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Posts posted by MattR

  1. 3 hours ago, swilliams said:

    My husband (who is now an ASM!) thinks it's because I was too far ahead of the curve: that no one quite realized just how long we were going to be without regular meetings.  Ok, perhaps.

    I agree with your husband. Also, the stress of this epidemic is hitting people differently. I think many parents are just pushing aside things that they don't see as critical and for some, that's scouts.

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  2. 4 hours ago, RememberSchiff said:

    He said the local council receives 39 percent of its annual income from this campaign,

    I wonder what a healthy percentage is. 39% just seems like a lot these days. Just my opinion but basic costs like staffing and camp upkeep should be covered by the customers - scouts. If it's too high a cost then it's time to cut costs rather than lean on families and the community to bring in more donations.

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  3. Welcome to the forum, @Joris. It's always nice to see a scout here. Extra credit for being from outside the US!

    What I see in that picture is a scout that likely just got back from a backpacking trip, complete with spoon in pocket and plenty of dirt. But that's me, I've been there before so I know what scouts do. At the same time, my father was born in Krefeld and immigrated to the US in 1939. As a child in the 60's I remember the bad feelings my dad had about Germany. In the late 80's there was a push in Germany to reconnect with Jews that had left before the Holocaust and my dad was invited to travel back to his old town. It was a really good thing for everyone. My dad finally had some closure and the students he talked to learned a great deal as well. Everyone had a chance to see each other as human first rather than some preconceived label.

    To answer your question, what people see depends on who they are and what they know. The clothing you wear can not change that. This is not an issue about what clothing to wear, it's about people's preconceived ideas. We have a very similar problem in that many in scouts think some people see our uniform as being militaristic. Many of our scouts think that others see the uniform as being goofy, or silly, or just something for nerds and geeks. Note that the problem is where people in scouts are worried about how others see the uniform. Think of the uniform as an ink-blot psychology test. It's a way to look into what people think. You can't change how others think by what you wear. However, you can change opinions by representing the best of what scouting is while wearing your uniform. Be helpful, friendly and cheerful while wearing your uniform and people will change their minds. Again, let people see you as human first and that will help break down their preconceived ideas.

    By the way, I wish our uniform was similar to yours. It's much simpler than ours and looks more useful in the outdoors.

  4. 2 hours ago, skeptic said:


    We can't. Ads are put on your page views based on your viewing history as well as whatever "related content" the search engine finds. The above ad contains a reference to "Boy Scout" and this is a forum related to Boy Scouts. Granted, it's ironic, but there's not much we can do. I suppose you could put your own ads on this forum (contact scouter-terry).

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  5. My council doesn't mention the virus on its website. However, if you read the state and county sites it's hard to imagine how they can operate a camp. Well, it would all be fine except for doing any events or eating.

    My guess is my council is desperate and have been doing a lot of rationalization.

    Seems to me there's an opportunity here for scouting. Ten people can do something together. That's a patrol and two adults. Think of the possibilities. This could be the most fun summer ever.


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    • Upvote 1
  6. 3 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

    We (my son and I) have Webelos resident camp the first week of June.  It will be kids/parents from all over the DFW metroplex.  Right now I am 95% leaning toward not going.  They are going to be doing temp checks and sitting 6 people to a table in the dining hall instead of 10.  🙄

    I hope the SM's with the stereotypical SM gut stay home. That's just one more underlying condition.

    BTW, what will they do if they find someone with a high temperature? By that point they've already been spreading the virus for 2 days.

  7. @Eagledad, those are some interesting views. Not bad, just different. I always thought the aims were the what and the methods were the how. So, there's no point in having what and how be the same thing. Unfortunately, I think the BSA thinks the aims are what the scouters are told and the methods are what the parents and scouts are told. The result is that there's a lot of not-on-the-same-page syndrome. Namely, the scouts don't understand the goals so there should be no surprise that many don't get it.

    I absolutely don't think advancement should be a goal of the program. Most problems I see with the program stem from the idea that advancement is the ultimate goal. As a method for giving patrols something to work on while they learn it could be a good motivator but advancement by itself is just a distraction.

    I think there's at least one missing method: fun. Why do we have to explain that online MB classes are a bad idea? Simple, they're boring for most scouts because advancement is reduced to schoolwork.

    I'm not sure this is a missing method but advancement and fun should be in balance to lead to something bigger. Advancement for advancement's sake is nothing more than school. Fun by itself is just as shallow. So I think learning skills should always be done in the context of enabling something fun, or challenging, or new, or something that must be done for the bulk of the outdoor method events. it's not enough to get signed off on canoeing MB, go on a canoeing campout with your patrol. Have canoeing competitions. All advancement should be a way to enable fun ideas that a patrol can do together. The excuse is that a MB might lead to a career. I'd rather a MB will lead to a good memory.

    And this brings up the biggest change I'd rather see. This whole idea of aims and methods is a philosophical discussion because it's off hidden in the weeds. I'd think changes in program would make a lot more sense if everyone in the BSA knew the aims and methods thoroughly. Not as a thread in a forum for old scouters but on the front page of the BSA website and the first pages of every manual, training and handbook that the BSA stamps it's name on. This is what we do and this is how we do it. Nobody should be confused about why massive online MB classes and online outdoor skills training is not a good idea.

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  8. 9 hours ago, BBQ said:

    As a Scout leader, I am concerned that BSA and the councils are not showing leadership. Leaders are also parents. Perhaps BSA is creating a game of chicken to keep the camp deposits.

    Welcome to the forum, @BBQ. My council recently sent out email saying they would only open if allowed. Then they added that if they're allowed the refund policy still stands (i.e., no refund). So, if a scout has a family member that's diabetic, for example, and doesn't want to take a risk bringing home the virus then they take the loss I guess. So yes, money is clouding my council's view just like it always has.

    But, I seriously doubt scout camps are going to be allowed to open in most states. That's just my 2 cents, but we have plateaued on cases only because we've plateaued on tests.

  9. 23 hours ago, qwazse said:

    That's a strong argument for camps moving to 14-day sessions.

    I don't understand your logic. Camp is not the same as quarantine. Not everyone will get the virus within the first day or so. With 250 people, one infected person and a 33% increase daily, after 14 days only about 50 people will be infected. Roughly 2/3 of those will have been infected within the last 4 days and they will all be going home while infected.

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  10. 59 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

    Many scouts roll their eyes at the MB program.  Scouts see it as an overlapping and a shallow dive into topics already deeply covered at school and covered better.   


    2 hours ago, Mrjeff said:

    Scouting is not a classroom and is not done is a classroom setting. 

    The underlying issue seems, to me at least, that "learning a skill" is ithe end goal. Rather than that, "using the skill" would encourage more participation, less school, and fix all the other things we don't like about merit badges. I suppose this applies to all advancement. Anyway, taking a merit badge should be the first step in doing something scoutish and not a goal in itself. I'd much rather see a patrol say "let's make a giant 8 person bike - let's take welding MB" then the usual "I gotta sign up for something at mbu and cit nation is required so I'll do that one." Making learning skills a tool to help patrols have fun would be much better. Again, there's confusion about what the goal of scouting is, especially among the scouts.

    • Upvote 1
  11. 10 hours ago, TMSM said:

    I have taken the advice to just keep these changes to myself.

    Well, that didn't last very long. I just got email announcing the changes.

    11 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

    It's tied to the flexibility I need to have to keep an urban troop of 37 ambitious young people together and "moving" for six months -- during which time we will not actually be in physical proximity to each other.  Our Mayor is not going to open things up until late June at the earliest, so there is no real hope of face-to-face programming until September.

    That does suck. However, so does strong wind on a campout. Good scouts can still figure out how to have fun in bad weather. There are two other methods not really mentioned (well, I think they're methods): fun and service. How to make scouting fun or how to give service in a zoom world is a big challenge and, I think, a goal that will create much more growth than simplifying requirements. A bunch of families in my neighborhood put together a game for the kids to play the day before Easter rather than an egg hunt (it snowed on Easter, hence a day earlier). They were never near each other. There were clues all over the neighborhood. The kids had fun. Two weeks before that, after our troop announced merit badges the scouts could work on, I suggested we look into fun types of activities the scouts could do separately but at the same time talking to each other on their cell phones. Nobody was much interested so I let it go. I watched the kids in my neighborhood having fun and thought to myself the BSA's emphasis is just wrong. If a couple of parents can figure out how to make hunkering in place fun while my troop is just going with stripped down advancement then maybe it's a case of the king having no clothes.

    @TMSM, I'd suggest figure out some fun activities, push for that, and ask the scouts what they want to do. They will likely give you good ideas. Good luck.

  12. If we could use hunting style tents with heaters in them during the winter and had some way to poop in the woods without having to dig cat holes, especially when the ground is frozen, then we would not need any council camps and would have a much stronger program. While we do have campouts in below zero weather in normal tents, it gets old after four months in a row.

    I can see how to solve the pooping problem. Getting a warm shelter is impossible with the tent restrictions.

  13. 10 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

    Question is, why would we need National at all in this scenario? 

    Someone needs to keep diluting the fun in the requirements? Prevent us from abusing squirt guns?

    I think the idea of competition would be good. That would require some flexibility in the program. I'm just not sure the 20 super councils is the way to do that. The only reason some councils are doing well is because they're in large metro areas with plenty of companies that can still donate lots of money. That's a model that doesn't work past the town those companies are in.

    20 super councils corresponds to roughly 14 current councils per super council. The biggest cost of councils is property. So, the super council model would just sell off lots of properties. From each unit's perspective this doesn't seem to be much better support. It just makes the BSA more solvent. We'd have to drive 3 1/2 hours to get to the likely super council's surviving camp. And we live close. There are other councils that would be 7-8 hours away.

    The thing that's needed to make that work would be answering a simple question. How does each unit prosper without any council or areas and minimal national staff? I suppose there can be districts. Scouter.com will, naturally, have to be the central idea source 😀. Honestly, multiple online sources of ideas, how-to's, visions, etc can be how units can find what works for them. Scouter.com can be the Bill Hillcourt/Patrol Method model. There can also be the Stem model, the advancement model, and I'm sure we can think of a few more. If the BSA is to be broken up then make it digitally as opposed to geographically. Maybe councils just take care of their camps and ensure YPT, they no longer oversee units, advancement, and all that stuff that can be done online. The only issue is who handles drunk SM's and that type of thing. The national high adventure camps are made into individual corporations and sink or swim on their own. (Adios, Summit.)


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  14. I seriously doubt if summer camps, high adventure or just any scouting are happening this summer. It's just my opinion but here's my reasoning. All of the models, if correct, are only talking about getting things under control. None of them are talking about eradicating the disease. Herd immunity doesn't kick in until something well past 50% of a population becomes immune. Right now, immunity means getting the virus. Assuming that 10 times the number of people have it than have been identified with a test, we're still only at 10x330k, or roughly 3 million out of the 320 million that live in the US. That's 1%. Getting to 50% (and it's probably much higher that's required) would mean 160 million people get the disease and something like 2 million die. Without a herd immunity we'll be right back where we are now as soon as everyone assumes its over and we can get back to the old normal. The old normal will not exist for at least a year. Note that no other countries have gotten their cases to zero and kept them there.

    The models assume we stay away from each other. The only way that changes by September is if we have a vaccine, we have a medical way to help the body deal with the virus or we have a system in place to identify everyone in an outbreak and test them very quickly (or some combination of these). Just a guess, but that last one would require the ability to do millions of tests a day across the country. It would also mean tracking everyone's movement, just as South Korea is currently doing. I can see something like that happening but not by September. I barely see anyone talking about what happens after we get things under control.

    The big question is how does everyone get back to enough "normal" such that they can live; jobs, going to school, buying food, the basic necessities of life. I don't think scouts is on that list. I'd rather see all of the little businesses in my town get up and running before scouting. This whole thing makes me think year pins, patch placement and rank advancement just don't matter anymore. Broke councils, inbred leaderships, bankruptcy - it's all beyond a perfect storm.

    That all said, there's an opportunity here. At it's core scouting is about helping young people grow, become responsible, caring and helpful. It's about using the outdoors as a fun place to learn those skills but what we really want is scouts using those skills wherever they are - in the woods or near home. If we could focus on that, and scouts started helping our communities, everything else would take care of itself. What I don't see is who is going to lead that.

  15. 5 hours ago, HashTagScouts said:

    Trying to setup video conferencing with many folks in nursing homes or rehab hospitals would probably be difficult- big question if the residents have the technology.  Less from an individual "service hours" perspective, but from a group service project, nursing homes and rehab hospitals might be able to setup a smart-TV in a central location (i.e. dining room) that the residents may be able to gather, and you do a group conference with your unit over Zoom, and have the kids take turns sharing pictures they have drawn about what they most are looking forward to doing once the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, and they can voice-over why they chose that.  Sharing messages of hope right now are valuable, and it so often the interaction that individuals in these places like and need to hear.   

    Right now, retirement housing in my town won't allow any gathering. If the virus gets into the building then a lot of people die.

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