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yknot

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Everything posted by yknot

  1. Ugh. None that doesn't involve adult intervention, which is why I asked about guard rails when trying to be youth led. To some degree I think the traditional scout leadership system rewards the more articulate, self motivated, Type A scouts. The standard answer you will often get is more adult training in the patrol method is needed in order to properly train SPLs and Troop Guides, but in my neck of the woods there are so many disconnects in that process that the scouts are simply gone. If you are seeing it I do think it's worth a discussion with your SM to try and get him to have a discussion with the SPL and follow that whole chain of command back down. Another option is to have a side bar discussion with some of the Type B scouts about how they can try to be more assertive. Maybe others here have better advice. I did recommend a book here in another thread that really opened my eyes to the problems these more reserved scouts face and about how their leadership value is often completely overlooked, particularly in scouting: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
  2. I think the focus on false metrics is such an apt phrase. I think it's part of why scouting has lost the sense of fun for some scouts. I return to youth led however. I myself struggle with what the guard rails are. What is an acceptable mistake? If you don't store or cook your meat properly and make everyone sick, that is certainly a lesson learned but then that camp out has not been fun. A patrol where the Type A personalities constantly over shout the Type B personalities until the Type B's eventually leave is maybe a lesson learned for the Type A's -- be overbearing enough and you'll eventually get your way -- but then we've lost some more reserved scouts who might have actually been the more scout like scouts and better leaders. In my reality, I don't see adults dealing well with this. They either overcompensate and take it all over or they are gleefully and completely hands off. In both case, scouting is not fun for our target audience, the scouts and in my neck of the woods I see a lot of dismaying attrition. I think this is why this comment of "scouting is supposed to be fun" keeps resurfacing. It makes me think that scouting boils down more to alchemy more than training: If you get the right mix of gifted leaders and impressive scouts, it will work beautifully. If you don't have that, scouting can be very difficult to deliver.
  3. We keep talking about the lack of clear adult training about patrol method but I wonder if it would help if we focused on the kids more before they get to Troop. I've mentioned before, youth seem to be coming to scouting today with fewer interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. All the adults see is the confusion. I know people are sick of messing with program but maybe there is more need for direct curriculum starting in Cubs about youth leadership and what youth led is. I don't think the kids understand it themselves, so it's hard for them to push back on other kids or adults. The youth leadership message is inherent in the program to some degree, but it's not spelled out in a way that I think is clear for young kids. Certainly not the way we do with Cyber Chip (although I have huge issues with the content of that but that's another topic). As I've also mentioned elsewhere, this is not unique to scouting. Schools are doing fewer group projects because of issues with kids having trouble working in groups. When BSA redid the program a few years ago, I was thinking of this and was hopeful the revisions would find some way to address it. The only thing I saw was a new Bear requirement to manage up and down and run a carnival for the Pack. It didn't think it would work well and when I saw it in action it did not work well. There was nothing that I recall in the requirement that talked about why they were doing it, how to do it, and what they might learn about working with other kids. It also seemed that such activities would be more natural for Webelos and AOLs to help prepare them for the patrol method. The other problem was that Webelos and AOLs are already antsy and looking to differentiate themselves from younger scouts and there is no way they wanted to be directed by Bears. There must have been problems elsewhere because it was taken out the next year, unfortunately along with some good stuff that had added more outdoors related requirements like camping. We do ISLT with older kids, but they are often already in situations long before that where they need some training, like patrols. If not exactly leadership training, maybe they could at least use some basics on how to function in a group like a patrol. It is going to be messy but I think if the kids actually understood what they were supposed to be doing and could explain it to the adults, there might be more patience and understanding. Right now I just see parents frustrated because they are scheduled in three places at once with four different kids and when Johnny the scout in charge of the weekend camp out sends out an email that they need to be at the camp site two hours earlier than expected, they blow up and jump in. And after a couple experiences like that what a kid might "learn" is that he doesn't want to volunteer to run anything anymore.
  4. Just to clarify, when I say that there is nothing magical about youth led what I mean is that it is not the sole determinant for kids to have fun. Kids also have fun in more adult led activities like sports, robotics, 4-H. None of those are youth led but they still have fun. What I was musing on more was why does this come up so much in scouting? There is no doubt the kids have more fun in scouting when they get to do what they want but from general feedback it seems like it can be really hard to do. It's not just that parents helicopter it's that liability, bullying and youth protection issues are also part of the equation. And even in supposedly youth led troops adults still set the tone without even being aware they are doing it. We're youth led for example but the pressure to advance oozes out of all the adults -- leaders and parents -- and the boys seem to have internalized that to the point that it guides what they choose to do. It's great for the kids who are laser focused on getting Eagle but none of them stick around afterwards. In my various kid hats I hear a lot of "I have to go to scouts my father/mother makes me" while I almost never hear the same kind of comment about sports practice, 4-H, etc. This might be another topic to add to the list of market research that would be great to be done by someone outside of scouting if we survive bankruptcy. My sons have a couple times over the years filled out direct to scout surveys, but from what I saw those surveys didn't really ask useful questions. It was more rate how much you like this or that. I think it would useful to ask scouts what youth led means to them and what they think of advancement, have they had friends who quit scouting and why, etc., etc.
  5. Absolutely not. It's just weird that the concept of "fun" for kids has to be discussed in an organization devoted to kids at all. Does that make any sense? I'm not trying to be adversarial I'm just noting that this never comes up for discussion in other forums I participate in for sports coaches or 4-H or whatever. The activity itself is always fun. The discussions are always about admin stuff or how to make it better or how to recruit more kids. I just realized it tonight reading that comment how strange that is that we discuss it here.
  6. There are plenty of youth programs that are fun for youth without youth running the program and that are very popular and youth can't wait to participate in them. Sports, robotics, 4-H, etc., etc. There is nothing magical about youth led. In scouting, I think it helps make a sometimes tedious program more enjoyable for youth when we let the youth have more free rein and they truly do learn something if they are able to try to figure out the process themselves. However, the whole advancement system is an adult originated structure. Kids didn't come up with that. When you let them do what they want within that structure, scouting youth have a lot more fun, but it's not like they don't have fun in other organizations or activities that are not as kid led. I just think kids have fun when they are camping and hiking and outdoors. That's the fun.
  7. Multiple times throughout this thread I have pointed out that scouting needs to be fun -- a game with a purpose. That fun has to be relevant for younger generations coming up though. Lotta people here seem to get their jam from doing things their way and holding on to old grievances. Every other youth organization I'm involved with is worried more about keeping and serving the kids than clinging to traditions. I don't hear or see this kind of talk anywhere but in scouts.
  8. You are on the tail end of fall migration. Have each scout bring bins and look for Bald Eagles. They migrate into November. Lot of hawks still overhead too. Depending on where you are a lot of water birds are also showing up to overwinter. I've just started seeing wood ducks, common mergansers, black ducks, bufflehead, etc. If you are camping near a water source, might see something interesting. Bins can be used again at night to check out whatever is up there. There are apps and sites that can tell you what you can look for depending on what nights you are out. Watching the ISS go by overhead is always fun to see whether you are 6 or 60.
  9. I so appreciate your viewpoint and agree. I will do my best not to sally forth to do battle the next time something yanks my chain.
  10. Also, I agree about the GSUSA. I don't like double standards. I think everything should be integrated and kids should be tracked by ability or interest not by gender or anything else. If a girl is good enough to play little league, let her play. If a boy is more successful playing on a rec league vs. a travel team of any gender, let him play there.
  11. Again, I ask what we are debating here. Up until the post WWII era in the US, and even in many parts of present day Eastern Europe, Central and South America, Asia, and Africa, many women have mastered and still have many of the outdoors or rural living related skills that most US men have forgotten and no longer have simply because they need them to survive. This is not a discussion on what women are capable or not capable of. It is a discussion of what US men's perceptions are regarding women in scouting.
  12. That is a cri de couer. I don't know. All I know is we have to get through it and somehow figure out a way to have some version of scouting survive even if it's simply a vestige of what was because some version of scouting is better than no scouting.
  13. Again, I'm asking you what is your point. It repeatedly sounds through your posts as if you are arguing that women and girls don't belong in scouting. That's OK if that's your opinion and we can agree to disagree. Just be scout like and be honest about what it is you are trying to say. On the one hand you appear to dissemble and say the only problem with women was a training issue in the 1970s. On the other hand it appears you are saying that boys can't learn from women. Which is it?
  14. I can't figure out how to repost the comments within your quote, so sorry if these responses aren't directly linked to what you said: Girls -- I agree that the girl exclusion wouldn't have become such an issue if the ban on gay scouts and scouters hadn't preceded it. However, it did add tinder to the perception that scouting was exclusionary. We also have to remember that the girl issue became much more volatile when it was linked to a couple recent high profile transgender scout cases because of course those scouts were biological girls. That created a devastating connection in the public mind between scouting's previous ban on gay scouts/leaders, girls, and BSA's discriminatory positions and history. Organization of my post -- Yes, I apologize for the long post. However, some posters had asked for specific examples of what people would want to see survive, update, or improve in a reconstituted scouting model. While I agree it would have been more digestible and perhaps better organized to break my list out by admin items vs. program, I do think many of the problems are linked and one component, particularly on the admin side, can be causative or at least contributory to another on the program side. I'll give a couple examples below. It's part of what I'm talking about when I say scouting functions in silos and tiers. We've got too many components that don't talk to each other and our responses as an organization to challenges -- and opportunities -- need to be more holistic. Home based programming -- I totally get the 'Meh" reaction on home based. However, what I'm talking about is a little bit different. We have a ton of content that could have easily been repurposed into some kind of weekly social media or blog post from BSA. This kind of thing is done all the time in corporate America. While current Cub Scouts might know, for example, what a one foot or ten foot backyard "hike" is, there were millions of kids stuck at home this summer who did not. All the parent groups, social media groups, facebook pages, etc., in my area were reposting backyard bird feeder ideas, cloud study lessons, astronomy charts, etc., from local nature centers. People were desperate for something to do outside with their kids while cooped up this summer. Did we get anything from scouting? Zip. When things started opening up in my area, all those nature centers recruited those families who had been reading their posts to sign up for socially distanced hikes, birding programs, etc. I'm on the board of one center, and membership has increased 30%. Covid was the best thing to happen to them. Conversely, my scout unit is down 20%. Scouting could and should use some of its content nationally to try and drive nonscout youth to scouting. That's what I was trying to say. Return to the past -- This may seem contradictory but let me clarify it's not necessarily the program aspects I'm disenchanted with, it's mostly the delivery system. I gave several examples of that. Religion -- I can empathize with COs that want the program to align with their beliefs but my personal conviction is that aside for some minor degree of flexibility the scouting program as a whole should not be discriminatory. Whatever COs do locally reflects on the organization as a whole so there has to be a reasonable limit on autonomy. In my area as well churches are very accepting and broad minded so I haven't encountered many units other than the old LDS ones that had any kind of issues. This is an example of a traditional scouting component that needs to be left in the past. This is also part of what I see as the schizophrenic reality of the BSA/CO relationship. If BSA is going to manage a franchise, then it has to ensure consistency. Family campouts -- I understand the issues but my point is that if scouts wants to survive it has to figure out how to adapt to what Millennial, Gen X and soon Gen Z families want. You've got a good point about inconsistent and incomplete training materials from National. That is an example of my point of how National administration problems impact local program delivery and that they are interconnected. However, liability issues are going to continue to drive the need for parental involvement and supervision and it is going to get harder to schedule lengthy adult training sessions. This is not unique to scouting it's also an issue in youth sports and coaching. What I threw out may not make any sense but better heads than mine will need to truly problem solve this with some innovative approaches and whatever it winds up being will probably be very different than what has been traditional. The post bankruptcy reality may be that no one will insure you if a couple of adult leaders want to take a bunch of non related kids off into the woods. You can see that problem, right? Youth leadership training will not be a relevant part of the equation. So scouters will have to figure out a way to do some semblance of youth leadership training in a different paradigm if we want to continue scouting in some way. Leadership -- I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing. I don't see mixed patrols in the traditional program as being useful either. Kids are coming to scouting lacking basic interpersonal skills. Many adults are too. I don't know what you are seeing in your units, but management by text and phone app has kind of become the norm. The program side may need to incorporate some back to the basics components that teach such basic skills as listening, voting, consensus, etc., starting at the cub level. Merit badges -- Allowing advancement tracks might not seem like a good idea to traditionalists but parents increasingly want targeted experiences for their kids. This is an example of trying to be more relevant to modern families. Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments. Even if we disagree, I value the discussion.
  15. That's only true in about 40% of the cases and in those cases the abusers are predominately male. Additionally, most of those cases are connected to adolescent exploration of sexuality and there is not the same threat/power/victim factors involved. However you bring up a really good point because that is why BSA instituted the two year tent camping rule. Older children can victimize younger children. However, it still certainly occurs among children who are of the same calendar age but have developed and grown differently.
  16. OK I think I get what you are saying. You are talking about some of the research that shows that boys learn better from male teachers? As a parent of two boys I would agree there is something to that. However, there is also research showing that women are far less likely to abuse children and abuse has a tremendously negative effect on ability to learn in both genders. There is also the teacher gene at play. Some people are inherently good at teaching and managing children. Others, despite whatever degrees or training they have, are not. There are also teachers, male or female, who seem to be better at teaching either boys or girls and it doesn't track at all by gender. And I use teacher loosely here -- I mean anyone who takes on the responsibility to interact with children in an extramural role. I think these kinds of studies are worth noting and keeping under the belt, but I think we have to be careful of lasering in too tightly on one consideration because producing decent young human beings is tremendously complex and what works or doesn't work is multifactorial.
  17. To elaborate on this, I learned archery, and many other things, with scouts. That was back in the day when the local troop did archery in the local park. My love for scouting is based on how kind and patient my older neighbors were in letting me tagalong and do what they did.
  18. Careful there. Some of us were tagalongs or grew up in families with scouting dads, brothers, cousins, etc. The full experience? No. Exposure to components and the process and some experiences? Yes.
  19. Boy, Eagle Dad, once again you've stopped me in my tracks. I literally do not know how to take your comments. When you combine the words you just did in a single paragraph, it is inherently sexist. How does quality of growth not implicate sexism when you are talking about natural youth brains? I think you may have misspoke. Or at least I hope you did.
  20. I understand your point to some degree but it doesn't take much browsing on this forum to find comments from posters who take issue with the inclusion of women and later girls to the program. It's also a pretty ubiquitous opinion still expressed sotto voce at the unit through council levels. If the vast majority of complaints about women joining scouting truly were based solely on the challenges that were faced by having to do a lot of remedial training at the time, I wouldn't expect to still hear and read so many negatives today. Maybe this would be a good discussion thread. At some point I'll review some of the comments I've noted on the topic and repost them and maybe a better understanding could be reached by all. I do believe that a majority of men in scouting today, especially the ones of my generation and younger (with one personal exception who unfortunately is our Unit Commissioner) are gender blind when it comes to ability and skills. When you've got a job to do all you care about is who can help you do the job. I can't seem to figure out how to requote your quote on the other part of my post but I will figure that out and respond to your equally thoughtful comments there.
  21. There can be no doubt that BSA refusal to include homosexuals or girls until forced to do so due to social and financial pressure has had an impact on membership. It might not have affected it in terms of scouts immediately withdrawing, but it has definitely had an impact on recruitment and image. Its recalcitrance definitely cost BSA financial support from such high profile donors as the United Way to Levi Strauss. Why would that happen if not a reflection of increasingly negative public opinion? In the nearly 20 years I've been involved in scouting, I've seen schools gradually cut involvement due to BSA's perceived discriminatory policies, had recruitment signs stolen and defaced, been honked and yelled at while setting them out, and have had scouts who wore their uniforms to school ridiculed to the point where parents refused to participate in uniform spirit days. Those are all anecdotal points, I admit, but times are different and BSA's actions, as well as the abuse scandal, have materially changed how we are viewed. I'm not exactly clear on what is being argued here but if there is any doubt about that being the case, it's hard to understand how that could be a realistic viewpoint. BSA's traditional image has perhaps been fatally damaged. The only way to survive may be to completely redesign and reposition it. I don't say that because I dismiss the impact that traditional scouting has had on many lives. To the contrary, I say that because I recognize the positive impacts and support many aspects of scouting. I would rather adapt and have some version of it survive rather than cling stubbornly to the past and see it serve fewer and fewer youth and ultimately die. It also seems unrealistic not to understand that the piggy bank is broken and the pieces are never going to go back together the same way. Whatever entity that comes out of the bankruptcy case is going to be vastly different than what is still operating now. I can appreciate the history that is often presented here of how the program has been subject to changes and the skepticism that long time scouters have developed. However, the difference is that, whether those changes were good or bad, they have cumulatively resulted in our being where we are now: possibly on the verge of becoming extinct. Many parts of our future are largely out of BSA control. The upcoming bankruptcy trial will also likely result in another wave of truly bad publicity. Most of the parents in my unit are only dimly aware that BSA has declared bankruptcy and are being reassured by council and district missives that if they will only help pay their share via the new council fee, scouting will remain strong and be better than ever! No problems here!... Within a year or two, though, a generation of Americans are going to read about the BSA having to pay out millions if not billions to abuse victims; they are likely going to read about the sale of summer camps and possibly high profile legacy HA properties; in a worst case scenario, they may also read about their local churches and community organizations being sued because of "us"; even worse, although far fewer, despite all the measures, a handful of scouting child abuse cases are still occurring in real time and being reported upon. We can't expect to present ourselves as anything at all like the "old" BSA under such a scenario. It might not be as dire as I've projected here, but no matter what it is not going to be a good look. To a limited degree, going back in time -- truly back in time, not the 1970s -- could be part of the answer. BSA's relentless corporatization of scouts, with its focus on marketing, has driven the organization away from its roots. In the early handbooks, scouting was much more outdoors and action based, not deliberately controversial in a social sense, with minimal focus on advancement, costly uniform bling, and religion. One of the big problems with scouting is that is has suffered from perhaps well intentioned but certainly poor management over decades and this has negatively affected aspects of the program both big and small. I've listed most of these things continually in various posts, but to consolidate, here are some things I think would change it for the better or help it survive. I don't have a clue whether they are specific enough or wildly offensive or at all helpful or insightful. I am throwing them out based on my experiences with multiple youth organizations, nearly 20 years in scouting in almost every unit role there is as well as with some district and council experience, and as a parent of two sons who have been scouts for the purpose of rational discussion. I hope that those who disagree will do so civilly and not result to another round of belittling comments: - Restructure the organization. National's silo based, top down organizational structure is dysfunctional and is inherently not built to support the end customer -- scouts, units, and COs. Like other organizations, BSA needs to not only recruit managerial talent from within but from without in order to update its practices and perceptions. Throughout its history BSA has been insular to the point where there is a large degree of organizational arrogance. This has resulted in top management that has been inexplicably blind to pit falls that other organizations, including other youth organizations, routinely avoid. Some PR blunders have been self inflicted. These problems have affected recruitment. - Any restructuring needs to include the CO model, which is also dysfunctional. Part of the reason why BSA was so vulnerable to predators was because of the unclear chain of responsibility between COs and BSA. BSAs expected COs to "own" their unit but without a functional oversight mechanism to ensure that they indeed were doing so, responsibility gaps were created. Some COs assumed complete control to the point where they became territorial fiefdoms or extensions of the CO and did scouting "their" way and created a program within a program. LDS units are one large example. Other COs wanted nothing to do with ownership other than offering space and benign support. BSA also had no effective mechanism to monitor these "absentee" COs who were not paying attention to what was going on in a unit. Being marketing and membership driven, BSA, through Councils and Districts, have always been reluctant to push back in any way on COs that could result in a loss of units or membership. One of the other problems this dysfunctional model has created is wildly different experiences by unit across the scouting universe. BSA has described scouting and the CO model as a quasi franchise arrangement. However, there is little to no enforcement of franchise expectations. If you walk into a McDonald's it shouldn't feel like a Wendy's. Conversely, in a truly national organization, if you join a Troop in Maine it should function basically the same as a Troop in New Mexico. In most other youth organizations that don't have to deal with such a muddled structure, that's largely true -- but not in scouts. This Forum is Exhibit A on how different we all are. This is something that confounds many prospective families. - A broadly functional IT platform that would streamline and standardize administrative functions and volunteer roles as well as facilitate collaboration across units, districts, and even councils. The BSA structure has developed around too much redundant and unnecessary bureaucracy, positions, and volunteer roles. Common sense efficiencies, like national group purchasing programs that could save money for camps who wanted to utilize such a service, have never been developed despite BSA becoming a fairly large corporate entity. We've had to endure all the negatives of being part of a corporation without any of the benefits. The pool of volunteers is declining. We need to make the roles easier, not harder. This could also help make scouting more portable. Rather than being so completely attached to specific units, it could be easier for scouts to temporarily hook up with units for a high adventure trip or an advancement opportunity. - Develop social media platforms that can be used as public relations/information, recruitment, training tools. - Cost efficiency is also one of our current challenges. At a time when other youth organizations provided refunds or discounts, BSA has actually increased fees. An IT platform could also offer central purchasing options. Scout gear, uniforms, bling, also need to be streamlined with a focus on function and reasonable cost. What we have now is market driven rather than function driven. Every uniform change or enhancement is meant to raise more money for BSA and yet the traditionalists buy it. Scouting has to find ways to become more cost efficient to appeal to more families. - Reposition ourselves as the nation's premiere outdoors resource for scouts. We missed a huge opportunity this summer to offer home based outdoor programming opportunities to the nation's youth during Covid. Some Councils/Districts/Units did a great job, but it was localized and focused on kids already in scouting, not prospective scouts. Nothing driven by National. Incorporate more outdoors skills into the main program. Too much outdoors curriculum has been outsourced to Merit badges. Every scout should learn more about things like tracking, birding, fishing, canoeing, endangered species, adverse weather, wildlife encounters and dangers, etc. Some of this exists but it is very topical. Develop partnerships with other outdoors related organizations to provide content and add interest. I tried to develop a local relationship between the Sierra Club and our Pack's Wolf Dens. Most young kids love animals and so do their parents. Why don't we capitalize on that within the various ranks? There are so many useful conservation lessons that are lost. The outdoors, unlike religion and social issues, is almost universally appealing and without controversy with Millennial and Gen X and soon Gen Z parents as long as you don't get into Climate Change. We could better align with the Parks Service, Outdoors Outfitters, Conservation Organizations of all types like Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Audubon, etc., etc. There are so many possibilities out there.The reality is even amongst our most experienced outdoors leaders the curriculum is really limited. Also jettison JTE, which is pointless and toothless, and instead require a minimal number of outdoor activities to be held in order to recharter or else be put on provisional status. And why are there so few COs who are conservation centers? - De emphasize advancement and the push to Eagle. In its most traditional sense, scouting is supposed to be fun -- a game with a purpose. Yet too many units don't do anything that isn't linked to advancement. For example, my son's Troop repeats the same hiking loops every year because they dovetail perfectly with the hiking merit badge and hiking requirements in the program. We live in an area where there are literally hundreds of cool places to hike, but there's no time to explore them because everyone is pushing for Eagle and needs to do the hikes that fit into the formula. Where is the sense of fun and adventure? Don't get me wrong, they still have fun, but this isn't the highest experience that scouting can offer them. - De emphasize religion. It's too much and just gets us into trouble. No one should be using scouting as an extension of their Sunday school or Hebrew school or whatever. BSA should never have allowed LDS to create a program within a program. The scouting program should be available to all who are interested, but since a scout is courteous and kind it should never have allowed itself to be used by organizations who wanted to exclude people. - Find new ways to provide training. Whether traditionalists like it or not it's clear that Millennial, Gen X and soon Gen Z adults are less interested in investing endless hours in training, volunteering or spending time away from their kids and families even though it is needed more than ever. I read one post on this thread recapping some proposed training scheme and my first thought was that none of the parents in my unit would ever do this. We'll have to innovate ways to build skills. Campouts may need to become family affairs where parents are still with their kids and also possibly getting some chunks of training themselves. - If District Executive positions survive post bankruptcy this needs to become more of a unit support and resource role than a fund raising one. This position may need to make up for training gaps among unit volunteers and be a source of expertise for outdoor activities. - Leadership. I think we need to give up on positioning BSA as a Civic Leadership experience. I personally think we no longer do a good job with it. From the general public perspective, our organization is not well led. Leadership approaches that worked 50 years ago are different today. Scouts is very top down and militaristic in its approach but leadership models are becoming much more collaborative and organic. Kids today are much more individualistic and their parents encourage that. The Patrol method works, but it needs some updating. Kids are not coming to scouts with some of the conflict resolution skills they had 50 years ago and it is a problem whether you are trying to develop peer to peer leadership or older scouts leading younger scouts. There needs to be some stepped path to leadership because throwing a bunch of kids into a group and expecting them to be able to sort it out and emerge as leaders is becoming more problematic. Many schools no longer have students work in group projects because of this. - Consider advancement tracking. Families today increasingly want experiences that are specific to their needs. Many other youth organizations have adopted this. By this I mean STEM Emphasis Eagle track, Outdoors Emphasis Eagle track, Citizenship Emphasis Eagle track. Have a common core but let kids specialize based on their interests. What I want for scouts is to survive in some fashion. I want it to be relevant for more families. I want it to be more outdoors oriented. I want it to have more competent leadership that is more outwards and forwards looking and be more scandal proof. I want the organization as a whole to reorient around the scout and the units. I want to get rid of crippling disconnects and conflicts of purpose between the tiers of National, Council, District, Units and COs who all seem to have different missions and marching plans. What I also want is more research, conducted by an independent source. There is a ton of general research about Millennials and Gen X's and Gen Z's that support what we are seeing across the country with trends regarding all youth organizations, not just scouts, but it would be helpful to have something specific to us.
  22. Where's a moderator when you need one, LOL?
  23. I sense we are not communicating effectively here on some very basic level and you're descending once again into questionable territory with comments that sound more like insults than discussion. I am not insulting you. I am merely disagreeing with you. You somehow interpret that as being offensive. I've given reams of facts and research. I can't help it if you don't want hear what I have to say.
  24. Camping rates are actually slightly down and flat but what has increased exponentially is spending on gear. Exhibit A: Boy's Life. I am a practical person, so if your goal is try to return to some version of scouting from 1970 or 1990 or even 2010, I personally don't think there is much point in discussing that much because it won't happen. Thinking we know best what people need vs. what they want is by definition bound for failure. History is always good for context but there is a reason why buggy whip manufacturers went out of business after the Model T. I have advocated in multiple places for BSA to reposition itself as the premiere outdoors resource for the nation's youth. It's something we've moved away from while increasing emphasis on advancement and religion and adding an awful lot of things that feel more like school homework than the game with a purpose. We can stick with the past and serve an increasingly small number of kids -- which to me is the iceberg -- or we can try and figure out a way to reinvent scouting to be more relevant to current families and what they want, because what they want is what they will do. With all due respect, I'm not trying to be negative or freak anyone out, I just firmly believe that this is the reality that we need to wrap our minds around. As the very thoughtful ParkMan said, try to do it while still preserving some of the most essential pieces. I think that's where folks with decades of experience could offer some helpful advice but it's hard to parse anything useful out when the comments are so outraged and reactionary.
  25. It's called disagreeing, not bias. I am disagreeing with you.
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