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Jameson76

What are the BSA priorities??

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17 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

To the question:  The priorities of National are to maintain a program template that works and arrange for sensible business services and highest-end program experiences unavailable at the unit and council levels.  I think they are on-task and doing reasonably well, now that they have withdrawn from social policy development and enforcement — and now that they are conducting YPT effectively.  The priorities of councils are to form and maintain units and to provide program experiences to supplement and support units (camp properties, camporee, etc.).  The effectiveness of councils varies greatly.  My long term experience is that the principal determinant of how well a council hoes to these priorities is the quality and engagement of the volunteer council board — and not the professionals.  The priorities of units, like the 30-girl Troop I am Scoutmaster of, is to vigorously provide an outdoor program and, while there, foster leadership and self-sustainable among young people.  I think volunteers do an excellent job at the unit level no matter the status of the unit —because we are usually doing the best we can with available recourses.  It is striking just how many of the above comments stray so far from these fundamental priorities.  

 

I know there are many well meaning people working at the National level. However, I would wager that a lot of rational people would say that somehow, the ship has lost its rudder. Frankly, I think it's time for local units to work toward a down-up reorganization, because our parent organization is clearly not meeting our needs. Successful organizations do not operate this way. You are attempting to normalize something that is largely dysfunctional and unresponsive. The idea of National patting us on the head and saying, "Go, shepherd, go tend your sheep and don't worry about all this," is not going to help BSA survive long term.  We're right to question. We're right to demand more. We're right to look for ways to make this relationship more functional. If we're in this for the scout, we're compelled to. 

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The difference in strategic messaging, image and resource focus:

Pre 1972/Improved Scouting Program:  "The BSA is an outdoors organization."

Post 1972:  "The BSA is an organization.  We do different things.  The outdoors is one of those things."

 

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1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

 I think they are on-task and doing reasonably well, now that they have withdrawn from social policy development and enforcement

Withdrawn from social engineering?  First they invited gay youth to be members, then gay men to be Scout Masters.  Transgenders?  Oh what the heck, y'all come on, too!  And since BSA now allows girls to be in the BOY Scouts, you don't even have to stick to the gender you pick.  Duty to God?  Don't ask, don't tell; okay?

WHAT TRADITIONAL SOCIAL BOUNDARIES ARE LEFT?  I'd say that the Left has departed the field in utter victory.  What else could they hope to accomplish?  Drive all the straight males from the program?

 

Wait. 

Maybe if BSA de-emphasizes the outdoors in the program, all the real men will get bored and drop out....

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2 hours ago, yknot said:

I know there are many well meaning people working at the National level. However, I would wager that a lot of rational people would say that somehow, the ship has lost its rudder. Frankly, I think it's time for local units to work toward a down-up reorganization, because our parent organization is clearly not meeting our needs. Successful organizations do not operate this way. You are attempting to normalize something that is largely dysfunctional and unresponsive. The idea of National patting us on the head and saying, "Go, shepherd, go tend your sheep and don't worry about all this," is not going to help BSA survive long term.  We're right to question. We're right to demand more. We're right to look for ways to make this relationship more functional. If we're in this for the scout, we're compelled to. 

I'm curious.  Other than what you think National has handled incorrectly, what do you want from National that they are not providing? What "more" do you want?

37 minutes ago, JoeBob said:

Withdrawn from social engineering?  First they invited gay youth to be members, then gay men to be Scout Masters.  Transgenders?  Oh what the heck, y'all come on, too!  And since BSA now allows girls to be in the BOY Scouts, you don't even have to stick to the gender you pick.  Duty to God?  Don't ask, don't tell; okay?

WHAT TRADITIONAL SOCIAL BOUNDARIES ARE LEFT?  I'd say that the Left has departed the field in utter victory.  What else could they hope to accomplish?  Drive all the straight males from the program?

 

Wait. 

Maybe if BSA de-emphasizes the outdoors in the program, all the real men will get bored and drop out....

This argument has come and gone. Scouts is not the holder of some specific moral code (and I'm not sure it ever should have been). Why are you so opposed to gay youth and scouters? Should those youth not have the opportunity to experience scouting? Has the BSA forced you to accept scouters you didn't want as leaders in your troop? The girl thing is decided, get over it.  No one is forcing you to lead girls.  

Again, outdoor emphasis works best at the UNIT level.  No one is keeping your troop from hiking, camping, canoeing, repelling, and what ever else you want to do.  

Real men? Are real men only interested in the outdoors? Are men (young and old) who are interested in other things less real men? 

I kind of hope the BSA runs people with your attitude out.  It certainly isn't helping. 

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First, I really don't care about the social stuff and I don't judge anyone because labels are the worst way to judge whether or not someone is a decent person and trustworthy around youth. I wish to dissociate from the "real men" comment. 
 

Second, I think the core of what I want from National is that it abide by the Scout Law. I think if it had used that as a litmus test for every decision made, many of these disconnects between the leadership, councils, and units, would go away. National right now is almost unrecognizable as a scouting organization in its operations and, in my humble opinion, has lost its way. 

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3 minutes ago, yknot said:

First, I really don't care about the social stuff and I don't judge anyone because labels are the worst way to judge whether or not someone is a decent person and trustworthy around youth. I wish to dissociate from the "real men" comment. 
 

Second, I think the core of what I want from National is that it abide by the Scout Law. I think if it had used that as a litmus test for every decision made, many of these disconnects between the leadership, councils, and units, would go away. National right now is almost unrecognizable as a scouting organization in its operations and, in my humble opinion, has lost its way. 

So for you, it seems to be more about how they conduct business than the specific actions they take (or don't take). I think I can agree with that.  I think a lot of things come from a consuming concern for keeping scouts safe (both YPT and G2SS).  I don't think this focus is wrong, but I think it has gone too far in some places (mostly the G2SS).  

I think the finances of National worry me, but they won't break the program. They may cause us some hardship, but they won't break it.  Councils are where the program can be broken. 

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My take away from this thread is that it is very easy to get caught up in the politics of Scouting.  The national council did this, my local council did that.  Be it professionals, council volunteers, Wood Badgers, whatever.  I'm not for a minute going to pretend that any of those groups always or even often make the right choices.

As a long time volunteer, I've come to appreciate just how little any of that matters to a specific unit program.  The program I saw in the 80's is very, very similar to the one our troop runs.  The amount of district and council interference I see is remarkably minimal.  

The irony of this tread is that I think national is doing very little to impact the outdoor program - it's us who want to engage in national Scouting politics.  You want to have a great outdoor program - have it.  It's up to you.

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Nothing personal was meant.  I was more emotional in one of my responses than I meant to be and did not come off as scoutlike as I should have.  I apologize for that.  

@RememberSchiff Thanks for the reminder and perspective. 

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14 hours ago, ParkMan said:

...

The irony of this tread is that I think national is doing very little to impact the outdoor program - it's us who want to engage in national Scouting politics.  You want to have a great outdoor program - have it.  It's up to you. 

@ParkMan, a great outdoor program involves inculcating a vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.

National policies directly impact my ability to offer that.

Treading the graveled paths of SBR or any other HA base with minders around every corner is not a pinnacle scouting experience. It's nice, and inspiring. But it only translates into something meaningful if you can do what the Portugese scout we invited for dinner told us she does with her patrol back home. (I.e., they pick a place, let her SM and their parents know where they will go, arrange transportation, go, and report back upon their return.)

I can't blame BSA for moving in ways that fend off litigation. But it means that their priority is in ensuring that the promise of scouting in every corner of this nation is delivered outside of the BSA.

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9 hours ago, qwazse said:

@ParkMan, a great outdoor program involves inculcating a vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.

National policies directly impact my ability to offer that.

Treading the graveled paths of SBR or any other HA base with minders around every corner is not a pinnacle scouting experience. It's nice, and inspiring. But it only translates into something meaningful if you can do what the Portugese scout we invited for dinner told us she does with her patrol back home. (I.e., they pick a place, let her SM and their parents know where they will go, arrange transportation, go, and report back upon their return.)

I can't blame BSA for moving in ways that fend off litigation. But it means that their priority is in ensuring that the promise of scouting in every corner of this nation is delivered outside of the BSA.

Thank you @qwazse.  I asked for specifics and you kindly gave them.  I appreciate you replying with just what I asked for.

In my mind, I'd probably try to find a way to make this work.  But, I can certainly see the value in having older Scouts experience the outdoors independent of adult supervision.  Yes, this would be a case where the BSA's higher priority of youth protection has impacted what you are able to realize in the outdoors with your scouts.

I'd propose that this doesn't suggest the BSA values outdoor programs less than they used to - just that in 2019 protecting youth from abuse is the single highest priority today.  I see like a company building great things still putting the safety of their workers above their products and profits.

Edited by ParkMan
clarified a thought
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On 10/22/2019 at 6:42 PM, yknot said:

Frankly, I think it's time for local units to work toward a down-up reorganization, because our parent organization is clearly not meeting our needs.

Hi @yknot

This sentence jumped out at me this morning.  How specifically would you like to see the structure reorganized? 

I ask this because part of the time I serve in a district capacity.  I struggle with the right way to organize district volunteers to provide service to units.  I watch all the energy our DE puts into supporting requests from units.  Yet, I suspect if you asked our units locally they'd say much the same thing.  Your answer here will help me in understanding these challenges.

I would propose that we keep in minds there are some things we cannot change.  Most specifically the abuse lawsuits and cost of insurance for the BSA.

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11 hours ago, ParkMan said:

 

just that in 2019 protecting youth from abuse is the single highest priority today.  

 

In no way trying to diminish that effort and emphasis, but should the protection of youth be WHY there is the Boy Scouts instead of being part of WHO we are?  My concern is that BSA puts so much emphasis on this, and it is important, the effort for YPT seems to become the reason for the Scouts.  In talking with a pro the other day his main selling point seemed to be BSA's Youth Protection and not the program offering.

YPT and adherence is critical to a good unit, but program should be front and center, YPT should be part of how we deliver that program, not YPT being our signature offering.

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1 minute ago, Jameson76 said:

In no way trying to diminish that effort and emphasis, but should the protection of youth be WHY there is the Boy Scouts instead of being part of WHO we are?  My concern is that BSA puts so much emphasis on this, and it is important, the effort for YPT seems to become the reason for the Scouts.  In talking with a pro the other day his main selling point seemed to be BSA's Youth Protection and not the program offering.

YPT and adherence is critical to a good unit, but program should be front and center, YPT should be part of how we deliver that program, not YPT being our signature offering.

My state mandates YPT for every youth-facing organization. So, that does not make BSA distinctive. Fortunately, the state accepts BSA's training for mandatory reporters at face value, so we all don't have to take the state's training. In the sense that BSA's program could prepare adults for volunteering in other youth organizations, I guess that's a unique service.

Two decades ago, it was implied that patrols would have the best YP when they weren't with adults. I suppose that perception discounted the risk of bullying. I have a friend who defended a scout who was bullied by other scouts on BSA property in the 80s. So, it makes sense that striving for a bully-free organization is a priority. I don't think there's a good way of knowing if these more stringent YP policies reduce the actual risk. I think there's some hope that it reduces the organization's liability.

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