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Posts posted by AltadenaCraig

  1. 3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    I interviewed hundreds of scouts and parents. I narrowed the cause down to adult burnout. I can write paragraphs on how burnout drove out thousands of families, but the the BSA simply lost between 50 to 75 percent of their cub families by crossover. 

    @Eagledad Would you agree that given the right messaging, this too presents an opportunity?

    The messaging would somehow convey to parents it's not only safe & welcome to drop-off your scout, but expected.  This inasmuch as it's the scouts' program.  As I recall in my Scoutmaster days it took half of my effort to corral parents and separate them from the scouts to give them space.

    Of course, such a program relies totally on the capabilities and goodwill of SMs, ASMs, & CMs.  But I'm thinking for the average parent Scouting should offer a relief from adult burnout.

  2. 8 hours ago, skeptic said:

    Still, the study is a small light.  Now we need to find a way to spread that beam.  

    To me, the light is found on p. 20 of the report, near the bottom.  That's where they list "Even non-Scouts agree! Scouting has a positive impact on its members".  Specifically these two bullets:

    • 91% of non-alumni adults and 83% of non-Scout youth agree that Scouting helps character development

    .... and...

    • 81% of non-alumni adults and 82% of non-Scout youth agree that Scouting had a positive impact on its members’ leadership abilities.

    Just think, in spite of all we've been through, over 9 out of 10 non-alumni adults still agree our movement helps character development.  Shoot, try to get 9 out of 10 adults to even agree Elvis is dead.  Additionally, over 8 out of 10 non-alumni agree we have a positive impact on leadership abilities.

    This is our growth opportunity.  Spread the beam.

  3. I've run across a couple of Scouting podcasts that remain freshly updated:

    • Scouting on Purpose:  Mark Cherry's presentation could use some pep & sound production, but his heart is in the right place
    • Scouter Stan:  Stan Richards provides over 180 short subject episodes (5-10 min. apiece) as an "Online Scouting Commissioner Podcast", but are a great resource for all Scouters.

    Alas, two of my old favorites appear destined for the worldwide web graveyard:

    • Bobwhite Blather hasn't been updated in nearly a year
    • ScoutmasterCG at least used to partially resolve, but now returns nothing at all ... too bad as Clarke Green's wisdom, tips, and infographics were invaluable.

    Do you have any favorites that remain fresh?

  4. More often than not it's worthwhile to seek the guidance of the man, himself, Robert Baden-Powell (it's surprising how much of his insight remains relevant - it's timeless).  Here are a few of his thoughts regarding "Drill" in "Aids to Scoutmastership":


    One hears a great many people advocating drill as the way to bring about better physical development among boys. I have had a good deal to do with drilling in my time, and if people think they are going to develop a boy’s physical strength and set-up by drilling him for an hour a week, they will meet with disappointing results.


    As regards drill for Scouts, I have frequently had to remind Scoutmasters that it is to be avoided — that is, in excess. Apart from militarist objections on the part of some parents, one is averse to it because a second-rate Scoutmaster cannot see the higher aim of Scouting (namely, drawing out of the individual), and not having the originality to teach it even if he saw it, he reverts to drill as an easy means of getting his boys into some sort of shape for making a show on parade.

    Note the term "in excess".  Baden-Powell suggests "a few minutes silent drill at the beginning of a meeting or an occasional game of "O'Grady [Simon] says."  "Silent drill" being as simple as falling-in for opening ceremony, attendance, or uniform inspection.  To be sure, while he felt "Occasional drills are necessary", he was quick to add "but these should not be indulged in at the expense of the more valuable Scout training."  Moreover, he always preferred scouts teaching themselves as "drill is all a matter of instruction, of hammering it into the boys, and is in no way an education where they learn it for themselves" and preferred scout skills being emphasized over drill.  Here's his full explanation:


    All the drill we require in Scouting to set our boys up, and get them to move like men and not sheep, is a few minutes silent drill at the beginning of a meeting or an occasional game of “O’Grady says.” Although we do not want to neglect drill altogether, far preferable is the drill in firemanship, trek cart, lifeboat launch- ing, bridge building, and other sets of exercises. These demand equal smartness, activity, and discipline, but the point is that each boy is using his head in doing his own particular share of the work for the success of the whole team. Moreover, competitions in these are of highest interest to the boys as well as to the onlookers. An ulterior point is that they can breed morale and fair play.

    Hope this is helpful.

  5. 1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

    Going back to three years would be a huge improvement.  Expanding cub scouts to be same size as boy scouts has been a killer for retention, perception, etc, etc, etc.   The current 5.5 years way too much.

    I won't disagree that 5.5 has been too long of an expansion; however, the alternative allows youngsters to be captured by alternative programs (Y-guides, AYSO soccer, etc.), which all have programs for small-fry.  Without a BSA small-fry program, a youngster's life would already be full with alternatives before a BSA program ever gets a chance at him/her.

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  6. If I'm welcome, I'd like to add my $.02.  I find myself of two minds on this topic.  On the one hand, between the Unitarians, Scientologists, Buddhists, and Humanistic Jews (among other sects) - all of which are welcome in Scouting (and have their own BSA-Approved Religious Emblems) though none observes a deity resembling the God of Abraham - if one can't find a spiritual home in that landscape then I expect it's not the BSA that's being exclusionary.

    On the other hand, the "Duty to God" program has somewhat puzzled me since it's introduction about the same time the BSA allowed for gay scouters.  It appeared more a concession to anxious adults than a celebration of something bigger than oneself.  To be sure, the phrase is "to do my duty to God and my country ..."  Did "duty to country" fall out of favor?  If they'd initiated a "Duty to God & Country" program it would've at least resembled the Oath.  Limiting it to "Duty to God", however, resembled someone's agenda.

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  7. So for my first crack at "Bard" (Google's Artificial Intelligence experiment) I asked "Please write a three-paragraph essay on the importance of The Patrol Method in Scouting."  It delivered this answer in less than five seconds:



    The Patrol Method is one of the most important aspects of Scouting. It is a system that allows Scouts to learn and grow in a small, supportive group. The Patrol Method is based on the idea that Scouts learn best by doing, and by working together with others.

    In a Patrol, Scouts are responsible for their own learning and for the success of their group. They elect their own leaders, plan their own activities, and work together to achieve their goals. This teaches Scouts valuable leadership skills, as well as how to work effectively as part of a team.

    The Patrol Method also helps Scouts to develop their character. When Scouts are working together in a Patrol, they learn to cooperate, to compromise, and to resolve conflict. They also learn to respect each other's differences and to work towards a common goal.

    The Patrol Method is an essential part of Scouting. It is a system that helps Scouts to learn, to grow, and to develop into responsible, well-rounded individuals.

    Here are some of the benefits of the Patrol Method:

    • It teaches Scouts leadership skills. Scouts in a Patrol are responsible for their own learning and for the success of their group. They elect their own leaders, plan their own activities, and work together to achieve their goals. This teaches Scouts valuable leadership skills, such as decision-making, problem-solving, and communication.
    • It helps Scouts to develop their character. When Scouts are working together in a Patrol, they learn to cooperate, to compromise, and to resolve conflict. They also learn to respect each other's differences and to work towards a common goal. These are all important character traits that will benefit Scouts throughout their lives.
    • It creates a sense of community. Scouts in a Patrol get to know each other well and form strong bonds of friendship. They learn to rely on each other and to support each other through difficult times. This sense of community is one of the most important benefits of the Patrol Method.

    The Patrol Method is a powerful tool that can help Scouts to learn, grow, and develop into responsible, well-rounded individuals. If you are interested in Scouting, I encourage you to find a troop that uses the Patrol Method. You won't be disappointed.


    A few more than three paragraphs, but clearly three sections (background, bulleted benefits, conclusion).  All in all, not bad.

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  8. 11 hours ago, KublaiKen said:

    Both Chapter and Lodge Adviser seem to be missing from the list of adult positions approved for overnight camping. Are they just considered committee members, or are they prohibited from attending overnight OA events? 🤔


    The GSS wording states "All adults staying overnight in connection with a Scouting activity must be currently registered in an adult fee required position as listed or as an adult program participant".  I'd expect both Chapter & Lodge Adviser would be covered as "an adult program participant."

  9. Random reactions (in no particular order):

    • Changes to Cub Program:  so this explains it.  I've had a devil of a time relating to the current program since the demise of "Program Helps".  That was a huge help to me when I was Cubmaster.  Hopefully they can resurrect something like that when they finalize a new program.
    • TOTALLY agree with those troops which funnel volunteering adults through the Committee their first year.  Gotta unlearn the DL mode.
    • "Proficiency"?  When has it ever been about "proficiency"?  Even B-P himself emphasized relative merit between capable and less capable scouts.  And when asked about "standards" Green-Bar-Bill replied "to a Scout's standard, of course!"  I've seen too many SM's & ASM's get in the way of scouts having fun in the name of "proficiency".
    • I'm kinda ambivalent about Lions & Tigers, but I get that so many organizations (YMCA "Guides") capture kids earlier and earlier that BSA feels the need to compete.

    my $.02

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  10. When promoting OA in my unit I've likened it to the "Scout version of All Stars".  I expect there will always be a role for OA to fill the All-Star needs of our committed scouts.  What it looks like going forward is unclear, but I hope it always retains its "All Star" cache.

  11. On 12/21/2022 at 3:37 PM, Cburkhardt said:

      Any Other Thoughts on the Roll-Out? 

    In all candor I have to admit our Linked Troop resembles several of the flaws @Cburkhardt has enumerated (undersized, resembles a 'patrol' more than 'troop').  And I wholeheartedly agree with @DuctTape that the Linked Troop rollout was less than ideal.  Nevertheless I feel compelled to share a couple of our Linked Troop's successes if only to ensure we don't mistakenly "throw the baby out with the bathwater" in our collective search for improvement.

    First, our Girls' Troop scouters benefit greatly from the camaraderie & experience among the scouters of the Boys' Troop and Linked Troop Committee.  Our "Scoutmaster Corps" (SMs & ASMs) meet monthly offsite to discuss the recent PLC meetings and coordinate required support.  Accordingly, every one of our campouts has included girls & female scouters - including high-adventure trips to Philmont & Northern Tier - where the girls' "troop" camps separately, albeit close-by (think separate patrol campsites) and all adults share a separate nearby campsite.  Our girls' troop scouters are developing their high-adventure skillset (backpacking & rappelling) so they appreciate the close relationship with the boys' troop scouters.  Otherwise, I doubt our girls' troop would exist.

    Second - and this may suggest a marketing opportunity - while we're careful during "high intensity" events (hike-in, campsite setup, meal-prep, teardown, etc.) that our girls' & boys' troops operate separately, something wonderful happens during "down time" (e.g. cracker barrel) - our scouts come together such it resembles a youth group.  Our boys & girls are thus ensured their own scout experiences during strenuous events (and can suffer the usual meltdowns during without lasting embarrassment), but also accrue the benefits of interaction.

    The whole thing remains a work-in-progress IMHO, but I remain a strong supporter of our Linked Troop and am hopeful that as we emerge from Co-VID both our boys' and girls' troops will thrive.

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  12. 13 hours ago, Scouterlockport said:

    I agree that the nature section of scouting should have more eagle required badges. But to say there is none is not true. There is environmental science, which would cover that hole. I wish they would add a triple headed requirement for nature like (hiking/swimming/cycle)

    I didn't mean to suggest there's none, only that 'Nature' MB is no longer required for Eagle.

  13. 3 hours ago, Navybone said:

    So, CIS, which focuses on developing an understanding of the people in the community, is less useful than learning how the community works for a common good?   Are the concepts of understanding diversity, equity, and inclusion not all part of how to strengthen a community, or even a nation?  How to include your ethics in decison making -Not useful? 

    The four citizenship merit badges are all about the developing of our youth to be successful in their endeavors, to be leaders of this nation and the world.  

    I worry we're running afoul fo B-P's admonition not to "trench the role of schools" with four(4) out of 21 merit badges emphasizing ... to use your words "concepts of understanding diversity, equity, etc".

    IMHO we've not only muddled those civics concepts with our overkill we've foregone other, more important lessons for which Scouting is uniquely suited.  "Nature" MB, for example, used to be an Eagle Required MB - but no more - and I'm sure other Scouters could list even better examples.

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  14. To me the irony is the BSA already has the answer with Citizenship in the Community in particular and community service projects in general.  Lurching for popular remedies like "Citizenship in Society" just introduces more boring adult "requirements" while taking our eyes off the ball where focus needs to be:  in our local communities.

    Indeed author Scott Galloway literally cites BSA membership as a metric in his book "A Nation Adrift" where he makes the point that what's needed is "Participation on a Community Level" at 6:40 in this clip:  https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2022/10/01/smr-galloway-america-adrift.cnn 

  15. On 7/6/2021 at 7:13 AM, fred8033 said:

    Well said.  I saw when "Leadership Development" was added as an aim and wondered.  Then, I forgot but I'm still uncomfortable with it there.  IMHO, it was added for marketing purposes ....

    I agree that was the most likely motivation.  In our hyper-competitive world, what parent doesn't want their kid to acquire skills to  "be the boss"?

    I find it easier to swallow "Leadership Development" when it's defined non-traditionally.  "Servant Leadership" comes to mind.  Same with  disaggregating leadership into its constituent parts:  first learn to lead oneself, then how to lead oneself within a team, then within the leadership of that team, before finally learning the responsibilities of being "the leader".

    Of course, this is just me & my $.02.  BSA has got much bigger fish to fry and they're throwing everything at the wall in hopes something sticks.  Meantime I'm just trying to keep focused on the Scout Oath & Law in hopes once we come out of all of this the program as I once understood it is still recognizable.

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  16. I wish the BSA had left well enough alone and kept "Leadership" as one of the Methods of Scouting rather than slipping it in as an additional "Aim of Scouting" as they did a few years ago.  With "Leadership" now as both an Aim and a Method, not only has the BSA confused the concept of Leadership they've also muddled the foundational principles of the organization.  Inexcusable.

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  17. 8 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

    But part of the problem is Scouts BSA doctrine strongly favors presentations and skill training at the troop level or in groups based upon skill level, rather than by patrol.  See https://troopleader.scouting.org/troop-meetings/.

    Agreed.  Scoutbook is particularly guilty of troop-centric approvals/permissions.  I'm hoping COVID-19 will spur changes to Scoutbook to allow for (perhaps even promote) Patrol-level management.

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  18.      Our Troop-level virtual meetings tend toward top-down "presentations" with very little scout interaction even when invited to virtually "raise hands".  Our ASM's, on the other hand, report much more interactive and enjoyable virtual Patrol Meetings.  Even a Community meeting I recently participated in was much more effective during the breakout session than during the "please raise your hand" plenary session.

         Our Council is now hinting at tentatively re-opening "in person scouting" at the small-group level (no more than 10 scouts with exactly 2 adults).  Until further details are available, this would appear to support in-person activities at the Den/Patrol level.

         What are your thoughts?  Might we be seeing a resurgence of emphasis on Patrols and the Patrol Method?  What impact might this have on Scouting long term, post COVID-19?

  19. 10 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

    Are X people allowed to imitate Y people?

    While imitating people's cultures might be confused with mimicry or mocking, imitating people's worthy actions should be safe & heralded.

    I love the opportunity to quote Gen. Washington, especially in prayer:

    "... that God would have you ... in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens ... to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, ... and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation."

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  20. 4 hours ago, Eagledad said:

    In reading qwaze's mention of the uniform, I was reminded of a girl who joined the BSA and commented that she couldn't wait to wear the Boy Scout uniform. Well I guess one person knew about it. I wonder if the girls are going to be tagged as traditionalist. 


    In 1980, Claremont Men's College graduated the first class of 4-year women.  Years later the name was changed to Claremont McKenna College, but not before many women objected to the change.  They liked the "rebel" image the name implied.

  21. On 6/29/2020 at 8:21 AM, qwazse said:

    So, you are saying that more youth would enlist in the program if it we used something like "responsible, participating, citizen and unit leader"?

    That's testable. For a "nominal" consulting fee, I can arrange a marketing survey (from a rhetorician whose kids were never in scouting) to ask a randomly selected sample of citizens. If they'd be more or less inclined to enroll their kids in a program with an RPCaUL as opposed to one with an SM.

    If, on the other hand, your first proposition (to rid the scouter-verse of tyrannical adults) is the more important motive, the best we have is anecdotal evidence that the title does not mold the leader. Any better would require a massive sociological analysis.

    We're less in disagreement and more in violent agreement, it seems to me.

    I'm not advocating changing 'Scoutmaster' - I agree with those who say its not a priority.  And I don't believe "the patch makes the leader (or tyrant)".

    What I do believe is in the current climate anything can become a target for the cancel-culture (heck, this weekend some were castigating old broadcast jokes in an attempt to shade Vin Scully - even Giants fans have been coming to his defense!), and consequently we should Be Prepared.  To be sure, in the vein of "never let a crises go to waste" a couple of things have emerged from this thread:  1) There are Scouters who have expressed legitimate misgivings about the names 'Scoutmaster' & 'Cubmaster' (surprised me), and as you say that could be testable in the greater population (and likely should be for go-forward marketing surveys; and 2) there are Scouters who've also made legitimate points that "Advisor" would be a preferable alternative (which should also be tested).

    Any change would have to demonstrate a considerable benefit-to-cost.  At present I agree the kitchen isn't hot enough to make a change on cost avoidance alone.  Nevertheless the discussion has illuminated some things and I think made us better prepared.

  22. On 6/27/2020 at 9:11 AM, Eagledad said:

    It doesn’t matter, if we don’t have the maturity to take a down as disagreeing, no words that will work either. For some here, All comments that disagree are “hate”. An arrow is just shorthand I guess. 


    I disagree with you.

    I've been thinking all day about your post.  I'll risk hijacking my own thread and reply as it allows a point I feel is important.  I'm happy to post "I disagree with you" - and I'm thankful you posted your disagreement with me, without a downvote.  Words move the ball forward.  But there's nothing courteous or kind about a red down-arrow on one's post.  How many of our fellow Scouters are turned-off from contributing their opinions because they'd feel a downvote is unfriendly?  Isn't that a legitimate consideration?

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