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

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the way you describe it certainly makes it sound a bit tedious! The High Adventure camps sound more fun though.

 

As a troop we typically schedule some time where we run a selection of activity badges for the scouts that's typically half a day of the week. I think we're farely typical. We also try o have a day or two off site somewhere and give the scouts plenty of free time to do their own thing. Last year was particularly good in that respect. They spent a lot of time getting to know a group of scouts from a particularly tough bit of East London. Bit of an eye opener for my quite sheltered middle class lot.

 

I don't know when summer camps over here started doing MB classes, but it was happening in the 1980s. I remember we had 5 class periods, 6 it you included Astronomy at night, and 4th and 5th were open swimming, boating, and shooting sports. 

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Of course the real reason to pitch when the troop has a cabin: the aroma of all your mates! :blink:

 

A teenager memory.....

 

As a venture scout I did a winter skills mountaineering course in Scotland. The accommodation was cabins with about 10-12 Venture Scouts per cabin, pretty cramped in.

 

At the end of the course we did a 3 day/2night high camp above the snow line. Virtually everyone put on a thermal base layer the morning of day 1 and didn't take it off until late afternoon on day 3 when we got back to the cabins.

 

10 boys aged around 16. In one small room. Wearing clothes they hadn't changed for 3 days which they had done strenuous exercise in.

 

The smell was extraordinary!

 

We all ended up putting our thermals in a bin bag and dumping the bag outside. 

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But I'm not talking about Astronomy or Journalism (saw that at 1 camp I worked at) or any MB at night. I'm talking about night time programs.

My son earned Law merit badge over 3 or 4 nights at summer camp. The counselor was a local attorney who came up to the camp after work and worked with the kids on the badge. I suspect the nighttime Journalism MB sessions at your camp were for a similar reason.

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That may be true if one focuses on the Boy Scout part of the program. Learning for Life, Venturing, STEM CELLS , Cubs (including the new Lions program), and SeaScouts take away resources from the small part being alluded to... which one of the programs are growing and which ones are not. Guess who gets the attention.

But Stosh, the comment of yours that I was responding to was this:

 

Comparing historical scouting to today's scouting is apples and oranges. A small group of boys in the woods doing camping, hiking and cooking verses a coed group in a STEM classroom are worlds apart. So where were BSA's basket of eggs the first half of its history and where are they now? Are we talking the same program? Is what we promote today as scouting anything remotely what Baden-Powel had in mind when he started?

Now you're talking about something different. But let's look at the programs you mention: Sea Scouts has been part of the BSA since 1912, Cub Scouts since 1930, and Venturing (under the names "Senior Scouts" and Exploring since the 1930's or 40's depending on what source you read. All of those sound pretty "historical" to me. All of them have been around since the "first half" of the BSA's history.

 

As for STEM (STEM CELLS, that's very cute), I have to tell you that I have never seen it in real life. The STEM Scouting program is still a pilot program in a few councils. I also have never seen the in-troop STEM program. All references I have ever seen to either of these programs were in this forum and in BSA-related pages that were linked to from posts in this forum. In fact, Stosh, I would have to say that the majority of mentions of "STEM Scouting" that I have ever seen were in in YOUR posts. You mention it more than every other member of this forum, combined. So who's "promoting" it? The BSA should be paying you, because you provide more marketing services for STEM Scouting than the BSA does itself. One would think you actually liked the program.

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the way you describe it certainly makes it sound a bit tedious! The High Adventure camps sound more fun though.

 

As a troop we typically schedule some time where we run a selection of activity badges for the scouts that's typically half a day of the week. I think we're farely typical. We also try o have a day or two off site somewhere and give the scouts plenty of free time to do their own thing. Last year was particularly good in that respect. They spent a lot of time getting to know a group of scouts from a particularly tough bit of East London. Bit of an eye opener for my quite sheltered middle class lot.

Tedious must be British for wrong. I remember going for two weeks and maybe completing 2 or 3 MBs as a scout. The rest of the time was summer camp. We learned outdoor skills and did them. We did lots of competitions. The only class setting was at the rifle range where a gruff old guy scared us into learning gun safety (that subsequently prevented a huge disaster in my life some 12 years later). We built towers. We went canoeing. We had fun all day. Now it's school. When I ask about scheduling time for summer camp things the response is sure, go for it, but you can't use any of the boats, lake, rifles, or any camp resources during scheduled classes. I sit in on classes and half of them are really naps being led by clueless counselors.

 

The underlying issue is the focus on the advancement method at the expense of the fun method (outdoors). The council's are not helping with this. They focus on MBs because that's what the parents ask for. They want teaching because eagle is all about MBs and everyone wants eagle. The result is unit's don't get much support and that is what Randall should be working on. Put the summer back in summer camp.

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The underlying issue is the focus on the advancement method at the expense of the fun method (outdoors). The council's are not helping with this. They focus on MBs because that's what the parents ask for. They want teaching because eagle is all about MBs and everyone wants eagle. The result is unit's don't get much support and that is what Randall should be working on. Put the summer back in summer camp.

I agree. Summer camp should be about fun, not school. But the parents don't agree. The worse comment I got from a scouter about summer camp was that their camp wasn't a merit badge mill, most scouts only earned six merit badges during the week. Six?! The idiot clearly didn't know what "merit badge mill" meant.

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Tedious must be British for wrong. I remember going for two weeks and maybe completing 2 or 3 MBs as a scout. The rest of the time was summer camp. We learned outdoor skills and did them. We did lots of competitions. The only class setting was at the rifle range where a gruff old guy scared us into learning gun safety (that subsequently prevented a huge disaster in my life some 12 years later). We built towers. We went canoeing. We had fun all day. Now it's school. When I ask about scheduling time for summer camp things the response is sure, go for it, but you can't use any of the boats, lake, rifles, or any camp resources during scheduled classes. I sit in on classes and half of them are really naps being led by clueless counselors.

 

The underlying issue is the focus on the advancement method at the expense of the fun method (outdoors). The council's are not helping with this. They focus on MBs because that's what the parents ask for. They want teaching because eagle is all about MBs and everyone wants eagle. The result is unit's don't get much support and that is what Randall should be working on. Put the summer back in summer camp.

 Tedious means dull and repetitive!

 

Your description of your summer camps as a kid sounds bit more like it.

 

One of the best badge sessions we ran was when we had a student leader who was studying mechanical engineering. He had a second hand car that was so old and broken down that it was only being held together by the rust! He drove it to camp and let 4 of the scouts loose on it to do their mechanics badge. They loved it and finished covered in grease and oil. It was great!

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My son earned Law merit badge over 3 or 4 nights at summer camp. The counselor was a local attorney who came up to the camp after work and worked with the kids on the badge. I suspect the nighttime Journalism MB sessions at your camp were for a similar reason.

 

Actually the reason for the night time class was to get a feel for actual newspaper work with printing deadlines. During the day, the Scouts were suppose to take photos and chase after news stories. Nighttime was when they met, decided on the best stories and photos, edited them, and printed the camp "newspaper" (ok it was actually a single page back and front handout, but it looked great) in time for handing out at breakfast each morning. Photos would also be used for the closing campfire each week, and for camp promo videos.

 

 

I agree. Summer camp should be about fun, not school. But the parents don't agree. The worse comment I got from a scouter about summer camp was that their camp wasn't a merit badge mill, most scouts only earned six merit badges during the week. Six?! The idiot clearly didn't know what "merit badge mill" meant.

 

It's also what some Scouts want too. One of my Scouts is taking all Eagle required MBs except one. He has enough electives to get Life and Eagle, taking a bunch of fun ones in the past. The one fun MB he's taking is one that has an age restriction at this camp, and was not offered at the camp we went to last year.

 

I hope that my son doesn't feel pressured to take only Eagle required next year since he is in a similar situation. If he completes the partials from last year (meeting with the MBC for two is a pain due to his work schedule), and completes everything he starts this summer, he will only need to do Eagle required MBs. Sad thing is I've suggested doing some fun things for next year and 2018, and he's not interested. Hope that changes.

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Can't you go to one of these camps and simply self program?

Yes. you can.  My old troop did that every other year - well, twelve times in twenty-five years.  Council camps were for experiences we could not supply - like motor-boating.  We did the "Scoutcraft" part better than a council camp because we had far better staff overall.   Much more room so every patrol was in its own "troop site."  Food was what they wanted and that they cooked.  Iron Chef patrol competition every Thursday.  Much lower cost.  Arrive Friday.  Leave nine days later.  Compare that to the five days of a "week" at council camp.

 

The new President means well, just like Council Presidents, most of whom also know little about Scouting.  He talks as he does because that is the language of the world he knows best.  Does he understand that Scouting has two very different classes of "customer" - boys and parents?  Does he know that B.S.A., on its part, behaves as if its "customers" are donors?

 

Indeed, B.S.A. needs to act differently.  B.S.A.  has misplaced the Patrol Method (Many of its employees don't even know what it is, describing it on Scouter.org as a aspect of the boy-led troop [ :blink:  ].), reduced the effort to train adult and youth leaders (less time to train new SMs; elimination of district-level youth leadership training), deemphasized the outdoor program (JTE calls a lock-in playing video games a "weekend campout") and lost track of its true "core constituency" by focusing on sources of donations to meet payroll rather than parents with Scouting-aged boys.  It's as if AT&T had confused communication with copper wire. 

 

WE NEED MORE SCOUTS AND MORE AND BETTER-TRAINED  VOLUNTEER LEADERS.  If this is not effectively addressed, nothing else will matter.

 

YMMV

Edited by TAHAWK

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(JTE calls a lock-in playing video games a "weekend campout")

 

Please tell me this is a bad joke!

 

 

 

EDITED: WOW!  I looked up the FAQs and #24

24.Do YMCA lock-ins to work on swimming requirements, lock-ins at indoor climbing facilities, etc. count as short-term camping for JTE purposes?

 

Yes, these activities do count as long as they’re troop outings.

 

On a positive spin, I can now say my troop does 11 short-term campouts a year.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Innings are the new outings in Scouting.  Maybe our year program will be 9 innings and 3 outs like baseball. :laugh:

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Understanding the business case is one thing.  Liking it is another.

 

The business case is simple:  The local council licenses Scouting to a Partner to renew a Troop.  ScoutNet visibility moves from Troops to youth members, with no stops at patrol.

 

And another example of troop, troop, troop.

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It's also what some Scouts want too. One of my Scouts is taking all Eagle required MBs except one. He has enough electives to get Life and Eagle, taking a bunch of fun ones in the past. The one fun MB he's taking is one that has an age restriction at this camp, and was not offered at the camp we went to last year.

 

 

Well that Scout had a reality check after the first class with one of his Eagle required MBs he was told the amount of extra work that would need to be done at night during his free time and said no. Switched to a non-Eagle required MB that he was intersted in, and is spending as much free time as possible with the blacksmith working on Metalworking MB and learning about blacksmithing. He's having a blast, figuratively and literally.

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