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BSA Mortgages Philmont Scout Ranch

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24 minutes ago, qwazse said:

That's Pittsburgh, the only one with an 'h' at the end. But, since the Post-Gazzette no longer runs print -- and hasn't run Prince Valiant in its comics for a decade -- I would not expect it to offer any insight into this one. It could have at least sent a reporter up the street to council HQ to get quotes from someone at the scout shop. It didn't. Frankly, I have no idea why it's running the story without soliciting local comment.

It's just curious to me that multiple stories, all referencing the AP article by Crary, have different text in that paragraph (even though several have the identical picture).  Some suggesting to me a new line of credit, others suggesting the mortgage was to secure debts already incurred.  

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2 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

Just wondering if they mortgaged the ranch for new debt or existing debt.  And if existing how much have they already drawn down?

I really hate to be a cynic, but I don't know if the origin of the debt matters. They're losing money and in the red, and they used Philmont to get more money. If they're lucky membership will stop declining, but for now it won't go up. Eventually they will run out of money, file for bankruptcy, and then it gets interesting.

I'm more curious about what happens after they file for bankruptcy. In particular, would a judge say "you guys are clueless, it's time for you to get better leadership?"

The BSA keeps saying the problems are all external; membership, volunteers, society, whatever. Yet they've never said boo about the possibility that some of the problems are with them. The same thing holds for my council. I keep wondering if it would be so bad if the BSA just folded. Other scout organizations would benefit and there'd be more competition. Parents could also find what they're interested in. Christian, secular, Latvian, whatever you want. Maybe they'd even start having camporees together. Wipe the board clean and start over. I would be sad if scouting ended in the US. But if scouting kept going and it wasn't called the BSA, I think I could get behind it.

 

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

That's Pittsburgh, the only one with an 'h' at the end. But, since the Post-Gazzette no longer runs print -- and hasn't run Prince Valiant in its comics for a decade -- I would not expect it to offer any insight into this one. It could have at least sent a reporter up the street to council HQ to get quotes from someone at the scout shop. It didn't. Frankly, I have no idea why it's running the story without soliciting local comment.

Ah a Pittsburgher!  The capital of Scotland will be shocked to learn that it has lost its "h," having had it for centuries.  Not to mention Edinburgh, Ohio, Greenburgh, New York, Hamptonburgh, New YorkPlattsburgh, New York, Newburgh, New York, and Edinburgh, Indiana, - at least some of which have residents who know how to properly pronounce "burgh" [no "g" sound].  😃

But here's hope:  Prince Valiant appears weekly in more than 300 American newspapers, according to its distributor, King Features.

Iq6yCAc.png

https://www.comicskingdom.com/prince-valiant/archive

 

Edited by TAHAWK
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16 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

It's just curious to me that multiple stories, all referencing the AP article by Crary, have different text in that paragraph (even though several have the identical picture).  Some suggesting to me a new line of credit, others suggesting the mortgage was to secure debts already incurred.  

How many mortgages on Philmont and how much equity does the BSA have left in Philmont?

What are the "agreements" the BSA made with the Phillips family for ownership transfer? 

So far I have found these two sources OA history website  (text in black) and 

http://www.sccovington.com/philmont/trek_info/philmont_overview.htm (in blue)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waite_Phillips

In 1937 (1938?) Phillips made one of the most magnanimous gestures in philanthropy – the family donated 35,857 acres of their UU Ranch – much of what Philmonters call “the South Country” to the Boy Scouts of America. That generous donation included the Villa de Philmonte, cattle, horses, hunting cabins and more ($50,000 to develop). His only requirement was that it be used "for the benefit of the members of the Boy Scout organization."  This was named "Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp" and was developed as a "he-man" wilderness camp.  The headquarters for the camp was at the current Ponil camp.  Scouts first visited Philturn in March 1939.  That summer, ninety-nine boys from Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma stayed for a full twelve days, taking part in such varied activities as gold panning and wildlife study.  Ninety additional Scouts camped at Philturn for shorter periods.  In all, 1,863 camper days were spent at the property that season. 

There were just three stipulations:
--that it remains a working cattle ranch, which it is.
--that his favorite horse “Gus” be allowed to roam freely and live out his life on the ranch. He did.
--And that the Phillips family be allowed to visit whenever they please. They have.

The first couple of years were limited operations, but seeing the potential and the enthusiastic response in 1941 Phillips added another 91,520 acres bringing the total to 127,395. The gift included the best of Phillips’ camp lands, as well as the ranching headquarters and the Villa de Phimonte – the family’s mountainside home with its majestic view of the Tooth of Time. To help the BSA finance the annual operations of the ranch he added the Philtower Building* in Tulsa.

In 1962, the National Council of the BSA purchased 10,098 acres in the Baldy area to expand Philmont to over 137,000 acres.  This also preserved the mining relics around Baldy Town so Scouts could experience what life was like during this period of history.

*  A group of Tulsa investors purchased The Philtower from the Boy Scouts in 1977, and a Partnership known as Philtower, LLC. became the owner of record.  Source http://www.philtower.com/about/history/

Edited by RememberSchiff
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2 hours ago, MattR said:

I really hate to be a cynic, but I don't know if the origin of the debt matters. They're losing money and in the red, and they used Philmont to get more money. If they're lucky membership will stop declining, but for now it won't go up. Eventually they will run out of money, file for bankruptcy, and then it gets interesting.

I'm more curious about what happens after they file for bankruptcy. In particular, would a judge say "you guys are clueless, it's time for you to get better leadership?"

The BSA keeps saying the problems are all external; membership, volunteers, society, whatever. Yet they've never said boo about the possibility that some of the problems are with them. The same thing holds for my council. I keep wondering if it would be so bad if the BSA just folded. Other scout organizations would benefit and there'd be more competition. Parents could also find what they're interested in. Christian, secular, Latvian, whatever you want. Maybe they'd even start having camporees together. Wipe the board clean and start over. I would be sad if scouting ended in the US. But if scouting kept going and it wasn't called the BSA, I think I could get behind it.

 

It's upsetting to think about. I think about all the lives that have been changed for the better because of the BSA. I think of all the time invested by countless volunteers. I think about the generosity of philanthropists large and small. The BSA seems well on its way to flushing all of that down the metaphorical toilet. I hope I'm wrong. 

Scouting would have a hard time regrowing if the BSA were to collapse. There wouldn't be the same base of alumni, it'd be all new orgs, there'd be no resources, no camps. Everything would have to be built by scratch. I doubt any particular non BSA would be a local or at best regional thing. So while the BSA has a bunch of warts, either the BSA improves, or Scouting in America will likely continue to fade into irrelevance. Not because the concept, the activities, or values are irrelevant, but because those responsible for leading the movement (pros and volunteers) have failed. 

Edited by Sentinel947

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The most likely scenario is perhaps the scariest:  A big financial settlement of sexual abuse claims (perhaps including some property sales), some slimming down of corporate BSA operations to reduce costs, and more bad publicity; but otherwise BSA remains intact with the same top-down organizational structure, and there are no changes that affect the program.  BSA doesn't collapse, there are no dramatic shake-ups, and no heroes swoop in to save us.  At the local level, we will still face the same problems and weaknesses we have now, and are no closer to fixing them.  That is what we should really be worried about.

 

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2 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

 Not because the concept, the activities, or values are irrelevant, but because those responsible for leading the movement (pros and volunteers) have failed. 

Respectfully disagree regarding volunteers failing. IT IS BECAUSE THE PROFESSIONALS ARE FAILING. (everything is emphasis, not shouting).

Yes, volunteers run the units and some units have issues. But who is responsible for developing the training materials to create the program? The Professionals. And when you have professionals with little to no experience in the movement, either as a youth or volunteeer, but instead has a rich academic career and are pushing their theories into  training, there will be problems. None of the current training syllabi compares to the previous versions. And even the previous versions left out so much information compared to earlier versions. 

And Volunteers are being ignored, and are getting fed up. Don't believe me? let's look at some recent history.

When National does surveys and polls, they either A) ignore the published results of the poll and do what they want anyway (InstaPalms); not count a segment of the membership (LDS Church members in the Western region were not counted in one poll), using leading questions to get desired results ( the girls in Scouting poll), or not even publish the results of the poll (BSA to this day has not published the MEMBER (emphasis) results of the girls in Scouting poll; they only use the public poll that leaves out the BSA's involvement).

And don't forget about the last minute registration fee increases. These have happened twice now. The first time was right in the middle of Fall Round UP season when they announced it, after many units had created budgets, recruiting flyers, etc. A lot of folks were ticked off and you would think the Pros at National would have listened. NO, they did it again, and they did it AFTER Round Up season started, and 3 days before it went into effect for recharter! (Again emphasis) Don't know how other areas recruiting went, but ours was horrible, worse it has been ever.

And it is apparently the Pros at National are ignoring their own, hand picked national level volunteers. We now know that long time, national level volunteers are being ignored and uninformed on matters that they are suppose to be responsible for. Look at Mark Stinnett, 

1975-1978: Camp Director and Ranger (Philmont) 

2009:  first recipient Distinguished Service Award, Philmont Staff Association 

2011: This year, Silver Sage Awards were presented to David Caffey, Edward Pease and Mark Stinnett.

Mark Stinnett worked at Philmont four years in the 1970s and has served as a former PSA President and the longest-tenured editor of High Country. He has also served on the Philmont Ranch Committee, the Program and Risk Management Task Force and the Health Lodge Task Force. Stinnett has also chaired the BSA Outdoor Programs Committee, the Fieldbook Task Force and the Biannual National Outdoor Conference. 

Civic Involvement (from lawfirm profile )
       Boy Scouts of America – National Council
            Chairman, National Outdoor Programs Support Committee                       
            Chairman, Fieldbook Task Force              
            Chairman, National Outdoor Conference
            Chairman, Camping & Properties Implementation Task Force,
                        National Membership Standards Study Initiative
            Member, National Camp Accreditation Committee
            Member, Outdoor Adventures Committee
            Member, Philmont Ranch Committee
       Boy Scouts of America – Philmont Scout Ranch
            Chairman, Program Task Force, Philmont Ranch Committee
            Chairman, Strategic Planning Task Force                       
            Member, Philmont Health Lodge Task Force             
            Instructor, Risk Management Training for Camp Directors
       Boy Scouts of America – Pikes Peak Council
            Member, Troop 78 Committee
       Challenger Learning Center of Colorado
            Former Advisor, Aerospace Explorer Post 1986
       National Eagle Scout Association
       Outdoor Organization Memberships:
            American Camp Association
            American Hiking Society
            Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
       Philmont Staff Association
            President, 1994-1997
            National Director, 1990-1993
            Editor, High Country Magazine, 1998-2008
            Chairman, Presidents Committee, 2005-present
            Contributing Editor, High Country Magazine, 2009-present

 

Here is a guy who has dedicated over 40 years to the Movement, and the pros at national won't even keep him informed of what they are doing to the property he is responsible for overseeing?

I'm sorry but the volunteers are NOT to be blamed. I'm a former pro, and served on district and council committees in several councils. I know what the Pros want, 'Yes Men," and when you start thinking for yourself and questioning why things are done, you are removed. As a DE, I was "advised" to remove  over 1/2 my district committee because they were questioning things at the council level. Seen long time volunteers removed from positions, and I have not been on a council committee for several years because I questioned things.

Volunteers are NOT the reason for BSA failing, the professionals are

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9 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Volunteers are NOT the reason for BSA failing, the professionals are

The Professionals share a substantial amount of blame for why the BSA as a whole is where it is currently. 

Respectfully, I have to disagree that volunteers do not have a part of it. Is the official BSA training inadequate? Yes. But I'd wager at least 50% of troops are failing at the basics (Having an outing at least once a month, attending summer camp, youth planning activities and leading the Troop.) At some point, that's on volunteers, many of who should know better. We all know volunteers in other units in our councils who despite taking all the required training and then some, and still do not get it. Even when the training in their council or district is good (typically being supplemented by the additions of experienced and motivated volunteers), there are many units that are not getting their Scouts outdoors, and aren't giving their Scouts opportunities to grow and lead their own troops. 

When a Troop puts on a lackluster program and bores Scouts out of Scouting, that's not really on Irving or the Council professionals so much as it is on the volunteers. Should Irving put out better materials? Yes. But this forum is full of Scouters who's Troops have succeeded despite what does or does not happen in Irving. 

Irving may end up successfully dragging the entire organization into the financial abyss soon enough, but we as volunteers ultimately determine whether Scouting continues in our communities. 

Edited by Sentinel947
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2 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

When a Troop puts on a lackluster program and bores Scouts out of Scouting, that's not really on Irving or the Council professionals so much as it is on the volunteers. Should Irving put out better materials? Yes. But this forum is full of Scouters who's Troops have succeeded despite what does or does not happen in Irving. 

That's because most of the units have Scouters who have had experience as youth and know how the program is to run, or came into established units, and were mentored by the experienced Scouters, and then took over as the experienced folks stepped down.

Problem is we are now getting a lot of adults with little to no experience as youth, forming new units. We had a new troop locally whose new adults complained so much about camping in the cold, that the experienced SM was forced to cancel a trip. And these are "trained" new adults I might add.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

That's because most of the units have Scouters who have had experience as youth and know how the program is to run, or came into established units, and were mentored by the experienced Scouters, and then took over as the experienced folks stepped down.

Problem is we are now getting a lot of adults with little to no experience as youth, forming new units. We had a new troop locally whose new adults complained so much about camping in the cold, that the experienced SM was forced to cancel a trip. And these are "trained" new adults I might add.

"Trained" is something I would like to discuss with someone.  At one end there is useless position specific training and at the other end is Wood Badge.  There is scarcely much in the middle.

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56 minutes ago, 5thGenTexan said:

"Trained" is something I would like to discuss with someone.  At one end there is useless position specific training and at the other end is Wood Badge.  There is scarcely much in the middle.

"Useless" training should be replaced by useful training.   The  BSA position-specific syllabus since 2000 does not allow coverage of the topics in sufficient depth so it is  often boring for those with Scouting experience and shallow for those with no Scouting experience.  Excellent staff can ameliorate the time deficiency only slightly with "home-work" materials and high energy.

Wood Badge does not "explain," or "demonstrate" the Patrol Method.  Many participants see it as modeling the adult-run troop method.  After all, the "adults" (staff) run almost everything and almost all training is run by "adults, the vast, vast majority in troop sessions.  Even after the big changes in 1972,  and until 2001, Wood Badge patrols camped, cooked, ate, did "Spare Time Activities," and studied as patrols.  Largely, that experience has passed from Wood Badge with the deemphasis on Scouting..

Wood Badge does virtually nothing with the Outdoor Method.   

Wood Badge once (pre-1972) covered Scoutcraft through First Class, and how to effectively teach it, in two fractions of a day and six full days.  BSA  pretends to cover the same, less first aid and how to teach Scoutcraft, in a single day.

Change is said to be coming to Wood Badge.  Change is not always improvement, as we have seen.

The motivated may find "other" training on outdoor program or Scoutcraft at "universities of scouting," Baden-Powell Institutes, or Area training  conference.  Relatively few Scouters, and fewer Scouts, find their way to "other" training.  Our last Area training conference was 300  round-trip miles away, plus accommodations and a reasonable conference fee, and we were closer than most.  Some came almost 1000 round trip miles.  Our council,  managed by an Executive who sees the solution to uninspired training  as eliminating training, has cancelled our last three council "other" training events.  Neighboring councils soldier on.

BSA literature on the Patrol Method or outdoor program does little or nothing to address the shortcomings of live training.  The Patrol Method has not been coherently discussed in over forty years, and the Outdoor Method, once covered beyond  First Class in Field Books that focused on Scoutcraft,  is less and less emphasized.

Some few Scouters, bless them, help correct these glaring deficiencies on the unit level, but the average Scoutmaster serves for less than a year and is pressed to get "up  to speed" before he is replaced.

It may be that Scouting would not "sell" in today's society.  Paid Scouters have told me with confidence that it would not sell.  Only one thought otherwise, and he retired after forty years at BSA.  We will never know as it is not "for sale" at BSA.  

We can only do what we can and may do.

Pray for Scouting, if you are so inclined.

 

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2 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

That's because most of the units have Scouters who have had experience as youth and know how the program is to run, or came into established units, and were mentored by the experienced Scouters, and then took over as the experienced folks stepped down.

Problem is we are now getting a lot of adults with little to no experience as youth, forming new units. We had a new troop locally whose new adults complained so much about camping in the cold, that the experienced SM was forced to cancel a trip. And these are "trained" new adults I might add.

It's easy to point at these cases and blame the lack of youth experience or training as the problem. 

These are really volunteer leadership and program issues.  A Scoutmaster should be cultivating the adults in the program so that they build up to cold weather camping.  With your typical Scout in the program for 4-5 years, there should be a bunch of experienced adults who have cold weather camped before - even if they were never Scouts as a youth. 

When a new parent joins, the Scoutmaster ought to say - "why don't you come on this camping trip in April".  Then again in September, then November, then January.  Now the parent says "January - wow, that's too cold."  So, the Scoutmaster says - "no problem, I got a couple of leaders who's kids started 3 years ago that now like to camp in January & February - maybe you'll be up to it next year."

Perhaps around a time in history where many parents had been in the military there would be lots of adults who show up with a lot of outdoor experience.  But, in an industrialized country like ours it's going to be the exception to find parents with a strong outdoor background.  So, a troop has to build up to it.

If I see a trend around here, it's that effort, preparation, and program pay off.  The strongest troops I see are often those with some leader who has the drive to make it happen.  It has little to do with training and prior Scouting experience.

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3 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

The Professionals share a substantial amount of blame for why the BSA as a whole is where it is currently. 

Respectfully, I have to disagree that volunteers do not have a part of it. Is the official BSA training inadequate? Yes. But I'd wager at least 50% of troops are failing at the basics (Having an outing at least once a month, attending summer camp, youth planning activities and leading the Troop.) At some point, that's on volunteers, many of who should know better. We all know volunteers in other units in our councils who despite taking all the required training and then some, and still do not get it. Even when the training in their council or district is good (typically being supplemented by the additions of experienced and motivated volunteers), there are many units that are not getting their Scouts outdoors, and aren't giving their Scouts opportunities to grow and lead their own troops. 

When a Troop puts on a lackluster program and bores Scouts out of Scouting, that's not really on Irving or the Council professionals so much as it is on the volunteers. Should Irving put out better materials? Yes. But this forum is full of Scouters who's Troops have succeeded despite what does or does not happen in Irving. 

Irving may end up successfully dragging the entire organization into the financial abyss soon enough, but we as volunteers ultimately determine whether Scouting continues in our communities. 

You think people who come here represent the norm?  Think again.

Adults are the critical, diminishing resource for effective program.,  There were a few adult-shortage  such issues in the late  1960s, but the membership bloodbath of the "Improved Scouting Program" brought the shortage of adults to the fore.  BSA has done nothing to correct this problem.  Indeed, as a District Chairman,  I got a letter of reprimand for directly recruiting adults, actually only  Eagle Scouts, as volunteers. That was, and apparently still is, contrary to policy.  Something about safety.   I was also told not to ask them for money as that would "interfere" council fund-raising.  I had not thought of begging because The Scout Law explained, under "Thrifty," that A Scout did not beg.  That was then.

 Adults today are less and less likely to commit to regular service - or even bowling or card-playing.  Therefore, BSA should be trying to get the maximum program work out of each one recognizing good program service to  encourage their gift of their irreplaceable time.  BSA sees money to meet salary as the critical, diminishing resource. And primarily recognizes donations of money to meet salaries.   Our council does not award ten Scouter's Keys a year.   Cart, horse.

Volunteers are less and less likely to have experienced actual Scouting, since it started to disappear forty-seven years ago.  Fewer and fewer adults have experienced  sharpening a knife (much less an axe), starting a fire, or tying knots. That suggests, to me, the need for training opportunities.  Almost every organization sees training as essential.  Not, apparently, BSA, as less and less focus is placed on training in program, as contrasted with bureaucracy.

BSA counts indoor overnight activities as weekend campouts.  Units that camp monthly, or their leaders and Scouters, are not recognized.  What might BSA to to encourage camping?

Absence of the Patrol Method results in a non-Scouting program for well-over 75% of youth in "Scouting BSA."  Yet BSA does not train adults or Scouts in the Patrol Method - Scouting.  Neither does BSA recognize or otherwise encourage the use of Scouting or discourage the use of non-Scouting.  The standard BSA "Troop Meeting Plan" teaches the troop method, allocating only  few minutes to "Patrol Meeting," and having skills instruction implicitly a troop function - the opposite of Scouting. Blame the inexperienced, untrained, unrecognized "sales force" as you will.  There are people being paid, some quite well, to design the "Product" and train the sales force.  They get raises as sales decline.  They do not see that a poor product, poorly sold, will eventually bring what they most fear. 

Edited by TAHAWK
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19 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

It's easy to point at these cases and blame the lack of youth experience or training as the problem. 

These are really volunteer leadership and program issues.  A Scoutmaster should be cultivating the adults in the program so that they build up to cold weather camping.  With your typical Scout in the program for 4-5 years, there should be a bunch of experienced adults who have cold weather camped before - even if they were never Scouts as a youth. 

When a new parent joins, the Scoutmaster ought to say - "why don't you come on this camping trip in April".  Then again in September, then November, then January.  Now the parent says "January - wow, that's too cold."  So, the Scoutmaster says - "no problem, I got a couple of leaders who's kids started 3 years ago that now like to camp in January & February - maybe you'll be up to it next year."

Perhaps around a time in history where many parents had been in the military there would be lots of adults who show up with a lot of outdoor experience.  But, in an industrialized country like ours it's going to be the exception to find parents with a strong outdoor background.  So, a troop has to build up to it.

If I see a trend around here, it's that effort, preparation, and program pay off.  The strongest troops I see are often those with some leader who has the drive to make it happen.  It has little to do with training and prior Scouting experience.

"These are really volunteer and program issues."

So let's blame the volunteers, who can only "vote with their feet" and their pocketbooks.  That should raise morale  - and contributions.  The beatings will continue ......

Why do we need BSA if the people we collectively pay many $millions have no responsibility for results?  We had ninety-nine troops in the Cleveland, Ohio, area before BSA even arrived in 1912.  One hundred and five years later, with a much larger population, I doubt we have that many - actually meeting - in the same area today.  We have sold off three camps and part of the fourth to meet payroll.  The Service Center building is in bad shape and getting worse.  Leadership is often not immaterial to organization results.  If they are not leaders, if it's all on the volunteers, what value do the "professionals" add for their $millions? 

Members of the National Board may soon be having conversations with their personal lawyers about "fiduciary responsibility" - the duty owed under law to the entity rather than it's management.   I hope so.  

I wish them well, as the fate of a program I have served for over fifty-one years (and contributed to pretty generously) is on the line.  I still hope, against hope.  But I see no basis to be impressed by  the performance of National employees, and some council employees, since 1970, and I am less impressed by the year. But they ask me to invest more money every month, on declining results. 

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14 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

Ah a Pittsburgher!  The capital of Scotland will be shocked to learn that it has lost its "h," having had it for centuries.  Not to mention Edinburgh, Ohio, Greenburgh, New York, Hamptonburgh, New YorkPlattsburgh, New York, Newburgh, New York, and Edinburgh, Indiana, - at least some of which have residents who know how to properly pronounce "burgh" [no "g" sound].  😃

 

Edin, Green, Hampton, Platts, and New are not Pitt. But, my bad for not specifying the antecedent of "one."

And I have never gotten used to Valiant online.It was so much easier when Dad or I put the change on the doorstep, and the paper boy collected and delivered in one fell swoop.

That may be the biggest issue that BSA faces. The program teaches scouts how to "get by" with whatever they find on their doorstep. Those scouts grow up thinking that indeed they can manage minimally, and are therefore unimpressed by most of the big-ticket stuff National offers.

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