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Cburkhardt

Major Changes Announced -- Councils Impacted

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I think that Chair Elect Ownby's statement that "Some sacred cows will be sacrificed" is hot air, because BSA National leadership just doesn't have the courage to do it.  But I could be wrong about that.  In the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor, we see Army B-25 bombers being stripped of what was initially considered critical equipment (machine guns, bomb sights) to make them light enough to take off from an aircraft carrier for their mission:  the Doolittle Raid on Japan.  In that spirit, I have a few suggestions for items to strip out of Scouting programs:

  • "Tenderfoot"
  • "Second Class"
  • "First Class"
  • "Webelos"
  • "Arrow of Light" (as a rank)
  • Uniforms that include button shirts
  • Uniforms that include official pants/shorts/skorts/skirts, socks, or belts
  • Sashes
  • Badges, patches, pins, loops, danglies, and other standard insignia normally attached to uniforms or uniform parts (but keep ceremonial awards attached to pin-on ribbons, and items worn around the neck)
  • STEM Scouts
  • Venturing
  • Separate types of units (packs, troops, crews, posts, labs) 
  • Adult leader registration in specific positions (adult leaders should register as adult leaders, not Scoutmasters, Den Leaders, Committee Members, etc.)
  • Boards of Review
  • Separate district/council committee and district/council commissioner organizations (everyone not in a unit should be a commissioner - period)
  • Chartered organizations, so that (1) innocent community groups are not sued for what happens in Scouting, and (2) BSA is not beholden to any outside constituencies
  • Rechartering
  • Eagle Scout leadership projects, applications, special rules and procedures, and the entire Eagle Scout bureaucracy
  • Knots as separate requirements
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43 minutes ago, Oldscout448 said:

I hate to think it but...Perhaps it actually kinder to end it quickly rather that suffer a death by a thousand cuts. 

Old Scout, I've had the same thoughts myself here of late.  The very elements that drew and kept membership:  outdoor adventure, OA, patrol method--pros and like minded volunteers have done their very best for decades to dilute these activities.  And unfortunately they've finally succeeded. 

Especially the OA.  We're at the point where top-tier scouts decline nomination to the OA because the organization has so little credibility.  The exact opposite of what the founders intended.

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3 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

Especially the OA.  We're at the point where top-tier scouts decline nomination to the OA because the organization has so little credibility.  The exact opposite of what the founders intended.

Reverting to prior election rules (or similar) would be a start.  The current "referendum on each eligible scout" is a joke...it's become a checkbox to fill once you're First Class with enough camping nights.

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9 minutes ago, Chisos said:

The current "referendum on each eligible scout" is a joke

If everyone can be "elected", then there is no bestowing of honor.  Nor any incentive for a Scout to change his behavior/model others so as to be worthy of selection.

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3 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

If everyone can be "elected", then there is no bestowing of honor.  Nor any incentive for a Scout to change his behavior/model others so as to be worthy of selection.

I was very active in OA from ‘89 to ‘94. For a few years I did over 20 elections in my chapter each year. I’m back now as Scoutmaster of a girl troop.


#1 I was surprised when told about elections happening, I asked when the election team would visit my troop. The advisor laughed that there is no election team. It was up to us to find a buddy troop to swap doing elections with. All of this planning and communication came from adults. 

#2 I had to read the requirements 10x to make sure I understood it right that everyone eligible could be elected in the same year. I then read of membership issues on a national level. How could there be membership “issues” if 2x Scouts can now be elected from when I was in?

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12 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

Especially the OA.  We're at the point where top-tier scouts decline nomination to the OA because the organization has so little credibility.  The exact opposite of what the founders intended.

 

5 minutes ago, Chisos said:

The current "referendum on each eligible scout" is a joke...it's become a checkbox to fill once you're First Class with enough camping nights.

These two statements really hit home. I was super involved in the OA as a youth and adult. I got in the OA under the old rules the third time I was on the ballot. Yes, it took me 3 years to get elected. And not because I was a horrible Scout either. It was because there were older, more experienced Scouts who I was running against. Heck the first time I was on the ballot, I did not vote for myself because the other two on the ballot were role models and mentors to me and deserved the honor more than i did.

 

But now it is a joke.Heck I have found out that SMs are encouraging troops to vote in all of their First Class and above nonmembers. Because I use to be the OA chapter adviser, my oldest son had helped the OA out a few times in the past. He's noticed the change from honor camper society to being a check mark. He's declined multiple times. because he does not see any value in the OA. He was upset when the OA election team left his name on the ballot, despite stating he had no interest in the OA and wished to remove his name from the ballot.

And middle son had some reservations about joining too. He allowed his name on the ballot, and also got elected. But 2 things did in his interest in the OA. First the Call Out Ceremony, or lack there of, did not go over well with him as it was just an adult call out out names. (an aside all of the Scouts I talked to were also disappointed, because something that is suppose to be special, wasn't. a lot of adults in the audience were furious because there was no planning for it, despite it being known and advertised in advance).

But the biggest reason was seeing two Scouts from his old troop get called out. One Scout was only involved because he was forced, and he caused more problems than anything else. The other was the Scout who kept abandoning his patrol to sleep with dad and/or family on camp outs. His comment was "how could someone who camp by themselves even be First Class, let alone get elected into the honor society."

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Our "honor campers" sleep in staff cabins and camp buildings during Ordeals.  Usually only candidates and a few Elangomats sleep outdoors.  Great way to set the example, huh?

Our lodge fellowship weekend draw is that the youth conduct massive video game sessions well into the night.  That's the only reason my son wants to go...gggrrrrr

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Posted (edited)

@dkurtenbach, I like your "to be jettisoned" list!  A few thoughts:

- Venturing:  as much as I love the potential of the program, I rarely see it actually practiced.  Most of the crews I'm familiar with have either folded or are close to it.  A darn shame because there are so many opportunities for youth-led adventure.  But the youth aren't interested.  Many crew advisors I've met would be better suited as den leaders.  And councils I've been in never utter the a word about Venturing or lend resources.  However, let's keep the green Venture shirt--it looks great, especially compared to the tan sacks that are sold as scout shirts.

- Eagle:  agreed, let's can the administrative baloney.  When I reflect on the last several Eagle boards I've sat on, the candidates usually had little outdoor adventure experience to relate, and it was obvious that mom/dad dragged them through the project and filled out the notebook for them.  Some of them were absolutely clueless about their project without the SM and mom/dad in the room.  Let's refocus the Trail to Eagle as a rugged, outdoor leadership experience wherein the scout is leading and teaching other scouts.

- Webelos/AOL:  what a waste of time!  What was once a fun but useful 1-year prep for joining a troop has turned into a long, boring slog.  The parents care but they seem oblivious that their kids are bored silly by the whole thing.

Again, great list!

Edited by desertrat77
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16 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

If everyone can be "elected", then there is no bestowing of honor.  Nor any incentive for a Scout to change his behavior/model others so as to be worthy of selection.

I disagree.  The unit Scouts can still not vote for a candidate thereby showing they were undeserving.  I have seen it happen.  Under the old system you might have all completely deserving Scouts but only 50% could be elected.  If the purpose of the Order is explained well and no pressure exerted on the Scouts I find they vote for who deserves it and don’t vote for those who don’t.

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2 minutes ago, DeaconLance said:

The unit Scouts can still not vote for a candidate thereby showing they were undeserving.

Agreed...

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2 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

Webelos/AOL:  what a waste of time!  What was once a fun but useful 1-year prep for joining a troop has turned into a long, boring slog.  The parents care but they seem oblivious that their kids are bored silly by the whole thing.

The plan I have with our unit this year is to invite the AOL year Webelos on all of our campouts but the Polar Bears and PLC planning weekend. That will be 5 campouts (of the 8 months) for the Webelos to really see what the camping is like. We have 10 Scouts in our troop and there will be 3 Webelos AOL girls this year. My ASM and I are both BALOO trained and the 3 girls are very independent. I hope they see that Scouting is patrol cooking and camping. This move might be our ticket to 2 patrols come March. 

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25 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

 

- Eagle:  agreed, let's can the administrative baloney.  When I reflect on the last several Eagle boards I've sat on, the candidates usually had little outdoor adventure experience to relate, and it was obvious that mom/dad dragged them through the project and filled out the notebook for them.  Some of them were absolutely clueless about their project without the SM and mom/dad in the room.  Let's refocus the Trail to Eagle as a rugged, outdoor leadership wherein the scout is leading and teaching other scouts.

- Webelos/AOL:  what a waste of time!  What was once a fun but useful 1-year prep for joining a troop has turned into a long, boring slog.  The parents care but they seem oblivious that their kids are bored silly by the whole thing.

Again, great list!

Agreed.  I've seen so many projects where it's about providing service instead of demonstrating leadership.  Not that there's a problem with service, but that's not the point.  Maybe tone down the emphasis on the project and ramp up something on outdoor leadership.  Maybe add a minimum number of camping nights.

As for Webelos/AOL...spin 4th/5th grade off to be less affiliated with the Pack.  They need to get away from the K to 3rd grade set.

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