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MattR

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Posts posted by MattR

  1. 1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

    I was really just annoyed with the continual piling on of people on the BSA for the actions of 30+ years ago.  I think abuse is reprehensible of course.  I am just dismayed with how this has unfolded.  My kids, my grandkids, and other get to suffer because of actions of those many years before.  I had nothing to do with any of this and am confused why people who started well before me got to destroy and organization that I came to join many years later.

    That said - I really have no desire to continue this debate in a separate thread as I have seen the moderators have decided to move it.  I'm happy to leave the debate to those who want to sit around and continue to pile on.  I'd be happy for the moderators to remove my account.

    I certainly understand why you're unhappy with how this bankruptcy is going. Any time anything gets into the court system rules take precedent over ethics. The only reason it makes sense to me is that, given our society is based on a system of rules then we have to follow them. I think the ethics comes in to play when the rules are created and this is where the failure is, just as you have mentioned. I'm not sure how much freedom the judge has to handle this in a balanced way.

    However, all is not lost. Your grandkids will still be able to create some great memories in the outdoors with their friends in a program called scouting. It's one of the reasons I've posted about finding joy in scouting and simplifying the program. Make the program simpler with less requirements for large infrastructure and it becomes much more resilient. What we have now is very fragile and complicated. It's time for a change. I'm fairly sure the joy of watching kids grow, learn and create great memories will far out weigh the loss of camps and huge org charts.

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  2. 16 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    Are you saying that because adults are discussing the policy implications of Scouting programming that those same people don't want Scouting to be fun for youth?

    Discussing policy implications? Sometimes it seems a bit more intense than that.

    Either way, it seems that just about every thread on this forum that goes on for more than a few pages follows a similar pattern. Start with a random topic. Talk about that for a page or two. Move off onto iterating between what was done wrong years ago and what should be done in the future until there are just a few people left and hope the thread dies before it gets personal. As long as people try and stay away from it getting personal it's fine with me but it just makes me wonder.

    My son had a soccer coach that coached a U18 women's team that went to national level competitions and did well. I'd never have known it if he hadn't told me. he just wanted the 8 year olds he was coaching to have fun and improve, to find a life long joy in a simple but really challenging game. What he wanted for the kids was very simple and everyone could get behind it. He never worried about the last game played or any past the next one. Good clergy are the same. To them it's all about the joy of life.

    I just talked to a scout for 2 hours about his experience as a scout so I could talk about it at his ECOH. At the end of the 2 hours I asked him what he got out of scouting. He said scouting reminded him of a quote which he kind of muddled through. I went and looked it up:

    Quote

    Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.    -Aristotle

    He said scouting built his character because it was always there. If you had a problem to solve the oath and law were right there and you had to consider them. As a young scout he would ask himself what was the right thing for a scout to do, and then he'd try to do that. Years later he didn't need to ask himself anymore, he just knew. Then he asked me what I thought scouts was about and I told him he pretty much nailed it. That's the joy of scouting - watching a kid grow up. This scout also mentioned that there were a group of scouts that had a big impact on him, each in their own way. From my perspective, all of those scouts started off as really difficult. But they all grew up, just in time to influence this one scout to be a better person. My troop is by no means perfect. It has plenty of issues but for this scout and several others it worked well.

    Do any of the policy implications we argue about have anything important to do with what scouting is at it's core? Is the arguing about the trees pulling us away from the joy of the forest? People have different experiences and different opinions on what works. I understand that and it's great to hear from everyone. But maybe we go too far when we assume someone else should do things the way we do. Maybe we should just leave it at different people have different experiences based on trying different things, and just encourage everyone to have fun and find a life long joy in a simple but challenging game.

    • Upvote 2
  3. So how is woodbadge doing these days?

    No, I don't really care. I've been blissfully away from scouts for a few days.

    If I stand back from all these arguments all I can think of is that scouts is supposed to be based on fun. Apparently not. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. With all the really big challenges of character, motivation and developing society's next generation it's easy to get hung up in the weeds and lose sight of the fun. Maybe that paradox is worth cogitating on.

  4. 23 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    Concur, but that is why they call it the "Introduction to..."

    But we all got signed off on all the requirements when we took IOLS. My understanding is that it was supposed to be enough for an adult to teach a scout the skills. After having swung the axe half a dozen times before teaching someone else how to swing it this sounds like guaranteed frustration for everyone involved - the new leader, the IOLS instructor and the scout.

    This thread is all about online training being a mistake. My only point is that solving this problem won't solve the bigger issue of accepting that all of the skills take time to learn. Online training could be part of the solution, I wouldn't rule it out. But in person training isn't sufficient.

    • Upvote 2
  5. 21 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

    Nor have they mastered teaching outdoor skills on line.  Not nearly.  More pretend accomplishment.

    They haven't even gotten close to mastering outdoor skills in the few hours that are allotted together, in the outdoors. I had to teach knife and axe in an hour at IOLS. I won't do it again. I suppose, if there were enough axe yards for two people in each one along with an instructor and enough wood so each student could spend 20 minutes splitting wood then it would be helpful. But that's just using an axe. I could spend as much time teaching how to sharpen a knife. Give everyone a dull knife and a stone. So, online or in person isn't enough of a distinction. I think an online video on how to sharpen these things combined with coming together and doing it would be ideal. The issue is how much time is spent on the skills and whether it's hands on. Honestly, 4 hours of videos along with a kit and time alone to practice might be better than our outdoor version. But then there are safety issues. I don't have an answer.

  6. In this situation there were only 3 things the cat was thinking about. Are my babies food, are you food and am I food? I didn't see the babies but if they were there then that was the cat's first thought, kill was the second, but we don't know. A cat going after a person in the middle of the day is really unusual. The other options are who is the food here? Rule one, don't look at the cat. That makes the cat feel like food and that is a problem. But this guy was just trying to figure things out. Rule two is don't run away. While backing up and looking at the cat this guy was projecting that he's an all you can eat buffet. If there were babies near by then this is kind of a no win situation. So, at least for a bit, backing up was okay. But he was clearly afraid, and I can't blame him, but he kept backing up hoping the cat would lose interest. The cat kept a constant distance nearly the whole time. When the guy would crouch down trying to get a rock the cat did a weird thing waving his claws around. I think the cat might have been trying to convince this guy to turn and run. He would have been an easy kill if he had. At that point, facing the cat was likely the right thing to do. Rule 3 is look big. This guy knew that. He kept saying that between the beeped out comments. Rule 4 is, if attacked, fight back. Cats know they can't afford to get hurt in a fight, and that's why it never got too close. As soon as the guy could pick up a rock and throw it the cat changed from you're food to I'm food and took off. The cat realized this guy was not going to go down without a fight.

    Other than going out by himself I think he did a good job. As for the original question, if there had been a group of scouts then I think the cat would not have gotten close. But all the rules still apply. Don't run. Don't challenge or look at the cat. Look big. Fight if attacked. It sure gives me a better appreciation for having a hiking pole. I went backpacking with a guy that had a .44 with him in a holster.  Nothing was going to bother him.

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  7. One thing that will really help this situation is an adult in the troop that gains the trust of this scout. He likely won't talk to someone he doesn't have a positive relationship with. The SM would be the first logical choice. I'd call the SM and find out what his view is. He may already be on top of it and you're done. He might really appreciate your help. He might have insight. He might need your insight. He might not want to deal with it.

    The scout needs to understand that he can talk about what happened without consequences from the other scout. Getting his side of the story, and not just a facade, is the first thing that will start to solve this problem.

  8. 3 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Great, then how should National show humility? Mosby comes out, wearing sack cloth and ashes, begging everyone to forgive him for his transgressions against Scouting? Perhaps self-flagellation?

    I don't think that's what humble means. I don't want anyone to show humility, I want them to be humble. Besides, national is so far away that there's no point in my even talking about it. I'd be more interested in council leadership. Unfortunately, given the number of volunteers it takes to run the BSA program it shouldn't be a surprise that there are weak spots in the hierarchy.  Units, districts, council, professionals ... there are difficult people all over. Authenticity and humility would help everywhere.

    1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    All of this "authentic leadership" is focused top down. How about bottom/up ("managing up" to borrow a phrase?)

    You answered your own question. Much better than sack cloth. Admitting that they don't know all the answers and spending more time listening would be humble. And yes, some people are hard to listen to. Sometimes one needs to dig to find out what's bothering people. Of course, this is all described in woodbadge.

     

  9. Authenticity is a two way subject. A leader may appear to be authentic to one person while another person sees the leader as full of him/herself.

    Something that's really needed to be authentic is humility. It's hard leading and mistakes are made. Humility is what holds things together and allows mistakes to be corrected. On the other hand, our zero sum game society, where there will always be winners and losers (as described above) doesn't leave much room for humility. Consequently we have anger. That anger is poison to any form of leadership. While it would be nice for everyone to be more humble, asking for humility won't create it. This is an age old issue, after all.

    • Upvote 2
  10. 12 minutes ago, yknot said:

    I don't understand how your council fees are so high. Councils aren't allowed to charge more than the national fees.

     

    1 minute ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Technically, you're both right. Technically, we could ignore it. However, it is a "strongly encouraged donation" of $200/scout (plus camporee fees and, for the first time, the insurance fee has been pulled out ($75) as well, so I suppose it's more than $250). The troop, and many other units, could just say forget this nonsense but they feel obligated "to do the right thing" and help the council because times are tough. When asked what the repercussions of not paying the donation are the response was "you will make the donation."

    Is that really a donation? BTW, this is not just from covid, this has been going on for about 3 or 4 years now.

    Anyway, we were talking about following the rules. The council is following the rules. They just seem to be twisting them a lot. Unfortunately, this is not helping parents that find $420/year more than what the program provides. Scouts are certainly leaving. This is a no win situation. The council will eventually have to make some hard choices. In the meantime the units are figuring out how to keep kids in scouts.

    This is why the troop also has auctions to raise some money.

  11. Sounds like the SM is being run over. Talk to him.

    Also, the fact that you're in your mid 20's is not something that anyone will look down on. Don't doubt yourself. In fact, we have our own 20 somethings on this forum and my guess is they''ll chime in soon enough.

    One thing you can do is talk to these scouts and their parents. Just let them know you're concerned. That will help them a lot. Due to your status as a younger adult those scouts are going to connect to you much more easily than a parent. If this family likes the SM then that's a good reason to stick around. If you can get the parents and the SM together so that everyone knows what's going on that could really help.

  12.  I can see both sides on this.

    Just one example: My troop's budget just came out and they will be charging each scout $420/year. That covers national fees, Boy's Life, insurance, council fees, camporee fees and the money the troop actually uses to operate (which is about $50). The council is getting about $250/scout. So, when my troop asks about fundraisers and the response is sell more popcorn, people are not happy. This is one of the reasons many council and district volunteers have left. They know exactly what is going on.

    While I suppose the right thing to do would be to write letters to every unit CO in the council and try and bring that herd of cats together in order to replace the council board and SE, nobody is interested in that. They are interested in putting on a scout program for their kids so they just put on an auction and raise some money.

    I'm sure there are a lot of better run councils than mine but my hunch is my council is closer to the mean than the well run councils. I mean, how do council's get the message that their expenses need to go down if they can just keep asking for more money? It's a whole lot easier for a parent to walk away then take this on. I'm not sure lots of people walking away is exactly what these councils want either.

  13. This looks like a people problem to me. Giving us the details is likely not going to lead to anything because we aren't the people involved. Rather, the people involved need to get together in a non confrontational way and talk. There are always two sides to these types of problems and the real question is how to get both sides to see the other's views. Scoutmasters do not think they are doing something wrong when they do it so that's one hurdle. A lot of parents are going to defend their kid first. This is natural and can also be a hurdle. It really depends on the personalities involved. Hopefully it's an honest mistake and this will be a 10 minute conversation. Unfortunately it might be much worse.

    You don't mention whether the SM is in the middle of this. If not, I'd start there. If so, all I can say is bring it up with the committee chair. Do your best and hope for the same. At the same time, sometimes scouts need to leave.

    Good luck.

  14. 21 hours ago, heres_a_llama said:

    I believe in the mission of scouting and want my kids to participate. We are Jewish and many of the Scouts BSA alternatives are either not a good fit for us (Pioneer, Trail Life USA, Awanas, CotF, Faith-Based Boys, Royal Ambassadors, Spiral Scouts, etc) or not in our area (Baden Powell). What would you recommend we do? 

    Join scouts.

    My wife and I were going through old photographs and there was a pile from when my son was a webelo and a young boy scout. I vaguely remember when he was a tiger cub. He's 29 now and takes his dogs up 14000' mountains. While I still cherish my time with him he'll never sit in my lap again. Most all of scouting is at the unit level and so all the politics and rehashing of perceived mistakes can be ignored.

    Shanah Tova.

    • Upvote 3
  15. Maybe we could look at this from another angle. There was a several minute segment about the BSA on TV. Not only did it include video of this scout it included some high adventure shots and some other outdoor shots. Lots of people saw it. That is good for everyone interested in scouting.

    The eagle rank is one of those Yin/Yang things. As a positive it can be a great motivator. As a negative it can be a great motivator (and overwhelm other good aspects of scouting).

    • Upvote 1
  16. 8 hours ago, elitts said:

    I agree that a "discussion about porn" isn't related; however, I will argue (just one time) that the existence of porn IS related by virtue of it being a potential factor in YPT. 

    I can't believe I'm saying this but thank you for making the connection between porn and scouts. 😀 Now we're closer to back on track.

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  17. How about a section with ideas for helping patrols? I have yet to see a scout oriented site that has anything like that. So, just like menus and activity ideas are concrete examples that scouts can try out, how about specific examples of making duty rosters or solving people problems or just being afraid of screwing up as a new pl. Call it Patrol Life.

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    • Upvote 2
  18. 1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

    I think it's easy to assume it's all about the money - but I think it's a lot more complicated than that.  Many who get involved in Scouting do so to have a great Scouting experience - not run a charity.  Again, I think we just need to reconcile that as a movement.  Are we a charity or are we not?

    You're right that the BSA is not a charity, and yet it still needs donations to operate. That's a conflict that I can't see ending well. Fewer donations and fewer volunteers will lead to councils having to charge more than their current costs of $500-$1000/scout/year. This will be a very "elite" organization. For me, I can't volunteer for an organization that isn't set up to take everyone. It's why I'm starting to volunteer at my son's old middle school. Besides, what does it say of the aims regarding citizenship if not all citizens can afford the program?

    If the BSA had the mindset that they were going to take all kids then they would not be in the financial situation they find themselves.Rather than a hammer looking for nails mindset it would require more asking and listening. Personally, I think it would be much stronger and attract a lot more kids.

    But I'm mostly just a clueless old SM with fond memories of watching a lot of kids have fun and grow up.

  19. 17 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

    I've almost broken down and started just using a bear canister on every trip. I hate the weight and bulk, but the more I've backpacked, the more I hate hanging bear bags. That seems to be the conclusion Skurka has already come to. 

    I came to this conclusion a long time ago. Pine trees make lousy bear bag trees and that's what I hike near. One problem with canisters is they don't work well with packs unless the pack is huge. 

    I'm not sure how accurate this is, but the only times I've had bears in my camp is when I camp in well established sites. Bears make rounds. So I try to stay out of their rotation.

    • Upvote 2
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