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When Do Girl Topics Move to Open Discussion?

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For all its hundred years of experience,  the BSA seems to know almost nothing about marketing.  We heard rumors since 2010 that soon there would be girls in the Boy Scouts.  The folks at BSA headquarters have been thinking about fashioning the BSA after the English Scouting Association for some time.  That means no membership limit due to sexual orientation, that means co-ed troops, that means Scouting groups for all the ages sub-grouped by age, that might mean more national control at the local level.  But the marketing campaign was about "Family Scouting", implying that a parent could bring all the children to a meeting on a given night and put the 8 year old in an appropriately aged unit, the  12 year old male into his own appropriately aged unit, and the female 16 year old into her appropriately aged unit.  I don't recall anyone doing any market research in our council about the preference for this kind of organization until about a week before the national board of directors voted to start "Scouts BSA".  Even the name is confusing, and leaves many shaking their heads. I think that Trail Life USA has a closer model to Family Scouting than the BSA. 

Maybe the BSA just knows that the changes they want to make need to be spaced out so that the old timers can be dealt with.  The people who really dislike the changes will leave,  new parents who did not know the old organization will come in and be properly "trained" in the Scouts BSA methods, and the scouts can still get the Eagle Scout award.  With each change, some will leave, some will stay, the past will eventually be forgotten, and the Progressive thinking will endure.

What could the BSA have done better?  If they wanted boys troops and girls troops, they could have just left the "Boy Scouts of America" program and organization alone, and added the female program "Scouts USA" for girls.  Both could work on requirements for Eagle Scout, but they should definitely be separated by gender.  But I fear that the goal is co-ed units all across the board.  And whereas the Scouting professionals of 1910 chose to disseminate control to the local level as much as possible, today's scouting   professionals will seek to reel in control from the local units.

I don't know what to do.  I like working with young men, and really like the "helping boys grow into men" idea.  I expect that to disappear soon.  I think Scouting will go co-ed at some point.  It could be in a few years, or next month.  There are scouting alternatives popping up, largely along religious lines, but they are not big in my area right now.  I am serving where I am right now (ASM in a local troop), but like the BSA, that could change.

 

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1 hour ago, allangr1024 said:

For all its hundred years of experience,  the BSA seems to know almost nothing about marketing. 

One of our ASMs worked for AT&T marketing. The ASM approached the Council Field leader and told him that he would put all the pictures of scouts in the local news paper that the field leader would give him. It was a gold mine offer. The field leader and I went to the same my church and he pulled me over to explain why he refused the ASMs kind gesture. He simply didn't want the ASM to get the recognition for the idea. I guess promotions in council are very competitive,  so he was willing to give up the many thousands of dollars of marketing to save his ego.

 I don't have much respect for BSA marketing efforts.

1 hour ago, allangr1024 said:

Maybe the BSA just knows that the changes they want to make need to be spaced out so that the old timers can be dealt with.  The people who really dislike the changes will leave,  new parents who did not know the old organization will come in and be properly "trained" in the Scouts BSA methods, and the scouts can still get the Eagle Scout award.  With each change, some will leave, some will stay, the past will eventually be forgotten, and the Progressive thinking will endure.

I do believe this is where National is going, and maybe even looking forward to the direction.  But I think they stumbled here, it wasn't a long range vision. They have never shown me to have visionary skills. They have been reactionary the last 20 years and this is the muddy tire rut they got stuck in.

1 hour ago, allangr1024 said:

I don't know what to do.  I like working with young men, and really like the "helping boys grow into men" idea.  I expect that to disappear soon.  I think Scouting will go co-ed at some point.  It could be in a few years, or next month.  There are scouting alternatives popping up, largely along religious lines, but they are not big in my area right now.  I am serving where I am right now (ASM in a local troop), but like the BSA, that could change.

There are lot of us sitting at this campfire.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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Sometimes when I read these topics I feel utterly demoralized about Scouting.  The program has changed, patrol method is dead, etc.

I'll be the first to grant that the BSA has made a slew of more restrictive YPT changes.  Yes - they protect the Scouts, volunteers, and even the BSA from injury and lawsuits:

  • End of youth activities without adult supervision
  • More and more restrictions on what activities units can do.  (i.e. pionering structure rules)

I'll grant that the BSA has made changes to membership and the OA to adapt to changes in cultural norms.

  • Gender identiciation of members
  • End of Native American ceremonies in the OA
  • Increasing guidance in support of politically correct speech

Further, I'll grant that the BSA had taken steps to broaden the program and make it more attractive to more youth

  • Addition of girls
  • Addition of Lions
  • Addition of STEM activities
  • Various requirements changes

Yes - I fully acknowledge that the combined effect of all of this makes it more difficult to run a program like many of us experienced as a youth.  However, I don't think any of these set out to reduce the BSA program we knew from our childhood. They are simply individual decisions made by national BSA leaders.  They certainly force us to be more creative in our programming.  But, it's far from impossible.  I'd dare say it's not even that difficult to run a traditional program.

Today, our pack, troop for boys, troop for girls, and crew all run very traditional BSA style programs and have no issues doing so.  We do this because we have a clear vision of what we're trying to be.  We don't absorb the latest BSA marketing release and say - "scrap our outdoor program and lets do STEM."  We know our program and leverage each of these new BSA ideas and try to figure out how best to work with them.  Would Scouting be better off if someone in National was making this clearer?  Without doubt.  I also tihnk it's important for us as volunteers to continue to put pressure on national to be smarter in some of these changes.  But, we are far from a case where National rules are preventing us from doing what we do.  If I look around our district, I see our other strong units doing the same thing.

So, I'm not saying any of these observations are wrong.  But, I just think that we as exerpienced volunteers need to put them in context.  

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30 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

One of our ASMs worked for AT&T marketing. The ASM approached the Council Field leader and told him that he would put all the pictures of scouts in the local news paper that the field leader would give him. It was a gold mine offer. The field leader and I went to the same my church and he pulled me over to explain why he refused the ASMs kind gesture. He simply didn't want the ASM to get the recognition for the idea. I guess promotions in council are very competitive,  so he was willing to give up the many thousands of dollars of marketing to save his ego.

 I don't have much respect for BSA marketing efforts.

This simply sounds like a stupid decision by a very short sighted local professional.  

To me one of the biggest failings of the BSA in the last 40 years is the withering of the district and council volunteer teams.  We expect too much from professionals today.  A decision about Scouts in the paper ought to be made by a pretty senior volunteer.  Perhaps your ASM who works in marketing.  Isn't that the whole volunteer led, prfessionally guided idea?

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2 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

This simply sounds like a stupid decision by a very short sighted local professional.  

To me one of the biggest failings of the BSA in the last 40 years is the withering of the district and council volunteer teams.  We expect too much from professionals today.  A decision about Scouts in the paper ought to be made by a pretty senior volunteer.  Perhaps your ASM who works in marketing.  Isn't that the whole volunteer led, prfessionally guided idea?

Sadly, Pros sometimes won't listen, and they will downright ignore you. DE set a district Cub event 4 for the same time and place as the district camporee and IOLS training with only 4 weekds notice.. Camporee chief saw it on the calendar website, called the council office about it, and NO ONE knew about it. Asked to get it pulled from the council calendar. DE is furious because HIS event was removed. When both the camporee chief and ITOLS SM state that having that is a problem, they were ignored and told the event will go on. Camporee Chief had to make numerous last minute changes: designated parking areas, marking off an assigned campsite that was going to be surrounded by Cub Scouts, redoing the entire compass course to get to events because 1/2 the area to be used was now for the Cub Scouts, etc. Both Camporee chief and ITOLS SM quit after the weekend.

 

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3 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Sadly, Pros sometimes won't listen, and they will downright ignore you. DE set a district Cub event 4 for the same time and place as the district camporee and IOLS training with only 4 weekds notice.. Camporee chief saw it on the calendar website, called the council office about it, and NO ONE knew about it. Asked to get it pulled from the council calendar. DE is furious because HIS event was removed. When both the camporee chief and ITOLS SM state that having that is a problem, they were ignored and told the event will go on. Camporee Chief had to make numerous last minute changes: designated parking areas, marking off an assigned campsite that was going to be surrounded by Cub Scouts, redoing the entire compass course to get to events because 1/2 the area to be used was now for the Cub Scouts, etc. Both Camporee chief and ITOLS SM quit after the weekend.

 

I hear you.  I think our DE is great.  Yet, as I've gotten to know him I've come to appreciate that for years the expectation has been on him to do all kinds of jobs that volunteers should do.  The expectation to do that has been there because it's pretty well unclear who does what at the district or council level anymore.  Further, like in many troops and packs, a small number of people end up doing it all.  It's no different in the district or council.

I think this is part of the failing of the BSA model.  National & the Council leadership should be working to strengthen the district volunteer teams and skills - not telling their DEs to fill in the gaps that volunteers are not doing or gaps that professionals think should be getting done.  

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8 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Sadly, Pros sometimes won't listen, and they will downright ignore you. DE set a district Cub event 4 for the same time and place as the district camporee and IOLS training with only 4 weekds notice.. Camporee chief saw it on the calendar website, called the council office about it, and NO ONE knew about it. Asked to get it pulled from the council calendar. DE is furious because HIS event was removed. When both the camporee chief and ITOLS SM state that having that is a problem, they were ignored and told the event will go on. Camporee Chief had to make numerous last minute changes: designated parking areas, marking off an assigned campsite that was going to be surrounded by Cub Scouts, redoing the entire compass course to get to events because 1/2 the area to be used was now for the Cub Scouts, etc. Both Camporee chief and ITOLS SM quit after the weekend.

 

Human nature, I suppose, but it's frustrating.  The schools in our district have a "Friday Folder": an email blast sent out to all parents with information about upcoming school and community events.  I wanted to put a flyer for our town's Troop, plus the Venture Crew and girls' Troop - which are in a different town - in one of the Friday Folders to let parents know about the opportunities that are out there.  The school district said yes, but our DE said no.  The reason given was because the DE wanted to explore the possibility of adding a girls' Troop in our town.  Well, that's nice, but that doesn't help the girls who are looking for a troop right now.  Word of mouth has spread, though, and four girls from our town have already joined the troop in the neighboring town.

I think it will be a while before the whole 'girls in scouting' becomes a regular topic.  I told one of the dads in my youngest son's den about the girls troop, and he said, "We don't go for that kind of thing around here." 

I guess I should say 'former den'.  He's crossed over and gets to join his brother in the troop!!

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On 4/4/2019 at 10:46 AM, allangr1024 said:

I think that Trail Life USA has a closer model to Family Scouting than the BSA. 

That is correct. #WalkWorthy!

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On 4/3/2019 at 4:01 PM, qwazse said:

For example, someone could simply post, "I'm now all about American Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA." I don't consider that any more negative than "I'm heavy in Campfire USA or BPSA." If they put money where their mouth is, our kids might meet each other on the trail, just like old school, and discover that have more in common than not.

Trust me when I say I've been met with nothing but criticism from BSA folks the second I bring up TLUSA or AHG in conversation. They can be critical and negative all they want. It's not going to change anything.

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I disagree with every one of you who allege Scouting is less than it was before girl troops were allowed.  You offer nothing other than unsupported speculation, such as “men are not staying in Scouting”.  There are no “issues to sort out”.  There is just a refusal on the part of a few to embrace our organization’s welcome of everyone and perhaps disappointment that we are seeing such enthusiasm and new membership.  Yes, 1,800 new troops in 45 days.  When was the last time we saw that?  I am seeing a natural embrace of our program and organization by these girls and their families in our Troop.

There are folks who genuinely believe they add great value by pointing out each and every potential problem or defect in a plan without offering a helpful suggestion.  They generally add very little.  We need optimism and cheerleading, not attempts torelitigate the decisions already made.

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Normally I don't like to get in the middle of controversial topics like this but for those of you who disagree with girls joining the Boy Scouts Scouts BSA, just remember there are other scouting alternatives out there. 

Edited by TLUSA

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The express marketing activity of the newer organization is to tear away at our organization with searing press releases, web site postings, media appearances and similar advertising.  This naturally causes BSA folks to avoid interactions with them.  Our organization has not responded in kind.  I have no quibble with organizations embracing the dogma of specific religious faiths and limiting membership and activities in accord with the selected  religious principals.  I have only best wishes to organizations that do so.

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