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18 hours ago, David CO said:

The final word belongs to the Chartered Organization. 

The CO? So are units supposed to supply the CO with a calendar for approval?

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9 minutes ago, FireStone said:

One of the things that frequently comes up at our committee meetings is the challenge to deliver on the promise of adventure. I actually make it a point in my presentations to the Pack on recruiting that our single greatest asset for recruiting is that promise, and our single greatest asset for retention is repeated delivery of that promise.

It's also one of the hardest things to do.

I fully agree.  I do believe there is a difference between packs and troops though.  I think Packs have an easier job keeping the focus on the kid's view of scouting.  I've been in many pack committee meetings and there's always "oh the kids would love that" or "that would be cool".  Cub scouts are energetic and so are the parents.  They are fresh to the program.  So they keep the program focused on interesting things.  

When we get to troops, it's like we forget the fun and friendship.  It becomes "leadership" and "boy run".  We forget the scouts often just want to burn things, hang with their friends or just be away from home on their own for awhile.  

@qwazse's comment hit me because I've seen that repeatedly.  Troops talk a lot about BSA's goals and often dismiss the scout's goals.  

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One reason I believe it is difficult for adults to delivery on the promise of adventure is many sometimes think of adventure as a huge thing. For kids (and even adults) adventure is trying something new and exploring. It can be as simple as going to the local creek and looking for crawfish. If a kid has never done it before, it will be quite the adventure.

Another difficulty is trying to do too much at the Pack level. Dens are the heart and soul of the pack. Adventures done at the Den level are easier to plan and execute. IMO pack events should be extremely limited and the design should be the bringing together of Dens. 

Replace everything above with dens:patrols :: pack:troop.

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2 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

One reason I believe it is difficult for adults to delivery on the promise of adventure is many sometimes think of adventure as a huge thing. For kids (and even adults) adventure is trying something new and exploring. It can be as simple as going to the local creek and looking for crawfish. If a kid has never done it before, it will be quite the adventure.

You brought back a great memory of my child hood and a fear from scouting.

  • Great memory ... We gathered as neighborhood kids and would often go to the local pond to catch crawfish.  I always got excited when I caught a blue shelled one.  Great memories sticking our hands down at the edge of the pond to get them.  I doubt any kid on our street or near by has ever done that.  Sad.
  • Great fear ... We had a scout that borrowed a five gallon bucket from the troop trailer and spent the afternoon filling it with garter snakes.  Must have been dozens and dozens in it when he returned.  From then on, I was careful to never upset him less I got a bucket of snakes in my tent. 
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19 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

When we get to troops, it's like we forget the fun and friendship.  It becomes "leadership" and "boy run".  We forget the scouts often just want to burn things, hang with their friends or just be away from home on their own for awhile.  

Yep.   When I promote Scouting, I speak of "Safe Adventure".  We teach knots and ropes so the tents don't fall down and the backpack stays on the back and the canoe stays on the cartop. We teach camp cooking and fire safety so the kids won't be poisoned by their own cuisine and the woods will still be there next month. We teach map and compass so the Mountain Rescue Corps can sleep in over the weekend.   We want the Scouts to make Good Decisions, rather than have the SM hear "HEY ! WATCH THIS !"  

The good decisions made are self rewarding.  The poor decisions may not have a second chance. Scouting, by it's design, allows for SOME poor decisions. That's where the SM comes in.... 

 

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1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

I fully agree.  I do believe there is a difference between packs and troops though.  I think Packs have an easier job keeping the focus on the kid's view of scouting.  I've been in many pack committee meetings and there's always "oh the kids would love that" or "that would be cool".  Cub scouts are energetic and so are the parents.  They are fresh to the program.  So they keep the program focused on interesting things.  

When we get to troops, it's like we forget the fun and friendship.  It becomes "leadership" and "boy run"...

There is a difference, but not in what the scouts want to do. It should always be about the adventure of scouting, at any age and level. But you're right, the focus shifts at the troop level to leadership development and patrol method.

It's almost like at the Cub level we're playing a game and not keeping score, so the focus is always on fun. We have advancement, but it's not as strict and serious as Scouts BSA advancement. We go from not keeping score to telling kids that in a troop they have to make sure they check every box, and we're definitely keeping score then.

I don't know what the solution is, but I know the challenge in cubs is delivering on that promise of adventure and it looks like it only gets harder to keep that promise the older the kids get.

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1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

Never heard of TL/USA.  ;)  

@qwazse ... I keep re-thinking your comment.  It's always been in the back of my head.  "the promise of scouting".  I fear we, as adults leaders, get so focused and passionate about the BSA aims and goals that we forget why the scouts choose to be in scouting.  Personally, I think it's ridiculous to think scouts show up to scout meetings to learn leadership, develop character or become better citizens.  Even to learn skills is a big stretch.   

BSA's "Why scouting?" talks to parents and charter org representatives, but it does not talk to the scouts who are the main audience of the program.   https://www.scouting.org/discover/why-scouting/    I fear that we also forget the why of scouting.

Scouting offers the scouts

  • A structure to build friendships
  • A program to try new things and get new experiences
  • A home away from home

KEY POINT - We as adult leaders need to spend way more time and energy discussing and planning how to help the scouts meet their aims and goals.  We already obsess on BSA's aims and goals.  Let's help the scouts achieve theirs.  

Wow, that's pretty good. 

Over the years, I have come to believe that the parents' are the driving force for youth joining the BSA in this generation of our culture. So, I don't think scouts are the main audience, from a marketing standing. 

I laugh a little thinking back of how I had to change my sells pitch with Webelos and their parents. We learned over time that to sell the Webelos, we sent them off with the patrols so they could experience a typical patrol experience. Sometimes that could be bad. We brought the SPL to talk to the parents about his troop and answer questions. That impressed the parents somewhat. Then the SM gets a few minutes to explain more of the meat of the program; camp outs, meetings, goals for their sons, and so forth. More often than not, when the SM asked for questions, the lead question was "how long before their son gets Eagle?".

I don't know if the Eagle turned into the main reason for joining is the result of BSA marketing, or if the BSA markets the Eagle because they found it is the focus of parents. I still remember the long frustrating discussion with qwazse using his daughter as the example of girls getting the Eagle. To be fair, qwazse has also said that the Eagle was not the reason his daughter was in scouts, and anyone who knows him knows that he doesn't believe the Eagle is the main reason for scouting.  I look back at the discussion and realize we were both coming from different perspectives. But that was a long passionate discussion among traditional scouters on this forum. 

Eagle, the bane (annoyance) of our existence. 

The Eagle is symbolic for the quandary your talking about. How can we appeal to the instinctive desires of the youth if we keep marketing to the selfish desires of the parents?

Where I think you are missing in your post is that the adults don't spend enough time discussing Aims and goals. They don't understand how the intended structure works. So, they are locked in on the methods. Most parents today don't understand how the basic purity of Aims and Methods naturally work in the ultimate goal of making moral and ethical decisions. Parents aren't being shown how their kids character is developed by the continued actions of taking responsibility for their decisions. They only hear about the methods (or the method of advancement) as the goal, which is supposed to be the responsibility of the scouts. How can a parent see how the continued practice of taking responsibility for their decisions is the real virtue of opportunity in scouting. Not the pinnacle award that theoretically represents that effort? 

The program is stuck in the mud of the Eagle. As long as National believes that stature is the driving force for membership, the traditionalist and purist will have enfluence on the meat of the program. I have often said that the program lost it's soul when the respect of the First Class rank was replaced by the stature of the Eagle rank. That will have to change for there to be any hope of enabling the youth to control their experience in scouting.

Barry

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

Where I think you are missing in your post is that the adults don't spend enough time discussing Aims and goals. They don't understand how the intended structure works. So, they are locked in on the methods. Most parents today don't understand how the basic purity of Aims and Methods naturally work in the ultimate goal of making moral and ethical decisions. Parents aren't being shown how their kids character is developed by the continued actions of taking responsibility for their decisions. They only hear about the methods (or the method of advancement) as the goal, which is supposed to be the responsibility of the scouts. How can a parent see how the continued practice of taking responsibility for their decisions is the real virtue of opportunity in scouting. Not the pinnacle award that theoretically represents that effort? 

The program is stuck in the mud of the Eagle. As long as National believes that stature is the driving force for membership, the traditionalist and purist will have enfluence on the meat of the program. I have often said that the program los

I agree Eagle is out of balance.  Earning Eagle without having the deep scouting adventures is like getting a college degree without growing your knowledge and capabilities.  

But I strongly disagree with the assertion that adults don't spend enough time discussing aims and goals.  All adult scouters ever do is discuss and debate the aims and methods.  We are constantly discussing patrol method (boy led), Ideals (oath and law), outdoor program (how to setup camp), advancement (Eagle), adult assoc (call your MB and get things approved and ...), personal growth (take responsibility), leadership development (when did this sneak in as a method ??), uniform (etc).  

IMHO, we should discuss those but after we fully discuss ...

  • What do the scouts want to do? 
  • What do the scouts like to do? 
  • What is new that the scouts have never done or never seen?  
  • What's our next small adventure?  
  • What's our next big adventure?

Here's a pattern our troop has fallen into ... Every year ...

  • A bike trip
  • A ski trip
  • A cave trip
  • A canoe trip
  • Summer camp local
  • Extended weekend camp during summer
  • Other fun stuff as we can find
  • Others are mainly simple weekend campouts 
Edited by fred8033

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44 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

IMHO, we should discuss those but after we fully discuss ...

  • What do the scouts want to do? 
  • What do the scouts like to do? 
  • What is new that the scouts have never done or never seen?  
  • What's our next small adventure?  
  • What's our next big adventure?

Yes, but in general these things are discussed by adults for adult expectations, not as pre-expected actions for the scouts. In other words, adults completely ignore the Aims and Methods are discussed as the Aims. Badon Powell once talked about adults spending too much time on Drill and Parade.  

Example; who is really responsible for the expectation of wearing the uniform in most troops? For the adults, how the scouts look is the Aim, not the Aim of Character from the decision for wearing the uniform.

My point of the Eagle is that it is a metaphor for how the image of scouting has changed from scout driven program to adult expectations. I taught in my training courses that "boy run" (patrol method) is more difficult than "adult run" because "boy run" requires that adults mentor each scout individually for their choices. Far easier to instruct the group of the right choice before they are released to make choices, than to mentor each individual after the experience of their choice.

Since most parents are by nature self-serving to their kids needs, a program change would have to come from an authority (National). :o

Barry

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5 hours ago, karunamom3 said:

The CO? So are units supposed to supply the CO with a calendar for approval?

Our unit always supplied our CO with a calendar. It wasn't really for approval, since the unit rarely heard anything back from the CO about it. It was mostly done so the secretaries could add it to the master schedule of parish/school activities. It was very common for people to call the school or parish offices to ask about upcoming scouting events, so it was convenient to have them listed in the master schedule. It also made it easy for the unit leaders to spot any scheduling conflicts, where other parish/school activities might conflict with scouting.

That said, it was always understood that the CO could, if it ever chose to do so, exercise its right to make changes to the calendar. The Chartered Organization owns the unit.

 

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7 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I agree Eagle is out of balance.  Earning Eagle without having the deep scouting adventures is like getting a college degree without growing your knowledge and capabilities.  

This is an area where the GSUSA structure is better than the BSA structure.

There are three premier awards in the GSUSA world - bronze award, silver award, gold award.

  • bronze award - targeted at the 4th/5th grade age range
  • silver award - targeted at the middle school age range
  • gold award - targetd at hte high school age range

This problem in the BSA would be diminished if the approach was:

  • AOL - 5th grade
  • First Class - middle schoold
  • Eagle - high school

Just a thought

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Posted (edited)

So many good replies giving me quite a bit to ponder. Thank you all.

So, what prompted this post was this...

I am a MC for the Troop. At Mondays leaders meeting, discussion of an event came up. The CC who is also the COR became quite angry because he did not know about the last minute event. He was adamant that ALL events have to come before him via email for his approval. 'I have final say on all events. I decide if they will happen or not'.

I was quite surprised by this. It's not right to my mind.

Let me add some background...

-he has been on a medical leave of absence & quite a few of us, myself included, didn't realize he was active again. His wife, the treasurer, has been filling his shoes.

-he & his wife have been around for 40+ years and want to do things the same way they always have.

-Troop is completely adult led, no patrols. At the meeting new leadership pushed for patrols/boy led & we got a resounding no... 'patrol method doesn't work for us. We tried it in the past. It's no good'

Needless to say, new leadership is wavering on staying (not likely), finding a different unit to go to, or starting a new unit in town. 

Edited by karunamom3

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31 minutes ago, karunamom3 said:

So many good replies giving me quite a bit to ponder. Thank you all.

So, what prompted this post was this...

I am a MC for the Troop. At Mondays leaders meeting, discussion of an event came up. The CC who is also the COR became quite angry because he did not know about the last minute event. He was adamant that ALL events have to come before him via email for his approval. 'I have final say on all events. I decide if they will happen or not'.

I was quite surprised by this. It's not right to my mind.

Let me add some background...

-he has been on a medical leave of absence & quite a few of us, myself included, didn't realize he was active again. His wife, the treasurer, has been filling his shoes.

-he & his wife have been around for 40+ years and want to do things the same way they always have.

-Troop is completely adult led, no patrols. At the meeting new leadership pushed for patrols/boy led & we got a resounding no... 'patrol method doesn't work for us. We tried it in the past. It's no good'

Needless to say, new leadership is wavering on staying (not likely), finding a different unit to go to, or starting a new unit in town. 

Hi @karunamom3

I think it's time to go start a unit down the steet.

The CC is completely within his perogative to do just what he's doing.  The committee has the responsibilty to approve events so that it can determine if there is adequate adult support and resources for the event to be successful.  As chair, he can decide if an event is brought to the committee.  A good CC woudl certainly delegate some of that to the Scoutmaster and try to be flexible as much as is appropriate.  After all, it's our goal as Scouters to say "yes" to events.

If the CC is starting to act like in a fashion that it not appropriate, you'd go talk to the COR.  But, since in this case hte COR is the CC you prospects are restricted.  You could certainly go talk to the Insitutional Head of your chartering organization.  Maybe that would work.

So, from what we know of your troop:

  • - tyrant CC/COR
  • - weak program
  • - oldest scout is 13

If I recall correctly, you're Cubmaster of the pack.  Me - I'd think seriously about getting together with the other adults and starting a new pack & troop with some more forward thinking leadership elsewhere in town.

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20 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

So, from what we know of your troop:

  • - tyrant CC/COR
  • - weak program
  • - oldest scout is 13

If I recall correctly, you're Cubmaster of the pack.  Me - I'd think seriously about getting together with the other adults and starting a new pack & troop with some more forward thinking leadership elsewhere in town.

^^^ Correct.

A few pack parents & leaders have previously inquired about us finding a new location.

We have 4 troop leaders & 5 scouts (all young) ready to bail and come with us. 2 other scouts went yesterday to check out a unit in another town.

We have a CO begging for us to come to them and the mayor wants us to go there although he doesn't yet realize it would be a brand new unit & not just moving the old. Giving the town 2 Scouts BSA units & possibly 2 packs. I really dont think I would be welcome to stay with the current CO as CM if we start a new Scouts BSA unit. So starting a new pack may have to happen by default. I will see what council has to say about that.

Tough deciding when to split though. After summer camp? Before? After CO is secure & charter is complete or give a heads up before that?

Ack, why couldn't this be easy. We could have just quietly went to another unit but instead tried to be 'agents of change' for a failing unit. (Taken from another thoughtful post.)  I must say our boys certainly do not want to remain & that is key.

 

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I can imagine this is tough.  I was really thinking that you could change the unit with new blood.  But, now reading about the mess with the COR/CC I agree that it's just time to go.

My thinking on a schedule would be

  • Hold a meeting of your key volunteers next week.  Make a plan
  • Tell your current COR your plans by the end of June or after Summer Camp - whatever is later.
  • Have your new CO ready to go for August 15

Since your COR is wrapped up in this, I'd plan on moving packs too.  Better to start fresh with a top notch team of volunteers who will run a class act.

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