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qwazse

How would the ideal scout poll work?

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We can file under "may not see it in my tenure" but let's lay some groundwork:

 

IT through scouting.org just needs to improve even to manage what it does now, but let's suppose it gets better (and this would have have to be on the par of Google campus better) and can reliably track each user's scouting career ...

 

Once a scout, always a scout. Opinions from old and young alike matter. So ...

Votes are proportional to service stars (years registered in the program).

For issues specific to the program, votes are proportional to time served in that program.

Current vs. lapsed vs. never registered categories would be important to know.

(There are direct marketing opportunities in collecting info from never registered users, even if half may be international spy bots.)

A fee would be required to vote to underwrite the cost of delivering voting tools to the underprivileged. It could be on a sliding scale according to service stars

A very large FOS donation would be required to request a survey.

 

 

This may wrankle some "it's just for the boys" proponents, but I would remind everyone that the BSA was posting steady gains in membership over its first 50 years until it codified an ageist policy of rank advancement. Youth are not the only people we need to hear from.

It will also wrankle the want-something-for-nothing crowd. But a little skin in the game is its own form of security.

 

Results would be posted in full, with room for debate and up or down votes.

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As a psychology major in college, I was taught all about polls on how they can be a useful tool and a persuasive "weapon" used to promote a certain agenda.  All one need do is to evaluate the questions being asked and it becomes obvious which is which.

 

With that being said, one can look at the timeline of history and compare it to the societal changes occurring and deduce the problem a bit more objectively.

 

1910-1950's the BSA program generally showed steady growth and support from the society it existed in.  In the 1960's there were three major factors contributing to the knee jerk reaction of the BSA powers to be.  1) the Vietnam War and the perception that along with the unpopular war, the anti-military factors accused the BSA of being a militant style program.  In fact, with BP modeling Scouting after his military experiences during the Boer War, the opponents had a pretty good case for it.  Let's change the uniform and all will be well.  Well, that wasn't enough.  2) the Feminist Movement took it's toll, females could do anything as well or better than any male.  This made maleness obsolete and unless males made major changes, they were going to become obsolete.  BSA opened the doors to women in the 1970's to accommodate this issue and put itself on the slippery slope we are on today.  Exploring was first, it was a dying program anyway, so let's spruce it up with a co-ed career emphasis.  That didn't work very well, so we take the marketing approach emphasis and split the hobbies from the careers and open the door to Learning for Life and Venturing.  General Interest posts of Exploring became High Adventure of Venturing.  Change the name and maybe it will work better.  Then add STEM (which has very little to do with the original programming of BSA, but does open the door for more females in the traditional world of males.  and 3) Civil Rights Movement.  Sure BSA got on the bandwagon with this as it should have.  But the general stereotype of the Black population was set in an urban culture, not the outdoors program of the BSA.  Sure a few jumped in, but the case can still be made that even though Scouting is world-wide, encompassing multi-cultural and multi-racial populations, in America it is generally a white-dominated program.

 

So, with those factors impacting the American program, why would anyone think that the once prestigious program of an all white, male, militaristic program being offered was not going to take a hit in the 1970's?  Well, the changes were going to occur and instead of working with the core emphasis of the program, the game changed to societal dictations to set the agenda.  

 

So what is the market today?  Go to the mall and see what's being marketed to today's generation?  Sure we have Campmor, Gander Mountain (now in new hands after bankruptcy), REI, Cabelas, Pro Bass Shops, etc. but they aren't the anchor stores in the mall.  They aren't the littler shops either.  BSA is not what people are buying and instead of focusing in on a particular market niche, BSA has kept the approach to sell to the whole world whether they want it or not.

 

Even if BSA were to poll the marketplace, what would they find that would be tolerable to the program?  Grunge wear, electronics, gaming, athletics, and anything else this generation is interested in.

 

Do you think BSA is really interested in finding out what today's youth really want or are they trying to second-guess the market.  Doing a genuine poll, would produce results they would not like and I'm afraid that's the dilemma BSA doesn't want to face.  So they will continue to poke and play with the market until they lose everything of value to the program.  Instead of worrying about those they have and provide program for them, they have focused their attention on the non-members, trying to lure in new members who really aren't all that interested in the program in the first place.

 

The day-care approach of Lions and Tigers begins to wear thin over time and once one gets to Webelos, they are either burned out or are interested in other things besides solitude, bugs and growing up.

 

Now, do a genuine poll and start something altogether different than Boy Scouts of America, because that's not what people today really want.  They might be intrigued by the historical prestige of the Eagle as the epitome of honor, leadership and manhood, but now even that is gone.  So what's really left?

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Polls to be fair should be equitable (one person one vote no weighting), secure (keeps people voting more than once) and id specific (the person voting is the person registered). It’s the same premise for our political elections.

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Polls to be fair should be equitable (one person one vote no weighting), secure (keeps people voting more than once) and id specific (the person voting is the person registered). It’s the same premise for our political elections.

Well except Presidential election which is decided by Electoral College and Democrat Presidential primaries decided by Super Delegates.

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Polls to be fair should be equitable (one person one vote no weighting), secure (keeps people voting more than once) and id specific (the person voting is the person registered). It’s the same premise for our political elections.

 

It has long been a tradition of scouting that we vote as a unit. One unit, one vote. I don't think the problem is with scouts not having a direct individual vote. The real problem is that the unit votes don't count for anything anymore.

 

In an ideal poll, the voices of the scouts would be reflected in their units' votes. 

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A very large FOS donation would be required to request a survey.

 

 

Pay to play is basically the system we have right now. Codifying it in this way, giving it a veil of legitimacy, would be a terrible idea.

 

A scout unit already has a lot of skin in the game.

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With three MB's on Citizenship, one would think the BSA could come up with a fair and equitable way of doing a poll of the people they are serving.  However, there are many different ways of extending the power in our American system.  Individual votes, unit votes (delegate selection) and of course the representative votes of the different councils (electoral college).  And when all the dust as settled and the smoke cleared, what does the consensus have in terms of decision power?  Absolutely nothing.  Those that hold ultimate authority make the final decisions no matter what any one vote might represent.

 

Taking a poll and finding out that 77% of the people want one way on a decision does not make the final decision go that way.  A poll doesn't do anything other than give an indication of what the people say they want, never does it mean it's going to get it.

 

There seems to be a major disconnect between voting and taking a poll.  It's apples and oranges, nothing more than that. 

 

The BSA is not a democracy, it is a non-profit business.  It answers to a board of directors, not the membership of the customer base.  The only voting the board is concerned about is the voting with one's feet.

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Polls to be fair should be equitable (one person one vote no weighting), secure (keeps people voting more than once) and id specific (the person voting is the person registered). It’s the same premise for our political elections.

As articulate as your replies have been, I'm not entirely sure your experience should carry the same weight as someone like Stosh, Schiffe's, or David, who worked with multiple generations of units. In any case, I don't see this as a distinct disadvantage, because your ability to rally multiple youth with few service stars should far outstrip an adults ability to counter with cumulative service-stars from adults.

It has long been a tradition of scouting that we vote as a unit. One unit, one vote. I don't think the problem is with scouts not having a direct individual vote. The real problem is that the unit votes don't count for anything anymore.

 

In an ideal poll, the voices of the scouts would be reflected in their units' votes.

 

Technically, that's one vote per CO. So, for example, a troop's "vote" is diluted if it is under the same roof as a CO with a Pack, Troop, Crew, and in two years a BSA4G pack and troop.

But those votes are for actual board decisions - which are few - not polling, which a CO may or may not use in its decision process.

 

Poll results could, in theory be drilled down to the scouts in a CO. Voice of a Scout surveys got down to district level for its key three. Some districts found them helpful. Others less so.

 

The only "free" polls I've responded to besides VoS are the ones you all have posted. That's mainly because you've paid me with copious good ideas over the years. I've been able to articulate those to my unit, and it has helped me be a better scouter. But, it's been pretty clear that you've invested in your questions and revised when asked. I'm not sure that would happen on a scale of millions.

 

Somehow, there needs to be a governor for whose surveys get to take up he time of hundreds of thousands of members. I chose a capitalist model because that greases a lot of things smoothly. With something like FOS, there is greater potential for full disclosure. The bottom of the Preferred Pancake Batter survey could have a by-line like "sponsored by contributions from General Mills."

 

Features of really good poll results should include bias estimates. For example if respondents were more male, northern, southern, older, younger, etc... then the known demographic of our membership.

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As articulate as your replies have been, I'm not entirely sure your experience should carry the same weight as someone [edited] who worked with multiple generations of units. 

 

 

On the other hand, he is going to have to live with the consequences a lot longer. 

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Is it Boy Scouts or Over 30 Scouts? I’ve read a few threads here and many of you guys keep telling people to read Baden Powell or Green Bar Bill. I’ve skimmed both pdfs and I don’t see them advocating a great deal for large involvement of large groups of men running things. So is it Boy Scouts where boys make decisions only when it’s convenient? Or do we truly want to have boys lead?

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Is it Boy Scouts or Over 30 Scouts? I’ve read a few threads here and many of you guys keep telling people to read Baden Powell or Green Bar Bill. I’ve skimmed both pdfs and I don’t see them advocating a great deal for large involvement of large groups of men running things. So is it Boy Scouts where boys make decisions only when it’s convenient? Or do we truly want to have boys lead?

 

Ahhhh, ya drank the Koolaid didn' cha.  Now you, too, are out of touch with this brave new world we live in where adults run the show and kids stay kids until they are well into their 30's if not 40's.  Ya gotta change with the times ya know, adapt, be flexible, get with the program. 

 

This is why us old timers are convinced that we really aren't leaving Scouts, Scouts left us along the way.  There's a reason for the change and it's the reason why the old timers are totally convinced that as a dying breed, we were fortunate enough to have lived while Scouting was at it's prime in it's Golden Age of the 50's and 60's.

 

50 years from now I wonder if boys will think as fondly of Scouting as my generation.

 

"Do not go gentle into that good night" and  "Rage, rage against the dying of the light". - Dylan Thomas

Edited by Stosh
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Technically, that's one vote per CO. 

 

No kidding. I didn't know that. We only had one unit, and it never occurred to me to ask. 

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No kidding. I didn't know that. We only had one unit, and it never occurred to me to ask. 

Honestly, I think different council board meetings operate differently. So few COR's show that if a CO sends 3 different reps for its 3 units who all showed up at a board meeting, they may be given three votes just to beef up the minutes. I've only attended one board meeting and the agenda was one of those warm fuzzy things. The only votes were to approve minutes and the nominations for next year's officers.

Edited by qwazse

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Is it Boy Scouts or Over 30 Scouts? I’ve read a few threads here and many of you guys keep telling people to read Baden Powell or Green Bar Bill. I’ve skimmed both pdfs and I don’t see them advocating a great deal for large involvement of large groups of men running things. So is it Boy Scouts where boys make decisions only when it’s convenient? Or do we truly want to have boys lead?

Polling isn't about running things. It's about learning how every stakeholder thinks.

 

Now, a young adult such as yourself (assuming you started at Tigers) had about 11 years of service. That's far more than most scout parents.

But the bitter truth is that most young adults with 11 years of service will stop contributing to the organization after graduation within the next 3 years. That's life in America.

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