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MattR

Are we really helping anyone?

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I think that when someone gives advice that is contrary to National's guidance (and sometimes policies) on a subject, they should at least acknowledge that fact.

If only there was a moderator function that could enforce such an idea. ;)

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If only there was a moderator function that could enforce such an idea. ;)

If there was a broad concensus we might. We try very hard to not appear to be censoring posts.

 

Another option is to "Mark as solved". I have done this to your post. Maybe flagging the right answer is a better way to accomplish that?

Edited by Sentinel947

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yes, I think it's helpful

helpful to brainstorm ideas

helpful in knowing that we aren't alone in some of these problems

helpful as a way to just think about scouting and scouting type stuff every now and then

helpful to see questions from others, that might not be something we ever even thought of before... thinking outside the box

....and helpful to read about a success story like yours every now and then.  For many folks, those don't happen very often.

 

Some folks have a personality type geared to looking for problems, dissecting problems, etc... in a way to be positive

to other personality types this often seems very negative on many levels

but to that first person it's not meant to be, and not taken as negative at all....

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It's always disheartening to me that when people come to this board seeking advice or recommendation about problems within their troop, the most common answer given is very often "find a new troop, this one will never change," but that's just like sweeping dirt under a rug; i.e. the real problem is never actually addressed and these troops continue to operate however they please...and the BSA (and their Charter Orgs) just let them do it.

 

I so fully agree.  It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.  Sort of like laughing at the oxymoron: military intelligence.  BSA is a faith based program who's main quality control tool is the Darwin principle.  Essentially, let the weak, bad or mis-directed units die.  The trouble is that the bad or mis-directed units are not always the weak units.  And if they are all the weak units, the unit can continue damaging youth and setting a bad name for scouting until the unit dies.  

I don't know the answer, but this is a huge issue.  

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Matt:   I call it the "Wake" effect.  Our passage thru life affects many others, and hopefully we have an effect that helps rather than hinders.

 

The smile I give, the door I hold open, the branch I don't let slap back into the face of the fellow behind me on the trail...  all do something to let that "other"  go on their way without feeling worse than when they encountered me, because then the next person THEY encounter may get a better response, a better smile, a slower door closing and that may make THEIR passage more worth while and then they may stop and help with that flat tire....   One wave can affect many boats.

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Well at least we are helping more than bsalegal.com

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Edited by RememberSchiff

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I marked @@SSF's reply as the best, and an honorable mention to @@The Latin Scot. Essentially, they are relatively new here and I'm more interested in what they have to say. For all of you that have 1000's of posts, asking you about this forum is like asking an alcoholic about the benefits of wine - no new information to be gained. :)

 

I'd certainly like to see more new people here. I really like scouts. I think it's more important to encourage people to join us than hash out every detail. It seems like there are not many people posting the majority of the posts. Furthermore, the bulk of the posts are off in the weeds. It doesn't seem that those posts are encouraging anyone to stick around.

 

@@Sentinel947 started a good-news thread and while some of you mentioned that all the feel good stuff doesn't add anything, I think it does. Maybe different people respond differently but knowing scouting works is a lot more encouraging, especially to the newcomers, than knowing where all the problems are.

 

I agree that there are multiple ways to solve problems and rooting out those methods do a lot of good but it sure would be nice to see a bit more acceptance of other people's approaches. How about a FAQ that includes a section for any of the usual arguments?

 

However, it seems a lot of you are okay with the threads that go on and on. I won't get in your way.

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MattR, since you're interested in newer members' opinions, i'll share mine. After lurking a while, my first post included:

 

Discussions on uniforms brought me here. The discussions on topics I hadn't even considered have kept me here.

 

I found Scouter.com to be helpful before I officially joined. I still do. I read most everything posted, but as was stated earlier I gloss over some. For example, certain Cub topics don't interest me as much since my son crossed over. And while Col Flagg's thread tangent road sign could be used almost daily I often enjoy the alternate paths thru the woods that some topics take. It certainly does seem that the few are making the majority of the posts, but what bothers me are the one-and-done posters. Far too many, but that is the reality of forums I suppose. So to your question - how to get them to stick around? Service Stars!  Seriously, IDK. For me it's summed up so well by Barry: "I love this Scouting stuff." I'll continue to sponge it up as much as I can because I'm passionate about it. I don't have as much to contribute as some, but I've benefited from the thoughts of many. So yes, MattR. You are really helping people. 

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Yeah, I have often pondered this.

My gut tells me that there are just not all that many folks that are

a) hungry enough for scouting to sit back and "gossip" like this

b) and have the time to do it

c) and are "digitally inclined" to dally around in an online forum setting

 

I think there are a lot of energetic volunteers out there that are willing to put their hour a week in face to face with their scout and their unit, but they have a limit

 

Many don't go to round tables regularly, and this in my mind is sort of like a modern twist to the round table.

Some of these folks do attend round table, participate on district and council level stuff, etc... and put in much more than their hour a week.

And if you figure a few percent of those folks do go online.....and add to that a few percent of folks like me that no longer regularly attend traditional RT's but are still interested and energetic.... but this number gets split between several different online options...blogs, podcasts, etc...

    so maybe it's about all that can be expected?

 

It is surprising though.  Other forums on other hobby topics are much more active

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I will try hard not to take offense at being compared to an alcoholic. :mad:

 

Over the many years, I have learned much from this forum and unlike dialog with National, I have received response(s)! I would like more new members to join in the discussion. Unlike a regular Round Table, we are not able to elicit a response from those lurking in a topic.

 

Here's a brief list of some of my take-aways, in no particular order.

 

1. When being told a BSA policy, procedure, policy, ASK WHERE IS THAT WRITTEN! Not written, just an opinion. Note many members post corroborating links when they respond.

 

2. Learn to say NO. Balance your time, family is MOST important, Scouting is further down the list.

 

3. Most likely the only way to fix a problem with a scout unit is to transfer to another. Childhood years are short and will not come again.

3a. Not having fun, it is time to go.

 

4. It is okay to have second thoughts, even drop, program aspects that are not delivering locally - OA, FOS, JTE, WB,

 

5. It is becoming more common to take an activity "outside of scouting" as a unit family activity.

 

6. Not all Methods are equal.  Patrol Method. Patrol Method. Oh and Patrol Method.

 

7. The frustrating "Nod and Wink" (having it both ways) is everywhere. There are always exceptions/contradictions to BSA rules.

 

8. Transfer camp properties to a trust outside the reach of council.

 

9. Don't count on Council to support you in any confrontation with parents.

 

10. Don't count on BSA insurance (do you personally have a copy of the policy?), carry your own liability insurance.

 

11. Yes the Eagle Scout project is a scout activity. Yeah seemed obvious to me too.

 

12. Parents want their kids to carry their phone, deal with it. Remember the no-electronics discussion?

 

13. Sadly most CO's and Eagle Scouts are not involved in Scouting.

 

14. There has been much constructive criticism here regarding to all the changes in Medical form. (SS#, body fat, photo permission, carrying meds) and rank/award requirements. National just could not get it right.

 

15. There is much constructive criticism here regarding WB, NYLT, JLT,... Some members  have posted their old training materials! Thanks!

 

16. The merit badge program  appears broken at council level while some troops are handling the merit badge program rather well. Takeway, work on recruiting parents and setting up a program within troop. Recruiting talent outside of scouting is difficult at best.

 

16. Most scouting is local, i..e., most will not attend a HA center, Jamboree, or go on a distant trek.

 

Above is a partial list.

 

My $0.02,

Edited by RememberSchiff
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sidetrack I guess, but

what do you mean by #5?

 

#10 is interesting.  I don't recall reading about any issues there one way or the other.  We are not currently carrying any extra insurance.

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sidetrack I guess, but

what do you mean by #5?

 

#10 is interesting.  I don't recall reading about any issues there one way or the other.  We are not currently carrying any extra insurance.

 

 

#5. Activities not allowed or constrained by GSS. There have been discussions in the past about paint-ball, water guns,... In the past, some members have mentioned their unit holds those activities "outside of scouting" as a family activity.

 

#10. I was referring to your own personal liability insurance. As I recall, @@Stosh was one who suggested this. Seemed like a good idea.

Edited by RememberSchiff

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sidetrack I guess, but

what do you mean by #5?

 

#10 is interesting.  I don't recall reading about any issues there one way or the other.  We are not currently carrying any extra insurance.

 

#5: BSA restricts too much. Laser tag, 3d target shoots, water pistols, water balloons, paint ball, etc. I tell my patrols and crew that if they want to do these things, have a group activity, ditch the unit shirts and enjoy yourselves.

 

#10: BSA insurance covers very little. You need PERSONAL liability insurance. Even the RSO insurance you get from firearms and archery training does not cover what it should. I write the cost of my additional personal insurance off as an expense. The annual cost for $1m coverage is pennies compared to what would happen if I got sued for some kid running in to an archery range I am running DESPITE following all the protocols to keep him out.

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#5: BSA restricts too much. Laser tag, 3d target shoots, water pistols, water balloons, paint ball, etc. I tell my patrols and crew that if they want to do these things, have a group activity, ditch the unit shirts and enjoy yourselves.

 

 

 

From the Boy Scouts of America Website:

 

Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized. This prohibition includes archery tag. Scout units may plan or participate in paintball, laser tag, or similar events where participants shoot at targets that are neither living nor human representations. Units may participate in formally organized historical reenactment events, where firearms are used and intentionally aimed over the heads of the reenactment participants. The use of paintball guns, laser guns, or similar devices may be utilized in target shooting events following the Sweet 16 of BSA Safety.

 

 

There is a very specific list of restricted activities in the guide to safe scouting.  The above happens to be one of those paragraphs in that list.  No where does it say that National is restricting or banning water balloons.  Councils may do so but that's a Council rule - and you'll need to take it up with them on why they've decided to do so.  Very often, people come away from training for something like Day Camp Program where it will be suggested that instead of using water balloons, use sponges for water fights - the sponges are re-usable (and therefore thriftier), more environmentally sound (and therefore cleaner) and if you get the right kind of sponge, can be used more than one time in one load of water and when these folks come back, they pronounce it as if it's some kind of restriction or against policy.  Of course, you can come in to this forum and get the real scoop from us oldies with more than a thousand posts if you care to.

 

There is, however, restrictions regarding laser tag, water pistols, paintball, etc.  It's actually a very simple restriction - you can't point at or shoot at people or depictions of people (manikins, people shaped targets, etc.).  You can still do target shooting - you just can't have people as your target.  For some reason, there are people who just can't seem to grasp that the BSA does this for perfectly valid reasons.  First, doing so goes against everything they teach about rifle, shotgun and archery safety.  Rule #1 in all cases?  Never aim your weapon at someone.  Ever.  The BSA teaches TARGET shooting as a sport.  You don't see Olympic athletes shooting at targets of people during competition, do you?   Second - the BSA is NOT a martial organization.  We have cool uniforms (or maybe not so cool) and all kinds of bling on them, kind of like the military, but we are NOT the military.  Want to shoot at depictions of people?  Join the Army, the Marines - let THEM teach you about shooting at other people.  Beyond that one restriction on paintball or laser tag, you're free to have a Troop outing to use paintball guns to shoot at targets all you want.  

 

There is not one restriction or ban by National that takes away from the fun of Scouting.  What takes away from the fun of Scouting is the lack of imagination of people who look at that list and jump right to the conclusion that they can't do anything.  If you're one of those people, it isn't National that is the problem, its you.  There are hundreds of things out there for Scouts to do - more than a Scout will be able to get to in a Scouting career.  When's the last time your Scouts played horseshoes?  I'm gonna hazard a guess and say never.  Go Bowling.  Go Canoeing.  Folks are always complaining their Eagle Scouts can't tie knots - so go do something that requires the use of knots.  Go do some orienteering.  Get together with a local nature center and go on a night hike looking for owls.  There are generations of Scouts who never had these activities available to them in the first place and yet may have had a lot more fun in Scouting than Scouts do today. 

 

 

Also - on this:

 

#10: BSA insurance covers very little. You need PERSONAL liability insurance. Even the RSO insurance you get from firearms and archery training does not cover what it should. I write the cost of my additional personal insurance off as an expense. The annual cost for $1m coverage is pennies compared to what would happen if I got sued for some kid running in to an archery range I am running DESPITE following all the protocols to keep him out.

 

This is a great idea - but do check you policy documents carefully - both your Personal liability insurance and/or your Unit's liability insurance.  You know all those restrictions?  I've said this before but it bears repeating - it is incidental that these restrictions protect the Scouts - they are really there to protect the corporation known as the BSA.  In a lawsuit or an insurance settlement discussion, the BSA can point to that restriction on having paintball battles between Patrols to reduce or even eliminate their liability.  Just having that policy there and readily available is often enough to shift the liability down to you.  So you have this nice, shiny liability policy of your own.  That's great if there is an incident and you've been following the rules.  But if you don't follow the rules?  If the BSA's insurance company can point to that rule and say your broke it so therefore they aren't paying, your own insurance company can do the same.  Its very possible that your own insurance company has a clause in your policy that states that they don't have to pay if you weren't following the rules.

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