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SlowDerbyRacer

If Scouting Began Today

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(I imagine this has been discussed before, but I cursory search didn't turn up anything for me.)

 

Part of what is great about Scouting is the history and ~100 years of tradition.  But for a moment, assume that didn't exist.  What would the program look like if it started in 2015?  I'll take a stab at some things to kick this off.

 

(And for the sake of avoiding a political derailment, less try to avoid arguments on the right/wrongness some of the more sensitive issues and just stick to the actual question of what scouting would look like.)

 

-Scouting would not have any formal religious ties.  For right or wrong, religion is something that is more avoided today than embraced.  In a fresh program I would see no formal Duty to God requirements or religious emblems.

 

-The gay scout/leader issue would not be a hot button topic.  This is because there would be no history of excluding that class.  It would get as much attention as soccer clubs today get when a coach is gay - which is negligible.

 

-There's a good chance separate boy and girl scouts would not exist.  Today we rarely see gender exclusive organizations.  I bet we'd see a single Scouting organization which is either truly co-ed or has separate boy and girl divisions (again like a soccer club might do today).

 

-Charter organizations would not exist.  I don't think the need for a sponsoring organization is seen as necessary today.  A fresh scouting program today would be much more independent.

 

I have other thoughts, but will leave room for others to comment.

 

(My only editorial comment will be this - As I think through the question, I'm pretty sure I like the current program more than what "new" scouting would be.)

 

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@@SlowDerbyRacer I think the gay issue would still be there, as would many other issues (i.e., religion). It is too hard to separate out the hot social issues. I do think that were it started today the membership would be much lower than it is now. Assuming the focus of BSA 2015 is still an outdoor program, I don't think you'd get the draw that it does today, mostly because of the lack of history and all the other things out there to compete for a boy's time.

 

I suspect STEM would be a major focus.

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Definately smaller, and without folks with strong outtdoor backgrounds liek way back when, probably not that outdoor oriented.

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Scouting would not be able to be started with much of any of it's principles today.

 

Maybe some outdoorsy kind of social club where eco-freaks hang out.

 

Probably be more successful as a gamers LAN social club.

 

In all seriousness I don't think a program such as scouts could start up.  It survives only because of it's historical proof of success.  

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Let's face it @@Stosh, you're right. BSA 2015 would take place in Minecraft and everyone would be camping virtually, running from Creepers and blowing up stuff. ;)

 

minecraft_boy_scout_1_by_kikainokami-d5p

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I dont think the majority of the "hot button issues" would exist. I would guess it wouldbe a smaller organization, with a more limited focus on the Scoutcraft. It would fill the small niche left vacant and not try to be everything to everybody. I suppose I see it as beginning the same way it did at the beginning if the last century.

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It wouldn't get off the ground.   The lawyers would not allow it. 

 

The ideals that made the BSA successful over the decades--the principles of the oath and law, outdoor adventure--are not valued by large segments of society today.   Heck, there are scouters in key positions in the BSA that don't put much stock in traditional BSA stuff, particularly the outdoors. 

 

Essentially, the BSA would be nothing but a series of long indoor meetings, MB fairs, and popcorn sales.   And baggy uniforms.

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...and FAR more adult-driven than it is already; more like a soccer team than a boy-led organization.

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Ok, how did you make a Scout in Minecraft?

 

Sadly, I *do* know the answer to that. ;)

 

We had a scout (my son) make a recruitment video based on Minecraft for Cub Scouts. It took place in Mincraft in a virtual summer camp complete with archery range, dinning hall, water front, trading post, etc. Blew their little minds. That video is good for 5-7 scouts a year without even trying to recruit. ;)

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I was hiking in the Porkies a couple of weeks ago (worth the trip if you are within striking distance of the UP btw) and ran into several groups of young people backpacking on the trail.  I chatted with one group of young men (4 boy scout aged youth, 2 leaders I'd guess in their early to mid-20s).  I asked if they were a scout group.  As it turns out many of them were current/former scouts, but, they were with a separate "camp" program for the week, backpacking through the Porkies.  I passed a similarly sized and aged group of young ladies as well.  While researching a bit I found a few different YMCA programs that offered week-long camps that fit these groups description.  On my "training" hikes I ran into a number of young people on the trails at a local state park.  The Cub aged boys were almost always with the moms who were almost exclusively worried about mud and poison ivy. 

 

I say all that to suggest that the program might be less outdoorsy, if that's possible, at the Cub Scout level.  I think the middle-school/high-school level could retain it's outdoor focus but it wouldn't be through monthly campouts with 30 boys in multiple patrols, but rather, more like small-group adventures on a less frequent basis.  I also think weekly meetings would be shutdown rapidly with the slower pace of outings in favor of monthly meetings. 

 

I suspect advancement would be a thing of the past, replaced with just doing.  And uniforms would certainly disappear, at least anything beyond a group t-shirt and jeans.

 

In short, I think scouting 2015 would look a lot like Venturing, without the traditional oath and law.

Edited by walk in the woods

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The question begs another question: what would our youth be like today if there weren't scouting for the past 100 years?

That presupposes that no military leader would publish how he succeded at espionage in a foriegn theatre.

 

The consequencies could be dire. Empires could shrink because tactics went unshared. Boys on local excursions would be chased off landowners' property as vagrants. They would rush off to armies unskilled ... many to be fodder for the enemy ordinance. Some would master scouting skills, but would be sworn to secrecy, lest the enemies use map and compass against them.

 

But eventually somewhere in the world their would be a respite. someone would publish their methods ... and boys, maybe girls too, would have a moment to dash out in the woods, dodging the mine fields, and spend an evening under the stars ...

 

If all of the other technologies advanced during this time, they would be able to look up on their device precisely how to manage. There would be no overaching program. Just a crowd-sourced app with dozens of ideas and ways to mobilize adults in your community to implement them.

Edited by qwazse

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The question begs another question: what would our youth be like today if there weren't scouting for the past 100 years?

That presupposes that no military leader would publish how he succeded at espionage in a foriegn theatre.

 

Hmmmm.  Not only military tactics for scouting but since the original program, at least in the US, also drew from Native cultures and pioneer culture, would Scouting 2015 draw from "heros" and traditions of the last say 50 years?  Astronauts? Web entreprenuers? Che Guevara? Long haired hippie freaks? Survivorman?  Bear Grylls? Naked and Afraid?  Gordon Gecko?  The mind races. :)  Wall Street scouts would at least have a uniform :)!

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Look at the "success" of the Girl Scouts USA .  They do without local sponsoring "charter" orgs.   They also have far less "professionals", and less direct, goal oriented "training".  What has that done for them?  Their volunteer leaders do it all. If the GSLeader doesn't do it, it doesn't happen.

If the BSA is successful, define it as you will, it is, at least in part, owing to the local membership/national/international relationships.   Dan Beard's and Ernie Seton's  clubs folded in favor of the BSA model because "it works".

 

As to the actual working of a new scouting club,  the idea of ranks, awards, recognitions would be there for the youth (yes, I tend to agree it would be bi-gendered). The need to encourage some spirituality if not religion would be there.  The need to have "safe" adventure in the out of doors would be there. 

 

Our Yearly Meeting sponsors 4 summer camps, one which is "traveling" (hiking, canoeing, biking) (BSA would call it a "High Adventure " camp) for the older campers.  One is more "artsy-craftsy", but all do the outdoor thing.  All of them involve many kids who have, initially, never been more outdoors than walking to the school bus stop from their house.  Some kids have family camping or even Scouting in their lives.   But ALL are included in the camping part of camp.  The younger kids  spend two nights in camp (screened in cabins) then two nights on local trails, pack on back, under the tutilege of experienced counselors (I know some of them are Philmonters), who lead all the cooking and such, but the campers walk and carry. If it rains, they get wet.  Then back to camp,  three or four   nights in cabin, do it again.  The older kids do longer hikes , rock climbing, and even a canoe trip on the Shenandoah.  If they learn any camp craft, it is by osmosis.  And they do. 

Scoutson did both Scout summer camp and Yearly Meeting camp, he said they were different, but he expected that.  He said he liked both for what each was.  YM camp was not meant to be a "skills" learning camp, and  Scout summer camp was not meant to be an "experience" camp, per se.  He used his Scout training and experience to  help make the YMcamp better (his last camp was bicycling over 600 miles thru the Shenandoah valley ) , so he said, and used his YM experience to help make his Troop experience better. 

 

No badges to earn at YMcamp.  Many badges earned at BSAcamp.  That is one big difference.  What are the leaders/counselors purpose? Direction?  Intention?  That is the biggest difference.   YM camp remembers the founders' purpose and celebrates it , constantly.  Does BSA? 

 

Whose vision would lead a new, "today" Scout  movement?  I forget, what's Irving's last name? 

 

Any new Scout program would ,by definition, need to be an adventure camp program.   As I think about it, BSA is really operating , considerably, on momentum.  It continues because it can.  

The adult leaders that are so loyal to the  Scouting BSA program,  remember what it was for them, or what they wished it had been for them, or what they think it should be .  And because Irving sees BSA  fading, they try to make it new to attract today's boys (and girls)

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(I imagine this has been discussed before, but I cursory search didn't turn up anything for me.)

 

Part of what is great about Scouting is the history and ~100 years of tradition.  But for a moment, assume that didn't exist.  What would the program look like if it started in 2015?  I'll take a stab at some things to kick this off.

 

(And for the sake of avoiding a political derailment, less try to avoid arguments on the right/wrongness some of the more sensitive issues and just stick to the actual question of what scouting would look like.)

 

-Scouting would not have any formal religious ties.  For right or wrong, religion is something that is more avoided today than embraced.  In a fresh program I would see no formal Duty to God requirements or religious emblems.

 

- Shouldn't have been included in the original program either. But not for the reason you give. In certain areas of the country religion is still highly embraced. I would include a religious emblem or medal for those that would like to work or further their religious journey. Just not have the belief that only religious have morals.

 

-The gay scout/leader issue would not be a hot button topic.  This is because there would be no history of excluding that class.  It would get as much attention as soccer clubs today get when a coach is gay - which is negligible.

 

- Your kidding right!! There may have not been a history in the new scouts but there would be history. That gay soccar coach isn't sleeping in a tent or cabin right by your son. This would still be a big issue.

 

-There's a good chance separate boy and girl scouts would not exist.  Today we rarely see gender exclusive organizations.  I Thatr  bet we'd see a single Scouting organization which is either truly co-ed or has separate boy and girl divisions (again like a soccer club might do today).

 

- I can agree with this one. Although I do believe it would have seperate boy and girl troops. Going co-ed would have to be looked at and maybe added later as a local option.

 

-Charter organizations would not exist.  I don't think the need for a sponsoring organization is seen as necessary today.  A fresh scouting program today would be much more independent.

 

- Where would the meetings take place? In some areas public places are not free and you would be required to pay some kind of fee. I may not agree with the total CO type thing but over all I think it makes things for many groups out there much easier. And cheaper.

 

I have other thoughts, but will leave room for others to comment.

 

- You forgot the brass ring. BSA's "Big Mac" or "Whopper" is Eagle. Without something materialistic that the boys can take further with them you would have very low turn out or interest. Fun and challenges do not cut it with many of todays parents. They instaed would have their sons or daughters concentrate on something that they may be able to put on their resume. You would be surprised at how many parents actually believe that learning can only take place in a classroom and come from a book.

 

(My only editorial comment will be this - As I think through the question, I'm pretty sure I like the current program more than what "new" scouting would be.)

 

- Can't even agree with you here. The real true scouting type program was pre 1972. Todays program is based on business management and individual accomplishments. Although pre 1972 had some individual things to it it was also way more group or patrol type activity oriented. Back then the most important leadership position was the PL today it is the SPL. How does one become a good SPL if he was never a PL?  Summer Camp was at one time a fun and challenging type of activity, today it is a merit badge mill. The entire preogram today keys in on advancement and passing requirements. Ifr you find a group that holds these as secondary grab and join it right away because they are little by little becoming the rare thing to find.

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