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MattR

Why the outdoors?

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Being of a military background, I'm sure the term Scout was chosen by BP as the type of soldier that did not operate within the normal operations of the military, but would instead, move out into unknown territory, prepared for any and all situations and be able to return back with effective military intelligence. Each mission would require the scouts to operate on their own, making their own choices, living off the land and returning safely. Early scout handbooks spent time talking in military terms, i.e. knights, etc. The uniform was patterned after the US military uniform of the time and served a purpose of a military scout.

 

Whereas we have dropped the military aspects and tried to retain many of the skills necessary for a military operation, I'm thinking the scope, focus, and intent of what BP envisioned has changed dramatically. After all, the things a military scout would need to know are now not always an option for the boys. A mess hall was for base camp operations of the military, as were established camps, both of which would not fit well into the operations of a military scout. He was not supposed to be in camp eating out of a mess hall. One does not need such things in the field under scout operations.

 

Can our boys go out in a small patrol (another military term, as is troop) and survive on a mission relying on their own resources and skills? Not in today's scouting, unless mom or dad go along to supervise. The intent of the BP model was to have boys prepared to do it on their own. That skill/aim/focus/scope is not part of the program. One might as well set the boys up in a gymnasium or computer lab in today's scouting.

A lot of what you say about BP's conception of the Scout is true according to my research. Also, in his early life before the military, being in the wilderness was important to him for personal and religious reasons as well. Are you saying that the way the Scout Program has changed is positive or negative?

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Being of a military background, I'm sure the term Scout was chosen by BP as the type of soldier that did not operate within the normal operations of the military, but would instead, move out into unknown territory, prepared for any and all situations and be able to return back with effective military intelligence. Each mission would require the scouts to operate on their own, making their own choices, living off the land and returning safely. Early scout handbooks spent time talking in military terms, i.e. knights, etc. The uniform was patterned after the US military uniform of the time and served a purpose of a military scout.

 

Whereas we have dropped the military aspects and tried to retain many of the skills necessary for a military operation, I'm thinking the scope, focus, and intent of what BP envisioned has changed dramatically. After all, the things a military scout would need to know are now not always an option for the boys. A mess hall was for base camp operations of the military, as were established camps, both of which would not fit well into the operations of a military scout. He was not supposed to be in camp eating out of a mess hall. One does not need such things in the field under scout operations.

 

Can our boys go out in a small patrol (another military term, as is troop) and survive on a mission relying on their own resources and skills? Not in today's scouting, unless mom or dad go along to supervise. The intent of the BP model was to have boys prepared to do it on their own. That skill/aim/focus/scope is not part of the program. One might as well set the boys up in a gymnasium or computer lab in today's scouting.

I don't think the skills, attitude and culture of BP's idea of scouting is much of what BSA is focused on today.

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Kudzu - Last Child in the Woods is a great book; I have recommended it to many. We live in a connected society, and it is necessary to disconnect sometimes. I have a boy in my troop that I swear would go through withdrawal on his first few camping trips when he was away from video games. One of my fondest moments was when he climbed up on a huge boulder, looked around, and said, "This is awesome!". The look on his face was priceless as it dawned on him that maybe outside isn't so bad after all.

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