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skeptic

Some Boy Scout Level Changes in 2015

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While nothing on the level of Cubbing or Ventures, it appears there are some significant changes according to a summary in the latest NESA Eagles' Call.

 

"Tweaks to the requirements will add emphasis on physical fitness, healthy living, outdoor ethics, and weather safety. Community service will be required for each rank (with a conservation project required for Life), and duty to God will be incorporated into the requirement to show Scout Spirit. 'Scout' will also become officially a rank, rather than simply a joining badge. Specifics will be announced at the 2015 annual meeting, and most will take effect January 1, 2016.

 

So, mostly positive from a general view, but surely we will see some good discussions going forward, and of course a few doom predictors and such. Suspect the Scout Spirit change will be a clarion call for some "the sky is falling" group. And some will have problems for some reason with emphasis on service and more physical fitness, though why I have no idea. The Scout change is basically nothing more than a fix-it thing.

 

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I'm not entirely comfortable with the content of scoutmaster conferences being dictated by National. I don't mind guidelines. And, although I'm perfectly fine talking to folks about religious convictions and hearing what other folks have to say, I can imagine a lot of the leaders I know not being entirely comfortable with it.

 

You all have heard my opinion about service hours having no business in rank advancement. Religion is kind of the same thing. These become "uncounted" requirements. Yes they are in every handbook, but outside of scouting the 21 merit badges is what gets recognition. Well, really what we have is 22 ("Project Planning" being an additional required badge); and now maybe 23 (the addition of "Religious Expression").

 

I would just rather our new Eagles know that more is now required of them than was required of us.

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Suspect the Scout Spirit change will be a clarion call for some "the sky is falling" group.

 

Or, to put it in a more Scoutlike way, some people might have legitimate concerns about it. But I think those need to wait until we see the actual requirement.

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The OP does not mention Scoutmaster Conferences.

 

For as long as B.S.A. has published rank requirements, living by the Oath and Law - "Scout Spirit" - have been topics for adults reviewing advancement and have said to be required. Exactly what that has ever meant has not been specified.

 

More recently, the guidelines for Boards of Review have specifically prohibited asking a Scout if he "believes in God." We do know that "Duty to God" is satisfied by participating in religions that do not recognize a God in the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim sense.

 

We don't know what exactly the changes will be.

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Any links to the document?

 

 

The info is taken directly from the most current Eagles' Call, the NESA quarterly magazine. You can find it under NESA on the National site, but the 2014 issues are not yet archived, and they do not appear to have recent or the current one on the site. If you are not an Eagle, or a member of NESA, you still can subscribe it seems. The magazine has improved dramatically in the past couple of years. At one time it was more or less a newsletter.

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Thanks, I'm an Eagle, but I'm not a due's paying member of NESA. (Which considering I volunteer with the Council level ESA, I probably should get on that....)

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I don't understand the escalation of the duty to God requirements.

 

Scouting has always had faith elements, but our pack and troop are mixed faith, mostly Christian, but some Hindu and some non-practicing. Even within the Christian families, we have evangelical, protestant and Catholic. I'm not sure how a den could address the "Duty To God" adventures.

 

My fear is that these important topics will get the short end of the stick and get stuck with being done in the family. All other adventures are "den" adventures. The "Duty To God" adventures will be done outside the den and "do what you think is best" and tell us when you think it is done.

 

Similar to having a scoutmaster discuss Duty To God in a SMC. Contradicting messages could easily be given. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a scoutmaster who belongs to an evangelical church addressing this in a SMC with my son who is attending Catholic faith formation.

 

I really would like to learn more. Scouting has always danced a fine line emphasizing Duty To God, but being able to work in a mixed faith environment.

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Until we see the actual final (?) wording we likely should not read too much into it. My perception is simply that they are trying to strengthen the spiritual element of the program that has always been there, but in many groups is pretty much ignored or an afterthought. It is a fine line, but the fact is that "some form" of spirituality is part and parcel of Scouting, and has always been so. I know there are some that feel it should not be, but if they believe that, then we are back to "why" are they in the program? There are many other options for similar overall activities that do not include the spiritual element.

 

Many of the problems that seem to arise within this forum, and elsewhere seem to be caused by individuals either not understanding the foundational blocks of the program, or choosing to ignore them completely. Also often looks as if a certain amount of either fear or lack of self confidence pushes "leaders" to abdicate certain parts of the program as too hard or someone else's responsibility. The fact that individual units are given so much latitude scares some; they need exact detailed guidelines, or it is not possible. The idea that "failure is not an option" enters into the mix to some extent too, even though overcoming obstacles is part of the growth of the participants on all levels. Subjectiveness also tends to stymie some when it comes to the interpretation of the Oath and Law. But it is that very subjectiveness that allows the separate unit to function within itself to best serve itself and the CO's purpose.

 

Meanwhile, those of us that actually continue to work within the units and districts need to simply focus on giving the youth the best program we can within the guidelines we have without undermining the foundation of the Oath and Law. Most importantly, lets try to keep the politics and related hype out of the mix.

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The OP does not mention Scoutmaster Conferences.

...

We don't know what exactly the changes will be.

"Beginning in 2016 in Boy Scouts, Duty to God will be incorporated in the requirement to show Scout Spirit. During the unit leader conference, the Scout will be asked what Duty to God means to him and how he demonstrates that duty."

 

For some folks this does not represent change. For others, it is asking them to step into the subject in a way they may not be comfortable doing.

 

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Sounds to me like some folks at National have decided to double down on the religious stuff while they still have the chance - perhaps to try to nullify the Trail Whozawhatits folks as much as they can. I wonder how many Scoutmasters who don't ask that question in Scoutmaster's Conferences are going to start when it's required and how many are just going to skip it. Who is going to enforce this nre requirement? Will there be right and wrong answers? How would one respond to a Scout saying "I did my duty to God by protesting at a war hero veteran's funeral because he supported same sex marriage"? Remember, we're not asking them how they're reverent - we're going to ask point blank "How did you do your duty to God?"

 

If we're going to ask the Duty to God question, why aren't we also going to ask the Duty to Country question?

 

I guess the real question is, who are the braniacs who thought the program needed to be tweaked like this anyway and how did they get the keys to the car.

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It was a question that could come up in a SMC before but why the sudden emphasis on it? I imagine those who already ask about it will continue to ask and those who don't ask now won't ask in the future. At least SMC's aren't supposed to be pass/fail right? So a Scout shouldn't get failed from a Scoutmasters conference for having the "wrong" answer to the Duty to God question right?

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As a non christian this terrifies me.

 

Why should it; especially since we really do not know what the guidelines may be? But, Scouting is not Christian, nor have I seen any indication that the "duty to God" element would suddenly be focused on Christianity. Such personal insecurity is more something to fear it seems to me.

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