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Posts posted by UncleP

  1. YouTube Commentary on change:

    The attached link is to a YouTube commentator I get in my feed who just commented on the name change, and she makes some interesting points.  She is originally from Slovenia, and not the United States, so she can come at things from a slightly different angle.  I am presenting this as "food for thought":


  2. Thanks to everyone for the input about the boy scout with autism.  It just struck me as such a sad story, and I feel bad for him.

    In regards to the Merit Badge Colleges/Fairs - has any thought been given to the merit badge requirements being an incentive for these organizations?  I have been looking over the merit badge requirements, and they seem overly complicated and elaborate to me.

    The merit badge requirements as written seemed to encourage shortcuts (like MB Colleges) or for a scout to spend most of his time away from the troop if he wants to earn then in a valid manner.  Maybe simpler more straightforward requirements might take away the incentive for MB colleges.

    I know am missing something here, but just want to get a better idea.


  3. I think that BSA will continue as a organization, but that it will have to either change greatly or retrench and rebuild over a log period of time.

    Unfortunately, many organizations for boys have come and gone, so it is possible (but unlikely) that BSA could be unsustainable.  However, its size and brand name value, make it more resilient than most other organizations. 

    For some perspective, attached is a link to a site documenting kids organizations of the past.  The link opens up to the page for "Open Road Pioneers Club" that was a Boy Scout like organization that existed from 1920's to 1950's, and the ended when the magazine that sponsored it went out of business.



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  4. 15 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

    Medication is like putting a band aid on it. 

    I feel like if he says “I want you to stay”, etc. may pressure the scout. I know it would pressure me.

    I can understand your feelings towards medication, but I have been diagnosed with depression.  The medications, I have used for years have been very beneficial to me.  So we can just agree to disagree.

    As for staying, once again I understand your point, but what I meant was to let him know he is wanted, and if he has to take time off to deals with things he is always welcome back.  People in this frame of mind tend to only see limited options and everything is black and white.  It is very important to let someone depressed know that multiple options exist for them.  

  5. First of all bless you for caring about this boy.

    I have a little experience in this area and as bad as it sounds there are positive signs 1) his parents actually care about him (that is rarer than you might think), and 2) if he is getting professional help that is a gigantic step forward.  If he is suffering from depression than medications will help a great deal.  Nothing "cures" depression, but medications can make the symptoms less severe and less frequent.

    I would recommend the following as things that can help:

    1.  Always be positive in your interactions. 

    2.  Let him know that you want him to stay, but if he wants to take some time off he will always be welcome back (boys in this mood tend to have an all or nothing mindset).

    3.  Try and see if rather than just sitting you can get him to be active, even if only by himself.  It might be a first step, and movement has magical properties to help heal.  Maybe there is a merit badge he might like to work on (a sense of progress or accomplishment can mean a great deal).

    Any improvement that comes will be incremental and inconsistent, and you can only be a small part of the solution.  His parents and professional help is what will matter the most.

    Best of luck.







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  6. I worked with statistics through most of my professional life, and looking at the numbers given my main impression is that they are not very useful for any kind of analysis.  

    The numbers are too general for any valid comparisons to be made with previous years.  The numbers for each group needs to be broken down to show more specific details.  Once again examples have already been brought up by other forum members:                                                                                            

    Cubs:  What percentage of the total numbers is composed of the new "Lion" program.                                   

    Scouts:  How much of the 12K increase was do to LDS Venturing Crews reverting to Scout troops.             

    Venturing:  How much of the decline was caused by LDS crews leaving the program, and will be a one time loss.

    From a strictly financial standpoint the question arises, how much membership is required to support the BSA's current infrastructure and fixed costs.  

    In future reports, it would be interesting to see what the number of girls who join the various programs will be.  The current report seems to me to be more for PR than for analysis and management.

    Thank you

    PS Being a "Numbers Geek" is not easy.



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  7. I thought ths might make for some interesting, and non-controversial, discussion topic. 


    A website "The Art of Manliness"  is launching a new program "The Strenuous Life", which is basically a Boy Scout Program for adults.  It will include a handbook and even merit badges.  I was wondering what everyone this of the idea.  Attached is a link to the website:





    Please note that I am not endorsing the program, and I have concerns about some of the ideas and information on "The Art of Manliness" website.  However, I would be curious to know what everyone thinks.

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  8. By accident I was doing some historical research on line, and came across some information regarding Howard Hughes.  He was not a billionaire (just a small boy), but his family was rich.  His father wanted him to associate with regular boys, so he saw sent to Dan Beard's camp in Pennsylvania.  I think this might have still been under Beard's old organization "Sons of Daniel Boone".   Apparently, young Howard took camp very seriously.  He voluntarily turned in a badge (Buckskin Badge) that he had received, because he violated the rules by eating some candy.


    Below is a narrative I found on line about Howard Hughes' experience at the camp (apparently helicopter mothers are nothing new):


    In 1916, when Howard jr. was 11, this unhealthy bond between mother and son was disrupted for the first time when he boldly asked to attend a boys camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It’s founder was the much loved and well respected Daniel Carter Beard ( a former US army rough rider and co-founder of the Boys Scouts of America). The camp was sort of a survival school for eastern preppies who had been pampered since birth.To his mother, Allene, Beard wrote of Howard jr., “He is an interesting little chap…he shows no sign of homesickness at all and seems very happyâ€.


    Allene would send her many letters of concerns for Howard jr.’s health and safety to Beard even if there wasn’t a single real cause for alarm.  After nearly 6 weeks away from home, Howard jr. became sun-bronzed and sturdy and even boated on Lake Teedyuskung with the camp’s first-timers or “tenderfoots†, and camped out overnight. He even learned to make fires without matches, fry up a breakfast of bacon and flapjacks and excelled in bird studies in “scoutcraftâ€. But Allene just couldn’t leave her son alone and she wrote her pitiful letters again telling Beard of her fear for the polio virus. Against, Beard’s protests Allene took her son out of the camp, to Howard jr.’s disappointment ,embarrassment and humiliation.

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  9. Has anyone considered that the nature f boys has changed since BSA was created.  I know this is heresy, but maybe organizing boys into small groups (patrols) is becoming a negative.


    By this I am that boys seem to be more individualistic, and less interested in being part of a group:


    -  Some sociologists have noted that males tend to get together with other males because they have to, not because they want to.  


    -  Many of them activities boys do today (computers, video games...) are done alone.


    -  People in general seem to have more trouble getting along with other people (at least that seems to be my impression)


    -  Communities seem to be a lot looser, and social standards seem almost none existent.


    -   More people work alone (via internet) than ever before, so the link between social skills and life is more tenuous. 



    I am not saying this is a good thing, in fact I think it is a bad thing.   But you have to work with the world you have, and not the world you want.


    I know people will not agree with this, but I think it is at least a factor that should be considered.

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  10. I am trying to help my plan out summer camp for this year.  I have never been a scout and have never gone to summer camp, so I am trying to tap into the communities collective wisdom for help.   I am always willing to steal a good idea.


    From reading some posts, it seems that their is a negative feeling towards over doing merit badge classes at camp.  I wanted to confirm if my impression is correct or not.


    If merit badge classes are overdone, then does anyone have any suggestions for the following:


    1.  How many merit badge classes should a boy scout take at summer camp?


    2.  Any suggestions on type of badges (Eagle required, aquatic....)?


    3.  From what I can determine, merit badges seem to be the main focus at summer camp.  If a boy scout limits the number of classes he takes, what alternatives should be consider?


    My nephew tends to focus on the merit badge classes, because they are familiar (like school), and he gets a tangible result from them.  I would like for him to concentrate on making good memories instead, but I do not really know what to tell him.


    The decision is his, and I support whatever he decides, but when someone comes to me for advise, I feel the need to give the best advise possible.


    Thank you to everyone who responds in advance.

  11. Benjamin Franklin said "It is better to be silent and thought a fool, rather than to speak up and remove all doubt."  That has been one of my guiding principles, but this one time I will not follow it.


    I saw the news about the change on TV, and realize that it will be a hard loss to accommodate.  But counter-intuitively, it might in the long run benefit BSA:


    1.  Sometimes getting smaller helps an organization to re-focus on its mission.  Such as a football team getting rid of fancy plays and going back to "three yards and a cloud of dust" type play.


    2.  Being smaller and more cohesive may make decision making more straightforward, and


    3.  It has been my observation that organizations do not change because they SHOULD, but that organizations change because they MUST.  Maybe this change will force leadership to make changes and improvements that hurt, but in the long term are beneficial.


    A smaller better BSA (even with all the pain involved), might be better than a larger lower quality organization.

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  12. When it comes to "leadership" I have heard about it at school, at work, and on the Internet.  Many times I have asked for a definition, but have never gotten an adequate one.  Sometimes it is having a title and position, sometimes it is setting an example, sometimes it is a combination of the previous two and sometimes something else.  Leadership seems to be one of those terms that means whatever you want it to. 


    I am afraid my perspective on leadership was become jaded over the years.  I have seen it used as an explanation and excuse for a great deal of unacceptable behavior.  Right now when I hear the word "leadership" I immediately stop listening.  This is a mistake, so I would like to know what you mean by "leadership"?

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  13. I do not think that STEM will be the answer for scoutings current problkems, because that niche is alreadying being filled by other organizations.   Locally Robotics Clubs are the big thing now.  Attached is a link to one that is close to where I am but not close enough for my nephew to use:




    If you read the website you will see that a number of things in common with scouts - a) they state that participation in the club increases the likelihood that the member will participate in the local community, b) they have self-governance for the members (patrol system), and c) they have their own in-house "badge" system for qualifications (including first aid). 


    So you get STEM (looks good on a college application) and the "cool kids" may make fun of you, but not as much as if you were in scouts.  They are trying to get a similar club started locally.

  14. I knew this would interest everyone, so I am just posting it.  Two things I noticed were - 1) a great deal of the desire to make Boy Scouts coed seems to center around girls having the opportunity to earn the Eagle Rank, and 2) one person who comments its states that they have they know that girls do best in an "all girl, girl lead" environment, while still advocating that the Boy Scouts be coed.







    I heard of another poll done in London, regarding the loss of practical skills by people.  Shown below is a copy of an article on the poll.



    A survey shows millennials are missing out on practical skills such as map reading or fishing, compared to their grandparents’ generation.

    More than half of young adults were unable to tie a single knot and 40 per cent had never swum in open water, despite Britain being an island nation.

    The poll, conducted ahead of the London Boat Show, found simple life skills have been left behind with advances in technology.

    Researchers also found that most people under the age of 44 prefer to use Google Maps and Sat Navs to get around, but half of over-55s stick to a paper street map.

    Just a third of the 2,000 surveyed know how to spark a flame by natural means, with less than a third having caught their own fish or seafood.

    Those born before 1950 were also three times more likely to be able to tie a sheepshank knot compared with those born in the 1990s. And the survey also revealed that 44 per cent have never actually been camping.

    A London Boat Show spokeswoman said: “Despite the rise of TV shows such as I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and Bear Grylls: Born Survivor, young people lack basic survival skills such as building a fire or catching food.â€

  16. There have been some mentions here of Lone Scouting. Unless Maric's former troop is the only troop available in the area, I don't think his situation meets the guidelines for when Lone Scouting is appropriate. See http://www.scouting.org/filestore/boyscouts/pdf/511-420.pdf (page 4, middle section)


    Eagle is not supposed to be a study-at-home course, unless it really has to be. And in this case there is no indication that it really has to be.


    You are correct about the Lone Scouting, I looked into it originally.


    I think this is a mistake, because if they made it more available they might appeal to more boys and increase membership.  Boys today are not as group oriented as they were years ago.  For example team sports seem to be declining in popularity while individual sports are increasing in popularity.

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  17. I was reading an article about a new "Adulting School" (a school that teaches basic skills to adults).  The article cited a study done by the Ordnance Survey (official mapping agency of Great Britain), which listed 20 skills that people believe are dying out.  I thought this would interest people, because a least five of these skills are basic scout skills (including the first three listed). 


    The skills are as follows (I added BOLD font to emphasize the particular skills:

    1. Reading a map
    2. Using a compass
    3. Tie a specific knot
    4. Darn socks
    5. Looking something up in a book using an index rather than “Googling itâ€
    6. Correct letter writing technique
    7. Understanding pounds and ounces
    8. Knowing your spelling and grammar
    9. Converting pounds and ounces to grams and kilograms
    10. Starting a fire from scratch
    11. Handwriting
    12. Understanding feet and inches
    13. Knitting
    14. Recall a friend or relative’s phone number from memory
    15. Recall a partner’s phone number from memory
    16. Identifying trees, insects and flowers
    17. Touch typing
    18. Baking bread from scratch
    19. Taking up trousers
    20. Wiring a plug

    Below is a link to the article:




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  18. UncleP, in addition to the question I asked earlier about what rank your nephew is, I have another question:


    Is your nephew having fun being a Boy Scout?


    If he is having fun, the chances are that he is also learning useful things, maybe very gradually and maybe without even knowing it - and even without getting checked off for it in his Scout handbooks.  Chances are also that given time (he's like 12, right?), other things that are "expected" of him will fall into place, like advancement and leadership and other things.  But if, for right now, he is having some fun and learning a thing or two, and getting experience in dealing with other people, and nothing else, that is still better than how he was spending his spare time before.  Right?


    My nephew is working towards Second Class.  He enjoys parts of scouting, mostly being outside and being able to move around and actually make noise.  The meetings and being part of a group are really hard on him.  Remember he comes from a home environment where he has learned to squeeze through a door only partially open to avoid making noise or letting in a draft.


    Sometimes he does not even realize how different the way he is being raise is.  I am afraid when he does realize it will make him even sadder.  But he has got to open up his world.  I worked in the high tech sector with guys who lives had been very restricted, and you could see how effected they were.


    The big problem is he has so few chances to enjoy himself, that when he gets one he becomes desperate to make the most of it.  That desperation causes him to make the worst of it, and he is starting to be afraid to enjoy himself for fear of what will happen. 


    He is learning stuff and improving.  When you are on the bottom their is no place to go but up.

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  19. I would like to thank everyone who replied.  I understand that everyone has many issues that they are dealing with, and I appreciate the time and effort given.


    I think I have some ideas how to advise my nephew.  The thing is that bad parenting runs in my family (my sister treats her son the way our mother treated me), so a great many things that seem obvious to most people get right past me. 


    My nephew is very bright, and is in a gifted program at school.  But he is very sad.  He sees a therapist, and I and school and now scouts do what they can for him.  His therapist thought that maybe scouts would be a good chance for some positive socialization in a safe environment.  He is definitely improving, but his parents still make him live like he is in a solitary confinement cell.  Last Friday he father said that he had a bad week, and that he did not want to hear any noise at all until Monday morning.   Think of what that's like for a boy.


    I was raised the same way, and it has caused issues, but I was lucky and got a lot of help.  I want to pay it forward and help him like I was helped.

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