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fred johnson

​Is today's scouting too prissy?

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I'm not referring to any "orientation". That's not significant to this discussion

 

Definitions.

 

Merriam-Webster - overly prim and precise

Google - Fussily and excessively respectable; (of clothes) Overadorned with details such as ruffles and bows.

The Free Dictionary - Excessively or affectedly prim and proper; fussy and prim, esp in a prudish way; affectedly correct

 

I ask because I think back to my sons, especially the oldest. I can predict which adult scouters he would look up to and which would drive him away.

 

John Wayne Scouters ... Locally, I know three scouters that are the bigger than life type of person. Eagle scouts. But, they don't mince words and sometimes you almost need to teach your son that you can't always talk like they do in normal society. Or at least until you've achieved what they have achieved. . My son worked for one and the man would warn his staff to not mess up or ... some colorful statement that is probably against the laws of physics or basic anatomy. My son met another scouter while out-of-scouting and the guy had a big wide brim stetson and a stoogie in his mouth. More chewing it than smoking. Not a scouting event, so fine. The last is a scouter that my son shared military discussions with. I'll call these guys the John Wayne scouters.

 

Peter Fonda scouters ... My son also had an absolutely great scoutmaster who was very very laid back. Let the scouts explore as long as they stayed in certain boundaries and got the job done. He taught them skills and tried to let the scouts be boys. I remembered one afternoon at summer camp, the scoutmaster let them borrow the five gallon rope bucket (as long as they agreed to put the ropes back in). The scouts put some water in it and collected 20+ snakes. Sort of cool in a creepy way. Another time the scouts wanted to wrestle as several were on wrestling teams. He watched over that one fairly tight so no one got hurt, but he let them do it. I'll call this type of scout the Peter Fonda Easy Rider scouter.

 

But I could almost predict to the instant the scouters that would turn my son off.

 

Felix Unger scouters ... Usually it was the ones that commented about his uniform before getting to know him. Or pointed out the rank advancements he could earn or similar. Or found one of many nit picky ways to communicate. Or would pull rules out of their hats that did not really exist.

 

Donald Trump scouters ... Another type of socuter would be the ones focused on process and procedure. The ones that would establish the ISO 9001, form, procedure driven scouting.

 

 

 

Anyway, my son has made some interesting life choices recently that make me very proud. And I've been reflecting on what type of scouting we have today.

 

Perhaps it is also because I've been reflecting on our local elementary schools. Seems like the majority (95% plus) of the students with issues or in reading recovery or with IEPs are boys. It really seems like the real issue with these boys at elementary is that they are not girls.

 

Anyway, just been thinking about what happened to that old school man's man. He's getting rarer and rarer all the time.

 

Personally, I wish that's something scouting offered more often.

 

Just thinking.

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Agreed. Scouting has gone from being an outdoorsman's adventuring program for boys and men with a "law" that guides behavior to being a church program with some token outdooring in it. The focus is no longer on being a capable Kudu-worthy first class scout who can make his own hiking stick, camp under a home-made tent, and shoot squirrels and shishkabob them. Now it is about having family interventions, scoutmaster conferences, citizenship badges, meetings, elections, "boy led" and getting that eagle badge on your resume.

 

Scouting was originally mainly focused on the outdoors. All of the original literature is about plants, animals, lighting fires, putting together a sleeping area, shelter, orienteering, and riding a horse. Today, it is all about church, family, faith, etc.

 

We've gone from learning to be pioneers to learning to be priests. Blech.

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ThomasJefferson ... You've got too much agenda. Don't hijack this into some atheist rank. Scouting's always had a strong faith element, right from the start. Plus every man's man that I've know has had a strong faith. They might not shove it down your throat, but it's there.

 

You don't need to deny God to be a man's man. And you don't need to hijack this thread with some atheist junk.

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Early BSA literature (i.e. books for boys) always referred to scouts that weren't out in the out-of-doors doing scouting kinds of things on a regular basis, Parlor Scouts. I'm thinking the vast majority of scouts today fit this category, especially the Eagle Scouts I have known that can't even start a campfire. I have also heard people refer to today's scouts as being Paper Scouts. One this is for sure, the scout of today is not like the early boys of scouting. I would doubt whether any of them could successfully fulfill the requirements up to First Class. After all that's all they had at that point. And if anyone were to check out those requirements they would find that BSA policy forbids many of the requirements. The requirements would need to be fulfilled outside the BSA program.

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Scouting, along with everything else related to kids, has gotten bogged down in procedure, rules and political correctness (not referring to the sex orientation or religious issue here). B-P and Hillcourt emphasized that Scouting is a program intended to build character, citizenship and enable boys to grow into men who could care for themselves. The best way then and now is through a robust outdoor program and strong male leadership. Uniforms, badges and other things are merely methods of helping them to attain those goals. They are unimportant in themselves. So, is it prissy? Definitely. Is it overly bureaucratic? Absolutely. It will still succeed only where there are troops that understand those principles. Scouting is not for every boy and every parent. We'll never be able to make it so.

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Agreed. Scouting has gone from being an outdoorsman's adventuring program for boys and men with a "law" that guides behavior to being a church program with some token outdooring in it. The focus is no longer on being a capable Kudu-worthy first class scout who can make his own hiking stick, camp under a home-made tent, and shoot squirrels and shishkabob them. Now it is about having family interventions, scoutmaster conferences, citizenship badges, meetings, elections, "boy led" and getting that eagle badge on your resume.

 

Scouting was originally mainly focused on the outdoors. All of the original literature is about plants, animals, lighting fires, putting together a sleeping area, shelter, orienteering, and riding a horse. Today, it is all about church, family, faith, etc.

 

We've gone from learning to be pioneers to learning to be priests. Blech.

Religion has always been a part of the Scouting Movement, but I have never observed what you are describing in my 50 years of scouting. Your local situation might be an anomaly that way, but it's not indicative of the BSA program.

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you forgot the metrosexual scouter

 

Metrosexual is a neologism, derived from metropolitan and heterosexual, coined in 1994 describing a man (especially one living in an urban, post-industrial, capitalist culture) who is especially meticulous about his grooming and appearance, typically spending a significant amount of time and money on shopping as part of this.

 

These gentlemen.....have the $200 campaign hat that is perfect....The uniform that is absolutely perfect. they have the latest LL Bean or REI gear...They show up driving a Suburban that looks like it is equipt for the outback........Yet their scouts lack the basic advertised skills.....They like the idea of camping and hiking but cannot stand the physical discomfort to actually do it.

 

My favorite metrosexual scouter is SM of the parlor troop I make reference too in some of my posts......They score JTE Gold...They camp Three times a year including a summer resident camp....their boys make first class in a year......How is that possible??? Every boy who is eligble to join the OA is a member but they never show to the chapter meetings, OA meets at the same location as RT.

 

 

To be fair........the BSA isn't any more or less prissy than it was 50 years ago.....It depends on the Adults who manage the program........Regardless of what Kudu says......The adults control the program.....Old Metro guy who doesn't like to camp, isn't going to take the guys backpacking for a week or two in the Daniel Boone national forest. he is more comfortable with renting an air conditioned cabin at mammoth cave.

 

Is either right or wrong??? No. But with that said, Every Eagle scout should have the advertised skills.

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Did I ever tell you about the 19 year old Eagle scout that couldn't tie a square knot at IOLS when I was on staff?????? His dad was his SM imagine that

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Did I ever tell you about the 19 year old Eagle scout that couldn't tie a square knot at IOLS when I was on staff?????? His dad was his SM imagine that
I don't have to imagine it. On my first outing with my new troop as SM I asked my "Eagle" scout to start the morning campfire so I could start showing the boys about dutch oven cooking. He told me he had never done it before and didn't know how. His dad was also an Eagle scout with palms and so he went and started the fire. 3 years later I was removed as SM because I expected too much from the boys and the troop was taken over by this dad. Now he can teach all four of his sons in the troop how to start fires. :)

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The BSA is a just a reflection of the culture and it's own progressive changes. The program dynamics changed dramatically when it allowed women leaders into the troops. This is not a female bashing rant, women are certainly capable and have proven themselves in the program. But women lack the youth Boy Scout scouting experience and camping experience. With 50 percent of the adult BSA member being female and another 25 percent of it males who also lack a youth scouting and camping experience, you start to realize how few of experience adults there are in the program to carry on the tradtions of a more male influenced experience. The program dynamics changed so much that the 21st Century Wood Badge course was a result of a more gentler kinder outdoor training course. Strangely Wood Badge is the first real outdoor camping experience for many of our adult leaders. Is there hope, well there are scouters even now on this forum motivated by political correctness pontificating for girls in the troops. The BSA is stuck between the ignorance of it's adult membership and media driven pop culture.

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Heh, heh, I've been known to show up at an Eagle COH and pull a hank of rope out of my pocket. I just love to see the eyes roll and boys looking away nervously, thinking to themselves, "Oh sh**!"

 

Edit: OK...Prissy huh? I guess I am closer to the Peter Fonda model. I'll let them wade right into the creek and yes, go ahead and see how fast that snapping turtle can move its jaws. Sure go find out if there's another entrance to that yellow jacket nest. Just don't whine about the consequences.

Go ahead and bring your smart phone, we'll see how water/dirt/food/grease-proof it is.

I'll let them push the limits, up to a limit of safety that I know for whatever activity there is. Let them get dirty, wet, hungry, tired, sweaty. Let them get some blisters and some small scrapes or cuts. Let them get a little sunburn or find out what it's like to be cold and wet.

Chances are, they'll prepare better next time out. And they'll still get wet, dirty, etc. but be a little happier doing it. We're all just a bunch of monkeys, after all.

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Don't know about "prissy". But it has morphed into something that placates the helicopter parents, the lawyers, and those boys who would rather sit in front of a video game than rappel down a tower. LIke any other organism, it has adapted to the environment in which it finds itself, rather than go extinct.

 

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Don't know about "prissy". But it has morphed into something that placates the helicopter parents, the lawyers, and those boys who would rather sit in front of a video game than rappel down a tower. LIke any other organism, it has adapted to the environment in which it finds itself, rather than go extinct.

I am entertained by Rappel down a tower......

 

what happened to a cliff????

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Did I ever tell you about the 19 year old Eagle scout that couldn't tie a square knot at IOLS when I was on staff?????? His dad was his SM imagine that
I am entertained by the Eagle with palms thing......

 

To me it says I like summer camp.....So instead of having some adventure I chose to sit in a merit badge class........

 

Yep ran into a number of Eagles that couldn't build a fire....... I have super outdoorsman dad who used an entire butane lighter to get his campfire started.....

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Don't know about "prissy". But it has morphed into something that placates the helicopter parents, the lawyers, and those boys who would rather sit in front of a video game than rappel down a tower. LIke any other organism, it has adapted to the environment in which it finds itself, rather than go extinct.

He lives in a flat state? :)

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