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Mike Rowe: Death of Boy Scouts?

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Who doesn't love Mike Rowe?

"When I left the organization in 1979, there were 5 million active members. Today, there are 2.3 million. With the recent departure of the Mormon community, that number will soon drop to under two million. Clearly, something is wrong. The question is what? Is it the past sexual scandals? Is it the more recent admission of gay and transgender members? I would imagine those are factors. But a 60% decline? That seems very unlikely. Besides, the drop-off started long before all that. Likewise, girls have always been excluded from The Boy Scouts, so I’m skeptical that welcoming them now, will fix whatever’s broken."

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Yep - I think that's a pretty spot on analysis of the situation.  Not sure that I agree that being safe is the core problem, but it's an idea and props to him for thinking up a solution.

Edited by ParkMan

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12 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Yep - I think that's a pretty spot on analysis of the situation.  Not sure that I agree that being safe is the core problem, but it's an idea and props to him for thinking up a solution.

"being safe", "lack of adventure", "prohibiting use of tools, instead of teaching how to use tools",  " adult-free hikes/campouts" , "solo patrol outings"...

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15 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Yep - I think that's a pretty spot on analysis of the situation.  Not sure that I agree that being safe is the core problem, but it's an idea and props to him for thinking up a solution.

If you prefer, you can replace safe with mollycoddled. 

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33 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

Then I suppose he was very against Venturing as well?

Perhaps it is better to actually read MIke Rowe's response.

He is not against girls in Scouting. Rather, he doesn't think inclusiveness is going to fix what is wrong with Scouting.

"So I’m not opposed to building a program within Scouting for girls. But I am very worried about the future of Scouting in general."

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29 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Yep - I think that's a pretty spot on analysis of the situation.  Not sure that I agree that being safe is the core problem, but it's an idea and props to him for thinking up a solution.

Attrition by a thousand cuts:

  • No youth drivers
  • No skinny dipping
  • SM/SPL screen every song/skit
  • No boxing
  • No independent patrol overnights
  • No one-on-one contact, down to electronic correspondence
  • Pioneering project height limits
  • Power tool restrictions 
  • No PL sign-off in Scoutbook

Some of the rules make perfect sense to some people ... those who see risk and no benefit.

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

Yep - I think that's a pretty spot on analysis of the situation.  Not sure that I agree that being safe is the core problem, but it's an idea and props to him for thinking up a solution.

It's not that being safe is a problem.  The problem is that, any program that promises adventure is going to have have some associated risk.  And, given the current state of risk management is now devolved into complete risk avoidance, you wind up with the "watered down" program that is not as popular/marketable/whatever you want to call it.  So, rather then building independence, you wind up promoting hand-holding.  BSA's not there yet, but I can see how the public perception is that we're headed in that direction.

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2 minutes ago, Chisos said:

It's not that being safe is a problem.  The problem is that, any program that promises adventure is going to have have some associated risk.  And, given the current state of risk management is now devolved into complete risk avoidance, you wind up with the "watered down" program that is not as popular/marketable/whatever you want to call it.  So, rather then building independence, you wind up promoting hand-holding.  BSA's not there yet, but I can see how the public perception is that we're headed in that direction.

This is more in line with what I have seen too.  The Scouting program is not providing the sense of adventure, challenge, and fun that it did generations ago.  So, many boys are simply losing interest in it.

Whether it's because we've become safer, because boys have raised their expectations, or something else - I'm not sure.  It feels plausible that it's because the current crop of Scout leaders have been driven to be less adventurous and more risk adverse - but again, I don't really know.

 

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27 minutes ago, Chisos said:

It's not that being safe is a problem.  The problem is that, any program that promises adventure is going to have have some associated risk.  And, given the current state of risk management is now devolved into complete risk avoidance, you wind up with the "watered down" program that is not as popular/marketable/whatever you want to call it.  So, rather then building independence, you wind up promoting hand-holding.  BSA's not there yet, but I can see how the public perception is that we're headed in that direction.

I pretty much agree.  We need a better balance between risk and adventure.  Some of the BSA rules are just patheticly overcautious, and while I understand where they are coming from, they make us look too risk averse almost to the point of cowardice. For example, when I was a Tiger Cub Den Leader, we had a family camp at a local military recreation area.  One of the Tiger Dads brought his canoe.  As the Tiger DL, I was the one who had to tell him the Tigers couldn't go out on it.  The water was flat, and was shallow for quite a ways. The breeze was onshore. There was no logical reason that any Cub with a parent (or adult who had canoed before) couldn't go out on a quick 5 minute trip with their Cub that day.  The boy ended up dropping out before crossover to Wolf.  SImilarly, our rules about paintball are almost irrational.  Not to mention most of the things that Qwayze mentioned (except skinny dipping) 

 

 

Edited by perdidochas

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Re-orient Scouting toward building manly self-confidence (ala Jordan Peterson) to attract more boys and shed BSA's wimpy image. Young men require a physical challenge to feel accomplishment - a rite of passage.

Revamp the Eagle-required merit badge list: Less bookwork - more adventure. Drop Env Science, Communication. One citizenship MB should be sufficient. Instead of Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling, how about Swimming AND Hiking AND Cycling. Make Wilderness Survival MB required.

In addition to an Eagle Scout Service Project, add an Eagle Scout Outdoor Adventure Project to the requirements. Let natural competition kick in to see which Scout can craft the greatest outdoor adventure on his path to Eagle.

BTW: Introducing girls into the program is the antithesis of everything mentioned above.

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4 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

This is more in line with what I have seen too.  The Scouting program is not providing the sense of adventure, challenge, and fun that it did generations ago.  So, many boys are simply losing interest in it.

Whether it's because we've become safer, because boys have raised their expectations, or something else - I'm not sure.  It feels plausible that it's because the current crop of Scout leaders have been driven to be less adventurous and more risk adverse - but again, I don't really know.

 

I don't think the youth of today have that much higher expectations than we had (in my case 40 years ago when I was a scout).  I do think the current crop of Scout leaders has been trained to be less adventurous. We have the GTSS, which is pretty stringent at times. That said, based on talking to one of my sister-in-laws who is a GSA leader, BSA has almost no risk aversion.  They are more  cautious than we are. 

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

This is more in line with what I have seen too.  The Scouting program is not providing the sense of adventure, challenge, and fun that it did generations ago.  So, many boys are simply losing interest in it.

Whether it's because we've become safer, because boys have raised their expectations, or something else - I'm not sure.  It feels plausible that it's because the current crop of Scout leaders have been driven to be less adventurous and more risk adverse - but again, I don't really know.

 

I think it's a variety of things.  Top of the list is top-down risk avoidance, which results in some policies that provide the basis of the "scouts are going soft" narrative.   I'm thinking of things like rules against water balloons, wheelbarrows during service projects, Lazer tag, etc.  Every time there's another "you can't do that anymore" we take a hit.

You can be safe and be adventurous and challenging at the same time.  You just have to accept some level of risk.  Perhaps a good start would be to accept the same level of risk as a high school football team.

 

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