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Eagledad

The Question That Reveals the Heart of the "BSA" Culture Wars

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Maybe I&P will just naturally settle down. Things are still heated on the issue of girls in the BSA, because that's pretty new. But you dont see any more threads about gay scouts or scouters, about transgender scouts, etc. That stuff is long-since settled and there's not much use in debating it anymore. Today's issues will go the same way. 

Will there be other I&P topics to debate in the future? Maybe. But I doubt any like what we've been through in recent years. Maybe there will be the discussion of athiesim in the BSA, but I don't see that one going far. 

We've literally just settled one of the biggest questions the BSA will ever face. I don't think things can get more heated than they've been. So really the only place to go from here is back to talking more about the program. 

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1 minute ago, RememberSchiff said:

I'm game. Setup up a experiment topic with your one and done rule. I will delete those who attempt a second post.

 

As will I, but I wonder whether it might be better to allow up to two posts per user.  But Eagledad, it's your experiment.  :)

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Jordan Peterson is live on Joe Rogan Experience right now, he's touched on the responsibility aspect quite a bit.  He's also said what CalicoPen has said about we the left and right need each other, but they're not talking. 

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Responsibility...what a novel concept! I thought that died shortly after Punctuality (judging from the other parent meetings I went to).  

Hard to sell some of these character issues to boys when some of the parents look like they have no idea what you are talking about. And these are the folks who are coming over from Cub Scouts.

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16 minutes ago, Gwaihir said:

Jordan Peterson is live on Joe Rogan Experience right now, he's touched on the responsibility aspect quite a bit.  He's also said what CalicoPen has said about we the left and right need each other, but they're not talking. 

He's on Babylon Bee right now too!

Jordan Peterson Convinces Pile Of Clean Laundry To Sort Itself Out http://babylonbee.com/news/jordan-peterson-convinces-pile-clean-laundry-sort/

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What to do with I&P is a perennial subject, including among the Moderators who have to deal with some of foolishness that goes on here.  My attitude is that (as long as the owner of this forum wants to keep it), if you don't like I&P, you don't have to read it.  That is exactly what it was set up for - to separate the hotly-debated issues from the everyday-Scouting stuff so that those who just want to read the everyday-Scouting stuff can do so unimpeded by the highly charged topics in another section.  There is a big sign on it, written by Terry I assume (it was there when I got here in 2002), that says as much.

I find it ironic that some people are arguing for the abolition of I&P, in I&P.  Hello?  McFly?  And if anybody is arguing that I&P should go in order to save them from themselves (stop me before I post again!), that's not the business we're in here.  If anyone is "addicted" to this forum, or anything else, there are places you can go for help with that. (Hi, my name is NJCubScouter... Hi, NJCubScouter! - or I guess it would just be NJCub, no last names.)

Now, should there be an effort to calm things down in I&P, get people to tone down their posts, etc.?  Couldn't hurt, but it's a difficult thing to achieve - partly because nobody ever thinks it is their posts that need to be toned down.  The moderators do what we can.

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13 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Scouting is a culture that challenges the masculinity of young men

Yes, scouting is supposed to be a challenge, and an adventure. That's how it was sold in the old days. That's how it was 10 years ago. It was the key to motivating the scouts. Make it a challenge, make it fun, train them for the challenge, let them be. Unfortunately things seem to be changing. There seems to be fewer scouts interested in a challenge, at least in my neck of the woods. We used to have 2 high adventure trips a year plus summer camp and all of them were always full. Now it's a struggle to fill one trip a year and summer camp is down. I'm the new district camping chair and this weekend is klondike. We have 38 scouts signed up, for the whole district! I used to have more scouts from just my troop show up. But it's not my troop because nearly half the scouts going to klondike are from my troop. And it's not just the scouts. I didn't really want to be the district camping chair. After 12 years as SM I just wanted a break. I'm the first to admit that someone younger and more enthusiastic would be better. But nobody else will step up.

It's really hard to challenge a young man when this is the attitude.

I don't know, maybe your point has already been made. We've lost. I don't know where that drive that wants a challenge comes from. Where a sense of adventure is born. I just don't see it often in the scouts today. The few I see it in are pushed down by peer pressure. Yes, kids these days are busy. They're so busy they can't even dream. Or wonder. Or imagine anything other than what's on their todo lists. Who knows, maybe national should add a first class requirement to discuss how much free time a scout has and track what he does with it for 12 weeks.

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I'm optimistic.

In our district, there is a very uneven distribution of scouts in troop.  A few large troops (50+) and many smaller (~20) troops.  The packs are the same way.  What that tells me is that the scouts are out there and some packs & troops are better at attracting them than others.

What I think is going on is that adult leaders are really struggling to figure out how to deliver a good program.  The days of hanging out a "Scouts welcome" sign and getting a full pack or troop are gone.  The proliferation of other activities has taken care of that.  So, to have a successful unit today, you've got to run a good program.

When I read threads like this one, I struggle with things like "scouting is supposed to be a challenge, and an adventure", "Scouting is a culture that challenges the masculinity of young men", etc. I've got absolutely no idea what that means.  What are you supposed to do to challenge their masculinity? 

I've been a Committee Chair for four years now.  I cannot count how many discussions we've had about "boy led", "patrol method", etc...  Folks who have been doing this for over 10-20 years see those concepts and implement then differently.  I was sitting at the Troop meeting the other night listening to some of our more active parents talking about how their kids hate troop meetings and are tired of canceled camping trips because the boys can't get them together.  We're arguably one of the most successful troops in the district and one of the better ones in the council. We can't figure this stuff out.  On top that, training is so basic no-one goes.  Roundtable covers superfluous topics, so no-one goes.

I've come to the conclusion that our problem isn't the boys or their parents, it's that we are getting so bogged down in stuff that we're forgetting how to run a scout program.  Now that competition for their attention is tougher, it's more important that ever to be on our game.  But, we're not.

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12 hours ago, MattR said:

There seems to be fewer scouts interested in a challenge, at least in my neck of the woods.

1

I still see the sense of adventure and challenge in our younger Scouts. That is why I enjoy working with them so much.

For our older Scouts (age 15+), I frequently encounter a "too cool for school" attitude that I find super annoying. They hold back and stand on the sidelines, even when they see fantastic adventures passing them by. This attitude problem gets really maddening when it poisons younger Scouts as they age up in the program. I'm trying to remedy this problem and break the cycle.

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13 hours ago, MattR said:

 There seems to be fewer scouts interested in a challenge, at least in my neck of the woods. We used to have 2 high adventure trips a year plus summer camp and all of them were always full. Now it's a struggle to fill one trip a year and summer camp is down. I'm the new district camping chair and this weekend is klondike. We have 38 scouts signed up, for the whole district! I used to have more scouts from just my troop show up. But it's not my troop because nearly half the scouts going to klondike are from my troop. And it's not just the scouts. I didn't really want to be the district camping chair. After 12 years as SM I just wanted a break. I'm the first to admit that someone younger and more enthusiastic would be better. But nobody else will step up.

It's really hard to challenge a young man when this is the attitude.

I don't know, maybe your point has already been made. We've lost. I don't know where that drive that wants a challenge comes from. Where a sense of adventure is born. I just don't see it often in the scouts today. The few I see it in are pushed down by peer pressure. Yes, kids these days are busy. They're so busy they can't even dream. Or wonder. Or imagine anything other than what's on their todo lists. Who knows, maybe national should add a first class requirement to discuss how much free time a scout has and track what he does with it for 12 weeks.

You need to evolve and understand what drives interest or what does not drive interest,  Candidly that varies with your troop and particular group of scouts.  On the Klondike, maybe it has become stale, perhaps it is what some long term adult leaders feel a Klondike should be.  Get feedback on why they do not want to go and do a reboot of the event.

With our troop (a large one) we have doubled our Scouts as outings in the last 5 years.  Basically we looked at the data we had (what drew scouts what did not) then working with the TLC asked the WHY behind the data.  Then we challenged them to plan and initiate what do you want to see.  Basically we came up with some key elements

  • No advancement / school type outings, too much of that M - F
  • In the fall only SAT and SUN due to Friday night football
  • Have a key activity, but also they do not want to over schedule, leave time for cards with friends
  • Have levels of challenge (we do a biking on a rails to trail, some ride 25 miles / some 50 miles)
  • Not too late on Sunday afternoons, school work beckons
  • They challenged the troop leaders with some ideas, we worked with them on how to implement and they had ownership
  • Beach / gorge exploration / ropes courses
  • No district camporees (They were lame apparently)

We had low attendance at the end of the school year outings in May due to exams, sports finals, etc.  The TLC wanted to do a Lock-in.  So we worked with the CO, now we do one from Fri to Sat morning.  Huge participation.  Some leave early, some come late.  Video games literally all night, dodge ball and nerf engagements.  Successful because that is what they wanted and we as leaders worked with them to bring it about

We get really good feedback at BOR's and try to use that to improve the program.  Still some work to be done on the meetings and scout instructors

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20 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

When I read threads like this one, I struggle with things like "scouting is supposed to be a challenge, and an adventure", "Scouting is a culture that challenges the masculinity of young men", etc. I've got absolutely no idea what that means. 

Those concepts are clearly in the eye of the beholder.  Some feel that Scouts need to do everything and by some magic they will know what to do even if it fails.  Other feel they can do it but adults need to sort of keep them between the ditches on the road traveled, others feel the kids do not know anything and they will just do it

No clear definition.  Key is to make sure the program functions in some way.  Scouts not reserving a camping site so an outing is cancelled while yes that may be a learning experience, could have been avoided and has a negative program impact on everyone.  Scout not bringing all the needed supplies for an outing, sure that is a learning experience.and is a positive in the end

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@Jameson76 like crunching the numbers on what works and what doesn't. It is an always moving target.

 

@MattR I feel the change too with parents and boys....less want a challenge....but their are still some. I want to focus on them rather than water down the program too much. 

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41 minutes ago, gblotter said:

I still see the sense of adventure and challenge in our younger Scouts. That is why I enjoy working with them so much.

For our older Scouts (age 15+), I frequently encounter a "too cool for school" attitude that I find super annoying. They hold back and stand on the sidelines, even when they see fantastic adventures passing them by. This attitude problem gets really maddening when it poisons younger Scouts as they age up in the program. I'm trying to remedy this problem and break the cycle.

I see this as well. That's why I started working on teamwork and leadership with just the younger scouts. They are more willing to try something new. It has started to bubble up to a few of the older scouts, so that's good news. I know, it's completely backwards.

27 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

You need to evolve and understand what drives interest or what does not drive interest,  Candidly that varies with your troop and particular group of scouts.  On the Klondike, maybe it has become stale, perhaps it is what some long term adult leaders feel a Klondike should be.  Get feedback on why they do not want to go and do a reboot of the event.

Getting feedback is my problem. I asked scouts for input on what they'd like. I told them everything was on the table. I asked adults what they thought the scouts would like. I got no feedback. So I wrote up some new events and sent them out and asked for feedback. The adults were no help so I took it to the OA meeting and asked the scouts what they thought. They all liked what I wrote. But none of them are showing up. Again, I'd be more than willing to give this over to someone else but there's no interest.

Feedback requires motivation. I don't know how to motivate others. I'll be the first to admit I'm a lousy salesman.

47 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

We're arguably one of the most successful troops in the district and one of the better ones in the council. We can't figure this stuff out.  On top that, training is so basic no-one goes.  Roundtable covers superfluous topics, so no-one goes.

I agree. We're in the same situation. I don't want to take on round table. 

I'd be willing to do roundtable for PLCs. Any PL, SPL, or ASPL is invited? And all we do is make pizza, listen to music, and oh, talk about Spring Camporee. Do you think this would have any chance?

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5 minutes ago, MattR said:

Getting feedback is my problem. I asked scouts for input on what they'd like. I told them everything was on the table. I asked adults what they thought the scouts would like. I got no feedback. So I wrote up some new events and sent them out and asked for feedback. The adults were no help so I took it to the OA meeting and asked the scouts what they thought. They all liked what I wrote. But none of them are showing up. Again, I'd be more than willing to give this over to someone else but there's no interest.

I get my best feedback on outings and especially to and from outings.  At the outings just walking around and engaging in conversation, also observing.  In the cars listening to what is said as you motor along is good.  The feedback collection can vary, and if scouts think you are actually taking a poll they may not answer.  Have to be conversational.  

My main input would be the scouts have to trust you, yes you are an adult leader, but can they talk with you?  Do you speak to them as Scouts and you are the leader, or do you have a conversation with them as equal partners participating in the Scouting program.  Sometimes adults do have to be the leaders, but more times we need to be partners with the scouts, talk about school, their sports, how they lost social media privileges for whatever reason.

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4 minutes ago, MattR said:

I see this as well. That's why I started working on teamwork and leadership with just the younger scouts. They are more willing to try something new.

 

Our current SPL is just 13 years old and he is on fire with Scouting. The younger Scouts are following his gung-ho example and some really good things are happening from that. I have given him the challenge to break this cycle of malaise as he ages up in the program. If anyone can do it, he can. But we'll see - peer pressure to fit in is so strong with these older teens.

 

10 minutes ago, MattR said:

It has started to bubble up to a few of the older scouts

Same here. Even though they are too cool to admit it, I sense some envy among these older boys as they see what they are missing out on. One of our 16 year-old Scouts is in fear of his younger 13 year-old brother beating him to Eagle (a likelihood which makes me very happy).

 

10 minutes ago, MattR said:

I know, it's completely backwards.

Yes - completely backwards , but I see no other way to approach this problem.

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