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Posts posted by ParkMan

  1. We've noticed in Cub recruiting that a certain segment of the population - when they become aware of Scouting, it likely to check it out.  I suspect that we'll see a robust membership year next year because those kids that were predisposed to it this year will simply wait it out and try next year.

    I would not worry too much about the doom and gloom right now.  Of course kids are not participating and joining when the units are not able to do traditional Scouting

    • Upvote 1
  2. 15 minutes ago, PACAN said:

    Cynic....not suggesting organizations don't have fixed costs or staff should work for free.   

    Companies need to review their fixed costs as well especially when they lose 35% of their customers.   Downsize their footprint of office space for example.  A solid business case analysis is certainly  appropriate which should include all the resources properties, reserve requirements etc.    you are not going back to the funding levels of even three years ago and if you try and spend your way out, there will be for sale or auction signs at your camps.

    It's probably worth noting that program fees are a proportionally smaller part of council budgets.  If, for example, you have a council with 10,000 scouts and each is charged $50.  That nets a council about $500,000.  A council of 10,000 scouts is probably carrying a budget in the 3-4 million dollar range. 

    When you start looking at council spending, you see things like:

    • direct event expenses
    • staff
      • administrative staff (SE, treasurer, registrar, office staff)
      • marketing staff
      • fundraising staff
      • field support staff (DEs)
      • camp staff
    • camp facility expenses
    • office space
    • fixed overhead (electricity, heat, copy paper)

    When membership numbers shrink, I think councils have to start looking at how they do things.  Some stuff you cannot get rid of - i.e. you have to pay for electricity.  Some stuff you can.  Some stuff is strategic (camp expenses) whereas some stuff might not be.

    • Upvote 1
  3. 40 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    I will say this about all of these "council is evil/kill off the councils" views.

    I actually sat down with a) a copy of the latest budget and b) a copy of my council's IRS 990 form.

    I was happy to see that my council is thrifty with its money.

    I am simply sick at the number of people who simply want to mindlessly hate council (they are HUMAN BEINGS for pity's sake) for that sake alone.

    I'm not sure if that was in response to my posts.  But, if so - let me clarify.  I am not anti-council nor am I anti-professional.  I like most of what my council does and I consider many professionals dear friends.  I simply believe that we have to be willing to be open to new ideas.  I believe we also have to be willing to trust our volunteers.

    The world have become so much more connected and networked.  We've seen all kinds of transformations in how we all work and live.  Goodness, even with Covid I've now been home for 9 months and my work has barely missed a beat.  

    I hope that councils and professionals endure.  I just think we have to be receptive to new ideas and new approaches.  I'm not going to suggest that we throw it all out - but I am going to suggest that we be willing to look at new ideas and try them. 

    I think a lot these days of Sears and Amazon.  Back in it's day, Sears was the Amazon of the time.  They had a great catalog and people could order all kinds of things they needed.  But, over the years Sears became beholden to it's processes and ways of doing business.  Along came Amazon who basically did the exact same thing Sears used to do - but with a fresh perspective.  Today, Sears is all but gone and Amazon is dominating retail.  I think there is a lesson in there somewhere - but am not sure what yet...

    • Upvote 1
  4. 3 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Are you suggesting that councils operate in the same territory?

    So, this amounts to councils being nothing more than paperwork machines? That a bunch of volunteers will create their own "council" that will be open to anyone, anywhere to just rubber stamp paperwork?

    Yes - you are correct in understanding the idea.  It might be volunteers, it might be someone who is looking to make a small business out of supporting units.

    Again - I'm not specifically lobbying for this idea.  Yet, when you start looking at different models for supporting units ideas like this could emerge.  We see increased competition like this is all kinds of other walks of life.   Further, today it really isn't all that necessary for a council to be local anymore.  In my council more and more things are being done by Zoom.  What if everything was done by Zoom?

  5. 3 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    And what precisely do you think the bankruptcy is going to do? Magically make it so councils operate for free? That staff will never have to be paid anymore?

    The fact is that so long as councils exist, they will need to pay for people.

    Unless you are one of those who believe that all of Boy Scouts of America should be entirely volunteer led, that means money.

    While I am not at a point where I would lobby for any particular outcome - but I think things could become more creative.

    One possibility could be the end of monopoly status for councils.  This could result in small, enterprising councils in remote locations offering an online only Scouting support model for units for a nominal fee.  Units would purchase awards through such a council and submit advancement reports.  But there would be no local infrastructure - no districts, no local offices to fund, no fundraising teams, and no local professionals.  This would result in units being able to pay a fee of a few dollars per Scout per year to said council.  In return, that little council would fund itself through scale and efficiency.  A few people in a back office could handle all the forms and advancement for 100,000 scouts.

  6. The question I keep asking myself is what kind of value could a council provide and demonstrate for a $50 program fee.  This is particularly challenging in light of the sheer amount of volunteer hours that are contributed at the district & council level.  On my list:

    • maintain free access to council camps.  This is a clear, tangible value to units.
    • free or minimal fee participation in district and council programming.  Camporees, day camps, etc. ought to be subsidized.
    • free training for volunteers.  
    • free rank awards.  Yes - this is a national item, but basic advancement could be free of charge.
    • improved customer service.  If you have an issue with your Eagle application, etc. there ought to be a clear path to resolving that.

    I'd welcome others.

    My sense is that it would be good for councils to more clearly delineate budgets items between growing scouting and supporting members.   Use fundraising to pay for membership drives and advertising.  Use fundraising to pay for new unit development.  Use program fees to pay for supporting current members.

  7. 2 hours ago, ProScouter06 said:

    Revenue is necessary to operate the council. Every event must make some money in order to operate the council. We usually had a 20% overhead fee. Think about the costs that are unseen. Staff time, facility usage etc... If not, where would the funds come from? Fundraising does not cover it all. I was so glad to hear that local councils are now charging program fees rather than investing in more FOS. The time and effort for FOS spent on by staff is unreal compared to the return. I like the idea of the program fee. However as a current higher ed fundraiser, councils cannot lose philanthropic support. They will need a new game plan to solict, cultivate and steward their donors. The good news is, the fundraisning program can become more targeted, aimed at those who have a high inclination to give rather than the current FOS strategy which was seen by some folks as begging. 

    I agree that program fees are preferable to FOS.  Yet, we need to recognize that program fees need to be accompanied with tangible value add from the council.  Charging a Scout $50 per year to fund council operations need to then be accompanied with some sort of obvious return on that fee.

    One of the challenges with the transition to program fees is that the funding structure is designed to show value to people who donate to Scouting.  DEs and staffs who are focused on building and growing Scouting are working to accomplish goals that are interesting to people who are donating to Scouting.   

    Families who are paying a "per scout" fee are looking for a different kind of return.  Paying $50 to fund a DE who is trying to start new units and solve unit issues is adding a return that is not directly apparent to parents.  From a program fee basis, it doesn't matter if there is one scout or 1,000 scouts.  Each scout needs to derive value from that fee.  This will challenge how councils communicate and demonstrate value to families.


    • Upvote 3
  8. SE compensation is not the issue with the council structure we have today.  I am not supporting the current SE salaries.  SE salaries become yet another example that people point to as an issue of council mis-management, but it is not the primary cause.  If people were happy with the council operations the complaints would be less.  Since people are unhappy, SE salaries become as example that we point to.

    Shrinking SE salaries will only serve to remove that specific complaint - it will not resolve the core concerns.

    • Upvote 3
  9. 10 hours ago, ProScouter06 said:

    Interesting tone to this thread. Certainly sounds like everyone’s experience has been a mixed bag as it relates to the volunteer/professional relationship. Too bad since we all wear the same uniform and should all be focused on the same thing, a quality program for youth. When we’re all working toward that goal in our respective positions from the scoutmaster to the committee member, from the DE to the den leader and from the camp cook to the cub master. No ones perfect, there are great examples of each of these people and bad examples too. Of course if you’re jaded, you’ve been poisoned with implicit bias that will only seep out to effect others, right?

    As a former professional, I can remember the bias I felt from many volunteers. It was as if I had done something wrong for choosing to work for the scouts. To me, as a young working professional this left a lasting impression that has stayed with me as I ventured into new careers. It taught me hard lessons about people and what kind of treatment to expect, in work and in life. On the other hand, I also remember the kindness shown to me by the volunteers I worked with. Lifelong friendships were formed. People I still exchange Christmas cards with. By some volunteers I was shown incredible kindness that I’ll never forget. 

    You too sound like a remarkable professional and I thank you for your service.

    I regret that you felt animosity from volunteers.  There is something in the Scouting program in the past 25 years (and maybe longer) that has setup many adversarial relationships.  It's not just volunteers and professionals - it's within the volunteer ranks too.

    I have a several friends who are professionals through my years as a volunteer.  There are good people and bad people in any role - volunteers, professionals, you name it.  The good people you cherish, the bad people you tend to ignore.


    10 hours ago, ProScouter06 said:

    Bringing this back to the discussion. The fact of the matter is that, in reality, the DE, the staff, the organization is necessary to be sustainable and to grow. The BSA learned this many years ago. Would it be great if we didn’t need the professional organization and could rely on volunteers? Of course. But that’s not the reality whether we like it or not. We struggled ten years ago trying to find more volunteers, quality volunteers. I’d imagine it’s the same if it harder in today’s atmosphere. Two examples come to mind that I experienced that speaks to the need of professionals. 

    This is open for some discussion.  

    First, I don't think many people have a concern with professionals in roles such as fundraising, camp property management, marketing, and accounting. 

    When the professionals start to move into roles where they take on similar responsibilities to volunteers, then there become questions.  Does the DE role, as it exists today - add enough value that it is worth the financial expense?  Is the impact of professionals overstepping their boundaries and directing volunteers at the unit/district/council level worth the value that this direction brings?  I believe there is a lot of room for debate and discussion on these points.  

    On your two examples:

    10 hours ago, ProScouter06 said:

    1) I walk into a cub scout rally night to visit, offer help, greet new families etc. the cub master whom I did not know well walked up to me upset about something I cannot remember what, and she quit.

    That sounds like a poorly run unit.  Having unit volunteers and families have to pick up the pieces from a moment like this is how they grow as a team.  Having an outsider step in and take over make ameliorate the immediate situation, but it doesn't fix the underlying issue.  As a former Pack CM & CC, I would rather the unit have failed and learned the lesson.

    10 hours ago, ProScouter06 said:

    2) This speaks to the argument that commissioners can and do all the things the DE does. I had a commissioner attend a pack meeting. Older gentleman, nice guy but rough around the edges. Well,  he yelled at some cub scouts for not saluting properly during a flag ceremony. Kids quit and I had to deal with the fall out. The commissioner didn’t not lose his role, since we needed more volunteers not less. He wasn’t exactly a great brand ambassador. Without accountability he kept volunteering. 

    Similar point here.  The district commissioner staff needs to learn from this.  The unit needs to learn from this.  Unit commissioners are our ambassadors and coaches to the unit leaders.  Having DEs prop up a poorly functioning unit commissioner system reduces some of the immediacy of the problem, but it doesn't resolve the issue.

    I would encourage us not to think whether a unit commissioner and do some of the job functions of a DE, but instead to consider why we have DEs doing the job functions of commissioners.  

    10 hours ago, ProScouter06 said:

    Instead of contempt, or distrust, we should be thankful there are people willing to work in a non profit, underpaid, and overworked for the benefit of an organization we all believe in that will impact the lives of our children.

    Again - thank you for your service.  I support having professionals, but I think we need to be open to thinking about how they best add value and leverage those skills.  

    • Thanks 1
  10. 4 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    When I first met our new council SE, in conversation I asked him what his biggest headache was.  He said (closely paraphrasing), "Volunteers who think that when they put on the uniform, they are equal to me."

    I knew right then we were headed down the road to dysfunction...and I have not been wrong these last five years.

    Scouting is a very funny enterprise.  As a professional, the SE is not that senior a position.  I've got numerous volunteers in my unit and district who are more accomplished professionally than our SE.  Yet, the organization is setup to treat the SE like they are a high level politician or dignitary.  The same is true with the council president.  It strikes me that some humility and understanding of servant leadership in these roles is a good thing.

    I'm constantly reminded that we are all here as servants of unit level Scouters.  I think a SE and DEs who recognize this are an asset to their profession.

    • Upvote 4
  11. 3 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Yes the MBC  system is screwed up on a variety of levels.

    First and foremost is that MBC is a district/council POR with the MBC having the option to limit to a unit. Units should NOT be having folks in their system a

    Second if you had a working advancement committee, they should be the ones tacking down the MBCs, making sure they are registered, keeping accurate lists, etc It was only when my wife was adding a MB with council that she discovered she was not registered again. Also they are the ones that are the  to make sure folks have the credentials to do the MB instead of  anyone with a pulse.

     Third, BSA;s IT systems have a history of being useless. Look at all the problems currently going on. Add to the fact that some areas of the country do nothave reliable internet, and you got units who won't or cannot use BSA's systems.

    I'd be up for a simple registration database.  Any unit can sign anyone up as a MBC.  They go into the database, and any Scouter in the district can see the list and contact them.  Checks and balances are done through things like YPT, background checks, and completion of training for the position.

    The district committee may choose to do some work to recruit more or to encourage those whose registration is about to lapse to continue - but I think they days of volunteers maintaining lists can be behind us.  

    I don't doubt that the BSA's IT systems are weak.  As a volunteer I'm happy to communicate my needs and hope that they'll come around to eventually sorting it out.

  12. 2 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

    I am inclined to agree with you.  The only apparent purpose of the presumed lessor-lessee option is to handle the liability issue and not to distance a unit from a religious affiliation.  I have my Troop as an example.  If our Episcopal Church CO was to somehow opt into this new arrangement at some point in the future (maybe at the insistence of a Diocese official?), it would not change our programmatic activity or relationship with the church at all.  The parish leadership and members love us and the Scouts admire them greatly in return.  The Bishop attended our very first gathering and dedicated the unit into existence.  In our case the shift would be simply regarded as a change for business reasons and it would hardly be discussed.  I don't think it would change our Troop's culture of "Duty to God".  I understand there are other potential impacts of such a shift related to unit-council matters, but those potential impacts are being well-discussed on the other thread.  

    It sounds like we have a similar perspective on this.  One of the strengths of the BSA structure is the ability to tailor individual programs to the needs of specific local communities.  The ability of a community of Scouts and Scouters to tailor the application and depth of the Duty To God component is an example of that.  I hope that this accommodation for liability reasons does not impact that in the slightest.

    I do believe this is where the Commissioner teams will need to be active in encouraging those units who make the ownership transition to continue a "hearts and minds" connection.  While I have no doubt that there are some COs who very seriously uphold all aspects of the CO agreement, I do believe the vast preponderance would be happy to continue to consider a unit meeting at the CO a part of their ministry- regardless of the technical ownership.

    • Upvote 1
  13. 6 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

    Will “renting” impact “duty to God”?  

    A separate thread is currently discussing the apparent development that churches will now have the option to discontinue their chartered organization relationships with Troops in favor of a more-distanced lessor-lessee relationship.  Te practical and relationship discussion of this should continue on that other thread. However, from a cultural perspective, this presents an issue.

    If a Troop is a “renter” and no longer part of a church’s program, how will this impact the “duty to God” aspect of Its program?  Does this present a bigger issue across the Scouting movement?


    It shouldn't.  Too much is made of the ownership issue here.  Whether the CO is the technical owner or an informal organizer, it really shouldn't matter too much.  If you troop meets at a location, it would be good to integrate into that community.  So, it really shouldn't matter at all who provides the legal ownership of the unit.

    In fact, the BSA should make this ownership question one of merely enforcement of YPT and training rules.  

    • Thanks 1
    • Downvote 1
  14. 17 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    You are correct. ParkMan observed his DE directing (Micromanaging) committee Chair level volunteers to do specific tasks that they should be delegating to members in their committee.

    Even as a SM, I spent 50% of my time working with my staff to insure they understood our vision and were trained for their position. The CC did the same.

    A District Commissioner should know the heartbeat of the district by the monthly (bimonthly) reports from the DCs. If the DE knows of unit problems before the District Commissioner, that is a red flag that something isn’t working as trained. Or supposed to be trained.

    There is a training curriculum for District Chair positions. Maybe that is a problem area.


    I see what you're saying.  I misunderstood.  Sure - maybe it's just us,

    I'd just wrap the conservation on this point to say that I think this expectation that the DCs report to the DE is a mistake.  The DCs report to their council counterparts.  When the pros have to (or even can) step in then it weakens the need for volunteers to step up.  I suspect that we are seeing lots of cases where the professionals have assumed too more responsibility for the work in Scouting, creating an unsustainable model.  When I was in a DC role, I was ready to walk away from it simply because I got tired of being told what I should or should not worry about by the DE.  I much more thoroughly enjoyed being a Troop CC than I did a DC.

    • Upvote 2
  15. 18 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

    You are assuming your DE was doing his job as designed. Maybe we should look at the DE job description before realigning what your are observing from your DE.


    I did.  cburkhardt posted it:

    9 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

    Principal Responsibilities

    1. Work with a volunteer board of directors and other community and business leaders to identify, recruit, train, guide, and inspire them to become involved in youth programs.
    2. Achieve progress towards specific goals and objectives which include: program development through collaborative relationships, volunteer recruitment and training, fundraising, membership recruitment and retention.
    3. Be responsible for extending programs to religious, civic, fraternal, educational, and other community-based organizations through volunteers.
    4. Secure adequate financial support for programs in assigned area. Achieve net income and participation objectives for assigned camps and activities.
    5. Recruit leadership for finance campaign efforts to meet the financial needs of the organization.
    6. Ensure that all program sites are served through volunteers, regular leader meetings, training events and activities.
    7. Collaborate with adult volunteers and oversee achievement of training for their respective role.
    8. Be a good role model and recognize the importance of working relationships with other professionals and volunteers. The executive must have communication skills and be able to explain the program’s goals and objectives to the public.
    9. Provide quality service through timely communication, regular meetings, training events and activities.
    10. Have a willingness and ability to devote long and irregular hours to achieve council and district objectives.

    I read this as a lot of volunteer oversight and management.  Am I wrong?

    EDIT: Further, the job description is raise money, grow membership, & oversee volunteers.  This seem undoable in a large modern district.  We've all been remarking about that for years now.  Why not take a step back, focus the job on the highest value add areas, and then trust and enable volunteers to do the rest?

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  16. 40 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    As to the comment on the document itself, I agree the job requirements have become overly expansive and no longer suggestive of a “fun” career.  


    1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

    Maybe it is possible that the concerns of Eagledad and Parkman might be partly addressed by the downsizing of Scouting that is going to take place next year in most places.  

    I have some good friends who are and were DEs.  As such, I recognize there is a role for professionals.  My sense is that as the job description has become broader and many of the responsibilities of volunteers transferred to professionals it is reaching the point of unsustainability.  I think, for example, our DE for 75 units is spending 50% or more of his time just dealing with fires and another 25% responding to SE requests.    This leaves only 25% for his strategic responsibilities.

    As a district/council volunteer - I see it now.  The DE comes to a meeting to tell the District Chair what he needs to do for the budget or to tell the District Commissioner what meeting a UC needs to go to.  A unit calls with a complaint and the DE visits.  In my mind, these efforts are largely duplicating "the easy stuff" of being a senior district volunteer.  Our District Chair is a seasoned executive - I don't think the DE really needs to tell him how to write a budget.   Out District Commissioner a seasoned volunteer - I think he can handle some unit support

    As a result of all of this, the DE probably only has about 25% of his time to really focus on the core value add of his role.   So when a DE only has a couple of days a week to focus on building the district, what can he meaningfully do?

    My proposal is to refocus the DE role.  I would like to see a realistic job description for the DE that is achievable by an early career employee in 40 hours a week.  Assume the following:

    • The District Commissioner and District Chair are prestige jobs
    • There is a 50% staffed district committee
    • The average DE supports a district of 2,000 scouts and 75 units.
    • Each scout, or average, contributes $15 a year towards the salary of the DE.

    With those basic facts - realign the position.



    • Upvote 1
  17. I very often wonder how many of our issues at the district & council level are due to the loss of skills in our district volunteers.  

    Unit service to me is a great example.  Ideally, we have a person who can help units solve problems and be successful.  Perhaps that person is in the unit.  Perhaps it's someone in a district or council.  Perhaps it's a volunteer or maybe a professional.  Scouting for a long time has tried to have this person be a district volunteer.  Then, when it got hard to recruit, we started looking to the DEs to do this work. 

    Today, we are lucky is we have one DE for every 75 units.  One person cannot get to know 75 units - it's impossible.  Yet, we've pretended that this is exactly what we are doing.  In the process, we've got district commissioners who do not know how to recruit unit commissioners.  We've got council commissioners who have no idea how to help district commissioners do that. 

    Our unit service infrastructure has been so neglected that we've got units that don't get basic coaching and mentoring.  I suspect that if we stopped having DEs do this, we would eventually start to figure it out.  Why - because we have to.  Volunteers would be sitting around asking themselves "who can go talk to Pack 1234?".  Today it's too easy to just send over the DE to apply a band aid.  Today it's too easy to give lip service to finding a UC to do it.  However, if we really had to make it work, we would start to find a way.  Would lots of units fail - of course they would.   But, I think we would start to find a way.  

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 2
  18. 51 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    DE Job Description


    After a close read, it seems to me that one task in the DE job description volunteers might not want to embrace is the fund raising component.  If this function were centralized in a different position, the remaining program elements might be done by volunteers.  In that case we would need a significantly invigorated volunteer staff at the district level.  This would require a bigger time investment than folks are used to.



    As I looked through the job description, just about everything there is already done by volunteers. 

    I do see that in some of these are some items around membership.  If there was a reduced need to fund DEs, I could also see a reduced demand to grow membership.   If Scouting membership is largely a function of interest - then he pressure to grow membership at all costs could be reduced.

    3 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:
    • Work with a volunteer board of directors and other community and business leaders to identify, recruit, train, guide, and inspire them to become involved in youth programs.
    • Achieve progress towards specific goals and objectives which include: program development through collaborative relationships, volunteer recruitment and training, fundraising, membership recruitment and retention.
    • Be responsible for extending programs to religious, civic, fraternal, educational, and other community-based organizations through volunteers.
    • Ensure that all program sites are served through volunteers, regular leader meetings, training events and activities.
    • Collaborate with adult volunteers and oversee achievement of training for their respective role.
    • Be a good role model and recognize the importance of working relationships with other professionals and volunteers. The executive must have communication skills and be able to explain the program’s goals and objectives to the public.
    • Provide quality service through timely communication, regular meetings, training events and activities.
    • Have a willingness and ability to devote long and irregular hours to achieve council and district objectives.

    I agree - these are more appealing to someone paid to do them

    3 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:
    • Secure adequate financial support for programs in assigned area. Achieve net income and participation objectives for assigned camps and activities.
    • Recruit leadership for finance campaign efforts to meet the financial needs of the organization.

    Yet, if we are not paying DEs, I sense this could be a more focused effort to pay for camps and other central resources.  A few paid fundraising professionals would likely be more financially successful for a council to employ here.


    • Upvote 1
  19. 13 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

    Volunteer District Executives?

    Some councils will greatly downsize their professional staffs -- many already have.  A broadly-held opinion that emerged from posts this spring was a preference that unit-serving executives be prioritized.  My unscientific observation is that preservation of DE functions has in fact been a priority as councils have adjusted their staffs, but we can reasonably assume there will be fewer DEs who will be asked to cover more units.  I think there are volunteers who would be willing to serve in a new role as unpaid (perhaps expense-reimbursed) executives.  Such roles could be right-sized depending on volunteer time availability.  Interested retirees might give a couple of days each week.  The management side of Scouting could and should shift more to volunteer engagement.  I think there would be a lot of long-time BSA volunteers willing to consider a significant cultural change like this.

    We're quickly approaching the point where we have to start asking - what is the true value add of the DE role?  If we have 1 DE per 100 units, what does that person do?  If we have volunteer DEs with only a fraction the bandwidth, what essential services do they provide that a District Chair or District Commissioner (and their teams) do not?

    • Thanks 1
  20. 1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Depends upon the skills being taught. First aid will be a big deal. Lifesaving and BSA Lifeguard will be major deal as you will not be able to do several of the requirements, and if they do not know those skills, it could kill them.


    I would simply offer that there will always be reasons to not do anything.  Or perhaps in the case of certain badges a higher level of supervision is required.  In either event, it doesn't seem an insurmountable evolution of how youth and adults relate to each other.  

    I think of these situations something like a mixed gender environment.  As an adult male, I would be exceedingly hesitant to ever put hands on an a female.  Not so much because of lawsuits or allegations- but simply out of respect for personal boundries.  I would look for alternative approaches to demonstrate techniques or skills that historically would have been done through physical contact.  I don't think this is a big deal in the slightest and have considered things like this all my adult life.

    In fact, as a Scouters I cannot remember ever physically touching a scout.  It's not something I've avoided- I just really cannot remember ever having a reason to do so.


    • Upvote 1
  21. While I'm normally one to postulate what might be coming, I have a hunch that now is a difficult time in which to predict the future.

    No touch policies just seem to make common sense to me at this point - regardless of lawsuits, insurance, or the like.  Yes, it will make teaching a very small number of things more difficult - but it's not that big a deal.  In 2020, I think we all understand personal space and can recognize not to invade it.  And yes - there will always be common sense exceptions such as a parent touching their child.

    As for Scouting looking drastically different.  Perhaps at the council/national level yes.  But not at a unit level.  I suspect that it will look pretty similar.  Sure professionals may go and camps may close - but those are not that bit an impact to most unit programs.

    • Upvote 1
  22. 2 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    I do not believe it has "run its course."  Rather, flip the script...Is there a need that Scouting fills?  Or better yet, in the big picture, What is the problem we are trying to solve with Scouting?

    This is in many ways the question that we are all struggling to answer.

    12 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    And millennials are apt to volunteer/sponsor/participate in a single program and then jump to another one in a matter of months. You cannot build a sustained organization like that.

    And in this I think we see that even millennials are looking around for an answer.  I'm also reminded that we are not even really marketing to millennials any more - we're targeting Gen-Z and increasingly Gen-A youth.  

    21 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    That, and the needed skill set for a 15 year old to succeed was not as great or complex as it is today, imho.


    20 hours ago, HICO_Eagle said:

    I would argue the skill set needed for a 15 year old to succeed in 1865, 1929, or 1941 was greater and more complex than today. 

    I think it would be a mistake for us to infer this.  The risk of death is certainly lower today.  However, the challenges to succeed are as great as they've been.  The skills kids have evolved for certain, but that doesn't mean that there are fewer skills needed.  If I look at my profession, we are as far from a hands on profession as you can get.  But, the skills needed by our young adults are high.  Further, the skills that are most needed are the same as they have always been - a sense of drive, confidence, resourcefulness, problem solving, team work, willingness to try, willingness to take risk.  There are the kind of skills that Scouting excels at helping a youth develop.  

    The outdoors is our game and it's a good one.  Getting kids outdoors is a great way for them to adventure, have fun, and build skills.  Perhaps in BP's day those skills were part of the purpose as they could keep you from dying.  But today, those outdoor skils are less necessary.  However, the other skills that Scouting excels at developing are indeed needed.  


  23. 22 hours ago, qwazse said:

    Dude, read the "Scouts in Action" pieces in Boy's Life. Those are just random samples from the numerous awards of merit because scouts retained their skills well enough to save someone's life. It's not about the scout forestalling his/her death (although that effect is possible), it's about him/her forestalling our death from a panoply of causes ... drownings, burns, infections from knife wounds, insect-borne parasites, venomous bites, food-borne illness, mishandled firearms.

    I'm not for a moment suggesting that Scout skills will not keep you from dying.   Ahh - I understand your point better now.  I think the whole lifesaving thing in Scouting is overblown - but that's just me.  Kids are all very different and join for different reasons.  Some for lifesaving skills, some to learn outdoor skills, some just for fun.

    I think back to your prior comment:

    On 11/24/2020 at 9:11 PM, qwazse said:

    But this is the critical distinction — the switch, if you will — that distinguishes BSA’s ascending first 6 decades from the declining latter 6: For a scout, what is rank (or as GBB put it in his handbook, a progress award)? 

    • a set of skills that enables one to overcome the challenges of life and even forestall death, no matter when and at what station one masters those skills.
    • a developmental track for teens and pre-teens to complement what they are not getting taught in school?

    I'm just one that thinks that Scouting today is more about adventure and challenge for youth.  The purpose is to prepare them for life, but it's the adventure and challenge that is the game.  Back in the first half of the 20th century, life for kids probably had a different sort of challenge than it does today.  Bad stuff was more likely to happen than it is today.

    It's like when I was a kid - we had an emergency kit in our care because if we broke down we might not get help.  Today we call AAA and someone is there within an hour to help us out.  There is just a different sort of support network today than there was back then.  Yet, my kids today are much more intune with the life benefits of exercise, fitness, etc. than I was at their age.  Why - because when I was a kid we had different life challenges to worry about.  That was the crux of my point. 

  24. 5 hours ago, qwazse said:

    @ParkMan why would I start a 15 year old at Star who hasn’t mastered 1st Class? If a 12 year old masters 1st Class, why withhold work on Star?

    But this is the critical distinction — the switch, if you will — that distinguishes BSA’s ascending first 6 decades from the declining latter 6: For a scout, what is rank (or as GBB put it in his handbook, a progress award)? 

    • a set of skills that enables one to overcome the challenges of life and even forestall death, no matter when and at what station one masters those skills.
    • a developmental track for teens and pre-teens to complement what they are not getting taught in school?

    If the former, then it might be important for an ASM or SM age 19 or 59 to secure that foundation. If the latter, then that person-of-a-certain-age should leave the finger paints on grandma’s fridge and go tag a trestle.
    My point is, the more we insist that the trail to Eagle is a “youth thing”, the more we will delude ourselves by creating requirements for the sake of youth development (EDGE, bean counting nights and service hours, bookwork MBs etc ...) that youth will more than happily abandon in order to fulfill a vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.

    I see no point in extending the age limit for that youth/adult boundary. Youth may be PLs etc..; adults, SMs etc ... there is something to be said for years of life lived defining your roles. And we now know that power relationships conferred by age can be greatly abused. So on that level, we are stuck with what we have.

    I'm not sure I'm following your point here.  In our society today it will be a hard argument to make that learning scouting skills will keep you from death.  While it is true, the prospect of someone leveraging these skills to save their life is 2020+ is very low.  In not saying it won't happen, but the spectre of death for most kids isn't something they think about.

    That not withstanding.  No system is perfect.   We started discussing people 18 and over in Scouting and so I shared how I see it working.  Lumping a 20 year old with a 12 year old and saying "go camp" isn't going to happen.  So, the only way to have a Scouting program for those over 18 is to have their own program.  If you're going to do that, it makes sense to have graduated levels like they do in the UK.  Is it perfect - nope.  Is what we have now perfect - nope.  It's just an idea. 

    Myself, in 2020, I'm game to take so e chances.  People are cruising Churchill because it's too safe - too traditional.  I agree.  So I'm willing to look at our core program, see what's working, and take some chances.

    But - I was wrong to start this conversation in this great thread on history.

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