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Tampa Turtle

Reaction to Randall Stephenson: ‘It’s a new day in Scouting’ speech

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My takeaways: Do we want to grow this movement?  Are you sure?  Requires change....market has changed.....continues changing (taste, preferences)..."cultural norms are rapidly changing..."  :blink:  :blink:  :blink:   ...addressing different markets.....product has to change...approach to key markets has to change...some of the new stuff will replace some of the old stuff...end game: develop leaders by teaching the scout law...."youth" not "boys" mentioned...

 

Yeah, check out the Improved Scouting Program, Mr. Stephenson and see how that turned out.  I recently read up on that in Scouting magazine back issues.  A lot of work went into that with big goals.  In early 1973 the Boy Power logo quietly disappeared from the magazine and that was about it.

 

What is really insulting about this kind of thing is that people HAVE TRIED to grow this thing for almost 50 years!!!  It's almost heartbreaking to listen to speeches like this that infer no one is doing anything or ever HAS done anything to reach out to other communities.

 

It's been said here before.  Have a good program, spread the word and be welcoming. That's the best you can do. It's not our fault if most millenials/minorities/whatever aren't interested.  Let's just take care of the boys that want to be scouts.

 

I think you may be in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

 

Quite right from everything I've heard about what happened with you chaps in the 1970s it was a disaster. That doesn't mean that change, the right change, can't turn things around. True you don't want to go changing the core part of scouting. The patrol system, the outdoors etc. At the end of the day kids join up to do stuff outdoors with their friends. Start messing with that and you get into trouble. It's the stuff around the edges. Does the uniform need changing? Do you need different badges? Does the scout/venture scout age cut off need to change? How well does the PR machine work, nationally and locally?.

 

I suspect that the 2019 world jamboree will do you the world of good. We had a massive spike in growth following the 2007 jamboree.

 

One of my ASLs (what you call an ASM) has just turned 73. He's been with us since he was an 8 year old cub. Fascinating man to talk to. He's firmly of the opinion that kids themselves haven't changed since he was there age, what has changed is the choices they have. He joined cubs and then scouts because, frankly, there was nothing else to do when he was that age. Now the choices are huge, every sport you can imagine, every music or theater group you can think of, other youth groups. Whether you like it or not the scout movement in the western world now exists in a market place that wasn't there 50 years ago and was a hell of a lot less competitive even 25 years ago. I think BSA ignores that at it's peril.

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Good points above, but if they are going to make changes, perhaps they should try a leaner program, scaled back to a sustainable size rather than trying to grow, which never seems to work. 

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One of the things I do not believe has ever been thrown around here is National having a program to help maintain council level camping facilities that continue to struggle with inflation and the normal effects of time.  

 

Every year we see more camps lost, mostly due to local inability to meet depreciation issues and changing health and safety codes.  If the outdoor program and camping are to be viable on the local levels of the councils, then it seems imperative to develop a method to help resolve these issues.  I know that while we have numerous places to do great outdoor stuff, the local fees for use continue to creep higher, and the type of people outside the program encountered continues to erode in basic awareness of common courtesies and protection of the facilities.  Having a council owned property that can be used economically and without huge transportation expenses is important.  

 

With that in mind, I really would like National to seriously look at putting together something on their level that could support these functions through the bigger donors they have access to.  If that were to be developed we might very well see an upsurge in the use of local camps due to improvements being done that often have been put off to the detriment of the facilities and the enjoyment of the camps, making them into that downward spiral of deterioration.  If we want to keep Scouting as a viable option for the financially challenges areas of the country, then we need to find a way to help them keep viable outdoor options as affordable as possible, but still with the level of adventure and fun that is found at higher priced places.

 

Related to this would also be a partial solution to the swinging door executives that is more and more common; again in the less prosperous and smaller councils.  In many areas of the country, the cost of living is seriously  out of control.  Starting executive salaries are fairly low, especially with the realities of the job.  In our council in So Cal, I have seen a dozen or more good executives forced to thrown in the towel simply because they could not afford to live here.  A program to supplement cost of living for younger executives in these councils might allow a greater level of success and simply enough time on the job to develop their skills.  

 

I suppose that basically, I would like to see National shift a higher level of focus onto the local levels.  It is at the local level that the greater program will live or die.

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I have to agree with most of you. If you build it, and build it right, going back to the beginning of the BSA with what worked and reemphasizing those aspects is the best starting point.

BSA in the 21st century has become a stronghold for techno geeks and the outdoor program is practically gone in most areas. skeptic, I agree with your last post but the problem with the approach is that National loves to see camps fail so they can have the council sell them off and get their share of the money. In my council the last camp left standing last year had severe plumbing problems which closed it for the summer. The council SE rented a school auditorium and held a battle bot workshop instead for a week. He stated that they made a much larger profit on it then they ever did for camp. The result was the SE and council board sold the camp without informing any of the council unit leadership. The council  lost over 50% of their scouts and 65% of their chartered units. The sad truth is this kind of action by councils and National seems to be the future path of the BSA, with no one able to stop it.

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My concerns is that we are losing our core focus: the outdoors. Now more than ever, kids need the outdoors.

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The sad part about it all is other groups are now emphasizing outdoor programs and are more successful at it than the BSA.  That's not a good sign for BSA.

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...

 

I suppose that basically, I would like to see National shift a higher level of focus onto the local levels.  It is at the local level that the greater program will live or die.

 

Absolutely. Here is where Stosh's take care of your people comes in. A 5 year plan I'd like to see is: 1) Find one unit in each council that wants to turn things around. 2) Help them turn things around. 3) Repeat. 4) If the council can't do that then fix the council. I suppose 0) is: Believe in scouting. Anyway, this would do more to help the BSA then any of the vacuous blather I read in that speech.

 

Once they started turning troops and packs around they'd learn what to put into all of the training, they'd learn how to structure round tables, how to rewrite JTE, and plenty of other things.

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Dining halls are destroying our camps. An expensive totally useless addition all so the boys can fit in one more MB and have someone else do for a Scout what he can do for himself.

 

My concerns is that we are losing our core focus: the outdoors. Now more than ever, kids need the outdoors.

And dining halls are indoors.

 

In my council the last camp left standing last year had severe plumbing problems which closed it for the summer.

A house has plumbing problems, not a camp. All a camp needs is 1 single source of potable water, distribution can be handled by a truck pulling a 250 gal tank to each campsite a once a day. Oh, I get it, the Dining Hall had plumbing problems. Edited by King Ding Dong
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My boys chose to go to a mess hall camp with little cabins.  Wait 'til they realize what they are doing does not get 5 days of camping by sleeping in a cabin, no matter how small it may be.  Tents will be available for those that wish to get camping days credit..... and stoves and dutch ovens for cooking credit....  :)

Edited by Stosh
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When I was a youth member, my Council camp issued groceries, and we cooked 3 meals a day in the campsite.

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Soon "Reservation" in the title of camps will be be replaced with "Resort" followed by "Bankrupt".

 

When I was a youth member, my Council camp issued groceries, and we cooked 3 meals a day in the campsite.

Some still do fortunately.

 

We require the boys to cook for 2 days and nice a month, but heaven forbid they do it for 6.

 

Does anybody here really enjoy dining hall food? I find it less than appetizing.

Edited by King Ding Dong

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Dining halls are destroying our camps. An expensive totally useless addition all so the boys can fit in one more MB and have someone else do for a Scout what he can do for himself.

 

And dining halls are indoors.

 

A house has plumbing problems, not a camp. All a camp needs is 1 single source of potable water, distribution can be handled by a truck pulling a 250 gal tank to each campsite a once a day. Oh, I get it, the Dining Hall had plumbing problems.

 

Agree with dining halls allowing more time for 1 more MB.  I hate the fact that camps are turning into MB factories. We are going to a camp that I haven't been to in 17 years, and it's a MB factory. It's over organized IMHO, with even requiring registration for the night time activities.

 

However I must respectfully disagree with plumbing and camps. Unfortunately a lot of states are requiring plumbing at camps. Still, I'd rather use slit trench and pioneering "chair" instead of some facilities as they are horrible.

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Agree with dining halls allowing more time for 1 more MB.  I hate the fact that camps are turning into MB factories. We are going to a camp that I haven't been to in 17 years, and it's a MB factory. It's over organized IMHO, with even requiring registration for the night time activities.

 

However I must respectfully disagree with plumbing and camps. Unfortunately a lot of states are requiring plumbing at camps. Still, I'd rather use slit trench and pioneering "chair" instead of some facilities as they are horrible.

 

I would be interested in hearing more about that as I have not seen any Kybos being bulldozed in MO, IL, OH or WV. So the state is outlawing primitive camping? Seriously?

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"It Depends".    One of our Church camps ( three resident camps, one traveling camp), was required by the county to rebuild all the simple lean-to cabins into "bear resistant" cabins.  This meant double screened windows (open to the weather), one screening being heavy " hardware cloth", and the other being regular window screen.  The doors(double screened),  (at least two on opposite sides) must have a self closing mechanism and open onto a porch (with strong railings) sufficiently large to allow the door (must open out) to swing all the way open and allow the person to walk down any steps unimpeded.  Our camps are blessed with a carpenter that likes doing mortise and tenon construction.

Camp #2  has not been so required as of yet, just keep the mosquitoes out and the rain off (different state).  Camp #3  is by definition an "arts" camp, so "real" cabins are expected.  All three camps have a hiking, camp out session, maybe one half of the week is out of camp.     The traveling camp "Teen Adventure",  uses tents and tarps. Bicycle or canoe, they alternate each year. 

Scoutson , who went to Philmont twice (once as a Trek Leader), said he had more "roughing it" at our Teen Adventure, but learned more at his Scout Camps.

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It just occurred to me:   At the last Jamboree, AT&T sought initially to get every Scout to have an included Smart Phone. Am I remembering that right?   The whole site was to be WiFi wired. Each Camp had a tower. They were still wiring ours (Camp A) when I arrived. 

The idea of giving each Scout their own Smart phone was abandoned, but they tried to service all the folks that had such already.  The Daily Notes were not reliable, the recharging stations (solar powered!) became hangouts for the bored ("Hey! Mines up to 35%! Now it's 38%!"), and had to be rewired by cable to make'm work reliably. And the octopus connectors were collected as souvenirs by some (!).  I even remember that the shower house (Ambient!) plugs were placed off limits to phone charging out of fears of electrocution. 

 

Would this mean we might get a "BSA SUMMIT JAMBOREE" branded Ipad?   Ooops....

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