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New article online - Too much Safety limits program

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I still remember getting blasted at summer camp when a few members of my pack and our leaders went out to canoe at night. Full moon, no wind, we were all in life jackets and all passed the swim test. It was an awesome experience and when we canoed in the waterfront director wanted to kick us out of camp and worse for our leaders.

 

At the same time, I know a Webelos scout who was a friend of my nephews who died on a scout outing because all the scouts were climbing up rocks that were wet from a waterfall. Accidents happen but if the Scouts obeyed the sign that said do not climb that Webelos scout would be alive today.

 

In general I agree that we have gotten too soft but at the same time we do need to make sure we don't put lives at risk. Perhaps putting in too many rules that soften the program may actually lead to more accidents as leaders get rule fatigue and start ignoring the real important ones.

 

Finally, I also believe there is the legal factor one must consider. Could you imagine the lawyers and lawsuits that would level the BSA financially if they allowed a completely secret society that resulted in injury? Class action all the way. Emotional trauma. Perhaps even criminal prosecution. We aren't in the 1950s anymore and I don't think the 1950s BSA is achievable in today's legal climate.

 

I do think we can get a bit more rugged...perhaps we can canoe at night, get kids swimming and even fillet and grill fish for breakfast.

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"The best example of this is that it is no longer required that a Scout learns how to swim to advance to the rank of Eagle."

 

Really?  Sure, Swimming Merit Badge maybe an optional required badge (meaning you can earn swimming, hiking or cycling) but in order to become an Eagle Scout, you still have to pass the BSA Swim Test.

 

"I still remember getting blasted at summer camp when a few members of my pack and our leaders went out to canoe at night. Full moon, no wind, we were all in life jackets and all passed the swim test. It was an awesome experience and when we canoed in the waterfront director wanted to kick us out of camp and worse for our leaders."     Did the pack have permission to take the canoes out that night?  If the waterfront director was that hacked off, I think its probably safe to say no.  Your Pack was properly busted - not for canoeing at night but for stealing the summer camps canoes (that's what taking property without permission is called - stealing - not borrowing - stealing).  

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I don't post much, but had a thought here.  This seems like an article written by someone who thinks he remembers what scouting is like today.  I agree it isn't perfect. However, the fact that he seems to point to some things that are factually incorrect makes me think this was not targeted toward people who actually had experience with the modern BSA.  I'm curious, is there any rule that prohibits filleting and cooking a fish or running at camp (I know this isn't enforced at our camp except on the dock at the waterfront and inside the dining hall. I disagree with his points about the OA, as my experience was absolutely "richly gratifying."

 

Side note: A case of the "fumes" doesn't have anything to do with a negative stigma against scouting so much as it has to do with these new found interests that take up teenage boys time.   His Ben Franklin quote seems profoundly irrelevant as well. 

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It was definitely for canoeing at night. It was a Troop (not Pack) during summer camp. The canoes were open to use outside of the merit badge times (at least that is how they were used during the day). The lake was small, you could easily paddle back in 5 mins from any point so no need to check them out. Plus, the waterfront director was yelling as we paddled in... that we are not allowed to canoe at night because "it is dark and unsafe!" I have no idea if the waterfront director made up the rule, if was a BSA rule at summer camps or if it is still in place there. That was the only year I remember him at our council summer camp. Just pointing out a case where I have seen a leader go overboard (in my opinion) with rules regarding safety.

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1) Times change. People change. Expectations change.

2)  Yep, if you are disadvantaged sufficiently, you can earn Eagle thru "alternative" requirements.  A wheel chair bound Scout should be  denied Eagle without  a blink? Not very Scout-like to me... 

3)  My Eagle did not include a Service Project.  But then, I learned Morse Code and had to identify constellations.  Things change.

4)  Are today's Scouts too protected?  Possibly. Depends on the Scoutmaster and the helicopter mom that packs the kid's backpack. And the kid that let's her do it.

5)  Are today's Scouts encouraged to hunt and kill animals?  Only if they have a parent that enjoys such and teaches the Scout such.  Scoutson once trapped, butchered and served up a rabbit to his Troop.  His buddies thought it was not as good as the burgers in the other Patrol, he said.  I had nothing to do with it, but thought , wow...  He raised rabbits in 4H (barn had 35 rabbits in it at one point. Mini Rex.  Won some ribbons.)

6)  I know Scouting began in a desire to help make boys more able to be good soldiers. I would like to remind folks that later in his career B-P voiced the hope  that the international brotherhood of Scouting would foster not so much better soldiers for their countries but a more peaceful world.  I often pray that humankind might finally learn from their past mistakes.

7)  Skills, independent thought and confidence in one's judgement, ability to make one's way in the world , either the wild part or the more civilized part.  These are what I found I wanted for Scoutson.  Despite the modern limitations, I think he gained a good deal of all that.   

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I embellished the title.

 

Nearly every day, I wish my sons and my scouts had the Scout program, scouts, and leadership that I had as a youth.

 

Can we reclaim program elements that have been lost? Or will a shelter scout program take hold, maybe scouts will become iscouts where "i" is for inside, internet, and insured?

 

My $0.02,

Edited by RememberSchiff

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Most of the scouts I have mentored in the last 40 years just love to learn "woodsy" stuff.  Trail signs, snares, stalking, ( the old kind) fire by friction, felling trees so they fall where you want them to,building different types of fires,which plants they can eat, and the like.   Its not in the books any more so I hold optional classes on camping trips for them as want to learn    No patches or awards.  but I rarely have less than half a dozen scouts every time.  

 

I have had a few scouters tell me that boys don't want or need such skills in 2017.  So if that is true, why are the scouts so proud of their new found skills?

 

Well I gotta go. I have a class or two to teach this afternoon.  I am leaving my light weight backpacking tent and LEDs at home, and am  taking my canvas tent, some deerskins,candle lanterns, and my boy scout sheath knife.

 

Oldscout

Edited by Oldscout448

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I’m glad my Scoutmaster allowed us to explore. I know he took heat from some other leaders but his rule was we explored as a patrol. We had to have our ten essentials with us and we had to give a return time. His one rule was no swimming (bsa rules). Other than that we could do what we wanted. We basically hiked around and found a place to hang away from adults.

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Aquatics at night is not allowed  in the G2SS unless it is a well light area.

 

 

"The best example of this is that it is no longer required that a Scout learns how to swim to advance to the rank of Eagle."

 

Really?  Sure, Swimming Merit Badge maybe an optional required badge (meaning you can earn swimming, hiking or cycling) but in order to become an Eagle Scout, you still have to pass the BSA Swim Test.

 

Actually national came up with a way to get around this at the local council's discretion. It was on Bryan's Blog a few weeks ago. A lot of controversy about this move, and I am against it.

 

As for running, I don't recommend it in a campsite bc/ of the guy lines and tripping/tearing down a tent hazards. Other areas of a camp? Don't see why not.

 

Most of the scouts I have mentored in the last 40 years just love to learn "woodsy" stuff.  Trail signs, snares, stalking, ( the old kind) fire by friction, felling trees so they fall where you want them to,building different types of fires,which plants they can eat, and the like.   Its not in the books any more so I hold optional classes on camping trips for them as want to learn    No patches or awards.  but I rarely have less than half a dozen scouts every time.  

 

I have had a few scouters tell me that boys don't want or need such skills in 2017.  So if that is trje

 to cwoefully inadequate.re

 

Regarding Scouters saying they don't need the skills, yep me too. One of the SM's I taught said that to me in person. And of course the  professional national Health and Safety Team Leader in Irving stated it was the 21st century and pioneering skills are no longer needed. Guess he didn't hear about the Space Shuttle  that had an Eagle on the crew use lashings to secure the robotic arm so they didn't have to jettison a multimillion dollar piece of equipment.

As for running, in a campsite there is too much of a tripping/tearing down a tent chance. As for the rest of the camp, not to my knowledge. Otherwise Athletics and many  first year camper programs would not be in operation or limited

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That article is full of straw men, ignorance, inaccuracies and pure b.s. He doesn't describe the scouts I experienced half a century ago, and he doesn't describe the program as I see it run most places today.

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I’m glad my Scoutmaster allowed us to explore. I know he took heat from some other leaders but his rule was we explored as a patrol. We had to have our ten essentials with us and we had to give a return time. His one rule was no swimming (bsa rules). Other than that we could do what we wanted. We basically hiked around and found a place to hang away from adults.

I did something similar. I told the scouts it was not allowed, why, and that my neck was on the line if they screwed up. I also told them if I found them screwing up then nobody would ever get to do it again. The result was they took the event seriously and they never had problems. It was a great way to form trust between scouts and adults. Something about making lemonade from lemons.

  • Upvote 1

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Aquatics at night is not allowed  in the G2SS unless it is a well light area.

 

 

Actually national came up with a way to get around this at the local council's discretion. It was on Bryan's Blog a few weeks ago.

Can someone direct me to where this is at on the blog?  I don't follow the blog and I don't see anything regarding this when I try to find it (the topic, not the blog).  thx

Edited by thrifty

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An Eagle who did not pass a swimming test would be an Eagle who, somehow, got there without earning First Class Rank. :confused: 
 

Oh, BSA is now selling seven different models of sheath knives.

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