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Everything posted by oldbuzzard

  1. BSA, national and local, clearly sees an existential threat and is taking a broad approach to countering it. I think the BSA is intentionally making two changes under the transition to "Family Scouting" and is making another change as part of the broader approach. I will term these three changes inclusion, institutionalism, and consumerism. 1) Inclusion: They clearly want to quickly juice the numbers by admitting girls. This is part of the reboot around gays etc. I assume that in the next few years all the added God bothering in the requirements will disappear and we'll end up with a nearly secular group. Uniforming could become lighter like Scouts UK of could move to optional uniforms like Venturing or Scouts Canada. I'm enthusiastic about these changes and don't think the doubters' concerns will come to pass. 2) Institutionalism: This change is part of the goal to raise revenue and not purely related to "Family Scouting". BSA and councils clearly want to generate big home run projects without having to build programs slowly from the ground up. This is obvious in STEM Scouts. I can imagine a great BSA stem-only initiative. My kids have been in a local maker group that could be a great model. DIY.org could be a model. All loosely structured and maker led. Partnering with Team America Rocketry Challenge, which schools and 4H use, could be a plan. Patriotic, potential large donors, could partner with NAR, fits with Cub Scout launch themes and BS merit badges. But instead STEM Scouts is something delivered in schools in a school-y format where they offer the program, BSA "provides" volunteers and collects fees. Likewise, at the council level I see the desire for these home runs. Our council has built a new $17million headquarters and most of the justification about community engagement. They aren't only or perhaps even primarily looking to support units. Before the upgrade they had a ropes course and climbing wall. Now they have a "leadership lab". It is fairly clear their goal is to sell leadership course to the schools and corporations. Sign your entire student council up for a multisession leadership training.... just like NLTY w/o the camping. The camps are also building lodges whose main purpose seems to be recruiting school environment education field trips, despite currently lacking staff to support that. These more structured projects seem speculative and out of the current mission of BSA. 3) Consumerism: It seems like "Family Scoutng" is an excuse to monetise the current membership as much as possible. Out council has added $100+ council dues in the last couple years, perhaps to fund the building spree. I assume National will be heading towards $100 dues shortly. Scouts Canada showed a pretty linear inverse trend of enrollment and dues. Hopefully open enrollment of girls can delay these huge dues hikes. That last Scout Stuff Flyer looked like an REI catalog. The councils are trying to sell family camp and so is national. Philmont Family Week is underwhelming. Everything at The Summit is worse. It has always seemed like a unsuccessful money grab. The ATV stuff violates outdoor ethics and reeks of pay to play. These are all consumerist vacations, not real adventures. I'd look for a lodge at Philmont and an every other year Family Rendevous at Summit between Jambos and lots more marketing of expensive deluxe family events. Its Scouting as a lifestyle brand. So I think the core Scouts BSA program may be strengthened by recent inclusion changes but overall the adventurous core program will likely be marginalized by other trends completely unrelated to girls.
  2. oldbuzzard

    Just curious about background

    Not really. We know they are all "Real Scouts"... I think the goal here is to prove or disprove the credentials of the "liberal" wing. From the responses so far it should be clear that the inclusive group is just as involved and hence we can move on from the "no true Scotsman" fallacy...
  3. oldbuzzard

    Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

    Right. But what kind of success? I view Scouts as an apprenticeship to adulthood... lots of opportunity to experiment and fail in adult tasks. My sons will be adults in a pluralistic society with bosses, peers, and subordinates who are female, gay, trans, ethnic minorities, etc, etc. Women's colleges and HBCUs have been declining since many students have taken the greater opportunities at previously male/white schools. Does anyone doubt Harvard, and probably America, benefits from taking some of Howard's best kids. Likewise Princeton and Bryn Mawr. This is how I view the Scouts transition. I want my kids to be capable leaders... not just capable leaders of men. The Service Academies made this transition way before women were allowed in combat and without it that transition might have been impossible.
  4. oldbuzzard

    Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

    I agree with this. I support going coed on the merits but I think having a good analogy for this situation could be helpful for more conservative/traditional Scouters... In threads on a classical homeschooling board I'm on, the more conservative members mirror opinion on this board with a strong pro GS/AHG bias. Interestingly some of the more liberal female members have a pro GS view based on mourning for the likely loss of "safe spaces". This is usually framed in terms of the decline of women's colleges. Vassar gong coed, Radcliffe merging back in with Harvard, etc, etc... They generally acknowledge more opportunity for girls has been a good thing but still mourn the loss of these unique spaces. I found this analogy of single sex colleges to be insightful. The rhetoric and intensity of feelings about BSA admitting girls reminds me of when VMI and The Citadel went coed ~25 years ago. Many of the Fox news commentaries read exactly the same. Loss of male tradition and rituals, safe spaces. When I was a kid in the south, some held the belief that the last 2 of the senior military colleges to go coed offered a different, perhaps superior, option to the Service Academies, which went coed in 1976. Alumni where going on about how they would never give money or have their kids join the military... all sorts of hyperbolic talk. 25 years on, I think that has been a success. Yeah there were and continue to be issues with sexual harassment at these schools and in the military .... and the Scouts will probably see the same... but over all I think most people would view it as a success.
  5. GRRR... the previous language stated the online version was authoritative and the pdf version was dated. Either way is fine but they really shouldn't flip the authoritative copy at a whim...
  6. Do you have a link for this? National G2SS still says Which allows parents not register leaders which is a huge difference and no mention of meetings. https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss01/
  7. oldbuzzard

    Patrol Method - Best Practices

    Have you gotten that rate as an out of state group? Online they list it as $10 for WISCONSIN non-profit youth groups and $40 otherwise. I don't see any discount for other Scout groups. Plus parking passes for all the vehicles... https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/camping/group.html
  8. oldbuzzard

    How will you talk about girls troops and packs?

    Then maybe you should try to shame folks for not being obedient not trustworthy. Our pack was originally planning on having separate boy/girl dens who did almost all joint activities, just like our multiple boy dens. But as time has gone by, we've moved to plans for full co-ed dens. I don't know what that'll look like on paper. We aren't an early adopter pack but we are a concentrator/congregator or whatever the term is for next year, a welcoming pack that council refers girls to who can't find viable dens in other troops. Our CM and IH have discussed this with council and they know, but aren't thrilled, we are having co-ed dens. So it isn't a trust issue. It is similar to when we opted out of the gay ban in 2002, before our IH and others persuaded our entire council to do so. As an open and affirming church, pushing the boundaries to be kind and reverent trumps literal obedience.
  9. Troop flags don't say "Boy Scouts", just Troop 123 and a BSA emblem. Folks don't mind carrying those and with this name change those won't have to be replaced. I know several troops with 75-100+years at the same CO and plenty of Eagles who will happily switch to calling themselves Scout Troop XXX probably starting next week, certainly by summer camp.
  10. oldbuzzard

    Ad hoc girl patrols formed and compete in camporee

    To quote the "Guide to Safe Scouting" It seems clear to me that as potential recruits both generally and for the special Summer leadership clinic these girls would be covered under national and council insurance just like any other kid who filled out a waiver and attended with a troop.
  11. We have 3 crews going on a unit BWCA trip this summer. I'm going with a 12yo crew. Next Spring the older kids are talking about going back to Seabase and doing SCUBA. This is off the table for the younger crew due to HA age limits.... and yet I see Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island runs a "Rugged" SCUBA adventure that gets you PADI open water certified for 12+yo. The other "Rugged" adventures look similarly HAish to me. My personal inclination is to run multiple unit HA trips for what Seabase would cost for the younger Scouts, but I was wondering what other "Rugged" council programs are out there?
  12. oldbuzzard

    Significant youth protection changes

    The long cords are a real drag when driving, that's why I use rfc1149 encoding to use VoIP over carrier pigeon. Having twice as many cages is a hassle but its worth it for YPT.
  13. I know many have wondered about names and such with BS4G. In our council's new branding they are dropping "boy", "boy scouts", "BSA", and council. So going from Northern Star Council of BSA to Northern Star Scouting. See, http://www.northernstarbsa.org/refreshing-our-brand-for-scouting-today I would assume this is at least in the spirit of what we'll eventually see from National. Though I'm not sure exactly how, Scouting America sounds like an outdoor store and Scouts America sounds like gas station.
  14. oldbuzzard

    High adventure photos

    Fair enough. The 10 hrs in Skip's post just jumped out at me since that is the limit for a single days drive in the G2SS... so the limit of a more affordable drivable trip for many troops.
  15. oldbuzzard

    How do you end your Troop meetings?

    We circle up for the Scoutmaster Benediction but leave the circle broken to remember those not there.
  16. oldbuzzard

    High adventure photos

    To be fair, Brian is within 10 hrs of Baxter State Park/Katahdin in Maine and much closer to the Whites in NH and the Adirondaks in NY. All three would be great places to run a "convenient" Winter mountaineering course for east coast scouts. Northern Tier is 20+hrs away and is extreme Winter camping with no mountains. The only non-unit mountaineering options I know of in North America are a Summer program in Eastern British Columbia through Scouts Canada and an opportunity at one of the Alaska High Adventure Bases. A less extreme option like your Scottish camp would be a great addition to BSA's program.
  17. oldbuzzard

    Philmont Announcement - March 27

    I feel like we should be the target audience... I have a 9yo CS and a 11yo BS. The value proposition of the 3 of us going down for a week at $650 is pretty compelling... but looking at the descriptions the activities are weak. So we have horse rides on docile horses and climbing on very easy routes and short hikes. This looks like Cub Camp or First Year Scout Camp. That's not what I want to see at Philmont. B-P and others talk about the mythopoetic value of Scouting activities. Beyond the physical majesty, Philmont also serves as some sort of pinnacle of high adventure. Yeah, that's debatable but *this* family camp detracts from that image. For us, the *core* program is exactly what we are looking for in a family camp. My 11yo will have just done a BWCA trip in June and my 9yo is going to go into Webelos over the Summer and will cross over at 10 1/2 next Spring. He is bridling at the lack of adventure. A family scouting program could get around the informed consent problems and if provided more skilled guides get younger kids into the backcountry. I think the 14yo official HA cutoff is hurting Scouting. Somehow the Y camps can take 12 and 13yos on 60-120mile BWCA trips while BSA waits 2 more years. Next year our troop is going back to SeaBasa but we need to find a different activity for the younger Scouts. That might be fine if these activities were so elite but plenty of younger Scouts could do these. My ideal Family Scouting trip would be something like a hypothetical trip with my wife, her sister, and their mom with the 4 grandkids between 11/12-13/14 going to MOHAB and doing the packrafting/backpacking course. For family trips I want to leverage the guiding expertise of the Scouts to do real HA not daycamp. So for us the Philmont Family Adventure falls short. The boys and I will probably spend the week of July 4th either backpacking on the SHT or the Kek or canoeing on the Namekegon.
  18. oldbuzzard

    Here is a tip for keeping 90-day logs - PF, FL, PM

    I think these requirements are about finding a system that works for a given kid. I think online or in the crappy workbook is likely to have the out of sight/out of mind problem. So for a given kid something on their phone or something on a calendar/planner may work better but that'll vary from kid to kid. For us my son started Personal Fitness at 10.5yo and I had him come up with his own system. He just used a sheet of copy paper with divided in 2 columns with boxes for each day. It had the dates at the top, then the chart, and a small area to record results for that 2 weeks at the bottom. So for PF you had 6 sheets. His first design looked bad. So I suggested maybe he could use a ruler and after that he managed it himself. It was a simple system. The current sheet was magneted to the fridge so you had a regular daily reminder every time you got a snack. After your bi-weekly fitness test you had the natural reminder to make a new chart for the next 2 weeks. He didn't do the other requirements so he just used this for his T2F requirements but the overall system was pretty smooth.
  19. oldbuzzard

    Outdoor Code for Non-Americans

    Here is a GBB Boys Life article about it: https://books.google.com/books?id=oB4YsDfcXA4C&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=green+bar+bill+outdoor+code+bottle+beach Sounds like BSA meant it to be not just for scouts but something that was evangelized to schools and civic groups hence the generic patriotic "American" reference. Sort of like an early Keep America Beautiful campaign.
  20. oldbuzzard

    Linked Troops - What are these?

    The actual requirement is "Be active in your Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade or at least six months since becoming ten years old." It is a bit of an edge case but both of my boys have early September birthdays in a school district with a hard requirement of 5yo by Sept. 1st for Kindergarten. As such older son crossed over having done all the Webelos and AoL requirements in 9 months as a 10.5yo 4th grader... if he hadn't he would have joined boy scouts as an 11yo in the Fall not as a AoL crossover the following spring. Younger son will do the same next year if he does the work. There are bound to be a few girls who also meet this requirement and joined as 10yo 4th graders who could move up six months from now. ETA: I agree this isn't a huge deal since it is a one time thing.
  21. oldbuzzard

    Buzzfeed - CSE Surbaugh - Girls - Scouter.com

    And yet the in many ways the peak of American Scouting was in the pre-1954 days when BSA was in New York City. Hillcourt wrote many of his classic books in NY and later in NJ. BSA didn't move to TX until '78. I think your geographical determinism is too simplistic.
  22. oldbuzzard

    Adding Girls to Pack

    Our CO has made it clear they want us to be as close to coed as possible. So, we are planning to run parallel troops with new female leaders and all girls patrols but shared meetings and outings. Our IH has volunteered to run interference with the council if needed but it looks like this model is emerging as an official model. http://www.northernstarbsa.org/programs-for-girls
  23. oldbuzzard

    Good way to train for Philmont, AT treks

    I see 2 problems with this idea. The minor problem is these races aren't free so for a crew to use this approach there will be a non-negligible cost... maybe that is worthwhile if it is enough of a motivator <shrug> The major problem is these tend to be road events.Running or backpacking on pavement is way more taxing joints and muscles. If my wife trains for road marathons she is injury prone and yet she can train for 50 mile trail ultras and be fine. Her races are places like the Superior Hiking Trail, so rocky, rooty, hilly like the AT or Philmont. I think training solely on roads raises the risk of injury and doesn't train all those small stabilizer muscles used on uneven terrain. In addition to shakedown weekends, why not just do your own 5-10-15 mile day hikes with packs at your local park with decent trails... free and more functional training to boot.
  24. oldbuzzard

    2017 Report to the Nation-Membership

    Wow is that 36% drop in Venturing mainly LDS related?
  25. oldbuzzard

    New merit badge idea?

    Some of this is already in Leatherwork