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desertrat77

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  1. @MattR, your thoughts are timely. We need this dialogue more than ever. I watched the general session of the National Annual Meeting today. Right off the bat, three pros talked at length (about 15 - 20 minutes) about big dollar fundraising. National is launching a new program to help councils raise money. They made other points, but the upshot was definitely "the show must go on." And by "show" I mean "keep those dollars rolling in." Overall, the general session had this one stark theme: the virtual absence of any discussion about the challenges families and units are going through. It was a completely inward-look/ivory-palace session. At the end, Roger Mosby expressed his thanks to unit level leaders. And sure, there was some breathless enthusiasm about badge earning via Zoom and camping in the backyard, but that was more of a victory lap for the pros. Unless I missed it, only Roger addressed the unit leaders directly. If those deep corporate pockets are out there and ready to donate, great. But on a family and neighborhood level, the dollars are going to be far fewer from this point forward. I understand National and councils have started to tighten the belt, but the financial pain has only just begun.
  2. The delusion that scouting "works" in the living room and backyard is spreading. It was there pre-virus, but it has been fueled by the hype of councils and national--X badges earned, Y number of clicks on a website, Z people sleeping in the backyard. Sadly, I think this high-tech, lame version of scouting is here to stay. Think of the stories that scouts brag about it. It's not about the easy stuff. It was that day when it 100F, they ran out of water, got lost, the bear took most of their food so the crew shared one Cliff bar, etc. Who brags about backyard camping? Nobody. Because it really isn't adventure. Backyard camping isn't camping. At least not for humans above the rank of Bobcat. If scouts can go back and forth into the house to get a forgotten spatula or replace the batteries in their flashlight, it's not adventure and shouldn't count for anything but training.
  3. @carebear3895, I concur with Sentinel947. More than anything we've discussed about the BSA's possible implosion, this retirement situation is the biggest red flag that @Cburkhardt's prediction will come true: the BSA is going to be liquidated, right now to the last basketry kit. If the retirement plans of the front-line pros are in jeopardy, so is everything else.
  4. Good question! What the BSA should jettison: Cubs What the BSA would ultimately jettison: Scouts BSA In 2020, the BSA's overall mentality operates on a cub level, even for troops and crews. Lots of adults, easy/low risk programming, tons of badges to present, national supply items galore, and everyone goes home at the end of the day. Many would say a big "no thanks" on the idea of a high adventure backpacking trip in the mountains with a crew of mercurial teens. Even though a trip like that is the true goal of scouting (at least by my definition), it would require a level of leadership, outdoor skill, and risk acceptance that many scouters today cannot tolerate. I don't see STEM being a big calling card for new recruits. And chances are, the BSA would screw up STEM so bad everyone would quit.
  5. Computer skills: almost all kids have advanced computer skills. They often know more than their tech teachers in school. Bus and subway navigation: small children can figure this out easily with the help of a parent or older sibling. Math and science: does the BSA propose to teach this subjects? Going to museums to identify flora and fauna: how many youth will sign up for that? The BSA is going to have quite a challenge building an organization around these activities. Who is going to pay dues for the privilege of solving algebra word problems on the weekend?
  6. I agree. Sounds like some gold-tabbers still have their red beret tucked in their back pocket.
  7. Proclete, thanks for the opportunity to round out my ramblings.... - WB: I'll give Gilwell credit where credit is due. They have toned down the hyperbole and egotism. Somewhat. In my council there seems to have been a conscious effort to be more respectful toward non WBers and realistic about the course. Other councils I've been in have been as you described, cliquish and cult-y, if not downright arrogant. WB still seems to be a feeder program for the Good Ole Boy club at district and council levels. There are scouters that do not appear for or support anything in scouting unless it's WB. - Commissioners: a subject near/dear to me. I was a UC in five councils while on active duty, and later a district commissioner for a year. The commissioner concept is sound, but overall it doesn't work as advertised, in my opinion. It works in some councils, which is good news indeed. In the units, I always did my best to be respectful and supportive. Initial greetings at unit meetings ranged from shock ("I've been the SM here X years, and you are the first commissioner to walk through our door") to outright hostility ("We had a commissioner several years ago, a complete jerk, and we told him to leave and never come back"). I did nothing profound as a UC. I listened to their concerns, went camping with the units when they were short adults ("A commissioner that actually camps, well now I've seen everything ha ha!"), drank coffee with them around the campfire, washed dishes, filed my monthly reports (if/when the abysmal BSA software worked), and gave updates at district meetings. I'm not trying to sound like a great UC because I wasn't. Yet what little I did, most leaders appreciated it. If they asked for my advice or previous experience, I offered it. Otherwise, it was about supporting them--the most important positions in scouting--unit level leaders. Observations about fellow commissioners: many were names on a roster. At most they attended the monthly district meetings to socialize. Being a commissioner was a status symbol and nothing more. They loved the accolades but never visited their units.
  8. Carebear, can't we find another fundraiser to replace popcorn, a product that buyers want? Volunteers hate popcorn because customers are quite indifferent to it. MB fairs: point well taken. However, if we must have them, they should be more challenging. Recharter: I understand your point, but events may overcome this clunky process. The staff and infrastructure needed to carry the old process along may not exist soon.
  9. Carebear, how so? Are they sacred to the units, the council, or both?
  10. 1. Skip the slaughter house and send to the glue factory: - STEM - Popcorn - Merit badge fairs - Rechartering process 2. Dignified burial with honors: - OA (45 years an Arrowman too, ouch) - Venturing (rarely works to potential) 3. Administer diminished rations and strict fitness regimen: - Cub scouting: reduce overall program, ranks/badges and overhead by 50 percent (a never ending program that pleases execs and national supply) - Uniform items overall: reduce by 90 percent (buy Dickies work clothes instead, pants and shirt, and sew or pin on a couple badges) - Eagle process and emphasis--simplify red tape, refocus on outdoor leadership of peers. PR should focus on all scouts in scouting, regardless of rank, and not just this over-hyped rank - Infrastructure and staff at summer camps that do not relate directly to the outdoors (computer labs, Citizenship MBs, etc.) 4. Wake up these insular communities and remind them they are part of the BSA: - Wood Badge - Commissioner corps
  11. This a good question. However, I think it generates another: after the smoke clears, will there be sufficient council or national staff left to instruct/rule units? The way things are going, I doubt it. Units will probably be more autonomous than ever. I've never seen a CO operate "as advertised." COs are usually quite distant. The construct also allows council to say to units "you belong to us, do as we say" or "you don't belong to us, see your CO" as it benefits the council and the BSA, not the units.
  12. In the late seventies, our troop in Alaska followed a similar plan. Our troop camped once a month, snow included. But between Christmas and New Year's, the SM would take the senior scouts on a trek above the tree line. Ice axe, crampons, self-arrest practice, traversing ice fields, etc. One summer we senior scouts went through a mini boot camp experience for advanced outdoor skills such as rock climbing, living off the land and the like. Then we took a trek over tundra, birch forest, and mountains. Indeed, the BSA decided to be more "inclusive" and I think it was to the detriment of the program. Check out this spin from National in the publication "Questions and Answers, The Improved Scouting Program" copyright 1972: Page 12, question 23: "Q. Does this mean a different kind of man is needed for Scoutmaster?" "A. No. But we hope the improved program will attract the kind of men who might be put off by the present image of the Scoutmaster as chiefly outdoor-oriented, as well as the type of man who is an outdoorsman. In the new program there's room for both types...." And this gem from page 1: "Scouting Study Made" "...the National Executive Board recently commissioned a study. Researchers found that although 83 percent of all boys like Scouting's emphasis on outdoor activities [Italics mine], between 25 and 33 percent think it's too organized, restricts initiative, is fun at first but not later, and makes too much of being rugged and strong." A couple conclusions: - Apparently there wasn't "room for both types" of scouters in the BSA. Many of the old school leaders left in droves. - Even though 83 percent of scouts liked the outdoor program, National decided to overhaul the BSA anyway in an attempt to satisfy a much smaller audience. So we can see that National's flawed "methodology" of surveying and then leveraging the results to suit their predetermined outcomes is not a recent development.
  13. @carebear3895, congratulations on your promotion!
  14. @dkurtenbach, I like your "to be jettisoned" list! A few thoughts: - Venturing: as much as I love the potential of the program, I rarely see it actually practiced. Most of the crews I'm familiar with have either folded or are close to it. A darn shame because there are so many opportunities for youth-led adventure. But the youth aren't interested. Many crew advisors I've met would be better suited as den leaders. And councils I've been in never utter the a word about Venturing or lend resources. However, let's keep the green Venture shirt--it looks great, especially compared to the tan sacks that are sold as scout shirts. - Eagle: agreed, let's can the administrative baloney. When I reflect on the last several Eagle boards I've sat on, the candidates usually had little outdoor adventure experience to relate, and it was obvious that mom/dad dragged them through the project and filled out the notebook for them. Some of them were absolutely clueless about their project without the SM and mom/dad in the room. Let's refocus the Trail to Eagle as a rugged, outdoor leadership experience wherein the scout is leading and teaching other scouts. - Webelos/AOL: what a waste of time! What was once a fun but useful 1-year prep for joining a troop has turned into a long, boring slog. The parents care but they seem oblivious that their kids are bored silly by the whole thing. Again, great list!
  15. Old Scout, I've had the same thoughts myself here of late. The very elements that drew and kept membership: outdoor adventure, OA, patrol method--pros and like minded volunteers have done their very best for decades to dilute these activities. And unfortunately they've finally succeeded. Especially the OA. We're at the point where top-tier scouts decline nomination to the OA because the organization has so little credibility. The exact opposite of what the founders intended.
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