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Positive National Program Changes during Financial Restructuring

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2 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

Apparently, BSA agrees.  "Tenderfoot" is, of course, a higher rank than "Scout."

Obviously, I need to proofread my own typing better.

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7 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I'm kind of a big picture person, so I don't look at national standards and flexibility as choices. I believe organizations need a consistent structure that doesn't change from state to state, or even from generation to generation. Scouts across the U.S. and their grandfathers should feel they come from the same program. But, my experience at the council level showed me that there has to be flexibility for different cultures and personalities of members. The education and experience of the average leader in a city is far different from the leaders 30 miles a way in farm communities. So there has to be flexibility for those two cultures to fit in the same program. And, after working at the Council to unit levels, I feel the flexibility is there. I certainly pushed the edges of program. 

One of the areas that a lot (A Lot) of leaders have complained about over the years is the Webelos program. Most of the critique is pointing the lack of flexibility of the programs for adventure, and lack of development for getting scouts ready for the Troop program. But, after several years as a user,  I have always countered that the Webelos program is pretty good and very flexible. It does exactly what it needs to do for the maturity of Webelos ages. Scouts don't need troop program training, they need confidence development for self confidence. Where many Webelos leaders fail is in their lack of creativity for doing the Webelos Activities in the outdoors. I believe the troop leaders who want their crossovered new scouts with more troop experience are actually neglecting their new scout program. It's not the lack of skills that scares new scouts, it the idea they are going into the deep dark woods without the security of adults. The perspective of a new scout is that Patrols are just a bunch of kids, and that is terrifying to a young new scout who has had every decision of their security made by adults up to that point. They need some time to see that a patrol full of kids is a safe place.

Where I struggle with National is the communication with the users of the program. I can give a lot of examples, but I will highlight my frustration with this example; During the time I was the Council JLT Chairman, I was invited to be on the National BSA forum to advise changes to the then JLTC course. The forum was advertised as an advisory forum to develop a new Council Level JLT course (NYLT). It was a very good forum with lots of good discussions. I was excited to see what was coming. But what National published was junior level 21st Century WB course. Now, I understand National's reasoning of taking what the adults learn from WB can be transferred to the Scouts. But the WB course isn't really a leadership development course, it is a team building course. Scouts need real leadership development. We could debate whether that is appropriate or not, but there was no discussion on the forum for such a syllabus. National ignored the recommendations from the users of JLT and implemented their own course. If National had any integrity with me, they lost it then. The same thing basically occured with the changes they made to the Tiger program in 2000. The recommendations we gave to National basically suggested less responsibility on the adults. National did just the opposite tripled the work on the adults. National wasn't listening to the users to the level of understanding the situation. So you see, National is not listening. Or if they are, they aren't showing it.

I personally believe that the general structure of the BSA is very good. And it works successfully where I've seen it implemented as it was intended. I believe that the bad reputations that have developed were the result of National's drive for increasing numbers. I think to get the program back on balance, the program needs to be scaled back to the 70s program. Then tweak it for todays culture of youth.  

Barry

 

I grew up with JLT as an expectation within our troop we would complete it before we took the step to Star.  We also had a very well run Council-level JLT training weekend program that happened every spring.  I learned a ton from that program.  Leadership Corps was also something that was highly regarded around me, and most troops implemented it, some keeping the green shirts for several years after they had been discontinued.  While I do like NYLT, I feel some of it is better suited for 16+ aged youth, and some of those things that were in the JLT syllabus just don't exist in NYLT, or are not given enough focus.  ILST is just an oft poorly conducted training IMO.  Not that the material within the ILST syllabus is bad, I just don't think it is as concise as it needs to be, especially when units are doing it with 11-12 year olds.  It also spends too much time explaining why leadership is important, and not nearly enough time on how one can develop into a leader.   

A few years ago, I asked our training chair (who has participated in national forums on training, and was part of the new WB development) that if a few adults were willing to run a JLT weekend, could we get council to promote it.  The answer was no- councils shouldn't be trying to run training programs that don't follow the national format/syllabus.  If we wanted to do it at the troop level, no one can say no to that, but we couldn't make it an "organized" effort.  Bring back JLT is exactly what I believe the Scouts in Scouting need, and would empower them far more than the adult hand-holding method of program delivery that has become far too prevalent.  The adults in Scouting have spent too much time trying to figure out the problems and what we see as the solutions, and not nearly enough time letting the Scouts lead and tell us what needs to change.  

Uniforms is an area we should listen to the youth.  I don't think I have met many youth who don't like wearing the field uniform, they just prefer it is for more formal occasions.  If they are able to wear a class B for the majority of the day at summer camp, then wear class A for dinner (kind of the norm in my neck of the woods on how summer camps view uniforming), then that's how they would like all of their program to run.  I like flag ceremonies on weekend campouts, but it isn't a deal-breaker to me, so I am OK with what our unit does- show up in a Class B Friday night, leave your field uniform at home.  The few international Scouts I have meet the past few years (one from Poland, one from the Bahamas, and two from Sweden) seemed to have similar uniforming policies in their units (not nearly enough sample size for me to say all units in their Scouting Association are identical) that activities were an activity uniform (t-shirt or polos) with their unit necker.  The necker was the signal that their communities saw that signaled "Scout".  Formal uniforms were kept for formal functions.  I'd be down with that as the norm for BSA.

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4 hours ago, Treflienne said:

Obviously, I need to proofread my own typing better.

We got your meaning ;) I felt like the change what, two years ago (or was it three now) to officially classify "Scout" as a rank was odd.  Prior to this change it was a joining award, and Tenderfoot being the first true rank and that made the world right in terms of how BP had described it.

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6 hours ago, HashTagScouts said:

Uniforms is an area we should listen to the youth.  I don't think I have met many youth who don't like wearing the field uniform, they just prefer it is for more formal occasions.  If they are able to wear a class B for the majority of the day at summer camp, then wear class A for dinner (kind of the norm in my neck of the woods on how summer camps view uniforming), then that's how they would like all of their program to run.

That makes a lot of sense.  The uniform should be driven by (1) what is appropriate clothing for the "work" being done, (2) what the "workers" want to wear when doing that work.  BSA has told us that the "field" uniform is for meetings and ceremonies.  If meetings and ceremonies are what BSA thinks Scouts DO, it is no surprise that membership has been steadily dropping.

Edited by dkurtenbach
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The Financial Restructuring Bankruptcy (Ch. 11) was just filed.  We will not be discussing the filing itself on this posting.  Only the positive things we will encourage during that process.

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How many times does "the program" have to be rewritten? How many times does Wood Badge" have to be rewritten? There's an old saying "If it ain't broke dont fix it" and I agree with that idea. Let the council work with the units to deliver whatever program meets the needs of the unit and national, which does not own the councils, worry about supply and logistics, and take care of whatever property they own after this debacle is over and keep their hands out of the local council business.

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Local councils to be actually run by volunteers.

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It has been a while since I was involved in the Cub Scout program. Cubs didn't go on camping trips or participate is Boy Scout activities, and I realize that there was a very minimal camping requirement for Arrow of Light.  I think that one very big issue with declining membership is that now there is nothing for the Cubs to look forward to.  They have camped, hiked.....for several years and when they cross into Boy Scouts there is no adventure and they are just burned out with Scouting. Or, they are recruited with grand expectations which don't materialize and they just quit.  When this happens we will never see them in a Scout Troop.  This is not a theory, it's a fact and our terraible retention numbers prove it.

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9 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

It has been a while since I was involved in the Cub Scout program. Cubs didn't go on camping trips or participate is Boy Scout activities, and I realize that there was a very minimal camping requirement for Arrow of Light.  I think that one very big issue with declining membership is that now there is nothing for the Cubs to look forward to.  They have camped, hiked.....for several years and when they cross into Boy Scouts there is no adventure and they are just burned out with Scouting. Or, they are recruited with grand expectations which don't materialize and they just quit.  When this happens we will never see them in a Scout Troop.  This is not a theory, it's a fact and our terraible retention numbers prove it.

This is especially the issue when the troops are run like one big Cub den.  

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Posted (edited)

blunder

Edited by TAHAWK

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