Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by qwazse

  1. Speaking of universal values, all of Baden Powell’s published versions of the scout oath opened:

    On my honour I promise that I will do my duty to God ….

    In the context of his time, and with the role he played in the British empire, he chose a term that would not refer to the named deity of any particular religion. He might have also been familiar with “non-theistic” as a category that had begun to be first used in literature the previous century.
    The term “God” (yes, with a capital G) is not Christian. (Anyone who doubts that should invite their neihborhood Jehovah’s witness over for a chat.) It’s word origin is unkown, but likely was popularized by non-Latin pagan clans as a neutral term for whatever they and adjacent tribes considered to be supreme and removed from their lesser, more territorial deities.

    In other writings, BP made clear his opinion that a boy’s understanding of God is not encumbered with trappings of theology. My paraphrase of his essay on the subject (pardon me for being short on time to find the link): a boy approaches the world with awe and wonder. We should merely teach him to treat it as a gift for which tremendous gratitude is in order. As he grows he will then be prepared to adopt the offerings and obligations of his faith community.

    This resonated quite well across the British Commonwealth. How this got translated when it crossed the pond is another post (if I ever get around to it), but suffice to say that Continental Europe took it in different directions than did Americans.

    • Like 1
  2. 1 hour ago, Eagle1993 said:

    ...  How would an OA lodge in Pennsylvania have a relationship with a tribe?  ...

    Here in Western PA one camp maintains the the pow-wow grounds for a tribe, who in turn provide cultural opportunities for the boys in camp.

    Members of the Lenni Lenape regularly provide guidance on regalia.

    I'll let Pennsylvanians on the other side of the Appalachians provide examples of their interactions.

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 2
  3. 21 minutes ago, KublaiKen said:

    Is a non-theist the same as an atheist? (I mean theologically, not linguistically.)

    @KublaiKen non-theists and atheists do have different theologies. Non theism asserts that there are spiritual practices that benefit a person in some intangible sense without necessarily involving a deity. Atheists vary in this, but many assert that if the benefit is intangible, then the asserted effect does not exist. I.e., a person would be just as well off without it.
    This is why, in the first centuries, Christians were labeled atheists. They asserted that sacrifices to the pantheon (especially burning incense to Caesar) had no tangible benefit, and people were better off abandoning all such practices.

    • Thanks 1
  4. @AwakeEnergyScouter Note that part of your comfort with the way WOSM presents its awards may be because Scandinavian countries have a long track record of service at WOSM. They often set the tone. The BSA intentionally steps back from WOSM programming. That’s partly because the American scouters involved in WOSM did not want to have undo influence based on their position as the largest financial donor. Also, many of us in America see WOSM as a way to connect with our cultural heritage. (It’s very interesting to see my scouts at Jamboree seeking out scouts from the countries of their grandparents.) So, BSA’s representation at WOSM is aimed at bringing hat diversity forward as opposed to foisting our way of doing things on the rest of the world.
    The financial picture is changing — as is BSA membership, so I don’t know how that will affect WOSM going forward.

  5. 21 minutes ago, AwakeEnergyScouter said:

    … xennial mom who's a lot more worried about internet dangers than kidnapper dangers. We came of age right when the internet became ubiquitous, and we remember from our own adolescence the constant sexual harassment …

    Sounds like you are about my Son #1’s age. I prefer the term “post-modern nomads” for your generation. Many people criticized it, but as I meet parents from this generation (and their children), I am very positively impressed.

    I’m sorry to hear about the internet grooming that you endured. I wish that scouting was a better solution for it, but I fear that we are a generation away from best practices in a world of high speed communications. I think BSA’s youth protection has it backwards. Youth need the presence of multiple adults online. Before leaders were restricted from being social media friends with youth, I called out several abusive behaviors (by informing either to the youth themselves or their parents). Now that’s on the parents themselves.

  6. On the flip side, I have friends and relatives who fretted over my kids’ involvement in a program as secular as scouting. (Sending them to public school probably added to that drama.) I guess one of the reasons I am a scouter is to breath some air outside of the American Evanjellyfish bubble.

    I insisted to my kids that their Christianity didn’t mean squat if they couldn’t live it out among non-Christians. Such friends were welcome at our table. Now adults, they are in many ways less secular than I am. Their friendship groups have narrowed into predominantly Christian circles. That bothers me greatly.

    We consider Scouting to be a place where everyone’s religion is out in the open. “Scout’s Own” is a way to encourage that.

    • Upvote 2
  7. @AwakeEnergyScouter, it depends on the social class of your neighborhood. Being able to monitor your child at all times has become a symbol of wealth. Even if you’re not rich enough for someone to kidnap your pre-teen, you’re supposed to act like you are.

    That said, there are forces that prey on children. Distributors of marijuana, for example, benefit from users starting in adolescence. Therefore, they recruit teen dealers. Nowadays they don’t have to entice youth on street corners because the information super highway takes them right to their potential candidates’ bedrooms. The child with the slightest tear in social fabric may be vulnerable to this and a plethora of other ills. Kids know this, and many of my scouts are youth whose path to fun and adventure is freedom from that cycle.

    So another two-word reason:

    Substance independence.

  8. 15 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    Illuminates purpose!!

    Without a sense of purpose, life is meaningless and unfulfilling.  As Scouts mature, starting at about the 11-12 year mark, they seek this for themselves.  "Why am I here." 

    I contend that Scouting helps them find their way to answer this for themselves.

    I like @InquisitiveScouter’s proposition. The Rev. Rick Warren tapped into something similar with the very well received Purpose Driven Life. It seems that it’s not just young people facing this particular existential crisis. But the problem remains that, although it may be true of scouting, it might not be unique to scouting.

    I just had a SM conference for a scout who was up for 2nd class rank. I asked him what requirement he found to be the hardest. He said the ones about financial management. I later asked him about the one he enjoyed the most. He thought a moment and said the same ones about financial management. Although they weren’t fun at the time, there was a huge sense of pride and accomplishment.

    Now this is a mundane skill. No doubt the original trail-to-first-class requirement to know how to stop a runaway horse was mundane for its time. But learning skills that come with being part of a complex society are intrinsically fun. That probably has some something to do with illuminating purpose, but I think it has more to do with facing a world of chaos and knowing “You got this.”

    • Like 1
  9. 11 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

    I did not stay in Scouts,. so no Eagle, but I did earn Arrow of Light.  So I have the adult knot for AOL on my uniform. Its the only one I really care about  Also have the DL award.  I stick to what I can do for our Units and don't get worked up about how many awards I can show off.  Just not my thing.  There are some adults who just like to show the bling.

    I would encourage all adults to phrase their childhood scouting experience in the positive. E.g. …

    ”I stayed in scouts until earning Arrow of Light (or maybe a while after that?); therefore … “

    There are definitely knots that represent our proudest accomplishments and others that were more “picked up along the way.”

    2 hours ago, scoutldr said:

    My District had many awards available besides the District Award of Merit, such as "Cubmaster of the Year", "Scoutmaster of the Year", etc.  The problem was getting meaningful nominations.  Unless you went to Roundtable monthly, or the annual District Dinner, no one was aware of them.  I always bought my own service stars, as no one knew my extensive history in Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, and Scouter.  And in my observation, no one wore them anyway, so it was kind of a waste to purchase them with unit funds.

    This was my approach. It’s nice when someone reminds me of accomplishments, but I’d prefer a recognition card and the option to purchase the regalia should I want keep it.

    Personally, I’m not one for service stars because such pins have never stuck on my field uniform after a day or two of vigorous use. But, truth be told, I think they speak volumes more that rows of knots.

    • Upvote 1
  10. Regarding fun ... scouting should be fun. But, that doesn't address "why scouting?" That's because lots of things are fun. But many things that are fun are either extremely hazardous or utterly trivial.

    Fun is a by-product of skill mastery. Skill mastery in an ethical framework is fun with a purpose. Thus fun is not an end in itself, but a means of reaching those ends.

    • Upvote 1
  11. @JSL3300 it may be appropriate to consider other troops. Or, even other youth programs. I admire your son trying to turn the tide, and it is often possible for a scout to reset his patrol/troop culture. But, that depends on the SMs and ASMs intentionally supporting the scout's endeavors.

    There could be a back-story as to why this troop seems to be joyless. I am told that a scout is cheerful. If one is not leading cheerfully, then what is one doing? You might not be in troop leadership, but maybe you could find some time to chat with an SM/ASM about the troop culture. I personally really appreciate when a parent touches base with me about their scout's concerns -- be it troop life or something else.

  12. 2 hours ago, Double Eagle said:

    Here's more a question for those familiar with Summitt. I am taking a short drive as a guest visitor to the reserve during the Jamboree.

    Need some help identifying the "must see" portions of the reserve/jamboree.  I've attended jamborees at A.P. Hill, but I'm sure it's just not the same.

    I have a 6hr pass and want to see the best of the site.

    @Double Eagle because the attendance is much different than previous Jamborees, things will likely be configured differently. In any case, guests will have limited access to the facilities. (I'm assuming you're not a guest coming with a seven figure donation check.) So your "must see" will be limited to what you "may see." If the SBR staff have provided you with a list of the areas that guests will be able to visit, others here may be able to tell you what you should make priority.

    My impressions (comparing my youth at AP Hill vs. four years ago at SBR): whatever elevation change you recall at AP Hill, quadruple that! I don't think you'll have access to the orienteering course but AP Hill's was dells with holly thickets, and SBR''s was rocks with laurel thickets. The permanent buildings at AP Hill were military drab while those at SBR are almost shrine like.

  13. 16 hours ago, SSScout said:

    Greetings and salutations !  I personally have not heard of 90% of these awards.   The "Uniform Police"(tongue firmly in cheek) would wonder and wish the "offishul" reference that it is OKAY to wear these when earned on the BSA uniform.    COuld you verify that?   I would love to forward these on to my Scout here in Maryland.... 


    Rise up, oh insignia dorks!

    Here’s the official on Messenger of Peace: https://www.scouting.org/international/messengers-of-peace/

  14. Let’s be very clear. Reasons don’t have to be empirically based (although it helps when they are). Wether the policy was the result of speculation from experts in child development or risk-averse lawyers, it would be very nice to relay to parents when a policy was spelled out and by whom.

    • Upvote 1
  15. All of the above is why I advocate “forestalling death” vs. “having fun” or even “be prepared.” The latter are are scout-facing goals. Preparedness is a path to saving life. Fun is much more probable when survival is maximized.

    Mastering preparedness is its own kind of fun. But, that’s still an inward-facing answer to “why scouts.” If we want someone to sponsor a troop over many decades, that sponsor needs to know that what it’s doing is bigger than the sum of its parts.

    • Upvote 2
  16. @Benjamincook, welcome to the forums. Sorry it's on such challenging circumstance for your troop.

    Nothing personal with the SM, but somehow he violated parents' trust. We've now learned from history that for every 999 people who had one-on-one encounters with youth with no ill intent (and with many favorable results), there was someone who took advantage of that situation to prey on multiple scouts.

    Now, when adults in my troop "accidentally" find ourselves one-on-one with a scout, we promptly inform a scouter or parent of the encounter. Failing to do so sews mistrust in the troop. It can be very destructive. Sometimes, it shakes parents to the core. Even in situations where the parents are the abusers, none of us try to help the scout in the absence of other scouters. There's very little excuse for not doing so when everyone we trust is a mobile phone call away.

    Learn your lessons. Appoint a new SM. Get him/her trained. Make sure everyone goes over barriers to abuse from the Guide to Safe Scouting. Scout more wisely.

    • Upvote 2
  17. 6 minutes ago, Alec27 said:

    One of my Scouts is working toward his Eagle while on a special needs extension.  He is on our roster as a Unit Participant.  Can Unit Participants hold leadership roles and if so, do I enter them in SB in the normal way ?  His BOR date for Life was after he turned 18.  Does that affect anything with regard to Leadership Roles?  It hasn't affected his ability to advance...we can still add MB's, rank req's, etc.  It's the Leadership Roles I'm worried about for the potential of date conflicts between he as ScoutsBSA and Unit Participant.  Thanks All !!

    I would register the participant as an assistant scoutmaster. I had an ASM with special needs when I was a scout (long before that term was used), and he was great! Going from youth to adult positions of responsibility at age 18 used to be the default trajectory just a decade or two ago. And in the 50s and 60s, a few ASMs could complete their work for Eagle — often after their scouting career was interrupted by a deployment.

    This “unit participant” is new to everyone, and is used so that BSA can continue its half-century ageist policy of maintaining Eagle as a youth award. I take that to mean that while “unit participant” one can earn merit badges, perform service projects, camp, hike, and hold youth positions of responsibility. I think that would be especially true of special needs scouts.

    All the best to your scout. Let him know he has a stranger on the internet rooting for him!

  18. I’m confused at the first line …

    7 hours ago, Alec27 said:

    My troop has an adult leader ASM/MC/UAC …

    A fella can be the first one, the other two, but not all three. Now, we do have an ASM who logs advancement for us and chases Scoutbook bugs to ground, but in doing so frees up MC’s interested in advancement to catch when things fall through cracks.

    Like others said, you may have latitude to act, but doing so can foster hard feelings. Not just with the guy who you’re dismissing but with others who will not be as ready to fulfill roles because you might treat them the same way. Also, you’re not Teflon. The troop can ask the CO’s institution head to appoint a different COR.

    Frankly, if the committee is happy working with this guy, and this is his only hang-up, then let them have at it. There are more serious reasons to not want someone as your MC or ASM.

    • Upvote 1
  19. 6 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

    Love this... I'm gonna use it. 

    May I have permission to do so without citing the source or paying royalties? 😝

    As with all of my qwazseisms, you all may quote with the citation “Stranger on the Internet”

    • Like 1
  20. @InquisitiveScouter some councils and units have produced their own ILST. It’s a little more work to pick your flavor, but you might find a YouTube that suits you. But, not every scout needs ILST. Get a critical mass to do it over a weekend of games, and they will infect the others if you are an active troop. Also, video instruction might not suit the personality of the scouts who miss it. Don’t hesitate to share the syllabus with them.

    When my daughter had to read the ILSC syllabus because she was going to teach it, she asked, “Why didn’t you teach us this?”

    I bit my lip to avoid saying something unscoutlike in reply about their unwillingness to schedule a weekend for it.

    • Haha 1
  21. 6 hours ago, SiouxRanger said:

    So, time and again, I remind folks, "So we've found another jerk/slug/etc."  The world is full of them.  …

    The really good news is, if you do this long enough, you also meet people who will throw down a couple of Ben Franklins for no particular reason other than to help out your scouts. Keep those folks on your mind, and forget about finding salt for the slugs.

    • Upvote 3
  • Create New...