Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


MattR last won the day on May 15

MattR had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

1452 Excellent

1 Follower

About MattR

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Interests
    Scouts. Why else would I be here.
  • Biography
    Born and raised. Now old.

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Thanks for sharing. Good news is always welcome.
  2. I was surprised at how accurate it was. I had nearly identical conversations with scouts. I really respected the reality when the SM got a bit grumpy with the new scout because of something that happened with an old scout and he eventually got over it. Whoever made that film had experience with a troop.
  3. GUESS WHAT, EVERYONE? IT"S TIME TO LOCK THIS THREAD AGAIN! It's hard to type while holding down the shift key so please just assume I'm shouting at you. I'm not really shouting but, for the following people: @HashTagScouts, @MikeS72, @desertrat77, @Eagledad, @Mrjeff, @Jameson76, @BAJ ( @SSScout and @TAHAWK get a pass for trying to make light of it), and everyone else that is complaining about parents complaining about how unfair this virus is to our children. I'm fairly sure that there's another thread for that. Go find it and post there. This thread is supposed to be about chapter 11 and all the lawyer stuff. Well, that and I don't want to split this thread apart again. Just let the whiny parents go, please? But you know, @David CO has a point. 100,000 people have died, a lot more will, and 40million people are newly unemployed. Everyone is struggling. It's time for our better angels to come out. I will unlock this thread as soon as it seems like those that want to post have figured out that won't work. And for those that do post about non legalistic stuff, I'll just hide your post as that's easy.
  4. There are several threads going about how to deal with all of the problems but I wanted to focus on just one thing - money. Or more accurately, why and how to do scouts with little money. Not just belt tightening but cutting the budget by a lot. I have two assumptions. First, scouts for the most part don't really care about eagle or any other skill they might gain from being in the program. Their parents might but that can be more of a negative if the kid doesn't like camping. Scouts like to advance but I don't think it's as important as having fun with their friends. Back in the 60's, at the supposed height of scouting, how many scouts actually completed Eagle compared to today? I can answer that. In 1960 there were 21k eagle ranks awarded and last year there were 61k. Few people cared for eagle back then so why is it such a big deal now? Who is driving that focus and what is it taking away from? Second, what scouts will gain from the program, and it's quite a bit, is not the rank. What scouts learn is not a STEM skill like programming, science or engineering. It's not even a sport that can, many parents believe, be traded for a college education. It's a lot of soft skills like learning how to fail the right way and how to make decisions in a group. It's even how to just take a day off and, as one scout told me, get away from the usual high school drama. Anyway, not many parents are going to pay for it and I can't blame them. There are other ways to gain these skills. This is the crux of the BSA's problem. Their program and budget depends on selling a lot of something that not enough people want. What they're really good at nobody knows about and wouldn't bring in the income they need to stay afloat anyway. Consequently they have been in this downward spiral of spending more time and resources failing to increase membership and donations for something that is not their core product. They say scouts want bigger adventure so they pour money into Summit. They say scouts want to get Eagle so they push for FCFY and insta-palms. They say scouts want hi tech uniforms so they charge a lot of money for that. They say eagle is so important that there's a constant push to crank out eagles even though that's not what scouts really want. Councils are doing the same thing with climbing walls, zip lines and robot classes at summer camp. It's unsustainable and the covid/bankruptcy just sped things up. The only sustainable option that I see is to focus on what the scouts want and keep it cheap enough such that any kid can participate without causing a financial burden. Scouts want to have fun with their friends in the outdoors. The BSA can't compare scouting to premier sports clubs. They have to compare it to 4H (which only has costs for the projects). So what does it take to reduce the cost of scouting down to, say, gear, food and $50-$100 per year to cover trips? No FOS. No council or national fees. No $30/camporee fees. No merit badge fairs. No more dining halls. No donations. No council profits on every event they organize. And the scouts still have a fun time. If they really crank down the costs and include all kids then they can probably write grants for helping out. Donations are welcome but there is no drive for it. The down side? We might not get a DE? I doubt if anyone at council will ever answer a phone call again. When parents are really upset with the SM they might just have to walk away or find another troop. Camps are going to be rustic and few. I'm not sure about how maintenance will be done at camps. All scout shops will be replaced by an Amazon portal. The only thing I'd like to see improved is training for adults on how to run a troop in this environment and a system to support them if they ask for help. How to make fun calendars that the PL's own. How to incorporate advancement and skills as fun and not the goal. All the rest can get scaled down and I'd be fine with it.
  5. I always chuckle with the "emphasis" flags. Anyway, no prejudice taken. In fact, it brings up a good point. First, a very quick history of the first and second temples, their destruction and the creation of Rabbinic Judaism. The Holy of Holies was literally the inner sanctum (and the source of that term) of the temple where only the highest of the priests could go and only once a year and only after days of purifying one's mind. The destruction of the second temple, much like the first, was supposed to end Judaism by preventing Jews from doing their thing. And the Holy of Holies was certainly a part of that. Instead, the rabbis just decided to do without the temple. My impression is that they weren't getting along with the priests at that time so it wasn't that hard to do. Animal sacrifice was replaced by prayer. The inner sanctum, at least in my view, is still embedded in the culture. Originally it represented the pure essence of God and what one had to do before even thinking about God. (There's a Hebrew word, kavanah, that encompasses this.) So, you could say that the inner sanctum was a sacred cow. It turns out it wasn't as critical as everyone thought. But, back to sacred cows in the BSA. Who are the high priests of the BSA and who is going to replace them? Rather than talk about what can be thrown out, looking at what is the inner sanctum of scouting, or what we want to keep rather than what we want to throw out, might be useful. I could do without Eagle, as it stands now. It gets in the way of more than anything else. Looking at it as a method to achieve a goal would make it a much stronger component. OA, at it's essence of being the keeper of the flame, is a fantastic idea but it has its own baggage that needs to be removed. Maybe some version of the OA could be the replacement of the "high priests?" Wood badge should be replaced. In fact, all training and all requirements need to be looked over. The idea of check boxes is bad. The idea of scouts deciding what they want to do is good. Merit badges, as they stand, provide little and yet could provide a lot. I know very little about Sea Scouts but the idea that one has to lead a group on a sailing trip to advance sounds great to me. It's just like the old First Class requirement of leading your patrol on a campout. Things a bit further afield: One idea of CO's is that it legally separates the BSA from units. Given what's going on in the courts, I think that idea can be thrown out. Either go all in and require something from the CO or just let it go. The DRP is a convoluted mess that was written by a committee that didn't have a single view. Either chuck it or fix it. Replace JTE. Simplify the uniform. Shorten cub scouts.
  6. Talk to the scoutmaster? If I were the scoutmaster I'd ask the scout what he did for each requirement and, giving him the benefit, fill out a blue card saying the scout had completed those reqs if he sounded even close. Then I'd have the scout call another counselor to finish the badge.
  7. I think this is exactly what makes scouting unique and useful. This is where the magic occurs and where the focus should be. The challenge is keeping up the challenge for a range of abilities that change as scouts age. There's a big difference between what a 13 year old and a 16 year old can do. Pushing a program such that a 13 yo can complete eagle leaves nothing for a 16 yo.
  8. Wait. You mean there was no program silo? I guess making one is good news. This means nothing to me. This is just org chart stuff from my perspective. My question is how will my council be kept honest. If national is smaller along with regions and areas, then my council will have even less oversight. I'd like to say this is good but it just isn't. There is currently nothing to keep my council accountable to its customers. I don't see how this change improves anything.
  9. Several messages got me thinking, but here are 2 of them. I hope there's enough flexibility to get more input from the parents as to what they really want for their kids. To me, the current program seems tailored to a narrow slice of society: The BSA is targeting parents that were scouts in their youth, those that want to camp every month, and those that want to advance. But I can see other parents that just don't understand this program. A lot of parents want their kids to be responsible and able to take care of themselves, to solve their own problems and own their own decisions. Doing that with character should be the starting point. My guess is that would be interesting to at least half the parents I know of that aren't in scouting. And, if it were economical, a lot of parents that can't afford the current program. I believe scouting can do that if the definition of success is opened up. For example, why is it that a troop should go camping every month? Honestly, going on a hike twice in one month or doing a service project at a lake could be just as beneficial. Why the push for advancement? When scouts are young they want recognition but come 13 or 14 years old, it's no longer what keeps them around. So why does JTE push advancement? I would much rather start teaching scouts how to generate their own ideas and their own definition of success. Yes, I'd like to keep the outdoors central, but if a group of scouts wants to focus on environmental restoration, yoga on a mountain top or mastering white water kyaking, they should be encouraged to go for it. If they can't find the merit badges that excite them and instead they find a local science teacher that gets them interested in growing food in their gardens then let's drop the push for merit badges. While I certainly enjoyed pioneering merit badge as a youth, who is to say that we should still be doing these activities?
  10. In the phrase "game with a purpose" I like the outdoor fun aspect but I wonder what the purpose will be. That's the key for me.
  11. Good for them. Now, just call it a patrol based summer camp and they might just have a great new program model.
  12. 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.
  13. That has to change. What I mean is I agree with you that this is an important skill - letting scouts fail - but it would be immensely benefitial to find a way to teach this to adults. Any ideas? No fair saying it can't be done or that there will be problems. Those can be dealt with later.
  14. Please read the following thread as it explains why you're seeing the ads that you see and what little anyone can do about it. This thread is being locked so we can keep this discussion in one place. Thanks for your patience.
  • Create New...