule was to recognize adult awards during announcements at general meetings but the COH was all about the Scouts. I care what BSA thought in the 1970s because the culture was different. IMO they did NOT routinely manipulate data then the way they do now, they did NOT screw around with the program to feed some adult's ego at National. I applaud the fact that you've learned and developed skills to match your peers but you do come off at times like you've got a chip on your shoulder about being "a girl." The fact of the matter is that National changed the training programs -- including Wood Badge -- and made them replicate training that earlier generations of leaders would have gotten simply by virtue of having been a Scout (or a Marine or in the Army or ...). The need for that kind of fundamental training came about as a result of demographics and a lot THAT came from increased involvement by mothers and others. That itself was and is a good thing but IMO it should have been addressed with a fundamentals course, not watering down WB so that more people felt "included". Of course, that "inclusion" factor itself seems to have arisen from the cliques that arose and that clique-ish attitude (when/where it arose) should have been beat down from the top. It's somewhat natural human behavior but it just never made sense because there will always be people with advanced outdoor and Scoutcraft skills that haven't taken WB. Wearing beads doesn't make you superior. I don't recall ever encountering this clique-ish attitude myself but I tended to concentrate on activities at the unit level and I think it was pretty clear that I wasn't paying attention to "bling" when I dealt with other units or with district/council. I would disagree that BSA has relied too much on leaders showing up with prior experience. The development of courses like Scoutmaster Fundamentals in the 90s and devolution of Wood Badge are symptoms of this. Also, I don't know what has happened since I retired from the program 4 years ago but we never used to have to encourage experienced Scouters to share knowledge. It was usually more of a problem letting them know when you had to move on. I got a lot simply by talking with other Scoutmasters over morning coffee before flags at summer camp. The older Scouters were usually eager to share their experience and knowledge. The move to online orientation was a response to contemporary culture where parents and other volunteers wanted to be able to get the rote stuff on their own time at home. I for one appreciated that but perhaps they took it too far? Getting adults to like Roundtable has always been a challenge. I think the problem is that simply going through announcements, providing program information, etc. takes up a good portion of the time and a lot of the adults want to get home, have dinner, etc. I liked the introduction of University of Scouting even though the title was a little pretentious because it was a way to pass on beginning, intermediate, and advanced knowledge. It's really hard to do a worthwhile class on anything in 15 minutes -- having 45 minutes gives you enough time to really get into things. I didn't have to be part of the WB clique for UOS, I was simply asked by the organizers to conduct or supplement various classes based on what they knew I knew (to be fair, our council's WB crew wasn't really cliqueish -- I think they wanted me to join them but of course I'd have had to go through the program and earn beads to be an instructor and I just didn't see a lot of value in that). I think if BSA looked at training as a big picture, you'd break out overall training into beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels with clear tests to let some graduate (or immediately move) to the appropriate level. Beginning level would basically give the adult First Class skills (or what used to be First Class skills) plus the necessary adult adds of youth protection, how the troop works with district and council, etc. Intermediate would build on those skills, and advanced would build even further. Put WB in the intermediate level and have an advanced outdoors course so you can do the bead thing and unit improvement or just have intermediate courses focusing on unit improvement and make WB the advanced course. Filling Scouting magazine with "how to" articles is an excellent idea.
  3. Um, no. Yes, Scouting has a lot of bling but no, it's NOT part of "the culture" -- or wasn't IMO. There are always people who want to show off but elements like knots instead of letting adults wear the Eagle badge itself were an effort to tone down the bling. Skill award belt loops weren't so much bling as a display of credentials. For the most part, the only things I put on my uniform as an adult were the Eagle and AOL knots and the Trained badge -- and those were just to show my experience and credentials. Anyone who knew me already knew my background and experience and those who didn't know me were free to make up their own minds about me based on my demonstrated behaviors. As far as the case cited about a beading ceremony at a COH putting off Scouts and parents, I quite understand. IMO that's just showing off for the adults in question. It's a youth program. The adults can show off for their peers at Roundtable or something else. One of the reasons I spent most of my time at the unit level was that I had little patience for the games and politics played by adults at the district and council level. I only got involved at those levels when requested and only when it appeared I could have an impact for even more youth (e.g., organizing district camporees or assisting with the shooting sports committee).
  4. I used to have the opposite issue with medications roughly 25 years ago. This was a period when it seemed boys who didn't act like docile little lambs were diagnosed with ADHD and Ritalin was handed out like M&Ms (from what I could see). In the 2 or 3 cases I can recall, I think the parents tried to be "buddies" with their sons rather than invoke any kind of discipline. In contrast, I made it pretty clear with the boys as both ASM and SM that having fun was great, jokes were fine as long as they didn't result in injuries or property damage, but that I wasn't going to put up with misbehaviors including safety hazards, distractions during summer camp classes, etc. In the cases I'm thinking of, the boys did have some degree of autism but they'd go to summer camp or a weekend camp and return home without having taken their medications or having only taken 1 or 2 doses. The parents inquired about their sons' behavior and I would tell them we didn't have any problems. Never heard about it again. In another case, we had a boy who definitely had some autism issues and would frequently wander off on his own, to the point that it was becoming a safety issue. His youngest brother also had issues early on with lashing out blindly, including cases that were safety issues. The SM and I had talks with the Troop Committee and then their parents about the situations, generally saying that it was just a warning that if things didn't change, the parents would need to accompany the boy(s) on outings or provide another chaperone because it just wasn't fair to the other boys if 1 of the 2 of us was having to spend the entire time 1-on-1 with a single boy to watch for these incidents. The parents were very understanding -- to some extent, I think they viewed the outings as a bit of a break for them because watching their boys could be very tiring -- but both boys eventually grew out of these behaviors and made it to Eagle. My point is that there are cases where medications and counseling are definitely needed but we should also be very careful about contemporary society's desire for docile sheep and tendency to treat everything with pharmaceuticals. I had a number of Scouts make Eagle (or not!) who had much better Scout skills, ability to plan and lead, etc. than the latter two examples I cited but I can't think of any Scouts I led or encountered who had more personal growth on their journey through Scouting.
  5. TL;DR The value of Wood Badge varies based on your background and experience, primarily with leadership/management skills and techniques but also with Scoutcraft and the Patrol Method Before I retired from Scouting, I saw a vast change in the adults involved in the program. When I first became a Scouter (after graduation from college, commissioning in the USAF, and completing initial job training), most of the adults I saw had prior experience with Scouting (in many cases, LONG prior experience as Scouts and Scouters). By the time I left, I would say over half the adults involved had little (only as Cubs) to no experience with Scouting. Many had no real experience with leadership or management although many had good organizational skills. When I first jumped in as a new Scouter as the troop's Advancement Chair, I had very little information on the function. I ran it as I perceived advancement worked as a Scout (about 5.5 years, Scout to Eagle) but I functioned more as an ASM because of my background and the troop's needs. When we got another adult with no Scouting background, I transitioned to ASM and then to SM at the TC's request when the SM left abruptly. I continued as SM until I orders compelled me to move, at which point I found another troop and resumed as ASM again. I continued as an ASM at 2 other troops on other military moves until I returned to the city and council where I had started my adult Scouting. At this point, I actually chose my home based on proximity to my old troop and got involved with it again as an ASM. I took Scoutmaster Fundamentals midway through the moves after roughly 8 years as an ASM or SM and found it to be essentially a quick run through a Scout's journey to First Class with some additional information on resources available to the SM/ASM. By the time I was induced to go to Wood Badge, I had 3 years as a Cub, 5.5 as a Scout, about 15 as a Scouter, not to mention my active duty service. I had been actively involved with Roundtables and even worked with Council as a member of the Shooting Sports Committee and helping with Camporees/University of Scouting courses (as an instructor) so I already had a good understanding of the Council's structure and personalities as well as the leaders at other troops. I asked for a syllabus and discussed it with instructors but could never find any additional value added. A number of the instructors already knew me from Wood Badge and other activities and knew my background. When I asked what they thought I would get from it, the only things I could get from them were 1) the right to wear "beads" and 2) my contribution to help others in their classes. Not one of them could come up with any personal growth or extended contacts I might get from the classes. In my opinion, demanding that someone with my background take Wood Badge was as silly as National demanding an Eagle Scout with 3 years working as an ASM to take IOLS. On the other hand, much of the training would be valuable for the many parents who had little to no experience with Scouting. I would have preferred it have the structure of decades past where SMF taught fundamentals of leadership, Scoutcraft, and Patrol Method and WB was more of an advanced course -- but very very few Scouters had my kind of background. In today's parlance, "it wasn't meant for you."
  6. FWIW, I fully supported and encouraged troop shopping when I was still Scouting. I told prospective new parents that each unit had its own persona and style and that different boys would fit in with different units. IMO, it shouldn't set up an "Us vs. Them" mentality if the troops are participating in Roundtables -- the goal is to get the boys (and now girls) situated in an environment that best develops their skills and meets their needs to be productive members of society with a healthy appreciation for the values and heritage that Scouting brings (or used to). In addition, I very much disagree with the idea that there are no "bad kids". I've seen far too many of them. In some cases, you could lay the behavior down to bad parenting but in other cases it seemed the parents were exemplary and the boys just flat out had personality problems. One I'm ashamed to say made it to Eagle, I suspect mainly because his parents had given SO much to the program (and I think they did so because they were hoping the program would help iron out his problems, not because they expected any quid pro quo).
  7. To some extent, I think a lot of this has been part of a long game to destroy the pillars of Western society and that while the aim of individual lawyers may have been money (for them or for the victims), the ultimate and primary aim of a growing segment of activists for decades has been to tear down "the Church", the BSA, the military, the police, etc. Tearing down the organizations does nothing positive for the current and future generations who could have benefited from the programs and teaching. All it does is leave a vacuum that various nefarious powers are just drooling to fill (and already has been filling in the mainstream media, public education, academia, etc.).
  8. @Oldscout448 I don't blame you. I agonized over my decision to retire from Scouting. Nowhere near 50 years -- about 26 years as an adult Scouter, 5 as a Scout, 3 as a Cub -- although I would have liked to have ended the way the SMs I admired did, going to the grave with a Scout uniform. I told my fellow members on the Shooting Sports Committee that I'd help them with anything that didn't involve registering or sending money to National again (and I have). It just got to the point where I no longer trusted National. Robert Gates and his successors have been an abomination. I won't bother going into all the gripes here but I'd have quit over the new background check policy too. I seem to remember telling one of the past SEs, "I have to go through pretty extensive background check every 5 years -- why doesn't Scouting save itself some money by accepting that in lieu of doing their own?" Of course, I got no answer. BTW, excellent quote from a classic piece of literature. 😁
  9. I don't know why people are so amazed by things like this. Some people -- even kids -- can do a great job organizing things they want to do when they figure out no one else will do it for them. The pandemic gave them the opportunity -- what the TC needs to do is take advantage of it as an example of the patrol method for the other patrols and support the boys. Bravo Zulu for those boys. The troop I grew up in was so small we nicknamed it "the Fun Patrol" -- yeah, the whole troop was basically a large patrol. All our parents were busy so we had no choice but to organize everything ourselves. You learn by doing.
  10. @CynicalScouter Congratulations on the patrols that are being active and let the jaw-struck ASM know that this is how things are supposed to work. The senior patrol that isn't doing anything will either get embarrassed and pick things up or not -- if not, it may be the "fumes" that affect so many senior Scouts. I lost a lot of good Scouts to "fumes" over the years but that's not necessarily a bad thing either; not every Scout has to be an Eagle and there are other ways to be useful contributors to society than working on Scoutcraft.
  11. A lot depends on the SE. One of the former SEs in my former council kept bringing up an idea to sell property that had been specifically bequeathed to the council under condition it not be sold. If the council ever decides the property is too much to maintain, it reverts to the previous owner. Said SE also kept wanting to sell the land the current camp -- just 45-75 minutes from town) is on (prime real estate!) and replace it by buying land about 3-4 hours further west. It's hard enough to get units to use the camp facilities outside summer camp -- add a 4 hour drive to that? No thank you! It always infuriated me that my units in Laurel, MD and Fairfax, VA had to go all the way to Goshen or file "out of council" to use closer camps.
  12. I'm talking about the cancel culture whiners who are really the ones spawning these kinds of proposals. Most of them aren't even in Scouting (then again, neither am I anymore) but most of the changes to Scouting that I observed before retiring were coming from outside or from new people who had no background. Something like changing the term "Scoutmaster" is absolutely symptomatic of outsiders making "suggestions" with an inadequate uninformed understanding of history, etymology, context, etc. Trying to accommodate these kinds of people is what I consider inappropriate and unproductive. Give them an inch and they'll demand a mile -- they most definitely ARE immature and all we've done over the decades in trying to accommodate them is hamper the movement and endanger the youth. I have no problem calling those kinds of activists "whiners". A Scout is Honest -- and I'd rather be Kind to the youth than the activists.
  13. Instead of submitting to cancel culture by changing titles, why not take it as an opportunity to teach them proper English and etymology? I fear there are more educated idiots per capita these days than any time in human history. People with degrees that still can't seem to construct a logical line of reasoning, who don't want to let facts or history get in the way of how they feel about something. If we change these titles today, how are these same people (or, God forbid, their children) react when reading Dickens or Doyle when they reference the schoolmaster or headmaster? Oh no, we'll have to record a new audio track for "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" ... guess we'll have to change the old saw, "jack of all trades, _____ of none". IMO, it's long since time to tell the whiners to grow up.
  14. I would say "produced" fits right in with how National views rank these days. The program seems far more focused on rank advancement and getting merit badges versus learning and doing than it was some years ago. In some ways, it's good for the boys, their path to advancement is a lot clearer and seems pretty structured. On the other hand, the requirements in merit badges seems a lot looser -- more of an orientation than a learning level of exposure - and the program is more of a mill than an institution for teaching and molding youth. A lot of the new Eagles are great boys and I'm proud to welcome them to the ranks. A lot of the new Eagles ... well, okay ...
  15. After decades of military training and leadership as well as unit-level adult Scouter leadership, the first thing I do when encountering quotes from business school "leadership experts" is skip to something more productive like a toenail fungus commercial . Between another "leadership manifesto" and week-old fish, I'll take the week-old fish (preferably quadruple-wrapped in plastic) because I can at least bait crab traps with the fish (I'd take the manifesto if I had a bird cage but I don't). I don't blame the new Wood Badge program for everything but from what I've seen on the periphery, it has as much value as an essay from Karl Marx on capitalism's virtues. In our council, WB hasn't been some super-elite society -- at least, it didn't stop them from asking me to teach at University of Scouting, participate on council-level committees, or providing advice to the SE on restructuring some of the program. The curriculum I saw led me to believe WB had as much value for me as IOLS would have after 3 decades of camping and leading in Scouts at multiple levels. I don't pretend to know-it-all and eagerly take classes that will extend my knowledge or understanding but I'm just not enthused about wasting 2 weekends or 2 days or 2 hours of my life on something whose major benefit seemed to be to make me "more eligible for a Silver Beaver nomination". I joined Scouting as an adult for the kids, not for me. In my experience, it was taught by getting the kids to do things. We had mixed age patrols so older Scouts instructed the younger Scouts and younger Scouts observed the older Scouts. In some key activities, adults might review the Scout plans for adequacy (less likely after Scouts had proven themselves) and offer constructive critiques but it was up to the Scouts to plan the campouts or activities, do the leg work, organize menus and transportation and budget, etc. Adults met in committee but I couldn't tell you much of what they did beyond drive the vehicles, buy the camp fuel or propane, and file the paperwork (when I was a Scout). When I first got involved as an adult, it was much of the same except we did some of the legwork for the Scouts in terms of researching costs and facilities for activities. The boys who were Scouts while I was an ASM and SM learned to lead by DOing. They followed and they led and they learned along the way. Most boys (and girls) aren't stupid -- they can see who gets things done and they'll even watch to see HOW they get things done if they know there won't be any crutches.
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