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Scouting Magazine - betting the farm on girls

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57 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

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

It’s worse than that, the quality of the average unit program is directly related to the quality of training. 

True, a few units can ignore training because their adult staff is sufficiently skilled, but adult turnover eventually catches up to where the unit is relying on the training for their program. 

Barry

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10 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

It’s worse than that, the quality of the average unit program is directly related to the quality of training. 

True, a few units can ignore training because their adult staff is sufficiently skilled, but adult turnover eventually catches up to where the unit is relying on the training for their program. 

Barry

This is what I wish the BSA would focus on. I'd rather see them bet the farm on better training. If there's something that will increase membership it will be helping scouters, parents, and the community better understand the program. Axe and GPS skills are important but just understanding the basics is also important. The current model the BSA uses for training is based on the assumption that there are plenty of adults with plenty of outdoor and scouting experience. i.e., all they need to do is go over some BSA specific safety issues and they're good to run a program. Come up with a training program that solves this problem and make an issue of Scouter magazine about that.

@qwazse has suggested ranks for adults and why not? Why not put parents in their own patrols to teach them about patrol method? I wonder if the whole push on family scouting isn't about the lack of skills that many adults have. I happen to think it's a half baked idea but there is something to think about. If the patrol method was working and patrols were independent then the adults could learn at the same time as the scouts and stay out of their way. For those that really don't want to camp put them in their own patrol. Make it official so every parent sees that what the PL is supposed to do and those troops that don't have PLs might just change.

 

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I started writing this post with quite a lengthy response to quite a few of the comments above. Then I deleted it. Instead I thought I’d post this link.

http://12thcambridge.org.uk/blog/2018/08/26/summer-sun/

Its the photos from my troop summer camp which also included the cubs from our group for half the week.

as a group we have a well above average number of girls. (For those not familiar with my comments on here I’m British so used to fully coed scouting) They come to us because they like what we do. So summer camp this year meant hiking, caving, rock climbing, pioneering, a trip to Alton towers (rollecoastertastic!) and would have meant mountain biking if not washed out by 60mph winds and torrential rain.

we have issues with leader training and finding enough quality volunteers as well. But hopefully the photos show you the problem does not stem from girls wanting to change things. I don’t quite know where the issues stem from. But don’t blame the girls that want in. Or their parents. That’s not right and it’s not fair.

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

This is what I wish the BSA would focus on. I'd rather see them bet the farm on better training. If there's something that will increase membership it will be helping scouters, parents, and the community better understand the program. Axe and GPS skills are important but just understanding the basics is also important. The current model the BSA uses for training is based on the assumption that there are plenty of adults with plenty of outdoor and scouting experience. i.e., all they need to do is go over some BSA specific safety issues and they're good to run a program. Come up with a training program that solves this problem and make an issue of Scouter magazine about that.

 

Most training in anything is designed around the student having some knowledge of the subject. That worked fine for the BSA until the membership change in 1990. The percentage of adults joining the bsa before that change was more than 50%, closer to 70%. Then the number jumped below 50%, dropping below 40% in just a few years. So you can imagine the shift of students with ZERO knowledge of the scouting program, at both vision and skills. 

You can respect the challenge National has in developing a training program that teaches an adult with zero knowledge of scouting, while not driving away the adults who have been there and done that. 

However, I believe the new membership changes wil result in recruiting less than 20% experienced adults. That kind of number will invite a training program designed to develop adults with zero knowledge of scouting. That goal will require considerable personal time, so the other 20% will have to consider watching from the sidelines. Or testing out. 

How ever it goes, the program will adapt to the average performance of trained adults without previous experience. 

1 hour ago, MattR said:

 

@qwazse has suggested ranks for adults and why not? Why not put parents in their own patrols to teach them about patrol method? I wonder if the whole push on family scouting isn't about the lack of skills that many adults have. I happen to think it's a half baked idea but there is something to think about. If the patrol method was working and patrols were independent then the adults could learn at the same time as the scouts and stay out of their way. For those that really don't want to camp put them in their own patrol. Make it official so every parent sees that what the PL is supposed to do and those troops that don't have PLs might just change.

 

I’m not exactly sure what qwazse is suggesting because this is basically how training ran before the training changes in 2000. And that model worked fine until the adult membership changes in 1990. After 1990, Scouts started complaining the adults were driving them to mimic their adult training program experiences. That was part of the motivation for the new training philosophy of 2000 of putting more  emphasis on the scouting vision and building an adult team to build a program toward the vision. 

As result of the recent membership changes, scouting is going to have to change for the new inexperienced adults. I personally don’t see how training can take up the slack to get adults functioning at today’s program, so the program will have to change to meet their abilities. It will have to dumb down. At least from the perspective of us old-timers. 

Barry

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4 hours ago, cocomax said:

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.)     

Hey! I know the answer to that one! They in fact do work without cell service. They have a built in magnetometer.

I actually learned that one during my recent IOLS class. 😉 

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7 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Hey! I know the answer to that one! They in fact do work without cell service. They have a built in magnetometer.

I actually learned that one during my recent IOLS class. 😉 

They work right up until the phone's battery goes dead.  There's a reason the GPS is always secondary to the map / compass / orienteering skills as primary.  The primary still works when you have no power or you can't lock onto the satellite for some reason :)

Its all very elementary in the classroom setting, or even on a course in the local park... things get very real when you are 3 days out on Northern Tier in an area with nothing but a bunch of dotted lakes hooked together with little dotted portage trails and the patrol of scouts have a difference of opinion about which portage trail is the correct one to take !

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Wow, @cocomax. I applaud your restraint. I would have started asking tough questions: How do I get UTM coordinates from your “GPS” for geocaching? What’s different about your saw from my dovetail saw at home that you can’t sharpen it (assuming no induction hardened teeth)? How do sundials work if shadows always point north? Moments like yours sometimes make me forget that a scout is kind. 

Side note: The fluxgate compass inside a smartphone doesn’t require cell service to work. Also, most phones don’t require service to use their GPS component. However, they often use cellular data to download the ephemeris and maps. 

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I wonder how much prior scouting experience matters, really.  My dad is an ASM for my son’s troop.  I bet my dad is a pretty typical former scout for his age (born 1947)— he did a few years of Cubs, was in Scouts till he was in early HS (maybe 14 or 15), enjoyed camping, etc.  He remembers his cousin being SPL, but not who was in his patrol, other than a few friends.  I don’t think his scouting experience makes any difference in how he is as an ASM.  He follows the guidance of the SM.

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56 minutes ago, bearess said:

I wonder how much prior scouting experience matters, really.  My dad is an ASM for my son’s troop.  I bet my dad is a pretty typical former scout for his age (born 1947)— he did a few years of Cubs, was in Scouts till he was in early HS (maybe 14 or 15), enjoyed camping, etc.  He remembers his cousin being SPL, but not who was in his patrol, other than a few friends.  I don’t think his scouting experience makes any difference in how he is as an ASM.  He follows the guidance of the SM.

And sometimes (often) the prior scouting experience was not really following the bsa methods. I have had the most difficult time with that type of experience, some even eagle scouts but from adult led troop focused plop camping experience. Sometimes it is easier to instruct from a blank slate than  having to erase 8 years of anti-boy-led-patrol-method experience. 

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36 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

And sometimes (often) the prior scouting experience was not really following the bsa methods. I have had the most difficult time with that type of experience, some even eagle scouts but from adult led troop focused plop camping experience. Sometimes it is easier to instruct from a blank slate than  having to erase 8 years of anti-boy-led-patrol-method experience. 

I’m not sure what you are seeing, but one or two experienced scouters in a group 8 were always farther ahead than the group of 8 with no experienced scouters in our outdoor basic courses. They were so far behind that we made sure at least one experienced scouter was in an adult patrol. 

We observed that new troops with adults of no experience were 3 years behind new troops with some experienced leaders. 

The most challenging adults are the Cub Scout leaders that had no youth experience. They were know it alls in training that wouldn’t listen to the instructions. Then they couldn’t stop telling scouts what to do in the troops.

We absolutely did not let Adult Cub crossovers help with the new scouts. They had to observe at least past summer camp.

Barry

 

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Let me tell you what GSUSA is doing right, at least the GSUSA here in central California. BSA could learn a whole lot from them.

The GSUSA Camper training was amazing, even and old mountain man like myself learned a bunch of new things, like cooking cookies in a card board box over a camp fire, really, I got to do that, it was so cool.

The training was FUN, I would go back and take the course over again just because it was so fun to spend time with two old Girl Scouts, that were like the Bear Grylls and Green Bar Bill of Girl Scouting.

They were super stars of scouting, radiating scout spirit.   I took many of their ideas back to my Boy Scout troop and the ideas when over really well, I am a better scouter for going to GSUSA camper training.   I would gladly be a part of these ladies troop with them as the leaders. Any scouter that just spends time with these ladies becomes a better scouter. 

Here is the crazy part. . .

When  I re-enact the training I received that day with a group of scouts, girl scouts or cub scouts,  I mean exactly what I did with those wonderful ladies, everything works great!  I mean it is fun, really fun.

Those ladies showed us how to be a girl scout by example, they were playing the part of the older girls and were playing the part of the young girls and we all had so much fun playing the game of scouting.  Yes, we sung silly songs, yes we played tag few times.  It is natural for scouters to mimic their training and that is what the old Girl Scouts wanted us to do! They told us to!  

What I see over and over  in the BSA are trained leaders re-enacting their training.  Scouts are now subjected to listening to someone drone on and on in front of a flip chart ,  class room style.  Adults run the show and boss the scouts around in the same manor the trainers bossed them around at training.   BSA training is a BAD example of how to run a scout troop. Wood badge is also a horrible example of how to run a scout troop.   I have seen way too many freshly minted, tin plated,  bead wearing tyrants screaming at the boys like a drill instructor.  I see those beads and critter patches and start think oh no, no, no, oh dear God no, please, no, no, no, no. . . . 

Is BSA training us to be scouters or business managers?    How did Boy Scouting transform from a FUN GAME into a boring and serious business?

Please keep that boring serious business up at national and away from the troop level scouts and scouters.

Train the scouters BY EXAMPLE like the Girl Scouts do. Teach scouters to play the game, to have fun, like the Girl Scouts do. 

What is that you say? Another beading ceremony tonight at the big camp fire. (I wonder if there will be lots of inside jokes and un-scout like insults that I will not understand like the last few times?)    Sorry , I will have to stay here at our troop's camp fire, you guys go on without me, I have some chocolate chip cookies to cook over the camp fire in a card board box for a late night snack when you get back. . .  or stay here with me and have a fresh hot chocolate chip cookie and coffee and I will tell you about some of the strange things I have seen in the woods. . . 

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

I’m not sure what you are seeing, but one or two experienced scouters in a group 8 were always farther ahead than the group of 8 with no experienced scouters in our outdoor basic courses. They were so far behind that we made sure at least one experienced scouter was in an adult patrol. 

We observed that new troops with adults of no experience were 3 years behind new troops with some experienced leaders. 

The most challenging adults are the Cub Scout leaders that had no youth experience. They were know it alls in training that wouldn’t listen to the instructions. Then they couldn’t stop telling scouts what to do in the troops.

We absolutely did not let Adult Cub crossovers help with the new scouts. They had to observe at least past summer camp.

Barry

 

Outdoor experience yes. But not specific to being a scout. As I said, many with scouting experience did not experience the patrol method and try to do scouts in the way they experienced it,  which takes a lot of time to retrain them into proper patrol method leaders. Those with outdoor experience and no scouting experience are more willing to learn to implement the patrol method with no need to unlearn bad habits.

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13 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

Outdoor experience yes. But not specific to being a scout. As I said, many with scouting experience did not experience the patrol method and try to do scouts in the way they experienced it,  which takes a lot of time to retrain them into proper patrol method leaders. Those with outdoor experience and no scouting experience are more willing to learn to implement the patrol method with no need to unlearn bad habits.

Once the patrols are trained and up and running that is when the real fun begins.  

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1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

Outdoor experience yes. But not specific to being a scout. As I said, many with scouting experience did not experience the patrol method and try to do scouts in the way they experienced it,  which takes a lot of time to retrain them into proper patrol method leaders. Those with outdoor experience and no scouting experience are more willing to learn to implement the patrol method with no need to unlearn bad habits.

I agree, with everything you said, but it’s outdoor and patrol basics like picking leaders, standing in formation, flag ceremonies and so forth that are difficult for new scouters. Most troops are pretty standard in those areas and that is huge benefit for new troops.

The DE in another district called once for advice on dealing with a new troop of 40 new Scouts and 5 adults with zero scouting experience. The adults had not let their scouts lead an assembly after three months because they didn’t feel comfortable to let the scouts take that responsibility. The troop was run like a Webelos den. 

Patrol methed is a very difficult concept even for experienced scouters. Rarely do those of us hardcore Patrol Method experienced Gurus on this forum always agree. Inexperienced adults are so far behind in running a troop program, they typically focus on advancement by default because it’s the easiest method teach and measure. Troops with experienced adults are about 3 years ahead because they know how to use the other 7 Methods from the beginning. 

Sadly the Unit Commissioner Corp is used like they could be. Patrol methed is very difficult to teach. Consistent guidance works really well when a good UC is matched with a willing troop staff. But that is very rare. 

Barry

Barry

 

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8 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I agree, with everything you said, but it’s outdoor and patrol basics like picking leaders, standing in formation, flag ceremonies and so forth that are difficult for new scouters. Most troops are pretty standard in those areas and that is huge benefit for new troops.

The DE in another district called once for advice on dealing with a new troop of 40 new Scouts and 5 adults with zero scouting experience. The adults had not let their scouts lead an assembly after three months because they didn’t feel comfortable to let the scouts take that responsibility. The troop was run like a Webelos den. 

Patrol methed is a very difficult concept even for experienced scouters. Rarely do those of us hardcore Patrol Method experienced Gurus on this forum always agree. Inexperienced adults are so far behind in running a troop program, they typically focus on advancement by default because it’s the easiest method teach and measure. Troops with experienced adults are about 3 years ahead because they know how to use the other 7 Methods from the beginning. 

Sadly the Unit Commissioner Corp is used like they could be. Patrol methed is very difficult to teach. Consistent guidance works really well when a good UC is matched with a willing troop staff. But that is very rare. 

Barry

Barry

 

I also agree with you. I will guess that another place we will agree (please correct me if I am mistaken) is the need for all new leaders to be provided excellent training (or refresher) in boy-led-patrol method scouting techniques. As is being mentioned by others, hands-on and doing are the bread and butter of scouting, and training adults in how to allow (implement)  the best boy-led-patrol method organization the adults need specifics, not philosophic quotes on flip-charts. The handbooks (boy and adult) used to give examples of situations and how the SM could respond. In trainings, these scenarios should be discussed, acted out, debated. As you mention, even those of us with significant patrol method experience disagree. I believe when we debate the specific action, even if we disagree, especially when we disagree, it strengthens our understanding of the patrol method and the vision of scouting in general. Thus I think this training in boy-led-patrol-method scouting, when done by highly competent people with highly engaging materials and with a focus on the outcome is paramount for scouting regardless of past experience. Unfortunately this training doesn't exist. Some will say "it is embedded in..." which means it is not the focus of the training.

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