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Posts posted by Ankylus

  1. I wouldn't mind seeing a change to the uniform - something classic (no more epaulets - we aren't the French Gendarme), dump the cargo pockets on the shirt - and let's change the color from drab tan to something else - it looks like a cheap imitation of the National Park Service uniforms - just a lot less dynamic.  It's just doesn't scream out "active".  I like the darker green of the Maine Warden Service uniforms.  Dump the convertible pants with the zip-off legs and cargo pockets.  Cargo pants are so Old Navy 1990's, and the zip off legs are fine for activities in the outdoors but don't look good with the uniform shirts or at meetings and in parades.  Frankly, blue jeans look sharper.  Finally, it's way beyond time for the BSA to officially sanction an activity/Class B uniform - They could easily choose four or five standard polo-style shirt colors and develop a network of shirt providers that are licensed to use BSA imagery and can customize basic shirts to meet a unit's need (Troop numbers, community, etc.) - CINTAS is a well-respected national firm and their pricing is pretty reasonable. 


    I find it amusing because I disagree with everything in it! (Except the epaulets...somebody must have had a last minute delusion.) And that amuses me because I think it highlights difficulty with the uniform. I can't imagine how hard it would be to get any kind of real consensus on uniforming issues. Please note that I don['t oppose any of that. I just disagree. As I always tell my children, there's no accounting for taste. Different people just like different things.


    Just don't go back to the berets and the garters with red tabs. Please, please, please, don't to that. 

  2. There's another controversial change needed at World Jamboree to bring the BSA in step with the rest of WOSM  and the world  - metric


    I noticed British badge requirements for swimming and hill walking, etc have distances stated in meters and kilometers.


    If we the BSA are going to change, we might as well go the distance. :)


    There are two kinds of countries in the world...those that use the metric system and those who put a man on the moon. :)

  3. (1) Scouts know when they have earned something and when they haven't. This includes scouts on the autism spectrum. This scout's mother is not doing him any favors by hollowing out his achievements and depriving him of the opportunity to genuinely earn something.


    (2) If the scout has a disability that needs to be accommodated, that is one thing. You do not indicate that this one does. So what the scout's mother is doing is wrong.


    (3) You should be proud of your sons, for they are showing true compassion. No scout is more proud of an achievement than a scout that has overcome more than your average challenge. Our scouts on the autism spectrum are always the proudest, and it is always a great thing to see.


    (4) All that having been said, you are not in a real position to do anything about this. From what I understand, the scout is not in your troop, and you are not in a position of authority at these activities. You can make a big fuss, but you wouldn't fix the problem and would only make the scout's problems worse by emphasizing how things are being given him.


    (5) This is an excellent opportunity to teach your sons about misplaced or misguided compassion, how well intentioned people are really cheating this scout, and how life is not necessarily fair (on several levels).

  4. I went to a presentation last week about an expedition some of our explorer scouts and network did. Two mixed gender teams of 5, aged 16-21. 4 days walking 3 nights camping. Remote supervision (i.e. an expedition assessor would meet them either in the evening or morning and see how they were doing).

    They were described by the assessor as two of the best teams they've ever had.


    We've done mixed gender camping for years.


    We've done mixed gender hikes and camping without close adult supervision.


    We've occasionally had mixed gender tents.


    I'm not really sure what there is to keep you up at night. But reality is a often a lot more boring than the imagination.


    I mean, to cover things off explicitly:


    Periods: They know when they're due, so they are prepared. A few supplies in the first aid kit just in case. Any surprises and accidents are just treated as you would an accident at the back door not the front door.


    (whispers) S.E.X.: Doesn't really raise its ugly head. We have had the odd couple on camp. A chat about being respectful, considering others, and the lass usually says "there's barely any showers Ian, he ain't getting anywhere close, certainly not sticking that in there" or words to that effect.

    Consent, or otherwise. That's covered off by the scout law.

    One time we had a mixed gender tent with about 8 of them in it, a teepee, effectively, one parent was concerned enough to suggest, with a raised eyebrow, that they'd all be "at it like rabbits" as soon as my back was turned, as "that's what we did". Funnily enough, a chat about trust and responsibilities, that didn't happen. To be honest, every time we bring it up, usually our young people ask "what do you think we're like? Honestly? Why would you even do that? Eurgh!".


    Maybe I've been lucky. Maybe we should give young people more credit.


    That said, I've never, as a leader, moved from a single sex section to a mixed sex section, but I know leaders that have, and have found it difficult to adjust, so I'm not saying it'll be a walk in the park, but if you're enjoying your scouting, why not carry on and give it a go, instead of stopping?

    If you are “luckyâ€, I suspect it is the kind of luck one makes through hard work and preparation. But I offer the following observations.


    “Two mixed gender teams of 5, aged 16-21.â€


    It is not unusual for my troop to have anywhere between 40 and 60 boys on any given campout. We average 50-60 scouts at summer camp every summer. My experience is that the difficulties in supervision at any level vary exponentially with the number youth involved. 10 youth vs. 50 youth are worlds apart.


    Also, a high proportion of those 50 or so scouts are aged 11-14. There is also a world of difference in the maturity level of 11-14 year olds and 16-21 year olds. Not to mention, those 18-21 are legally adults, which greatly relieves your liability and responsibility for a great many things.


    Still further, we have a number of scouts with behavioral issues because of conditions like Asperger’s, autism, ADD, ADHD, ADD/ADHD, and a number of other things. I don’t know how much of that you are around, but it complicates everything.


    “They were described by the assessor as two of the best teams they've ever had.â€


    Then they are hardly typical, then, are they? Which makes them of limited usefulness for this type of example.


    “I'm not really sure what there is to keep you up at night. But reality is a often a lot more boring than the imagination.â€


    My reality is exciting enough, thank you. What keeps me up at night now are things like scouts wandering off into the woods away from camp when they aren’t supposed to and without adequate supervision. Scouts who don’t get to bed at lights out. Oh, and not to mention the illicit substance issue we had at a summer camp. Scouts who don’t follow safety precautions like they should. I don’t want to make it sound like our scouts are a bunch of juvenile delinquents, but as a matter of statistics when you have that many young people together you are going to have issues. And these things don’t happen all the time, but it might only take one incident to create a problem nobody ever gets over.


    Throw girls in there, and the parents of those girls…how is that going to make any of that any better? I am not concerned about the periods at all. Most girls learn how to handle that quite quickly when they come of age. As for the sex issue, I understand the Scout Law etc., but apparently you missed all the threads on this board discussing how various people in the program fail to live up to it. Did you miss the last half of the thread on the sexual harassment behavior at the National Jamboree? Yes, sexual harassment would be a nice addition to other misbehavior that we have to occasionally deal with.


    And, while sex would be a concern, that’s not necessarily all that there is, I suppose you know. What happens when a boy and a girl just wander off to smooch for a while? Somebody has to go find them, that’s what. And, again, 8 or 10 vs. 50…well, statistically speaking, chances are just that much higher that something happens, especially with the younger people.


    “That said, I've never, as a leader, moved from a single sex section to a mixed sex section, but I know leaders that have, and have found it difficult to adjust, so I'm not saying it'll be a walk in the park, but if you're enjoying your scouting, why not carry on and give it a go, instead of stopping?â€


    It amazes me how much people on the “pro†side just can’t seem to understand this—I would stop because it is no longer the program that I signed up for and it won’t accomplish the things that are the reasons I joined. If I had wanted to be in some coed variant of BSA I would be in Venturing. I am not. It’s just not the same program and Boy Scouts won’t be the same program after they introduce girls. 

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  5. Once again, "the sky is falling!!!!"  At least wait to see what actually transpires.  Who knows, you might actually be surprised.  Or, you will end up with multi-gender, but separate by patrol or den.  Or even single gender and two units with one sponsor.  If you believe the basic standards of BSA are as important to girls as to boys, then there is simply the matter of adjustment.  


    I find it interesting that the matriarchal cultures in many parts of history have been shown to often have been far more successful than the patriarchal ones.  


    Maybe the challenge of being "bested" by a girl might light a fire under some.  Or, maybe we will simply continue to "do our best" with the elements of our society with which we are challenged to work.  From my reading and occasional observations, the coed crews and ships are often the strongest.  Will that be the case in the mid age groups; hard to say.  But in classrooms, girls that are willing, push their male peers to do better, even in the lower and middle grades.


    Each of us has a choice.  Work with change, decry the ravages of change, or simply give up.  ALL youth are important, and bailing out, for me, is not the best decision.  Good luck.  Please try and remember the Oath and Law as you respond to the various views.



    "Bailing out"...you use a pejorative to describe your opposition and then try to bind them to the Oath and Law. Well played, well played. My advice is to be careful where you set the bar.


    As to "bailing out": A coed boy scout program is not what I signed up for...if I were to use a pejorative, I would call it a "bait and switch".  If they choose to change the program under me and it is no longer what I signed up for, why should I hang around? There is simply no reason if the program no longer does those things that are the reason for my being there. (2) It's hard enough to take a bunch of teenage boys out into the wilderness. Mix in a bunch of teenage girls? No thanks, I like to sleep at night. I know that these are already present in Venturing, but I am not in Venturing. There is a reason for that...if you think it is such a good thing, then I hope you are in Venturing. If you are not, then I hope you stop casting stones at those of us who are also already not in Venturing.


    Which raises another point...those of you in Venturing, what happens to the Venturing program? I know there are substantial differences, but do you think it will retain its vitality and popularity? Do you think they will fundamentally change Venturing too? I don't have any idea about these questions. But they might be worth pondering.


    The rest of the post is pablum and nonsense. We already live in a matriarchal society. And what kind of misogyny are you appealing to when you hope being bested "by a girl will light a fire under some of them".


    "Work with change, decry the change, or simply give up." So now those of us who choose to leave a program that has so fundamentally changed are quitters and Luddites?  Well played, yes indeed. Very well played.

  6. I agree with @@Chisos...it was my favorite camp growing up. Still is.


    One reason usage is down is that they never rebuilt River Camp after the 2015 floods.  Not many people really ever went to Horseshoe Bend or Hammond. River Camp was the big draw.  If they did't rebuild the most popular camp, what did they expect would happen?


    Also, some of this was just penny pinching and making decisions centered on the council rather than the boys. When I went as a youth in the late 70s, early 80s, the tents in every campsite were up on the hillsides in the shade. They were 8-man tents so you could put your whole patrol in them and they were set up on the raised platforms that were 5' to 6' off the ground in the front. Really fun and really different. Then, over the years, they did away with all that and ended up with two-man tents set up on wooden pallets in the flat areas in the sun. Not nearly as much fun and the difference between being in the shade and in the sun is substantial. Like much in scouting, they just made decisions that gradually degraded the experience so that it just wasn't what it could have been or should have been.


    EagleSchiff, the cost of the old Camp Strake was supposed to cover the cost of the new one but something went wrong and they didn't have enough. I don't know if they overestimated the worth of the old one or if they underestimated the cost of the new one. So, they figured rather than putting money back into River Camp (again), they would sell it and use the proceeds to cover the shortfall for the new Strake. I would like to put a trace on all that money to see what they really spend it for, because my guess is a lot of it won't actually be spent on the youth or their program.

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  7. Part of the expectation is why. The rationale for details is again to prevent problems from occurring with prior planning. Also so that if something happens, someone can pick up and complete the project.  Another reason is for the Life to get a taste of the real world. The Eagle project is a good learning experience for doing projects as adults. Final reason is to create a project book that the Scouts can look at and be proud of in the years to come. I'll be honest, While I was extremely proud of my project, compared to some of the projects these Scouts are undertaking today, I am a bit embarrassed. Heck even from 15-20 years ago, the projects are much better. One of the things the Advancement Committee use to do was published the Eagle projects in a year book. Some of these projects are a book unto themselves.


    1, The two primary reasons I hear is so that "someone can pick up and complete the project" and to "get a taste of the real world". First, is it really that hard to "pick up and complete the project" is somebody puts their mind to it? There may be a project here or there, but I have yet to see one. Second, "the real world"? Perhaps some parts of it, but not all of it. In my profession you would bankrupt yourself proceeding along these lines.


    2. A "good learning experience for doing projects as adults".  Again, I haven't seen anything in the real world approaching the kind of crap going on in the Eagle project and application process. Perhaps some people do, but I haven't either when I was an engineer nor now as a lawyer.


    3. How many Eagles do you know who can even find their Eagle project book. I know I couldn't if my life depended on it. Perhaps a poll would be interesting. Can we do polls on this forum?


    4. Even if all that is true, those are all justifications from the adults' and the organization's perspective. No matter how justified, what if we are burning the scouts on scouting? Is it worth the price? 

  8. To the extent this thread is dead, I am resurrecting. Just to take ownership of that fact.


    I am watching my second son go through the Eagle application process, ad got to thinking about the phenomenon of "eagling out". So I searched out the forum and found this thread.


    Like the OP, the term "Eagle out" bothers me. But what prompted my wandering was watching the futility and frustration of the Eagle project and Eagle application process.  Between those two events, my son has probably had to schedule 15 to 20 meetings with adults for various planning, approval, and signature requirements. All of these meetings are with adults who have no compulsion to meet with him and over whom he has no influence and control. Many of these meetings were follow-ups for truly trivial things. LIke, not enough pictures in your project notebook and then later insufficient captions on the pictures. Silly stuff like that. Many of the meetings consisted largely of sitting and listening to adults expound on scouting for hours when he has homework or college applications or other things that need doing. For example, to get the Committee Chairman's signature on the Eagle application will take a meeting of at least a couple hours. As another example, when he came home from his approval meeting with the guy at district, he knew all about that guy's Eagle project, the guy's opinion that it wouldn't pass muster today, where he works, all the things he has done in scouting...you name it.


    I know it's supposed to be hard. As my son said, "It's supposed to be hard. If it was easy anybody could do it." But I can really see how after finishing that Eagle scout project a scout might want to get to the things he has been putting off to do tham and won't be all that anxious to head back to the meetings again. Are we in fact burning out some of these scouts by making it arbitrarily hard? By occupying so much of their time with things that are really trivial? Or are these things not so arbitrary and trivial? 


    Would love to hear if anybody has any thoughts on these points.

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  9. I have often thought just how totally great it would be to have a scout hut.  A place where the unit could have total access and total control.  A place to hang up their pictures, trophies, treasures and finds, etc...

    instead, I guess we are more like what I guess to be the situation that most troops are in.  We fight to get on the CO's schedule for room access, competing against many other groups and events for the space.  We're not even always in the same room.  We have nothing hung up or displayed, except the troops flags which get squirreled away in this corner or that closet....We are lucky to have a place to park our trailer and a few feet of shelf space in the CO's shed.


    We are fortunate that our CO has provided us with a "scout house". And it eases some of your concerns like storage space and such. But we still have many of the problems you do for our CO does not reserve it solely for our use. Sometimes they even kick us out of it for some special function the church is having. Even now we are having to fend off a dance program in there that will severely restrict its availability to us. My oldest son's troop's CO did the same exact thing to them. Don't get me wrong, it's an improvement over what you describe. But it's not a cure all.  I hope the commiseration helps some.

  10. Is it something else? The program? Leaders? Parents? Scouts and their friends? Just random luck that kids want to keep doing it? 


    I think the single greatest factor is experiencing good program with a group of friends. I think it is more likely that they will stay in scouts if their friends are also there and I think they are more likely to stay if they find the program fun and interesting. Put the two together and I think you have a real winning hand.


    One huge problem is, of course, that individual scouts will find different things fun and interesting. 


    I also think it helps a great deal if the scout's personality and the troop's personality are a good match.  For example, there is a very large, very successful troop very close to our home. (Lots of "very" there, but it's the right word.) But it was highly regimented and not boy led. (At least within my definition.) Neither of my sons would have been happy in that troop. And fortunately neither would their friends have been.


    And, of course, parents, leaders and such are integral parts of all this. It takes the package to make it work for any boy. But I think the best bet is the scout experiencing fun and interesting program with his friends.

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  11. The reason Is stated the use of statistics on First Class Scouts for the creation of NSPs is because that is what national used to justify creating the NSP 






     This much I understood already. But thank you for the effort.

  12. yeah, much of the things mentions don't happen

    patrols having a place

    patrols not meeting

    patrols not competing


    And when teh patrols do meet....it's to plan menu for campout, or to give the concept lip service....


    This is a great example of something that does get done...but at a level that I would call lip service at best....

    I have observed a few times when the SPL will call out "tonight, we will work on xyx"

    it's usually something like...help the new scouts with knots

    or, practice 1st aid skills....

    Then it becomes a re-hash of things they have heard a thousand times.  I remember watching a 1st aid one once when my son was still barely out of WEBELOS.... he had already sat through the same lecture and the same minimal hands on exercises probably 20 times before already....through multiple cub meetings, at webelos camps, 1st aid merit badge at summer camp... etc....  

    Result:  IMMEDIATE glossy eyes.


    problems include

    "adults requiring it" and their hearts aren't into it

    no inspiration

    they really don't know what to do to step it to the next level, so they just do what they've seen before....


    I don't contest anything you say here. But, we do implement it a little different than you envision.  For example, we don't just "tie knots". For example, we once had a SAR specialist from the Coast Guard come out and teach SAR to th boys. He had a prepared survival at sea scenario in which the scout role played. Or, for rope work, we might have a knot relay where each scout ties a different knot in succession and we see which team finishes first. 


    And even if the older scouts are less than inspired, I find that anything where they get up and do stuff is better received than another speaker.


    With rare exception. One of the best received speakers we have had in recent years was a retired welder. He didn't weld trailer frames or anything. More like warships and bridges. And he told the boys about the discrimination he had faced from the union and from employers because he was black. He explained how his ticket was his excellence in his craft. He also talked about his impoverished childhood in the rural South and his journey out of it. Really a fascinating speaker. We couldn't get the scouts to quit asking questions. 


    From a welder. The astronaut didn't get half as much response. You never know.

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  13. Is the SM military by chance?  This sounds vaguely like military etiquette.  You never call a superior and leave a message for them to call back.  It's up to you to make contact, not to put the monkey on their back.  I was a civilian in a military organization and a young enlisted person [taught me this.


    That's all well and good, but he is operating in a civilian context. The scouts surely are not military. And in the civilian world, you call people back when they call you and leave a message.

  14. I have never understood what y'all are calling NSP, or age-based patrols. So, we have a patrol of 11 years olds and one of them is going to be PL. How can you not expect that to be a dysfunctional patrol? Similarly, a whole patrol of 16 or 17 year old scouts? Why not spread them out to leverage their experience and maturity? 


    As for the statistics regarding making First Class in a year, what does age-based patrols have to do with that? We have a separate program we call First Class Emphasis for the sole purpose of getting the boys to First Class within a year. Doesn't always happen, but that's the goal. But you can establish such a program outside NSP.


    So perhaps those rumors were correct.

  15. BSA was created years ago because of a need to teach youth outdoor skills, citizenship and physical fitness.


    Perhaps the Jamboree issues reveal the real timely need for this new generation.  Going fully co-ed would foce youth to learn respect and how to work together.  Isolating one gender does not help when those genders will encounter each other and need to work together.  




    Well, I don't know about your scouts, but 98% of ours go to fully coeducational schools and fully coeducational churches and have siblings including sisters. They are not what I would call "isolated" from girls. And I would bet that is true for most of the boys at the National Jamboree. I think going coed would have no effect on these problems. 


    I personally believe this kind of behavior is largely a product of the breakdown in social mores, poor parenting, and lax adult supervision.

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  16. My wife for years now has basically built a wall about scouts.  She has never really wanted to hear me talk about scouts, shuts down whenever I'm trying to vent or brainstorm with her. 


    I especially understand this point. My wife has never been supportive of our participation in boy scouts. She thinks it's a detriment to the boys' schooling, takes too much time, and does nothing for their character development. She does not value the personal growth it brings, either. It's very hard to keep things on an even keel that way when she is basically pressuring him to do other things besides scouting all the time. I don't have any words of wisdom for you here, but I thought I would just let you know you are not the only one with an unsupportive spouse.

  17. The issue of boring meetings is near and dear to my heart. Primarily because I hate boring meetings too. I find that the older scouts like speakers because they don't have to put any work into it. However, we (the adults) have started requiring that they have at least 3 or 4 meetings where they practice scout skills in some way. We also have a couple of open houses for Webelos every year, and the scouts get to get outside and move around for that. We also occasionally do some strictly fun things like a pumpkin carving contest by patrol for Halloween, and a duct tape challenge where they make costumes out of duct tape. That kind of thing. 


    Perhaps you can make some suggestions and get th troop away from the jaw jaw all the time that is boring him so much. Because if he is bored, lots of other scouts are bored too.  I perceive this as a major problem in the scouting program today anyway.


    But I feel you. My son, too, is tired of going to meetings and is starting to skip them. But he is almost 18 and almost Eagle. It's not a whole lot of fun going to the meetings without him. One of the things i have started doing is letting him take scouts on his own terms. He goes on the occasional campout, the particularly fun ones. But at least when he goes he has fun.


    Perhaps cut a deal with him. One meeting a month, he gets to pick. And also every other campout or something, or the ones he enjoys. And let him take a vacation from advancement if he wants.


    I wish you the best of luck.

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