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Everything posted by yknot

  1. The communications dysfunction is a symptom of the overall organizational dysfunction. Most organizations today take communications seriously and can very proactively and quickly disseminate information throughout the ranks. I'm sure part of the problem with us is due to the volunteer nature of so many roles but in reality this is something that leadership in a functional organization would account for and figure out a way to manage. I don't know that Mosby is going to have the most innovative solutions to problems like these but at least he seems to have some background in change management. My fear is that he is going to be focused pretty exclusively on high level issues that really won't result in much improvement for people working at the unit level, or at least not for some time, and that things could get even bumpier for awhile. It is concerning that despite his being weeks on the job, we have yet to have any kind of universal direct message from him other than his announcement. It feels like units aren't even on the radar.
  2. yknot

    Book recommend; adults

    It was a good read. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm now reading Baden Powell: Founder of the Boy Scouts, by Jeal. I'm only about a third in, and while I'm not totally surprised because I've read some excerpts, the book is disconcerting. The Butler book made me think about what kind of connection the author was trying to make between scouts, damaged military men, and broken people.
  3. yknot

    Recruiting in Scouts BSA Units

    In our area, the reason scouts "Eagle and Out" is largely because they are busy on the college prep treadmill and move on to other things. I don't know how you counter that. I've been involved in scouts for 15 years and every year it seems like parents are pushing their kids to earn Eagle at younger and younger ages so that they can be "done" and have more time to focus on high school course work and other college relevant extra curricular activities. Also, by Eagle, some kids are just burned out on it, especially those kids who have been pushed by parents.
  4. One interesting thing is that I don't know of any other non-military youth related organization where the volunteers or adult leaders ever earn and wear regalia that reflects on their own achievements, or if they do, it is a very small or subtle emblem. This is one of those things that seems very unique to scouting. I know a lot of people really like the bling but I've never been totally comfortable with it. When scouts and leaders are in a room, I want to be impressed by the scout uniforms, not the adults.
  5. The operative statement in the BSA hiring announcement is that Mosby increased the number of employees in Kinder Morgan from 175 to 11,000. It's likely no accident that is particularly mentioned, and I would say it is a clue that National is looking to him to market BSA and grow membership in order to improve revenue. Which probably means he will not be necessarily focused on many of the unit level issues that have been raised here in this forum. However, hope springs eternal that a new leader, especially one with some outside corporate experience, will bring new ways that are good for scouting.
  6. yknot

    Stonewall Jackson Area Council Changes Name

    Off the top of my head, some of the most famous would likely revolve around Bonnie Prince Charlie and Culloden. He was a spectacular failure and a traitor but still revered by some. Napoleon Bonaparte. Chief Tecumseh, who was a traitor to the US but not his people. Anywhere where there have been regional conflicts and civil war, like many parts of Europe, there are monuments to local heroes who were in fact considered traitors at one point or another. Interestingly, one of the most famous statues to survive a hostile regime is the statue of Nicholas I in St. Petersberg. We all know how much the Soviets hated the tsars but thankfully they saved that one. It's one of the most famous equestrian statues in the world because of an innovation in its design, which is how I got into this whole fit over statues being torn down. My interest in old Stonewall and Lee is driven by interest not so much in them but in the horses they rode. Lee's horse, Traveller, is generally considered to be one of the greatest war horses of all time, up there with Napoleon's Marengo. Napoleon is another general whose statues and memorials were also torn down after Waterloo and his banishment, although a few survive. I am really sorry, though, if my personal interests got this board off on an tangent. I realize this has nothing much to do with scouting and the original post and I'm going to stop now on this topic.
  7. yknot

    Stonewall Jackson Area Council Changes Name

    These works are beautiful representations of public art that are a snap shot of a historical moment and help tell the history of the time they represent. It is shameful and ignorant that anyone should suggest their destruction, removal or denigration. This doesn't happen in many other countries, just the idiotic United States and Iran apparently. Historical monuments of different viewpoints and eras in history are deserving of preservation and protection.
  8. yknot

    Stonewall Jackson Area Council Changes Name

    That's fair. However, without flawed people like Washington, who led atrocities in the French and Indian War, or Jefferson, who owned slaves, or Lincoln, who was not the color blind leader we all like to paint him as, our country would not exist. If we did not exist, what would we be?
  9. yknot

    Stonewall Jackson Area Council Changes Name

    And sorry, I forgot to wrap up: It is also not scout like. We look a thing in the eye, and call it for what it is.
  10. yknot

    Stonewall Jackson Area Council Changes Name

    Baden Powell was also an avowed fascist. He admired Hitler's youth movement and called Mein Kampf a "wonderful book". Winston Churchill hated Hindus and Palestinians and wanted to use poison gas against rebellious native indigenous populations. His stalwart defense of Britain helped stem the tide of WWII, but it was based on his vision of the preservation of the British empire. FDR opposed anti lynching bills and put Japanese Americans in concentration camps. LBJ is credited with language so racist and disgusting that it's hard to read modern day despite the fact that's he's credited with some of the greatest Civil Rights advancements of our time. Although he's credited with changing his stripes, Harry Truman was remarkably racist. So, too, Woodrow Wilson, the founder of the League of Nations, the progenitor of the United Nations. McClellan, a Union general, fought for the Union but supported slavery and opposed abolition. Former president Jimmy Carter praised a lifelong segregationist, Lester Maddox. Charles de Gaulle. Ronald Reagan. Eisenhower. All guilty of racist comments based on modern day standards. I am not trying to argue fine points of history, my argument is that people are a product of their time, and we need to look at them through that lens. Scrubbing monuments and parks and streets and buildings of names that give some indication of that relevant history is just "feel good" PC activism and is totally anti-intellectual and anti history.
  11. yknot

    Stonewall Jackson Area Council Changes Name

    Navybone, it is completely about erasing history. Or, if you prefer, editing it. Lee made war upon "armed men" only. Sherman burned to the ground and made war on women and children -- his helpless countrymen who were victims of where they were born or what side their menfolk chose. Lee lost the war. Sherman won. Sherman did reprehensible things, but his cause was just. Lee was a gentleman, but fighting for a horrific cause. Under your litmus test, there are few American historical figures worthy of emulation or celebration because they were all products of their time and all did things today we would consider abhorrent. And I'll leave you with this. Baden Powell was an acknowledged racist. Should we strike his name from scout history?
  12. yknot

    Stonewall Jackson Area Council Changes Name

    You've got to be careful here, because there are a lot of folks who are unhappy with anything named for such well known slaveholders as Washington and Jefferson. All of our historical founding fathers were cultural elitists. All of them also relegated women to second class status. Depending on circumstance, Lincoln himself made many racist pronouncements in contrast to his more revered and well known comments on emancipation. These people were products of their time. At the time of the Revolution, our founding fathers were considered traitors to King and country. They defied an Imperial power which had outlawed slavery on British soil in 1772 and then in its colonies in the early 1800s. History is complex, grey, and is best understood with all of its glories and warts in place. There were no traitors after the Civil War in the eyes of the Union. All Confederate soldiers and leaders were paroled and none were jailed or executed for treason. The point of that was to unite the country and move it forward. Stonewall Jackson was probably one of the more colorful military figures in U.S. history and a well regarded military tactician. We study Greek generals, we study Roman generals, we don't scrub their names from history or from monuments. Our history here is so short and so sadly politicized, but in Europe or Asia where the formal histories of a region have much longer memories, there are plenty of place names and monuments to historical figures and events that would be their version of a Stonewall Jackson. And just to be clear, I find slavery reprehensible, I am not a Southern apologist or whatever the word would be, I just don't agree with this current fad of trying to erase history.
  13. yknot

    Amtrak crash takes Scout family (FL)

    Very good information. Thank you. In my part of the world there are many abandoned lines that have been turned into hiking trails but the old rails still cross the roads. Lulls you into non observance.
  14. yknot

    No hugs, Aunt Sarah, we're GIRL SCOUTS!

    I think this more geared to the idea that girls are often forced by relatives to be more affectionate than boys. However it is a good reminder that if a kid of either gender really doesn't want to hug someone, it shouldn't be forced. I can't fault the GS for doing this and it's in line with their mission of supporting girls, which is something positive linked to their organization. Imagine how great it would be if BSA sent out a press release around Memorial Day, Flag Day, or July 4 reminding people that scouts are one of the few organizations charged with the solemn task of properly retiring flags. Or heaven forbid, if we sold BSA branded US flags once a year instead of popcorn. At least GSUSA is attempting to garner some positive, national publicity for themselves. More than BSA is doing.
  15. yknot

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    You are really dedicated to your kids and thanks for all that you are putting in.
  16. yknot

    Amtrak crash takes Scout family (FL)

    We have probably all blasted over tracks that looked empty or dormant and may not have been. There are so many abandoned tracks around that unless there is obvious signage it's easy to see how an out of area driver might not have realized it was an active rail bed. Where I live, there are ungated crossings, but they are utilized by sporadic freight trains that don't go that fast. Another tragic reminder to stay focused on the road, especially with kids in the car.
  17. yknot

    Cyber Chip Sign off

    Do you really think we even need this? I think this should be dropped. The real cyber issues kids face are far beyond what is in the BSA program and are often emergent. The BSA's program, from what I've seen, is largely static. Most school districts are doing this kind of programming and are a much better source of this kind of information or training in my opinion. Handle it the same way they do with drugs/alcohol in Second Class -- get a sign off showing you've participated in a school or community digital safety program, talk, whatever. More and more schools are pushing technology down to the elementary grades so many of this issues are already being covered ad nauseam. Unless scouts has some kind of special take on the issue -- and we don't as far as I can see -- I'm not sure why BSA has put so much emphasis on it. Or, allow COs to make it optional based on their demographics.
  18. yknot

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    Thank you. Not good news, but thank you for clarifying that.
  19. yknot

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    There was a Reddit discussion on this a few days ago and information there said it has been mortgaged for a line of credit since 2010. If that's true, I don't know why the steering committee wouldn't have known or why the BSA is not putting out a clarifying statement. Regardless, it seems BSA merrily continues to shoot us all in the foot. Whether it's bad information or bad publicity, it hardly seems to matter at this point.
  20. yknot

    Discussing LDS beliefs in relation to Scouting

    I don't see where anyone is singling out the Mormon faith. In fact, the opposite seems true. For decades, Scouting worked to accommodate the wishes of the LDS church, to the point where BSA allowed a customized program within a program. I personally was never comfortable with that as I think Scouting should generally work in any faith environment or in any interfaith mix. Any minor accommodations should perhaps be more appropriately limited to the CO and unit level. I also personally had an issue with the gender disparities in the LDS church, as I do when they occur in any religion from Christianity to Judaism to Islam. If BSA had built a customized program for hundreds of thousands of Catholics, Jews or Muslims and then they decided to part company, I think we'd be having the same kinds of discussions. It has nothing specific to do with LDS. Scouting has been nothing but a good friend to the LDS church. Your proviso to part without rancor perhaps would be better pointed at LDS leadership, not BSA. As far as I can see, Scouters are sad to see these kids exiting the program and I hope it's clear that they will always be welcomed back should they decide they and their families miss Scouting.
  21. yknot

    National Leadership, Surbaugh Leave of Absense

    This is kind of the problem. D-Day thinking. "General" driven, top down leadership. Confidentiality rather than transparency. Battle plans. The world has changed. This kind of thinking is outdated. BSA needs to recalibrate to be relevant. We are more "at war" with ourselves than anyone else. National, councils, and units are all on different pages, and nothing has demonstrated that more than the recent fee increase debacle. While I think there are definitely some girls out there that we haven't reached yet who will enjoy scouting, why in the world would we think tens of thousands of them will suddenly abandon their sports and marching bands and other activities to join scouts any more than the boys would? If we are relying on them to save our future, it's not realistic. It's very convenient to blame other youth programs for BSA's ills and to think we need to "do battle", but the problems we have have been self inflicted. BSA needs to retool to serve the needs of the local unit and help get kids outdoors and in the community.
  22. yknot

    BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

    Why does this disease that everything has to be bigger, better, blingy-er always infect organizations? Instead of Bechtel, BSA could have done so much more good if it had developed a program to help retain Council level camps and properties on a regional basis. Property management expertise, help in setting up regional joint purchasing agreements to maximize cost efficiencies, marketing help, seed money to help transition some holdings into public ownership rather than being lost to sale and development. We are not scouts if we can't get kids outside. We are losing too many council camp properties.
  23. yknot

    School Shooting in California

    Well, they are. But you can't blame a tiger for hunting any more than you can blame a media outlet for trying to sell papers or clicks. The bigger problem is that we have no platform that addresses these headlines. National is basically a corporation and it ought to have more proactive corporate public information responses when things like this happen. Instead it is silent. These cases are tragic but infrequent and do not represent the good that is done by the remaining 99.9% of the organization. The media tiger eats us alive because there is very little push back.
  24. yknot

    School Shooting in California

    There is no reason to be irked. We promote that we are a character building organization. Scouts and scouters are supposed to be a cut above the rest. Most of them are. Sadly some are not. When that happens, it's a relevant headline in the same way it is to point out that someone accused of arson was a firefighter. It's tragic and ironic.
  25. yknot

    LDS Youth Program for 2020

    Frankly, I'm glad that BSA is no longer so tied to LDS. I am not comfortable with the gender disparity, and have never been happy with how the BSA program was modified to fit the needs of one religion. BSA should have had more of an arms length relationship from the very beginning. This transition is very difficult, but I think it ultimately could be healthy. Scouting should work without any kind of special kinds of concessions for any kind of faith environment.