Posts posted by The Latin Scot
As a lifelong amateur swordsman, I found the original post absolutely delightful and it definitely made my day. 😄
As a lifelong amateur swordsman, there's no way in Heaven or Earth I would give my Scouts swords, even with all the protective equipment. I'll let them enjoy that activity under the watch of a trained professional and let somebody else deal with all the liabilities, thank you very much. 🤣
I agree 100%. Those who deny Scouts opportunities because they lack a uniform do not understand the purpose of Scouting, and those who end up fretting because they don't have one yet suffer from an unfortunate lack of imagination. However, @yknot and @CynicalScouter, be very careful with your comments - one might suspect that you feel supporting and/or promoting the uniform must equal either a disproportionate understanding of the values of Scouting, or that it somehow limits opportunities for Scouts with limited financial means. But these would of course be egregious assumptions; my specialty is working with low-income and migrant families, and I have never allowed finances to hinder a Scout's ability to participate in our activities in any way whatsoever - especially since I come from low-income circumstances myself - and yet I have always managed to successfully equip every Scout in my dens with a full uniform, because I used my imagination and every resource available to me. That isn't "valuing wearing a uniform over giving Scouts with limited financial means opportunity" - that is turning the uniform into an opportunity. And that's the whole point, isn't it?
I think too often we create false dichotomies in our efforts to rationalize not wearing the uniform - unfair but common sentiments we have all read and heard a million times before, such as "if you focus on the uniform, you will be ignoring poor Scouts," or "if you are worried about uniforms, you must be forgetting part of the Scout law," or "leaders who emphasize the uniform should be focusing on the Scouts themselves" - and other habitual, illogical conjectures that pit one notion against another in unrelated couplets that make unreasonable comparisons with no basis in fact - as though somehow supporting the uniform as a method of Scouting must somehow mean you are deficient in some other aspect of the program. This is, of course, patently ridiculous, but as a rhetorical device I can only assume it makes anti-uniform Scouters feel somewhat comforted as they settle into the false presumption that people who advocate for the uniform must surely be lacking in some other, more important virtue, and so they think, "I can put down wearing the uniform because I am superior in a real Scouting virtue, and those who care only about uniforms must be ignorant of best practices or key human connections that I won't forget because I am not blinded by neckers and socks and hats." But of course, once this line of thinking is exposed for what it is - a rhetorical trick with no truth behind it - I can only imagine it must lose some of its value as an argumentative tactic.
As we can all safely understand by now (I hope), such supposition is both absurd and condescending, and logically it is as erroneous as it is patronizing. It is possible, in fact far more probable, that those who care about uniforms see a bigger picture, and perceive that they are part of a much broader, more compassionate and comprehensive understanding of both Scouting and its potential to elevate character in ways that aren't limited by finances or circumstances or current events, because they begin in the heart and find expression in everything we do. That kind of understanding isn't limited by uniforming - it opens doors with it, and with enough resilience and sincere effort, it finds ways to use the uniform as a powerful means of inclusion, a way of bringing Scouting in to the program. Only those with limited imaginations or who don't understand their purpose could ever find ways to turn them into exclusionary barriers. I'm grateful I have never been weighed down by such artificial and unfortunate worldviews; rather, my efforts to make the uniform a key part of our program has led to increased success and loyalty to the program - and my most faithful Scouts are always those whose families deal with extreme economic hardship, but who are clever and resourceful enough to find ways to make it work, and who then carry on those skills towards finding success in other, more important aspects of their lives. After all, I was a Cub Scout who had to find innovative ways to make money to get my uniform in order - and later found equally innovative ways to get the money I needed to go to college.
Is the uniform a 'cornerstone' of Scouting? No, I suppose that isn't the word for it - but it is one of the core methods. So is it one of the most effective means of making it a success? Yes. Absolutely, 100% yes. And I dare say that if you don't believe that yet, you have never really tried it. And that's okay - it took me a long time to figure out how it mattered, and why it was important at all. But I did, and you can too - if you are willing to look at it from a whole new perspective. But since when was it a bad thing to be open to change?
It bears repeating that none of the values listed above - thrift, value, and safety - need to be sacrificed in order to get your Scouts looking their best. As for what @yknot has written, each point addressed has an equally valid counter point.
Thrift - Nobody should spend a single cent that isn't related to delivering an engaging program. Your program will never be as engaging out of uniform as it will be in it. The uniform is one of the most powerful tools you have in keeping your parents and kids involved, so every penny paid towards that goal is a penny well spent.
Value - I would feel cheated out of the full promise of the Cub Scout program if my kid couldn't wear his uniform when participating in service or community events! In fact, during this time of widespread isolation and limited activity, the opportunity to see a kid in uniform doing good, whether outside or via zoom or other teleconferencing means, is a refreshing beacon of hope during uncertain and troubled times. When I see posts of kids in uniform on instagram, facebook, or other online platforms, I can visualize the full value of our program, and it gives people a much-needed sense of optimism that there is good happening all around us, even if we can't yet go out to see it in person.
Safety - The wonderful thing about gathering that parts for a uniform is that time is with us, not against us. As we ask trusted friends for gently-used items they no longer need, we can do so with whatever stipulations we feel comfortable. If a friend messages me saying she has a pair of Cub shorts to donate, I can ask that they be washed and disinfected, then left on my doorstep in a plastic bag which I can then wash and sanitize to preference whenever I like. And if it takes a few months to get all the parts - hat, necker, et cetera - well, there's nothing wrong with that. And think how excited my kid will get to go back to Scouts as their uniform slowly comes together! Some socks here, a belt there - sometimes the time it takes to get it all together can generate more enthusiasm than any talk or hype ever could. It's a material (haha) gathering of elements right before the kids' eyes that gives them a tangible means of visualizing the program coming together as they eagerly await the chance to meet in person again. And what a great way to talk about health and safety, as you put together your uniform in a safe way that emphasizes the precautions your family will take to ensure that uniform is a clean, sanitized, healthy option for your kid!
Thank you @yknot for helping clarify the many ways our uniforms can be used to emphasize such important factors as the three virtues listed above. When we really understand what the uniforms represent, they can be powerful teaching tools for almost any virtue in Scouting we need to teach, and they will certainly bring nothing but good to our units and our families.
Well, there have certainly been a lot of comments here telling you not to worry about uniforms, or to forget them completely, et cetera. But what if you want to wear the uniform? And after all, as BP himself said, what boy (or girl, or leader) with Scouting in his heart wouldn't want to wear the uniform?
The policy which expects Webelos Scouts to wear the tan and green uniform is new - it only came into effect this year. But as per BSA tradition, ANY uniform, once approved by the BSA, is always approved by the BSA - so a Webelos Scout can wear the traditional blue uniform. Just be sure to note to those who may express concern or bemusement that this is now considered a traditional or heritage Webelos uniform, and you should wear appropriate insignia to go with it (so don't wear the new tan oval Webelos rank patch, but instead make sure you wear the appropriate blue diamond rank patch instead).
Now as I said, there have been a lot of comments here reassuring you that the uniform is not a necessary part of Scouting. I am here to speak to the other side of the coin - of course you can have Scouting without the uniform - but I can promise you, the experience of Scouting loses a significant degree of power, influence, and ability to do good if you omit the uniform from your program. Do anything you can to obtain uniforms for your kids - not just the shirts, but everything from the caps to the socks and all in-between. Why? It will improve behavior. It will increase unity and teamwork. It will enhance your program and elevate your accomplishments. It will assist recruiting and recognition. More than anything, it will measurably and dramatically improve every aspect of your program in ways that you might not expect and would never have witnessed until you were willing to put in the effort. I only say this as one who was skeptical at first, tried it (begrudgingly, I might add), and was soon drastically and irrevocably humbled when I witnessed in my own Webelos den the DRAMATIC difference I saw in my Scouts and our families once I committed fully to this essential and irreplaceable method of Scouting.
One final note - money has nothing to do with it. I work with many Scouts from immigrant and low-income families. So I would petition Scout troops all over our area for any and all gently-used Cub or Scouts BSA uniform items they could dig up - belts, socks, shorts, neckers, ANYTHING. It didn't take me long to have our entire pack outfitted with everything we needed, and where we were short, I asked for donations from local businesses and community agencies. Don't be afraid to ask for help; if you want it hard enough, it will happen - and trust me, the positive effects of getting your kids in uniforms are ABSOLUTELY something you will want.
My dad is a college professor, and I had to train him in the use of Canvas when the pandemic forced him to shift all of his voice and acting classes online.
It's not particularly user-friendly, nor is it particularly intuitive. I would recommend against it; it's far too complicated for the needs of Scouting. All you really need is a simple platform like Zoom or GoogleMeeting. Canvas is much too complex and involving to be practical for Scouts and their families.
4 hours ago, StrykerJW said:
The fact is, this may or may not be the time to shed the term Scoutmaster, and we can argue the merits one way or the other, but that's really not for *us* to decide if it's an appropriate time to change the term. The next generation and *their* parents are the real decision-makers, because if *they* make a decision, and the BSA doesn't listen, then, then they simply won't join, and the BSA will cease to exist.
Of course there is also the far more likely and sensible probability - that this "next generation" and its parents actually don't mind the terms Scout- or Cubmaster, and in fact are perfectly happy keeping them, and wouldn't even think twice about the matter unless it was pushed on them by overly politicizing factions who only want to look for trouble where there is none to be had. I feel comfortable saying this since, according to you, I fall into the category of the "real" decision makers - and I never, in all my functions at the unit, district and council level, have ever even heard of the terms being questionable, apart from this one isolated thread, in this one isolated forum. And I live in a densely populated, media-heavy, influential and involved part of the country.
So I think the term is safe for now. ☺️
So, I just got back from my local Scout Shop where I tried on the new uniform pants they just issued (luckily I am trim enough to fit into the youth sizes; leader sizes still haven't come in). And you know what? I actually LOVE them! For once, the pants are fitted comfortably with a nice stretch fabric, and they hit just at the knee, giving a slim, trim fit that looks great! Good job for once, national!
Badge Magic is the DEVIL!
But that quote is from Episode VIII while the image is from Episode V!
1 hour ago, MattR said:
While we're here I would like to add a 13th point to the scout law, however. I think Humble would be a good one. Maybe the assumption is that in order to be all of those other things like courteous and helpful, one has to be humble so there's no need to explicitly say it. It would just be easier to talk to some scouts, that are too full of themselves and starting to annoy everyone around them, that humility is a good thing. But that's a different topic.
It would certainly be a valid topic if you ask me - what point would you add or subtract from the Scout law if given the opportunity? I remember that at my own Eagle Board of Review, I was asked that very question. I, like you, answered humble, and my reasoning was much along the same lines as your response here. Even as a 14 year-old, I was frustrated with many of the egos I encountered in Scouting - certainly among the bullies who made life difficult for smaller fellows like myself, but even more so among the leaders who thought themselves above reproach. That was twenty-odd years ago, but my feelings are still the same. Humility, modesty, and discretion are undervalued attributes these days.
Back to the topic at hand, I feel those are qualities that every Scoutmaster and Cubmaster should embody. If they did, I don't think there would be an issue with the titles. A Scouter who has mastered all the skills and virtues of Scouting, but is modest about his abilities and accomplishments, would be the best kind of promotion for our program, and would be the best argument for keeping these venerated and time-honored terms.
I can't help but think of the Norman Rockwell painting, called appropriately enough The Scoutmaster. I look at this image and think, not of some authoritarian adult forcing children to submit to his will, but of a strong, gentle leader with the wisdom and skills needed to help guide and encourage the youth in his care to become better citizens, better family members, and better people - all through the strength of who he is, not what he says. I see in this painting (which has a fascinating story behind it) the very ideal of what we mean when we call somebody a Scoutmaster - this is someone who has truly mastered both the skills and virtues of Scouting, who lives its values, and who sets an example for the youth in his care to follow.
We would all do well to live up to those ideas, and try to be, in our own way, true Scoutmasters and Cubmasters, even if our current position is something besides.
I have never, in all my years of Scouting, encountered this 'problem.' As I have always interpreted it, the Scoutmaster is not a master over the Scouts - he is a master of the skills of Scouting. Likewise, the Cubmaster is not the master of the Cubs - he is a master of the skills of Cub Scouting.
In Scouting, the label 'master' is used as a term of respect for the Scoutmaster or Cubmaster's superior abilities and skills, not as a submission to some (imagined) superior authority or status. This is perhaps a finer nuance of meaning than many are accustomed to consider, in the which case I think our more refined use of the nomenclature can only be a positive thing, and one that can help us progress towards a more enlightened use of both language and terminology. Our use of the word master can help us advance beyond the unfortunate stigmas of the past, and move towards a more equitable use, where anybody can become a master of skills through hard work and diligence, and where recognition for such can be recognized by any and all.
SO, I created a powerpoint to share with all the units in our district for our Roundtable a month ago, and I would like to share it here, but I don't know how to upload powerpoint presentations here. If anybody would like to see it though, I am happy to send it to you!
EDIT: I figured out how to save it as a PDF - if you would like to use it yourself, I can send you the Powerpoint files which you can then customize at will. Just send me a private message and I will be glad to oblige you. Thanks all!
Yes, girls in Scouting will be able to earn the new awards. The wording is specifically written to include young women activities as options for completing the requirements.
1 hour ago, SSScout said:
Okay, I am still confused by this...
I had the impression that the Vanguard Scouts was to be "THE" official LDS Youth scouting type program. No? Is it only the Religious Award Oversight Committee? The LDS Youth Program is something different ? As a Scout Chaplain, a member of my faith Scouting Committee, Assistant District Commish and RoundTabler, who fields questions like this, I am just trying to understand the new world order here....
No, VISA is NOT the new official LDS program. The new LDS program was instituted at the end of last year, and is entirely apart from Scouting of any kind - there will be no intersection between the official LDS program and Scouting. The church proper has nothing to do with VISA nor its new religious awards program.
That said, VISA has been created entirely by volunteers who are both members of the church and continuing members of scouting, and while it is in no was directed by nor affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is designed exclusively to serve LDS scouting families. I strongly recommend reading the following pages from VISA's website:
About VISA: https://www.vanguardscouting.org/about-vanguard/
Purposes and Objectives: https://www.vanguardscouting.org/purposes-objectives/
Supporting Activities: https://www.vanguardscouting.org/activities-to-support-its-purposes-and-objectives/
If you read these pages carefully you will understand the need for this new organization as well as its role in the future of scouting for LDS units, and of course, I am always happy to help everybody understand as best I can.3 hours ago, PACAN said:
So will there be "LDS" troops and packs registered through the local councils? They would have to be to earnBSA ranks etc . We have some scouts who were in LDS sponsored units who have joined us. If this is just a way for scouts of the LDS church to earn religious awards where will these scouts find counselors trained in the requirements of these? Their Bishop?
Yes, LDS Scouts will continue to earn normal BSA ranks and fulfill standard BSA requirements just as they have always done for the past 107 years. Only the requirements for the their new religious emblems awards, along with the awards themselves, will change. All requirements and applications for the awards are online, and should be made available to your unit religious emblems coordinator. Have them follow the link here: https://www.vanguardscouting.org/the-new-religious-emblems-program/
By the way, VISA was officially recognized by the World Organization of the Scout Movement this month, which is why they are licensed to use the international scouting emblem on their own emblem, and its awards were also recognized by the BSA Religious Relationships Committee this month. So this is legit, folks. 😉
The old religious emblems program was created by the church, distributed by the church, and directed by the church. Because the church no longer sponsors scouting, it no longer offers those old awards, nor any other awards of that kind - it has its own program now with its own forms of recognition, entirely apart from the awards it used to offer its boys of scouting age. The old awards have been officially retired and their production discontinued. So there was a need to create a new religious awards program for members of the church who opted to continue in scouting, awards that can be worn on the uniform or with business attire just like most other religious awards.
The Vanguard International Scouting Association is a body of volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have united to fill the void left by the church when it ended its religious emblems program, creating these new awards for LDS Scouts so that they can continue to earn a religious emblem particular to their faith if they continue in scouting. This body is not in any way endorsed by the church, but it does apprise Church leadership of all its doings, and it because it directly replaces the LDS-BSA Relations committee, which WAS fully sanctioned and operated by the church, it has been a natural and relatively painless transition. And the awards are, if I may say so myself, lovely. But again - VISA is IN NO WAY operated by, endorsed, or sanctioned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, which will no longer endorse ANY youth or scouting program of any kind, as it now has its own youth development program.
This group is not a new Scouting organization like 4H or Campfire or any of those groups, it is specifically a body formed by volunteers to create a religious awards program for LDS Scouts and provide a resource for LDS scouters at Jamboree, national committees, and other like events. Just like there are organizations which serve Jewish or Catholic or Protestant scouts and provide awards and fellowship within their religious, this group will provide the same for LDS scouts. Again, this body will oversee a new religious awards program and provide resources and fellowship for LDS scouting - it is not a new scouting program in and of itself. It's the same kind of organization as P.R.A.Y., the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, or the National Jewish Committee on Scouting. But it is not a part or nor will it be directed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church is working very hard to make a clean break from scouting to support its own program; this group is merely run by the many hundreds of LDS scouting volunteers who want to perpetuate a relationship with the BSA and provide awards and resources for those of own own faith.
And finally, as for the continued use of the term Boy Scouts instead of Scouts BSA, well, after 106 years of calling it Boy Scouts, it's understandable for us to be a bit set in our ways, is it not? And is the organization not still called The Boy Scouts of America? Thank goodness. Furthermore, many new LDS units remain exclusively male, since we value the differences between men and women and don't always perceive them as interchangeable, as some modern lines of thought would have us believe. So you'll have to forgive us if some of us are still reluctant to switch to the new, politically correct terminology. I myself still don't approve of girls in the boy scout program, and while I am careful to use the appropriate term Scouts BSA in my role as a unit and district-level commissioner, within our own unit I use the term Boy Scouts freely. I find no problem with this.
Again, I just finished a wonderful two day conference about this organization yesterday, so I am happy to share anything with those of you who have any questions, and if you would like, I can direct you to the recordings from the conference so you can watch for yourself and get a crystal clear understanding of the organization moving forward. It's always fun to share with others!
Not at all my friends, they have just been saving everything for announcement at the annual Little Philmont event which they broadcast this weekend! I spent this whole weekend on an online training conference held over Zoom where the entire organizations and its programs were revealed and carefully, dynamically presented by the organization heads. Over 600 people attended from all over the country!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the newly revised website for the newly organized and ready-to-rumble Vanguard International Scouting Association!
This has actually been in development for more than a year, thanks to the prescience of our church leadership; as soon as the break from Scouting was announced wheels were in motion to establish an organization that could carry on the good relations between the LDS community and Scouting organizations throughout the world - which is why this new organization will be available to LDS Scouts from all nations - not just the Boy Scouts of America, but also Scouts in other countries' organizations as well. A presence is planned for Jamboree, and the new religious awards have been created and are in production already! The Light and Truth Award for Cub Scouts and the Vanguard Awards for Scouts and leaders, will be available within the year. While the Church has no part in the creation of the awards nor in the organization, it is apprised of everything it does and all it stands for, so there is nothing done by VISA which they are not aware of. As for its recognition by Boy Scouts of America, well, thanks to Charles Dahlquist's pull as the former National Commissioner and the deep connections the Church maintain on the national committees prior to the break, this organization is already the official BSA- recognized liaison for LDS Scouting. Scouting in the Church is not slowing down one bit during this pandemic - in fact its gaining momentum every day!
The new awards:
The Light and Truth Award (Cub Scouts)
The Vanguard Award (Scouts)
The Vanguard Award (Adults)
I don't know how the church would go about sanctioning any one group as it's 'official' representative body, as it likely wants to keep its break from Scouting as clean as possible. However, if any organization does assume that mantle, it will be this one. It's made of up many of the same people who served in the previous organization, like Mark Francis and Charles W. Dahlquist II, who were important figures in its structure and in the BSA at large, so it's pretty clear this will be the most important organization to LDS Scouting families in the future. Whether or not the church chooses to give its approval to any of them remains to be seen, but I don't think that will be a major hurdle to the association in the future either way.
Actually these developments are much, much further along than noted here. First of all, there is already an official organization in place that has replaced the LDS-BSA Relations Committee, now known as the Vanguard International Scouting Association - it was announced on February 8th of this year to coincide with the anniversary of Scouting. Its information can be found here:
Secondly, there is a virtual conference from Philmont scheduled for next week (Friday and Saturday) during which they will announce the new religious awards for Scouts and Scouters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - among other things. They have a great schedule of trainings planned. I got an email for it a week ago. Here's the registration page:
So there is a lot of good stuff coming down the line for us LDS Scouts and Scouters! I'll be sure to post all the new goodness as it comes. I'm certainly excited!
Having dealt with tremendous numbers of older pants myself, I can almost guarantee you won't find anything that fits the same as those pants did. That cut and style was very much a product of its time (circa the 1980's), and is now woefully out of fashion. For the most part that's a good thing, as that style just did NOT seem to fit any boy I ever met, what with the slim waist and larger carriage area leading to the wide pant legs - boys just aren't shaped like that, and the design had long baffled me (even when I was a Scout and wore that very style myself I thought them distastefully goofy). I never realized until this post that such would be perfect for a lady's proportions ... but in any case no, you aren't likely to find anything that fits like that in the modern designs (though I have a box of pants in the same style I wish I could hand over to you!).
Wow this thread is old! LOL.
But I will take the time to note that few things irk me as much as the misnomer 'Webelo' used in reference to a single Scout who should, in fact, be called a 'Webelos Scout." There is no such thing as a 'Webelo!'
Drives me bonkers every time I hear it. Enough to keep it in my signature, lol. 🤪
I think it's irrational to believe that this pandemic spells the end of such basic parts of our culture as hand-shaking. For a season it may diminish in use, but only for a season - when we finally have this illness beaten, which we will, I believe the handshake will come back with a vengeance. Until that time, I am strongly encouraging all Scout leaders to salute each other - it's just as much a means of salutation as the handshake, and in many situations I even prefer it. Why don't we salute each other more? lol.
On 2/26/2019 at 11:27 AM, MattR said:
For those of us that live in the West and really don't want to fly to the Bechtel Thingy, it would be great to have two jamboree sites.
Amen to this! Especially with all the space now available at emptying BSA properties in Utah and Idaho; there must be a way to hold a large-scale event that doesn't require travel all the way back east. Distance wise, anything over the Rockies can be like travelling to another country for those of us on the west coast.
20 minutes ago, elitts said:
Now, let's add to those points the fact that the BSA Rules https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/Rules_and_Regulations_June_2018.pdf
specify that the SPL must be elected by half of the members of their troop.(Section VII, page 14) Therefore a "Joint SPL" is not possible because SPLs can not be elected by anyone outside of his/her troop.
This was a point I brought up a few pages back. The girl's title of SPL over a male unit was never valid in the first place because she cannot be a member of that troop, regardless of how closely (too closely if you ask me) their two units work together. This is all over the BSA literature if you get into it enough.
First Blue & Gold Banquet
in Open Discussion - Program
I concur with the general sentiments here; it's a wonderful thing for you to offer vespers and a benediction at the close of your meeting. How corny they are depends only on how corny you make it, meaning they could be utterly sincere and heartfelt if that's the way you treat them. Coming from a deeply religious unit, we always begin and end our meetings with prayer, and very often a hymn will accompany the opening or closing of our meetings. It's can be a meaningful addition to your meetings, but as the one introducing them, remember that you set the tone, and others will follow. But judging by the fact that you were good enough to include them in the first place, I have great confidence that you'll make it just right for your pack and their families. Good on you for doing it. 👍