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Lisabob

Just go join Spiral Scouts

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Heh, heh. I liked that. I must say, I've spent many trips to Texas. And there are a few really nice places in Texas. But mostly...Texas is boring. Flat. Dry. Hot. Boring. Watch the cactus grow boring.

But I LOVE New York. I could spend a lot of time in New York and never get tired of it.

And I have to mention, though, that I've had a really, REALLY good time when I've been to Russia. OK, their economic system really sucked and Putin may be a dangerious tyrant. But Russian women...I mean they are breathtakingly beautiful. I think I'll stop now and just sit back and reminisce for a while....(and not about Texas, either). ;)

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Heh, heh ... Now, you can't expect me to just sit here, can you? ;)

 

I never thought I'd be a Texan. Born and bred in the heart of the Southern California Wilderness, I was a true native born Californian. I loved having the desert, mountains and seashore all within an hours drive of home. But the 10 gazillion other people (mostly newly arrived from places where it snows all year) did too. (and the California girls - it's twue, it's twue ...)

 

But when career opportunities beckoned, we moved to Texas. And learned that Texas truly is bigger that any half dozen other states (well, almost). I also found that Texas was nothing like what I was led to believe from the movies. (No arm-waving cactus for one thing). There ARE some flat dusty areas (Midland-Odessa), but far more regions with green rolling hills, or towering pine forests, or dramatic rocky escarpments, or leafy creeks, or sandy shorelines. It's just not all within one hours drive. Just about the only thing I miss are the Sierra Nevadas.

 

I've visited most of the states and seen some mightly beautiful places I'd like to call home. Just about every state has some nice places. (Kansas is not included). Now Texans do have some kind of chip on their shoulder. I haven't figured it out completely but I suspect it has something to do with the Texas revolution and being the only state which used to be a sovereign nation before statehood. I don't know that I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Texan yet, and I might retire to someplace where there's mountains, but lemme tell ya, I'm mighty glad I got here when I did. ;)

 

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Personally I think the "just go join Spiral Scouts" rejoinder is a convenient dodge of the real issues, more often than not.

 

 

>convenient dodge of the real issues<

 

Can you make this statement more clear? Just because Scouter A is against a certain set of actions by an individual and says to that person "go start another organization", is this a dodge?

 

Can Scouter A only not be guilty of dodging the issue by embracing the other side? A side which he thinks is wrong?

 

Is this what PC has morphed into?

 

Seems to me the organization is failing due to lack of delivery or lack of customers.

 

How many trained members of this forum (those who hate the national policy) have started an alternative chapter in their area?

 

I admire Merlyn's zeal but is he out camping with the boys or just looking for a way to bring down the existing and offensive(to him) organization?

 

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The big, wily bass eyed the lure with suspicion. The lure wiggled a bit and then something irresistable took over and as the bass rose to get a closer look, it just couldn't wait...gulp!

 

I would have been disappointed if I hadn't reeled you in Trevorum. ;)

But I won't trade my southern Appalachians for all the hot, flat, monoculture towering pines you can muster. (the rod bends tightly to play the fish)

 

When I think of boring I think: Abilene, yes Odessa, Houston, the names are so numerous....

Big Bend is great. The hill country is nice. The Aransas wildlife refuge is good. I really like San Antonio and Austin. But places like Lubbock, what can I say?

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Fair enough, uz2bnowl. Let me try to clarify what I meant. My intended point was not that one must agree with and embrace opposing or critical viewpoints. Rather, what I meant was that sending the message that "you disagree? then leave!" is a dodge. It is a dodge around serious and thoughtful conversation about the basis for the disagreement, and it is a dodge around meaningful discussion about *why* (otherwise reasonable) people disagree, and it is a dodge around honest consideration of whether or not the basis of the disagreement is something fundamental to the institution, or something fairly peripheral.

 

I find it is generally easier for many people (no one here in particular) to just puff up their chests and say - hey, love it or leave it - than to have those sorts of meaningful and substantive discussions. How unfortunate, since those discussions might lead to better understanding on all sides. Understanding doesn't have to result in agreeing with or embracing opposing positions but I happen to think it is better for all sides to understand each other's concerns, than not to.

 

In fairness, (as wingnut points out) yes there are other organizations out there that one might join, and that are better-established than Spiral Scouts. Maybe that's part of why I am amused by the fact that Spiral Scouts are brought up so frequently here as a viable alternative to the BSA, because in reality, they aren't (yet?) a viable alternative for most people. And their focus isn't one that probably appeals to a lot of people from mainstream faith backgrounds, either. So when somebody takes issue with the BSA I just don't see how "Just go join Spiral Scouts" is a serious response in most cases.

 

Yeah, I don't know if that clarifies things or not...what say you?

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"I admire Merlyn's zeal but is he out camping with the boys or just looking for a way to bring down the existing and offensive(to him) organization?"

 

I believe that it is the latter.

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Long-time reader, first time poster :-)

 

As someone who's been involved in SpiralScouts for a while (and who wasn't a girl scout because the troops were all full in our area), let me put this out there:

 

I read a lot on these forums about the difficulties in finding leaders - and it seems like a large percentage of BSA leaders were former scouts. Most alternative programs don't have that sort of alumni support. In fact, a huge percentage of SpiralScouts leaders weren't ever scouts, but think that "scouting" is something important for their kids...important enough to find a program that they can agree with, rather than ignoring their opinions of the politics of a group, and rather than risking their children being made fun of for their beliefs.

 

I read a lot about camps and programs that require infrastructure. Most alternative programs don't have those sorts of resources, unless they can find them locally.

 

I read a lot about "the way things were back when I was a scout." Most alternative programs don't have that kind of history (or baggage, depending on what the topic is).

 

I read a lot of complaints about fundraising and paid staff - most alternative programs would love to be able to provide that kind of support to their members.

 

But it's an uphill battle - without 100 years of public good will, raising money for land and facilities and staff is next to impossible (shoot, raising enough money to take the kids on a camping trip is tough). Training leaders without the history behind what you're doing is tough. Getting in on programs offered at science centers and parks that are designed for cub scouts and brownies when you're neither is a losing battle. *Finding* camping areas that will let you do family camping with a bunch of small children and their parents is a challenge.

 

Most of you should count your blessings every day for having a program you believe in that has the resources it does, rather than complain about rents going up or not being able to have a school district charter you. You've got so many things in place that benefit the kids you work with that often seem to be taken for granted.

 

Kadiera

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I suppose that we do take it for granted but when BSA was new, it was an uphill battle.

 

Training? You can borrow much of BSA's training and just adapt it to your own organization. The publications aren't secret and are available at any Scout Shop.

 

Camping? I know that most BSA camps are available for other youth groups.

 

I've never been involved in finding campsites but my son's troop often uses state parks. I know that we always agree to doing some sort of service project like clearing a trail or picking up litter.

 

To most of us, helping the kids is more important than the uniform that you wear so I'd be willing to bet that if you made friends with some Scouters, they'd be willing to help you quite a bit.

 

 

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I've been devouring all of this wonderful discourse over the last two days since I signed up.

 

I was in this thread when it suddenly occurred to me...tomorrow is Veterans Day!!

 

What a wonderful culture we have where we can have this kind of discourse in this kind of medium...with this kind of freedom!

 

Maybe if it were today it wouldn't have taken 11 YEARS for our founding fathers to come up with the Constitution.

 

The BSA isn't perfect and will never perfectly meet all of our needs.

 

But with our constant collective input it will remain the best alternative for us.

 

Thank you all of you for putting your thoughts in these forums.

 

Some of us out here actually read them!

 

 

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Ed, obviously you think BSA is better, or else you wouldn't be involved.

 

However, I think Lisabob's original statement was that it didn't seem to her that SpiralScouts was a viable alternative, and I'm just pointing out that what makes a group a reasonable option still all depends on one's viewpoint - I don't think BSA is a reasonable option for my family, and thus I'm not a member.

 

If there was an existing organization that came reasonably close to meeting the needs of my family, I would have taken the easy road, and joined something that was less work from the beginning. This starting from scratch thing is nuts (which is a large part of the reason so many SpiralScouts troops fail in the first year - no paid staff to answer questions and walk them through things and so on and so forth, and we're always having to explain who we are because we're not that well known).

 

Lisabob, I'm sure it *is* a dodge for most people to say, "like it or leave it." It means they avoid any discussions that might make them uncomfortable.

 

GoldWinger - it's not as easy as you'd think. I've been told that the first SpiralScouts troop to approach a BSA camp about renting space was told that the BSA didn't rent to "their kind of people." I know that in Michigan, state parks limit group camping areas to no more than 1 adult per 4 kids, so family camping is right out (and for most of our 6 years, our troop has mostly been FireFlies, ages 3-8 - there's no way I'm doing anything other than family camping with that age group).

 

I've had several paid BSA staff members (including at least 2 DE's) offer to help in whatever way they could, as long as their bosses didn't find out - they were afraid that if their religion got out, they'd lose their jobs.

 

But I also think most of you would be surprised by what you found in most SpiralScouts troops. We are surprisingly like most other youth programs when it comes to the day-to-day workings of most troops. I mean, seriously....it's not like this is Harry Potter or something, you know? :-)

 

At any rate, I certainly learn a lot reading messages on here.

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Just wanted to say that my understanding in Lisabob's saying that SpiralScouts was not a viable alternative is only because there are so few SpiralScouts troops -- nothing negative implied toward the program itself.

 

Scoutmomma

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Hello Kadiera, and welcome to the forum.

 

I do want to clarify that I wasn't trying to knock Spiral Scouts as a program. I'm happy that it exists and I wish you (and all other Scouts) only the best in building your program further. That said, I suspect that there are a lot of people who aren't entirely happy with the BSA's stance on certain social issues, who also might not fit very well with Spiral Scouts for other reasons. And honestly, most families I've met through scouting - especially Cub Scouting (elementary school age) - are not in a position to start their own group, so the lack of established groups is a deterrent, I'm sure. And that was a large part of my point - it is a dodge to go tell somebody "just go join some other group" (rather than discussing the concerns that might lead up to that), when the "other group" invoked is not readily available.

 

I definitely don't mean that as a judgment of your program though, just a pragmatic observation.

 

As for camping in state parks in MI - you're correct if you use the family camping areas. However, many state parks in MI have a "group camp" area that is explicitly for groups of youth like Scouts. Over the years our Scout packs (elem school) and troops (middle/high school) have camped at many of these so it is do-able. I don't know what part of MI you are in, but you might try Kensington Metropark, Island Lake State Rec Area, Hudson Mills and Huron Meadows Metroparks, Highland SRA(I think), and plenty of others in SE MI.

 

 

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