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ParkMan

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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. ParkMan

    Stonewall Jackson Area Council Changes Name

    Given how hurtful the memory of slavery is to so many in our country, I have no problem that this council has decided to choose a name that is not associated with the Confederacy. As I read the comments, I realized how little I knew of General Jackson. I did a quick scan of his bio on wikipedia. Looks like he was a West Point graduate who was born and lived in West Virginia. I'm going to infer that his role in the confederacy had more to do with a duty to his home state than to anything else. But, once he joined that army, he did his duty as a soldier and fought for that army. I have a hunch that were he living further north we'd be hearing about him as a well respected Union general.
  2. ParkMan

    Stonewall Jackson Area Council Changes Name

    That was my take too. Sounds like a name chosen by a committee. Bleh.
  3. ParkMan

    No hugs, Aunt Sarah, we're GIRL SCOUTS!

    BTW - When reading this I'm reminded of Verizon's "Inspire Her Mind" commercial. I always thought that commercial had a much more positive message. Be careful not to discourage your daughter's natural inquisitiveness because of traditional gender stereotypes. I think this is much more the tone of the BSA messaging towards girls
  4. ParkMan

    No hugs, Aunt Sarah, we're GIRL SCOUTS!

    If a child hasn't seen a family member in some time it is going to be very natural to be shy and reluctant. Encouraging a gesture like a simple hug to a distant family member helps reinforce that family bonds exist between family members who live at a distance. Decisions like this as full of pros and cons. A big part of parenting is to guide a child through these sorts of pros and cons. I don't mind a group like the GSUSA bring awareness to a parenting question so that we think about it. My only concern with this is that it perpetuates a false conclusion. It is simplistic to conclude that there is a causal relationship between hugs at 8 and repaying gifts with more significant affection later in life. This infers that girls are somehow fragile enough that they are not capable of understanding that difference. Instead, the GSUSA message ought to be one about raising girls who understand the value of themselves. Encouraging a girl to hug her grandmother and then talking about it later one is a way to underscore the difference between that and a person paying for a date later on. Teach your daughter to be strong and value herself.
  5. ParkMan

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    Not to get into too much of a back and forth here. But, I'd just revisit my comment of before: To have a quality program, they have to build a quality program. I get your point that much of our success in the BSA has relied upon those already knowledgeable in the program coming back and becoming volunteers. In an era where that kind of knowledge is less available, we need to adjust. Successful packs and troops today build successful programs with longevity. Volunteers join a unit with an existing program and learn it. They then grow in experience and in a year or two take on a leadership role and start to mentor the new leaders. Then in another year or two they become the senior leaders in the unit. There's no way around it. Now, in the case of new units, that's where the district can come in and help. Commissioners, Roundtables, local training, district programs, networking, etc. They can serve that mentoring role to help newer units get going. FInd that folks are uncomfortable with wood tools - setup a wood tools Roundtable. District volunteers have to be working the problems. Councils can help here by making sure district volunteers understand this. Of course, you know how many trainings my council has for district volunteers - zero. Council meetings seem to be more about reporting status and sharing information. But, really, they need to be about equipping district volunteers to be successful. Just as districts need to emulate the program they want units to follow, so too do councils need to emulate the program they want districts to follow. But, of course as much of this has been replaced by professionals now we have a model where a DE is told to do something by a field director. The DE then goes and pursues it at a unit level. In the process, all this stuff gets lost. This is where national and councils have really dropped the ball.
  6. ParkMan

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    National financial problems - You are correct, these are due to the sexual abuse cases of the 70's, 80's, etc. The SBR was a bet that hasn't worked out too well - so yes, throw that in there too. Though volunteers did the abusing, that's not really the issue. That "the BSA" allowed it to happen for so long and go undealt with is the issue. These problems are not created by volunteers you are correct. Yes. National is here to build functioning councils. Councils are here to build functioning districts. Districts are here to support and enable strong unit programs. Part of enabling strong unit programs requires that district volunteers understand how to effectively talk to unit leaders. We all need to be treated with respect. Simply getting up there in front of the group and yammering on about how unit leaders are doing things wrong is a mistake. Whomever is sitting there waiving their finger at you for not attending the council cub camps needs to sit down. Those cub camps need to be organized by volunteers. Those volunteers should be listening to unit volunteers and building cub camp programs that people want to attend. If they are not then that's an issue.
  7. ParkMan

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    Again - it's a complex issue. We are doing our volunteers a disservice by not being frank with them. To have a quality program, they have to build a quality program. You can't take a couple of BSA courses and have enough knowledge to run a unit. You have to be humble enough to recognize that you have to continue to try, to work hard, to improve the unit. The Scoutmaster of our troop has been at is for 25 years. Yet, he still looks for new ideas and new things to do. He still listens to new voices and grows the program. No amount of training is every going to install the willingness to try. You don't go from someone who hasn't camped before, take a course, and then go camping in January unless you want to do that. Coaching, mentoring, and encouragement can do that. But training - generally it cannot. I know the BSA corporate culture is out of whack. I am fortunate to work with great professionals. But, they are being sold a lie. The success of Scouting does not rely upon them, the success of Scouting relies on volunteers. Professionals need to enable volunteers, not replace them. Councils & districts should be run by volunteers - not professionals. I think the BSA should replace the phase "volunteer led, professionally guided" with "volunteer led, professionally supported." I think that we've all take then "guided" a little too literally.
  8. ParkMan

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    The cause of what is going on in the BSA is complex. But make no mistake, much of this is because of volunteer and program issues. My district has 15 packs. The largest 5 account for 70% of all the Cub Scouts in the District. The smallest 5 account for 10%. The largest pack is bigger than the smallest 5 put together. Each of these small packs recruits 2 or 3 kids a year. Do they do school talks - no. Do they put of flyers - no. Do they recruit at their CO - no. Do they spread the word through social media - no. All of those things our local council trains on, encourages, and provides DE support for. They all complain about not having enough Scouts or volunteers - but what are they doing to fix the issue? On the other hand, the larger packs are doing great. They are growing, thriving, and have absolutely no issues with recruiting. Do I blame the small unit volunteers - no. They're volunteers and I'm thrilled that they care enough to be here. But, if they wanted to grow it's within their power to do so. Energize the program and get the word out. But, it's got to start with the desire to do so. Scouting in my area is getting smaller because 1) you've got to be willing to try, 2) pack/troop size matters, and 3) stuff happens. I could spend hours talking about this. National and councils are culpable in this because they've never figured out how to address this. I believe that the single best thing we could do to reverse the trend is to invest in functioning district teams led by volunteers. Small to mid size packs & troops need support and encouragement. If the unit is struggling they need a helping hand. They need a network of people they can lean on for moral support and training. They need ideas and encouragement. Yet, what has national & council done. They've replaced live training with online training. In struggling districts they've replaced volunteers with professionals instead of fixing the volunteer issue. As volunteers we all complain about the heavy handedness of national and councils. The mindset of national and councils is all wrong. National is here to build functioning councils. Councils are here to build functioning districts. Districts are here to support and enable strong unit programs. Yes - I understand it seems like I'm arguing two different things - but I am not. For packs & troops to thrive, they have to want to. But, national and councils need to do what they can to create a supportive environment where people want to, are equipped to, and are supported to thrive.
  9. ParkMan

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    It's easy to point at these cases and blame the lack of youth experience or training as the problem. These are really volunteer leadership and program issues. A Scoutmaster should be cultivating the adults in the program so that they build up to cold weather camping. With your typical Scout in the program for 4-5 years, there should be a bunch of experienced adults who have cold weather camped before - even if they were never Scouts as a youth. When a new parent joins, the Scoutmaster ought to say - "why don't you come on this camping trip in April". Then again in September, then November, then January. Now the parent says "January - wow, that's too cold." So, the Scoutmaster says - "no problem, I got a couple of leaders who's kids started 3 years ago that now like to camp in January & February - maybe you'll be up to it next year." Perhaps around a time in history where many parents had been in the military there would be lots of adults who show up with a lot of outdoor experience. But, in an industrialized country like ours it's going to be the exception to find parents with a strong outdoor background. So, a troop has to build up to it. If I see a trend around here, it's that effort, preparation, and program pay off. The strongest troops I see are often those with some leader who has the drive to make it happen. It has little to do with training and prior Scouting experience.
  10. ParkMan

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    Scary times - here's hoping it doesn't come to that. Again - this is where I'd feel a lot better if we were seeing some clear leadership from national. This strikes me as a time that our national leaders should be making moves to protect treasured resources and not mortgaging them to pay the bills.
  11. ParkMan

    Advice for a new wood badger

    Those sound like wonderful things to do. Very nice idea! I don't know your district personally - but if it's like mine, there's a ton of things you can do as a volunteer. You could serve on staff at different district events - perhaps cook crew for a camporee, or running a station at a Cub Scout Event. It sounds like you might enjoy training, so maybe you could help as a district level trainer. Maybe you enjoy Shooting Sports and want to help on the ranges. Maybe you'd enjoy being an active merit badge counsellor. If you want a little more active role, consider being a unit commissioner. I like to think of district level service as community based Scouting. You get to find ways to help multiple packs & troops all around your area. If you're not sure about how to help, the people I'd probably meet and talk to are the district commissioner, district chair, and district program chair. They'll probably have a pretty good view of what's needed and be able to match your skills with the needs of the group.
  12. ParkMan

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    The posts by @RememberSchiff, @Sentinel947, & @Eagle1993 are very well taken. I'm pretty sure we're seeing high level BSA politics play out online. Not knowing any of the players directly it is hard to ascertain motives. However, looking at this as objectively as possible I sense that Mr. Stinnett has simply had enough. It's not that he's trying to destroy the BSA, but he's fighting for it. At that level fights can be nasty and so you get quotes like Ms. Blanchards. My feelings mirror those of the other posters. I have been a defender of national on this forum a great many times over the years. But, it is growing increasingly difficult for me to support their actions here. We are asked to blindly accept these decisions as good members of the BSA - yet they forget that a great many of us devote hundreds, if not thousands, of hours a year in service of Scouting. For many of us that service has been continuous over a period of 10, 20, 30, or even more years. The BSA is a unique place. About 99% of people who work to make Scouting a reality are volunteers. We are not professional Scouters who have to follow because it's our profession. You cannot simply manage this group, you have to lead it. Leadership is all about communicating a vision and inspiring people to follow you. Management is about making effective choices in running an organization. From what I can tell, the BSA professional style is one driven by managers. Decisions are made and we are expected to follow. Maybe that works for professionals, but not senior volunteers. Someone like Mr. Stinnett is bold enough to take decisive action as a result. I don't doubt that the senior managers in the BSA are all very smart, accomplished people. But, if the professional culture of the BSA is really about promoting good managers, then maybe we should not be surprised that the most senior executives in the BSA are not strong leaders of both volunteers and professionals. Leading an organization where 99% of your staff is volunteer based requires a completely different set of skills. I really don't care where it comes from, but we need some leadership here. As mentioned, I have my doubts that the BSA professional system can produce such a leader - but am willing to be proven wrong. As mentioned before, today I'm of the belief that the BSA needs to look externally. Bring in someone with very strong leadership skills and then support them with accomplished managers. Perhaps someone like a former governor or cabinet secretary.
  13. ParkMan

    Changing BSA's Image

    I LOVE the idea! So, if you're a roundtable commissioner, any thoughts on interesting programs in this area?
  14. ParkMan

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    This morning I picked up a newspaper and this story made the front page. The BSA cannot seem to help getting itself more and more bad publicity. I'm generally pretty supportive of national as I know they have a tough job right now. But the way this was handled was awful. Risking the crown jewel of the BSA, not even discussing this with the oversight board, and all this news now of these arrogant statements to the board. You put all of that on top of the poor marketing and commimications national does anyways. I really do think that it's time for a serious influx of outside leadership into the BSA. This process of promoting from within is not working. I fully agree. Can we sticky this?
  15. ParkMan

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    I'd be really interested to know why they don't just declare bankruptcy and be done with. Placing Philmont at risk is an utterly nonsense move. Very sad.
  16. ParkMan

    Advice for a new wood badger

    Oh. Sorry to hear that. I guess I'd say that I've found the Scouting community to be wonderfully embracing and friendly. Sure, not every unit is like that, but many are. Certainly as I've gotten more involved in my district and council I've got a number of wonderful friends that genuinely seem to be really glad I'm here. I'd encourage you to put your uniform on, head to a roundtable, district committee, or commissioner's meeting and say hi. I bet you'll find some really nice folks who are glad to see you.
  17. ParkMan

    Changing BSA's Image

    Agreed. The BSA is far from sinking. There's still over a million kids in Scouting and there are thousands of awesome packs & troops out there. Yet, if we want to talk about this in the context of righting the ship and growing again, the BSA needs to make some behavioral changes before any marketing campaign will help. First - The BSA needs to be out there talking about doing stuff. Either the national leaders or some sort of spokesperson need to be out there constantly highlighting program. The image of the BSA needs to be one of active people out there doing stuff, not of Scouts in a church basement holding a ceremony. Second - The BSA needs to align it's professional organization around program operations. The organization is too centered on growth and fundraising. We all know that strong unit programs drive membership. So - the single best thing that BSA can do is to focus on supporting units in building strong unit programs. Third - The BSA needs to have a concerted effort to put volunteers in charge. I love our professionals and appreciate what they do. But the BSA at it's core is a volunteer driven organization. Professionals have an invaluable role, but it's not to run the program. No volunteer should ever be going to a professional to ask if they can do something. Similarly, the BSA needs to stop looking to Scout Executives as the chief Scout in a council. My recommendation: make either the council president or council commissioner responsible for all program & financial decisions in a council. In fact, I'd change one of their titles to Chief Scout. I make this point because the issue in the BSA isn't a slogan or slick marketing campaign. For the BSA to grow, it will take lots of people - national marketing, local marketing, local volunteers running great programs spreading the word about Scouting. Right now we're all not aligned on the problem. Unit volunteers do one thing, local professionals another, national staff another. It's all very confused.
  18. ParkMan

    Advice for a new wood badger

    I'm sorry to hear that. Scouting will be the poorer for it. If I could make an encouragement. Scouting needs people who are willing to help in a number of places. I respect that you reached your frustration point and are done. Consider finding a different spot to help out. Perhaps as a merit badge counselor. Perhaps as a member of the camporee staff. Help with the Eagle process. Perhaps running shooting sports ranges. These kind of roles are almost always overlooked, but Scouting can be so much stronger when great, passionate volunteers get involved in them.
  19. ParkMan

    Advice for a new wood badger

    I've staffed Wood Badge courses and see all kinds of people attend. I think it's pretty fair to say that it certainly helps to see value in being an optimistic, goal oriented leader. Yes, it would be useful to be optimistic enough to think you can achieve that goal. But, yeah - if you look at the 20 questions and alarm bells go off, then a different kind of course probably makes more sense. As @mrkstvns suggests, perhaps the subject matter courses would be a more comfortable fit.
  20. ParkMan

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    I think this is problem a semantic point, but... respect - n. 1.a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. 2. due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others. respect - v. admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. I think we need to show respect for their program (as in noun definition #2 above). We need to exhibit due regard for their feelings, wishes, rights, and traditions. I do not think we need to show respect their program (as in noun definition #1 or the verb definition above. If you don't agree with their program, I think you don't need to pretend you admire it. We're all mature enough here to have an open dialog on the merits of their program.
  21. ParkMan

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    Why is it demeaning and derogatory to ask the question? This strikes me as a question worth some objective discussion. "A group (LDS church) creates different roles for men & women. The group has a very visible role (Priesthood) which is limited only to men. The group highlights traditional roles for women (family focus) and underscores that they are equally as important. This is a model that is different from what we generally see today in society where there is tremendous momentum to create equal opportunities for women." A follow up question would be "the group in question is a religious one. Does the fact that these choices are rooted in theological teachings impact your opinion." I know I've been a bit tougher in my responses here - but I just don't agree that we shouldn't be able to form opinions or discuss the topic because the ones making the choice are a religion. I respect the right of the religion to make whatever choices it wants to - but it doesn't mean it's unscoutlike to discuss the topic. I would go a bit further that it is very appropriate to teach Scouts how to have a civil, issues based discussion on the merits of an idea. I believe this is an entirely appropriate part of understanding citizenship in our country - a country which is based on the free exchange of ideas. To me this seems like a great thought question for scouts to ponder.
  22. ParkMan

    LDS Youth Program for 2020

    I apologize, this forum is not the place for a discussion of the LDS faith. I just found some of the recent posts patronizing and was offended by them. We should get back to discussing Scouting, not the LDS church.
  23. ParkMan

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    Nor did I appreciate the suggestion in your earlier post. You said: So perhaps I should have said the BSA got caught up in the current social and political ideology of the worth of the individual? Pardon if I interpreted you incorrectly, precisely which current social and political ideology did the BSA get caught up in? that sexual preference is a not a reason for excluding kids or adults from the BSA? that gender identity is not a reason for excluding kids from the BSA? that girls should be able to enjoy the Scouting programs of the BSA the same as boys do? I could easily argue that your original statement is itself is a frankly, utterly false calumny that reflects a shocking and extremely unkind attitude towards those who believe that Scouting should be a place that welcomes all kinds of kids. But, I will refrain from doing so.
  24. ParkMan

    LDS Youth Program for 2020

    I thought the LDS church only allowed men to hold the priesthood. Seems like that's a pretty big symbol. to me.
  25. ParkMan

    Did BSA "Abandon" LDS?

    This whole thread was started because some high ranking person in the LDS church made the statement that: I wish the LDS church all the best in their new youth program. Now that they've left, I'd encourage church leaders to stop talking about the BSA and move on. Yep - guess the BSA just got caught up in that new fangled idea of the worth of the individual. I'm quite comfortable that the BSA left the LDS church because the restrictions it placed on the BSA were causing too many other issues. I'm glad the BSA for once stopped pandering and chasing membership.
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