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Posts posted by Renax127

  1. I've thought about this several times.....

    my theory us scouters that have interest enough to put energy into it... going to round tables, training, and even reading this forum...

    we like the "game of scouting"

    we are either continuing from playing the game as a youth

    or we regret not playing as a youth and are enjoying it now.

    For many or perhaps most, the primary motivator is our sons, which may extend to the other boys

    but there almost has to be a piece of us that wants to play the game too.


    Baden Powell wrote that an important trait of a Scoutmaster is being a man-boy (or was it boy-man?)

    ....anyway, being able to relate to the boy.


    So what's wrong with that.

    Some boys go for the bling and strive for the advancement

    others don't, and just ride along with the patrol for the fun of it.

    Because I see the "look at my uniform and how much stuff I have" guys as being a major reason we can't have a boy led troop. The set the tone for the district, area, whatever and they strive to make themselves the most important thing in scouting. Beading ceremony or adult award at a Roundtable fine doing anything like that at a court of honor or any other boycentric event means all the adults care about is making sure they are the focus of attention. Which doesn't mean they are bad people just that they aren't in scouting to train future leaders they are in it to get a pat on the back from other adults.

  2. Not to worry... or should I say knot to worry, People must think I'm a hypocrite because I have a basic uniform and a bling uniform.  

    nah, I realize there are good guys with all the bling, I just haven't meet em in person yet. I do my best to reserve judgment on new people I meet but multiple bad encounters with the same type of people can quickly sour you on all similar people. 


    Also I too have had negative experiences with some folks looking at my uniform and seeing my lack of knots and beads, and not taking me seriously. I've been told I don't know anything about the program, I've been called a puppet mouthing what folks want said, and I have been ignored. All because I only wore 3 knots at the time.


    The only knot I ever turned in paperwork on was the Tiger know, which I wear. I've been on the receiving end of that attitude right there and it sort of cemented in me the desire to abstain from knots. 

  4. As much as I agree with the Free Range parenting thing a lot of that site is as much fear mongering as the "strangers are going to abduct and eat your kids using puppies" thing in the media, it's just how people are. We'll only lose the chance to take/let kids be outside if we surrender that ability.


    Wanted add, as much as I think the BSA is heading the wrong direction "my reports of it's demise have been greatly exaggerated" to paraphrase some old writer. 

  5. But is that really the BSA's fault? Yes, the program is switching away from the outdoors, and adding ridiculous rules about not using little red wagons, increasing the amount of adult supervision at all levels, and removing a lot of the adventure from scouting. But the BSA doesn't exist in a vacuum. It exists in a society that is increasingly driven by fear and hysteria. NJ is considering whether it is automatically considered child neglect to leave a kid alone in a car for a few minutes. Kids are not allowed to play outside by themselves. Carrying a pocket knife (or even having one in your car) can get you expelled from school or worse. And the fear and hysteria is getting worse, not better.


    As someone else pointed out, we now have the term "free range parenting (warning, that website can lead to depression)" to distinguish what used to be normal parenting from today's fear based parenting. The kids are inside playing video games because that is where the parents want them. And we want the BSA to allow groups of kids to go camping without adult supervision??? I wish it could, but in today's society everyone involved would be risking arrest and a legal nightmare.


    I think one of the spurs to STEM Scouts is that the BSA sees the writing on the wall. Twenty years from now, it will probably be effectively impossible (perhaps even illegal) to take a group of youth out camping.

    As much as I agree with the Free Range parenting thing a lot of that site is as much fear mongering as the "strangers are going to abduct and eat your kids using puppies" thing in the media, it's just how people are. We'll only lose the chance to take/let kids be outside if we surrender that ability.

  6. I personally find it a little weird that adults wear the uniform with all the bling. I just don't get wearing the uniform to round table, training etc, I just don't. Scouting is a youth program it always seems like adults are trying to relive something when they put on all the bling, beads etc.


    In addition to having mostly bad experiences with those guys and gals it feels to me like they are trying to make the program about them, though I believe (or at least want to) that plenty of good guys and gals are wearing all the bling. 

    • Upvote 1

  7. So the purpose mentions character traits and values with the lone exception of "to train them in scoutcraft".  Thus, the thrust is to develop character and instill values.  Scoutcraft would seem to be a method to accomplish those goals.  That then matches with the BSA Mission Statement, Aims, and the comments of Baden-Powell.  So STEM Scouts meets the Mission Statement, fulfills the Aims, and meets the standards of outlined in the Charter with the exception of the current interpretation of Scoutcraft.

    No STEM scouts does not meet that description, having an adult led class room doesn't teach self-reliance or to do thing for themselves. STEM Scouts can be a good program, sure but it isn't Scouting. We can argue this in circles all day so I'll stop there. Neither your argument for nor mine against is anything new, I'd bet that the same sort of discussion was around 100 years ago.


    Finally I've re-read my comments and it sort of sounds like I think the BSA has abandoned the outdoors, that isn't what I think. I do however think they are pushing the indoor safe program in all of Scouting and moving resources away from the outdoor program for all sorts of reasons. 


    So what is Scouting all about?  If we look to quotes from Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell:"Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end.  The end is character with a purpose.† 


    "Keep before your mind in all your teaching that the whole ulterior motive of this scheme is to form character ..."


    So the purpose of Scouting in general is character development.

    For the BSA, the Mission Statement is:
    "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."
    So Scouting is about values and character development.  
    He also said:
    “A fisherman does not bait the hook with the bait the fisherman likes, he baits it with the bait the fish likes, so it is with boys.â€
    Camping is a means to instill those values and character but not the only means.


    Sec. 30902. Purposes
    The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916.
    Wonder what "scoutcraft" means?

    That said I have no problem with STEM, Learning for life or any of that, in fact it's a good thing. It is however not Scouting and if that is the way the BSA thinks is the future then they should give up the charter and allow an outdoor/scoutcraft organization to be scouts. 

  9. Ultimately this debate has nothing to do with STEM Scouts or Learning for Life or Exploring or traditional scouting.  Ultimately, this debate is about the BSA's mission.  Are we an outdoor adventure organization for youth or are we a youth development organization? 


    The world has changed in the last 50 years.  The definition of family has changed, the definition of community has changed, there have been multiple rounds of disruptive technologies come and go, politics have changed, the demographics of the country have changed, parenting styles have changed (heck, what we used to call parenting is now called free-range parenting or some such drivel).  To assume the techniques and programs we used 50 years ago will still be effective today seems naïve.  Yet it is the default position that many people take in the face of change.  "We've been doing it this way for 100 years!  The process isn't the issue, we just aren't working hard enough!"  That works for a while but it won't last.


    Now don't get me wrong, we'll still catch boys with outdoor adventure and we should continue to offer the traditional programs.  But, the US population has almost doubled in my lifetime, which one might assume doubles our total target audience, yet membership continues to decline. Down by roughly 40% in my lifetime.   The business model isn't sustainable. 


    The BSA as an entity has to do two things to survive, get people to consume more of their existing product and expand their product line to develop new customers.  To exclude either is a mistake.

    All of that is pretty much what was happening back in the early 1900's, again none of this is new. As far as the Kodak thing well I'm not gonna bother with the search but there is more than one counter example. If the current business model isn't sustainable then maybe the BSA just needs to go away? 

  10. Renax127,


    I have a Venturing Crew full of youth who are interested in STEM but have little to no interest in the woods let alone the backcountry.  All children want to explore their world but increasingly that world involves technology derived from science and mathematics that has provided the fuel for engineers to create the new technology.  They have far less interest in the outdoors.  We have used STEM to get the youth involved and get them into the outdoors.  If we turn the paradigm around, we have no Crew because they do not want to join a primarily outdoor activity group.  STEM Scouts seems like the same hook - provide high quality STEM experiences with some outdoor activities.  It is likely that some of those youth will develop a love of outdoor activities.  However, they would never join a traditional Scouting unit.

    I'm sure some of them don't like the outdoors I've meet those kids too. And bar none it was the parents that didn't like the outdoors, once you can get mommy and daddy to let go or distract them and coax the kid outside they enjoy it. Now, my experience isn't universal and I don't mean it to be but the reason Scouts was started was to get urban kids into the woods, so this isn't new.   I have no problem with STEM, being an engineer but I think way too much of a kids life is already focused on what job they are going to do in the future, I don't really see the need for yet more 


    Finally if Scouting keeps trying to be the safe everything to everyone program it seems to be determined to be they might increase membership (I doubt it) but it really won't be Boy Scouting anymore. Let the other organizations that are better suited to it do STEM or whatever else, Boy Scouts is an outdoor program and we should stick to the core business.

  11. so you're gonna quit based solely on the new program?

    come on.... Really?


    almost 4,000 posts here, so i can tell you are an active scouter

    is it honestly that bad.... or is there some burn out or other things going on here?

    Sooner or later everybody hits there "i'm done" level it's just different for each of us.

  12. As ASM one cannot over-ride a well run adult-led program with any stupid ideas like boy-led or patrol-method.  I tried that for 13 years before just walking away to help a troop that wanted to be boy-led.


    If one wants boy-led, patrol-method EVERYONE from the individual scouts to the COR have to be on the same page all pulling in the same direction or it's not going anywhere.  Keep looking until you find one, they are out there.

    That's where I'm at. I just got there quicker :)

  13. Renax, when you read Scouting for Boys or some of the literature from the 40s, 50s, and 60s you kind of wonder what happened, right?  I have to admit, too, that the Baden-Powell Service Association in the US looks pretty good.  They are a small entity now but if you look at the photos they post--especially the Cascadia unit--you see young boys and girls doing pretty traditional Scouting.  Of course, those are just photos; we're not there to participate and witness first-hand how the program is being implemented.


    I have a strategy in my head for bringing our district back to B-P's model.  How about I give you a report in October?   :D

    I'd love a report I don't have much hope but hey, I'm wrong at least twice a day before I brush my teeth.

  14. So the youth of America are not very interested in the activities that the BSA has been offering otherwise there would not be continuous decline.  Yet despite doing everything better, the movement has not seen true growth in a long time.


    I simply haven't seen that boy are not interested in playing in the woods. I've found they are uninterested in yet one more group of adults telling them what to do and doing what is easiest for the adults not what the boys want to do. And no it isn't just a troop level issue more and more the folks at national are taking away the fun/adventure/learning part of Scouting. No wagons for Cubs, no battery operated screw drives for 13 year old scouts, not water guns no more patrols camping without an adult and heaven knows what else.

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  15. I'm having a sort of crisis of faith in the BSA right now. It just seems like the BSA is continually moving away from the adventure of outdoors and trying to just disallow anything that MIGHT have the possibility of injury. Well unless it's at one of their big camps. When 6 year old Daisy scouts can do more than an 11 year old Webelos the program has gone off the rails somewhere. Along with that the ridiculous amount of useless paperwork required, the old boys network that just isn't going away and all the politics at both local and national level has just about burned me out. MY inability to find a boy led troop for my son has also added to this, he's not particularly happy either right now. 


    Almost every organization eventually becomes more about maintaining the organization itself than whatever the original reason for existing was and I think the BSA is there or really close. I've been looking at the BPSA really hard for a couple of months now and while I'm not there yet it is definitely something I've been thinking about a lot. I don't want to leave the BSA, I think even with all it's faults it's sill trying to do what's right by the boys at least at the Troop level but if my son isn't having fun and it's just turned into another couple hours of school a week he's not going to want to stay. I'm just sort of torn right now, and yes I'll admit this isn't entirely about my son it's about how I feel about the troop too. But my son is not having fun at scouts. 


    In our neighborhood he's started what seems to me like what Baden-Powell was talking about originally a group of boys doing stuff together. They get together after school and on the weekends and go play for hours in the woods behind the house, and yes they all have Xboxes to play on. He's teaching the other 3 boys how to lash and tie knots so they can build a fort out there. How could the "sit in a folding chair and listen to the SPL drone on about whatever the SM has told him to for an hour while continually being interrupted by some adult" troop compete with that?

  16. OK, I get it: distressed community.

    Attending two meetings on the topic is not a Readyman requirement. Knowing the material on emergency preparedness is. I bet latch-key kids are more likely to need to use the material. It sounds like you had a feeling this kid knew the material, you were pressed for time, so you moved on. That's not letting the kid slide, in my book.


    In general, dens are a victim of a broken program. A den chief could review the material, or the boys in the den could get the boy who missed caught up. Neither is "by the book", but when you're gagging on a smore and that kid is first on the scene, you want that pin to mean something. And if there's an unrwitten strategy that makes it so, all the better!

    I'd have killed to have a den chief.  :) Our associated Troop couldn't or wouldn't provide one for whatever reason and the Cub Master didn't want to go outside that troop for political reasons I really didn't care about. 

  17. According to scientists they tend to agree that the universe of the natural started.  It has a beginning.  It is also limited by time and space.  Whatever it was that started it is not part, nor ever was part of this universe.  While religious people say it was this great unknown we refer to as God that started it, Atheists say, "No, there is no God and I don't know what it was that started it, but it wasn't God."


    Isn't that like saying, "You're wrong, but I don't know what right is."?

    Well yeah but why is that bad? It is entirely possible to know something is wrong while not knowing what is right. So you can say "I know rainbows aren't unicorn farts but I have no idea what they really are" to pick a silly example.  That's what science is or should be anyway, a continual process of finding out what something isn't until we arrive at what amounts to educated guess of what it is based on the available empirical data. Then next year we find out that nope that's not it 


    While I believe the universe was created I realize that only pushes the questions of "How'd we start" back one step, a divine being created the universe but where'd he/she/it? come from?

  18. Since when is not giving a kid an award a punishment?


    The point of setting aside meeting time is to give parents a space to spend time with their kid and his buddies. But, it may work for some parents to use a different space at a different time. If they miss your opportunity, they are on their own. That's precisely what I did with son #1 for a couple of requirments (one was to visit a police station ... had to do it on a different night). You award every kid (and parent) who gets it done.


    The boys who don't get it done, tell them to keep trying ... and maybe give the parents some ideas on how they can do it on their own.

    I think you missed something, the parents would NOT work with the boy at home, heck most of my parents couldn't even be bothered to lie and say the boy did the work at home. In 5 years not once did a single parent do anything at home with their son, despite my urging, explaining, begging, and providing supplies for them to do it. if I didn't do it with the Scouts it didn't happen. I spent plenty of my own money to go pick up boys and transport them, cover their dues, etc. And while I'm sure that's not a good idea to some, for the boys I had it was needed. Did it work for all of the boys, nope but it worked for one that really needed some help and now he's in Boy Scouts and loving it, we still talk on the phone regularly and he comes to me for advice on all sorts of stuff. So far as I'm concerned I'd do it again.

  19. Yes, you do.  For a couple reasons:


    1) What does it teach the boy if he still gets the Readyman?


    2) What message does it send to the other scouts when Johnny Noshow gets his award when everyone knows he wasn't there?


    The parents screwed up.  Don't compound the error by rewarding the wrong behavior.  It sucks for the one kid that his parents are deadbeats, but it doesn't create an excuse to skirt by.

    Again I don't give a single fig about the parents and they are the ones not doing their job, the boy has no say in when or what time he shows up. Boy Scots is different but in Cubs the boy moves along whether he does the work or not, i.e. he'll be a be a Bear/Boy Scout next year. For me it was a simple matter of will not giving the badge lead him to Boy Scouts or not. If I thought it would have encouraged the parent (the boy worked his but off when he was with me) to do something different I would have done different things but it wouldn't have.


    I get the argument about not earning the badge/pin, heck I agree, but in the end that to me is less important than providing a boy that might very much need it a different perspective on life than he might be getting at home. I can't do that if he's not there so if that means letting something slide to have more time with a boy I'll do it. As a Cub leader it was not my job to protect the sanctity of an award it was my job to provide a positive role model for a lot of boys from single parent families that might be in some REAL crappy situations. It's the same for Boy Scouts but there I have little to nothing to do with deciding if a boy advances, excluding merit badges where I follow the requirements to a tee, that's up to the other Scouts. 


    As always individual situations will vary and in a different Pack I probably would have done things different.

  20. To clarify my original question, I was referring more to the doing of all the requirements versus the quality of what is done.  I totally get the do your best standard, but I'm talking about how closely others follow the stated requirements.  For example, the Bear Elective for Weather has the following two items:


    1. Learn how to read an outdoor thermometer. Put one outdoors and read it at the same time every day for two weeks. Keep a record of each day's temperature and a description of the weather each day (fair skies, rain, fog, snow, etc.).
    2. Build a weather vane. Record wind direction every day at the same hour for two weeks. Keep a record of the weather for each day.

    We had a den do a den meeting where the kids learned about reading a thermometer and built rudimentary weather vanes.  The kids were given full credit for completing these items without any need for the two week record keeping.  I have an issue with that and it has nothing to do with do your best.

    Yeah that's a little different don't skimp on requirements just because.


    However in Cubs and Webelos sometimes it's hard to make the call parent assistance is required to quite a  few requirements (maybe not in the new Trail) if they are really to be fulfilled at home. In my experience that's the sticking point for a lot of the boys to fully complete stuff. Fer instance lets say, I set up Readyman two weeks in a row and make sure the parents know it's important that the boys show up both weeks, yet a couple still missed. Then despite me setting up time to be at a meeting early WITH the parents they never show up early for make up. So do we punish the boy because the parents can't bother to keep a commitment? 

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