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Everything posted by dkurtenbach

  1. I think if skill mastery was really important to the BSA, the rank requirements would be written to ensure mastery, and re-testing of any and every Scout-through-First Class skill would be part of advancement through Eagle Scout rank.
  2. Most telling, I think, is when a Scout wants to go to a merit badge clinic without knowing what merit badges are being offered. Or, just as often, when a parent wants the Scout to go to a merit badge clinic without knowing what merit badges are being offered. A close runner-up is when a Scout or parent expresses a goal for how many merit badges the Scout should earn at summer camp -- not which badges, but how many badges. Then there is the Scout with a goal to earn every merit badge available. The only saving grace there is that the Scout is actually trying to do something that is hard and
  3. Oh, I think that receiving a badge is usually the end goal. Not learning a skill, not exploring a new subject or career field. Why? Because in Cub Scouts we train youth and parents that earning a badge or pin or belt loop or other doo-dad is the achievement. And we train them to think that the more badges received, the better the Scout. And that carries over into ScoutsBSA. To be fair, that is perfectly understandable. Badges and other awards received are like grades in school: the only easily-understandable way for Scouts and parents to measure whether they are getting anything out of
  4. This was a "consent" order, meaning that the main interested parties agreed to it, wrote it up, and asked the judge to sign it. BSA and the other parties are saying that: Not only is the national organization being sued by abuse victims, but so are Learning for Life, numerous councils, chartered organizations, and others who have not filed bankruptcy. And while the bankruptcy prevents all of those lawsuits from moving forward against the national organization, it doesn't prevent those abuse lawsuits from moving forward against all of the other parties. But if those hundreds
  5. So, in a no-money situation, the question is: What parts of the recharter process can we drop because we already have a simpler or easier way to do them?
  6. Yes -- Get rid of it! Far too many unit, district, and council resources are wasted on this obsolete process. If council wants to renew the charter agreement with a chartered organization, then do it; there is no need to include the whole roster reconciliation and annual payment process at the same time. Apply for membership and pay the membership fee and fees for the unit you are joining online. Once a member is approved, automatic renewal and payment unless the member or unit cancels. You want to see who is registered in your unit? Open up the unit roster on My.Scouting -- every unit al
  7. I suspect that given the amount GSUSA is asking for in its claim, it will remain on the panel. Any and all claims must still (1) be determined to be valid (that BSA owes something to the claimant), (2) have the full amount of a valid claim determined (how much BSA owes to the claimant), (3) have a determination of how, and how much, valid claims will actually be paid from the available assets. The validity and amount of many claims will be undisputed. The validity of many claims will be undisputed, but the amount owed will be disputed. And both the validity and amount of many claims (like
  8. And a little glimpse of what modern business litigation looks like, from page 15 of the GSUSA brief: In the Trademark Action, the parties have: • produced more than 350,000 pages of documents, • completed 37 fact depositions, • collected documents from the majority of the 15 subpoenaed third parties, • nearly completed document collections from 14 Girl Scout councils and 18 Boy Scout councils, and • exchanged opening round expert reports concerned with consumer surveys.
  9. From the GSUSA brief at p.7: Moreover, the association between the Girl Scouts’ brand, long a symbol of girl empowerment, and that of the Boy Scouts’ brand, one mired in ever-mounting scandals regarding sexual abuse, has caused further harm to the Girl Scouts by tarnishing its unique and historic legacy. And from pp. 12-13: The continued use of the SCOUT mark and variations thereof in connection with all of Boy Scouts’ core programs offered to girls of all ages on a nationwide basis has diluted and will continue to dilute Girl Scouts’ famous GIRL SCOUTS trademark by blur
  10. A troop of eight Scouts or so is a patrol without the middleman; a patrol in the purest sense: independent, required to carry out all the various tasks and responsibilities of Scouting themselves without the support of some larger infrastructure, and required by circumstances to get along and rely upon each other for success. Not to mention having the advantages of being highly mobile, flexible, bureaucracy-free, and having a light administrative burden. And structured to be more environmentally-friendly than larger groups. The biggest challenge for a small troop is having enough adults wi
  11. Just a little litigation update. You may recall that the Girl Scouts of the USA sued the Boy Scouts of America in federal court in New York, alleging violations of trademark law by BSA. Generally, GSUSA claims that when referring to a program for boys, BSA has exclusive right to terms like "Scout" and "Scouts," and when referring to a program for girls, GSUSA has exclusive right to "Scout" or "Scouts." So when BSA uses "Scout" or "Scouts" when referring to girls in BSA programs, it creates confusion and infringes on GSUSA's trademark. That case is still in the "discovery" stage, in which t
  12. I mean "erosion" in this sense: Originally, troops were made up of patrols. Now troops are divided into patrols. Patrols used to be more or less permanent, with traditions of their own, composed of Scouts of all ages, with the older Scouts being responsible for younger Scouts and competitions among patrols. Now, patrols frequently change membership, change names, and disappear out of existence (the New Scout Patrol is even designed to be temporary). Every member of a patrol used to have a job with a title and real responsibilities, and the younger Scouts earned their way to positions of
  13. Some might say the same things about ScoutsBSA membership numbers, the "one-and-done" ScoutsBSA advancement program, and the erosion of the ScoutsBSA patrol as the most important structural feature of the program.
  14. BSA's traditional programs, including Venturing, still exclude atheists. The Exploring program's Non-Discrimination Statement reads: "Exploring programs are designed for all age groups starting at 10 and not yet age 21. Youth participation is open to any youth in the prescribed age group for that particular program. Adults are selected by the participating organization for involvement in the program. Color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, disability, economic status or citizenship is not criteria for participation by youth or adults."
  15. If Venturing -- fully co-ed, uniforms optional, no patrols, no ranks, awards optional -- is a program that has real value and is a great alternative to ScoutsBSA, why not make it available to younger boys and girls, as an alternative to ScoutsBSA starting right after Cub Scouts? Have an age-appropriate Junior Venturing program that takes the youth through 8th grade, then they graduate into the high school-and-beyond Venturing program. By stripping away many of the complicated features of ScoutsBSA, Venturing gets down to the essence of Scouting: planning and doing things that require learnin
  16. I would suggest that our need right now is not simply to show the community that we still exist, but to show that our existence adds real, visible, concrete value to the community.
  17. If I recall, the Sea Scout program is advancement-oriented, skills-oriented, and outdoor adventure-oriented, isn't it? But in Venturing, using the Venturing awards program is an individual and crew choice, and the type of crew activities are pretty much up to the crew, so Venturing isn't necessarily high adventure -- is that correct?
  18. I'll ask it: With young women in ScoutsBSA and the Order of the Arrow, is there any role for Venturing? Any need for Venturing? Is there anything in the Venturing program not already available in ScoutsBSA?
  19. The reality is that in today's hyper-litigious society, an organization would be nuts to sponsor youth-only activities without adult supervision, despite written warnings to parents about the potential for injury or death and written agreements by parents not to blame the organization should any such thing occur. Insurance costs would be huge. Many parents would simply keep their kids away from an organization with those kinds of activities. The ones who did allow their kids to sign up would be screaming at the slightest injury and pulling their kids out. Any significant injury would requi
  20. On Fox News Sunday today, the "Power Player of the Week" is Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA. https://video.foxnews.com/v/6139456821001#sp=show-clips The thrust of the segment is about STEM in Girl Scouts, but Ms. Acevedo also comments on GSUSA's legacy of leadership, and characterizes BSA's acceptance of girls in Cub Scouts and the former Boy Scout program as "another competitor in the marketplace." (In a sort-of-related development, in the GSUSA trademark lawsuit against BSA, BSA has advised the court about its bankruptcy, which should pause the trademark suit for
  21. As the first Venturer handbook shows, it was originally intended that Venturing crews structure their programs around the Venturing award requirements: Bronze (with its five specialty areas), Gold, Silver, and Ranger (the highest specialty award, later joined by a couple of other specialty awards). The awards program was leadership- and individual achievement-oriented, similar to Star/Life/Eagle advancement in Boy Scouts. Surprise! A high percentage of crews largely ignored the awards program. With youth not earning awards, BSA had nothing to count, and so no statistics to show how succes
  22. (1) If he has a BSA membership card, it should be on that. (2) Your unit leader, committee chair, or someone they have designated should have access to the unit's roster on My.Scouting and can find it there.
  23. Good stuff. I believe that the (1) Scouting program (2) as delivered by local units is how we recover from the bankruptcy and rebuild membership. I think we could really help ourselves in recruiting if we could do some trimming and tucking in the program, using the ScoutsBSA advancement requirements as the starting place. We need to be able to explain in 15 seconds what ScoutBSA members DO, what Cub Scouts DO. So I'd suggest the program consist of no more than four "core" areas -- or rather, Service plus three subject-matter areas, for example: Outdoor Adventure Environment and
  24. (Emphasis added.) (Emphasis added.) Great posts that go to the heart of BSA's current problems, and how to fix them. BSA, thinking it was a moral beacon for America, took a side in the culture war and was constantly attacked because of it for more than twenty years. When BSA finally surrendered, it had lost credibility with all sides. Regardless of how you feel about the war, BSA lost because it lost its identity and lost its standing as an American icon that could appeal to everyone. As former CSE Bob Mazzuca said, "For the first time in our history, we had adversaries. Back
  25. I should note that, personally, I think it is dumb to be able to work on four ranks at the same time (all seven at once, if you count merit badges). But that is the current rule. If BSA wants Scouts to be able to work on all of the ranks at the same time, then just get rid of the ranks below the top. If BSA wants a series of ranks, then Scouts should only be able to work on one at a time, or the system doesn't mean much. But again, that isn't the current rule. Just another symptom of a sprawling, confused program that needs some serious tightening up, re-arrangement, and focus.
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