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Two Deep Leadership on a video chat because Why?

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9 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

On a side note, I feel like BSA has been spiraling downward since they implemented OPERATION FIRST CLASS back in 1989. They made it easier to advance, moving from a "Master the Skills" mentality of the 1979 and  earlier handbooks, and "The Badge represents what the Scout CAN DO (sic), not what he has done" of the current 'One and Done" mentality found in today's Guide to Advancement. And don't get me started on the changes to OA membership over the years.

Agree that has been part of the issue.  I would also argue the big step off the cliff for the BSA was in 1973 - 74 as we implemented The Improved Scouting Program.  Literally one was able to attain Eagle Scout at that point without ever going outside.  This moved the program so far away from it's purpose it was ridiculous. 

The 1974 Scoutbook actually advised that if you are on a hike and get lost the Scouts should ask a policeman for directions....oh how far we slid.

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I came from the 70's so I didn't see the effects of the changes. For me, the first obvious sign of the end was the creation of the New Scout Patrols. What appears small created a ripple effect that forced adults to become more intrusive in just about all the personal decisions scouts made in planning their activities. The intrusiveness was doubled down with the implementation of the First Class in First Year program. 

Equally, if not greater, to the negative program effects from the New Scout Patrols was the unforeseen effects of a degrading Patrol Method concept after National changed the adult membership to include female troop leaders. The program killer had nothing do with gender, but instead the issue was experience. Or more directly, lack of a youth scouting experience. The massive influx of inexperienced adults forced incomprehension into a program that at that time relied heavily on adult leaders with a youth scouting experience. Even National was shocked at the sudden trend away from a boy lead program. They attempted to bring some balance with all new training syllabuses in 2000, but evidence shows that nothing replaces experience for continuing the concept of giving youth independence for making bad decisions with the intention of developing good character? 

Barry

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5 hours ago, Eagledad said:

but evidence shows that nothing replaces experience for continuing the concept of giving youth independence for making bad decisions with the intention of developing good character? 

That has to change. What I mean is I agree with you that this is an important skill - letting scouts fail - but it would be immensely benefitial to find a way to teach this to adults. Any ideas? No fair saying it can't be done or that there will be problems. Those can be dealt with later.

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2 hours ago, MattR said:

That has to change. What I mean is I agree with you that this is an important skill - letting scouts fail - but it would be immensely benefitial to find a way to teach this to adults. Any ideas? No fair saying it can't be done or that there will be problems. Those can be dealt with later.

With a warhammer to the head after rolling a 20 to hit and  rollng an 8 for damage.    :)

 

Seriously though, the  the only way I have seen this work is for 2 Adults to ride herd on the interfering adults and constantly making sure they do not cause trouble. Then as their Scout matures, they get it. Problem is the following:

1) You need 2 adults to maintain eternal vigilance over the interfering adults

2) You gotta make rules AND ENFORCE THEM. You cannot compromise as it give the interfering parents hope.

3) It takes a long time, several months at a minimum, sadly several years, to make the adults realize that failure is learning.

4) Sometimes people just won't get it.

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Once upon a time,  I held the position of "First Assistant Everything Else".  Even had a badge of office.  My wonderful wife was the Cub Scout Day Camp Director. Son was a Wolf.  (much later, an Eagle. Another story...)

I went and got Archery Range Safety Officer trained, and "did the Range" many years.  Scout Son even grew up to help.   Later,  his Troop wanted to do archery, so we arranged with a private Archery Club to visit their range (archery Merit Badge, among other things). They had Scout Leaders and abided with all BSA rules, so it was a good thing.   Before we went, Scoutson asked me if he could do a Safety Talk with the Troop. I said sure, "you know my methods", I'll watch.  He did a good job, but I thought he had neglected some items, so I interrupted and spoke up.  Later that evening,  Scoutson gently chastised me about how I had embarrassed him by publicly (!) interferring with his talk, that he had not yet mentioned the things I interjected.   I realized what I had done, and promised not to be so "parenty" again.   I tried hard not to. Scoutson became "THE"  Totin' Chip Instructor for the Troop. Oh, and the Archery Camp was a large success. 

IMG_2807[1].JPG

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16 hours ago, MattR said:

That has to change. What I mean is I agree with you that this is an important skill - letting scouts fail - but it would be immensely benefitial to find a way to teach this to adults. Any ideas? No fair saying it can't be done or that there will be problems. Those can be dealt with later.

Goodness I've tried. I brought up discussions in my leaders courses and even created a council leaders course specifically on the subject of giving scouts the trust to screw up because they develop character from the decisions. A couple of adults come back and tell me stories of how they changed their program from the course,  but in general I found the loud crickets in the background.

I believe our parental instinct to protect our kids is greater than the wisdom of letting youth learn by their own efforts. The reason that scouting carries on with adults who have a youth scouting experience isn't so much those adults value the growth from making independent decisions, they are simply doing the easy thing of continuing the scouting experience of their youth. That certainly was the case for me.

I do believe if National took and interest of showing the relationship between giving scouts independence to make decisions and the resulting growth, more adults would take interest. But, in these times of adding more adult participation for youth protection, I don't see that happening. In fact, the membership changes over last few years are bringing in even more adults without a youth scouting experience, which is making the problem more complex.

Eventually this program will become saturated enough with adults who have a youth scouting experience to carry tradition forward, but what kind of program did they experience. I'm confident it won't be much like the traditional program that my dad, me and my son's experienced. Is it a program that my son's will want for my grand kids? 

Barry

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2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Eventually this program will become saturated enough with adults who have a youth scouting experience to carry tradition forward, but what kind of program did they experience. I'm confident it won't be much like the traditional program that my dad, me and my son's experienced. Is it a program that my son's will want for my grand kids? 

And that is what I am afraid of. I've ran into a SM, who doesn't understand why camping is such a big deal. He earned Eagle in the 1970s, and his troop rarely camped. When that troop does camp, it is usually at MB Weekends and universities. While they do summer camp, not everyone goes. The Eagle Scout who never attended summer camp was one of his.

Although I am no longer in the old troop, I still maintain friendships with them, including Gunship. He's slowly mellowing. But I understand more about him. Not only is he prior military, but his SM growing up was the exact same way.

I was fortunate. My SM growing up was old school, letting  the youth do their thing. He intervened when needed. In my 7 years as a Boy Scout, outside of  SMCs and my time on the PLC, only twice did he really intervene with me. First time was when I  modeled the inappropriate behavior of my old PL in my previous troop. Had a long talk about leadership, motivating folks, and working with folks that I remember to this day. The second time was a subtle reminder I'm turning 18 in a few months, and it would be a pity if I didn't finish what I started, especially since I spent the past 4+ years as a Life Scout and folks that I have helped as new Scouts earned their Eagle before me. Otherwise he let us handle things. I remember him letting the SPL, ASPL, and older Scouts work with me when I became PL, and first became ASPL.Then I remember him allowing me to work with the younger Scouts.

So yes, Scouts do use their own experiences when they work with youth in the troop. And I am worried that we are slowly seeing the demise of traditional Scouting.  DN Robbin's post concerns me because he doesn't see the loss us old fogeys are talking about because he has not experienced it. I am glad I found a troop with the same mentality my troop growing up had. My older two are a lot happier.  Youngest is having a good time. And part of that is the SM and primary ASM were both Scouts themselves, in youthled troops.

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Posted (edited)

I had a four-year gap in scouting, from the time I aged out in 81 till I signed on as an ASM and went to Scout Leader Basic Training (SLBT) in 85.  Quite a difference in culture.  It was obvious the BSA no longer valued the independent-minded, outdoor-oriented scouter.  My training course turned into a 3-weekend grudge match between cadre and those with prior scouting experience.  Cadre downplayed the outdoors, patrol method and unit scouting as a whole.  The message was a) "We district and council scouters know best" and b) "Do your quaint troop stuff if you must, but real scouting happens at the district and council level."   It didn't sit well with some of us.  This mindset has been with us in one form or another ever since.

Edited by desertrat77
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From my experience, the saturation of those with adult-led scouting experience happened a long long time ago. With them it is even more difficult (impossible) to break them of that habit/belief. Most do not even realize it and will just respond with " well that's how my old troop did it."

While I agree with Barry that an excellent patrol method, scout-led, scouting program will manifest as adults who are better able to provide a quality scouting program compared to those with little/no experience; those with a adult-led scouting experience are much much worse than those with little/no experience. At least the latter can be trained.

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2 hours ago, DuctTape said:

the saturation of those with adult-led scouting experience happened a long long time ago

 

2 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

It was obvious the BSA no longer valued the independent-minded, outdoor-oriented scouter. 

Gradually, our culture has begun to value Eagle Scout (or just "Scout" in general) less and less.  Someone previously mentioned, a Scout's rank was supposed to reflect what he can DO.  Those days seem gone.  I absolutely hate this "one and done" program.  It fosters an extremely poor attitude towards learning and retaining skills, and encourages taking "the path of least resistance".  They follow the lead of adults, because that is what their parents and our current culture have conditioned them to do.  They (and parents) just want to have you teach the skill, let the Scout demo it once, get the req signed off, RAM dump it, and get the badge.  This mentality will continue to erode the "brand", and eventually, our nation (seriously).

Most Scouts I see now have no initiative.  I seek to train young people to look for, on their own, what to do it, and without prompting, to do it.  Maybe I am just an old fart, but this seems to be a more rare commodity.  I perceived this in the military, too...as the years went by, the youngers seemed more reticent to take chances.  However, it was awesome to empower them to make decisions, and then BACK THEM UP, even when they made mistakes.  Then self-reliant, yet interdependent, leaders emerged. 

These are exactly the things BP saw over 100 years ago, and part of the reason he started Scouting...so I guess it is cyclical in societies.  Are we at, or approaching, a low point now?

Adults make great Senior Patrol Leaders...but that is not our job.

An outdoor, skills-oriented program is a pied piper for boys...they love it.  Have you seen the look on a young man's (or, yes, woman's) face when he chops down a tree?  Or swims a mile? Or actually completes a TRUE orienteering course? Or when he gets up in the morning after spending the night under the stars at 25 Fahrenheit? Or finishes 20 miles hiking in a day?  (And how do you feel when you still do these things?)  Magic

 

 

 

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