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Everything posted by dkurtenbach

  1. Councils exist for one purpose: To promote and expand the national Scouting program by helping Scout units succeed. Helping units succeed can include a variety of tasks, such as -- Providing campgrounds for unit outings Providing summer camp programs and other activities and events to enrich unit programs Providing training to develop unit volunteer skills and knowledge Providing fundraising programs to help units pay for activities, equipment, and supplies Providing marketing materials to units to assist with recruiting drives Providing Council-wide serv
  2. This statement in the article caught my eye: "Unlike his predecessors at the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Mosby’s title is not Chief Scout Executive. That title is reserved for commissioned BSA professionals — that is, full-time employees of the BSA who have undergone the required amount of training." (Emphasis added.) So, are they suggesting he is untrained or under-trained? Or that he's not worthy to bear the "reserved" title of Chief Scout Executive?
  3. Emphasis added. 1. Trust your gut. You have already identified what is most important to you. 2. That you are looking for a way to gracefully decline seems significant. I'd suggest, "I'm personally committed to [A, B]. Those are the things that I really need to be doing for at least the next couple of years." 3. Their response to whatever you tell them will be that the new position isn't really complicated and won't take much additional time, so you won't have to give anything up. I would suggest saying, "I know me, and to do it right, I would have to sacrifice something
  4. In my view, the single biggest membership blunder that BSA has made is allowing Boy Scouting/Scouts BSA to develop in a way that makes it almost totally dependent upon crossovers from Cub Scouting. It puts the future of the Scouts BSA almost entirely in the hands of Cub Scout leaders and their ability to recruit kindergarten and first grade families. It allows Webelos and Arrow of Light Den Leaders to heavily influence whether Scouts should cross over to a troop at all. Having to leave one Scouting organization (the Cub Scout pack) and find and join a new Scouting organiza
  5. When Venturing first kicked off in 1998, the original handbook was pretty much all about the Venturing awards. If you knew nothing else about the program except what was in the handbook, you would have concluded that Venturing, like Boy Scouting, was structured around advancement. But from following and participating in Venturing forums from the beginning, it is pretty clear what happened: Many Venturers, and many of the Venturing crew adults, came from Boy Scout troops and wanted something different from the advancement-focused grind. They wanted fun and adventure without all the bureauc
  6. Mr. Mosby's biggest challenge will be to convince America that despite BSA's history of sexual abuse, clumsy response to changing social norms, and old-fashioned program, our country needs Scouts.
  7. Wall Street Journal article on Roger Mosby's appointment: https://www.wsj.com/articles/boy-scouts-tap-outsider-ceo-to-navigate-legal-crisis-11577726749 Interesting quote from Mr. Mosby: "In my experience, a successful organization’s values don’t change, but it has to be flexible so it can meet the needs of a changing world.”
  8. I think it makes sense for a Scout holding a PoR to get some training directly relevant to that area, so the first three sort of make sense: Bugler - Bugling, Music MBs; Historian, Scribe - Journalism MB; Librarian - Reading, Scholarship MBs. But I don't really see the relevance of the merit badges suggested for the other jobs, or the relevance of the raw number of merit badges earned to qualifications for holding a PoR.
  9. It is problematic to the extent that Scouts put their own merit badge program before their obligation to their patrol or troop.
  10. Happy holidays, everyone! So, let's consider some aspects of the merit badge program. A Scout works on a merit badges individually; it is not a group or team effort. Any registered Scout can work on merit badges; no rank is necessary. While a unit leader may have a concern about a Scout working on a merit badge, it is the Scout's decision. A Scout must be allowed to work with the counselor of his or her choice, so long as the counselor is registered and has been approved by the council advancement committee. There is no time limit between starting and complet
  11. What you are saying is that anything that encourages the Scout to develop a lifelong interest in learning belongs in Scouting, and we should support it with our Scouting resources.
  12. So there are boundaries to the Scouting program and what we should support: "the context of the Scouting type activities - merit badges, camping, leadership opportunities, patrol activities." Math problems, maybe not . . . but if there was a Mathematics merit badge, that would be okay?
  13. What you are saying is that anything that helps the Scout to grow belongs in Scouting, and we should support it with our Scouting resources.
  14. There is no question that giving youth significant exposure to real expertise in a variety of subject areas is a very good thing. I agree with @ParkMan's statement that "The more areas you learn about as a kid, the more prepared you are as a citizen." Likewise, meaningful interaction with adults that a youth doesn't really know is also very beneficial. But if everything works the way it should, Scouts who seek to earn Eagle Scout rank will have eight opportunities for studying non-core subjects (elective merit badges) and twenty-one opportunities for meaningful interaction with adults that
  15. No. It is more like asking if more than 20 nights camping is a waste of time and money. But the difference is this: Camping more than 20 nights is still directly relevant to the core Scouts BSA Method of Outdoors, even if it no longer applies to the Scouts BSA Method of Advancement. So, theoretically, that additional camping continues to promote the Aims of Scouts BSA. Some elective merit badges are clearly relevant to Scouts BSA Methods other than Advancement, such as Bird Study or Astronomy being relevant to the Outdoors Method. But some are not -- Pulp and Paper, Automotive Maintenanc
  16. As this thread illustrates, there is a whole merit badge industry within Scouts BSA -- including summer camps -- that promotes essentially indiscriminate merit badge earning by all Scout BSA members starting when they first join, in a manner that is only loosely linked to Star, Life, and Eagle ranks. Even merit badge nerds know that they will be recognized for the number of merit badges earned. The important number is eight: Why isn't earning more than eight elective merit badges considered a waste of time and money?
  17. Interesting discussion, but I would take a step back: Why do we have merit badge fairs at all? I see lots of Scouts who have earned 30, 40, 60 or more merit badges before reaching Eagle Scout rank. Why on earth would any Scout be interested in earning more than the minimum number of merit badges necessary for each particular rank? The required merit badges represent areas that BSA thinks are important for a well-rounded Eagle Scout. A Scout already has the opportunity to explore eight additional personal interest areas via elective merit badges; so that "personal interest" role for merit
  18. I'm on something like my fourth retirement from various aspects of Scouting that I no longer found fulfilling. The first was Cub Scouting. When I first started, I loved the skits and dumb jokes and costumes and den meetings. But after about a dozen years or so of doing about every job in a couple of different packs, it just didn't hold my interest anymore. By that time I was Scoutmaster of my second troop, and Boy Scouts was my joy. The second was district work. I had been Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner, Unit Commissioner, District Committee member and Vice Chair, and I was still a Sc
  19. I don't disagree with you. But JTE -- while crude and limited -- is the system we have now. So, rather than waste it by keeping it as just one more piece of paperwork, is there some way we can use JTE to, in your words, "[get] units to become more successful . . .to help their leaders grow, become excited about Scouting, to have a desire to grow." I'm suggesting that if we can get units motivated to use it in some fashion, that's a win -- however minor.
  20. Scouts will care if the adults in the unit treat it like it matters. But for the time being, it only matters to the district folks and above. For unit leaders currently, it is just one more piece of paperwork.
  21. Need 'em? Nope. Want 'em? Oh yeah. The other troops in the district aren't the only audience.
  22. Which, if JTE was considered a competition among units, would result in recognition for the troop's JTE gold within the district (awards dinner, plaque), local newspaper article about the troop, and recognition from the council (letter and certificate from the Scout Executive, listing in council newsletter). And every year the district would send out a list of district troops to each Webelos and Arrow of Light den leader and parent, with each troop's JTE level highlighted. And then we can start goosing up the JTE requirements a little bit at a time.
  23. Sure, there will always be some units who act in an un-Scout-like manner. But not all. And district leaders have a pretty good idea about the accuracy of self-reported unit scores. Because unit performance directly impacts district JTE scores, there will be plenty of incentive to help any unit that wants help. The real problem units are those that are low-performing but aren't interested in improving and aren't interested in help or advice from outsiders.
  24. My complaint is that JTE is used as a form of competition at the district, council, and national levels (thus the quantitative performance goals), but is not used that way at the unit level. It should be. Sure, the particular quantitative performance goals for units are few and crude. But they are something. If JTE score was actually competitive among units, JTE could get each unit thinking about its own program in comparison to both an objective standard and to what other units are doing. Put another way, treating JTE as a real competition among units would create a minimum performance s
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