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Stosh

Where's the adventure that was promised?

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The program offers many paths.  It is up to you to decide what path your Troop takes.  As leaders, the question we have to ask is what is OUR goal for the Troop.

  • To get guys to Eagle Scout?
  • To teach life skills?
  • To develop indoor leadership skills?
  • To create true citizens?
  • To teach boys to lead in the outdoors?
  • To create and encourage independence?
  • Have scouting be fun for the boys?

What the goal is defines how you implement the program.

 

For me, the goal is to teach skills, independence and leadership using fun activities in the outdoors.  For me, Scouting is a game with a purpose played in the outdoors.  I can lament what I think other Troops are doing, I can itch and moan about "the Program", I can react to BSA pronouncements or I can focus on my goals for my Troop and Crew.

 

Looking forward, between now and when school starts in September, I've got 4 Troop camping trips (Klondike, camping and hiking, beach camping and bicycling based) , 2 Troop backpacking treks, 1 Troop week at summer camp, 1 Troop High Adventure trip to Sebase, 2 Crew backpacking treks, 1 Crew camporee (that we are backpacking into), 1 Crew campout (hiking among waterfalls) and 1 Crew whitewater rafting or canoeing trip.  On each of these trips, the Scouts are in charge - leading, teaching and having fun.  

 

My hope is that when they go off to college and beyond, they will decide with a group of friends to go camping or backpacking and without thinking take the lead in planning and doing the trip.  More importantly, I hope the skills, confidence and leadership they learn helps them lead in whatever path the choose in this world.

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My hope is that when they go off to college and beyond, they will decide with a group of friends to go camping or backpacking and without thinking take the lead in planning and doing the trip.  More importantly, I hope the skills, confidence and leadership they learn helps them lead in whatever path the choose in this world.

 

My expectation is that my First Class scouts should be able to do that now, certainly those in the PLC can. Granted they increasingly have to go "outside" of Scouting to hike and camp themselves.

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The thread seems to have broken down in a "T-FC skills vs Merit Bdge" type argument.  Unless I am wrong, and I know you will correct me if I am, the goal of every Scout is First Class. Which requires ZERO Merit Badges. So I guess I am missing the point of this discussion.  It is as it always has been.  The boys should be instructed and mentored to achieve First Class, then it is up to the boy to decide what, if any, interests, through Merit Badges,  and Rank advancements he decides to pursue.

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The adventure, back in the day, started with getting away from home, Mom, and Dad!

 

Yes our adventures were mostly thrifty, local adventures (hikes, campouts), but we scouts planned them and very often ventured without adults. 300ft? how about 3miles! And we didn't have cellphones; we sent a runner if anyone got hurt. Good lesson, don't get hurt. No earbuds, pay attention (situational awareness), lookout for your buddies. 

In another discussion I spoke of the chaos of new scouts. They go crazy on the elixir of independence and run as fast and as far as they can waiting for someone to yell, SSSSTOP!  The adventure for them is the distance to those far boundaries of boy run.

 

Schiff is right, adventure is really a simple thing that we seem to have turned into huge expensive treks that go around the world. Part of the problem is adults today seem to feel that scouts need to go through the right of passage of earning 1st Class. "Then" they can do the fun adventure stuff. I blame that on National's suggestion of "First Class in the First Year" promise.

 

I remember when our troop was young. We did a day trip to commercial climbing tower in downtown Oklahoma City where the scouts climbed for two hours. Our plan after was to eat pizza at a local restaurant about six blocks away. Without hesitating, the SM told the SPL that the adults would take the cars and meet the scouts at the restaurant. We drove off the SPL was assembling the scouts. The adults met scouts at the same time in front of the door. You would have thought that the talk of the day would have been the Climbing Tower, but it was about hiking the patrols through downtown OKC without any adults.  

 

Making simple independent decisions that impact the lives patrol mates is adventure. Learning from those decisions is adventure. Hey, lets squeeze in a little fishing, hiking, backpacking, canoeing and bike rides in there as well and those scouts are having adventures there friends only dream about.

 

I had a friend who had been a SM for eight months when he called me one night. He was Wood Badge trained under the old course and would not take any advice on leading his new troop of new scouts. His simple question to me was, "my scouts are bored to death of doing advancement on campouts. What can I do to fix that?".

 

I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into words. I'm not preaching about anti-advancement because I am very pro Eight Methods. But I think we need to train todays new adult leaders that the attraction of scouting is the active participation of new experiences. The simple adventure of hiking the last mile to a campsite at night. How about setting up camp in the dark, the rain or both.

 

LOL, I remember one ASM laughing at me as I hoped the rain in the distance while we drove to camp would hit us about the time we reached our camp sites. Do you realize how much confidence a boy builds by the simple act of setting up a tent in the rain? And in the Dark? It is amazing to watch. Truly! Their friends can't even imagine it.

 

Adventure is cooking the first meal with an older scout while he tells jokes. Adventure is chasing a rabbit or standing back as the local camp skunk walks by looking for food scraps. As I gave my SM friend a few suggestions, he was shocked to learn that our scouts have at least a couple hours of free time before preparing for supper. Free time never occurred to him because he never had free time at Wood Badge.

 

Imagine capture the flag after the campfire in the dark. Ah, adventure.

 

Some of my favorite adventure moments as a scout were the great discussions over the patrol campfire. As a eleven and twelve year old, I learned a lot about cars, fighter airplanes, girls and movies from those discussions. Funny, I knew most of the key phrases from George C. Scott in his character of Patton before I ever saw the movie. I remember thinking as I watched the movie for the first time that it wasn't as good as how my patrol mates told it. LOL

 

Adventure is doing something different in their patrol than if they stayed home. It's not as hard as it sounds. How can we explain that to new scout leaders?

 

I haven't said it in a while, but I love this scouting stuff.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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@pchabdo, for point of reference, the crew president decided to devote last nights meeting to fire-starting skills.  Each member successfully kept to one match - except for the oldest, most impatient and easily distracted venturer.

 

Long range goal: multi-point insertion, land-navigation, and general survival drill. (Or as we used to say growing up: a walk in the woods to some cool campsite in the middle of nowhere.)

 

I don't talk adventure anymore. I'm about resourcefulness. Be resourceful, and the adventure will come.

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Adventure is doing something different in their patrol than if they stayed home. It's not as hard as it sounds. How can we explain that to new scout leaders?

 

 

This isn't the whole answer, but maybe part of it:

 

I've heard it said that scouting should not be presented like school subjects. Entirely the opposite whenever possible, in fact. If a leader finds themselves running a unit like a classroom, they need to stop what they're doing and reassess their methods. 

 

I saw a video recently that showed how to make a faux campfire ring for indoor use at den meetings. It had small rocks glued around a wooden circle with holes for tea light candles. To me, that's the classroom version of scouting. Often parents try to adapt outdoor ideas to indoor use to make it easier or more time-efficient to quickly pull together a weeknight meeting at someone's house. I get it, it's not always easy to do real adventure. 

 

But at the same time, it's not as hard as some might think. I can throw together a real backyard campfire faster than I can make a fake indoor one. If that's not possible in a particular area, there's probably a park nearby, or someplace outdoorsy that will work. 

 

I think it starts there. New leaders need to know that the adventure of scouting isn't in a classroom or a living room. 

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I agree, but with a twist. To me it's not so much rural vs. urban, as it is outdoors vs. indoors. The scouting program is trying to be all things to all people...you know, jack of all trades and master of none. That dilutes its core strengths. I do tons of SM conferences, and I always ask, "what is your favorite thing" or some variant. All the boys, without exception,enjoy the camping. Nobody has ever said, "the STEM activities" or "the NOVA awards", anything remotely approaching that. There's nothing wrong with these being available program, but the emphasis that the national organization puts on them is just nuts. 

 

The boys love camping and other outdoor activities...we need to focus the program on that. 

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Is the focus outdoors or is there more to it than just that?

 

It's more than just "outdoors", it's "outdoors activities". If you take the scouts to the park to work on their NOVA award or their STEM stuff, of to give them some kind of a presentation, it's still too much like school. School is for school and scouts is not...not that learning can't happen. But sitting a bunch of boys down to receive yet another talk by an adult isn't going to cut the mustard even if it is outdoors.

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90 percent of the world doesn't know that the BSA has less adventure or a different kind of adventure than 100 years ago. The vast majority of of the community (including BSA adult leaders) believe today's scouting has just as much adventure as any troop in history. In fact, l would challenge that troops today have more adventure than most troops in the past. My dad's troop in the early 1940s walked to all their camp outs. Any adventure beyond 10 miles out of town was unheard of.

 

So I'm wondering how we should look at today's adventure in perspective of today's program.

 

Barry

 

 

Part of the problem here is that national, as well as parents, wouldn't allow this to happen. The same is true with a lot of "adventure" in light of the Guide to Safe Scouting. And of that is that we just live in a different society. We have to find different kinds of adventure.

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Question for you, do you have an equivalent of what we call Scouting Active Support Units? (SAS) They vary what they do across the country. Some are effectively social clubs for mostly retired leaders but what the best ones do is provide the really stretching adventurous activities. They are typically staffed by a group of like minded scouters and those who would like to be but who’s schedules don’t allow them to be somewhere every week. Typically each weekend they have a different troop or unit with them. SAS provide the equipment and the instructors. In some cases it’s to give a taster of what it is all about. In other cases they run a longer course to get qualifications at the end.

 

There’s one close to us that offers Gliding that we’ve been to a couple of times, another one in the Peak District that offers rock climbing that we’ve used. Others that do caving, sailing, kayaking. It allows troops and units to get out and do things even when they don’t have scouters with the necessary qualifications or experience.

 

They are a great way of being able to offer the really stretching stuff without every troop or unit needing qualified instructors. If you don’t have an equivalent it might be something that BSA should think about.

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This comment has more to do with the co-ed scouting thread, but it see,ed like it belongs here. I think it is so easy for us, as adults, to forget how 'big' a relatively small event can feel to kids. And, weirdly, I think safe scouting deprives kids of real adventure and substitutes manufactured adventure.

Last summer, I went camping with friends and my boys. We were at a state forest on the edge of a lake. Our older boys (both nine years old) wanted to camp alone. There was an island about 200 yards from our campsite, so we let them pack their stuff for the night in a canoe and paddle over/camp alone. They got to build their fire, cook their dinner, and sleep alone. To hear them talk about it, you'd think they had summited Everest. But they can't do that in Scouts- everything is very controlled. Maybe that will change as they hit Boy Scouts, maybe not. But it's an area where I feel like Scouts is failing. Kids have so many opportunities to go on cool trips- after school clubs, parents, etc. They have few opportunities to really feel like they've had an adventure on their own. Scouts should provide that, but often doesn't.

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Maybe that will change as they hit Boy Scouts, maybe not. But it's an area where I feel like Scouts is failing. Kids have so many opportunities to go on cool trips- after school clubs, parents, etc. They have few opportunities to really feel like they've had an adventure on their own. Scouts should provide that, but often doesn't.

 

It won't change in Boy Scouts. If they are 200 yards away by canoe, alone on an island, then I suspect that's a bit too far to really get to them in an emergency.

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This comment has more to do with the co-ed scouting thread, but it see,ed like it belongs here. I think it is so easy for us, as adults, to forget how 'big' a relatively small event can feel to kids. And, weirdly, I think safe scouting deprives kids of real adventure and substitutes manufactured adventure.

Last summer, I went camping with friends and my boys. We were at a state forest on the edge of a lake. Our older boys (both nine years old) wanted to camp alone. There was an island about 200 yards from our campsite, so we let them pack their stuff for the night in a canoe and paddle over/camp alone. They got to build their fire, cook their dinner, and sleep alone. To hear them talk about it, you'd think they had summited Everest. But they can't do that in Scouts- everything is very controlled. Maybe that will change as they hit Boy Scouts, maybe not. But it's an area where I feel like Scouts is failing. Kids have so many opportunities to go on cool trips- after school clubs, parents, etc. They have few opportunities to really feel like they've had an adventure on their own. Scouts should provide that, but often doesn't.

 

One of the problems is that BSA has to make rules that apply to EVERYONE. It is apparent that your boys are sufficiently mature and responsible that they can camp "on their own" like that and do it safely and well. But there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of boys in scouting that are not able to do that. And it's not necessarily a function of age. We have a good troop with good scouts, but still a lot of them have a lot of problems. There's no way I am taking some of those boys camping and taking any kind of responsibility if they are going to be camping on an island 200 yds away. I hear what you are saying, and I agree to a large extent, but you just can't do it with some of these scouts. And so you can't do it with any of them.

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It won't change in Boy Scouts. If they are 200 yards away by canoe, alone on an island, then I suspect that's a bit too far to really get to them in an emergency.

Why would that be?  Really.

 

Are the adults not "on the outing" if they are 200 yards away by canoe?  When canoeing, do they have to stay closer than that?  Says who?

Edited by TAHAWK

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Why would that be?  Really.

 

Are the adults not "on the outing" if they are 200 yards away by canoe?  When canoeing, do they have to stay closer than that?  Says who?

 

Having been to NT and had the riot act read to me -- for letting my crew, properly set up and following extreme bear protocol, do essentially what is being described here -- I am offering a personal experience. Personally, I would love nothing more than to allow something like this experience. It *IS* totally awesome. But the reality of lawyers, risk and liability make doing this in this day and age very, very unlikely.

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