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Eamonn

Why did we fail ?

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....or organize in to labs, get a lab partner, get a Petrie dish, culture some bacteria, turn on a burner and get some science on. :)

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....or organize in to labs, get a lab partner, get a Petrie dish, culture some bacteria, turn on a burner and get some science on. :)

Right!   Same science they did at school, fourth period biology, last Tuesday, except this time repeat the lab on the weekend.   After that, they can watch a video about a scientist doing some super cool stuff in another state.   Then listen to a guy talk about some nifty scientific concepts he learned in grad school.   Then watch another dude who has been a scientist quite awhile perform an awesome experiment but regretfully the scouts can't do it themselves because of safety reasons.   Wrap up the day observing a guy operate a robot...well...maybe not, the software is acting up...worked this morning...doggone it...well you get the idea.

 

See you next Saturday!

Edited by desertrat77

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Our Science club has more middle school participants than Scouting.  Our Science fair has more contestants than Scouting.  Our community college offers a summer Science camp that has more campers than Scouting.  You can mock the after-school Science programs all you want, but numbers wise, they're beating the heck out of Scouting.

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Boy Scouting is very unpopular with the boys.  Less than 3% of our eligible middle school boys participate in Scouting.  

 

Why did we fail?  We didn't fail.  

 

Most kids just don't like Scouting.  It is not about competition for time.  It is not about competition with other programs, either.  Boys would rather do nothing than do Scouting.  Scouting is that unpopular.

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Our Science club has more middle school participants than Scouting.  Our Science fair has more contestants than Scouting.  Our community college offers a summer Science camp that has more campers than Scouting.  You can mock the after-school Science programs all you want, but numbers wise, they're beating the heck out of Scouting.

I have no doubt that science is more popular than scouting in some communities.   But I must ask:   what is the state of scouting in your community?    Is it a dynamic, outdoor-drive program?   Or is it sedentary/meeting oriented?   If it's the latter, then heck yes, science will win.   However, if there is a good scouting program (always outdoors), it will give science a run for its money.

Edited by desertrat77
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I tend to agree with David CO. This unit and others in the area have very active outdoor programs and yet for scouting there is a minority of boys who join units. All of the things David suggests are true in this area regarding after school science activities: fairs, summer camps, etc.

I entertain the possibility that the reasons so many more young people (girls are sometimes in the majority for science) attend these things are (aside from being co-ed) that our popular culture is permeated with the fruits of science and technology and that parents are more likely to push in the direction of STEM as opposed to some anachronistic leftover from a by-gone era. And viewed in those tems, I can't say I blame them.

Scouting has always been a niche program. It's just more in the minority today than in the past. It isn't dead and it isn't dying and we haven't 'failed'. We're just coming to grips with a reality that's always been there.

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Our Science club has more middle school participants than Scouting.  Our Science fair has more contestants than Scouting.  Our community college offers a summer Science camp that has more campers than Scouting.  You can mock the after-school Science programs all you want, but numbers wise, they're beating the heck out of Scouting.

 

I don't think we are mocking those programs, just the idea that scouting should be more like those programs.  I think that Scouting should be, well, more like scouting.  When I was Cubmaster we tried to make the den and pack meetings less like school and more like adventure.  We focused on the doing rather than the learning.  In Boy Scouts, the boys get to decide what they do.  I see the excitement on the faces of new scouts when a 15 year old patrol leader tells them they have a good idea for what to do or what to teach.

 

 some anachronistic leftover from a by-gone era.

 

Wow.  If that is how we view the program, we are destined to fail.  

 

Just look at television shows: Survivor, Bear Grylis, Survivorman, Naked and Afraid, Fat Guy in the Woods or movies like Wild.  Just look at the success of stores like REI and Eastern Mountain Sports.  What we do is cool.  Heck, even for the new guys, what could be better than being at camp for a week, staying up late at night playing cards.  I tell our scouts that the only reason I'm there is to teach them to play with knives and fire.  I tell the parents that this is the one activity the kids come home dirty and they have to tell them "good job." 

 

I don't care about the boys that choose other activites instead of scouting.  I do care about the boys who ask me "what are we doing next month?" when we get in the car to go home from a campout.  

 

If we can't run a program that we are excited about, then we are the problem.  

 

I'm excited every time we go to the weekly meeting or a PLC meeting.  I'm really excited every time we meet up to set out on an adventure.  I'm excited to see kids (including my own son) look out from the top of a mountain and say "wow, this is really beautiful."  I'm excited when a new scout struggles on a 6 mile hike but completes it and tells me "that is the longest hike I've ever taken in my life."  I'm excited when a new scout tells me that they got a new backpack and sleeping bag or shows me their new knife.  I"m excited hearing what scouts say to their parents when we get back from a trip.  

 

Guys, we've been given a tremendous opportunity to "be important in the life of a boy."  We've all heard the end of the poem, but do you know that it is about scouting?  

 

http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2014/12/11/forest-witcraft-quote-first-appeared-scouting-magazine/

 

That is what this movement is about.  Not the stupid politics, not the adult power games, not arguing over how much technology, not G2SS, not the Guide to Advancement, not the knots on our uniforms -- but making a difference in the life of our boys.  If you look at it that way, failure is not an option.

Edited by Hedgehog
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Our Science club has more middle school participants than Scouting.  Our Science fair has more contestants than Scouting.  Our community college offers a summer Science camp that has more campers than Scouting.  You can mock the after-school Science programs all you want, but numbers wise, they're beating the heck out of Scouting.

No one is mocking them. We're saying if BSA gets involved they way they usually roll out something it wil be expensive and cumbersome.

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I don't know what studies the BSA has or hasn't done into 21st Century Volunteers?

My thinking, which might be way of base, is that people do not want to volunteer for something that is endless.

People might be more willing to volunteer to do something that has a very defined start and end.

We don't seem to have a problem recruiting volunteers who sign up to work for a day or so and know that once the task is completed they go home till they sign up again to do another task.

 

Like many of the Scouters my age, I really don't see myself as an expert in a lot of the things we do with our Scouts.

Over the years (A lifetime!!) I have became good at many if not most of the things that I believe a Lad needs to be good at so as to become a Scout.

 

Sure I'm very much for the youth led unit.

If someone has a lot of time on their hands they can go back and see how many times I've posted:

 

Train them, Trust them, Let them lead.

Wise words, wise words indeed.

The problem is that we are running out of people who have the know how to be able to train them and without that the rest of it just doesn't work.

Having a herd of parents hanging around makes it very hard to let them lead and does little for the Scouts when it comes to them knowing that we trust them.

 

When I first took Wood Badge - Back in the Dark Ages!

I swear that if I had to hear " Use Your Resources." One more time, I was going to scream.

 

We do seem able to attract parents who are some-what willing to volunteer their time.

In my view these are a resource that we aren't making good use of.

Having and allowing them to just hang around and play with the fire is not using our resources.

We need to find what interests them, what they might be good at and train them how to work with Scouts and maybe help them find out what Scouts and Scouting is really all about.

Eamonn   

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Some companies can diversify their product line and still make a profit.  But it's tough to do.   More often than not, companies diversify, bleed for awhile, divest as much as they can, and get back to their original core competency.

 

The BSA can't properly promote it's own core competency/number 1 product:  outdoor adventure.   National has tried every way they can to screw up outdoor-focused programming.   Then they double down and introduce new programs that have little/nothing to do with the outdoors.  

 

Two problems:   the BSA mismanages these new programs to the nth degree.   And usually, right across the street, there is an established organization that already offers these same programs.    Is a youth going to leave a good soccer league or science club to attend the BSA program?   Doubtful.

 

I'm not anti-science.  Quite the contrary.   I like the old phrase "stick to the knitting."   If science is your thing, then find a science club that is lead by scientists in a scientific setting (local community college, etc.).    Joining a science club organized by a historically outdoor-focused organization that can't even focus on the outdoors...that's not a recipe for success.

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Eamonn makes a very good point.  All of the after school programs I mentioned are scheduled for a finite period of time.  They don't demand an endless commitment from either the parents or the boys.

 

People seem to be willing to volunteer for a project, but unwilling to join an club.  This is certainly true of the adult service clubs.  

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I might be a little bit off topic, but I overheard a conversation the other day that I think is interesting.  The boys were talking about cooking shows on TV.  Apparently boys watch cooking shows.  One show in particular, a contest between children and adult chefs, seemed to be their favorite.

 

My impression is that attitudes about cooking may be changing.  Maybe BSA should place a little more emphasis on cooking?

 

Maybe a local contest for the Boy Scouts' best outdoor chefs?  Scouters vs. Scouts?

Edited by David CO

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Hedgehog said:

 some anachronistic leftover from a by-gone era.

 

"Wow.  If that is how we view the program, we are destined to fail. "

 

That is the view of many parents who make the comparisons between STEM camp, science clubs, and scouting. Or so I've been told by those parents.

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Hedgehog said:

 

"Wow.  If that is how we view the program, we are destined to fail. "

 

That is the view of many parents who make the comparisons between STEM camp, science clubs, and scouting. Or so I've been told by those parents.

 

I don't doubt that.   Lots of uninspired, Sad Sack scouting out there.   Leadership makes a difference.

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Leadership does indeed make a difference. However, when the parents are in STEM careers themselves, they tend to have a certain bias toward STEM...and they sometimes combine that bias with a certain air of superiority that is nearly impossible to penetrate. So I just focus on the ones who really want to be part of a scouting program. No sweat.

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