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Everything posted by Rick_in_CA

  1. I don't think this has anything to do with how Boy Scouts are viewed specifically, but how young people are viewed in general. You are correct, liability is a big part of it, but so is the extension of childhood. For too many people, "young adult" no longer referrers to 14,15, 16 year olds, but to 18, 19, 20 year olds. How many 13 year olds get gigs as babysitters now days? How many 13 year olds can't be left home alone without a babysitter themselves? How long before 18, 19 and 20 year olds are going to need "adult supervision"?
  2. To many people don't want to hear about "innocent" in situations like this. The issues around child safety (not just in the Scouting context) in our society are taking on the characteristics of a moral panic (just look at the craziness about leaving children in cars). So if this turns out to be a false accusation or some sort of miss understanding, it probably won't make the news (since news outlets are reluctant to report stories that will be unpopular with their readers or viewers). Even if it is reported, people won't internalize it. So the damage to Scouting's reputation is done regardless of the actual outcome. Look at some of the comments on this forum and elsewhere that basically take it as a given that the BSA was systematically negligent in the past with regards to child abuse issues. Why does this idea exist? I'm not sure, but I don't think it's a fair characterization. The reality is when compared with almost every other youth organization of the time, the BSA was ahead of the game almost it's whole history. The very existence of the "perversion files" is because the BSA was trying to deal with an issue that almost everyone else (4H, FFA, YMCA, etc) ignored. But it's the existence of those files that is one of the main reasons the BSA is getting hammered by lawsuits and 4H is not. Could the BSA have done better? Of course. But they were doing better than almost everyone else at the time. But that isn't the perception.
  3. The thing is we really don't know any of the details - we don't know the real circumstances of the events, or even what is being alleged. While it is likely that there were YPT failures, we don't know if there were any. The YPT rules while a significant barrier to abuse, they can't prevent all abuse. The reality is we really have no idea what happened if anything.
  4. The Civil War was fought over secession, the south the secure it, the north to prevent it. Secession however, was all about preserving slavery. How do we know? Because the south said it was. They published articles saying it. State legislators passed declarations saying it. The first states to secede sent representatives to other slave states telling why they should also secede. Those representatives said things like: "Georgia seceded for one reason, and one reason only. The preservation of slavery!" (can be found in the minutes of the Virginia convention where they were discussing secession. See the University of Virginia web site). The idea that the Civil War wasn't about slavery is revisionist claptrap, created by the south many decades after the war to try and "redeem" the "cause".
  5. I agree with you. It's all about context, and there is too much ignoring of context and the actual history around things. History is seldom black and white. Our historical heroes and villains were real people with all the complexity that brings, not cartoon characters. But context and nuance is hard, and cartoons are easy.
  6. Seriously? No Neil Armstrong? No Eisenhower? Really? Things may be a bit over sensitive today, but it's not even close to that. I am fine with renaming a council that was named after a traitor to our republic that was fighting to preserve slavery. (That should get things rolling... ).
  7. As for PR, I know many of the people on this board has seen it, but perhaps many of you haven't. This is from Scout South Africa, and this is that kind of advertising that the BSA needs.
  8. One problem with all this background checking is that many of these checks are done on the cheap. I have a friend that was given a copy of his background check when he started a new job. There wasn't anything bad in the check, but it clearly wasn't him (he never lived in Nevada for example, but he did live in Boston for years which wasn't mentioned) even though his name was on it. That is why most states require potential employers to provide a copy of any background check too you so you can check it for errors. I have another friend that used to carry a laminated letter from the local sheriff because he was repeatedly accosted by bounty hunters. He had the same name and DOB as a skipped felon from another state. The letter explained that he wasn't the individual they were looking for. He had a couple of very scary encounters with a few armed clowns, including a night spent in jail because one of the clowns refused to call the phone number on the letter because "he knows that trick!".
  9. It turns out navigating through the environment changes the brain, and depending on GPS changes it in different ways (parts shrink). https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14652
  10. Actually it does. Adults change the dynamics, no mater how quiet they are. Which is why the old BSA requirements and the modern Duke of Edinburgh Award require the trek be without adults.
  11. But sometimes the correct thing to do is go with the stranger - the child might be in a dangerous area or situation. The reality is that the classic kid snatched off the street by a pervert is really rare (some thing like 100 a year in the US. Most kidnappings of children are by family members involved in custody disputes). Kids are much more likely to be abused or killed by their parents or other relatives, hurt in car accidents, or even to suffer from a heart attack than becoming the next Elizabeth Smart. So why do we spend so much time and energy "teaching" kids about it (ok - because parents have a completely overblown fear about it)? Aren't we giving them an overblown sense of danger? There are unfortunately too many examples of fear of strangers leading to poor or even tragic results. Kids not going for help in emergencies or when they were in trouble because that would require talking to strangers. What young kids should be taught is, when they need help, go to the first person you see and ask for help. As I wrote earlier, it's all about context. We want to give our kids useful tools to function in a world that isn't always safe, without instilling unreasonable fears that will handicap them. Not always easy to do.
  12. Wow. I don't really know what to say about this. I agree with your point about more simulated real-world exercises, but practicing for such an incredibly rare occurrence such as stranger kidnapping? The amount of fear of strangers that is drilled into kids now days is not healthy. They are much more likely to need the help of a stranger than to be ever threatened by one. So how to do we teach them appropriate caution with strangers without instilling in them a constant fear? If it was my kids that and an event like that was scheduled, I think I wouldn't let them go (of course, context is everything).
  13. It can be found here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-04-17/boy-scouts-are-just-scouts-now-and-that-s-making-girl-scouts-mad And I agree, it's a really good article.
  14. A good point. One of the issues I see with many scouts (and non-scouts) is that they have no idea of their home surroundings (the have no mental map). They have no idea which way is north ("try the north side of the building." "Huh, which way is that?"), they can't navigate on their own from their school (or soccer practice, scout meeting) to their home, even when it's not very far (such as a 20 minute walk). They have no idea of where things are in relation to each other ("can you point toward the general direction of your house from here?"). And unfortunately, the same can often be said of their parents. And most of this is because of overuse of GPS (I have one friend that automatically uses the car GPS to basically go everywhere. His mental map has deteriorated a lot since we were kids. He often has no idea where he is. If the GPS tells him to go in the wrong direction, I don't think he would be able to tell.) - and the fact that these kids are driven everywhere by their parents, so they don't have a chance to learn a mental map (when I was a kid, and in a car, I was looking out the windows watching, subconsciously learning the route. Now kids have their face buried in some electronic device instead). Being able to navigate from places we commonly go (school, church, meetings, best friends house, etc.) to home, grandma's house, Dad's work, etc. is an important survival skill. All kids should be able to navigate (walk, bike, give directions to a driver) these common routes in an emergency - and without access to electronic devices or even a map. They should KNOW it. It's right up there with knowing Mom and Dad's names, home phone number, address, etc. I wish there was a greater emphases placed on learning these important skills.
  15. There is also the problem that the registry has errors in it (people that should be one the list are not, people that should never have been on the list are, bad names, bad addresses, etc.). Not to mention, in some states if you are registered sex offender, getting your conviction overturned may not get you off the registry (I don't know how that works in California with the Megan's List). So yes, it can be a real mess. I remember reading about a case several years ago where some local guy was found shot to death in his home and it was discovered that he was listed as a child molester in the database, even though he wasn't. His case was unsolved and it is assumed that the incorrect listing may have been the motive.
  16. May whatever religious, cultural and/or societal activities or observances you and your families celebrate this season be happy ones! Now how is that for inclusive!
  17. Not to nitpick to much, but if you really mean non-sectarian instead of non-denominational, creating a truly non-sectarian prayer is impossible. And claiming that a prayer is non-sectarian when it isn't, can be offensive.
  18. Good point. But WW2 stands large in ways the WW1 didn't (though the US Civil War and the American Revolution arguably stand larger in their continuing impact on the USA). Did you know that in WW2, the United States had around 9 percent of it's population serving in uniform (around half of the military age , male population) and it shipped something like 6 percent of it's population overseas (out of a population of around 132 million)? Think about that. Also most people today don't have an understanding of how WW2 still shapes our society today. We have the UN (why do the USA, Russia, France, China and the UK have permanent seats on the Security Council, but not Germany, Spain, Italy or Japan?), IMF (and the whole Bretton Woods structure), the EU, NATO, the interstate highway system, etc. - all of which came out of WW2. Though the impact of both wars is extensive. WW1 saw the end of both the Austrian-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. It led to the creation of the League of Nations, the Russian revolution, the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War (which itself helped create the east-west hostility of the following 70 years), much of which set the stage for WW2. So you are correct, the stories are ephemeral, and that is the case for all wars or events in history. But I feel WW2 is still having a great impact on our society, and I am still sorry that today's youth are loosing a living connection to those events.
  19. I cannot image what it must be like to be is such fear for your child. I'm am very glad to hear that everyone involved is going to be OK.
  20. On this Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, I just wanted to revive this topic. I read an interesting note in my local paper today. This year is the first time in 70 years that there are no living survivors of the USS Arizona at the memorial ceremonies in Pearl Harbor. There are only five living survivors left, and none are able to attend this year. The WW2 generation is almost gone, and in a few years there will be no more living eye witnesses to the events of that war. I remember fondly the veterans and witnesses that I had the chance to speak to over the years and to hear their amazing stories, but grand and small. I feel sad that for most of our young people, that opportunity is gone. It's one thing to read about things in a book, or see it on the TV or film, but it is another thing to hear it from someone that was there. Whether it's hearing Erich Topp speak about the torpedoing of the USS Reuben James ("I hit what I was aiming at"); watching an old navy veteran, with tears running down his face, tell another about watching a bunch of US navy destroyers charging the cream of the Japanese battle line at the battle off Samar ("I knew they weren't making it home, but just maybe, they could give the rest of us the chance..."); hearing all the stories from my mother and her family of their experiences in Europe during the war; or a family friend telling his eyewitness account of the USS Mount Hood explosion on Manus Island ("We were almost a mile away and it was raining debris around us..."). I'm sorry for the current and future generations, they will only hear such stories second and third hand. And that so many stories have been lost forever with the loss of the witnesses.
  21. I kind of agree with you on this. I remember when I was a cub, I didn't like some of the more silly stuff that was done. As for training, at BALOO and OWLS, some of the advice actually made me angry. Take run-ons (this is where a scout or scouter is encourage to jump up and interrupt a skit, song or speaker with a quick one-liner), they are simply rude and unscout like. If one of my cubs did that, I would reprimand them and make them apologize for interrupting and being disrespectful. The rounds of applause, and stuff like that I find annoying. It can make a quick 20 second announcement into a 2 minute performance. One that was common in my pack for a short time: "The Announcement Song", which the cubs would sing whenever the word "announcement" was spoken. I disliked it because it was an interruption, and slowed the administration stuff down so it took longer (which took time away from the fun stuff).
  22. Thank you for sharing your story @seaoat. I share MattR's sentiments, that is what scouting is all about. God speed on your final journey.
  23. This is what boy scout summer camp used to be (and should be again). When I was a scout, if we wanted to swim, we went swimming. If we wanted to shoot archery or 22s, off we went and did it (occasionally there was a brief line). Wanted to go canoeing? Off we went (unless they were being used by the canoeing merit badge class). Wanted to go hiking? Off we went. The camp was almost all free form.
  24. There is an additional aspect to the ban. My understanding that the original ban dates back to the early 70s. It was a reaction to the protests against the Vietnam War, and the growing anti-military attitude of the country. The BSA was trying too make a big deal out of the fact that it wasn't the military, especially trying to eliminate anything that could look like specific training for war. At the time, most of the scout leaders were veterans, and many of them ran their troops like military units. I remember learning how to march and dress ranks when I was a boy scout. When our troop marched in parades, we (tried at least) to look military (we marched in formation to a called cadence). To a layman, the scouts looked military (we wore green uniforms, saluted, had ranks, marched, organized in patrols, learned to shoot guns, the military offered lots of support to the scouts, etc.). One of the reasons for the switch to the Oscar de la Renta uniform was to make scouts less military looking.
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