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Scouting Magazine - betting the farm on girls

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14 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

Forgiving and editing first of all the crass nature of your response, might I ask what your sarcastic comments have to do with my thoughts? You did after all quote my comments before going off on this diatribe, but seeing as I have never made any claims such as the ones you mockingly seem to attribute to me, and seeing as I tried to express my thoughts diplomatically (though plainly), I don't see how this kind of post contributes to the conversation. Certainly I have never suggested any such vulgar nor bigoted remarks as these, yet you seem to imply that they are somehow the "next step" in my line of thinking. THIS IS NOT SO.

I apologize if you chose to interpret my comments as such, but it does neither of us any good to talk like this, and it only damages both points of view. So I offer my apologies again if you wrongly interpreted my feelings, and hope we can return to a more civil discourse on this issue. For now, perhaps I had best retreat from this particular thread for a time.

Allow me to step back and say that I could have expressed myself less caustically. If you want to know, the specific part of your post that I found objectionable was the following:

17 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

I think forcing Scouting on girls is like trying to fit the square peg through the round hole - you can take a million pictures of smiling faces, interview all the welcoming Scouts you want, talk to all the parents of that "one little girl who has waited her whole life for this moment" - it doesn't make a difference. Scouting was developed over a hundred years to fit the way boys learn and grow, from the deeply-invested group structure to the outdoor formula, even down the uniforms are something boys are naturally drawn to. But girls are different. And sooner or later, either girls will lose interest and leave because the novelty has worn off and they realize Scouting isn't quite the program they wanted, or girls will lose interest and will start to fundamentally change the program to make it suit them better. I predict the latter, to the great loss of all the boys who needed this program in the first place. 

It appears from this comment that you are concerned that girls are too girly to like scouts because girls, and that they'll either drop out or make scouts more girly. Frankly, this implies that girls aren't interested in the doing things Scouts do. And what exactly is it that Scouts do? Why have the Scouts volunteered their time to meet with their troop and patrol? So they can have fun with friends, be part of a group, learn how to do cool stuff, etc. And saying that girls aren't interested in such things is just incorrect. 

You say boys are drawn to uniforms. I say boys and girls alike are drawn to being an equal part of a larger whole, and wearing a uniform is only a reflection of that feeling. Nobody joins Scouting so they can wear a uniform. They wear a uniform because they're Scouts. In many other countries, the Scout uniform is really just the necker. But wearing just the necker still identifies them as a member of the Scouting movement, and a brother or sister to all other Scouts, including ones wearing a full tan uniform sans necker.

I will admit that girls tend to do better in a classroom-style adult-directed sit-quietly-and-listen setting. But if a scout activity resembles anything like such a classroom, something has gone seriously off the rails. Scouts learn by doing.  

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56 minutes ago, LVAllen said:

I will admit that girls tend to do better in a classroom-style adult-directed sit-quietly-and-listen setting. But if a scout activity resembles anything like such a classroom, something has gone seriously off the rails. Scouts learn by doing.  

We are already there. . .

Two years ago there was a camp-o-ree that for the events they had stations set up with pop ups and folding chairs were the scouts were taught a subject using flip charts.  Packing a back pack,  leave no trace,  basic first aid,  and navigation were some of the subjects taught.  Patrols were awarded points for paying attention and answering questions at the end. After finishing one station they would rotate to the next station.

I asked around why they were running things that way, without the boys actually doing anything and was told it was modeled after Wood Badge, that is the way things are taught at Wood Badge so they thought bringing flip charts to a camp-o-ree would be the right way to go.  The Wood Badgers are using the Wood Badge course its self as the example of the correct way to run scouts.         

Edited by cocomax
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1 minute ago, cocomax said:

We are already there. . .

Two years ago I was at a camp-o-ree that for the events they had stations set up with pop ups and folding chairs were the scouts were taught a subject using flip charts.  Packing a back pack,  leave no trace,  basic first aid,  and navigation were some of the subjects taught.  Patrols were awarded points for paying attention and answering questions at the end. After finishing one station they would rotate to the next station.

I asked around why they were running things that way, without the boys actually doing anything and was told it was modeled after Wood Badge, that is the way things are taught at Wood Badge so they thought bringing flip charts to a camp-o-ree would be the right way to go.  The Wood Badges are using the Wood Badge course its self as the example of the correct way to run scouts.         

But for the LNT stuff at my wood badge, we actually went out to have semi-practical stuff done by the Venture crew... Some people really get the wrong ideas from WB.

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Enough mewling and crying and ooohing and awwwing.  I will revisit this in six months to a year for Cubs and late in 2019 after some time has passed.  Far too early to make any serious judgements for most of it, though perhaps some of the early head knocking can push for adjustments.

 

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I thought I was the only one who thought this issue is overreaching. After reading the headlines and flipping the pages, I lost interest and threw that issue into my recycle bin immediately. I don't think including the girls are in popular demand. In fact, BSA is starting to sound more like GSA.  

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The GSUSA organization is a wonderful group.  After taking GSUSA Camper training, I can tell you it was light years better than my BSA Outdoor training.

  My BSA Outdoor training was 90% flip charts, and an obsession with leave no trace. . .  we were taught to always hike in groups of 5 or less to minimize impact on the environment, wear special soft sole shoes to not crush grass or worms, walk on rocks when possible, always pack out your used TP and Poop in zip lock bags, always carry a bear locking canister,  use window screen to screen the dirt where you camped to gather all the micro trash, place a tarp under were you are cooking to catch food crumbs,  when building a fire dig a hole and carefully set the dirt and grass in safe place and line the hole with a space blanket to shield the worms and microbes from heat, when done with the camp fire, pack out the ashes remove the space blanket and return the soil and grass to the hole. . .  I asked the instructor how often she camped and her answer was, "Never, I don't camp."  It was so boring, hour after hour of flip charts and hand outs.  They group that I was which formed little clicks,  and their was lots of bickering and unhappy people, 3 of the people did not want to take the class at all, but had to because they needed it for wood badge.  

My GSUSA instructors where two old girl scouts that must be in their 70's that have camped all their life and are still camping. . .  we played lot of FUN outdoor games, carved fuzzy sticks, started camp fires, sharpened knifes, tied knots, cooked bread on a stick, bandanna in foil, cooked hobo packs,  learned map reading, did a compass course, cooked an egg in a bag, made cookies over a campfire in a pair of cardboard boxes, we did skits, they told funny stories of their grand adventures,  the ladies ran use around all day it was such a blast.  It was such a great example of scout spirit and fellowship. It really made me look forward to working with the Girl Scouts.  One thing they reminded us again and again was this has GOT to be FUN. You must have fun with this, or the game of scouting will not work. 

 GSUSA is fun, my GSUSA troop is fun,  my Boy Scout Troop is very fun. . .

The GSUSA Council in my area is rock solid and very fun and have their act together, my BSA Council is a mess of infighting and incompetence, I do my best to ignore them.  

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@cocomax,  Was it BALOO or IOLS?  While my Cub Scout Leader BALOO class was mostly lecture, handouts, and whiteboards, LNT wasn't a topic.  yes, it was boring, especially with all the experience I had.  Why when I taught BALOO, it was a lot more hands on and fun.

IOLS is suppsoe to be hands on with camping. LNT is part of it, but not to that extreme.

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29 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

@cocomax,  Was it BALOO or IOLS?  While my Cub Scout Leader BALOO class was mostly lecture, handouts, and whiteboards, LNT wasn't a topic.  yes, it was boring, especially with all the experience I had.  Why when I taught BALOO, it was a lot more hands on and fun.

IOLS is suppsoe to be hands on with camping. LNT is part of it, but not to that extreme.

It was IOLS,   The evening was all leave no trace, all flip charts.   In the morning we watched a guy cook us breakfast over a large camp stove and we ate on paper plates. We had a class on the flag and posting the colors that was all flip charts.  Next class was on wood tools, we got to look at axes, saws, and knives (but not touch), we learned the safe way for a scout to use an ax is to hold the ax against the wood and hit the back end of the ax with a hammer. The instructor told us that there was no way to sharpen a saw and she did not know how to sharpen an knife so we skipped that.  Next was map and compass and GPS, but they did not bring any maps, they had one compass, with a big bubble, but the instructor did not know the basics on how to use a compass like what the difference between magnetic north and true north we did not get to touch the compass.  She showed us how to find north with a stick, you just stick a stick in the ground and the shadow always points north.  Oddly she put the stick in the ground, but the rest of us didn't.  The first and last hands on thing we got to do was learn to tie a square not, the two 14 year old eagle scouts that showed up to teach knots sadly could not remember how to tie a bowline, sheet bend, double half hitch or taint line, but they did know the square knot really well and we all got to tie square knots.   Next a very over weight guy showed up with a back pack and showed use how to use a bear canister, where to buy them, how to carry them, covers for them, how you always have them and how to pack a back pack with clothes to keep warm, and always bring cotton clothes, he ended with a talk on leave no trace, and how it is important that we pack out any trash we find.  Then they tried to talk use into taking wood badge for an hour.  Then they signed a card and handed it to us and we went home, some of the other scouters left a lot of trash on the ground. I stayed behind and picked up the trash and was the last to leave.  

I offered to help a few times, but was soundly told no, I was not qualified to offer instruction. So I kept my mouth shut. 

. . . I ran 21 weeks of outdoor summer camp for 6 to 12 year old kids, was a logger for 10 years, camped in the woods more than 2000 nights, (I HAVE SEEN SOME THINGS OUT THERE IN THE WOODS!) hiked on 50 milers, got lost a few times and had to use a map an compass to find my way. . . was a natural/science teacher for 7 years . .  a boy scout for 6 years. . .  I have done hundred of stage shows by myself. . .    so it was really odd for me to sit there and be taught by people that do not know what they are talking about and some never even camped one night in the woods. . . nobody cared who I was. . . all they know about me was I was not a wood badger and therefore not really anyone of importance. . .

But I was so good!  I smiled nodded my head and kept my mouth shut. I did not make trouble for nobody!

It was great to get back to my troop, my second family,  and told the adults the good news of what I learned at IOLS, we all had a good laugh.   

    

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@cocomaxWOW I am sorry to hear how bad IOLS was for you. That is NOT at all how that course is supposed to be taught. It is nice to hear of a good GSUSA council that does good outdoor training. In my area we used to see a fair number of girl scout leaders taking BSA training, because the girl scout council didn't offer any. 

 

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WOW!!!!!!!!

That's not how a course is supposed to be run. And like Chris1 said, I've known GSUSA volunteers to go through BSA training, and use BSA materials, because fo the challenges with their GSUSA council.

 

I do not know if others do this, but one thing I do is IF I know someone has a lot of experience in a subject area AND they are going through the course as a student, is that I have them teach the specific area. For example, backpacking and land nav expert ( Eagle, Philmont 2x, summer camp staffer) was a student. First Aid expert was a combat medic who also is an Eagle and went to Philmont. IF I would have known about you, sometimes I get the info in advance, most of the time not, I wouyld have used you on staff.

 

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@cocomax, you are a far braver, stronger scouter than I!

There are two things that I cannot sit still for any more:

1.  A LNT zealot going on and on.  The whole LNT industry contrives to make human contact with nature more and more restrictive.  To listen to them, one gets the impression that we humans are so awful, so disgusting, that to protect nature we should just stay home.

As a Tenderfoot, I was taught "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints."  I think that's LNT in a nutshell.  Minus the laminated LNT card packs to hang from one's belt, of course.

2.  A WB salesman flogging an audience, "Sure, you may have had leadership training in college and the military, but you really don't know jack until you've taken WB, the life-changin', mountain-top pinnacle of scoutin' leadership training!  It will transform your life, your family, your unit, your community, our nation, the world and beyond!"

[As we non-WBers wonder "are you sure about that?]

 

Edited by desertrat77
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One moment that stands out was I was sitting there with a knife, sharping stone, map, compass and GPS in my pocket. Just 100 feet away was my truck filled with camping gear and my back pack ready to go on a 3 day hike. I also had 2 more GPS, a box of compasses, and a satellite messager   I was prepared to help.   At the "ice breaker" I explained in detail my life experience and having lived in the woods all my life and I got a pretty odd reaction. The instructor only asked in a harsh manor , "But do you have any BSA training, have you been to wood badge?"  I felt like I was stepping on our instructors toes and hurting her feelings so I backed off and kept quiet.  It was very clear she wished to show her dominance over me and make sure I understood that I was the student and she was the teacher.  I was thinking, wow I really messed up, I must have really come across as a pushy jerk, I really need to keep my mouth shut and be a good student. 

The next day when it was time to learn about GPT units and she did not have one I offered her to use the one in my pocket,  she said "No I do not know how to use one of those, I have a GPS app on my iPhone we can use."  I told her, "I can show everyone how to use this GPS. I have been Geocaching since 2003, they are pretty easy to use."  She told me, "No, you are not a qualified BSA instructor,  you can not give instruction." 

I just said "Okay" and smiled. I kept quiet.  I kept thinking, what in the world has happened to the Boy Scouts, wow what a mess. . . 

Her GPS iPhone app turned out to just be a compass and the instruction consisted of "THAT WAY IS NORTH, THAT WAY IS EAST, THAT WAY IS SOUTH, THAT WAY IS WEST"  then the ladies had a 15 minute discussion of if the compass app would work if they were out of cell phone service range. ( I have no idea, I do not even own a smart phone.)   

I was thinking, wow, that is odd, it is somehow okay for them to have a discussion about cell phone compasses and the other students got to talk, but I was expected to keep my month shut.

I must have really messed up.  I felt really bad and really unwanted. 

   

Edited by cocomax
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32 minutes ago, cocomax said:

One moment that stands out was I was sitting there with a knife, sharping stone, map, compass and GPS in my pocket. Just 100 feet away was my truck filled with camping gear and my back pack ready to go on a 3 day hike. I also had 2 more GPS, a box of compasses, and a satellite messager   I was prepared to help.   At the "ice breaker" I explained in detail my life experience and having lived in the woods all my life and I got a pretty odd reaction. The instructor only asked in a harsh manor , "But do you have any BSA training, have you been to wood badge?"  I felt like I was stepping on our instructors toes and hurting her feelings so I backed off and kept quiet.  It was very clear she wished to show her dominance over and make sure I understood that I was the student and she was the teacher.  I was thinking, wow I really messed up, I must have really come across as a pushy jerk, I really need to keep my mouth shut and be a good student. 

The next day when it was time to learn about GPT units and she did not have one I offered her to use the one in my pocket,  she said "No I do not know how to use one of those, I have a GPS app on my iPhone we can use."  I told her, "I can show everyone how to use this GPS. I have been Geocaching since 2003, they are pretty easy to use."  She told me, "No, you are not a qualified BSA instructor,  you can not give instruction." 

I just said "Okay" and smiled. I kept quiet.  I kept thinking, what in the world has happened to the Boy Scouts, wow what a mess. . . 

Her GPS iPhone app turned out to just be a compass and the instruction consisted of "THAT WAY IS NORTH, THAT WAY IS EAST, THAT WAY IS SOUTH, THAT WAY IS WEST"  then the ladies had a 15 minute discussion of if the compass app would work if they were out of cell phone service range. ( I have no idea, I do not even own a smart phone.)   

I was thinking, wow, that is odd, it is somehow okay for them to have a discussion about cell phone compasses and the other students got to talk, but I was expected to keep my month shut.

I must have really messed up.  I felt really bad and really unwanted. 

   

Cocomax, your anecdote is a prime example of why new volunteers stay away from BSA training--in droves!  

Too many BSA trainers are exactly as you described.   Of their faults, the chief is not respecting their audience.

But they've been to WB...where they learned the innermost secrets of leadership, management, human relations, public speaking, etc.  Secrets so profound that their status as bead-wearers allows them the privilege of lording over us uninitiated types. 

Sure, I'm painting with a wide brush.  But I truly think that BSA training demotivates more people than the BSA realizes.  The training cadres tend to be full of people that love to hear themselves talk.

A small anecdote.  I was actually asked to serve on a training staff several years ago.  My portion was outside, camping skills, on a beautiful day.  We covered the required material, in a give/take/tell me about your experience as parents/scouters/working professionals. 

We finished 20 minutes early.  Right before lunch.

So I said "It's a nice day, we have some spare time, enjoy."  Folks start conversations, stroll away, looking at clouds and trees, and relax.

Another training cadre member happened by and realized I finished early.  So she says "Actually, everyone gather round."  Trainees gather round.  She launches with "How many of you have been to WB?  Hands?  None?  Let me tell you about it."

So she did.  For 25 minutes.

 

Edited by desertrat77

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1 hour ago, desertrat77 said:

Cocomax, your anecdote is a prime example of why new volunteers stay away from BSA training--in droves!  

 

Another training cadre member happened by and realized I finished early.  So she says "Actually, everyone gather round."  Trainees gather round.  She launches with "How many of you have been to WB?  Hands?  None?  Let me tell you about it."

So she did.  For 25 minutes.

 

I've seen this too. And I strive as someone who has been to WB and is a trainer, to not patronize the folks I train, and to include their experience in the training. Most of my training are more of a group conversation and hands on skills vs a lecture, but I've sat in alot of training that is not that way. 

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I love it when I have people with landnav experience in  my map and compass sessions.  So much nicer to have "assistants" to show folks how to shoot bearings and such.  Sigh.  Not to mention I always learn something new!

Edited by walk in the woods

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