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RememberSchiff

Should BSA develop a "Classic Scouting"

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Posted (edited)

Any scout who camped for 50 nights under a canvas tent with two old blankets pinned for a bedroll knew a thing or two about camping. A laundry list of additional admin requirements probably was not necessary.

 

My BORs on the 70s, T thru FC, were all chaired by scouts and they were comprehensive on-site skills review. Signed off on the square lashing? Orienting a map? Prove it. And it better be right.

Edited by desertrat77
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My BORs on the 70s, T thru FC, were all chaired by scouts and they were comprehensive on-site skills review. Signed off on the square lashing? Orienting a map? Prove it. And it better be right.

 

That's how our Instructors work. Can't tie it, don't get it signed off.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, it is, and since this is all completely hypothetical anyway:  If the BSA wanted to satisfy everybody it would probably have to provide several different "Classic Scouting"s, maybe one for each decade from the 1910's to... whenever each person thinks "New Scouting" started.  I suspect some people in this forum would choose the "Classic Scouting" that corresponds to the period when they were Boy Scouts - the 50's, the 60's, maybe some people would even choose the 70's (meaning the "improved Scouting program"), although I know that is heresy among many here.  And then some of our younger members would choose the 80's, 90's or later.  

 

Or maybe we could pick and choose.  Maybe one person's "Classic Scouting" would be the 1979 handbook but with Bird Study added as an Eagle-required MB.  Maybe another's would be the 1972 handbook but with Camping Skill Award required for First Class (as it was after 1976-77 or so) and Camping and Cooking MBs also required for Eagle.  And for the more seasoned folks out there, maybe the 1959 handbook (the one with the smiling, waving Scout with the overseas cap on the cover) with whatever changes you would have liked to seen at the time.  There could be more different "Classic Scouting"s than Heinz has varieties.

 

Exactly. There could me many varieties of classic scouting.  

 

I think the rule should be that a classic scouting unit be authentic to the historical period they are reenacting.  No mix and matching.  Authentic reproductions of uniforms, tents, equipment, etc..

 

As with military reenactments, modern safety equipment and supplies would be on-site, but out of sight. They are only for emergencies.

 

I don't think most people would choose the time period that corresponds to their youth.  This has certainly not been the case with military reenactments.  There are very few modern era military reenactments.  Most choose either the American Revolution or the American Civil War.

 

I would guess that the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression would be popular eras for classic scouting reenactments.

 

I think others would reflect the history of their community, Chartered Organization, or local scout camp by choosing the era of their founding.

 

Classic scouting units would be a blast, and BSA would make a mint selling or licensing the reproductions of their uniforms and supplies.  Sadly, it will never happen.

Edited by David CO

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Posted (edited)

For those of you who aren't familiar with reenactments, they are not just for old guys like myself.  A lot of young people join reenactment groups.

 

Our neighboring public high school has a Civil War reenactment club with about 40 youth members.  It is very much a family activity.   

 

There are more boys camping out with the reenactments than there are Boy Scouts from that school.  

 

BSA is really missing something.  A lot of boys are very interested in history. History and camping is a great combination.

Edited by David CO

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@@RememberSchiff, your graphic is perfect. Succinct. If there was a green LMAO button I would hit it for you.

 

Anyway, that is why my scouts could care less about MBs.

 

We're classic in some of these things. We give out ranks at COHs, but do a big shout out after a BOR. We require scouts to pass a skills test, but if they don't know all the skills that's when they get to relearn it. My scouts like it because it's better to be embarrassed by an adult than a younger scout. I do like the Eagle project.

 

The issue seems to be that the process is being sped up. The mentality is replace a lot of experience with class work. This is causing a loss of the big picture. Honestly, who cares about 4 different types of tents? There's a trade off between weight and protection, you'll figure that out after you do enough camping.

 

My scouts made a monkey bridge last weekend. Every scout there now knows how to make a really good square lashing. And patrols did a great job dividing up the work and working as a big team. They also had a lot of fun. They made decisions and solved problems, they learned by doing, they had fun. That's the recipe. It takes time. There's no getting around that.

 

If classic scouts means let's focus on the big picture then I'm all for it. If it means going back to red tabs on knee high socks, no.

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When I saw Stosh's reference to "Classic Scouting" in the other thread, I thought he was referring to the "membership policies."  Perhaps I was incorrect.

 

There was a bit of the membership issue involved.  Why not go back to before the decline in membership to a program that the boys wanted.  Obviously they were coming in with the numbers in their "heyday".  Did the boys change and the numbers drop or did the program change and the numbers dropped?  I don't think BSA even knows.  

 

With the multiple organizations around "going back to the basics", doing outdoor field work, more camping, etc. I would think it might be a good time to try the old program to see if it was the program or society that changed causing the declining membership. 

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It also was normally done by the TLC or PLC, choose your dated acronym.  Leadership skill of major import: learn how to fairly evaluate success or failure of other scouts by peer review.

 

From some of the early literature, the testing for advancement was done by the Commissioners.

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This is by and far one of the most important needs.  Scout requirements need to be clear, concise and understandable.  Most importantly, they need to be scout sized and not a legalistic contract.  Perhaps, have the BSA annual requirements book have explanations for adult leaders on scope and size of the requirements.  

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As a biologist at heart, I do believe bird study should be required. In recent years, national and local debates about environmental issues are lost on many, simply because they aren't watching the flora and fauna in their community. Any required MB's should focus on mindfulness and observation, less on regurgitating facts.

 

Well, I don't believe that Bird Study should be an Eagle Requirement. It's too specialized. I do believe that Nature merit badge should be an Eagle Requirement for a similar reason  you think Bird Study should be required.  I also think the Sustainability merit badge should be immediately eliminated as an Eagle required badge--it's just too boring for the boys. 

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The social engineers at BSA ...

 

From outside, yes.  But the target isn't just BSA.  It's all groups including clubs, schools, government, churches, etc.  And the pressure to take sides is coming from both the liberal and conservative sides.   

 

From inside, there is no clandestine plot.  BSA is trying to continue a program in a world that is drastically changing:  Technology.  Values.  Institutions.  Population.  Nationalities.  Faiths.  BSA was created before radio was available.  Most people had out houses.  Few homes had electricity.  Flying was still experimental.  Conflict was Protestant versus Catholic. English versus new Irish immigrants, and German immigrants and Swedish and .... Now it's every nation, every faith and technology continues to accelerate.  Every institution today is fighting to adjust.  So is BSA.  

 

Just don't accuse BSA of social engineering.  It's not.  It's about fitting BSA to today's nation.  We can teach 1910 skills, but we can't exist as if it is 1910.   

 

===================================

 

If you want to run what you perceive as a classic scouting program within BSA, you can very much setup your troop that way.  There is little preventing that.  If you want to limit members in your troop to people fitting your charter org, you can do that.  But if you want to force 

 

====================================

 

I agree that there are many things BSA needs to change.  I just don't think there i some magical "classic scouting".

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Well, I don't believe that Bird Study should be an Eagle Requirement. It's too specialized. I do believe that Nature merit badge should be an Eagle Requirement for a similar reason  you think Bird Study should be required.  I also think the Sustainability merit badge should be immediately eliminated as an Eagle required badge--it's just too boring for the boys. 

Consider this recent NPR story regarding the ornithological inaccuracy in Hollywood. Surely this a problem that Scouting can solve! :)

 

So we birders are doomed to hear that same Red-tailed Hawk scream every time they show a Bald Eagle or some other raptor, and that same inappropriate Mourning Warbler song every time a commercial wants to convey a suburban atmosphere. That recording really gets around, which is strange because it’s an obscure and uncommon species that you would not hear in suburbia.

 

http://news.wgbh.org/2017/03/03/arts/plea-hollywood-get-your-bird-sounds-straight

 

Agree, that Sustainability is unnecessary and Nature MB was once Eagle required and should be again.

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Well, I don't believe that Bird Study should be an Eagle Requirement. It's too specialized. I do believe that Nature merit badge should be an Eagle Requirement for a similar reason  you think Bird Study should be required.  I also think the Sustainability merit badge should be immediately eliminated as an Eagle required badge--it's just too boring for the boys. 

 

Nature was a required MB, 1952-1972.  It became un-required at the same time as Camping and Cooking (both of which have since returned to the list), and at the same time that Swimming and Lifesaving became "optional required" badges. 

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Personally I think that tweaking of the required MB list is a really a separate issue from "Classic Scouting."  There have been so many changes to the required list over the years (see http://usscouts.org/eagle/EagleHistory.asp) that almost any change could be justified on the basis of "getting back to the good old days."  But as I have said before (probably too many times) I do think the required list has gotten too long and that the BSA should bite the bullet and make the difficult decision about which MB, and probably two, should be de-required.  If it were one, and I had a vote, my vote would be to de-require Family Life, and if there were a second, it would probably be Cit in the World.  They are both nice to have on the list, I would go as far as to say they are important, but they are not absolutely necessary in my opinion.  They both have a history of being both on and off the required list.  (Between 1952 and 1965, an Eagle Scout had to earn three of the four "Citizenship group" MB's, which were Cit in Nation, Cit in the Community, Citizenship in the Home (now called Family Life) and World Brotherhood (now called Cit in the World.)

 

Whether Sustainability remains on the list is irrelevant in my opinion, because it is "optional" with Environmental Science.  I am not really familiar with Sustainability, as I do not think any of the Scouts in my troop have ever earned it, and I have not read the requirements.  If it is so boring, then the vast majority will continue to go for Env Sci, not that that is a thrill-a-minute either.

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@@RememberSchiff, your graphic is perfect. Succinct. If there was a green LMAO button I would hit it for you.

 

Anyway, that is why my scouts could care less about MBs.

,,,

If classic scouts means let's focus on the big picture then I'm all for it. If it means going back to red tabs on knee high socks, no.

 

That's one more thing that's appealing about the original Camping requirements. There's no pretense about "Boy Scout Camping" or "only one long-term." It's quite clear with 50 nights that camping one week every summer is not gonna get you there, so go ahead count as many of those as you can fit in and still you gotta free up a good many weekends to get it done.  But, if you convince your family to start camping (as son #2's best friend did) you can report that to your counselor as well.

 

Think about that for a second. If your buddies are the odd ducks in your troop who are all about co-ed, go help some girl scouts camp. Earn the badge. If religion is your thing, go sleep under the stars at your church's retreats/missions. Earn the badge. BSA isn't trying to herd you into their corner to bump its participation numbers. If there's a school activity where you could camp at, go for it. Earn the badge.

 

From recruitment requirements to all of the service hour counting. All that "do a favor for your BSA" rhetoric gets pulled.

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In the UK we have the Baden Powell Scout Association. They split from the main branch of scouting and went their own way in the late 60s, or they would say, they carried on traditional proper scouting that the main branch abandoned. They have some traction where there are enthusiastic leaders. I see pictures and it's all lemon squeezer hats and staffs and shorts and socks with garters. To me, from the outside, it looks like a re-enactment society, though they get quite vexed if you state this. They would maintain they are just following the true path of scouting. Not my cup of tea, but I wish them well with it.

 

Ian

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