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Everything posted by gblotter

  1. Obviously, I do not speak for the Church. I speak only for myself as an LDS Scoutmaster when I refer to my uneasiness and discord with BSA's leftward lurches. "I have felt increasing discord ..." "My uneasiness grows ..."
  2. After reading through the proposed policies, I literally groaned. I never realized that some troops are run like this with such a heavy hand. I was wrong to compare things to a SCOTUS confirmation hearing - instead it sounds more like an IRS audit. If that policy doc is reflective of how your troop operates, I would spend no further efforts at reform. I’d be moving my BSA membership to a different troop immediately. Rigid governance docs like this are just so foreign to my Scouting experience. Where is the fun? Where is the adventure? Are the boys involved in any of this? The problems of this troop obviously extend far beyond just a SM conference. Ugh times 3.
  3. Ours is a multi-generational LDS Scouting family with three generations of Eagle Scouts and two generations of Scoutmasters. In spite of my dedication to Scouting, I have felt increasing discord each time BSA takes a left turn. My uneasiness grows with each new announcement from Irving. Our missions are diverging: The BSA program is changing to seek greater approval and acceptance from the world; the church youth program is changing to seek greater approval and acceptance from God. So be it - each organization should have control over its own destiny. The more details I learn about the replacement LDS youth activity program, the more confidence I have that separating from BSA is the right decision. There will be better alignment with church standards. There will greater consistency in the experience of all youth (boys and girls, US and non-US). There will be better utilization of limited resources (Scouting has always been very resource intensive). There will be less focus on badges and awards, more focus on personal development (spiritual, social, physical, intellectual). As a reference point, this is the LDS youth program that replaced Varsity Scouts and Venturing: https://www.lds.org/youth/ymactivities?lang=eng (you will notice many activity components familiar to Scouting). I would expect something similar to replace the Boy Scout program. The future is bright.
  4. gblotter

    Scouting Magazine - betting the farm on girls

    While I firmly oppose BSA's girl decision, I strongly support kindness and sensitivity in personal interactions. Even though their Cub Scout Pack is at fault for breaking fundamental rules about mixed-gender Dens, a kind approach is still merited as the situation gets resolved. A Scout is friendly, courteous, and kind, and nobody should be made to feel like an outcast. First, I'd explain in the friendliest way possible to the girl and her parents that we are excited for her interest in Scouting. Then I'd also explain in the friendliest way possible that because we are a boy-only troop, we are not structured with the right organization and leadership to provide her the Scouting experience that BSA has designed for girls (providing as many or as few supporting details as they like). Finally, I'd offer assistance to help her find a girl-only troop or a linked troop in the area that *is* structured with the right organization and leadership to provide her that great Scouting experience (with an explanation about the rollout beginning in February 2019). If these good-faith gestures made in friendliness are rejected, it would seem clear to me that this girl and her family are not looking for a solution - they are looking for a fight.
  5. gblotter


    I'm sorry - a situation like this is certainly ego-bruising. Hopefully, it can be viewed as a learning experience too. Regarding the screaming episode with the other parent, we can all lose our cool (particularly when defensive instincts about our own children kick in). Sometimes loud shouting becomes more than just an expression of frustration and disagreement - sometimes it can create real fear and intimidation. I'd guessing the committee is reacting to the latter. I'm embarrassed whenever I lose control of my temper. I instantly regret it and quickly find a way to apologize. Even if I consider myself mostly blameless, fence-mending gestures help me feel better about my involvement in the matter. In my personal interactions, I tend to be a pleaser and a peacemaker - that's just how I roll (curious how that doesn't always translate to my online interactions, however - haha). I don't see how an appeal can force a SM to work with an ASM. Perhaps it is just bad chemistry between you two, or perhaps there are more concrete issues behind it. Either way, I don't think it changes the outcome - you must step aside. I'd send a note to the CC and the SM expressing appreciation for your experiences working with the troop and be gracious as you exit. You don't want a poisoned environment if your son intends to remain in the troop (assuming that's the plan).
  6. The common misconception is that BSA is an altruistic organization composed of selfless volunteers with the mission of building boys into men of character. The reality is that BSA is a corporation driven by corporate motives. Money - not altruism - drives BSA, just like any corporation. While many BSA volunteers may indeed be selfless, BSA corporate leaders largely ignore and dismiss the opinions of front-line volunteers in decision-making.
  7. My Scoutmaster Conferences have mostly focused on point #2. These other points are great - thanks for the ideas.
  8. @Hawkwin I am so sorry. In many forum threads, we talk about the game of Scouting and how Scouting dies when the fun is lost. Is there any more effective way to drain fun from the experience than what you and your son are going through? Waiting another 1-2 months to adopt recommendations from a subcommittee - really?!? For crying out loud, this is a 15-minute Scoutmaster Conference - not a SCOTUS confirmation hearing!
  9. What is happening on October 1st, 2018? (I obviously missed something in this thread)
  10. gblotter

    Scouting Magazine - betting the farm on girls

    @HelpfulTracks Reading through the last few pages of comments in this thread, perhaps you can better understand now why I'm not sticking around. My son has had a phenomenal classic Scouting experience (Eagle Scout, 66 merit badges, 9 palms, OA, 5 summer camps, Jamboree, 60+ nights of camping, 150+ miles of hiking). I've been grateful to go along for the ride as Scoutmaster. But in so many ways, it feels like he and his Scouting buddies caught the last train out of the station. The comments in this thread only confirm that what lies ahead for BSA is something very different. BSA is bleeding membership, so I suppose change is inevitable. BSA now wants to appeal to a new kind of Scout and a new kind of Scouter with a new kind of family Scouting program. This gender-neutral, Euro-version of Scouting may be the future, but it is not for me.
  11. gblotter

    Scouting Magazine - betting the farm on girls

    We are starting to repeat topics in this thread. Refer back several pages to We are in the midst of a boy crisis. That crisis is not represented in the halls of Parliament because boys are not in Parliament! The masses are in denial about this crisis - or they simply don't care. If the same statistics applied to girls, only then would they care.
  12. gblotter

    Scouting Magazine - betting the farm on girls

    So now that boys are the segment of society that is falling behind, how bad must it get before we get some recognition of their unique needs? How far ahead must girls be before boys become deserving of specialized attention and tailored programs?
  13. gblotter

    Scouting Magazine - betting the farm on girls

    So if these differences between boys and girls are just a bunch of lies, why then do we see mountains of programs tailored specifically for the needs of girls? Programs promoting girls in STEM, programs promoting girls in leadership, programs promoting girls in academics, programs promoting girls in athletics, - programs promoting girls in every way imaginable. Why all those programs if boys and girls are the same? But to assert that boys also need their own individualized programs - well, that's just a bunch of lies.
  14. Can you provide a list of Scout activities he has participated in during the four months between First Class and Star? That information may help us provide better advice.
  15. I had to look that one up - ha.
  16. A dad of a 17 year-old Scout reached out to me for guidance about the Cooking merit badge (which meals count, which meals do not, etc). I'd prefer to deal with the boy - not the parent - for such questions. I'd also prefer the boy receive that guidance from the merit badge counselor - not me, the Scoutmaster. This is a lawnmower parent, so I don't respond to his initial email. Then the merit badge counselor chimes in and also asks for my guidance (he is trying to punt a difficult parent situation to me). I then respond and give my opinions, but I direct my response to the boy (who is copied on the email thread). The dad keeps sending me more emails trying to negotiate an easier outcome for his son. I finally told the dad that I'd prefer to talk to his son because that is a way to ensure the Scout is engaged in the process. Then the dad gets huffy and accuses me of being a Scouting purist who is concerned only with the program and not the boys. I don't understand the reality of busy teens (even though I have three teenage children myself). I apologized for offending him and I told him I was withdrawing from the conversation because the merit badge counselor should provide that guidance anyway. Finally an email response comes from the son's email address, but the writing style looked suspiciously like the dad was the actual author. There is no winning with some parents.
  17. gblotter

    Scouting Magazine - betting the farm on girls

    @Thunderbird After the LDS exit on 12/31/19, the biggest block of support for single-gender Scouting will be gone, so I agree with your predicted timing. @HelpfulTracks Whenever folks mention single-gender troops, I feel they've missed the point. I support a single-gender *program*. I do not oppose girls in Scouting. For 100+ years, there has been a wonderful Scouting program tailored to the unique needs of girls (it's called GSUSA, and all three of my daughters have participated in it). What I oppose is the loss of that wonderful Scouting program (formerly known as Boy Scouts) which for 100+ years was tailored to the unique needs of boys. That program will be gone in February 2019. For all troops (boy, girl, linked), the new Scouts BSA program will be gender-neutral. Ignoring and dismissing the reality that boys and girls behave differently, learn, differently, and develop differently (especially at these ages). Every BSA program will be co-ed. Every BSA event - at the district, council, and national level - will be co-ed. Tell me again how BSA is not going co-ed? Sadly, the battle to preserve a single-gender Scouting program tailored to the unique needs of boys is already lost. Stick around and fight? The dishonest and manipulative process used to justify the inclusion of girls proves that the motivations of BSA National are far more powerful than any resistance from local volunteers like me. I'm worn out from fighting to preserve a beloved Scouting program that BSA National leadership is determined to transform. That is why I will not be sticking around.
  18. gblotter

    Difficult Parent Interraction

    The thing is, I'm not a purist at all. I am actually quite pragmatic and flexible and willing to customize for a given situation. There are some parents who take advantage of that fact and push things to absurdity.
  19. gblotter

    Tough Times in a Troop

    What a tough situation. I'm just assuming (hoping) the suicide did not happen during an a Scout outing - correct? Our troop went through a suicide years ago (I was Scoutmaster back then, too - first time around). The troubled boy had been in/out of rehab and counseling. His parents had spent a fortune and tried everything they could think of. It was a very sad outcome. For the funeral, the troop prepared a photo collage of Scouting adventures where he was present and everyone signed their names to it. I was asked to give a prayer at the funeral service.
  20. It is not your fault. All the CC had to do was shoot you a quick response saying that it would be discussed at the next committee meeting. He is at fault for remaining silent.
  21. I'm sorry you've had to endure this. It really is appalling that the SM and CC would persist with this errant policy even after being called out in Scouting Magazine. You obviously know your situation best, so I'll respect your decision to stay with this troop. I applaud your positive attitude and wish you and your son better luck with the new SM.
  22. Even after the SM steps down, you will deal with the CC again as your son approaches Eagle. The CC must review, approve, and sign off (including his physical signature) on both the Eagle Scout Service Project and the Eagle Scout application. Just as now, he can be unresponsive and add more misery if he chooses. You won't be able to avoid interacting with him.
  23. Do you know who the new SM is already? If so, then perhaps you have an avenue to stay in this troop. But I'd definitely worry about the old SM's influence if he is sticking around as ASM.
  24. So is your son going to wait until January to advance in rank?