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Scouting is doomed

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How is this different than any other part of life?  Scouting is what you make of it.   A Scout is Cheerful.  A Scout is Brave.

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1) People taking Scouting too seriously.

It's supposed to be fun, the boys (well until recently only boys) are supposed to enjoy coming to meeting and outings.  If it's school in the woods, probably will not be much fun.  If you spend 20 minutes going over rules and regulations before heading into a basic situation, probably will not be much fun.  Stop quoting chapter and verse of this or that requirement, regulation, or guideline.

As leaders you HAVE to be enjoying the game of scouting.  That will pervade the unit.  Not that one cannot be serious when needed, be urgent when called for, or step in if warranted.  But if leaders do not seriously enjoy having conversations with the scouts, enjoy watching them move through the ranks and mature, and never take yourself or the "calling" of being a leader too seriously...then maybe you as a leader need to examine why you are involved.  These are 11 - 17 years olds, in their mind South Park has been wronged for never winning an Oscar.

Scouts have a choice, more choices than ever.  They know, as we did as youth, whether the leaders are there because the want to be or do they feel some vague obligation.

If your unit is not growing or at least holding steady with membership and participation, look to the core group of leaders.  Do you have fun when passing along information about outings and events, do you have fun interacting with the scouts, do you answer their goofy questions with goofy questions of your own.  If you do not see humor in pretty much every meeting, outing, and event, look inside yourself.

Go have fun, get a reputation for having an enjoyable and fun program.  Then see where that takes you

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What takes the fun out of things is not adults stepping in to keep us safe. It’s adults stepping and running things for us. When I was a scout if an adult stepped in we’d just find another activity to do. We knew we needed adults with us in many cases but they didn’t always step in to ruin the fun. 

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Poor leadership.  While Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are distinctly different, I've watched our Pack going downhill pretty steadily in the last two years - since we've had a new CC and Cubmaster.  Den Leaders aren't trained and have no idea what they're doing.  Wolf den is already wearing their ranks, even though we haven't had our Blue and Gold, and the Den Leader never gave me a single advancement report.  That by itself isn't catastrophic, but is a good illustration of how we're not giving the support needed to our leaders and they, in turn, aren't likely to be giving the boys all they could to make the program successful.

At the same time, our Troop is soaring.  Nine Eagle scouts last year, (eleven the year before) and you'd better believe they earned it.  It means something to them due to how hard they had to work for it, and because our Troop doesn't hand them out like candy.  Scouts are well aware of what their responsibilities are for the positions they hold.  They've learned to evaluate their mistakes and recognize things done well.  Scoutmaster does an excellent job of balancing 'boy led' with enough support to let them be successful.  I'm hopeful that our next Scoutmaster will be able to do the same. 

Bugleson (my own son: that name is forever attached to him now!) told me the other day he might be in trouble at school.  Fortunately I didn't flip out on him.  Come to find out, he'd decided to join jazz band and, on his own, got signed up, printed out the music he needed, and arranged his schedule.  His mistake was that he forgot to inform a teacher he was to be meeting with, so she didn't know where he was.  He's in sixth grade, and I can say with certainty this isn't something he'd have attempted to do on his own without Boy Scouts having given him confidence in being more self-reliant. 

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