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Whats your breaking point? What does it take for you to say enough, I'm out?

I have had numerous calls and conversations with fellow scouters asking what i was going to do about girls being allowed into the BSA. Was I going to stay with BSA or leave? Most of the questions came after the announcement of including girls. Once the info-graphic about how girls troops would work and be formed at the chartered organization the conversations became more frequent. With the name change media release two weeks ago many scouters and local business people are cutting off FOS donations. With the news of LDS leaving the BSA I have had several scouters call and say they are done as they don't see how BSA can right the ship now. Several of these scouters have sons that are Webelos I so they don't feel that Boy Scouts is worth the time and effort due to all the changes.

I have two sons in our troop. The oldest is 1st class and probably 2 -3 years from Eagle. The second is a 1st year scout. I am beginning my 8th year as a leader and always thought I would stay with scouting, but the most recent decision by national, regarding girl units, have almost pushed me out of the program. I am wondering what is my breaking point. I do not trust National. Each time they release new information it takes the wind out of my sails and I feel its not worth the effort. If my CO starts a girl unit, that's a deal breaker. If girl units are at summer camp, that's a deal breaker. If the new handbook is dual gender, that's a deal breaker. If the new uniforms no longer have "Boy Scouts of America" printed on them, that's a deal breaker. Coed troops/patrols, that's a deal breaker.

I am very close to leaving, but there is so much good in the patrol method and what is does for boys becoming men, it is hard to walk away. Coed scouting will be the death of the patrol method which will be the death of the Boy Scouts that BP and Hillcourt envisioned.

 

 

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I'll be honest, I don't know. Probably when my sons leave the movement. But in all honesty I do not know.

As for when  it is not fun anymore, well the sense of obligation is keeping me in. The past few years have been extremely stressful in my neck of the woods. We have lost a lot of experienced volunteers with all the recent membership changes. At one point I was the acting district chair ( one quit, one never did the job, and one went MIA) district commissioner (two quit and went 18 months without one) Boy Scout RT commissioner ( 4 years without one), and activities chair ( 5 YEARS without one)  and district camporee chief (2 years) all at the same time I am the CS RT commissioner and am ASM with a troop. You could also throw in DE since we are a sharing one with another district, and on occassion I had to pick up that slack.

And the troop I am with has major issues causing more stress.  SM in failing health, new SM kinda out of it due to job at times one ASM being a gunship and forcing things that the troop has done in the past but are not the Patrol Method as envisioned by BP and GBB, helicopter parents ad nauseum. As I sit at this computer, I was originally suppose to go camping, then  it was changed into a fundraiser, now everything is canceled due to weather. Wise man once said, "A bad day camping is better than a good day at work." I am goign through camping withdrawal, and it has only been a month since my last camp out.

My youngest is a Webelos 1, and he is not happy about the girls coming in. I do not know if he will continue or not as he said told me just that. Older two are sticking with the troop until it is no longer fun for them. They too have concerns about girls joining. While the CO's official announcement on the matter will come Monday at the COH,  the decision is known to a few: Coed pack, and at the moment 2 separate troops, but if the girls troop has issues getting started, that decision will be subject to revision, and we may go to "Linked Troops" aka coed troop. They know other troops are out there, and in all honesty I wish they WOULD transfer. But this is their journey, not mine. And they are getting  some valuable life lessons on dealing with people as a result.

Again, I do not know what my breaking point is. I used to joke saying I was a "Scouting Addict," but in all honesty Scouting is an addiction for me. It is a drug for me. Seeing my Scouts learn, grow, and mature is a rush. Keeping up with my Scouts is a rush: marriages, degrees, children, promotions, etc. So I don't know.

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Posted (edited)

I relate to the "Scouting Addict" label. With three generations of Eagles, I used to joke that Scouting was part of our family DNA. My breaking point was realizing that all levels of Scouting will be moving to co-ed except the individual troop unit. Everything else (every district, council, national event - including summer camps) will be co-ed. BSA's promise of a parallel girl program is yet another lie.

Seeing all the new BSA promotional materials focused on girls, it's clear that boys are being left out in the cold in this new "Family Scouting". Boys' needs now take a back seat to inclusion, and that feels like a betrayal. Anyone who disagrees with BSA's new co-ed direction is branded as "unScoutlike" and a "conditional Scouter". While disagreeable, I could swallow the changes for gay/trans because those decisions change very little in a practical way. The decision about girls will change everything. Liberals/progressives will cheer these social victories, but they won't replace the departing conservatives/traditionalists who will vote with their feet and dollars. Abandonment of God is next. In a decade, we won't even recognize this movement.

I do not have an optimistic vision of BSA's future. The girl decision won't halt BSA's membership declines any more than gay/trans did. More boys will be lost than girls gained for a net loss of membership. When girls are not attracted in sufficient numbers, more changes will follow to make Scouting more "family-friendly", all while the boys continue to walk away into the arms of the video game culture. BSA's financial desperation will worsen due to huge debts for The Summit. I predict some sort of bankruptcy reorganization in the next decade with possible sale of assets.

I am an LDS Scouter with two terms (10+ years) as Scoutmaster. Service at the district level, too. I will exit BSA along with our troop of 30 boys on 12/31/2019. Consideration of me joining a non-LDS troop is out of the question due to BSA shifting its focus away from boys. My Eagle Scout son has had an amazing Scouting adventure with 6 palms, 50+ nights of camping, 150+ miles of hiking, 6 BSA summer camps, National Jamboree, plus Order of the Arrow. I'm so glad that he could experience the best of traditional Scouting before all these changes, and I'm thrilled that I could come along for the ride. We are the kind of "unScoutlike" and "conditional Scouter" family that has been alienated. It's all very sad.

Edited by gblotter
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4 hours ago, SouthScout said:

Whats your breaking point? What does it take for you to say enough, I'm out?

...If the new handbook is dual gender, that's a deal breaker. If the new uniforms no longer have "Boy Scouts of America" printed on them, that's a deal breaker...

The new Cub handbooks are dual gender, so I suspect a new Scouts BSA handbook will be similar. And judging by the test uniform designs currently being discussed, there is no text on them at all, just the eagle/trefoil logo. 

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For me it is all about the unit level. Always has been . It matters not to me what extra membership requirements some other unit uses to allow or disallow scouts or scouters from their rolls. If some other troop somewhere is a girl troop, it doesn't affect my troop. Just because the neighboring troop doesnt use the patrol method at all, and is basically an adult run activity center, it doesnr affect my troop. Just like we tell families and scouts, find the troop that you fit with. If it is no longer your current unit, find a different one. 

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My deal-breaker with the BSA came several years ago when they seemed to double-down on the gay scout ban. I wasn't active at the time, but my decision was made. Despite being a multi-generation Scouting family, with many Eagles (myself included), I would not participate in the BSA with my son when he reached Scouting age. Even though the ban was always there, it a different time when I was a scout. In this day and age, we're faced with different things to consider. My moral compass and my conscience wouldn't allow me to continue the BSA tradition with my kids.

I joined the BPSA-US and was in preparations to start a local group when the news hit that the BSA would reverse the policy banning gay scouts. Shortly after the other membership policy changes came. The barriers to BSA participation for me were gone, so when my son started 1st grade, we joined the local Pack. 

I realize my story is kind of the polar opposite of the original discussion here. I argued for the inclusion of girls, not against it. My point, though, is that I understand the way people come to these decisions, and that the breaking point exists for everyone. And sometimes that breaking point leaves us with no other option but to leave. It's sad, but it was bound to happen no matter what direction the BSA decided to go in with any of these membership policy discussions. Many families left the BSA behind when they maintained the gay scout and scouter bans. Many families will leave because of the inclusion of girls. 

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SouthScout,

I personally don't like the changes made over the last few years. After 38 years as a SM I retired a while back. I work on a maintenance committee at one of the two scout reservations in our council, and I'm currently the OA Chapter advisor with the ceremony committee. Yes, the national OA is terminating our chapter ceremony teams. Our lodge advisor says the national committee is just waiting for the right time to make the announcement, any second now. In the mean time, my chapter advisor told me our lodge advisor says our lodge ceremony team can no longer meet its obligation to perform Call-Out Ceremonies at each summer camp session (at the closing Friday night campfire) and the chapter teams must do it. Get that???? Must do it????

I'm also still mentoring a new scoutmaster for maybe another month or so. She doesn't want girls in the boy scouts. I explained that they would be in separate troops, but she's still not happy. She wants the boy scouts to remain only boy scouts.

So yeah, I'm winding it down slowly and carefully, kinda like being addicted a bit. But I can stop anytime I want! REALLY!

sst3rd

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9 hours ago, DuctTape said:

For me it is all about the unit level. Always has been . It matters not to me what extra membership requirements some other unit uses to allow or disallow scouts or scouters from their rolls. If some other troop somewhere is a girl troop, it doesn't affect my troop. Just because the neighboring troop doesnt use the patrol method at all, and is basically an adult run activity center, it doesnr affect my troop. Just like we tell families and scouts, find the troop that you fit with. If it is no longer your current unit, find a different one. 

This is my feeling too.  Our program is our program.  The scouts are still going to have great experiences and it will be fun and rewarding to help make that happen.

I do get the feeling of hurt.  Folks know that I think the membership changes are for the better- but I really do understand the hurt and betrayal they are causing.

Despite that, I just keep thinking about the scouts and the wonderful adventures.  None of these national changes will change that.  So, for me I don't have a big concern about the future.  I'll keep Scouting as long as interested kids show up that want to have the great Scouting adventure.

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My breaking point was getting too old.

Aside from that, I would have discontinued my association with scouting if my church/diocese had pulled out. In the grand hierarchy of things, my religion is more important to me than scouting.

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7 hours ago, David CO said:

My breaking point was getting too old.

Aside from that, I would have discontinued my association with scouting if my church/diocese had pulled out. In the grand hierarchy of things, my religion is more important to me than scouting.

The age thing bugs me as well. I'm currently missing a campout because of a scheduled old-person procedure. But, I remember at Jamboree as a kid meeting a guy being wheeled around in his chair. He introduced himself as "the oldest scout in existence." (A claim I probably smirked at, at the time, but since, my aunt was probably the oldest campfire girl for a few years, I'm no longer taking the memory of him so lightly.) I've since met other scouters who are revered by boys. So, sticking around seems to be a matter of humility on the scouter's part and accommodation on the boys' part.

I look at the religion thing from a different standpoint. Of course, Protestants aren't known for their loyalty. But, that's not it. Nor is it that I'll likely find some church somewhere who favors scouting in most any community. If I'm called to something else, I'll set BSA aside. But the opposite has been happening in the past few years. My two loves (for international students/refugees, and spending time with youth in the outdoors) are growing together. Especially with the upcoming World Jamboree. BSA4G only facilitates that.

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24 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I remember at Jamboree as a kid meeting a guy being wheeled around in his chair. He introduced himself as "the oldest scout in existence."

That is exactly what I don't want. Scouting is a game for boys.

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13 minutes ago, David CO said:

Scouting is a game for boys.

So many programs would be so better off if we did a better job remembering that. We learn so much better (adults & kids alike) when we're having fun. For me, in a great program the advancements are a byproduct of the learning which is itself a byproduct of adventure and fun. 

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