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Scoutmaster Teddy

News from National Meeting?

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Mixed emotions on this.

 

I've read the studies and experienced it growing up in both Scouting and schools: boys and girls learn better in single gender environments.  I also know that girls do mature faster, and will see them taking over in leadership roles. That is already happening in Venturing and Sea Scouts.

 

But my biggest concern is the BSA changing the program majorly to accommodate girls. This quote on one of the slides posted on facebook from the meeting greatly concerns me: " Do current programs meet the character and leaderships needs of older girls?"

 

I'm sorry, but if girls want the BSA program, they need to accept it as is and not change it.

 

On the other hand, I see where GSUSA is not meeting the needs of girls, and BSA's  current (major emphasis)program would give them the challenges they want. I've seen seen coed Scouting work with Sea Scouts, Scouting overseas, Exploring and Venturing.

 

I see the handwriting on the wall, and I got questions and concerns about it. But I admit I am a selfish person on this one,  I want what is best for my sons.

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Mixed emotions on this.

 

I've read the studies and experienced it growing up in both Scouting and schools: boys and girls learn better in single gender environments.  I also know that girls do mature faster, and will see them taking over in leadership roles. That is already happening in Venturing and Sea Scouts.

 

But my biggest concern is the BSA changing the program majorly to accommodate girls. This quote on one of the slides posted on facebook from the meeting greatly concerns me: " Do current programs meet the character and leaderships needs of older girls?"

 

I'm sorry, but if girls want the BSA program, they need to accept it as is and not change it.

 

 

Agree.  IMO, raise the bar with the same rules and requirements for all.

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Agree.  IMO, raise the bar with the same rules and requirements for all.

It seems to me that the girls who are asking for this are asking for the same program: requirements, warts, and all.

The problem remains: how many such girls are there?

Enough to offset they boys of parents who count on unisex membership as the selling feature of the BSA and GS/USA's brand?

 

It's not about feasibility. Rogue scouters are doing this already (bling notwithstanding). So, it can be done. It's about market share, and in every instance except Indonesia at market takes decades to build.

So, news, real news, would be ten thousands of families petitioning BSA for such a program for their girls.

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But my biggest concern is the BSA changing the program majorly to accommodate girls. This quote on one of the slides posted on facebook from the meeting greatly concerns me: " Do current programs meet the character and leaderships needs of older girls?"

First of all, Eagle, where is the Facebook page you are talking about? I looked on the BSA's main Facebook page and could not find it. Or maybe it's because I don't really know how to use Facebook. Any help would be appreciated.

 

Second, I find that statement (the one you quoted, not anything you said) to be very puzzling.  I know of no reason to believe that the "character and leadership needs of older girls" are any different than the same "needs" for older boys.  Plus, I don't really know what it means.  The BSA has had programs for "older girls" for 45 years.  The Venturing and Sea Scouts programs, which you mention, provide character and leadership opportunities for them, as well as older boys.  If they are questioning the effectiveness of these programs, isn't that a different issue from the actual potential changes listed by 4CouncilsScouter above?  Those changes would open BSA programs to YOUNGER girls, ages 5 to about 13.  There are already programs for the older girls, though this potential change would presumably give the older girls the same option that the older boys have:  Stay in a troop, move to a crew/ship, or do both.

 

The other question I am left with (and maybe it is answered on the FB page you mention) is, 4CouncilsScouter said the CSE asked for the formation of a task force.  So was a task force formed?  Or will it be formed?  And who gets to be on that committee? Usually the composition of a task force, study committee, etc. pretty much determines the outcome.

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It seems to me that the girls who are asking for this are asking for the same program: requirements, warts, and all.

The problem remains: how many such girls are there?

 

I have not seen any signs that there a very many of them.  Now and then there will be an article about four girls somewhere or one girl somewhere else who want to be Boy Scouts.  These can somehow make it seem like there is more of a "movement" for this than there actually is.  Most of the articles in the past year or so have been about the same girl from New York who is an "unofficial member" of her brother's troop (I think) and who flies to meetings of a coed Scouts Canada troop but who wants to be an Eagle in the BSA.

 

I don't think this discussion at National is really being driven by teenage girls who want to be Boy Scouts anyway.  I could be wrong, but I think it is being driven by people AT NATIONAL who are really thinking more about CUB Scouts than Boy Scouts.  They may think that if they can get first-grade or kindergarten girls to join Tigers (or Lions, if any), that will really boost membership numbers.  And they may be right.  The question then becomes, will this lead to a loss of current and future male Cub Scouts?  Since one of the options is an all-girl Cub Scout pack, maybe not.

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Well from reading some commentary from gentleman who posted the pictures originally, I think my fears are truly legit now. There are folks proposing girls only camps.

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The other question I am left with (and maybe it is answered on the FB page you mention) is, 4CouncilsScouter said the CSE asked for the formation of a task force.  So was a task force formed?  Or will it be formed?  And who gets to be on that committee? Usually the composition of a task force, study committee, etc. pretty much determines the outcome.

 

Who sets the agenda and controls the information flow also has a tremendous impact on the outcome(s).

 

I, for one, would like to see some attention to improving the quality of the current program for the current "customers" before looking for new customers.    

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Who sets the agenda and controls the information flow also has a tremendous impact on the outcome(s).

I've been there.

 

I, for one, would like to see some attention to improving the quality of the current program for the current "customers" before looking for new customers.

I doubt that is the thinking at National, if they see a potential major increase in numbers and $$. To be fair, this mindset is not unique to the BSA, it is probably the same at most large organizations, whether non-profit or for-profit.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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An important word jumped out on that National slide:  FAMILY.

 

That's the key.

 

When I was in a small rural district several years ago, events often included the whole family.   The boys did their scouting thing, but there were also parents and girls camping as well, in a different area, socializing, and sometimes participating in events.  It seemed a bit odd at first but then it made sense. 

 

Everyone attended the flag ceremonies and the closing campfire.  The girls put on their GSA vests and stood with mom and dad. 

 

It worked. 

 

If you can get the whole family to go camping, and the program allows your daughters and your sons to be full fledged members--that will be a draw.

 

1 scouting organization for the whole family will be a boon.

 

I'm nostalgic as the next old scouter, but this is the way its going.

 

The girls are up for the challenge.  They can handle it.  The ones that want outdoor adventure will join.

 

"But the GSA should...."   Trust me, they don't and won't offer anything that resembles what the BSA does.  Two completely different mindsets and objectives.

 

Having an active Venture daughter getting ready for college, I can offer this observation:  some of the boys don't like the coed stuff at first but they get with the program pretty quickly.

 

My daughter says the folks that she gets resistance from are middle/older aged male scouters.  Ranging from the cold shoulder to patronizing to outright rude.  And trust me, she's not the sensitive type.

 

As I get older and more curmudgeonly, here is a quote I keep handy:

 

If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less.
- General Eric Shinseki

Chief of Staff, U. S. Army

Edited by desertrat77
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I live in an 2,000,000-population Standard Metropolitan Area area that, in the last thirty years, saw the biggest three banks, the biggest three S&Ls, the biggest three supermarkets, the biggest two big box stores (and K-mart soon to follow), the biggest three conventional department stores, the biggest three sporting goods stores, and the biggest three home-improvement stores all disappear.  With only one exception, when things got tough, they all tried to reach new customers with a variety of tactics and strategies, primarily opening new locations to "serve more customers."

 

 

Here's a non-original thought:  As the absolute and relative numbers of people using the wilderness has increased, BSA has deemphasized its outdoor program.  Evidence?  Outdoor program training is now only offered to the "Introduction" level and the hours for even that have declined by one-third recently (Fewer hours are now required for combined SM-Specific and IOLS than were once required for IOLS alone.)   Camping Merit Badge once required fifty days and nights of camping when the wilderness was pretty empty; now it's twenty "nights."

 

A Gallup pole released May 22nd finds that 81 % of the population says that moral values in the U.S. are fair or poor.  77% say those values are getting worse.  Views on that issue have been going down steadily since 2002.  So where is BSA leading us?  Towards the 81%, the 77%, or the minority who like where we are heading in the "culture wars"?

 

So if it's only about membership: "He was right, dead right, as he walked along, but he's just as dead as if he'd been wrong."   Berma-Shave

 

Confucius: "Do not confuse change with improvement."   See, one is inevitable but the other is desirable and to be worked for.  Change what must be changed to preserve what is worth saving.  Now how to figure out what is what.   :huh:

Edited by TAHAWK
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Tahawk, you make an excellent point about the outdoors and the BSA.

 

Outdoor adventure is the BSA's number 1 selling point.  Yet it's often downplayed and hidden on the back shelf in many places through two methods:

 

- Lack of emphasis by National...watered down requirements as you mentioned, plus non-adventure programs like soccer and STEM competing for resources, etc.

 

- Scout leaders at all levels that "don't like to camp" (proof that we're recruiting and retaining the wrong leaders)

Edited by desertrat77
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If the adults had exciting, challenging, fun training - more WOW!, perhaps they would find outdoors program more to their taste.  

 

What they get is all that can be done, to some minimal standard, in 24 hours, including Scoutmaster-Specific.  Very little time for application to "fix" the information and gain the actual skills.  

 

Of that time, almost none is devoted to the Patrol Method - what it is and why t works - or to hiking or backpacking (which someone at BSA decided is also hiking" in the syllabus) beyond the safety concerns reflected in the advancement requirements.  That's two big whiffs.   The original Wood Badge said it only aimed at T-F, but allowed so much time and staffed on the basis of competence to such a level that the actual instruction and application was far, far beyond T-F - beyond typical Merit Badge level in many cases.  When that version of WB went away, nothing replaced it, just as district-level leader (that is youth) training went away in 2001 and was not replaced.

 

Can the rare unit adult overcome this?  Find his own resources?  Train his leaders properly?  Can Scouts go outside BSa to find the intermediate and advanced information gone from the Field Book?  Sure.  By where is the institutional push behind two important methods, including the one said to me "most important"?  

 

A better product often produced increased "sales."  Old reputation will only carry you so far.  Google Landers, Frary & Clark  

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Just for arguments sake, let's assume TAHAWK's better product is created. Strong focus on the boy led, patrol method, outdoor skills, where adults are just trying to work themselves out of a job by developing great youth. In this scenario what would the impact be of adding girls to the boy program? The boys own this. Some would like having girls around and some wouldn't. And just the same, some girls would like having boys around and some wouldn't. Sounds like a good problem not to be wasted on adults.

 

Most of my concerns with girls in the program are mitigated by having a strong youth led program. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests this would be micromanaged from above.

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"Most of my concerns with girls in the program are mitigated by having a strong youth led program. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests this would be micromanaged from above."

 

It did not used to be so adult-run.  Adult-run was the exception, and we felt sorry for those Scouts and for the fact that we had no room for them when they came knocking.

 

Decades since the Patrol Method was explained by BSA

Not taught in basic training for adults - just odds and ends that are buried in such "critical" issues as the "three types of patrols"

Not taught in Wood Badge

Not taught in the only training most leaders (that is, Scouts) ever receive - "Introduction to TROOP Leadership."

No incentive to use the Patrol method (certainly not in JTM)

No disincentive to failing to use the Patrol Method.

 

"What we've got here is failure to communicate."

 

What if BSA did one thing - just one - to coherently promote the Patrol Method?

 

The evidence suggests we will never know.  So we need to do what needs to be done.  BSA is not the Scoutmaster of a single troop.

Know the answers:

1. In what context does a Scout experience Boy Scouting?

2. What is a patrol?

3. What is a troop and what is its purpose?

4. What is the role of adults in Boy Scouting?

 

When you have the answers and are committed to the Patrol Method, this will happen:

1. You and SPL and ??? Teach "Introduction to Patrol Leadership"

2. Scouts decide who is in what patrol, and they do so primarily on the basis of friendship, current or potential.

3. Scouts train Scouts in Scoutcraft in the vast majority of cases. (Things are done "to a boy's standard, of course.")

4. There is an annual Patrol program-planning conference.  The troop can have any openings left.  SPL presents resulting proposed program to Committee.

5. Troop meets twice a month so the patrols can meet every week.

6. Most meetings and activities are patrol meetings and activities.  Most time at troop meetings is spent on patrol work.

7. Boys are leaders because they and the led will probably benefit from that leadership NOT due to POR requirements.

Edited by TAHAWK
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