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gblotter

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Everything posted by gblotter

  1. gblotter

    LDS leaving BSA?

    *Rant On* BSA National made it abundantly clear that they do not respect the opinions of people like me when they rammed through these changes under the pretext of manipulated data and disingenuous surveys using oddly-worded questions that forced agreement with their predetermined outcome. It is incredibly insulting (and enraging) to hear Mike Surbaugh brag about the sham process they concocted and how this was all in response to popular demand. Within our troop organization, I don't know a single Scouter (male or female) who is in favor. This decision smacks of desperation as BSA struggles to maintain membership. Financial solvency under the heavy debt load ($400M) for development of The Summit may be the real motivator. BSA leadership claims this is the result of long and careful deliberation, but where is the evidence of thoughtful planning when they can't even describe what the future girl program will look like? I sincerely believe that this move will alienate more boys than it will attract girls for a net loss of overall enrollment. In a decade we will all know if Surbaugh was the person who saved or killed Scouting in America. Or maybe it will just look like Scouts Canada which is now primarily a girl organization and in rapid decline. *Rant Off* An unmentioned point: I have three daughters and even they object to these changes. Their response was "Why ruin things for the boys?". These activities don't appeal to two of my daughters - their passions are in the performing arts and sports. My eldest daughter likes camping and hiking and even backpacking, but from her experience with church camps she knows that she doesn't want to do it with a bunch of other girls (her words - not mine). She also knows about Venturing but has no interest in joining because her teenage life is full with other pursuits. This was mentioned in another thread. Our troop is local, but nothing else. Nobody is forcing us to accept any of these changes. We can keep things just as they were a decade ago. Unless we participate in a merit badge midway, or a Camporee, or a JLTC, or an OA induction, or a BSA summer camp, or a Jamboree, or a high adventure base, or a ... Nobody forces me to inhale their second-hand smoke. It's entirely my choice if I decide to breathe.
  2. gblotter

    All Scouting is local.....

    Yes - all Scouting is local. And nobody is forcing you to accept any of these changes from BSA National. You can continue on just as before. Unless you participate in a merit badge midway, or a camporee, or a JLTC, or an OA induction, or a summer camp, or a Jamboree, or a high adventure base, or a ...
  3. gblotter

    LDS leaving BSA?

    @Hawkwin You have been very patient in making your arguments. Your kindness shows through. However, this invigorating back-and-forth has only highlighted with greater clarity how much BSA has changed in a very short time. I go back to my original triggering statement: "I did not walk away from Scouting - I have stayed the same. Rather, Scouting walked away from me." Scouting used to be my parenting partner because it shared my values and reinforced what my children learn at home and at church. Now it is an organization with different values that merely tolerates what my children learn at home and at church. Gone is the BSA marketing slogan "Timeless Values". BSA no longer takes a leadership position with values - it just follows where society is going, with its finger on the pulse of popular opinion and yes - surveys (perhaps even the same surveys you referenced). Because of this, I hope you can understand my waning enthusiasm and commitment to the movement. Without question, this is hard for me. As a boy, Scouting made a huge difference in my life and saved me from being a social outcast. My experience as a youth has has motivated me to give back as an adult (more than nine years as Scoutmaster). My own son has had a phenomenal Scouting experience. With 50+ merit badges, he is just now finishing his Eagle Scout Service project. This past summer he attended two different BSA camps in addition to National Jamboree (we barely saw him at all during the summer). In 2018 he will be attending Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island and Camp Meriwether in Oregon. He drinks Scouting from a fire hose and makes my Scoutmaster buttons burst with pride. But with all these changes, it feels like my son is catching the last train out of the station (and even he realizes that 2018 will be a triumphant last hurrah). So many adventures, so many memories - so much fun. It has been an incredible ride. With these recent decisions, BSA has obviously decided to move in a different direction. They want a different kind of Scouting that appeals to different kinds of families and different kinds of Scouts and different kinds of Scouters. As I said before, I am a traditionalist cut from old cloth. This new Scouting is not for me. The time is coming soon when I will step aside and make room for the changes BSA wants. I will do so with sadness but not bitterness.
  4. gblotter

    Eagle Scout Board of Review

    I agree that anxiety is unwarranted with an EBOR - it is not an inquisition. I view a mock-EBOR as simply an opportunity to be prepared for an important event. Advance preparation shows that you take it seriously and want to represent yourself well. I have no problem with that at all. Not really protecting my ego with these mock-EBORs, but I do confess that I want our candidates to set a good example of what a quality Eagle Scout should be (i.e. prepared). Once again, I see no problem with that at all. From your tone, I get the impression that you feel a mock-EBOR is somehow cheating. I understand your perspective, but I have a very different point of view. Conducting a mock-EBOR teaches a valuable life skill about deliberate preparation and not just "winging it". I will offer a personal example: Last year I interviewed for a new job and made significant advance preparations to learn as much as possible about the new company, their technology, and the types of questions they would likely ask (believe it or not there are even websites that specialize in this kind of interview preparation). I tuned my resume to highlight the skills they needed. I watched YouTube videos by their CEO. I researched their product lines. I read their LinkedIn blogs. I even quizzed an employee (prior acquaintance) to better understand their company culture. Over the top? - perhaps yes. But I impressed the interviewers because they could tell I had done my homework ...and I got the job! If a boy learns some of these life skills through a mock-EBOR, I consider it a double benefit.
  5. gblotter

    Eagle Scout Board of Review

    Agreed. In our Troop, I use the SMC as an opportunity to conduct a mock-EBOR. That kind of preparation yields great results because it removes the anxiety of uncertainty. After the mock-EBOR, the candidate pretty much knows the kind of questions that will be asked of him (like taking a sample test in preparation for a final exam).
  6. gblotter

    LDS leaving BSA?

    Yes - that is certainly what liberals would like us all to think, i.e. that their values are now America's values and anyone who thinks differently is an outlier. I assure you that large swaths of this country do not subscribe to that line of thought. We have had a number of family discussions to help our children understand that governmental laws do not define the morals of our family. Most recently this lesson was repeated when talking about legalized marijuana. One of the things that makes us special and different is that our values hold steady in the face of crumbling societal morality. We had hoped that BSA would not succumb to the crumbling. We are aware of the strength required to hold these positions nowadays. BSA was perhaps a refuge in the past when they could say "our values are your values - let us join together for promoting common good". Now BSA says "our values have changed and are no longer your values, but we will still allow you to persist in your old ways of thinking and remain in the organization". No, that is not what I would call a refuge. Refuge is found where values are mutually supported and promoted - not merely tolerated. That refuge is now within our family and within our church. I feel less at home with every new decision from BSA National. To be completely honest, this alienation and disillusionment has caught me quite by surprise. I have had to hide it from other Scouting families and even from my own son. He is an amazing Scout with 50+ merit badges and is just now finishing his Eagle Scout Service Project. Out of love for my son and obligation to our troop, I will serve out my tenure as Scoutmaster and then refocus my efforts elsewhere. I say that with tremendous sadness.
  7. gblotter

    Eagle Scout Board of Review

    I am new to Scouter.com, but I'm sure that EBORs must be a well-worn topic here. Time to move along.
  8. gblotter

    Eagle Scout Board of Review

    That is what an Eagle Scout Court of Honor is for - to recognize and celebrate the accomplishment. Gatekeeepers are encountered in many aspects of life. Isn't a merit badge counselor also a gatekeeper to ensure all requirements are met? Or something as common as the DMV road test. How about a master's thesis examination committee or a doctoral dissertation jury. There are many more examples. Important benefits result from passing gatekeeper reviews. Rather than grouse about imagined abuse by zealots, why not embrace the Eagle Scout BOR as an opportunity to develop a valuable life skill in the process? We all hope that is the case (and it usually is). Unfortunately, due diligence is far from uniform. A few months ago, a candidate submitted his Eagle Scout application with less that 6 months between Life rank and his 18th birthday. The Scout and his troop leaders were either ignorant or complicit. Such situations require exceptions that put everyone in an awkward position. Hopefully the BOR is not labeled as abusive zealots for reacting to that. Asking a candidate about the Scout Oath and Scout Law is testing Eagle Scout Rank requirement #2. Is that improper? Asking a candidate about his roles in Scouting leadership is judging Eagle Scout Rank requirement #4. Is that improper? Asking a candidate about the details of his Eagle Scout Service Project is evaluating Eagle Scout Rank requirement #5. Is that improper? Nobody is asking a candidate to tie a bowline or administer first aid during an Eagle Scout BOR, but there are certainly other valid lines of questioning. You say you have no past experience that has instilled resentment of the Eagle Scout BOR process, so I wonder where such negative statements come from. I feel the need to highlight one additional benefit of the Eagle Scout BOR process: it is an important rite of passage. Preparing for and passing a friendly but rigorous review instills a feeling of accomplishment. A little nervous anticipation and "sweating the small stuff" adds to the realization that something great has been achieved when all is done. We emphasize this at the conclusion of each BOR with handshakes and congratulations ... you made it!! Becoming an Eagle Scout is about triumph - not a shrug.
  9. gblotter

    LDS leaving BSA?

    I am a traditionalist with conservative values. Lately, Scouting has been all about breaking with tradition and embracing liberal norms on sexuality and gender. The fact that BSA permits me to retain my own personal values does not change the fact that Scouting has changed in fundamental ways and is no longer the great fit it once was. That is how Scouting walked away from me.
  10. gblotter

    Eagle Scout Board of Review

    Actually the Eagle Scout BOR is a final test, a judgement, and an evaluation of a Scout's career. It is exactly that. The Eagle Scout rank has not been earned until all requirements are satisfied. The final requirement (requirement 7) states that the candidate must successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review. @Stosh I get where you are coming from. I have a libertarian spirit and don't like submitting to authority either. The attitude brought to an Eagle Scout BOR is really the most important factor that will influence the experience. Just being pleasant and cooperative (and courteous and kind and cheerful) will get you far in life.
  11. gblotter

    Eagle Scout Board of Review

    @Stosh I'm sorry if your past experience has given you reason to be resentful of the Eagle Scout BOR process or to feel like boys are being bullied or jerked around at will. Speaking only for myself, we try to make the BOR a positive experience as the pinnacle of the boy's Scouting advancement. We want him to feel elated, not deflated. In rare circumstances, an Eagle Scout candidate may show at the BOR poorly-prepared to represent himself well. In those situations, the questioning can get difficult. This is not because we are asking tougher questions, but rather because the Scout is not prepared to answer the normal expected questions. We have reviewed candidates who show up without a full Scout uniform (or even wearing someone else's uniform with the wrong patches). We have reviewed candidates who haven't been camping with their troop in several years. We have reviewed Scouts who cannot recite the Scout Oath. Of course such deficiencies are going to grab our attention during the BOR, but we ask those questions of all Scouts (we are not picking on him). Even in those situations, the candidates ultimately passed. Fortunately, most Scouts are are not so ill-prepared. Remember the Scout Motto and you will be fine.
  12. gblotter

    Eagle Scout Board of Review

    @ItsBrian In our council, the fact checking of the Eagle Scout Application happens before the actual BOR. The dates listed for each merit badge will be compared against the council records. If there is a discrepancy, the Eagle Scout candidate may be asked to produce a blue card as verification. But all of those details will be resolved before the BOR takes place. Normally, we would have no reason to focus on such things in our questioning.
  13. gblotter

    Eagle Scout Board of Review

    One of the hats I wear in Scouting is to chair Eagle Scout BORs. It is interesting for me to learn about the various ways that different councils conduct these. In our council, Eagle Scout BORs are held once a month for all candidates in the district. Each BOR typically last one hour. We will run multiple boards at the same time, so it sometimes requires as many as 21 Scouters to sit on the boards. It is a big affair, and the Scouts know it. We don't want to be intimidating, but we do want Eagle Scout candidates to know that this is Scouting's highest honor and we take it seriously. Eagle Scout candidates may be accompanied by an escort if desired, but it cannot be a parent or a Scoutmaster. Aside from making an introduction at the beginning, the escort sits at the back of the room and remains silent. Many Eagle Scout candidates use this as an opportunity to honor an adult Scouter who has been particularly meaningful/helpful by asking him to be his escort. References listed on the Eagle Scout application are largely ignored and there are no letters of recommendation included with the application materials. I consider that a weakness of our particular review process.
  14. gblotter

    LDS leaving BSA?

    The LDS church is looking at a new youth program to be deployed worldwide. This message has been plainly communicated previously and was publicly reaffirmed as recently as October 11, 2017 in response to BSA's decision to admit girls. To say the church has no such plans is simply wrong. July 2015: "With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.” January 2017: "In recent years the Church has made several changes to its programs for youth, and continues to look for ways to better serve its families and young people worldwide." October 2017: "We recognize that the desire of the BSA is to expand their programs to serve more young people in the United States. The church, too, continues to look at ways to serve the needs of our youth worldwide." Details of the new church youth program are as unclear as details of BSA's new Scouting program for girls, but it seems both are inevitable. At present we have no way of knowing if LDS departure plans triggered BSA's decision to admit girls, but time may soon reveal the answer to that question. The long good-bye continues as the LDS church announced on December 1, 2017 that it will discontinue its annual Philmont conference for high-level church leaders. Is this just a coincidence, or is the LDS church ramping down its Scouting investment as an exit is prepared? https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900004968/lds-church-discontinues-its-annual-leadership-conferences-at-philmont-scout-ranch.html The reader comments at the end of that article are especially interesting because nobody is stepping forward to defend BSA. I see a bitterness toward BSA from general church membership that is far more extreme than anything coming from church leaders. Not surprisingly, Friends of Scouting donations have plummeted. As Scoutmaster, I cannot in good conscience ask others to give when my own contributions have ceased. FOS is just one data point, but it does not bode well for LDS Scouting moving forward. Decision-making in the LDS church is very top-down, but program implementation happens from the bottom-up. Front line LDS volunteers were minimally engaged in implementing the Varsity and Venturing programs. Even if they perhaps called it a Varsity Team or a Venturing Crew, in practice it was really just Scouting for older boys who wanted to finish their Eagle. Church leaders eventually stopped resisting that reality and pulled the plug on Varsity and Venturing. If disenchantment with BSA reigns among LDS families because of recent unpopular decisions, Boy Scouts will become an ineffective program and church leaders will replace it as well. I certainly do not speak for the church, but I will offer my personal observation. I did not walk away from Scouting - I have stayed the same. Rather, Scouting walked away from me. As an Eagle Scout and an avid adult Scouter, I find it all tremendously sad. When (not if) the LDS church officially severs ties with BSA, I will be ready to embrace the decision.
  15. Pardon my boldness, but ... if you think gender is unrelated and irrelevant, there is a lot you don't understand about the development of boys.
  16. I suspect their silence is motivated by the FOS campaign currently underway. The local councils don't want to raise the visibility of an unpopular decision while at the same time asking for donations.
  17. Not interested in attending those camps after 2018 as the new camping experience will be co-ed. So I really don't care what budget cuts they make. And from Surbaugh's comments, it seems the available dollars will be going to restroom improvements to welcome all the new girls. Why should I feel motivated to donate to that?
  18. I listened to it. Co-ed summer camps are on the way (and we should be happy for the new bathrooms). New uniforms are on the way (and apparently the old ones sucked anyway). All of this is happening because we asked for it (although I don’t know anyone who did). I have seething disdain for this guy. It turns my stomach to hear him twist the truth and manipulate facts. BSA is tone-deaf. I ripped up and threw away three Friends of Scouting solicitations this week. Maybe they will hear that message.
  19. This is a 40 minute video covering the gender integration decision. It is worth your watch. My contempt for Michael Sarbaugh has increased 10x by watching this video. He portrays the local council meetings and surveys as being neutral on the girl topic - they were just collecting opinions. That is 100% BS. Anyone who attended the meetings and completed the surveys knows for a fact that the discussions and questions were unbelievably biased to result in a preordained response (i.e. to accept girls). Michael insists the survey responses indicated 80-90 percent support for girls in Scouting, so there was no reason to conduct broader surveys. That is 100% BS, but even if true that is only because of the leading questions and the slanted way they were worded. The truth of the matter is that the only 11,000 people out of millions were actually surveyed, and very few of those surveyed were experienced Scouters who know how the program works on the inside. In our unit, I know of no adults (zero percent) who are in favor of this change. Michael insists that BSA has been transparent through the entire process, but then tries to justify all the secrecy surrounding the announcement because advance notice to Council Executives and others would jeopardize their predetermined outcome (that alone is an admission that the decision lacked popular support). Therefore, they just ramrodded it through - to hell with the opposition and any resulting fallout. My decision to resign from Scouting has only been reinforced after watching this video. Michael Sarbaugh is one of the worst examples of dishonest, disillusion leadership I can imagine in a CEO.
  20. Please refer to me a post where anyone said they were prepared to turn in their Eagle. Or are you just making an irrational comment?
  21. What you will see is a different sort of race ... the rush among boys to get their Eagle finished before all the changes are implemented to accommodate girls in the program. This same thing happened back in the early 1970s when misguided BSA leadership decided to reprogram Scouting to appeal to urban families. Scouting had become too old-fashioned and needed modernization to match societal trends (sound familiar?). It infamously became known as 'taking the outing out of Scouting'. The Camping merit badge was actually eliminated as an Eagle requirement and replaced with bookish merit badges like Environmental Science and Personal Management! There was a frenzied rush to complete your Eagle under the old requirements. Following that, momentum dropped and it took 15 years to recover. Pay attention to the statistics starting in 1975 - see https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2017/03/01/number-of-eagle-scouts-per-year/ BTW: BSA membership also plummeted by 2.5 million people during that failed experiment before national BSA leadership was finally forced to admit their error and reverse course. Sadly, membership levels never recovered following that debacle. I was a Boy Scout during the 1970s, and received my Eagle in 1974. Some on this discussion thread may choose to characterize my viewpoints as spiteful or defeatist. I prefer the adjective "experienced". Scouting has been here before. "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
  22. Perhaps disenchanted is a better adjective. Concepts like "Trustworthy", perhaps? Can anyone claim that national BSA leadership has been trustworthy during this entire process? No - they have been deliberately deceitful as many examples show. Or maybe "Loyal". Were national BSA leaders at all concerned with seeking the opinions and guidance of its most loyal long-term Scouters? No - they actively sought to sidestep those experienced individuals in favor of surveying "non-Scouting families" to provide a pretext of validation for their actions. But let's forget about all the volunteer Scouters who make this program work. Even council executives were kept in the dark. Given the process followed by national BSA leaders on this topic, the word betrayal is not too strong.
  23. The story was the same in our council. I have to believe our local council execs were lied to as well. They would not knowingly deceive us in this way. I have some connections in the upper realms of BSA, and am going to ask for an explanation of the lies we were told. I am confident this deception was orchestrated by national BSA leaders. Heads should roll over this and jobs should be lost. This kind of dishonesty is unbecoming of any organization, but especially the Boy Scouts of America.
  24. gblotter

    Family Scouting Survey Results

    You have summarized the situation perfectly in our council as well. My wife attended our council meeting (I could not attend because I was involved in a different Scouting meeting at the same day/time). She reported that discussion was centered on leading statements to force agreement with their desired result. A survey followed with oddly-worded questions that also forced agreement with their preset agenda. Curious note: If you didn't attend the council meeting, you didn't get the survey either. Most long-time Scouters were completely bypassed for any feedback. It was clear they were only seeking a pretext of validation for their predetermined outcome. Even before Wednesday's announcement, I became very distrustful of BSA leaders on this topic because of the disingenuous process they followed at the council level.
  25. I can't say I was surprised by this announcement. BSA's intentions were clearly telegraphed in advance. From the wording of their "surveys" and their messaging to families, it was obvious this outcome was preordained. In the face of staunch opposition, BSA leadership now insults us by claiming they are only responding to popular demand. Hardly trustworthy. As BSA dilutes their programs to make them gender-neutral, they will attract few girls but lose many boys. I was a Boy Scout during the 1970s when BSA last attempted a disastrous reprogramming and lost millions of registrants in the process. This is tragic beyond belief. Ours is a multi-generational Scouting family. I joke that Scouting is in our DNA. My dad was my Scoutmaster, and I am now the Scoutmaster for my son's troop. I have actually served twice as Scoutmaster for a total of nine years. I also assist on the District level in conducting Eagle Scout boards or review. My only son (with 50 merit badges) is currently working on his Eagle Scout Service Project. When my son attains Eagle, he will be a third generation Eagle Scout. This past summer, my son attended two BSA summer camps in addition to National Jamboree ... a total immersion Scouting experience. So with that explanation of my background, you can understand my extreme disappointment in stating that I will be resigning from Scouting as a result of this decision. My financial support of BSA will also cease. My future donations and volunteer efforts will be redirected to my church. BSA has lost its way, forgotten its purpose, and strayed from its mission of building boys into men. I am incredibly sad.
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