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Sentinel947

Scouts is Uncool

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I am a sub-teacher in the public schools and a couple of private schools. Elementary and middle school classes. Often' date=' I find occasion to use my Scout training/skills in class, either as a game, or discusssing a topic like history (flag courtesy? ), or geometry (pioneeing, surveying) or even general stuff like self discipline and treating others with respect. I often ask if there are any Scouts in the class, and I am always gratified by not only the number who raise their hand ("I saw you at the camporee!") but the seeming pride they express when given the chance. No reticence at all. Girl and boy. Even the girls like to mention the camping and hiking they have gone on. I always encourage the kids to continue with their Scouting, that they will go and do things their friends here in class may never have the chance to, and leave it at that. I also tend to wear a Scout hat or jacket to class (Why did the man wear a Scout belt ? To hold his pants up!), which often leads to kids asking me if I am a Scout. See no reason to limit Scout attire merely to Scout events. Often, I see kids wearing Scout T-shirts in school, and I compliment them thereby. When I see a Scout in the grocery store or elsewhere (T-shirt, Scout cap, recognized from CSDC?) I give'm a Scout salute, and watch them smile. Is Scouting held as uncool? Only if we do not reinforce the opposite. Name your Scouts as "Scouts", not "guys" or "kids". The adults need to also be un-embarrassed by wearing Scout stuff. Take the time to invite the conversation. "Hey, Scout!" I was asked to chaperone a overnight field trip of middle schoolers. As we loaded the bus with gear, I called out, "Hey! Any Scouts out there to help with this?" and three boys yelled "Yeah!" and came up and we had the bus organized and loaded in no time. I made them my assistants on the trip, to good effect. Now THERE's a good SMMinute.... [/quote']

 

 

The above happened with my oldest son for a middle school band trip last year. The students were haphazardly loading the bus and quickly running out of room. My oldest took control, told everybody to take everything out, and repack. They had plenty of room. Trailer packing is a helpful skill.

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We have a pretty diverse crowd, too. Lots of football players, wrestlers (my Eagle son wrestled 11 years), academic stars, and even Average Joes. I don't think ther's much ofa stigma around here. In fact in my own unit I would worry more about the opposite- it seem sthe stereotypical nerds are given a harder way to go.

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During my sons ECOH they asked him what he would change/improve about scouting. His reply was to offer some social classes. He felt that too many of the scouts were too geeky and nerdy and did not fit in socially. He felt if they could be taught some social interaction skills it would help them. Of course is could also help the image of scouting in general. He did not join scouts until age 15. He had been an athlete. He did not advertise his scouting but would not deny it if questioned. He had enough confidence and social clout at that point that it did not matter. Interestingly once he earned Eagle, it can up in EVERY conversation with anyone he met. He met a lot of closet scouts.

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We can't overlook the image of the adult scouter. It plays a big factor too. Like Basement' date=' I am having trouble drafting a PC idea on this. So I'll just plow in, broad brush: Many adults in scouting don't convey the image of "you want to be like me" to the kids. Quite the opposite. Yes, they are well-meaning folks, we couldn't get by without them, etc. True. But the fact remains. It's probably a factor is why kids flock to JR ROTC, football, etc.[/quote']

 

Interesting thread, and good point I think.

I know a lot of our scouters, myself included, may not have the "be like me apeal" on the surface anyway of say a good coach....... well indented and maybe better overall, but still laking the apeal none the less......

maybe something for us all to keep in mind, as we are also reminding ourselves taht this is "all about the boys"!

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When I was in high-school I was in the marching band, and one of the perks of being in the band was that for parades in which I'd have previously been marching with the Troop, I'd be with the band instead. Band trumped Scouts, and band was slightly less uncool than Scouting. Band was also 150 kids vs. the Troop's dozen kids, so it was easier to blend in with the band and not bee seen. :)

 

It's sad, I know. But that's how it was and probably still is.

 

I think part of the problem is the image of the boy scout. It's a very dated look. As mush as I respect the traditions of the organization, I think it's long overdue that they drop some of the really old-fashioned looking things from the uniform. I think neckerchiefs have to go. When I was active, my troop allowed us to substitute a bolo for a neckerchief. Bolos are still pretty terrible, but it was better than a neckerchief. And the combination of the shorts with those horrible looking socks. Oh man...

 

I hate to make it about the superficial stuff, but really I think the opinions of other kids regarding Scouting would be less harsh if scouts didn't look so lame.

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The BSA as a whole has created a perception of scouting as uncool. So what are we doing as individual units to change that perception? What lots of units do on the activity side of things is no doubt manly (paddling, skiing, climbing, whitwater rafting, caving, ect..) Maybe we should look at taking away what's not cool about scouting.
The problem is that it esconced in populat cultures.

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Coach tells his (her?) athletic team to "be proud" and "be a team". What do we tell our Scouts? Boy, Cub, Venturer, Girl, Brownie, What do we tell our Scouts? Is it possible that our Scouts pick up our own "embarrassment" of being Scouts? School Spirit Day, teams wear their uniforms to school. Not Scouts on Scout Day?

What is the difference? Do kids make fun of the football team as "jocks" or not because of fear of physical harm? I'm not saying our Scouts should use threats to gain respect, but what is it they fear in being exposed as Scouts? "Secret Scout Society" indeed.

Wimpy? Uncool? Hiking the AT and Philmont is wimpy?

 

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“How I Spent my Summer Vacation at Guy Campâ€

 

We had driven a long way to be there. I was a member, a leader actually, of a special group. On our arrival, we looked forward to a great time: hikes, boating, archery, campfires, leaky tents, swimming, bacon and egg breakfasts, songs, skits and lumpy cots. That’s right …. We were at… “Guy Campâ€!!!

What? You never heard of “Guy Campâ€? Well neither had I until recently. I thought I was accompanying my Webelos Scouts to “Scout Campâ€. All the applications and literature read “Scout Campâ€. The sign over the gate read “Scout Campâ€. But after we arrived, almost everyone we met told us we were “GUYS†. Must be “Guy Campâ€!

“How are you guys this morning?†“Listen up, guys…†“Alright, red guys to the left, green guys to the right…†“Guys, you have to swim two lengths…†“…but there MIGHT be flies on the guys at table six…â€

 

I soon detected a subtle pattern And I remembered other occasions:

The waitress at the white linen napkin restaurant: “How are you guys tonite?â€

The tweenage girls in my neighborhood address each other as “guyâ€.

Jay Leno addresses his audience: “…and when you guys leave tonite…â€

Everyone on MTV (yeah, I watch that sometimes) is a “guy†(male or female).

I remember Sesame Street: “HEY YOU GUYS!!!!!!â€

 

Listen, is it just me, or is there anyone else out there who sees something wrong with this picture? Or just a part of it?

As a Cubmaster, I found there two main challenges to leading a Cub Pack. One: Parents that don’t have time for their son and his activities. Two: the general culture at the boys’ school that would have them believe that being a Cub Scout is wimpy, uncool, less than “da bombâ€. How to fight these trends? The first is worthy of another article. The second concerns me here.

Language is often neglected as a way to reinforce behavior or belief. Especially naming or titling . Isn’t the name by which one is called important? (A Boy Named Sue, How Do You Do…) Think back to your Psych 101: if a child is called stupid often enough, might he not begin to believe it?

Here we are, teaching boys life saving skills, esteem boosting skills, ego enhancing knowledge, values to last the rest of their lives and do we not want them to be proud of being Scouts? How do we, as Scouters, reinforce the boy’s pride in being a Scout? Should we remind them the path they have chosen to follow is a challenge worthy of their time? That Scouting is something that makes them “special†(but not necessarily “better†than their friends)? Can we give our boys reason to believe US rather than THEM? But back to camp….

 

As I went thru the camp with my boys, I found myself thinking of other Scout activities: Camporees, Pinewood Derbies, Round Tables, Tiger Hunts, Day Camps, Committee Meetings. I remembered and realized how rarely our young charges were referred to, even among adults, as “CUBSâ€, or “SCOUTS†or “BOYS†. They were “kids’ or “guysâ€. Not “campersâ€, not “Webelosâ€. Always “guys†or “kidsâ€. What’s going on here?

An extreme example, if you please. When Hitler took power, it was of course with the connivance and agreement of a lot of the German people. He early on realized that to ensure his success he must enlist the youth of his nation. So he immediately suppressed the Scouting movement and instituted his own youth movement. Scouting had been voluntary and it’s values anathema to the Nazi cause. “Die Hitler Junge†would be neither. The name was all important, “Hitler Youth†was how they were named and addressed. After the war, it was very hard to erase those memories and values from the now much older “Jungeâ€. They had been told over and over whose “youth†they had been and why they should be proud of it.

Is it possible we are unconsciously renaming our organization? Can a boy be proud of being a SCOUT when 9 times out of 10 he is told he is a GUY?

Umm, let’s see now, ah yes! Here we are…. “guy (gi) n. (old French gui = guide ) 1. A guide, one who leads. 2. A rope, chain, wire or rod used to steady a larger construction or object. 2a. v.t. to steady with a guy. 3. n (obs) an effigy of Guy Fawkes, paraded or burned on Guy Fawkes Day. 4.n (obs) a person of grotesque appearance or dress. 5.n (obs) an object of ridicule. 6. n (slang) a male person. “ Mmmmm….

At our District Day Camp this past summer, I spoke to a Scouter about our use of this misnomer. He agreed with me, saw my point, these boys need to be called “Cub Scoutsâ€. Yes indeed. Ten minutes later, at the top of his lungs, he greeted 250 Cub Campers “ How are all you guys this morning?†Well, everybody recognized their name and screamed back “FINE!!†It’s not easy to change easy habits.

But back to camp… I met a personable young man, a Star Scout, who led one of our hikes. I took a liking to him and when we had a quiet moment, I spoke to him of my concern. He listened and admitted that it was totally a reflex with him. Yep, he shore did call all them youngsters “guysâ€. Shouldn’t. Didn’t mean to. Yep, he’d try to do better. They deserved to be called “Cubs†or “Scoutsâ€. I watched thru the next hour as he tried to adjust. He had a hard time, but he caught the “g†word before it came out just about every time. He smiled at me and I smiled back. He became sensitive to it now and was trying. He became better at using those neglected terms “Scouts†and “Cubsâ€.

Emboldened by this success, I spoke to an adult Scouter, a man of no mean skill in his activity, and who obviously enjoyed the respect and affection of his young charges. He first protested that these boys were not Scouts, they were not old enough! He could not call them Scouts. He said they were “guys†back in his neighborhood, why not “guys†here? I asked, “how about “Cubs?†Well, they might be Cubs. I said, “of course they’re Cubs. CUB SCOUTS!†Certainly they were “Scoutsâ€. But that was only part of my point. He, too, was unconsciously taking the easy way, the (to him) usual way. How was he encouraging the pride of being different, of being “specialâ€, of being a Scout? He said he’d have to think about that.

Changing one’s behavior requires three things: First, a recognition and acknowledgement that the change is necessary and possible and GOOD. Second, a desire to make that change. And third, a conscious effort to do so. Okay, so is this a problem that would benefit from a change in behavior? Would a change in the way we speak TO and ABOUT our boys make a difference? Can we make that change? Do we want to?

Our boys can be KIDS and GUYS somewhere else. Here, at Camp, at the Round Table at the Tiger Hunt…. Here, let them be SCOUTS…. Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venture Scouts, Senior Scouts Sea Scouts, ALL SCOUTS!

What is your job title? Cub Master or Guy Master? District Guy Executive? Den Leader? Guy Leader? Think about it.

When my name is mispronounced, I gently and politely correct the speaker . I learned early the importance of a person’s name and the respect it should be given. The name. The title. The titles we accept for ourselves (teacher, cook, policeman, pastor, friend…) are not small, unimportant things. Use the title. When my father called me “son†or “Jimâ€, I knew he loved me and respected me, no matter the occasion or my age. When he called me other things, well, I knew what to expect then, too!

What do our Scouts expect? If we feel the Scout program is worthy and valuable to our boys, if we believe our time is well spent in teaching the skills and values of Scouting, then as “AKELAâ€, as “THE SCOUTERâ€, we must use the right name for our boys. They must know we believe they are….

Repeat after me: “GOOD MORNING CAMPERS!†“HOW ARE ALL YOU CUBS TODAY?†“OKAY! ALL YOU RED SCOUTS TO THE RIGHT, GREEN SCOUTS TO THE LEFT!†“LISTEN UP, WEBELOS!†“FOLLOW ME BOYS!â€

I hereby give the staff in every Scout Camp, from Director to C.I.T., permission to refer to and name us “campersâ€, “Scoutsâ€, “Cubsâ€, even “men†(both young and not-so-young). I don’t want to be a guy. I don’t want my son to be a guy.

 

I want my son to be a Scout.

 

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This kinda fits this post, since we can't start new ones...

 

My Son crossed over in February after 5 years in Cub Scouts, went to one campout and several meetings, and decided Boy Scouts was not for him. I didn't make it easy on him, he had to tell the Scoutmaster himself that he wanted to quit. I'm not happy about it, but I'll support him, and have told him he can re-join at any time (same thing the Scoutmaster said).

 

So, now I find myself as Cubmaster and ASM without a Son in the program. I was looking forward to years of campouts etc with my Son in Scouts, obviously more than he was :') He still wants to go camping, and we will together.

 

Anyone else find themselves in the same position?

 

​Thanks

 

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This kinda fits this post' date=' since we can't start new ones... My Son crossed over in February after 5 years in Cub Scouts, went to one campout and several meetings, and decided Boy Scouts was not for him. I didn't make it easy on him, he had to tell the Scoutmaster himself that he wanted to quit. I'm not happy about it, but I'll support him, and have told him he can re-join at any time (same thing the Scoutmaster said). So, now I find myself as Cubmaster and ASM without a Son in the program. I was looking forward to years of campouts etc with my Son in Scouts, obviously more than he was :') He still wants to go camping, and we will together. Anyone else find themselves in the same position? ​Thanks [/quote']

 

Sure have...I still coach youth baseball (on occasion) even though my son has moved on to other things. I figure its a natural cycle...everyone moves on to something else at one point or another. His new interest ... to the point of being a career path is Bass Trombone. To pursue that at a higher level, he had to drop Marching Band.

 

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Of course he wants to quit......It just isn't handed to him and campouts can be a lot of work. Unlike cubs, everything isn't just handed to you.

 

But one campout and a handful of meeting isn't even giving it a try. I tell parents they need 6 month to a year before they can decide if they like it or not. He is what 10 or 11, be the parent and tell him to stick it out for a year or so to see if he likes it.

 

I had a boy tell his mom that he needed to quit because he wanted to be a professional video game player, she tells me this straight faced.

 

Another lad in the hood on welfare playing xbox.

 

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Nike you have described my Pack as well. I've referred to our pack as "The Island of Misfit Toys". More and more I have parents that see scouting as a tool to fix behavioral and emotional issues that they have been unable to deal with. It is in fact driving the kids without these issues from the pack.

 

I struggle because many of these kids do benefit from scouting but they put an ENORMOUS burden on adult leaders and on the other scouts. It's tough to have a normal campout when one of your Webelos has an 'episode' at 2:00am. The other scouts remember this instead of the campfire.

 

I don't know the answer, but the issue is real. I also agree with the comments about adult leaders. Many of the 'adults' at our District and Council level are poor role models. They appear to be involved in scouting to relive their childhood, not to benefit the boys. Many are also wildly out of touch with the world of today's youth.

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I read this thread and I have a question.....

 

 

Are these the same schools and students who say they value and promote "diversity"?

 

 

It's really very amusing.

 

It's not surprising that public schools, the home of liberal orthodoxy, are usually hostile to Scouting and Scouting values.

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I still remember something I heard at a fundraiser meeting about getting the boy scouts out in their uniforms in public to sell popcorn/fundraise whatever.

 

Girls Perception:

15 yr old boy in uniform ->dorky/uncool

15yr old boy in uniform standing next to and helping a cub scout -> marriage material

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Scouts is only "uncool" if the scouts let it be uncool. It's up to them to make the program "cool." I know they boys get lots of comment when they are in the newspaper for something "cool" like building a pioneering bridge across a 25 foot span of a local river, or taking a 30 mile backpacking trip in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, or white water rafting, or going on a 500 mile bike ride.

 

When my son was still a Weblo he helped out at the FOS Breakfast and had to attend school in his uniform. When I dropped him off I saw him taking a little flak until he looked the other boy in the eye and said, "I raised $22,000 before school this morning. What did you do?" The other boy sheepishly replied, "I ate a bagel." Scouts is just as "cool" as you make it.

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