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Something Commandopro Said

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Fotoscout is on target. There are many people saying that we have seen this before and that we have lived through it. In some ways they are right, but in other ways they are burying their heads in the sand.


1) The Boy Scouts has never in it's history been as controversial as it is now. During Vietnam, the uniform was unpopular, but Scouting it's self was not the issue. Nobody wants to inject their children in the center of controversy, no matter what they personally may feel about a particular issue.


2) We have suffered large membership declines in the past, true. However we have also never recovered from them fully. We serve a lesser percentage of youth today than we did in the 60's. Membership declines have been masked to a certain extent through the introduction of new programs (2nd Grade Cub Scouting, Tiger Cubs and most recently Venturing). These programs are fine programs but they hide the underlying issue.


3) Funding is not only drying up from United Ways. Individuals and corporations are less likely to give than before. See the controversy argument in point #1.


4) Competition for the time of boys is stiff. Parents don't neccesarily see a compelling need to keep their boys in Scouting. They see all youth programs as being equal. They just want their boy to have fun and become well socialized.


I suppose we can continue to bury our heads, tell ourselves that this too will pass. However, I think the price of doing so is to suffer another organizational setback that may never be overcome for decades if at all. It may be time to strip the Scouting program down to it's essential parts and gear the program towards the youth of Twenty-first Century America.

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Having been a scout during the Vietnam era as well as the drug prolific 70s, I could not disagree more with commandopro.


For the last 30 years the biggest problem that scouting has had is it's failure to lower its standards and morals the way so much of the society around us has. If seeing the scouting program survive in name but not in values is our only hope for future existence than I would rather see the BSA close down.


My values are not for sale to the United Way of the Philly City Council or anyone of anything else. Scouting helped teach me that and I believe they will stand by it.


Parents may not want to inject their boys into controversy, but boys are in units and that is not where the controversy has ever been, unless the leaders of the unit have chosen to be controversial.


Sorry commandopro, but you are engaging in fear mongering, and giving those with whom lip-service is their only skill in scouting, another thing to talk about rather than have to take action in their unit to deliver on the program.


All it will take for scouting to continue in it's success is for more volunteers to take their mission personally and seriously, and work for the benifit of their scouts and their scouting community.


No individual has ever failed to deliver scouting due to the United Way or the myriad of political groups attacking us. They fail through poor leadership.


Bob White




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Did I ever say we should comprimise our values?


If something I said lead you to believe that, I'm sorry. I do not believe that. I am not speaking about comprimising our values at all.


To me this is what Scouting is:


Teaching the values of the Scout Oath and Law in a fun, outdoor setting.


Everthing else MAY be comprimised but NOT that essential element.


This in mind are the activities that we are using to teach the values of the Scout Oath and Law in a fun, outdoor setting effective?


If we believe in the principles of the Scout Oath and Law, don't we believe that we should teach them to as many boys as possible?


If our activities are not challenging and entertaining them enough for them to remain engaged in the program, then aren't we failing at our core mission?


Art's and crafts have NOTHING to do with the mission of Cub Scouting. They are only tools that we use to achieve our aims and mission. Well, the question is, are we using a hammer to cut down a tree. I think perhaps we need to BEEF UP the program, not water it down. And, in someways we need to make the delivery of the Cub Scouting program idiot proof. These after all are our least experienced Scouting Leaders.


Many of you are trying to change this into an argument about Boy Scouting and our core values. That is not what this is. It's a discussion about CUB SCOUTING and our METHODS.


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But commandopro,

We give cub leaders a Program Helps Book with a year of minute-by-minute, meeting-by-meeting agendas to follow, they have a rank book with all the info on every requirement and how do do it. We have a How-To-Book with all the activities broken down with easy to afford or obtain materials. We have a ceremonies book they can follow for simple but meaningful ceremonies. We offer a short 3-hour training to orient them in their job, We have a volunteer staff of program specialists available to them every month at Roundatable.


We don't need or want an idiot proof system, because then units will think it's OK to select idiots as leaders. We have a great system, we have everything a person needs in order to successfully deliver a quality scouting program at any level, IF they choose to.



We need more unit level volunteers who want to focus on the quality of the program they deliver, than on the political woes of the council or national offices. We cannot control the politically motivated attacks against the BSA, but we have total control on the quality of our next meeting.



(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Commandopro --


In three or four posts you've said how lousy the Cub Scout program is and suggested that the lack of quality of the CS program is the root of BSA's "crisis of epic proportions." How about providing us with some specifics to make your case.

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" It may be time to strip the Scouting program down to it's essential parts and gear the program towards the youth of Twenty-first Century America."


I don't think that Scouting has ever been "relevent". In the early days, it was a program for city youth to experience the out doors. How was camping and fire building relevent to a city boy's life?


Scouting has always given boys an opportunity to experience things that they wouldn't normally get to do. If your father is a wilderness guide and you were scaling cliffs at age 7, then camping and hiking might not be of interest to you. However for the average suburban or urban kid, Scout may be the only opportunity that he has to experience the woods, see the stars at night, shoot a bow, or swim in a lake.\\

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Commandopro, first of all, I agree that there is a "problem," I don't think I would call it a crisis, and the problem is partially generated at the national level and it is partially inherent in our society. These issues do not affect all areas of the country or types of localities equally. I can say from the perspective of a suburban area in a state that is "socially progressive," it is a big problem. Sports is a major draw away from Scouting starting in the first grade. The two CAN co-exist, sometimes, but they don't always. My son's troop has about 20 active members but is lucky to get 8 on a camping trip because everybody has basketball, soccer or whatever. As for the "socially progressive" part, well, I notice this is not under "Issues and Politics" so I will leave it at that.


Do units share some of the "responsibility"? Sure, but not as much as some people seem to think.


Having said all that, Commandopro, I am not sure what you mean about "stripping Scouting down to its essential parts" or "making the Cub Scout program idiot proof." What are the specifics, or examples, of those suggestions?

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Webelos were once allow to participate in Boy Scout camporees. Now they can't. In my district, there were always a lot of Webelos at camporees. And they stayed with the program into Boy Scouts at a greater rate! National seemes to feel Boy Scout camporees are not safe for Webelos. Why?


Ed Mori

A blessed Christmas to all!

1 Peter 4:10

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OK, OK, it looks like I was unsuccessful getting my point across. I was hoping to get some good ideas to improve the program we all love. But, apparently we have reached perfection with the program and any problems we may have are squarely the fault of undedicated leaders and a public that doesn't understand us.


Here are the facts, I will watch and see what might be suggestions to fix them:


1) 2/3rds of boys drop out of the Cub Scouting program during their first year in the program. Studies show that the most common reason given leaving is disorganized & boring meetings.


2) Cub Scout membership across the country is going to be down four the fourth year in a row. This is in an evironment where most believed that we would thrive, given the national situation and the return to patriotism.


3) New leaders (according to focus group research) find our training program, long, cumbersome and unhelpful to doing their jobs. Many even a year into the program still don't completely understand what it is they are really supposed to be doing.


4) We were once the largest youth service organization in any community we served. Now we hold that title in very few places as Soccer has overtaken this position, even when just looking at elementary age boys.


5) In the midst of declining Cub Scout membership, Council budgets are being streched to their limits. Many Councils are cutting Staffing Levels (less support to these confused and ill-prepared leaders) and programming (less fun things to keep boys in the program.


I see it as a crisis, but I will not force that term on you. Just please tell me how you would improve the CUB SCOUT program and how it would affect the aforementioned problems. Arguing over IF there is a problem or not isn't all that productive, but discussing how to build a better mousetrap is.





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