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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. I do as well. I know a number of people with strong, deeply held beliefs like this. I appreciate for some people their beliefs are so strong, that they feel it's morally wrong to compromise their beliefs. I'll admit the strength of his convictions drew me into the debate. While I appreciate that people feel this strongly, I do think that in the interest of the youth and the movement, you have to temper your beliefs in a Scouting context.
  2. Yes, teachers make a fraction of what they should. Senior executives are well compensated. It's true in any organization that those people who have the biggest individual impact on the success of the organization make more - executives, finance, sales, etc. In theory you pay these folks more so that the organization makes even more money. You don't want a discount CEO.
  3. Yes - these guys make a lot. However, these numbers are not crazy. Randall Stephenson made 28.7 million last year. That's 40x what Mr. Surbaugh made. I'm guessing the people who report to the people who report to Mr. Stephenson at AT&T make more than our CSE. I believe I also noticed that the directors of the BSA make nothing for their troubles.
  4. it's not that. I've found the tone of the comments of late on the forum to be getting more and more negative towards the kids that are admitted through these changes. Comments like the one calling for the demise of the BSA. The one about how a Scoutmaster wouldn't let his scouts interact with the girls.
  5. Welcome to the forum @ladybugcub. What's your main goal here? Is it to improve the pack or to make sure your daughter has a great Scouting experience? If you want to fix the pack, then I think you've got a big project. First thing I'd focus on is building a culture of three things: - great den leaders - good recruiting - a few strong pack activities. If you do those, the rest is much more likely to happen. If your goal is your daughter's Scouting experience - I'd suggest that you'll make better progress focusing on building a great den. A great den really only takes two leaders and 10 kids. You could be one - now you need a second. You don't need parents to run meetings- in fact, you probably don't want that. To build a strong den, you need energetic leaders with a strong vision- not a committee of parent teachers. From what I've seen you'll never keep 100% of the scouts. But, the best dens retain the scouts who participate in scouts. Usually when I see kids leave for a sport it's because the parent says to the kid - you're doing too much. But, if the parent and kid see how much fun and value the kid is having in scouts, they often find a way to make an exception. Don't create ultimatums, don't scale back your program, don't hold two den meetings. Do the opposite - make that den's program outstanding. Work with the families to find the best time for all. Make it a community. I've seen this repeated many times.
  6. We'll I'm glad that I mis-read that then. Had this funny thing happen a few years back. My in-laws are some of the most devout, religious people I've ever met. Go to church every Sunday, sing in the choir, serve on the church board, have the minister over for Christmas dinner. Mother in law is a part time employee of the church office. Father in law is literally a preacher's son who almost became a minister himself. They have a daughter - who they love and adore. My sister-in-law in fact. Turns out that she's gay. Now I suppose you could say that my in-laws are morally bankrupt and ought to disown her - but I can't quite make that leap. About a year ago had another funny thing happen. A family I know well has a 15 year old son. I've know the kid his whole life. Big, tall kid - a scout too. Good role model, active, helped at church, at scouts. Turns on that he's transgender. Now, he was born a boy, he still dresses as a boy, still acts as a boy, but he struggles daily with his gender identity. Dad pushed back too. Told his son - you're not really, it's just a phase. Kid had the presence to stand up to his dad and fight for his acceptance. Got his dad to understand that it wasn't a fad, wasn't a choice. Did I mention - great kid? In both cases, I'm reminded that these are kids and human beings. They have hopes and dreams. They have hurt feelings as much as any other kids. I just cannot fathom so hating these kids that someone would root for the end of the BSA because they dared to let them be kids like everyone else.
  7. It matters just as much. You claim that: "BP's choice to have two separate groups was a thought out analysis of how by boys and girls learn" is no different than my claim that: "BP's choice to have two separate groups was simply a bi-product of the times." This is an important analysis because we live in 2018, not 1907. So, understanding the context for the decision is important if we want to claim to continue to operate under his vision. I'd be willing to stipulate that we really cannot know what his motivation was in 1907. But, it's a two way street.
  8. And your speculation is no different. So now we can stop claiming that it mattered what BP did in 1907.
  9. Not at all. The GSUSA (or really Girl Scouts/Girl Guiding in general) didn't start until after the Boy Scouts were started. Why would BP have said "I'm going to start a group for boys, but not one for girls." Not cute at all. I get that you're trying to dismiss my point, but it's not working. Again - Scouting was started at a different point in time when the way men and women interacted was different. You can replace the "in scouting" part of this with whatever other transformation in gender norms occurred in the last 200 years and make the same arguments. I merely make the assertion that the man who founded the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts would have likely created a single gender organization if he were starting it in 2018. 100 years ago things were different. Many organizations 100 years ago were single gender. Today they are not. It seems a far fetched conclusion to think he would have said "you know what, just about everything else is co-ed, but scouting - nope."
  10. BP was a visionary and a leader. He'd have been disappointed to see those who want to exclude girls from Scouting trying to do so in his name.
  11. A couple of years ago Verizon had a commercial. I can't remember if I can post links, so I won't. But to find it, search Google for "verizon inspire her mind". It's about the subtle things that maybe we don't even realize we're doing to girls that discourages them from science. I've got a son and two daughters. Watching it, I realized just how much I'd been playing into the sterotypes of boys and girls. It made me question how I'd treated my own kids. I found that my kids were not nearly as different as I'd thought them to be. There is very little that will be any different in my troop once the girls show up. Sure, the interpersonal dynamics may be a little different. But, like any troop, there will be groups that hang out together. In our troop of 80 boys, they don't all just hang out together all the time. It will be no different in a coed troop in a few years once the newness wears off. Living today, I expect BP would have realized the same thing. I'm surmising that the executive board of the BSA did the same. Further, I'm sure they realized that it's just a matter of time. If they said no now, it would have come up again and again. So they could have said "no girls allowed" or instead make the gutsy decision to take a step forward.
  12. Or perhaps the leadership of the organization looked around and said - "Why are we limiting this to boys? Girls can benefit just as much as boys do." The BSA already have co-ed Crews & Ships. A number of packs were getting siblings involved as well. So they said - instead of fighting the trend, let's embrace it. The more I see the number of people who do support this, the more I realize that the senior leadership may have indeed been leading.
  13. I'm someone sticking up for BP. Looking at what he created and the core principles principles contained in the oath & law, it's a small step to ascribe the single gender nature of the program as a byproduct of the times. I find it very difficult to believe that BP living in a world that is moving in the direction of treating boys & girls equally would create a program and specifically excluded them. It's unfair to BP to try to lump him in with the "girls will ruin scouting" argument.
  14. The only reason there was a separate group was because the world was much more segregated then. Economics, class, gender, race. It's just the world at the time. 25 years from now, kids will look back and be surprised that there was ever a time where Scouting was not co-ed.
  15. Grouping the US & UK programs by general age category: BSA: 5.5-10.5: 1,252,311 (3,844 per 1M people) 10.5-17: 959,628 (2946 per 1M people) Scouts UK: 5.5-10.5: 286,218 (4360 per 1M people) 10.5-17: 170,875 (2603 per 1M people) It looks like the US & UK programs are similar in size per captia. The UK is a little larger at younger end, the US a little larger at the older end. However, since there are quite a few duplicate registrations in the Boy Scout/Venturing programs, I'm not sure the US is really any larger. Surely, we'll see the US numbers drop below this once the LDS change happens. Does seem like the UK program is a very good one to look to for guidance on moving forward.
  16. As an aside - interesting how much smaller the number of scouts is in Canada. I know Canada has a population about 11% of the US - but even accounting for that, the US numbers are still significantly larger. From the BSA 2016 annual report: Cubs: 1,262,311 Scouts: 822,999 Venturers: 136,629
  17. Interesting stats. Thanks a lot for sharing them. In addition to their only being 23, I have to imagine that it wasn't quite the big deal back then. It was still a pretty new program gaining traction.
  18. I don't get the new direction on these shirts. Are those some kind of big zippered pockets on the front? Who would actually use these? Instead of adding the embellishments, the need to just do some tailoring on the current shirts and call it a day.
  19. I'm the first to agree that the unit level volunteers are the group with the single greatest ability to drive membership & retention in their unit. I'm also a firm believer that it's up to us unit level volunteers to build our troop and make it successful. I also agree 100% that national cannot make any given troop do anything. Yes - unit level scouters need to control their own destiny and not blame national. I do think that National can do a lot to increase retention. In reality, National wears a few different hats: - central message leadership - program development - central marketing organization - leadership to and oversight of councils Some things that I think the national council to do to help: 1) more clearly define the program for 14-17 year old scouts. The Boy Scout program is well defined for 11-13 year olds. Make it easier for units to understand the key things they need to focus on to drive retention. 2) Create a nationwide campaign to really focus on this problem. The CSE should be repeating retention, retention, retention. Make this a key part of the national Scouting conversation. 3) National should pressure councils to develop programs focused on improving retention. Tie the professional's variable compensation to improving retention. Scout Executives who improve retention gen promoted. That kind of thing. I could keep going...
  20. Could be. But I think many unit commissioners are generalists. Do they all really know how to solve the unit retention problem? Agreed. My basic premise here is if you want to solve a problem, you focus on solving the problem. The approach in the BSA to solving a problem usually seems to be a revamp of a training, an article in Scouting magazine, JTE, or some new rule. I think we need to be more proactive than that.
  21. I'm sure you are one of the experts. By experts I mean real experts - someone with the experience, skills, and vision to help a unit improve it's retention. This is not simply someone from council or national that got blessed with a title. As for who they are generally - based on how things work today - that's unclear. The role description is someone knowledgeable in developing a unit plan and has experience in retaining a high percentage of the members in a scout unit. That person would then go out and be a resource to other units that do not. So, if you've got a troop of scouts, struggles with retention of older scouts, and wants to do improve retention, these experts would be out there to work with them. We might think of them as a consultant. Someone who gets engaged for a limited amount of time to help a unit improve. Once done, they step back - perhaps being on call in case questions arise.
  22. I agree that it's on the local units to retain their older scouts. You describe nicely some of the considerations. I'd like to see national do some thing I've never seen before in Scouting - really focus on fixing this. For example - I'd like to see training on 14-17 program development and on retention. I'd like to see true experts emerge who work with the troops on annual calendar and meeting structure. And so on.
  23. I don't make it a habit of quoting myself. But, I hit send on this earlier than I meant to and wanted to expand a bit. My point on retention is really just that as I look around my district, I see a drop off as boys get older. Folks use terms like FUMES to describe it as if it's just an accepted thing. However, there are other activities (such as sports) that I don't believe suffer the same problem. My working theory for a while has been that at the boy scout level, the retention problem has stemmed from: 1) There are a lot of bad troops out there. Sorry guys, but I look around my district and see it. We read it here too. Troops that camp only ever so often, have boring meetings, have more drama than program, etc. There was a time 40 years ago that you probably could put out a sign that said "Scouts wanted" and folks just showed up. But, now there is so much more competition that this no longer is a given. I split the blame equally here between national/council/and units. 2) The Boy Scout program is tailored to 11-13 year olds, not so much the 14-17 year olds. Yes, there are leadership opportunities are one gets older which retain some. But, for others - after you've camped at the same spot 3 times, it just tiring. A trip every two years to Philmont, the Summit, wherever isn't enough. I fault national here for not focusing the discussion on how to retain these scouts. I'd love to see national put concerted effort into fixing this. I think it's not just a change in advancement requirements, but a concerted focus on quality & program. Program materials, training, district level operations can all be improved. Instead, I feel like we're getting quick fix band-aids, but not real solutions.
  24. I continue to believe though that the retention problem stems from crappy programming. It's made worse because the BSA doesn't really have a plan for the 14-17 year old crowd.
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