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Everything posted by dkurtenbach

  1. I like the 1920 edition of Aids to Scoutmastership as a relatively complete yet concise compilation of Baden-Powell's whys and hows of Scouting. One place to find it is at http://thedump.scoutscan.com/a2sm.pdf . From page 51 of the aforementioned Aids to Scoutmastership pdf:
  2. I just watched a clip of David Brinkley talking about him. Wow, ten years before the Improved Scouting Program disaster. This is some real "Follow Me Boys" stuff.
  3. No worries. The young ladies wouldn't stand for it. They want the rugged outdoor program and the challenge of really earning Eagle Scout. They will easily outshine the boys and shame the leaders of male troops with their toughness, discipline, and determination. The girls will save the program that was Boy Scouting despite their lazy laggard brothers.
  4. I think you're right. Cub Scouts is incredibly flexible when it comes to subject matter, so you don't have the same problem as Scouts BSA and its association with the outdoors. And those Cubbies are so darn cute in their uniforms, especially the youngest ones, and they sell a lot of popcorn. Now, I could see Scouts BSA being cut down to a strictly two- or three-year trail-to-Eagle program: Forty or so merit badges (that seems to be about the average these days) earned at monthly merit badge fairs, a few token campouts (but cabins are okay) and hikes (though you could substitute snowbo
  5. Well, we've talked a lot about a few cows and lots of cats and dogs. How about the two pillars of the Boy Scouts of America? Suppose we can keep either Cub Scouting or Scouts BSA, but not both. Which one is kept, which one gets chucked into the dumpster of history? Should either be put on the chopping block in the "new" BSA? Maybe replace Scouts BSA with STEM Scouts?
  6. And as it happens, we already have a corps of volunteers at the district and council levels who are dedicated to building high-quality units. Units owned by the Council, supervised by the volunteer Commissioners.
  7. Well, I know of a couple of instances in which our Council Deputy Scout Executive/COO was brought in to deal with, shall we say, disruptive influences. But you have given a good reason for making changes to the current system.
  8. This is, in my opinion, a direct result of BSA attempting to transform itself. - It started as an organization that uses the outdoors to both attract youth and to develop in them useful skills, responsibility, and citizenship through outdoor living and adventure with a small community (the patrol). - Perhaps developing a puffed-up sense of its own importance, BSA began to advertise itself as an organization that teaches character and values, but still does some outdoor stuff. See, for example, former CSE Bob Mazzuca's statement about rubbing two sticks together to make a fire whil
  9. Another aspect of the Chartered Organization structure is the influence that it gives to outside organizations (such as churches) that sponsor many units. When the institutional views of the BSA and the institutional views of the outside organization are compatible, the relationship is productive. When those views diverge -- which we have experienced a couple of times in the last decade -- it is not just major donations to BSA that suffer. It can reach all the way down to the unit level, with the loss of meeting places and even the loss of membership.
  10. It will be interesting to see the financial effects of closed summer camps this year. I suspect that many councils will find that their annual budget has taken less of a hit because they don't have to fill the annual deficit from summer camp operations.
  11. Most chartered organizations are not involved in their units and never will be. That means is that a poor operating style in a unit that is doing a disservice to its members is protected by the indifference of the chartered organization. The interests of a district or council leader are money, members, and manpower (volunteers), and those three things only come from high performing units that have trained leaders and active outdoor programs. I want the boss to be somebody who knows what the program is supposed to look like and has the authority to put the right people in the right spots.
  12. Well, most of them aren't very tall to begin with. 😁
  13. There is definitely a market for some sort of relaxed organized structure for adults to get together in small groups (patrols?) to go hiking and camping together for their own pleasure and camaraderie, at their own speed, without at the same time having responsibility for youth members. There is definitely a need for adults (and especially adults with handyman skills and more) to assist Rangers with camp maintenance needs. There is definitely a need for training new Scouting parents and leaders in basic outdoor skills in an no-pressure, no embarrassment environment -- with more time and atte
  14. This is my list from the "Major Changes Announced" thread, but slightly re-ordered and with topic headings added: Uniforms and Insignia Uniforms that include button shirts Uniforms that include official pants/shorts/skorts/skirts, socks, or belts Sashes Badges, patches, pins, loops, danglies, and other standard insignia normally attached to uniforms or uniform parts (but keep ceremonial awards attached to pin-on ribbons, and items worn around the neck) Program Elements - Cub Scouting Terminology: "Webelos" Terminology: "Arrow of Light" (as a rank)
  15. You've got a few choices for getting Scout leaders and parents to keep the program in the lane and direction it is supposed to be going. One way is paid Scouters. Seems unrealistic. Another way is indoctrination of the parents and leaders up front, followed by regular coaching and reinforcement to keep it on track. That is BSA's model. But it lacks the indoctrination up front and the regular coaching and reinforcement along the way. A third approach is to provide a totally "canned" program -- specific, step-by-step and week-by-week instructions -- and remove discretion from the leaders a
  16. This story spells out why, when it comes to membership, all Scouting is local. That's not region local, or council local, or district local, it is unit-by-unit local. Units that follow the plan in detail and have an active outdoor program attract and keep Scouts. Nothing fancy or cutting edge about the program; there doesn't need to be. There is nothing BSA National could have done to the Troop's Castaway/Wilderness Survival weekend to get that other Webelos Den interested and active. The problem was failure to execute the Webelos program as intended. Where National could help with
  17. I think that Chair Elect Ownby's statement that "Some sacred cows will be sacrificed" is hot air, because BSA National leadership just doesn't have the courage to do it. But I could be wrong about that. In the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor, we see Army B-25 bombers being stripped of what was initially considered critical equipment (machine guns, bomb sights) to make them light enough to take off from an aircraft carrier for their mission: the Doolittle Raid on Japan. In that spirit, I have a few suggestions for items to strip out of Scouting programs: "Tenderfoot" "Second Class"
  18. I would amend that in this way: "WHY DO THE PARENTS want their kids to join Scouting? WHY DO THE KIDS want to stay in Scouting?" The reason for that change is that most Scouts join as Cub Scouts, and most Cub Scouts join in kindergarten, first grade, or second grade. At those ages, what really matters is why the parents sign them up. Later, at Webelos and ScoutsBSA ages, the youth develop their own views about staying in Scouts.
  19. (Emphasis added.) So right. When Mr. Ownby talks about preserving "useful" traditions and investing in what BSA customers "value," that is really scary. What traditions does BSA National consider to be "useful"? What does BSA National think that customers "value"? Because I am really afraid they are going to say "badges" and "Eagle Scout." If asked, I would say, "Do a Good Turn Daily" and "Be Prepared."
  20. "Sacred cows" at 54:18 into the recording. Immediately following are the comments about preserving "useful" traditions and how we must "pivot from valuing the past."
  21. He's a role model for cutting through nonsense, self-delusion, laziness, and rote adherence to the way things have always been done. Good for rescuing failing organizations. But not Scoutmaster material himself.
  22. "Are the BSA programs aligned with today's young people?" Which young people? The young people who are already Scouts and enjoy it? The young people who have never been Scouts? The young people who left Scouting before aging out? The young people who are Scouts because their parents signed them up and make them go? Surely after all this time BSA has done enough studies and research to know exactly why youth join Scouting, why youth stay in Scouting, why youth leave Scouting, and why youth choose not to join when given the opportunity. I think a far better
  23. I watched the recording of the Wednesday General Session, which can be found at https://nam.scouting.org/. The real meat is the summary by Chair Elect Dan Ownby, about 11 minutes long starting at about 48 minutes into the recording. Some excerpts: BSA will emerge from the bankruptcy "with the mission intact." However, we will have to deliver the mission "with far fewer resources." One of the six issues looked at by select committees developing strategy: "Are the BSA programs aligned with today's young people?" Although "the mission has not changed . . . [quoting
  24. Council assets are already at risk because it is not just BSA National that has been sued by abuse victims. Many, many councils have also been sued (as have chartered organizations) because the abuse took place in those councils, in their camps, and in units chartered by them. BSA's plan is to bring all claims against all BSA entities and partners together in one place and have one uniform process for compensating victims. If the councils that have already been sued don't voluntarily participate in a global resolution of abuse claims now as part of BSA National's bankruptcy, they will event
  25. Thank you. I am reminded of the wise Linus explaining to Charlie Brown and the world what Christmas is really all about. Lights, please.
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