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SteveMM

A possible solution to Scouts BSA money problems

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I might ask the last time you looked at it?  While the reading level is aimed at middle school for Scouts, and about 4th grade for Cubs, it has well done pieces on a number of current Scouting challenges.  The cartoon section is not really what I would like, but I was spoiled in the fifties in that regard.  The most recent mag has examples of various backpacks, a piece on canoeing, the regular feature on Scouts that have distinguished themselves in some manner, such as winning a sports age level competition or a major science award, a piece on owls (always has a nature piece), and the write-in column asking for advice.  Also a few items from National and Hitching Rack with Pedro, as well as the Scouts in Action.  When I was in the schools regularly, I would donate copies for the libraries, and the librarians and teachers said the mag was one of the most popular items in there for the students, both genders.  There is also a link for the mag online that has more things, including games and hints for skills and earning Eagle.  A recent link is a listing of projects submitted from various Eagles across the country, separated by type of project and so on.  

Still, you are correct that many of the youth do not read it.  How much of that has to do with "attitude" they see or perceive and how much it has to be with the fact they simply do not read much of anything I have no idea.  Frankly, it is a resource that leaders might actually encourage.  It might also be an in meeting opportunity for a short segment once a month or so, like when the students in  class would spend a segment of one day reading out loud from one of the school magazines that they use in some schools, like the Weekly Reader.

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Many kids avoid reading .  Many, not all by any means, assume things.  I watched  a young lady who was working in our Meeting kitchen during a PotLuck. She wanted to plug in an appliance and could not get it to work. There was a sign , very clearly stuck over the outlet reading "Broken, Not Working". An adult pointed this out to her, she looked at it for maybe five seconds and said "oh", pulled the plug and used a different outlet.  Another time,  when I was a sub teacher, I think 7th grade English,  I printed the instructions on the White Board in 6 inch letters, and told the class, "Here is what your regular teacher left for you to do. If you have any questions, raise your hand, I'll come by and help."  One of the kids actually asked, "what are we supposed to do?"  Not wanting to overly insult anyone,  I went to him and asked what he didn't understand. He said,  "Miss Smith always tells us what to do, we never have to read it".  So I read it to them.  I do not think it was a vision problem.  

Scouts:   MeritBadge Book?   Nope. Give me the Worksheet.  HandBook?   Show me, I shouldn't HAVE to read about it and figure it out myself.  

Sic semper Gloria.

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I read Boys' Life and Scouting cover to cover but my sons have never been much interested in it. For a time when I was a den leader I tried to incorporate the magazine into meetings, but none of the kids really read it. At 7 and 8, they were already too sophisticated for it. It's largely a marketing, public relations and advertising vehicle. I don't think it's doing what it needs to do and I think it's a very dated, 1970s style publication much in need of an overhaul, preferably transitioned online. The idea of scouts sending out so much much tree pulp every month is a real disconnect for me that contradicts with our outdoor ethics values. 

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Well, of course the modern kid needs instruction in Schmartphone operation. Right.   

What is needed is the simple adventure of the old Greenbar Bill stuff.   When the nascent First Class can't tie a good bowline, but still wants to go camping (with no signal?) ,  one can grow melancholy about the old Boys' Life mags that showed how to make a tent stake or even sew a home made tent.   Last time I camped with my old Troop,  it was cold at 6am, and nobody but me was out priming the stove for boiling some water.  Us adults had a warm oatmeal and egg breakfast  while the Scouts tried to remember who signed up (or was assigned?) to get breakfast ready.  "Mr. SSScout, how did you  get breakfast ready so fast?"  Well, I was the Breakfast fellow.  Who had your duty?   

 

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19 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

Do scouts even read BL any more?  The youth are the intended audience but I don't hear the scouts speak of it.  Ever.  My Venturer would never look at it, and she's a certified bookworm and outdoorsy type. 

 

When National raised the rates last time (by $12) our annual dues had always included BL for all Scouts.  Moving forward we kept the dues the same and let the Scouts choose Y or N for an additional $12 if they wanted BL.  Not sure if any of the Scouts take BL any longer

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But, but, but....

If your kids aren't reading Boys Life, how will they ever know important things like whether or not it really WAS Baden-Powell who first said, 

"Give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fail. But in time, they will join you in the sun."

Boys Life readers know for sure who the role model was who uttered those motivational words of wisdom....

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On 10/1/2019 at 3:42 PM, desertrat77 said:

Do scouts even read BL any more?  The youth are the intended audience but I don't hear the scouts speak of it.  Ever.  My Venturer would never look at it, and she's a certified bookworm and outdoorsy type. 

 

I thought the above as well, until I saw my oldest son check them out from the library.  

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My Scout loves BL and Scouting magazines. Also likes Backpacking magazine and reads most cover to cover. Not sure why, I rarely see him with a book and all of high school books are on his iPad. I do read them also although usually get them second hand.

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I see tech stores,  outdoor stores, stables , whitewater companies, etc. running   their own merit badge classes. Does the BSA charge a  fee to those businesses? 

 

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36 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

I see tech stores,  outdoor stores, stables , whitewater companies, etc. running   their own merit badge classes. Does the BSA charge a  fee to those businesses? 

 

I doubt they do. At first pass, I thought what a great idea. The more I think about it, though, it probably wouldn't be worth it because none of the places that I'm aware of that do this charge much. Some of them do it for free and others offer a group discount, so it would be counterproductive. The ones that are pricier are usually those that include some kind of equipment or facility rental, such as a horse, boat, pool, etc. Also, in our area, such outfits are almost the only way for scouts to get certain merit badges. At least two of the local businesses I know that do this charge for it on a break even basis as a community service because they are scout connected, so even if they are charging something you can't assume they are making money although I'm sure some are.  

You do have the same problem as you have with merit badge colleges or badges earned at summer camp -- instructor quality can vary. 

 

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You're right.  Any "fee" would be passed along to the scouts taking the classes. 

Have any former BSA corporate sponsors who pushed and left over our membership returned? Have they moved to other charities,  cutback in overall donations, or turned away by the abuse lawsuits? Our scouts are those corporations future customers and employees,  a win-win partnership should be possible. 

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I saw a follow-up report on CBS news this morning about this young engineer and his company DroneAId. IBM backed him and now employs him. Perhaps the BSA can work with IBM and sell the iconic rescue signal mats that the optical recognition software uses.   Be Prepared, Helping Other People, STEM...

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/how-drones-could-improve-disaster-relief/

https://developer.ibm.com/blogs/droneaid-visual-recognition-helps-hurricane-victims/

 

Edited by RememberSchiff

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As a Scout I LOVED every single issue of Boy's Life I received. A caveat, I was even then a voracious reader - I practically inhaled anything with words on it that entered our home (and still do) - but Boy's Life was something special. During the late 80's and all through the 90's I read articles that I still remember vividly, covering everything from Legos to African wildlife to popular film effects to cave exploring in South America. It was, I daresay, a deep drink of fascinating information for a kid whose curiosity was insatiable. 

Now I read through the magazine and wonder if I've just grown beyond the kind of articles they print, or if the quality really has diminished. There just doesn't need to be the same amount of information as there was before. Fewer articles, and more gaudy imagery. I may start reading copies side-by-side just as a bit of research. So in January '20 I'll also read January '10, January '00, and January '90. Likewise for February, et cetera. I think a year of that should prove very interesting. I very well may turn this into something ... 

Edited by The Latin Scot

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On 10/6/2019 at 7:37 PM, The Latin Scot said:

Now I read through the magazine and wonder if I've just grown beyond the kind of articles they print, or if the quality really has diminished. There just doesn't need to be the same amount of information as there was before. Fewer articles, and more gaudy imagery.

In fairness, that’s a trend across all print media. Instead of a skills article we get a how-to list. In place of an essay on nature we get a giant photo. Long-form adventure stories and profiles get trimmed down to one page. Try comparing old and new issues of Backpacker magazine if you REALLY want to see the difference! The ‘90s to now is like night and day.

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I anticipate less folks opting for it because of the rate hike a'coming!  It's just one more thing that makes scouting an expensive thing for a kid to do. 

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