Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by gblotter

  1. Let's talk about the Eagle Scout journey

    I think I understand different perspectives from sitting on Eagle BORs for many years. While some highlight the maturity and experience of an Eagle Scout candidate who presents himself at 17 years and 11 months and 29 days, I find myself fighting back negative thoughts. Sometimes he doesn't even own a Scout shirt that fits him anymore, and his most recent patches are from attending summer camp in 2014. Asking a simple question like "when was the last time you went camping with your troop?" reveals that he went inactive years ago and only returned for some last-minute cramming to finish his Eagle. Occasionally he even admits his motivation is to list Eagle Scout on his college applications. I honestly scratch my head and wonder why others praise his procrastination as something we like to see in BSA. I contrast that with a recent 14 year-old Eagle Scout from our troop. He is on fire with Scouting and hasn't missed a campout in two years. He attended his Eagle Scout BOR wearing 42 merit badges on his sash. Contrary to dropping out of Scouting after earning Eagle, he is now pursuing OA membership and has plans to attend two different BSA summer camps in 2018. He leads by example and has motivated other Scouts by showing what is possible when you "strike while the iron is hot". I know some will reflexively dismiss him simply because of his age, but to me he epitomizes a dedicated Scout who has made Eagle a priority over other endeavors. (BTW: One of his biased reviewers spent 20 minutes trying to rattle him by aggressively quizzing him on the symbolic elements of the First Class badge, fleur-de-lis, etc - as if that would be somehow be a basis for denying him Eagle. It was embarrassing and the other reviewers were perplexed by the entire line of questioning.) We all have our biases, and I don't expect to change any minds on this topic. I will simply say that I take much more pleasure in reviewing an enthusiastic 14 year-old who is overflowing with Scout spirit as opposed a nonchalant 18 year-old who barely managed to limp across the finish line.
  2. Let's talk about the Eagle Scout journey

    I'm interested in your thoughts. Rather than repeat your "Tale of Two Eagles", could you provide a link to what you said earlier?
  3. Scouter Magazine

    With recent changes, BSA is clearing trying to appeal to appeal to new kinds of families, new kinds of Scouts, and new kinds of Scouters. This new Scouting is not for me. @Oldscout448 I think you are I are roughly the same age. I am Eagle, Eagle dad, and Scoutmaster for 9+ years. And it seems you and I will both be exiting Scouting after 2018 - one last triumphant hurrah. I will make room for the changes BSA seems determined to ram through. I did not walk away from Scouting - I have stayed the same. Rather Scouting has walked away from me. I'm sad but not bitter.
  4. Scouter Magazine

    You are correct - my comment was too harsh. Scouting Magazine continues to offer quite a number of valuable articles. My Pravda comment was a reaction to the happy-face presented in the magazine about the decision to admit girls. (i.e. "we don't know what it will look like, but rest assured it will be awesome".) It all seemed part of the coordinated manipulations from BSA National to ram through this change via a disingenuous process that I found disrespectful and even insulting to seasoned Scouters. My perspective has obviously soured and I now view BSA National leadership as untrustworthy stewards of something I have held dear.
  5. Scouter Magazine

    Lately Scouting Magazine feels like Pravda. It is a political rag for promoting the agenda of BSA National. I don't read Boys Life, but I'll ask my son if he has noticed any recent changes.
  6. LDS leaving BSA?

    Hi Matt, I have several questions for you. In our stake, none of the wards ever registered a separate Team or Crew. Boys 11-17 are registered in the Troop with age-segregated patrols. So the May announcement was really no big deal for us because we were already doing it that way. In other stakes where Teams/Crews did exist, our council did a mass-migration of registrations from Team/Crew into the Troop. This happened back in August and we were told that the timing was under the direction of BSA National. Did that same mass-migration happen in your council? In my experience, even wards with Teams and Crews did not really implement the Varsity and Venturing programs as defined. They were really just doing Boy Scouting for older boys with a high-adventure twist. Because you seem to be a dedicated Scouter, I'll ask it was any different in your ward. Did you actually implement Varsity Scouting as it was defined with the separate awards program of Varsity Letter and Pins, etc? Did your ward also implement Venturing correctly with its separate awards program? If you did, then are a rare bird and my hat is off to you. BTW: I assume you are in SVMBC? I am next door in PacSky. Cheers.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 ...
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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?
  24. 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.
  25. 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.