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Posts posted by ParkMan

  1. 5 minutes ago, David CO said:

    When my unit stopped attending council and district events, our parents became less inclined to donate to FOS.  The execs know this.  It is all about the $$$.

    If this is what it is, it's a really strange way to do this.  Have the people who write the rules make a rule that units cannot work together.  

    I can respect that the rules people got carried away here and made this rule thinking that units were trying to hold shadow camporees to get around the new short term camping rules.  In the process they went too far and suggested that units cannot work together anymore.  In @RichardB's statement you can see a misalignment on what we're talking about here.  My gut tells me that this is one of those times that the people in Texas don't really understand what happens in the field.

    But, if this really is about FOS money, it's a ridiculously clumsy way to do it.  


  2. 14 minutes ago, RichardB said:

    Perhaps one of you could point out where it enables an CO to do events for others in the name of scouting on behalf of the local council or BSA?   I don't think you are going to find that in there.   

    Troops have had joint activities as long as there has been Scouting.  A Scoutmaster has a really fun event his/her troop enjoys.  That Scoutmaster invites a local troop or two to join them for the weekend.  I've seen this happen in Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA alike.  No-one is trying to organize shadow district/council events.  It's just volunteers smartly working together to bring more fun to youth.

    In 100 years I never would have imagined going to the rules to see if Troop A is allowed to work with Troop B & Troop C to plan an event.  At the volunteer level this just seems like common sense that independent units can work together.  Each unit follows the rules and G2SS.  Why would professionals even care about this?



    • Upvote 2
  3. 21 minutes ago, RichardB said:

    Theories aside, perhaps one could review the CO agreement to see what is chartered or not?    https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/524-182_web.pdf  


    Uh. Not trying to be difficult, but I don't see anything in there that makes a statement about whether two or three units can jointly camp together.  This is why this has become something of a topic because no-one is aware of anything that says units cannot jointly plan a weekend together.  It's something of Scouting tradition that unit co-operate and work together.

  4. 2 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

    Don't kid yourself that this is about COVID.  That may be the reason given, but in all likelihood it's about money.  If units start doing things together and having a fun time, how in the world will the Council be able to monetize these events?  Why maybe we don't really need the council management overhead.

    All those fees for camporees and council events come with a "surcharge" that goes to the council coffers.  God forbid,  troops may get together and run their own summer camp for a greatly reduced cost.

    As a council Scouter part of the time, I can say that this isn't something anyone is concerned with.  Troops participate in district/council programming based on the quality of the programming.  A council summer camp is not worried that some units will get together and make their own summer camp.  If they were worried about competition and wanted to setup a monopoly they would prohibit out of council summer camps which are a significantly larger reality.

    This is just about an overzealous risk management effort.

  5. Just now, CynicalScouter said:

    BSA is a voluntary organization. When it has a child turned over to it, it takes on certain legal liabilities/responsibilities to that child ("duty to care"). When agrees to make use of volunteers, it takes on certain legal liabilities/responsibilities to to supervise, properly select, properly train, and properly remove that person.

    State and federal government has no such similar "duty to care". It has no duty/obligation to ensure anyone (other than a government employee or someone acting on behalf of the government like a contractor) doesn't abuse someone else.


    Fine.  I think this can end this discussion.

  6. 4 hours ago, David CO said:

    Yes and no.  The government is responsible for law enforcement.  It should have done a better job at investigating and prosecuting crimes.  So, in that sense, the government should have done more.  Many people in law enforcement are supporters of BSA, and some of them turned a blind eye to the crimes that were being perpetrated in scouting.  They were more interested in preserving BSA's reputation than they were in protecting kids.  Shame on them.  

     The failure of law enforcement to protect our kids should not become an excuse to relieve BSA of its liability for its misconduct and inaction. There is a difference between criminal and civil actions.  The absence of criminal prosecution does not relieve someone of their civil liability.


    @David CO - thanks for the comments.  I'm happy to stipulate that you are correct and I am wrong.

    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.

  7. 57 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    The government has no legal responsibility to protect you. The lack of an investigation is not an actionable claim.


    This plan simply will not pass legal muster.

    I do not doubt that the rules setup today shield the government from inaction here.  I am sure you can quote me 1,000 legal cases the show members of the government have established laws to protect it from inaction.  I'm not attempting to make a legal argument - I'm making a moral and ethical one.

    Our government does all kinds of things proactively to protect us - seat belt laws, approving drugs for use, working to prevent the abuse of drugs.  There is a whole industry around federal rule making.  Clearly government recognizes a role in being proactive.  Why are set belt laws worth of government action but not child abuse?  We have a FDA, SEC, NHTSA, FHA, and so forth.  Yet, when claims are being made about the abuse of kids the government gets a pass from looking at the pattern and stopping it?  

    You're right though, the government cannot stop all instances of abuse.  But, they certainly should have stopped what was going on in the BSA & LA schools  - and probably the Catholic church as well.  Without doubt they should have shut down these youth organizations until we had an adequate safety program in place.  Again, we regulate asprin but don't try to stop abuse in youth organizations?  That the government did not do it's duty to regulate these industries shows it's implicit support of what was going on.  Just as the BSA should have done more, so too should the government. No?

    Because the laws have unjustly been shielding the government from fulfilling it's ethical and moral responsibility here it will certainly require the government to enact new legislation to enable this.  But, it needs to happen.

    Thanks for helping to refine the proposal.  Latest:

    Proposal: As this in part was a country wide issue, in addition to shutting down the BSA and selling it to settle claims, I lobby for special tax funds to pay each victim of child abuse in organizations who serve youth $25,000,000 per incident.  Funds need to be established at each level of government such that victims receive $25,000,000 payments at the local, state, and federal level - for a total of $75,000,000 per incident.  Victims must be made whole and willfully negligent governments need to be held accountable.


    • Downvote 2
  8. 1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    No. No, no, no, no. No.

    There's no way anyone is going to agree to that kind of taxpayer support for the victims of a private company. Nope.

    And no, not "everyone knew". That was the point.

    But these people are not solely victims of a private company.  The state and federal governments were aware that more than zero adults participating in the programs of the BSA had abused children.  Just as the BSA had developed lists to track those cases, so too the governments had legal proceedings and at least records of allegations of abuse.  That the individual states and federal government did not launch aggressive investigations nor shutdown Scouting and other youth organizations clearly demonstrates a willingness to allow youth to be abused.  That is reprehensible and the governments clearly need to be held responsible for their willful negligence. 

    Of course people knew that youth were being abused.  Perhaps not every instance and case, but we all knew about abuse - that is why parents taught their kids to be wary of strangers.  I grew up in that time and remember well lessons from my parents about it.  

    Further, it is only right and just that victims receive adequate compensation for all those who had some role in their abuse.  The government, through the willful disregard for their responsibility in the role of protecting children, was clearly negligent and as such needs to provide compensation.  In fact, I would further amend my proposal to now be:

    Proposal: As this in part was a country wide issue, in addition to shutting down the BSA and selling it to settle claims, I lobby for special tax funds to pay each victim of child abuse $25,000,000 per incident.  Funds need to be established at each level of government such that victims receive $25,000,000 payments at the local, state, and federal level - for a total of $75,000,000 per incident.  Victims must be made whole and willfully negligent governments need to be held accountable.

    1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    As for why you can't sue school systems or the government. First, for state and local schools, you can sue in federal court. Second, there's the idea of sovereign immunity: the government cannot be sued without its consent.

    The federal government in the FTCA has already permitted tort claims against the federal government.  They clearly recognizes that concept of the federal government being held liable for the actions of their employees.  It shows that they know they bear responsibility for their actions.  Many states have extended the statue of limitations of abuse cases and so they recognize the severity of these crimes.  It's time for the federal government to extend the concepts in the FTCA to acknowledge their errors here.  It's time for the state governments to acknowledge the same.

    1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    And the arguments are entirely different. BSA is a PRIVATE volunteer youth organization. The government is, well, the government. PUBLIC.

    I do not want to get into a major legal discussion here (happy to do so) but there's a giant, massive legal difference between

    1) BSA, a private not for profit which agreed to work with children and which is accused of failing to monitor and properly deal with cases of abuse it knew or should have know and

    2) The federal government

    This is a distinction without a difference.  Just because people work for the government, that should not enable them to allow the abuse of children.  Just because the politicians have the money and influence to get elected doesn't mean that they should get to allow the abuse of children.  Just because someone is a politician doesn't mean that they get to enable pedophiles.  The government absolutely needs to be held accountable too.

    • Downvote 2
  9. 9 hours ago, FaithfulScouter said:

    Sadly the Charter Org has known about the deterioration in program for more than a year, however no one would step up to take the Scoutmaster position.  The complaints were escalated to the CC, COR, and IH, so the correct procedure was followed.  As of this week the Unit is being dissolved and the Scoutmaster still will not respond to the Scout about his partial.  What a 'LEADER'...

    I'm terribly sorry to hear about the loss of the troop.  Just reminds us all of how important developing a strong troop leadership team really is.

  10. 16 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

    It is against the G2SS foe a cub pack to run a shooting sports activity with BB guns or greater. So, this seems to all be in violation, assuming it is what it says it is. 

    just sayin’

    I was wondering about that too.  After two reads, I found the quote:


    were very fortunate to be able to bring it here and have this event approved, so they can earn their shooting sports awards.

    Sounds like their council shooting sports committee approved it.

  11. 2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Succession planning is key. Getting the right adult in charge is vital. I have seen what happens when the wrong adult takes over. He nearly destroyed a troop.

    Having an Interim or Emergency SM is fine, but EVERYONE needs to be working on finding a successor.

    A few comments. 

    1) Unit key three (SM, CC, and COR) need to meet to come up with a list of potential names.

    2) At least 2 of the three, but all three if possible, should meet with the prospective successor, and make the pitch. This needs to be done privately so if the person declines and you need to go to the next person on the list, no one feels slighted. TRUST ME ON THIS! (emphasis). One new SM found out he was not the old SM and CC's first pick, and it created a problems for all involved, including the one who rejected the position.

    3) Delegation and having a good, supportive ASM team is vital. SM's can't do everything, they need to delegate to reliable people. And you got to know your folks strengths and weaknesses. We have one ASM who cannot camp on weekends due to his job. But Saturday trips, summer camp, etc he is "da bomb."

    4) Me personally, I would avoid just from the Cub Scout ranks adults as SM. They need to "unlearn what you have learned" as Master Yoda would say. They need time to make the adjustment to Scouts BSA, and some mentoring in troop culture.

    I agree!  I found a similar strategy has worked for us too.  Well written.  A few comments:

    On delegation - we've found that a good strategy is in someone's first year as a volunteer recruit them to do specifics tasks or own a small role in the troop.  Year two, give them larger role to take on - ASM of new scouts or ASM of troop guides - something like that.  Then 1st assistant ASM.  Then, a year or two later SM.  The same is true for Committee positions.  Don't recruit the new parent to be Pack Committee Chair or Troop Advancement Chair.

    I've also learned never try to recruit someone who isn't already a leader in the troop or pack to be SM or CM.  That is a recipe for disaster.

    We've found that it helps to make den leaders, Cubmasters, etc. ASMs as soon as their child bridges.  Why?  Since you should never give the reins of the troop to a new leader, leaders need time to learn your troop's culture.  The best way for them to learn the culture is to be a part of the leadership team.  They'll see how the team works, what the troop's goals are, how they interact.  Along the way they'll bring fresh ideas and perspective.  Of course you are not going to put a Cub Scout leader in the position of Scoutmaster or ASM of Troop Guides or New Scouts - they just don't have the experience yet.  But find them a role, get them engaged, and get them learning your troop's culture.  Also, often leaders are at their most recruitable when their son or daughter first joins.  This is a great time to get them a small role to help out on.

    EDIT: One more point...

    2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    1) Unit key three (SM, CC, and COR) need to meet to come up with a list of potential names.

    For the SM selection - I would second that the Key 3 should drive the selection of Scoutmaster.  However, for other new leaders it should be everyone's responsibility to recruit new leaders.


    • Upvote 1
  12. DISLAIMER: abuse is a horrible, reprehensible act and those people who abuse kids should be punished to the furthest extent of the law. 

    Proposal: As this in part was a country wide issue, in addition to shutting down the BSA and selling it to settle claims, I lobby for a special tax fund to pay each victim of child abuse $25,000,000 per incident.  Everyone in the country knew that child abuse was happening.  That the government did not shut down all youth serving organizations that reported an incidence of abuse was clearly a sign that we were not doing enough as a country.  Our country clearly was at fault here.  We all need to recognize our culpability for this.  Just because we have come along later in history doesn't mean that we are any less responsible as a country for the actions of those we predated us.

    17 hours ago, fred8033 said:

    Does BSA get any protection for the scouts chartered to government organizations?  This is at least 10,400 units in 2004.

    From my limited understanding, past liability was re-opened by recent law changes.  BUT, that liability was not re-opened for public schools and other governmental organizations. 

    I'm trying to understand ... So BSA can be sued, but the charter organizations of many can't be sued even though they selected the leaders, provided the building, owned the materials and implemented the specifics ?  From what I read below, as of 2004,  400 units were sponsored by military bases and another 10,000 were sponsored by public schools.  


    Are there any claim limitations for people that were in the 10,000 public school chartered units and 400 military units?  It just doesn't make sense.  If the professional expertise of teachers and public school administrators failed to protect those scouting youth and were closer to the units, how can BSA that is a further step away be liable. 

    Seriously.  NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE. 


    Yes, the past abuse was outrageous.  But that was the past.  AND, much was done right.  The BSA files were an aggressive attempt to protect youth.  I doubt such files were kept by other groups.  BSA put YPT, rules and expectations in place years before other youth organizations.  BSA is in at least it's 20th year of YPT improvements.    This is just wrong.

    The more I look at this, the more I come to the same conclusion.

    So it's OK not to sue schools systems or the government, but it is the BSA?  I'm not following the logic.

    The same arguments that apply to why you hold the BSA responsible apply to the government.  The same arguments that apply to why you don't hold the government responsible apply to the BSA.  You don't get to argue one without the other.

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  13. In my experience the biggest obstacles to succession planning are:

    1. Scoutmasters/Cubmasters who do too much - they don't delegate which makes the job appear huge.  Someone who isn't looking for a 20 hour a week job isn't going to sign-up when the current SM/CM is doing that much.  Delegate, delegate, delegate.  Make sure you don't need a Scoutmaster to keep functioning before you go find a new one.
    2. Troops/Packs without sufficient adult support - similar reason.  When the SM/CM realizes that other adults are not their to support them, they don't want to take the job on.
    3. Lack of suitable candidates - you don't promote a new person to be President of the company.  Similarly don't attempt to take a parent and make them Scoutmaster.  If you don't have ASMs/ACMs doing significant work already, then succession planning is not going to occur.  To get an ASM doing significant work, you first have to have ASMs doing small projects.  In short, you need a farm team.

    To me this is a core structure problem - fix the structure and succession planning is easier to address.

    • Upvote 3
  14. 8 hours ago, MattR said:

    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.

    OK - wasn't sure what you meant.  Yes, these threads do often get to be more than discussing policy implications.  For certain.

    For what it's worth, I think you've skipped a stop between: "Start with a random topic. Talk about that for a page or two." and "Move off onto iterating between what was done wrong years ago and what should be done in the future".  That step is start complaining about various groups and Scouting as a whole today.  If I look at this thread, we started with a pretty normal set of questions about Wood Badge.  Then, after the course it turned into complaints about the course.  Then about why Wood Badge isn't a good course.  The about how Scouting messed up when they created the most recent course.  Then why did Scouting mess up the course.  As they say, the rest is history...  

    I like your positive vision for the future.

    I do wonder if some of this is just natural team dynamics.  As I read your comment, I couldn't help but think of the stages of team development from Wood Badge - forming, storming, norming, performing.  I wonder how much of this is the Scouter community working through something that.  We discuss a topic and after the pleasantries, people's real opinions start to come out.  The thread can then spiral for a few days while people battle a bit.  After a bit people either get frustrated and walk away or they realize that those they are battling with are not so awful.  Then some more deep down discussions happen.  I'm probably overthinking that one.  

    For what it's worth - I enjoy topics here that get me thinking.  I'm really OK with the debates.  To me, impact is that a topic that might have 5 posts now has 100.  I can skip them if I really don't want to participate so I really don't have an issue with them.  In fact, I've appreciated lately that no-one is shutting these down.  I'll admit that I get disappointed when people start to debate and then a moderator locks the thread.

  15. 12 minutes ago, yknot said:

    I think the focus on false metrics is such an apt phrase. I think it's part of why scouting has lost the sense of fun for some scouts. 

    I return to youth led however.  I myself struggle with what the guard rails are. What is an acceptable mistake? If you don't store or cook your meat properly and make everyone sick, that is certainly a lesson learned but then that camp out has not been fun. A patrol where the Type A personalities constantly over  shout the Type B personalities until the Type B's eventually leave is maybe a lesson learned for the Type A's -- be overbearing enough and you'll eventually get your way -- but then we've lost some more reserved scouts who might have actually been the more scout like scouts and better leaders. In my reality, I don't see adults dealing well with this. They either overcompensate and take it all over or they are gleefully and completely hands off. In both case, scouting is not fun for our target audience, the scouts and in my neck of the woods I see a lot of dismaying attrition.  I think this is why this comment of "scouting is supposed to be fun" keeps resurfacing. It makes me think that scouting boils down more to alchemy more than training: If you get the right mix of gifted leaders and impressive scouts, it will work beautifully. If you don't have that, scouting can be very difficult to deliver.  

    Wonderfully said.  I was writing a post, hit reply and saw yours.  You said it much more artfully than I did.  I feel like this is exactly the kind of issues we faced.

    Your post reminded me of a period where we have two Webelos dens of the same age in our pack.  One run by a very organized set of parents.  The other by a parent with a ton of outdoor experience.  My son was in this fellow's den.  One month we decided to hold a joint den camp out for the boys at that level.  In preparation the other den had all kinds of plans and schedules.  The den leader surveyed the site and was very well prepared.  My son's den leader (who had a lot of camping experience) instead focused on getting the boys to practice camp cooking in den meetings.  When we all got ot camp, both dens were starting breakfast meal prep - pancakes.  The other, super organized, den leader had her den up and going.  Yet, every parent was there with the boys at every step.  All the boys got to do was mix some batter and flip the pancakes.  In my son's den, the den leader said - OK boys, here's the box of pancake mix, some eggs, and milk.  Have fun.  The boys in his den jumped into action and did a fantastic job doing the whole thing.

    I share that story because nowhere, other than experience, would those den leaders have known how far to push the Scouts and make it work.  I'll guarantee you that my son's den had more fun.  But, this goes back to the problem of leaders just have no idea how to deal with the day to day decisions that make this all work.  How can Scouting effectively help prepare leaders so that they even begin to approach the boys correctly so that it stays fun and engaging?

    • Upvote 1
  16. 7 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

    In theory, the BSA Scoutmaster training and Wood Badge is supposed to teach this balance, but it fails to. My own experience with implementing the "fun" patrol method is mostly from my experiences as a Scout, my involvement in this forum, and devouring as many books and blogs that I could get my hands on.

    I often thing of EDGE/Stages of Team development from NYLT/ Wood Badge. The Scouts won't just start operating the patrol method when we say, "You're in patrols, now decide what you want to do!" They need it to demonstrated and guided for them either by senior youth or the adults. NYLT is an OK start, but NYLT does not teach a Scout how to implement the patrol method in their own troops. It assumes that their troop already has the structure in place. If it's in place already NYLT can be powerful in sustaining it, but my own experience tells me that Scouts cannot build the patrol method without the willing guidance and permission of the adults. If left to their own devices outside of Scouting, youth naturally form gangs or patrols. 

    The biggest oversight of BSA training as a whole: It does not allow for imperfect structure or conditions, nor does it help a Troop get to the ideal. Having a few older Scouts or Patrol leaders NYLT trained is a big help for actually operating patrols once your unit has them. When I went to NYLT, I came back to my Troop, and my troop adults were clueless in helping me apply what I had learned and what my vision was. When I stayed on with the Troop as an ASM, that launched my patrol method/youth leadership crusade, which is well documented on this forum. 

    I'm going to do my best to elaborate, but it will never be perfect: 

    • Senior Scouts or Scoutmasters have to help the Scouts see what is possible, expand their horizons and assist them putting together plans. This where I think EDGE/Stages of Team development is appropriate. As the patrol goes from being a new group to an experienced patrol, what they need from the SPL or the Adults will diminish over time. It's very cool to see patrols with self sustaining cultures, but it takes time and effort to get there. 


    Happy to answer questions, elaborate further, or get my opinion torn to shreds. This is possibly one of my favorite topics. I could probably write a book. 

    Thank you for the wonderfully constructed thoughts on this.

    How much do you think this is about Scouters simply not having something that they can emulate?  What I noticed in our Troop was a general lack of understanding of how patrol method and a youth led troop functions.  This is saying a lot in a troop with 30+ volunteers and 75+ Scouts.  I like to think we were not adult led, but yet as I as Committee Chair looked around I could tell there was too much adult decision making and interference.  I think in our case it really was lack of knowledge.

    • What, for example, should a PLC do to organize a troop meeting?  What does a fun troop meeting even look like?
    • What does a well run, Scout led camping trip look like?
    • What do you do with the group of 11 year old new Scouts while the SPL is busy focused on sorting out the night's plan with the PLC?
    • How do you really organize a weekend camping trip for 40 Scouts and have it be anywhere close to youth led?
    • How do you plan for a year when the PLC can't plan the next troop meeting?


    What I saw in our case was adults who were happy to embrace youth led - but none of us really knew what it looked like.  At best, we could point to vague ideas and concepts about letting Scouts make mistakes and sort things out.  However, it always seemed like youth led was some sort of vague panacea that everyone wanted to achieve, but no one had any idea what it really looked like.  

  17. 1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    And that leads into some of the reasons why youth led is not practiced and embraced. Some of the most obvious reasons is that it is a messy, unorganized by adult standards, and chaotic process. Adults know there is a better way, but do not have the patience to let the Scouts figure it out on their own. Scouts will make mistakes, and it is hard for some adults to let their Scouts make mistakes. Sometimes the adults think because the Scouts made mistakes, they are not ready for responsibility, ignoring the fact that making mistakes is a learning tool. Also repetition is a learning tool. The more something is done, the better you get at it. Sometimes the adults do not like the decisions the Scouts have made, and believe "Scouting needs to change with the times." best example I have of that is the SM who appoints all the PLs, troop leadership, and SPL because "the same people keep getting elected over and over, and [appointing the leaders] makes it fair for everyone]. The Scouts have a better understanding of each other than we do, and this SM was ignoring the fact that the Scout not getting elected was causing the most problems. Sometimes adults are not comfortable being in the background, they need to do something. And sometimes you have adults that cannot let go, they cannot accept the fact that the Scout is growing up. 

    First - just gotta say that I loved your post.  Great explanation.

    Isn't a big part of the issue in Scouting today that youth led is so vaguely defined and it's benefits are so difficult to comprehend?  Scouters are often quick to criticize adults for jumping in - but it's hard for them not to.  It's not that adults really want neat and clean - it's that they see the messy and recognize that there are 30 scouts all milling about because of it.  They see boring troop meetings because the PLC doesn't know how to make them engaging.  They see lackluster campouts that may or may not happen because they don't get organized.  

    In the context of this discussion on fun, isn't the issue that bad patrol method is simply not fun and so many units cobble together something akin to patrol method that's not a lot of fun either?

    How does a troop see a clear path with some concrete steps that they can follow to get to a "fun" patrol method model?

  18. 1 hour ago, yknot said:


    Just to clarify, when I say that there is nothing magical about youth led what I mean is that it is not the sole determinant for kids to have fun. Kids also have fun in more adult led activities like sports, robotics, 4-H. None of those are youth led but they still have fun. What I was musing on more was why does this come up so much in scouting? There is no doubt the kids have more fun in scouting when they get to do what they want but from general feedback it seems like it can be really hard to do. It's not just that parents helicopter it's that liability, bullying and youth protection issues are also part of the equation. And even in supposedly youth led troops adults still set the tone without even being aware they are doing it. We're youth led for example but the pressure to advance oozes out of all the adults -- leaders and parents -- and the boys seem to have internalized that to the point that it guides what they choose to do. It's great for the kids who are laser focused on getting Eagle but none of them stick around afterwards. In my various kid hats I hear a lot of "I have to go to scouts my father/mother makes me" while I almost never hear the same kind of comment about sports practice, 4-H, etc. 

    This might be another topic to add to the list of market research that would be great to be done by someone outside of scouting if we survive bankruptcy. My sons have a couple times over the years filled out direct to scout surveys, but from what I saw those surveys didn't really ask useful questions. It was more rate how much you like this or that.  I think it would useful to ask scouts what youth led means to them and what they think of advancement, have they had friends who quit scouting and why, etc., etc. 

    I believe you're hitting on some core questions about what is Scouting and why is it the program that it is.  If we go back the core idea "game with a purpose", then we need to define what our purpose is.  Today the purpose is captured in the aims of Scouting and the game is captured in the methods of Scouting.  I think it's fine to take a big step back and ask ourselves:

    • is our purpose correct for today?
    • is our game still correct to best achieve the purpose today?

    Where I think you have to be careful is when you start thinking of just the fun and focusing only on the fun out of context.  In Scouting terms, focusing on the game without looking at the purpose.  Maybe it's the right thing to bail on the purpose - but I would suggest doing that deliberately.

    • Upvote 1
  19. 7 hours ago, yknot said:

    Absolutely not. It's just weird that the concept of  "fun" for kids has to be discussed in an organization devoted to kids at all. Does that make any sense? I'm not trying to be adversarial I'm just noting that this never comes up for discussion in other forums I participate in for sports coaches or 4-H or whatever. The activity itself is always fun. The discussions are always about admin stuff or how to make it better or how to recruit more kids. I just realized it tonight reading that comment how strange that is that we discuss it here. 

    Thanks for clarifying.  I see what you are saying.

    One of the unique characteristics that I have noticed about the Scouting community is that we have volunteers who work at all kinds of levels of abstraction.  Scoutmasters/ASMs/Cubmasters/den Leaders who work directly with kids.  Committee members who focus on mechanics often more than they do working with kids.  District and council volunteers whose roles requires them to focus more on supporting unit leaders than they do on directly working with youth.  I, for example, am a long time pack & troop volunteer who recognized that our district was suffering and that unit leaders were not getting the support they needed.  My world now is largely admin stuff - recruiting, training volunteers, and unit health.  I gravitate to those discussions here because that is what my role leads me to think about.  As they say - it's what keeps me up at night.  Yes, it would be lovely to discuss the most fun campout ever, but it's not the reality of my world. 

    So, I do very much appreciate your point - and yes, were I a Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, den leader, etc. then that would be great.  But that's not what Scouting needs me to be.  I for one am glad that we do have a place where we can discuss the higher level Scouting topics.  Yes, I would prefer that there was a bit less focus on bashing Scouting and the BSA, but if it's the price of having somewhere to discuss higher level Scouting topics I'm OK what that.

    Occasionally I see a program topic that I can jump in on, but not that often.  I'm not sure why, but it seems that the people who do program stuff don't post all that often.

    • Upvote 1
  20. 1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Yes, but the problem is what is a "non-political position" when EVERYTHING is a political position?

    Masks. What kind of meat you serve (or don't) at an event. Who your CO is. Everything.

    The mere act of standing for the National Anthem? Political statement.

    I recognize that what I am suggesting is very difficult.  I think it's probably harder to do than picking a side.  Further, I've got no doubt that the BSA would make mistakes in trying to achieve that goal.  Yet, I think the payoff is great if we can accomplish it.

    I think of it like Scouting being the Switzerland of countries.  We are neutral and want to be neutral.  We want to help kids have fun and develop into outstanding adults.  We believe in providing a framework and coaching that adults can use with the kids in their communities toward those goals.  The politics of those communities will undoubtedly be different and varied because we are a varied country.  It's not the role of the BSA to advocate for the politics of one community over another.

    I recognize that in a world today where we take sides on everything that this is very hard to do.

  21. 3 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

    I disagree that this is happening because of litigation risk.  This is happening because, by their own admission, they can't or won't take the steps necessary to prevent the rape and molestation of children by members of their organization.  And if they can't do that, than no they should not have a youth program.  If you can't afford to fix the brakes on your car than you shouldn't drive it, not because you're going to get sued for running someone over but because you shouldn't be willing to risk running someone over.

    As for the analogy to BSA, BSA isn't in bankruptcy despite all its training and background checks, it's in bankruptcy because the law changed in some but not all states and a window for suits from past behaviors has opened.  To the extent that NMRA may have had past members who abused anyone than they're already at risk in those states.  If all we were dealing with was liability from the past six or ten years (the most common statutes of limitation) than we wouldn't be in trouble at all.

    You say potato, I say potato.  That's a distinction without a difference.

    If the new standard for youth organizations is an organized YPT program, a monitoring and compliance system backed by professionals, and enough liability insurance to protect from lawsuits, then many organizations who have some youth programming today should follow the lead of the NMRA.  Youth sports leagues, youth groups, 4H, FFA, smaller Scouting groups, etc. should be prepared to all organize BSA quality YPT programs and maintain hundreds of millions in liability insurance.  How a local town rec league will do that I do not know.  As far as I can tell no other youth organization has a YPT program as strong as the BSA today.

    But, if that is the new standard kids will surely be safe due to the simple fact that few youth organizations will have the resources to even continue to exist.  

    • Upvote 1
  22. 3 hours ago, MattR said:

    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.


    2 hours ago, yknot said:

    Multiple times throughout this thread I have pointed out that scouting needs to be fun -- a game with a purpose.

    That fun has to be relevant for younger generations coming up though. Lotta people here seem to get their jam from doing things their way and holding on to old grievances. Every other youth organization I'm involved with is worried more about keeping and serving the kids than clinging to traditions. I don't hear or see this kind of talk anywhere but in scouts.


    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?

  23. A very, very sad development.

    Makes me wonder what the right level of protection is for an organization like the NMRA to provide. They raise a very good question.

    On a different note - I wonder if the BSA should work with them to transfer this program under the BSA?  We don't need rail road Scouting, but I do wonder if there could be some sort of council organized activity featuring rail roading that the BSA could pick up here.  A way for the BSA to provide more value to it's members.


  24. 12 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Everything can be politicized.

    Everything has been politicized.

    That's not a slight on Scouting as much as it is a reflection of modern America

    Understood, but that's where Scouting needs to learn it's lesson.

    Scouting today expressly forbids Scouts from getting involved directly in politics.  It should learn it's lesson and really strive to assume a non-political position.  I think it's achievable if the BSA is explicit in saying:

    • Scouting wants to focus on helping youth to grow and develop.  Scouting's approach is to provide program materials which can be utilized by local units sponsored by individual local organizations such as churches, schools, and civic organizations.  Scouting will look to those local institutions to make the right choices on contemporary issues affecting their communities.

    But Scouting has to voraciously protect that position.  It has to voraciously defend it's neutrality and work to elevate itself above these sorts of discussions.  It will be hard because very smart people will attempt to push Scouting in to making choices that favor one side in an effort to further their beliefs or the goals of those organizations.  And yes, at some point Scouting has to say that in the best opinion of the organization a question is effectivly settled across the country and we're going to move on. 

    None of this is easy, but in the opinion of this Scouter is what Scouting needs.

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