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Diversity thoughts?

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The WB21C curriculum requires participants to have at least one ticket item that addresses diversity in Scouting and I got to wondering how much difference there is in the interpretation of the diversity requirement.

 

On the one hand you might have what I would call a "strict" interpretation of the term requiring focus on minority scouts or potential scouts based on race, disability, religious affiliation, etc. On the other hand, one could more broadly interpret diversity and "count" just about any project or activity involving more than one person as meeting the diversity requirement.

 

Perhaps someone in the know might be able to shed some light on the intent of the diversity ticket item - strict or broad.

 

If you've staffed or participated in WB21C, I'd like to know where along the spectrum your course fell.

 

My course leaned heavily toward the broader interpretation of diversity.

 

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As a participant, our course was more to the open interpretation. Going outside your own "box" was credited to the diversity item by my TG.

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Our course was similar in its "diversity" interpretation. Anything that was outside your usual group of folks seemed to be okay for the diversity requirement. For example, something that combined your den with another den or your troop with another troop, your pack visiting the elderly, Scouts reaching out to non-Scouts, etc.

clyde

 

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In the past, we've used the looser interpretation that something done across the program level, i.e. taking a Boy Scout to work with a Cub Scout den would satisfy the ticket requirement. As a troop guide, I challenged the patrol members. One took her den/pack to the local folk festival where different cultures have displays and then reported what they learned at a pack meeting. Another took their Scouts to the local Holocaust Museum.

 

We have a course starting in 2 weeks, and as a staff have agreed that the emphasis of the diversity item is to challenge people to get involved with people of other color, income, ability/disability. We feel that this is truly what is intended by the diversity piece. Interaction across BSA program (Cubs ---> Boy Scouts) has been ruled as not fulfilling their diversity ticket item.(This message has been edited by Tokala)

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I just finished staffing a course - what tokala wrote summarizes our approach quite nicely. The question I posed when asked if a particular proposal fit the definition was, "does it make you at least slightly uncomfortable?" If the answer was yes, well let's consider this seriously.

 

Vicki

"A Bear in a Bobwhite suit"

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John, please define "politically correct." I would like to make sure I understand what you mean, since these can be fightin' words in some parts...

 

Vicki

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Let me take a stab at "politically correct".

 

Politically correct = Let's not offend anyone!

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"diversity" among my fellow Wood Badgers was a bit of a weak point. Truthfully there isn't much racial diversity in large parts of our council, and of course that's the first thing people thought of. So people got a little more fast and loose with interpretations. One of the better ones I saw/knew of was a fellow who went around to various packs and did presentations on how to include scouts with significant cognitive impairments in a "typical" pack. His presentation was really well done and well received in most places. I can't be sure it actually resulted in other units opening their doors to families of scouts with disabilities though.

 

Many of the others were more along the line of what Tokala describes in his first paragraph. Personally I think cross-unit/cross-program contact is likely to be a very weak approach to this ticket item, unless perhaps you are bringing units together from very different social or cultural backgrounds. Just having boy scouts show up at a cub event is not "diversity."

 

One thing I think would be helpful is for WB staffers to have knowledge of some demographic data for the areas where their WB participants are coming from. (US Census data for example - easy to find on the web once you know it is there - look for the "American Fact Finder" and plug in your zip code. There's even a mapping function so you can see where different groups of people live right down to the block-by-block level. Cool stuff) I say this because often time there is significant economic diversity even in an area that appears to be very homogeneous on the surface. People simply are not aware of it because they tend not to go outside their own (closely defined) neighborhoods and because neighborhood schools mean most kids in the same part of town are likely to have similar economic backgrounds.

 

 

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Tokala wrote, "We have a course starting in 2 weeks, and as a staff have agreed that the emphasis of the diversity item is to challenge people to get involved with people of other color, income, ability/disability. We feel that this is truly what is intended by the diversity piece. Interaction across BSA program (Cubs ---> Boy Scouts) has been ruled as not fulfilling their diversity ticket item."

 

I think Tokala was contrasting past habit in their council with this second paragraph, which is their current thought. This is what I agreed with as the approach our council takes. Contrary to how I am left to interpret John's and Ed's comments, there is definitely the possibility of offending someone when you take this approach. It needs to be outside of the participant's comfort zone. That's why folks get uncomfortable with it. Concrete examples: a participant wanted to get his troop more involved with Cub Scout packs in his area and let them know younger scouts were welcome. Not an acceptable diversity item. Same participant switched his emphasis to taking disability training offered by the district specifically addressing ADHD issues and having an instructor in to talk to the committee and troop parents. Following this, he is going to do a presentation for the PLC. This is acceptable. Another participant is going to prepare a presentation for a troop of predominantly blind scouts on how they can participate in NYLT. He is also going to work with the council camping professional on accommodations that would need to be made for blind scouts to participate.

 

Vicki

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The diversity ticket item is a real stumbling block for me. Coming up with something that wasn't completely minimal was very hard.

 

Our Pack has very rich people through very poor people. We have white, black, asian, hispanic, indian, and various mixes thereof. We have probably nearly every major religion practiced in the east and the west, and some that aren't major. We have a large number of very ADHD kids, two with CP, and many with other medical problems.

 

So, coming up with a "diversity" item which would address any kind of traditional definition of diversity that we didn't already have in our pack is tough.

 

My ticket item ended up being to create a "Diversity Program Ideas Guide" for den leaders, which would help them plan den activities and field trips around diversity issues.

 

It's sorta lame. The dens are already diverse, they get along great, diversity is already accepted and enjoyed.

 

I really liked Vicki's concept of ADHD training for the pack leadership; that would be helpful to us and actually address a diversity issue which we struggle with. I might talk to my ticket counselor about that....

 

-Melg

 

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Vicki,

 

I have never felt being politically correct was the way to go. All that does is water things down when they don't need watering down.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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Ed, that's why I asked for John's definition. I don't believe what I've said is necessarily "politically correct," nor is it watered down. So I'll ask you a different question which might clarify things. What do you see the diversity ticket item as encompassing?

 

Vicki

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What do you see the diversity ticket item as encompassing?

 

The 1st thing that comes to mind is racial but there are others. And I also see this as understanding & realizing there are people in this world that are different from me racially, economically, physically, emotionally, etc. and ways to accept & include these diversities when necessary.

 

Hope this answers your question.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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OK, Ed, second part of the question - how do you see what Tokala and I have said as different ("watered down") from what you've said?

 

Vicki

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