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What would B-P think?

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Without being pedantic ;)  , I think BPs views were ensconced in the 19th century. He was born in 1857, after all.

 

 

Beat me to it.

Granted. Although people's views do change over time. Although maybe less then than they do now. There are definitely members on this forum who would not agree if I said they had 20th century values and ideas. Considering some quarters of society uses "It's 20XX" as a valid supporting argument. 

Edited by Sentinel947

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Just because something was written in a different era does not make it, on it's face, wrong or out-of-date. The merits of learning in a single-sex environment have not been definitively proven or disproved in the years since it's writing; therefore, making the argument that "Well, it was written over a hundred years ago." is summarily dismissing something that has not yet been proven dismissable.

 

Fact #1: B-P created Scouting with the intent of boys being together to learn and grow, along with (male) adult association.

 

Fact #2: Fact #1 has not been proven to be a bad thing. In fact, it has worked so well the program is around over 100 years later.

 

We can debate what B-P would lament were he to return to see what Scouting has become but for me its:

  1. Too much adult involvement.
  2. Eroding of the outdoor program and patrol method.
  3. The exorbitant cost of Scouting.
  4. The erosion of the boy-only program.
  5. The bloated hierarchy of Scouting (salaries, buildings, monuments, etc., in the name of adults)
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If the world changes, or at least the people in it, why are such things as the 10 Commandments, the Bible, Magna Carta, US Constitution, and such still around.  Surely as quickly as we re-write history, we could accomplish the re-write of these documents overnight.  So here's the Catch-22.  which changed first, the people's attitudes or the ideals of these documents?

 

So here's the poser.... Is the BSA going downhill because it didn't change, or because it did?

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Aaah, the thread in which we project our values onto BP

 

Actually my thought was right the opposite. Given what we know of BP, I was thinking about how he would apply his values in today’s Scouting world.

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However back to the main point of the OP, I think that he would be most concerned with whether the scout movement was continuing to serve the youth members. Whether scouts are being given the opportunity to lead, whether there are the actual places for them to do so (eg campsites and the like), as Ian said I think he would be deeply concerned with the state of the environment and would be championing scouting as a force for good in terms of looking after it. I think he would be deeply troubled by the state of mental health among young people in the western world.

I agree.

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If the world changes, or at least the people in it, why are such things as the 10 Commandments, the Bible, Magna Carta, US Constitution, and such still around.  Surely as quickly as we re-write history, we could accomplish the re-write of these documents overnight.  So here's the Catch-22.  which changed first, the people's attitudes or the ideals of these documents?

 

So here's the poser.... Is the BSA going downhill because it didn't change, or because it did?

 

Good question, and I think the answer is probably neither. When you and I were kids, there were only a few things that competed for our attention. For my scout son, there are probably 10 times as many things that compete for his attention. I don't honestly think there is anything BSA could do to retain the attention and the membership percentages it may have enjoyed decades ago. 

 

Even when I think of sports, there was a single sport per season. You could play football in the fall, basketball in the winter/spring, and baseball in the summer. No soccer, no cross country, no wrestling, no hockey, etc. etc. My son is way more busy than I was at his age. Scouts have to find a way to fit into that in a manner that hopefully doesn't force a kid to pick between two things he loves.

 

When my son crossed over, we could pick between two local troops. One that meets on Sunday night (no conflicts with any extra-curricular activities) or one that meets on Tuesday nights (all sorts of conflicts). Every single scout in his Webelos den picked the troop that met on Sunday night - largely due to that convenience and lack of conflict. Every single scout the year prior made the same choice. I am sure that there are many lovely things about the other troop but Tuesday night meetings ruin it for them, and many parents have told them such.

 

Regarding your list of documents, all but the 10 Commandments (which is really a small part of a much larger book obviously), have all significantly changed over time. Take the Bible, from the first book the last, "rules and regulations" evolved. They evolved so much that now, many faiths largely ignore entire sections of the Old Testament - for right or wrong reasons. The Magna Carta has changed numerous times since its creation with many sections repealed due to their lack of modern day relevance. The Constitution of course has been amended 27 times.

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B.P. was not stuck in his own time, rather he was a forward thinker.  He often challenged scouters and scouts around the world to embrace the new and find ways to weave it into their programs.  He was a General who had seen more than his share of gore and the worst of society, having served in the Colonial system.  He more than once hope aloud and in print that Scouting could become a movement for world peace.  

 

The fact that he turned to his sister Agnes and later his wife as well in regard to the female challenges speaks loudly.  He also early on worked to find a way for the younger, as well as older youth, always exploring new ideas from around the world.  And, as has been noted, he staunchly supported the spiritual element of the movement, though also accepted that it would vary dependant on where the program was, and what the family believed.  In regard to the more current issues we have faced the past couple of decades, it is hard to say.  If you have read some of the biographical material, there is a lot of gray area; but we are talking about a totally different cultural milieu.  Again, probably not really equal comparatives due to the huge changes in not only mores, but also public exposure to things due to the instant information world today.

 

It is sort of like comparing Ruth, Gehrig, or Cobb to today's ball players.  Not only completely different approach to the game, but the equipment is totally changed, as well as the strategies.  Most players simply went out and played, every inning.  Few substitutions.  Pitchers had far more complete games because they had to.  Ruth, would have hit even more home runs if the balls and bats of the time were more like ours today.  He also was a pitcher to start of course which actually kept his early career at-bats lower.  And also the ball itself was balkier and not as prone to rocketing as the newer ones.  

 

So, suffice it to say that we really can only surmise how BP might react to things.  He would be pleased that it has survived and is a worldwide movement still. 

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7 hours ago, skeptic said:

So, suffice it to say that we really can only surmise how BP might react to things.  He would be pleased that it has survived and is a worldwide movement still. 

 

Aye, lest we forget, some 28 million scouts + 10 million guides (very rough estimate) puts the scouting population, if we were a country, nicely into the top 40 of world countries. Not bad at all.

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1 hour ago, ianwilkins said:

 

Aye, lest we forget, some 28 million scouts + 10 million guides (very rough estimate) puts the scouting population, if we were a country, nicely into the top 40 of world countries. Not bad at all.

I thought it was more like 40 million just scouts with a further 10 million girl guides?

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23 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

IMHO disappointed. I think he expected the world to a be a better place because of Scouting.

I think the world is a better place because of Scouting, and the world would be noticeably worse off without it. 

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3 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

I think the world is a better place because of Scouting, and the world would be noticeably worse off without it. 

 

Indeed. If not...what are we all doing here?

In the UK, at one time, they estimated that 50% of all boys were in scouting at some point.

Seeing as it's been scientifically proven that scouting is good for your mental health, both during and after, it must have made a difference.

 

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22 hours ago, Hawkwin said:

 

Good question, and I think the answer is probably neither. When you and I were kids, there were only a few things that competed for our attention. For my scout son, there are probably 10 times as many things that compete for his attention. I don't honestly think there is anything BSA could do to retain the attention and the membership percentages it may have enjoyed decades ago. 

 

Even when I think of sports, there was a single sport per season. You could play football in the fall, basketball in the winter/spring, and baseball in the summer. No soccer, no cross country, no wrestling, no hockey, etc. etc. My son is way more busy than I was at his age. Scouts have to find a way to fit into that in a manner that hopefully doesn't force a kid to pick between two things he loves.

 

When my son crossed over, we could pick between two local troops. One that meets on Sunday night (no conflicts with any extra-curricular activities) or one that meets on Tuesday nights (all sorts of conflicts). Every single scout in his Webelos den picked the troop that met on Sunday night - largely due to that convenience and lack of conflict. Every single scout the year prior made the same choice. I am sure that there are many lovely things about the other troop but Tuesday night meetings ruin it for them, and many parents have told them such.

 

Regarding your list of documents, all but the 10 Commandments (which is really a small part of a much larger book obviously), have all significantly changed over time. Take the Bible, from the first book the last, "rules and regulations" evolved. They evolved so much that now, many faiths largely ignore entire sections of the Old Testament - for right or wrong reasons. The Magna Carta has changed numerous times since its creation with many sections repealed due to their lack of modern day relevance. The Constitution of course has been amended 27 times.

 

Of course people make additions and changes, that's how society re-writes history.  It's how society affirms the idea that people are constantly making mistakes and the next generation has to fix it.  Of course that fix only lasts 5 seconds before the next guy is coming up with a new and better mousetrap.  It's called progress, but nothing is ever said about where that "progress" is headed. 

 

A few phrases come to mind with this process.

 

1) If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

2) It sounded like a good idea at the time.

3) Times are a changin'.

 

There might just be a good reason the 10 Commandments were written in stone.

 

Every no longer existent empire this world has ever had, had at one time it's Golden Age, at least until someone came along and decided to make changes. 

Edited by Stosh
grammar

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On 11/28/2017 at 10:02 PM, skeptic said:

So, suffice it to say that we really can only surmise how BP might react to things.  He would be pleased that it has survived and is a worldwide movement still. 

Given his emphasis on letting guys just hit the trail and "be boys", his penchant for the outdoors, and his stated aim of making Scouting available to all boys (not just those who can afford it), I think he'd have a few things to say about helicopter parents, Scouter-focused entities, bloated budgets and salaries and the diminishing emphasis on outdoor skills.

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Remember why he created the Boy Scouts in the first place - he was disillusioned on the battlefield by the lack of preparedness his soldiers had for basic outdoor skills needed by soldiers.  Orienteering, cooking outdoors, first aid, signalling, setting up camps, etc.

So keeping that in mind, and that one of his goals was to better prepare boys to be better prepared to become soldiers, I think if he were around now, with the military we now have, he would be insisting girls be part of the program since women are now soldiers so both boys and girls should be better prepared for that, and that he would more fully embrace the STEM side of things since a great deal of modern warfare and soldiering relies of high technology.  

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