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Everything posted by ParkMan

  1. I see the distinction. You're thinking adults, I'm thinking youth. If you view the BSA as a faith based organization, I can see why you wouldn't want an adult who does not believe in god to be a leader. Makes sense. I see youth members as being different. I don't see a harm in having non-religious kids see people say grace or have a discussion on faith from time to time. I've run into enough devout people over the years who would look at someone of a different faith and say the same. If you don't share "my faith" that you are not a believer. I think in our area if the
  2. I think at some levels it comes down to questions of "good and evil" or "right and wrong". There's probably also a societal influence about what makes someone a good member of society. Those of us with faith would probably say that questions like this, and even the evolution of society is guided by a higher power - God to be specific. Those of us without faith would attribute notions of "good and evil" or "right and wrong" to something else. I'm a fairly religious person and I try to be a good person because it's the right thing to do - not because it's somehow rooted in a religious direc
  3. I'm thinking the Christian thing to do would be to encourage everyone to join (regardless of whether they believe in God or not), keep the religious requirements, and have a way for those who do not believe to complete the requirements without having to profess faith. That way you at least expose everyone to the ideas of a life with faith and allow them to decide if they want to develop their own faith further or not.
  4. @desertrat77 Perhaps some of this is due to weak leadership skills. But I think behind this is a lack of vision and purpose and perhaps challenge. I think of other activities that youth are involved in such as sports or the arts. In those areas, the purpose and challenge is more clear. Win the game, win the season, win the championship. To do that push yourself, work hard, develop more skills. It's the promise of winning and improving that drives many youth to keep going in sports. It's harder to see what that purpose is in Scouting. What drives a Scout to develop as a leader?
  5. I 100% support keeping a faith component of the program. As someone who volunteers in a less faith based Scouting area, let me share what I see. I cannot ever remember a Cubmaster or Scoutmaster tying the oath & law or a discussion on values back to god. What I see around here is that the Oath & Law are emphasized as a set of guidelines or rules by which people of good character live their lives. So, that clause in the Oath (Do my duty to God) is something you do because you are a person of good character and people of good character do their duty to god. However, the cla
  6. Thanks @desertrat77 & @Eagle94-A1 - this helps me to understand better. Our troop currently has some more active OA members. I think we've got some Scouts who like Scouting, but are looking for something a little bigger than the troop experience. They seem to like the ability to help organize the District Camporee. Another thing I hear is that it gives them another group of older Scouts to spend time with. Since I'm not an OA member I can't really comment on the state of the OA. From what I see here locally some boys like being involved at that next level of Scouting - so per
  7. I'm not OA - so please forgive the question. When I was a Scout, I always heard that the OA was the group of elite scouts. Reading the comments over the past year, I hear more about ceremonies and regalia. I'm gathering there's more to the OA than ceremonies and council camp maintenance. Could perhaps this be the next chapter for the OA? Perhaps a focus around advanced camping?
  8. I think the level of religion in Scouting across the US varies a lot. I've lived in various different locations on the US East Coast. In all the Scouting units I've ever participated in, religion and faith has always had a very minor component. All of these units have been attached to a religious institution. In my current troop we are chartered to a very strong local church in a pretty religious part of the country. We have a very active Chartered Organization Representative who is very active in the church. In our troop, religion is really only manifested by the occasional prayer b
  9. I wonder how much of our annual fee goes to pay insurance premiums. Is that info available anywhere?
  10. I think it's an important, controversial topic affecting an organization that is beloved by people here. That's going to bring out lots of heartfelt comments and discussion.
  11. That's awesome your taking this one. Being a den leader is one of the best volunteer jobs ever. I'd go further than ask the pack committee for materials. Your pack ought to have a membership co-ordinator. This person should be driving a program of recruiting new members every year. No worries if you pack doesn't have one - most don't. However, if they don't, you ought to lean on the pack committee to help in recruiting for your den. Things I'd do: - publicize to the pack and any attached troops & crews that you're looking for members to grow the den. Ask for their help
  12. Hi @rubixcube, As a former Troop Committee Chair - I'll add my .02 here. It sounds like you've got a troop that has been run by a certain group of Scouters for a very long time. I'm guessing that yours, and many other families, have relied on them for many years to make many hundreds of decisions. I'm guessing that as a whole the families have been happy to have their time and leadership in support of the Scouts. Now you've got a situation where you look at a significant decision and say "hmm. I don't like that one." You could go down the path of calling Council and trying t
  13. There's a Scouting Magazine from a few years ago on the BSA Congressional Charter: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2016/06/15/june-15-1916-woodrow-wilson-made-bsa-official/. In there are some quotes from President Woodrow Wilson: I have the utmost sympathy for those who suffered abuse at the hands of volunteers in Scouting. But, suing the BSA and driving it to the point of bankruptcy ends up harming the kids in our country. We can all sit around and bash national all we want, but fundamentally having Scouting from the Boy Scouts of America is a good thing for the youth o
  14. My deepest apologies for even suggesting that - it was an unintentional omission. I've been blessed and most fortunate to work with many female Scouters - both as volunteers and professionals. Our pack and troop leadership teams were probably 50% female and I was happy for that.
  15. Precisely. You pretty well just described how a district team should be staffed. It's unfortunate that somewhere along the way the idea developed that Scouters need to pick one or the other - they don't. As you point out, a district team shouldn't be a top down bureaucracy. The top of the Scouting hierarchy is the unit - the inverted pyramid. The district concept should really about getting those unit scouters to work together to improve Scouting across the community for unit level Scouts. For example. One thing a district does is organize a district camporee. Wouldn't the bes
  16. Investments are for the long term. The BSA will be here in 5 years, so we ought to get on with it now. There's a trend in many circles (not just Scouting) to look towards that central organization to fix things. Sometimes it works - but I just don't see it here. In fact, I think that's part of the reason for the decline in membership of institutions like this. Look at the DE position for example. We've got 1 DE for something like 50 units. Say all he did was focus on unit quality. He's at best going to be able to spend 4 hours per unit per month. What on earth could a fellow
  17. That's what happens today- but it's the wrong model. The district volunteers should be taking ownership for growing and nurturing their district. If a given district isn't doing that it's the fault of the district committee and it's chair. If all the districts in a council are not doing it, it's the fault of the council committee and president. If districts around the country are not, it's the fault of the national board and chair. We as volunteers rely too much on the professionals and it's wrong. We need to assume more ownership for this.
  18. I agree 100% on the first part. The single biggest threat to Scouting's membership numbers are the multitude of really anemic programs. But, I see it differently on the second. It's not the role of the BSA to shut down those programs. They can and should provide more than support, training, and reaources than they do to today. I've said before that one of the biggest failures of the BSA has been the way they have wasted the district concept. The districts are the front line of the BSA in improving unit quality. You want better quality units, you invest in stronger district teams.
  19. They are weighing their options. What would you have them say differently?
  20. As Mark Twain said "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." There are something like 2,000,000 youth enrolled in BSA programs today. Over 99,000 units as well . The BSA is far from being on it's last legs and it's demise is not imminent. Out district and others around us have seen growth in the last two years. It's convenient to say "the leadership of the BSA is incompetent." I would argue that if anything, the leadership of the BSA in the past few years has been bold and is showing leadership to build the organization and make it stronger." Yes the BSA is losing the LDS ch
  21. I think you're conflating issues here. Yes there are YPT rules. The point is that we shouldn't fall into the same trap we all describe the GSUSA of doing - assuming the women need to the leaders of troops with scouts who are girls. Aside from YPT rules, I envision a lot of fathers who are looking for ways to participate in the Scouting activities of their daughters. If my daughter wants to join a troop I'll volunteer.
  22. The promise of Scouts BSA isn't that there are outdoorsy mom that serve as Scoutmasters. It that it no longer matters that it's a male or female Scouter who serves as Scoutmaster. Scouts no longer cares what your gender is.
  23. Sounds great - very nice approach. I only made the suggestion because I've learned in my own scouting travels that Scouters come from so many different backgrounds that I've gotten a lot out of being flexible and always listening. Sure, often the conversations go nowhere. But sometimes I find there's a volunteer with some idea or energy that made the call worth it.
  24. I always stuck to God. I gathered it was the most transferrable between faiths. A way I've also seen this done is to pick prayers from different faiths from time. It seems like a nice way to share some different things with the scouts. You've just got to be careful to avoid @qwazse's "God Jesus" example. Another variant here is to ask around you pack and see if there are people from different faiths and enlist their help with a prayer from time to time. On the question of Lord. I was reminded that Lord is used in the Philmont Grace. That's about as close to a Scouting prayer as
  25. Our council has all 3 digit troop numbers and uses a system where a district or two share the same first numeral. I.e. all packs and troops in district Something are in the range of 100-199. I suppose a mix up could happen - but it doesn't seem terribly likely. If you had a conflict, someone would catch it quickly. I haven't heard of a rule about not sharing numbers in our council - but I doubt we'd see that rule. Our council doesn't seem to make a lot of rules like that.
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