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Tired_Eagle_Feathers

Why all the slap-stick in Cub Scouting?

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On 11/27/2018 at 12:18 PM, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

...I think Scouting as a whole is a great organization when it hearkens to its roots in scoutcraft and leadership.  There are many aspects I'd like it to dump, like religion and goofiness.  These things were not a part of my Scouting experience growing up.  It's probably a pack/troop specific thing.  But there are enough positive aspects of Scouting, like scoutcraft and leadership, that make me want my son to continue to enjoy doing those things under the auspices of Scouting while ignoring the parts we don't want to do...

...Our last pack campout my son and I basically had our own little campout at the pack campout.  We had our own campfire.  We opted out of the pack meal and cooked steaks as part of doing our Cast Iron Chef work.  Instead of going to the pack campfire we sat around our own fire and roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores.  While the rest of the kids were running around playing we worked on lashings... 

Religion was actually a key component of Baden-Powell's founding ideals, calling it a "fundamental factor underlying Scouting." So if we're talking "roots", religion is right there.

I kind of struggle with your approach, separating from the Pack and doing your own thing. A lot of aspects of the aims and goals of scouting are group-focused, working together as a unit, sharing knowledge and ideas, and teaching other scouts how to do things. If your son is not participating in some activities, he may be missing out on some good learning experiences. The goofy stuff isn't always just about being goofy, it's connected to developing communication skills and older scouts working with younger scouts to pass on skills and confidence, and also learning to become leaders themselves.

Have you looked into the troop your son may be joining? A lot of troops still do some of the same stuff, have similar campfire programs as the pack, etc. I just wonder if you're waiting it out just to get to a troop and find that some of these common elements of scouting are still there.

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On 11/27/2018 at 9:18 AM, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

I think Scouting as a whole is a great organization when it hearkens to its roots in scoutcraft and leadership.  There are many aspects I'd like it to dump, like religion ...

I'm afraid if you "dumped" religious, Scouting would have absolutely no foundation. Once religion is removed from Scouting, it will cease to have any power whatsoever to do good in the lives of young people. 

Baden-Powell himself said the following:

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“There is no religious side to the Movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.”  November 1920    In the Footsteps of the Founder

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“I have been asked to describe more fully what was in my mind as regards religion when I instituted Scouting and Guiding. I was asked, ‘Where does religion come in?’ Well my reply is: ‘It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is the fundamental factor underlying Scouting and Guiding.’”  B-P 2 July 1926

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“Religion seems a very simple thing –
First: Love and serve God,

Second: Love and serve your neighbour”
  
B-P in his handbook “Scouting for Boys”

Now let’s look at the BSA National Office for some additional clarification on this subject:

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BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle: “The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. … The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.”

I believe this 100%. And I think the "slap-stick" in Cub Scouting is often a distraction from this. I have a wonderful time as a Webelos Den Leader with my boys. But, while we are always engaged in meaningful activities, NOT EVERYTHING IS "FUN." Sometimes there are very sobering conversations, or discussions that require a bit of mature, thoughtful interaction. That's okay. Yes, Cub Scouts can be a barrel of monkeys, more often than not, we are having a wild time. But there are just as many times when we need to use this program to teach deeper values with far greater significance. 

Fun is a tool, and a marvelous one at that. But it must always remain just that - a tool, not an end. My goal is never "to have fun." I use fun as an effective and powerful way to reach my REAL goal - building solid moral character in the boys I teach. If it gets TOO ridiculous, well, in my book that's a distraction.

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I have always seen the religious aspect of scouting (which I believe is also how BP envisioned it as "practical religion") is that by doing scouting right, service to others, personal growth, doing a good turn daily, living the scout law, etc... one is fulfilling their religious duty (whatever that may be). As BP put it, "to do their duty to God through doing their duty to their neighbor."

At some point this seems to have been turned upside down which befuddles me. 

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Oh good. I like it when we have entries in the "Faith and Chaplaincy" forum. Oh, wait....

 

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Religion was actually a key component of Baden-Powell's founding ideals, calling it a "fundamental factor underlying Scouting." So if we're talking "roots", religion is right there.

It was never a big part of scouting when I was in scouts.  About the only time we really encountered it was when we went to a regional event with other troops. 

I was not raised with a faith, and neither are my kids.  This is becoming more and more the norm, and I expect that eventually Scouting will catch up with it to stay in existence, like they have with girl Scouts and gay members and such.  Religion is rapidly fading in the United States.  By 2035 there will be more people who claim no religious affiliation than people who claim a Protestant faith.

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And by age, it's even starker.  Already 35% of 18-29 year-olds claim no religious affiliation. 

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I kind of struggle with your approach, separating from the Pack and doing your own thing. A lot of aspects of the aims and goals of scouting are group-focused, working together as a unit, sharing knowledge and ideas, and teaching other scouts how to do things. If your son is not participating in some activities, he may be missing out on some good learning experiences. The goofy stuff isn't always just about being goofy, it's connected to developing communication skills and older scouts working with younger scouts to pass on skills and confidence, and also learning to become leaders themselves.

There are other ways to learn skills without resorting to goofiness. 

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Have you looked into the troop your son may be joining? A lot of troops still do some of the same stuff, have similar campfire programs as the pack, etc. I just wonder if you're waiting it out just to get to a troop and find that some of these common elements of scouting are still there. 

We went on their Webelos invite and we had the "pitch" from the scoutmaster.  Seems like a very active troop like mine was when I was young, doing high adventure kind of stuff.  I don't know how it's going to work out in practice, but as a kid there wasn't much opportunity for centralized buffoonery because each patrol was busy with its own tasks during the trip.

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I have always seen the religious aspect of scouting (which I believe is also how BP envisioned it as "practical religion") is that by doing scouting right, service to others, personal growth, doing a good turn daily, living the scout law, etc... one is fulfilling their religious duty (whatever that may be). As BP put it, "to do their duty to God through doing their duty to their neighbor."

This is pretty much my take on religion in general also.  Our faith is in moral action.

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2 hours ago, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

It was never a big part of scouting when I was in scouts.  About the only time we really encountered it was when we went to a regional event with other troops.

I suspect your pack/troop was not the norm then. In every unit I've encountered, from my youth until now, it's always been an important part of things. And the training I see locally here suggests a renewed interest in emphasizing the faith component of the program. We've heard as much from council reps, and we did a pack prayer at the end of a recent pack meeting based on the suggestion by one of our Wood Badge leaders who was encouraged to make Duty to God a prominent part of our program. We did the same at the campfire last month on our fall overnighter.

I remember similar things from my youth. Campfire prayers, singing vespers, going to faith services at camp, working on religious awards, etc.

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Hi everyone, this is a reminder that this thread was about goofy cubmasters and has morphed into a whether religion has a place in scouts. Let's get back to legislating over goofy (kind of ironic, don't you think?). If you'd like I can split this thread but we've beaten the subject of religion in scouts to death plenty of times and nobody has changed their minds.

I personally like goofy cubmasters. At that age it's what scouts react to. It is about the scouts, after all. People who think that eight year olds want to sit in a serious discussion about ethics the whole time are not looking at it from the scout's view. Sure, ethics has a place, but even in the scout program the scoutmaster minute is called that for a reason. It's not the scoutmaster sermon. Scouting is fun with a purpose. Fun for a cub scout is being goofy.

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On 10/23/2018 at 8:23 AM, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

One of the things that irks me so far with my son's Cub Scout experience (I was never in cubs, just Boy Scouts) is this pervasive idea that everything has to be comedic, or slapstick cornball to be "fun".  Even during the BALOO training they emphasized that there should never be a dull moment during the campfire and if there is the leader should jump in with some kind of space-filling cornball thing to keep it "fun".

At the last district campout last weekend my son opted to go back to our campsite and have our own campfire rather than go to the big group campfire.  He finds the cornball nature of the group campfires off-putting, plus he would rather sit next to the fire and tend it himself than have to sit 30 feet away from the campfire and listen to kids incoherently mumble their way through skits.  Plus it was chilly and we wanted to actually sit next to the fire.

When I was in scouting campfire time was about sitting around the camp fire and cooking and shooting the bull with your friends.   Why all the emphasis on the cornball?  Why isn't camping and scoutcraft itself considered fun?

Different strokes for different folks.  I'm not a big fan of the cornball stuff, but most of the Cubs were, including my sons.  Wanting to be the person to tell the story around the fire to the Pack inspired my oldest son to research ghost stories, and since he was speech impaired, that was a big step for him.  

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On 11/23/2018 at 7:22 AM, ScouterNorth said:

 

"The Announcement Song"...it was funny at first when I was a kid, but then it became way overused and now I can't stand it.  The cross-over point for me was when an adult, in the interest of expediency, deliberately did not say the word.  After which another ADULT said "Wait, don't you have any more ANNOUNCEMENTS?"  Cue song, mostly sung by the other adults.

When I became a leader, this was still happening on a regular basis to the point where the kids were getting sick of it.  Timing is everything in comedy and most cornball hilarity is ill-timed and the kids cringe at it.

Not all campfires are Campfires.  We only usually did one or two formal Campfires per year - a scheduled event with an "agenda" (ie. group 1 shall sing a song, group 2 shall now do a skit, group 3 to provide a cheer for that skit etc.).   All other fires at camp were completely informal, chatting it up, the occasional song for kicks, etc.

Some of my favorite moments at campouts were when my oldest was SPL, and it routinely took a round of the Announcement song to get any business done. It irritated  the heck out of some of our leaders (who weren't frequent even attenders).   The kids loved it. The adults cringed (but loved it as well).  His last campout as SPL it must have taken five minutes before he could get to an announcement.  

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On 11/27/2018 at 11:18 AM, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

I am more of the "pick and choose" kind of Scouter.  I like Scouting as a whole, but for me, I'm in it for the scoutcraft.  That's what turned my crank as a Scout, and what I want my son to learn.  Now frankly, I have considered just "leaving it", and we'll just go camping as a family.  I was talking with my brother-in-law over Thanksgiving and that is what they decided to do.  He tried Cub Scouts with his son but found it to "chaotic" and decided they would just go camping as a family.

I think Scouting as a whole is a great organization when it hearkens to its roots in scoutcraft and leadership.  There are many aspects I'd like it to dump, like religion and goofiness.  These things were not a part of my Scouting experience growing up.  It's probably a pack/troop specific thing.  But there are enough positive aspects of Scouting, like scoutcraft and leadership, that make me want my son to continue to enjoy doing those things under the auspices of Scouting while ignoring the parts we don't want to do. 

 

I can understand disagreement with goofiness, but religion (at least in the sense that BP saw Scouting as practical religion, aka good deeds, etc.) is a centerpiece of Scouting. It's why churches sponsor us, and it's why religious people like myself participated.  I enjoy the scoutcraft as well, but religion (i.e. practical religion) is a centerpiece of things.

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21 hours ago, perdidochas said:

I can understand disagreement with goofiness, but religion (at least in the sense that BP saw Scouting as practical religion, aka good deeds, etc.) is a centerpiece of Scouting. It's why churches sponsor us, and it's why religious people like myself participated.  I enjoy the scoutcraft as well, but religion (i.e. practical religion) is a centerpiece of things.

Reverent and cheerful are two sides of the same coin.

But at the cub level, both translate poorly. Too serious sometimes for the one, and as this topic points out, too silly sometimes for the latter.

We tempered this by, in addition to cub camp, going camping with the family and sending the kids to skills-based church camps.

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