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Eamonn

"Fewer and fewer Scouts are really "Scouty".

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I admit to being an old traditional type Scouter. A few weeks back a fellow forum member described people like myself as being "Grey Beards" Sad to say I past the Grey stage and am now on the white or as some kind people say Silver stage.

I still think that good old traditional scout-craft activities are not only a lot of fun, but offer enormous opportunities for the youth we serve to learn and display leadership skills, problem solving skills,along with a truck load of you name it skills.

I have never ever, not once thought that this game of Scouting or the purpose behind the game is rocket science. Life isn't that hard.

I don't buy into the idea that due to the new style tents and high tech equipment that we don't need the Scoutcraft skills that challenged me when I was a Lad and challenged hundreds of other Scouts over the years.

The action area at the 2001 Jamboree that had the most participants was the pioneering area!!

Troop Camp fires that are well planned and well ran are a joy and will stay with the Scouts we serve forever.

We have a wonderful selection of Merit Badges, that each and every Scout can opt to work on.

A few years back in our Council there was talk of building a computer lab at the Council Summer camp. I nearly choked on my woggle!!

I don't have a problem with computers and when I asked our local community college, they were happy to help out.

I see summer camps that on the list of Merit Badges offered at camp are including the Citizen group of MB's. I can't help thinking this is wrong.

Sure, we need to do a better job of training new leaders in the joys of basic Scouting and Scouting skills.

We do need to get away from the idea of presenting Training Courses (Yes we still need to cover all that good stuff) and really have a goal of training leaders.

Every Scout deserves a trained leader, but lets get back to the fun stuff.

Let's watch the PL send the smallest member of the Patrol over the monkey bridge first - Just in case!

Lets mellow in the embers of camp fire and listen to the Scouts discuss why the got a little lost on the six mile hike.

Rope weaves and floating flag poles are marks of Patrol pride, even if they only last the weekend.

It's not the Scouts that aren't Scouty!!

It's the .....

(No not the District Chairman!!)

Eamonn.

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Eamonn, rest easy, kids have not changed all that much and neither has scouting. Oh sure there are some small adjustments and a few cosmetic changes but for the most part things are not that different. And you'll be happy to hear its still not rocket science.

 

My son has all but left the troop, the reason is severe boredom.

 

We had to drive about 70 miles to find a scout unit that had a program that grabbed him. Sea Scouts! Aye matey, me and boy have become sailors. What he likes is ...they do stuff! He went three months before he got in a boat on water but he was still having fun. Every scout (there are 9) wear the uniforms and no one had to force them, we just talked to them about heritage, and image, and pride in who you are. You should see these guys in their dress whites. :)

 

Whle we waited to get on water we worked on our boats, learned terminology, learned courtesies, learned skills like right of way, knots navigation. Then he got on the water. A day of training in a harbor and then Wham...he's and another Sea Scout are crewing a 16 footer nearly a mile out on Lake Michigan. It was awesome!

 

Last weekend we had a family camp and sail with another ship in the area. We had 3 sail boats from 12 to 25 ft in length, a 2 person wave runner, and a power boat towing two inner tubes. We had a blast. And in between stuff we counciled a couple fellows who were strting to irritate each other and got them back together as friends, prepared 2 boys who are heading off for SEAL training this week (Sea Explorer Advanced Leadership). We recruited a new member, planned our next two activities, counseled 4 scouts who are working on their Eagle requirements.

 

No bossing anyone around, no decisions were made by an adult that a scout could make, evryone pitched in together on every task that had to be done.

 

Scouting and scouts are inded alive and well. In units that deliver scouting, youth will become scouts.

 

Fair winds,

BW

 

 

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Bob that's a good story but doesn't have much to do with folks trying to run traditional scout units. The way I would describe the situation is "fewer and fewer scouts are really COMPETENT". Scouts do not learn the constellations anymore, not required. Scouts cant cut up an onion or follow a recepie, not required. Map and compass skills are almost gone from the basic requirements. The bums rush to 1st class then to Eagle strips out most traditional scout skills which are only learned by repetition. They do it once, check the form, forget it.

I hear the lame chorous of leaders who chant "if they want to be experts at these things, let them earn the merit badge" . In the old days you did not need Orienteering MB to plot a course on a map, or Astronomy to point out the big dipper.

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Kids have changed. When I was a kid (post-electricity) I was always outside during the summer. I wasn't a Scout. I was either playing baseball, playing basketball, riding my bike, swimming, etc. Do kids do that today? Only if it's organized for them. Most of the fun I had as a kids was the unorganized variety.

 

Scouting teaches kids to think & do for themselves. It teaches them to make their own fun. Sure Scouting is organized but not to the point of managing the kids every waking minute.

 

I sure wish when I drive past my old stomping grounds I would see a group of guys choosing up sides for a baseball game. Sigh :(

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Hi Bob,

I did hear that "Little Bobby White" was on the look out for a program that offered him the fun, adventure and challenge needed to keep the spark alive.

I'm overjoyed that he and you both have found a new home.

However I'm a little saddened to hear that the Venture Patrol (Yes Patrol - Not Venturing) didn't provide the spark. I seem to remember that a little while back you were very enthusiastic and had very high hopes.

As you know I have some very deep concerns about the Troops in our area not doing enough to hold the interest of our older Scouts. I would love to read your insight on this.

John,

I feel your pain. Still I really feel the fault lies with the adults.

When we start looking at programs that revolve around a theme and get the PLC to buy into it. Then train them Lads and provide them with the skills needed things start to fall into place.

Sure the Lad who wants to work on Dentistry MB is on his own, but as a troop we can still offer activities that meet the requirements of some of the other merit badges and the Scouts don't even know that they are meeting them.

A week or so back there was a question in these forums about six Lads working on Camping Merit Badge. I didn't do a very good job of getting my point across, but I don't see Lads really working on the camping merit badge. It is something that is there in the back ground, the monthly theme which of course changes every month provides ample opportunities for the requirements to be met. Sure it's not instant gratification and yes there is a need for good record keeping, but working the program must be a better path than working the merit badge?

Ed,

I wish we lived in kinder times and I remember when every person who lived on the street that I grew up on seemed to share in watching us grow, keeping an eye on each and every kid on the street. When the local policeman on the beat knew us kids and wrong doings were dealt with by a stern talking too and we prayed he didn't tell our parents.

I don't know where we went wrong. I do know this year we had the greatest number of CIT's at camp than we have seen in many years. Lads who are willing to give up an entire summer to work at camp for no pay. A small step, but one in the right direction.

Eamonn.

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"Scouty"? That's a new word for me. It sure doesnt pass my spell checker.

 

Evmori --

I have heard this so much, but in my opinion kids have not really changed. Their environment has changed a bit perhaps, but a kid is still a kid. That's why after 100 years - Scouting still works.

 

I am really enjoying one of our Scouts. He just completed his Second Class requirements so he's still a new Scout for all intents and purposes. His enthusiasm is intriguing to watch. We just went on an overnight campout and he was so eager to do everything; build a fire, setup camp, go on a hike... He wants to do it all. Not once did I hear from him or any of those boys complaints of boredom or wishing they could go home to their X Box. (Of course, we did have a plan).

 

Boys will always be boys. It's a matter of how you present an activity to them. This was a "boy-planned" outing. They all played a part in planning the activity, so they all had an invested interest.

 

Time and time again I have heard leaders complain that kids today are only interested in their TV, computer, and video games. Yes, I agree that modern electronics are competing for our boys time and interest. I also agree that parents play a huge part in directing that interest, but their attention can (and should) be channeled.

 

Eamonn commented that he doesn't "buy into the idea that due to the new style tents and high tech equipment that we don't need the Scoutcraft skills..." I completely agree. A Scout Camp is not just a place to send boys to release their testosterone and act like animals. Scout Camp plays a big part in the BSA Aims and Methods. We go to camp because, without realizing it, boys learn things. Baden-Powell said it best Scouting is not an abstruse or difficult science: rather it is a jolly game if you take it in the right light. In the same time it is educative, and (like Mercy) it is apt to benefit him that giveth as well as him that receives. BP- Aids to Scoutmastership (1920) Preface

 

I always like to tell new leaders to trust the BSA program. It just works. Most of the difficulties I see leaders have with boys, whether they believe that the boys are just not getting it or have lost interest, is when they have strayed from the program and start doing it their way.

 

And theres nothing wrong with old school, Eamonn!

 

Eagle-Pete(This message has been edited by eagle-pete)

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I agree Scouts need to learn to tie knots, build fires, lash poles, tell time on an dial watch, etc. Just because "we don't use these" is only an excuse to take the easy way out.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I don't think kids have changed all that much; the environment around them has changed dramatically, tho, and they are responding to that as best they can.

 

Do kids have to know some of the more traditional "outdoorcraft" skills that we teach them along the way? Nah, not really. But it's fun to see how things used to be done and have those skills, if only for awhile, so they can see, for example, that you really don't need a GPS to get around.

 

And, I agree with Eamonn in his comments about how Scouts can be earning Merit Badges without even knowing it. I think a lot of Scout knowledge can be gathered that way. I usually start a little discussion about the night sky by pointing to a satellite passing overhead, which is kind of "cool", rather than "ok, now we're going to learn constellations".

 

I don't know if kids have really changed all that much as it pertains to Scouting, tho. Are kids less likely to want to wear the uniform these days? Probably, but I tend to think that the reasons have more to do with today's kids and the way they think than a problem with the uniform itself. 50 years ago, if an adult told a kid to wear the uniform, they'd probably do it, no questions asked. Today, it might be more likely that they'll ask "why?", and explaining the "company line" on why the uniforming method is important may not get much "buy in". Not trying to get into a debate over uniforming here; just an example of my thought that kids today are more likely question things than, say, kids from before the Vietnam War.

 

Does that "questioning" make them less "Scouty"? I don't know, but it probably, in the long run, makes them better citizens, and better people.

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Fewer and fewer Scouts are Scouty because....

 

...there are fewer and fewer places to be a scout. Fewer green spaces close to home. Suburban spiral means more condos and Wal-Marts. In 1969 my friends built forts in the woods, caught an amazing number of bullheads, cooked lunch over a fire pit we made, had rope bridges between trees at 20' up and swam in the river. TV sucked and we had no A/C. The woods were our playground. Today much of that environment is gone.

 

....there are fewer parents who care what their kid does. I heard from one mother who openly said has she was dropping Johnny off at camp. "Camping as no interest to me." Translated that means the parent will not have an interest in what their kid is doing and probably not support the kids activities.

 

...fewer adult volunteers with outdoor experience. My 14yo son freaks the adults out with his char can and flint and steel. He can track a buck into the swamp and thinks its fun to scare them out. While he is not a hunter he loves wild game over an open fire.

 

How many kids today are exposed to these experiences by their parents?

 

 

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First let me point out that Sea Scout IS a traditional Scouting program, having begun in 1912 just two years after the BSA was formed, and 18 years before Cub Scouting was started. The skills required for Sea Scout advancement are in fact MUCH more difficult than those required in the Boy Scout Program however they have many of the same skill categories.

 

I agree Eamonn, I wish that the Venture Patrol in his troop had the adventure he and the others needed, but it didn't. You cannot expect older boys to remain if all they do is interact with the new scouts and do activities designed for the lower skill levels of the majority of a troop membership. That's why the three level program in a troop is so important and unfortunately under used or ignored based on the feedback on this forum at least.

 

But again its not just the program but how it is delivered. There are ships closer to us that do not have the same attitude as the leaders in this ship have, and thats what makes the difference.

 

I met the skipper at Wood Badge last year when I was his patrol's Troop Guide. The other mate and I were both on staff. The best part of the leadership team is that we have the same vision of the program and what we want it to accomplish. This is the most fun I have had in the past couple of years.

 

The Scouts are a great bunch, they challenge us to keep ahead of their curiosity and abilities. But it works both ways. They tell us that it's the opportunities we put in front of them that creates the need for them to learn more. And that's how it should be, a teaching/learning partnership, and it starts with the adult volunteer.

 

Fair Winds,

BW

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I will confess with pride my son is thrilled with scouts. He just earned Life and I'm pretty sure he'll make it to Eagle, but that will be up to him. He' 15 and going to be a Sophmore in HS. He is also very actively involved in HS activities including band, sports & drama. I wish he had as much enthusiasm for the academic side of school.

 

I wish I could say it was traditional troop activities that has kept him interested in scouts, but it isn't. Given his other commitments in HS he attended maybe 50% of the troop's activities last year, compared to 80-90% while in junior HS.

 

What has re-invigorated his interest? This summer he signed on as a Lead Scout at summer camp for 4 weeks and has been having a ball. 1 week working to set up camp, a week of National Junior Leader Training and 2 weeks of acting as an Asst. Counselor. Lots of interaction with adult and older camp staff and plenty of leadership activity with younger kids comming to spend a week at camp. He has his camp staff carrier planned out for the next 3 years. He loves it. So much so, his last day off he mentioned he was thinking about running for SPL next year and cutting back on some of his HS activities. 2 months ago he was talking about quitting, now he wants to be SPL. He can't wait to bring some of the things he learned a NJLT to the troop, especially all that "scouty" stuff. I only hope the adults in the troop can keep up.

 

SA

 

 

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In my post that spun this thread, I WASN'T suggesting that scoutcraft skills should be abandoned. It's that our troop does not do many scoutcraft programs and the few are troop meetings that turn into jokes.

 

Get the ball moving!

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Centreville Scout, I think you need to take your own advice. As a scout, and 12 years old at that, you are in a prime position to advance this type of agenda. You (through the PLC) have the power to set the meeting agendas and topics.

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I disagree that kids are less scouty. Access to the outdoors is far easier than when I was a kid. Joe's Army-Navy surplus is where we went for camping supplies (Dad was x-military). Now every major intersection has a Walmart or Target selling camping supplies. Not to mention the .coms such as Campmor, Cabelas and REI that are online with fantastic product descriptions and competitive prices. The net has also made information easier to obtain resulting in a learning curve that is faster and steeper. I grew up in the city with limited summer forays into the semi-wilderness of lake-cabin weekends. Animal planet, the Discovery Channel and even the animated show the Thornberrys has brought the outdoors to our kids in way and level that the CBS Saturday morning cartoons never did for us. Maybe Scouting isnt as scouty as it used to be?

 

Bob White, I would guess that your son is so proficient in the outdoors and with the philosophy of scouting that only a completely unique experience was going to hold his interest. Congratulations on picking Sea Scouts. It sounds like a good program for you and your boy.

 

 

(This message has been edited by Its Me)

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Actually he's just a typical 17 year old. No better or worse in his skills than nost with his experience. He can buy his own food cook his own meals, set up his own tent, pack his own gear. He knows how to be adventurous without being reckless.

 

The challenge is that he's been to Philmont, Northern Tier, and JLT. He's been an APL,PL,QM, Librarian, ASPL, and a SPL 3 times. You cannot expect him to experience the same year over and over as a senior scout (while new scouts see everything as new adventures) and not get bored.

 

The program, had it been followed, could have kept him. As it is he will probabley complete his Eagle as a Sea Scout.

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