Jump to content
AltadenaCraig

When was 4th Aim added?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

@qwazse:  I'm not trying to be quixotic about this.  Like you I'm trying to be realistic.  Perhaps some, including National, see Aims & Methods only as a marketing pitch, but in all of my professional training when the vision, mission, and values of an organization are firm and resolute, the better the organization.

I'd even go farther to say that if BSA reconciled the principles embodied in the Aims and Methods (Leadership, Leadership Development? Aim? Method? huh?), we could resolve many of the quality issues we debate in this forum.  I don't disagree with your observation that "We have scouters who say, "All I do is teach boys how to stack sticks and keep a fire going" ... from their perspective, everything else flows from that", but what about those of us who hold the BSA in higher esteem?  Shouldn't the organization's executives be asked to answer when the principles of that organization are apparently so pliable?

... and I did smell the coffee and am already on my second cup, thank you.

Edited by AltadenaCraig
Leadership Development
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, AltadenaCraig said:

@qwazse:  I'm not trying to be quixotic about this.  Like you I'm trying to be realistic.  Perhaps some, including National, see Aims & Methods only as a marketing pitch, but in all of my professional training when the vision, mission, and values of an organization are firm and resolute, the better the organization..

I was also trained this way. In fact we were shown that the top successful Fortune 500 companies try to hire and maintain employees who believe their principles and values structure as well. One teacher said that if an employee can't state the company mission in one sentence, the company has failed somewhere in their process of hiring and training. 

Now, I guess Leadership and Character could be the Mission Statement, but as the Girls Scouts have learned; shallow mission statements without a simple path of process will require continued to keep up with the pop culture. 

Even my scouts understood the difference between the scouts roles (8 Methods) from the adult roles (3 Aims, or 3 Aims Plus). But now National has added confusion of whose responsible for leadership? The Scouts with the 8 Methods, or the Adults with the 4 Aims? 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

... One teacher said that if an employee can't state the company mission in one sentence, the company has failed somewhere in their process of hiring and training. ...

So, here's my deal about Aims being largely superfluous for most scouters ...

In my Junior Leader Training 4 decades ago, I was never lectured on the Aims. When I signed up Son #1 for tigers, I was never lectured on the Aims. When I became a committee member I was never lectured on the aims of scouting. When I became an ASM I don't remember being lectured on the Aims. Somebody may have told me what they were, but nobody said, "Remember these, or you'll be no good." The SM at the time we crossed over was a lineman who swore by the Oath and Law (along with Motto and Slogan) and said they were words to live by. One of the ASM's was our council (and later area) president, and he didn't waste breath on the Aims. The only concrete lecture on Aims came when I took Venturing Leader Specific Training. I chalk that up to venturers at the time using their own oath and code so they needed to do some verbal gymnastics to say they were cut from the same cloth as boy scouts.

As far as I could tell, every effective scouter cared about the aims about as much as he'd care about a rodent's donkey. Why? Well maybe ... because ...

the aims were written for people who never were scouts, never learned the Oath and Law, and would only write big checks or legislate in scouts' favor if the package was delivered in three (four?) executive summary points.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

@qwazse:  I'm in agreement with many of your positions on scouter.com, but on this I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree.

I'm encouraged that several others apparently agree with me that National's words are important, that we're attentive, and most of all that we're disappointed when guiding principles are capriciously and deceptively changed.

Edited by AltadenaCraig
guiding principles
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO,  how National execs interpret the Aims determines the Scouting program.

So,  mentally strong let's add STEM, leadership let's add management principles, citizenship let's have 3 Citizenship mb's and log all service hours,...

My $0.02,

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(horrors)  You mean the aim of Scouting is NOT to point the pointy part of the tent UP ? 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/16/2019 at 8:40 PM, AltadenaCraig said:

Just to put my money where my mouth is, here are three actions which I hope National would take regarding any changes to Aims & Methods:

  • Immediate notification to all scouters of the added Aim upon adoption of the bylaws by the Executive Committee (while I wouldn't expect everything the ExComm does to be so advertised, the Aims & Methods are foundational lists which are emphasized during initial training across the org - Scoutmaster Corps, Troop Committee, and Charter Org.).
  • Commented by Michael Surbaugh in an end-of-year video or memo to all Scouters
  • Two or three PowerPoint Slides released to every Roundtable Commissioner to be shared at Roundtable.  The slides would specify the change, the rationale behind the change, and place the change in context of Methods (which retains Leadership Development as a Method), answering "is it an Aim or a Method?"

Hi @AltadenaCraig,

I think one of the areas of disfunction we has as a movement is in how loosely connected the three layers of Scouting are to each other.  1) units 2) districts/councils 3) national.  My district team has a hard enough time communicating with the unit leaders in our district.  I can only imagine how hard it is for national people to communicate with unit leaders.  It shouldn't be that way, but it is.

At the national level, I imagine that people think they have more impact than they really do.  I'm sure there were meetings where they said "We need to send a message that leadership development is important.  So, we're going to expand our three aims to four."  I'm sure this was felt to be a signficant action.  But, most unit level folks I know would struggle to tell you what the aims and methods are.  "Don't bother me about Aism & Methods - I have a camping trip to get ready for."

I similarly don't recall seeing much news about this.  I think I became aware of it about a year back.  I agree fully that this was a lost opportunity to make some press for the change. If all they did was was you suggested, it would have made an impact.  

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect less than 50 percent of the unit/adult leaders in my district know what the stated aims of scouting are.  Almost as many probably do not know there are even stated aims.  

Quote

My district team has a hard enough time communicating with the unit leaders in our district.  I can only imagine how hard it is for national people to communicate with unit leaders.  It shouldn't be that way, but it is."

National communicates via online training and various publications.  The most substantial of which is the Troop Leader Guidebook Vol. I -III imo.  However, few make an effort to immerse themselves in the TLG and other publications.  District training focuses only on compliance such as "make sure your YP is up-to-date", but not so much on program comprehension, or even discussions about teaching tools.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, AltadenaCraig said:

@qwazse:  I'm in agreement with many of your positions on scouter.com, but on this I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree.

I'm encouraged that several others apparently agree with me that National's words are important, that we're attentive, and most of all that we're disappointed when guiding principles are capriciously and deceptively changed.

No, we agree. We should resolutely hew to the mission of the BSA

Quote

The BSA Mission

MISSION STATEMENT AND PURPOSE

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

 https://www.scouting.org/commissioners/bsa-mission/

The section continues with Oath, Law, etc ... Then it references the federal charter. ... Then goes on to describe council and district responsibilities that commissioners need to know.

Guess what's not there? Aims.

What this tells me? If I hew to the mission and never learn the aims of scouting, my youth will be just fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Sure you can do that,  but the Aims are there.

In training we are told

without the "...program  Scouting cannot accomplish its mission or fulfill its vision."

The objectives of the program are the Aims of Scouting.

Change the Aims or their interpretation and the Program changes.

https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/commissioner/newsletter/2019_winter/522-033(W-19)_CommNL_WEB.pdf

Another $0.02,

Edited by RememberSchiff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps this is another example of the adults  messing things up for the kids, the Scouts.  

Waaaay back when,  I was a Scout.... (yes, I was. Scoutson spoke up once, and said "Dad, school was much easier for you than it is for me. You had a lot  less history to learn....").  All I knew or cared about was the "Handbook for Boys"  (that was it's title.  Not limited to ONLY green shirted people....) and the "Scout Fieldbook".   I still have those tucked away.  I copied pages out of the Fieldbook for IOLS instruction. The skills, outdoor knowledge were the important things.  Learning to work together, to help organize efforts on camp trips came gradually. I even learned to get thru the times when the idiot rich kid said "no" when it was his time to wash dishes.... Our Patrol worked around him.... 

I had no idea that there were "methods" or "aims"  . My "goal" was to live outdoors for awhile and see how far I could hike with a pack.  I learned (experimentally !)  how to pick out a boot, which socks were better, how to strap loads to a packframe and NOT touch a canvas tent when it was raining.  "Handbook for BOYS"  not just registered, dues paid scouts...  How would we title it now?  "Handbook for Youth"?  Why did the title change?  

What is the change?   Why the need to define EVERYTHING that is done as meeting an "aim"  or  using a "method"?   It is part and parcel for humans to teach and pass on to our youth that which we have learned so they won't have to discover it all over again.  Lighting a fire, weaving cloth,  blueberry muffins....  That is how we come to have Airbus A380's....  All true,  it does not explain  how we keep finding new ways to kill each other. But why do we seek to define and delimit everything that comes along?   WHY do we do Scouting the way Mr. B-P laid it out and not some other way?   The BSA way is very  similar to the South African Scout Association way . Do they also have "aims" and "methods" ?  

Leadership?   The techniques can be taught, yes.  But like many other things, some folks have an innate talent, and some others allow those folks to lead (sometimes when they shouldn't be allowed to, but that's another discussion). 

The motto on my RoundTable News reads "The Work Is Done By Whoever Shows Up.". This is the essence of Leadership. Not who is ASSIGNED to do something, but who is WILLING to do something.  Oh, sure, you can be co-erced into Leading (pay, Military authority, etc.), but right down to the Cub Scout Den of 8 eager kids whose parents refuse to step up and "lead" ,  it really comes to WHO is willing to DO IT.   If no one shows up....

Mr. Surbaugh, are you there?   

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, qwazse said:

No, we agree. We should resolutely hew to the mission of the BSA

 https://www.scouting.org/commissioners/bsa-mission/

The section continues with Oath, Law, etc ... Then it references the federal charter. ... Then goes on to describe council and district responsibilities that commissioners need to know.

Guess what's not there? Aims.

What this tells me? If I hew to the mission and never learn the aims of scouting, my youth will be just fine.

They also don't reference the Scoutmaster Handbook, the committee handbook, the Scout Handbook, PL Handbook, SPL Handbook...... and on and on. 

Let's not get confused between the principles and foundation that has kept our scout program unique and exceptional for generations; and the supporting structure of process that holds it's members on a path toward a successful program.

Because the program has been following the same basic plan of building character for generations, we have come to believe that it is strong as iron and will withstand the fire of ignorance.  However, not too long ago a member of this forum attracted a following through his charismatic dialogues for building men from boys. He seemed at first to talked the talk of scouting's values, and yet the more he talked, the more his extreme bitter anti-scouting diatribes leached into his posts. His elegant style fooled a lot of members who almost believed he was the 2nd coming of Badon Powell himself. And yet, three troops failed under his leadership in the short time he was a member of this forum. How many dozens of boys were driven away from scouting as a result of his self-serving narcissistic ideals of turning boys into men? 

The ideals of scouting aren't made of iron, they are fragile and can shaped and bent to the wills of any ignorant or self-serving adult. Aims and methods are important because they are a rigid framework intended for building character. That forum member spoke many times against Vision, mission, Aims and methods because he felt they prevented adults from giving boys the total freedom of just going out in the woods and camping. He hated BSA training because the context usually ran counter to his way of raising boys. He ranted against adults coaching, mentoring , guiding and even teaching. I always wondered if he saw the irony of his anti-BSA fundamentals being the cause of his unsafe reckless approach to boys learning from their experiences, and the reason parents pulled their sons out of his troops. His example of ignoring the basic principles is the very reason to have a solid structure for holding adults with good intentions on a fixed direction. 

Just how does a scout become a citizen of character and a leader of integrity when adults skip the steps between the Mission and the Scout Law? Is just going camping really all an adult needs to know? 

We have seen in countless discussions that adults aren't very good at just letting scouts make decisions in their scouting activities. Imagine if we just let all the adults go at it any way they want like the forum member I mentioned? 

I have to laugh; there was another forum member years ago who was also just as narcissistic as the member above, only in the opposite direction. He would blame just about all problems discussed here to adults not following the program. And, then he would list the documents and wording to prove his point. He believed every problems was caused by not following directions. While I believe his rigidness caused him to blow a gasket and get thrown off the forum, he was right most of the time. In most of our discussions, there is guidance for the adults in most situations.

Adding "Leadership" to the Aims weakens the generations old structure of the program, but the greater harm is that it shows lack of faith by the professionals who have the responsibility to guard the program. There is nobody at the helm.

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

Sure you can do that,  but the Aims are there.

In training we are told

without the "...program  Scouting cannot accomplish its mission or fulfill its vision."

The objectives of the program are the Aims of Scouting.

Change the Aims or their interpretation and the Program changes.

https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/commissioner/newsletter/2019_winter/522-033(W-19)_CommNL_WEB.pdf

Another $0.02,

'schiff, I'm having a hard time finding your exact quote in the reference you cite. The closest I can find is three pages in ...

Quote

Program is Scouting. Each program offered by the BSA is uniquely designed to attract a specific group of youth and provide the opportunity for them to have fun; they don’t join for character, leadership, and citizenship development, but that will be the result of their participation. Without attractive, effective program, Scouting can’t accomplish its mission or fulfill its vision.

More telling is what's missing in 21 pages of encouragement to commissioners:

  • the word "Aims"
  • the word "fitness" (note its absence in the quote above).

I take the gist of this to mean that "attractive, effective program" sits beside the aims (by any other name), and that scouters should focus their day-to-day activities on those bells and whistles that "attract ... and provide the opportunity for [youth] to have fun."

I personally disagree. I think youth are attracted to boots-on-the-ground adults who care if they grow up strong and good. In fact, the Aims could be two: "strong" and "good" and our scouters would be just as successful. But, if some marketer comes along and says "nobody's buying strong and good, the buzzword is leadership (or whatever the new buzzword is). I'll nod politely. And, if I never get the memo, I'll be as happy-go-lucky as @SSScout  for mostly the reasons he describes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Q: (Qwazse)  Oh, I think you and I are more on the same page than you might care to admit. "Happy go lucky " indeed...

As has been noted, and not just by me,   kids won't, don't join Scouting because of methods or aims. Those are for the adults, the parents.  They join and stay because of what I call "safe adventure".   Kids climb trees because the trees are tall and it is a challenge to their physical prowess and they COULD fall, and it gets a rise out of their mothers (if not their fathers ?).   Same sort of attraction to Scouting, at least the "traditional " kind of program.

There's that word again, program .   What  12 year old is going to ask his folks "what kind of program do they have?"   This providential tike is gong to say (I hope) "I want to go hiking/play soccer/join the chess club/be in the school band", whatever, because she/he sees fun and some adventure and challenge in it. Or.... they may just want to lay on the couch and play Minecraft all day....  Much then, depends on the previous years of encouragement ("wow, look how high you are!") or guidance (" hold on to that branch !") or opportunity ( "Want to build a tree house?") or limitation ("if you fall out of the tree, don't blame me, young man !") the parent has given.... 

So maybe the adults need the rationale, the definition of what has worked, what has gone before more than the kids.  Some things become  obvious (if everyone takes a turn at the camp chores, they get done quicker and no one person does all the work)  but other things come as a result (cooperation gains friends and doing stuff gains pride).  

I think another movie that ought to be shown at Scout events (WB? ) might be Captains Courageous.  Freddie Bartholomew and Spencer Tracy . 

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×