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Is BSA Sustainable?

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"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law." is the official mission and the Scout Motto is of course "Be Prepared". The BSA website needlessly muddies up the mission with all that corporate gobbletygook. And often the motto is focused on having some piece of gear, or knowing some skill. I often looked at the motto in concert with the oath and the bsa, mission.  To Be Prepared is to be willing and able to make that ethical decision as is one's duty as promised in the scouth oath. 

 Many years later I found out that was exactly what BP meant. He wrote in Scouting for Boys (I paraphrase due to memory issues)  that to be prepared is to be in a state of mental and physical readiness to do your duty.  

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On 3/16/2018 at 5:24 PM, fred johnson said:

This started because I'm arguing starting cubs at K & 1st grade is causing trouble.  It misrepresents what scouts is about.  It burns out families and is a major cause of troops being weaker.  Cubs should start in 2nd grade (or 3rd).  Let them try baseball and the other activities.  When they are ready for fire and knives and camping, try scouting.  

National wanted short term gain with adding 1st grader in Tigers and now K with Lions.  Burned out will become more commonplace.  And maybe burned out is not the right term but definitely institutional fatigue with the program.  Too much of the same thing, too many constituencies, etc.  Basically a youth joining now will have 6 Pinewood derbies, maybe 50+ pack meetings, and God knows how many Go and Sees at the local whatever.

Big challenge is Cubs and Scouts while within the same organization is really different.  Cubs are more social promotion, lockstep advancement, parents at the ready.  Scouts are the youth driving it, they make decisions, and it is less a "season" (Bear / Wolf / Webelos) it is more a long-term program they grow through

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I like how the UK broke up the age groups.

Beavers (6 - 8) .. our Lions,Tigers and Wolves

Cubs (8 - 10.5) ... our Bears, Webelos and AOL

scouts (10.5 - 14) ... our Boy Scouts

Explorers (14 - 18) ... our Boy Scouts/Venturing 

Adult Network (18 - 25) ...our Venturing 

I could see this helping on a number of levels.  I’m sure there are reasons not to go down this route.... but it is enticing.

Edited by Eagle1993
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@Eagle1993, I've been hearing this UK model touted for decades. It's not very intuitive in my community since the Jr./Sr. High school kids share the same building and, where possible, participate in activities and classes together.

I must again, without any prejudice, remind us that we aren't British.

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29 minutes ago, qwazse said:

@Eagle1993, I've been hearing this UK model touted for decades. It's not very intuitive in my community since the Jr./Sr. High school kids share the same building and, where possible, participate in activities and classes together.

I must again, without any prejudice, remind us that we aren't British.

I’ve actually never seen a school in my area where junior high and high school are in the same building.  I guess it varies by region.  I personally am not a fan of Jr High kids hanging around high school students.

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55 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

I’ve actually never seen a school in my area where junior high and high school are in the same building.  I guess it varies by region.  I personally am not a fan of Jr High kids hanging around high school students.

Yet we do that in Scouts.

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43 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

I’ve actually never seen a school in my area where junior high and high school are in the same building.  I guess it varies by region.  I personally am not a fan of Jr High kids hanging around high school students.

It happens sometimes in rural communities. It is usually more of an issue of economics. The community has to make a choice between losing their high school and consolidating with a neighboring district or bringing the JH into the HS building.

Personally, I think it is odd that this generation of parents is so keen on age-separating and compartmentalizing their kids. Forget about adult association. They don't even want their kids associating with older boys.

 

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3 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

Yet we do that in Scouts.

I think this may change with the inclusion of girls.

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Unfortunately, we have high school students who prey on younger students - drugs, sex, robbery, gangs. Some are caught but not all. So we attempt to separate the older, bigger predators from their younger, smaller prey at least during school.

It helps, but it is not a complete solution.

:(

Edited by RememberSchiff

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4 minutes ago, David CO said:

I think this may change with the inclusion of girls.

Why do you say that? I believe the traditional scouting program is dying, but I didn't see National separating the middle school age with high school age scouts. So I'm curious why you think they will.

Role modeling from the older scouts is the foundation of the highest performing patrol method programs. To take that away pretty much kills the boy run aspect of the program because the adults become the role models by default. And that is not the same.

Barry

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15 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Why do you say that? I believe the traditional scouting program is dying, but I didn't see National separating the middle school age with high school age scouts. So I'm curious why you think they will.

Role modeling from the older scouts is the foundation of the highest performing patrol method programs. To take that away pretty much kills the boy run aspect of the program because the adults become the role models by default. And that is not the same.

Bingo

And we as leaders need to ensure the correct modeling is going on.  Scouts gives the older youth an opportunity to lead and be in charge.  They do not get that normally.  If we peel them off then they lose that learning experience and younger scouts are not able to see older scouts in action.

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1 hour ago, Eagle1993 said:

I’ve actually never seen a school in my area where junior high and high school are in the same building.  I guess it varies by region.  I personally am not a fan of Jr High kids hanging around high school students.

Heh, 1st world problems perhaps.

That being stated, and not quite the same thing but the school of my youth was K-9 (all one contiguous building) and there are of course some really big Freshmen boys and girls by the age of 14.

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11 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

I like how the UK broke up the age groups.

Beavers (6 - 8) .. our Lions,Tigers and Wolves

Cubs (8 - 10.5) ... our Bears, Webelos and AOL

scouts (10.5 - 14) ... our Boy Scouts

Explorers (14 - 18) ... our Boy Scouts/Venturing 

Adult Network (18 - 25) ...our Venturing 

I could see this helping on a number of levels.  I’m sure there are reasons not to go down this route.... but it is enticing.

I like it too, but I'd like to see some overlap options.  I say that as scouting is very much about friendships and maturity.   

Maybe ...

  • 8-11 Bears, Webelos, AOL
  • 10-18 Boy Scouts
  • 16-21 Venturing
  • 18-25 Young adults

 

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I think the key thing is having a differentiated program at each age range.  In theory, a group of kids could start together as Lions and progress together.

It's not so much that 6 years of Cub Scouting is bad, it's that 6 years of the same Cub Scouting with minor differences each year has a high potential to get boring.  Separating them by ages lets each group take on a different feel and helps inject some newness, but it's not a guarantee.  A good pack could make it feel new as well through a thought out progression, den leader change, etc.

At the Boy Scout level, it's a tad different - but the same principles apply.  Since Boy Scouts is boy led, keeping them together from 11-18 provides a way for boys to grow their leadership skills.  It does though increase the liklihood of boredom in the older boys.  It also sets up some interesting age challenges - 11 years old generally don't hang out with 17 year olds.  So that becomes the challenge we all discuss so often.  How do you provide the leadership and mentoring structure within the troop, but yet also have a program that is challenging and appeals to 15-18 year olds.
 

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