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What was Urban Scouting?

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in a nutshell they took the OUTING out of ScOUTING. looking at my $1.60 BSHB from the time i am going ot give you a list of the Eagle MBs


first aid citizenship in the community citizenship in the nation

citizenship in the world communications safety emergency preparedness or lifesaving environmental science personal management personal fitness or swimming or sports


Notice they took out camping


for tenderfoot you had to earn citizenship Skill Award (SA) and one other as well as any MB


For @nd Class you had to earn 3 SAs and 2 more MBs


For 1st you had to earn an additional 3 SAs and earn 2 more MBs for a total of 5 with First Aid and Cit Comm being required.


The SAs included citizenship, first aid, community living, communications, hiking, camping, cooking, environment, conservation, physical fitness, and swimming. BUT only Citizenship SA and First Aid SA were required, Citizenship for Tenderfoot, First Aid SA to get the MB.


So when Kudu states that an Eagle from the 1970s could have gotten it without going on a single campout, it looks as if he is 100% correct in reviewing the requirements of the time.


Now I know my cousin sped through the program b/c A) Eagle/Silver uncle was pushing him and B) he didn't want to have to start allover with the new eagle requirements. But once he got eagle, the program stagnated for him.


As for my older brothers, in talking to my mom 3 things happened to get the uninterested in Scouting. 1) was the family move 2) the new troop was boring to them (apparently the troop WAS a new troop with an leader trained in the urban scouting program and not traditional scouting) and 3) a very serious pedophile scandal in the city. that last one may not have affected my brothers as much as the first two, but it was the deal killer for my mom. She didn't think about looking at other troops.

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It was a really bad idea and went along with some other bad ideas that came up about the same time. It took bringing Green Bar Bill out of retirement to write a new Scout Handbook and show them how to fix some of the problems.


Personally, and I always hate it when old farts like me say this kind of stuff, but I don't think the BSA has ever completely recovered from that era. If you don't recall, that was the same period as pressure for membership growth generated by Boypower '76 caused professionals to create paper units and paper boys.

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Eagle92 and Kahuna make solid points!


I was a scout 74 - 81. Earned Eagle in 77. My camping merit badge has the non-required border around it.


The ideal to reach out urban scouts was valiant...however, the way it was presented turned off many scouts--urban, suburban, and rural. As with many efforts by National, then and since, scouting's best selling points were left out and replaced by gimmickery (sp) or trendy notions, or emphasis on numbers. Thankfully, the new scout handbook is a solid step in the right direction.


It wasn't scouting's finest hour, true...but thanks to the dedication of adult leaders in many troops, the spirit of scouting was kept alive because they countinued to instill old scouting values and skills. The tried and true stuff wasn't against the rules--it just wasn't emphasized under the new program.


We still went to camp, earned the lifesaving MB, went to Philmont, cooked over fires, chopped down trees, performed service projects, etc. Of the three councils I was in as a scout, I can't remember one Eagle who made it without being a solid outdoorsman.


Because of my experiences during that era, I believe the heart beat of scouting is at the unit level, whereever that unit might be...inner city, suburbs, or in the country. That's the great thing about scouting.

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Ok I'm back. Agree with Kahuna about urban scouting being a cause of losing membership, the other is the decline in Total Available Youth (TAY). Youth want adventure and excitement. You get them started early, they won't turn into couch potatoes. BUT you must deliver that promise.


As for the ghost unit comment, I know that was/is a MAJOR problem, and believe BSA has fixed the proccess

with the new membership verification process. I also beleive that the membership stats today are a truer representation than they were 10 years ago and that BSA is actually growing; with the "membership declines" resulting form BSA cleaning the records.

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TO clarify, I say IS a probelm no to suggest that it is still happening, rather our membership stats are based upon those inflated numbers and folks think BSA is losing membership. Again I disagree and looking at the actual numbers 11 years ago vs the numbers today, my district has grown. maybe not as much as folks want, but it is growing.

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Urban Scouting was an attempt to make Scouting relevant as all Scouting numbers were dropping. First the baby boom generation was aging out of Scouting and the number of available youth were in a free fall. Not to pick up until the Baby Boom bounce generation in the '80 scouts. Scouts came out of the '60s as very unhip and thought of as very 'establishment' not appealing to the many of the parents of the early '70s. The relevant to the kids theme, resulted in a urban look to include potential members where scouting numbers were dropping faster, the cities.

The middle class scouting type families were moving to suburbs. The school district where i grew up just outside Seattle closed many of its elementary and jr. high schools plus one of its three high school. Our parents were still living there but not the 3- 5 kids. The kids wee priced out of the neighborhoods and if new families were moving in they had 1-3 kids.

So they looked to the urban environment to rebuild numbers. So they took on Urban Scouting, which seemed to not have the outing as important. Units and leaders who remembered the earlier days of scouting kept the outing and maintained or grew.


The bounce back in numbers came as people like me become parents and their kids came of scouting age in conjugation with an increased emphasis of outing.


Another interesting addition to scouting numbers was the boom in membership of the Mormons. In the eighties into the nineties they had great growth in members. As scouting was their official program for their young men. Membership numbers grew as every boy had to be in scouting. The increase in units boomed as new wards were being created. Each new ward (many wards can be in one building) had to have Cub Pack, Scout Troop, Varsity Team and Explorer Post (now a Venture Crew). New ward = 4 new units. many of them just had the minimum number and got waivers if they didn't.(This message has been edited by Nwscouter)

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I think a two different things are being mixed up here.


There was a Urban Emphasis program and a Rural Emphasis program created in the 1960s to bring Scouting to urban and rural areas. They merged in 1998 to form the Scoutreach Division.


In 1972, the Improved Scouting Program was introduced. Here is what I wrote on the program in the Wikipedia article History of the Boy Scouts of America



The BSA commissioned a series of studies and developed an updated program to modernize Scouting in a manner similar to the changes of the British Boy Scout Association in 1967. September 1972 saw the launch of the Improved Scouting Program. The Cub Scout Promise was changed from "to be square" to "to help other people", as the term square went from meaning honest to rigidly conventional. The use of boy was de-emphasized: the eighth edition of the handbook was titled simply Scout Handbook and the new strategic logo used Scouting/USA. Much of the Scoutcraft information and requirements were removed, replaced by information on drug abuse, family finances, child care and community problems. Conservation included both urban and wilderness areas. The concept of the personal growth agreement conferences was introduced as a requirement for each rank. Under the new program, a Scout could reach First Class without going hiking or camping or cooking over a fire. The program was modified for a system of immediate recognition. Individual rank requirements were supplemented with skill awards recognized by metal belt loops. Ranks and merit badges were to be presented immediately, and recognized later at the court of honor. The merit badge programpreviously only available to First Class and abovewas opened to all ranks, and merit badges were required for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class. The number of required merit badges for Eagle Scout was increased to 24, and Camping merit badge was dropped from the required list. The entry age was changed to 11 or 10- if a boy had finished fifth grade.


The Senior Boy Scout program was replaced by the Leadership Corps. Initially the Leadership Corps was limited to leaders 1415; older boys were expected to become junior assistant Scoutmasters or move to Exploring. The Leadership Corps could wear the forest green shirt with a Scout BSA strip until it was discontinued in 1979. The Leadership Corps patch was worn in place of the patrol patch, The first version of the patch was trapezoidal, replaced by a round patch in 1987. The red beret was initially introduced for the Leadership Corps, and extended for troop wear in 1973. Troop Leader Development (TLD), adapted from the White Stag Leadership Development Program, was introduced in 1974 to train youth leaders. The Cornerstone program was introduced to train adult leaders. Leaders who completed the course were recognized by a special version of the leader's emblem that was embroidered with Mylar thread, giving a shiny look.


1972 saw the introduction of new colored cloth badges for all ranks and positions, the new Webelos badge was introduced and the old badge became the Arrow of Light. In 1973, most Cub Scout leadership positions were opened to women, and in 1976 the Cubmaster, assistant Cubmaster, and all commissioner positions were opened.


From the early 1920s, the BSA had been divided into 12 numbered regions, each designated by a Roman numeral, which consisted of territories of several states. The 12 regions followed the organization of the federal reserve system at that time. In 1972, the 12 regions were consolidated into a new alignment of six geographic regions (Northeast, East Central, Southeast, North Central, South Central, and Western).


In 1976, concerns over the lack of emphasis on Scoutcraft and declining membership lead to the introduction of "All Out for Scouting", a back-to-basics program developed by William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt. The program was launched with "Brownsea Double-Two", a week long course for the senior patrol leader who would then introduce the troop-level "Operation Flying Start" to their units. Junior Leader Training (JLT) replaced TLD and Brownsea Double-Two in 1979. From a peak of 6.5 million Scouts in 1972, membership declined to a low of 4.3 million in 1980.


Hillcourt returned from retirement to write the ninth edition of the Boy Scout Handbook in 1979, returning much of the Scoutcraft skills. The number of Eagle required merit badges was reduced back to 21, and Camping was restored to the required list.

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two comments.


Allowing scouts below the rank of First Class to earn merit badges occured before the 70s. Back in the 30s or so, certain merit badges could be earned by 2nd class scouts, and later (I think the 50s or 60s) all scouts could earn any merit badge.


The Advance Party report caused its own problems for the British Scout Association. Many scouters upset by the changes would go to establish the rival "Baden-Powell Scouts" and such.

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I can confirm the Second Class thing. In my dad's Handbook for Boys from 1949, it states "Second Class Scouts may earn five Merit Badges from a list of forty-six." And just to show that things were apparently never simple, in addition to those five, they could also earn the four aviation merit badges and First Aid, or a total of 10.


Very few of the choices exist today by the same name. A Second Class Scout might have earned badges like Aeronautics, Aerodynamics, Airplane Design, Airplane Structure, Beef Production, Corn Farming, Dairying, Farm Layout and Building Arrangement, and Fruit Culture.

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>Allowing scouts below the rank of First Class to earn merit badges occured before the 70s. Back in the 30s or so, certain merit badges could be earned by 2nd class scouts, and later (I think the 50s or 60s) all scouts could earn any merit badge.


Ah... I will have to fix that.

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"The BSA commissioned a series of studies and developed an updated program to modernize Scouting in a manner similar to the changes of the British Boy Scout Association in 1967."


Are there accessible digitized copies of the U.S. or British studies which lead to these changes anywhere on the web?


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And let's not forget there is an ongoing metamorphosis of the urban programs.


In the 90's, there was the Urban Emphasis program which later morphed into Scoutreach.


And now Scoutreach has been dissolved as a national division of the Boy Scouts of America. The Multicultural Markets Team will now encompass some of the core elements once supported by Scoutreach, along with expanding its service to more specific populations. ( http://www.scoutreachbsa.org/ under message from the multicultural markets).


There is also In School Scouting. This is done mainly in the urban areas where rosters from schools are obtained and the kids are registered in school units. In my council, you do not ever see these Scouts, yet their membership numbers are included in the traditional membership counts.


And of course there is Learning for Life. In our council, the LFL classes are given Troop, Pack and Venture unit numbers.


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