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willray

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Everything posted by willray

  1. You have my sincerest wishes that your troop remains unsullied by anything similar, and I certainly hope we figure out how to navigate these things ourselves! We're about as racially, socioeconomically, culturally and special-needs diverse as it's possible to be with 12 scouts, and we simply did not see some of these things coming. Then Friday night, "boom"... Still, I'd do it again, and I think all of the girls would too, so we'll figure it out eventually!
  2. I would guess some of it is online gaming culture - certainly there was a kerfuffle here a couple months ago over some scouts use of what was almost certainly online-gaming-derived slang, that they probably didn't even completely understand, so that ugliness is definitely leaking into real-world behavior. Some of it is also, I suspect, "just" a result of mixing groups from wildly different socioeconomic and cultural groups, and differences between accepted social norms. As a result, I expect there are going to be some "interesting" challenges in addressing this.
  3. I honestly was not expecting most of this from our troop. In many respects they are "boy like" in their approach to challenges (or, perhaps like what we'd like the boys to be like 🙂 ) but despite this, they blind-sided us on some of these. Our primary on-camp leaders were female, but unfortunately were also completely surprised by, and initially blind to some of the shenanigans. There are other things our girls got oh-so-right, and it was a delight to get to watch them just completely own some things that really challenge the boys, but there are definitely places where we're hitting "wow, I've never had a reason to even worry about that being an issue" moments. I'm curious about the age of the girls in your troop. We've a pretty wide spread, 11 to 17, but our strongest personalities are in the 11-13 range, so that may play into things somewhat.
  4. Unfortunately, while I am overall pleased with how our Girls' Troop did at summer camp, we experienced a variety of challenges that I suppose I should have foreseen. Please don't construe my itemization of these as condemnation of girls in BSA, but I do believe we need to think realistically about how to best deal with some things that I, and I suspect many other "early adopters" were hoping would somehow turn out to not be issues: 1: "Boys will be boys". There were apparently multiple instances of "I've gotta f*** me some white b*****s" displays of vulgarity aimed at our girls, and from what I understand, similarly-inappropriate-from-seven-different-directions comments aimed in the opposite racial direction towards girls in another one of the attending Girls' Troops. Some of this, I lay at the feet of that !@#$%^& ga-ga ball pit. If any other feature of camp, so reliably brought out absolutely horrible behavior like that thing does, it would be banned from camp in 15 minutes. Our camp has had knife-fights break out over ga-ga ball. One of the camp's most beloved counselors was attacked and his uniform ripped off and slashed to shreds over ga-ga ball. Now we've got racial bullying and sexual harassment being weaponized as play strategy. (doubly unfortunately, this is going to be held up by some of our parents as a reason to segregate the girls into girls-only camps, and create a girl-customized program for them...) The ga-ga ball pit aside, camps need a better response strategy to the sexual and racial BS, and probably a better camp-intro canned "You get one warning about scout-inappropriate behavior that will not be permitted. This that warning..." speech, regarding appropriate behavior and respect for all participants. 2: "drama, drama, drama". Somehow, having raised a mostly drama-free daughter (yeah, don't ask me how I apparently dodged that bullet - until 2 weeks ago, I had no clue what I was "missing"!), I was unaware of just how quickly "drama drama drama" happens in the teenage girl and boy world. We had screaming and crying matches between girls over who was working with which counselor. We had suicide-pact love letters from boys in other troops. We had very little sleep... I'm hopeful that we can curtail a lot of this with simply more and better pre-camp training and emphasis about scout-appropriate behavior at camp. Unfortunately I suspect that hope is delusional. Maybe the hive mind has had more sleep, and has better and better-tested ideas than I do on that one! 3: Spiders. Wow. Anyone who has been to summer camp knows that 10% of the new boys will be terrified of spiders and put up a huge fight over going into their tents on Sunday night. By Wednesday they will have given the spiders names, and by Friday will be depressed if one of the regular inhabitants "gets lost". With girls, at least our girls, it went the other way around. Sunday, we had two girls afraid of spiders, and by Friday, we had 9. I think it's an ego vs empathy thing. With the boys, I think there's an ego-based pressure to not be the lone kid standing in the middle of camp crying about spiders when everyone else has gone to bed. With the girls, I think there's an empathy based pressure to not be the kid who goes to bed, when there's someone standing in the middle of camp crying about spiders. We've got some learning to do, to develop new strategies for working with this hitherto-alien mindset... Other than those issues, our troop did ok. I saw a huge amount of personal growth in almost all of them, so on balance the experience was definitely positive. We certainly have some discrete challenges however that are going to mandate some serious thought!
  5. I am dorry, but the scout in question has engaged in a very public media campaign to pursue her agenda, including government involvement. She had also quite vocally made this about BSA owing _her_ the first Eagle. Were she campaigning for everyone who had ever completed the requirements for Eagle outside the program, to be awarded Eagle “now”, the discussion would be different. To ignore the name of the individual who has made this blatantly public and blatantly about HERSELF, and to ignore the plain words that express these actions, is silliness.
  6. And just in case this gets lost in the discussion - please don’t misunderstand me as having anything against BSA permitting girls into the organization. If you read back a bit, I have a girls’ troop of my own, of whom I am immensely proud. I think Miss Ireland is doing a huge disservice to the girls who are actually, in a scoutlike manner, being obedient to the rules. She had made this about HER, which is the antithesis of scoutlike behavior. Above and beyond the bending of the rules, the biggest reason she should not be permitted to be “the first female eagle”, is precisely because she so vocally wants to be.
  7. Yes, I am saying that the BSA did not permit US citizen girls to work abroad towards advancement in BSA troops, until they permitted said girls to work towards advancement in domestic BSA troops. it seems crystal clear that National meant exactly what they said in the guide to advancement: US members of US troops could work towards BSA advancement in foreign units. Foreign scouts in the US could credit work in their home organization to BSA advancement in US troops. There is no language suggesting that US citizen non-members of US troops could claim advancement credit in US troops through membership and work in a foreign unit. This is no different than the lack of language suggesting that girls who earned rank advancement in the Girl Scouts could apply it to BSA advancement, and the lack of language suggesting that sea-scout Quartermasters should also receive Eagle. They didn’t omit it because they didn’t think of it, they omitted it because it wasn’t an intended path to the rank.
  8. I hate to be rude, but apparently what you are missing is reading the rules for advancement. The rules define the process crediting foreign advancement work to an American citizen abroad, who is enrolled as a member of a BSA troop. Miss Ireland was not enrolled as a member of a BSA troop.
  9. Absolutely. The path for advancement for citizens is, and was always, defined. The path for citizens enrolled in BSA to have work conducted while abroad counted towards advancement is and was also defined. Miss Ireland has followed none of these.
  10. It seems like everything has gone wrong, since Canada came along...
  11. It's the ones that seem to be trying really hard not to lead, but that seem incapable of not attracting a following, that I find fascinating. It would absolutely be a real beast of an analysis to tease out the "learned from osmosis" stuff from innate ability, but that would be half the fun.
  12. I am curious, whether in your experience you feel that this leadership skill seems to "run in families". While I can't put a percentage on it, it occurs to me that I know a few kids whose fathers appear to be natural leaders, and even if the kids try rather hard not to be leaders, they still end up with a patrol/patrol-like group following them around. (kids here, because these aren't all scouts). On the other hand, I know a few kids whose parents are dreadful leaders, and it sure seems like no amount of coaching is ever going to raise them to anything better than mediocre at leadership. My day job, or at least a part of it, involves trying to tease the genetic "nature vs nurture" out of similar questions, and this one had never occurred to me to think about trying to analyze.
  13. Ah, I guess I was thinking "high adventure" in terms of most of what our troop does, rather than "high adventure takeout"... We occasionally do Seabase, but do a lot more "Hit a National Park/some navigable waterway/etc with backpacks and head for the backcountry sites". In reality, of course, it's something that would almost never come up, but I'd think I'd feel a bit strange telling a scout "Sorry Tom, you and Tim went on all the same trips, but Tim bailed on each of them after the 2nd day, so he's going to earn this MB. If you wanted to earn it, you shouldn't have camped so much".
  14. Ah, I'm not dismissive of the blog, and I've certainly found lots of wisdom there. It is, however, a "one person's (well reasoned) thoughts" presentation, rather than policy, and to quote it as such would be a mistake. This would also not be the first time when it was either slightly oversimplified, or not-quite-right regarding actual policy. One of the more problematic examples is Bryan's muddying-the-water "clarifications" on 2-deep vs no-1-on-1 in https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/01/19/whats-the-difference-between-two-deep-leadership-and-no-one-on-one-contact/ , where he implies that there need to be at least 2 adults present to avoid "one on one". Absolutely agree. I'm not a Camping MBC, but for those badges where I am, I think it's important to understand what experiences the requirements are attempting to elicit out of the scouts. Ambiguity should not be resolved in terms of enabling scouts to skirt intended experiences by virtue of clever word interpretation. At the same time, word interpretation should not be used to bar a scout from counting an experience that was clearly within the intent. If I was a Camping MBC, I don't think I'd be telling a scout who went on 20+ week-long high-adventure backpacking trips "sorry, you can only count one of those - if only you had climbed in a car a day earlier on the others, they'd have all counted".
  15. Thread necromancy here, just to point something out should anyone be searching for clarity in the future: The guidance is in a magazine. It is one person's opinion, it is not policy. Policy is in the merit badge book and requirements, and satisfaction of them is to be negotiated by the scout and MBC to the best of their ability. Personally, I think the guidance in scoutingmagazine is wrong, or at least incomplete. I believe the intent of the requirement is to say "we want you to go camping a lot, not just a couple long camping trips". I believe it is also trying to capture "typical long trips like summer-camp are a different kind of camping, and we don't want more than one of those counted". I strongly suspect the intent of the "50 milers are long-term camping" guidance, is addressing the "we want you to go on many different camping adventures", NOT the "summer camp isn't like real camping" aspect of the requirement. The way the guidance is written, if a scout went on a week-long camping trip every other week, every week of the year, every year that they were in scouting (not completely impossible, for a home-schooled kid, and I actually know some semi-nomadic craftsperson families where they actually come close to this), the "guidance" would result in them only having credit for 6 nights of camping. I really don't think the requirements were intended to tell that scout "really, you should camp less". Don't use the vagueness of the requirement to let a scout do less than the requirement intended, but don't punish a scout for doing more than the requirements either.
  16. You pose such interesting questions. I'll be interested to see what others think, and to see whether my thinking changes as I puzzle about this more. I have the feeling that there's something here I can use to shine light on some problems I observed between my two troops this weekend. I'll make a first proposition that the cons are almost completely circumscribed by the observation that joining a troop creates more opportunities for damaging loss of autonomy and conflict. Even in a troop composed of similarly free-range patrols, the more cooks there are, the more chance for spoiling the soup. Yes, that can be a learning experience, but if one assumes that free-range patrols have more internally-consistent "personalities" across the patrol than patrols constructed by adult fiat, then it's possible for those personalities to come into conflict in such a way that it passes beyond a learning experience and enters the realm of destructive. I would assume that the natural tendency in a free-range troop would be for such mutually-incompatible patrols to simply dissociate themselves, but, human beings are not well-known for making the wisest decisions, and quite a lot of damage can be done before wisdom is earned. There would appear to be quite a range of pros, from mundane better access to resources or expertise, to improving patrol cohesiveness because human teams tend to function better when there is an "other" against which to compete or measure themselves.
  17. I don't mind that she has expressed interest, but I would like to think that if someone put her interest in a proper context, she would see that it's inappropriate to the entire ethos of attaining the rank of Eagle. And I agree, a bit of ambition is not a bad thing. Ambition big enough to prioritize yourself far above the needs of others, to the point of engaging in legal action to attempt to accomplish this, is the antithesis of servant leadership.
  18. Unfortunately, while this is true for the Boys, it is not true for the Girls. This is why National has decided that there will be no "first female Eagle", and instead has decided to have a uniform BOR date for the initial "class" of female Eagles. To make an exception for one scout who happens to have an exceptionally powerful PR apparatus, is an insult to all the other young women who have been excellent scouts in everything but registration status over the past 100 years. The fact that being "first" matters to Miss Ireland, is, unfortunately, probably one of the most sound reasons to believe that she doesn't actually deserve that honor...
  19. No, not at all. It's telling her that the experience of others is not less meaningful than hers. By pushing to be first she is attempting to declare that her experience is more valuable and worthy than theirs. I am wondering whether she knows this. The fact that she's probably better qualified than some of the boys receiving Eagle, says nothing about whether it's appropriate for her to jump to the head of the line. I see a whole lot of scouts who wear the patch, but never earned the rank.
  20. And I'll add, what about the key term "foreign Scout" in the following paragraph. This seems to additionally cement the intent of that section to scouts who are not US citizens. That being said, I am torn. If a male scout in the US had joined a troop in the US, in 2014, then his parents moved elsewhere and he participated in another country's scouting organization and then moved back here in 2019 and applied to have that experience transferred to back to his US unit, I don't think there'd be any question in my mind about whether that was appropriate. I know that's not exactly Miss Ireland's path, but it helps me to analyze the edge cases where "I know this is wrong", and "I know this is right", to help narrow down where the crossing point is. I find the social-engineering being undertaken by Miss Ireland and her parents to be somewhere between unfortunate and despicable, but if Miss Ireland truly loves scouting as much as she claims, I don't see that squashing her enthusiasm is in BSA's best interest either. I would very much like to know, how she'd answer if someone who wasn't a cheerleader for her, but also wasn't an enemy, sat down with her and had the discussion: "I know you really would love to be the 'first female Eagle', and you believe that you have performed all the tasks that would be required of any other Eagle candidate. Do you really think that you being the first, would be fair to all of the other girls who have, over the decades, also done all of this but couldn't be recognized? You love Scouting, and hold the Scout Oath and Law dear to your heart. In the context of all of those others, and all the other girls who have similar experiences as you, but don't have the privilege of your voice, do you think it's more Scout-like to try to be the first female Eagle, or, to join in inaugural class of first female Eagles that will be awarded in 2020?" The fact that she says "I love Scouting, it's my lifeblood, why should I be stuck doing all this Scouting stuff all over again? Ugh!" leaves me sadly suspicious that I know how that'd turn out, but at least at the moment I'll maintain my fantasies that she actually is what she claims to be.
  21. The guide to awards and insignia says only that "handicraft" slides made by youth, may be worn instead of official slides. The restriction on the woodbadge slide is a restriction on the woodbadge slide, and there nowhere appears any restriction on "things kinda like" woodbadge slides. So yes, a different turk's head would be find. Even a 3-lead 4-bight turks head, made by a scout out of similar-looking materials, would probably be fine. Wearing an official WB woggle would not be fine.
  22. Coming to this late, but since I'm having this discussion with some people in my troops at the moment: Really, you can have them go back and read practically anything of early scouting by BP or Green Bar Bill, however, there's a lot to read, and it's the general gestalt that they're trying to get. More importantly, get them to read the Mission, Vision and Aims of Scouting ( https://troopleader.scouting.org/scoutings-aims-and-methods/ ) Nothing in the mission/etc is about learning to tie knots, set up tents, or identify plants. The reason that nothing in the mission/etc is about those things, is because "those things" are tools, as are the experiences necessary to learn those things, and later to teach "those things". The important thing about advancement isn't the specific scout skills embodied in the requirements, it is the experiences that a scout gets, working their way through learning those skills and accomplishing the requirements. An adult shortcutting that process, teaching those skills, prioritizing advancement, etc, takes away the opportunities from the scout, to get the very experiences that the scouting program is designed to create for them. For example, the cooking requirements really aren't about cooking. They are about learning to negotiate a meal, with a group of other scouts who probably don't all like the same food, getting them all on the same page, and then getting them to help out with the doing, even if they aren't completely happy with the meal or the tasks involved. If an adult steps in and says "This upcoming campout Timmy needs to plan the meals because he has a rank requirement", then that adult has just shortchanged Timmy on the entire point - they've put him in charge, told everyone else to shut up, and removed the negotiation and working together part that the requirement is supposed to force the scout into confronting. Timmy gets nothing other than making a grocery list and some cooking. Grocery lists and cooking are nowhere in the mission or vision of scouting. So -- ask your over-enthusiastic adult what they think the point of a given requirement is. What will the scout learn if they work through this, with other scouts? What difficulties will they encounter and need to overcome? What skills will they learn and improve upon if they do? If an adult pushes them through it/facilitates for them, what difficulties will they avoid? Will they learn more valuable life skills if they struggle through with other scouts, or if an adult greases the process and helps them slide through quickly?
  23. Thank you for the clarification - that's heartening to hear ( and everyone says National can't get anything right! 🙂 ) It gives me some hope that the girls in my council who magically were "First Class" in February, would also be asked to actually earn the ranks as written if someone pushed the issue. And it makes me a little more comfortable in my admonition to our girls that they should not be too envious of others who have deprived themselves of the real benefits and opportunities of the rank advancement system.
  24. ... Clarification please - Are you saying that short-cuts don't (legitimately) exist, or, that somehow the shortcut was not a shortcut?
  25. I will ask again - is there any legitimate mechanism that you can suggest, that is available to all scouts, that would enable a scout to legitimately wear the Life patch, within a month of their first enrollment as a Scout in BSA? I see nothing in the rank requirements that would allow a scout to apply experiences prior to their joining any troop, to advancement in Scouts BSA. Were it so, we would have numerous cubs joining at First Class rank or higher. I am 100% behind the idea that girls with the appropriate interests can benefit as much from the ideals of scouting, through the methods of the BSA, as can boys. There is nothing in the Scout Oath or Law that is in any way gender-specific, and there are certainly girls who are every bit as much into the outdoor program as the best of the boys. I am 100% opposed to rank inflation and the conversion of ranks and awards into a patch-race, rather than a system for recognizing a scout's achievements within scouting, and a large part of the reason that I am an ASM in a Girls' Troop, is because I believe they can accomplish traditional BSA program and advancement undiluted, and the best way that I can make sure that it is not diluted, and that scouts in both Boys' and Girls' Troops are given every opportunity to maximally benefit from program, is to be there holding the line. I am 100% convinced that the girls in my troop, who are working very hard and of whom I am quite proud, are severely demoralized when they see a girl wearing a rank patch that she could not have earned if she followed the same rules that BSA requires of every other scout.
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