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Major Changes Announced -- Councils Impacted

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15 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

I think you should just reexamine and contemplate my post so you have a better understanding of my comments. 

Let's try to find a more respectful way to talk to one another.

Yes Scouting needs to be fun, otherwise the youth won't want to do it, but scouting is much more than just having fun.

If you look in the Sea Scout early texts, you find mention of the 4-S's of Sea Scouting.  They are still very relevant: Scouting, Seamanship, Service, and Social.  Scouting is all about tradition things like patrol method/camping/etc (doing things).  Seamanship is Sailing/paddling/motor boats/navigation/Sea Skills.  Service is doing for others.  Social is just as important.  I think these concepts still apply.

https://wrseascouts.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/the-4-ss-of-sea-scouting/

 

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7 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

I find it interesting that people quote BP like they quote the Bible.  Bits and pieces are pulled out in order to fit the situation.  If we choose to follow the advice of BP and quote it as an absolute, shouldn't we quote all of it?

I like the 1920 edition of Aids to Scoutmastership as a relatively complete yet concise compilation of Baden-Powell's whys and hows of Scouting.  One place to find it is at  http://thedump.scoutscan.com/a2sm.pdf .

8 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

If you want to discuss how scouting today has lost the soul of outdoors program, you will get lots of thumbs up.

From page 51 of the aforementioned Aids to Scoutmastership pdf:

Quote

Yes-that open air is the secret of success.  It is what Scouting is for-to develop the out-of-doors habit as much as possible.

I asked a Scoutmaster once, in a great city, how he managed his Saturday hikes, whether in the park or in the country? He did not have them at all.  

Why not? Because his boys did not care about them.  They preferred to come into the meeting room on Saturday afternoons!

Of course they preferred it, poor little beggars; they were accustomed to being indoors.  But that is what we are out to prevent in the Scouts-our object is to wean them from indoors and to make the outdoors attractive to them. 

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That's a very nice history lesson. I still stand by my statement that it is not possible to teach someone to be ethical, have good character, be honest, have a relationship with a diety, be courageous or to accept and respect any point of the scout law.  It is also impossible to teach a person to be a good and competent leader.  A person can be instructed in technique, the definition of terms and academic principles.  A person must then decide if these are relevant based on many external factors and if they should apply these to themselves.  I also think that is dangerous to meddle in developmental areas if the "teacher" is not knowledgeable in these areas.  If this were not the case every graduate from our military academies would all be great leaders both in the military and in the civilian community.  There is also a very real time factor involved.  A few meetings a month and 11 or 12 camping trips does not provide the needed exposure to be effective.   That's reality, that's fact, and I stand by it.  Adults should deliver the Scouting program as it is designed and let the character development take it's own course.

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Posted (edited)

I think we are talking past one another here. 

With a few exceptions, this forum is filled with Scouters who have given years, decades, multiple decades of service to Scouts and Scouting. There is much wisdom and experience here. By being on this forum, looking to learn and looking to help teach others, most posters help to give others the knowledge and tools needed to make our Troops successful. I learned a ton from forum members here. I've had my opinions and knowledge challenged and refined, and also grown to see that my Troop does some things really well, and some things pretty poorly. The BSA training is only as good as it's instructors, and the literature can be hit or miss. A web forum is a hard place to make a clear point. Especially since we are often times placing context into other people's writings based on our own experiences. I do my best, (but often fail) to try to read other peoples posts and interpret it with the most charitable interpretation I can think of. 

I love the Hillcourt quote @HelpfulTracks posted. Boys and girls join Scouting (not just the BSA) because it's supposed to be fun. It's an adventure. The ScoutHand books for a long time have had a letter from the author the CSE promising as much.  A Troop that fails to deliver that promise is a failing Troop. However, Scouting does have a purpose beyond being fun and having adventures. One of Scouting's purposes was always to develop citizenship and character. 

Much of that is inherently built into the program. Scouts are in patrols, the patrols have leaders, they are supposed to lead themselves with adults removing themselves from the picture as much as possible. The patrol working together on an outing, or in an activity is a majority of the citizenship, character, leadership training. 

That being said, adults have a role to play. Clarke Green over at ScoutmasterCG.com summarizes it better than I ever could, using BP's own words. So I'll leave that to him. https://scoutmastercg.com/b-ps-blog-the-scoutmaster/ . There can be a time and place for a teachable moment between an adult and a Scout. There could be a time for instruction and education in leadership theory, but this is rare. Theory is only good when one has practical experience to compare against the theory and to apply the theory to. This applies to adults too. Developing strong leaders in education, business, government and the military is mostly about role models, peer interaction and mentorship. It's only a tiny bit of theory and formal education. 

There's no one size fits all approach to Scoutmastership. Each unit is going to be different, each Scout is going to have different needs. Each group will require different approaches. The question we should always be asking ourselves as Troop leaders is "Are we furthering our mission?" Followed closely by "Is this fun?" Followed lastly by "Is this effective?" 

Unfortunately since B-P's day, laws around minors have changed, parents expectations have changed, and the liability lawyers lurk waiting to pounce and fatten their wallets. Within these changing rules and expectations, I still think there is room to run a program that meets the spirit of BP's intent, even if it's not always possible to follow the prescribed methods. Still use the patrol method. Still separate the patrols as much is possible within the space confines. Do provide the required adult supervision, but that supervision needs to be in their own space, observing, and only intervening when needed for health and safety, or called upon by the youth leaders. 

 

 

Edited by Sentinel947
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I still think that we the original principals of BP, Hillcourt, Beard, or any of the other founders, we should accept and employ them all. Corporate leadership, community leadership, military leadership, and McDonalds leadership are all similar, but very unique at the same time.  Boy Scout leadership mimics military leadership as long as it is allowed.  To be successful the leader is given responsibility as well as authority.  One without the other is useless.  Many adults refuse to recognize this in light of liability. As far as positive personal development, that is up to the individual. Scouting has become encumbered with rules, regulations, policies, directives and "you can't do that's " that it is very challenging to have fun and let the boys be themselves.  Either past ideas are relevant or they are not.  With all of the academic development, teaching methodology,  the implied necessity that character development is the purpose of the BSA there is no time for fun.  The lesson plans that are in place for adults are more in line with something that Ford or ATT is looking for and is far removed from what is needed for successful Scout leaders.  Again, the proof is in the pudding or perhaps the sludge.

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30 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

I still think that we the original principals of BP, Hillcourt, Beard, or any of the other founders, we should accept and employ them all. Corporate leadership, community leadership, military leadership, and McDonalds leadership are all similar, but very unique at the same time.  Boy Scout leadership mimics military leadership as long as it is allowed.  To be successful the leader is given responsibility as well as authority.  One without the other is useless.  Many adults refuse to recognize this in light of liability. As far as positive personal development, that is up to the individual. Scouting has become encumbered with rules, regulations, policies, directives and "you can't do that's " that it is very challenging to have fun and let the boys be themselves.  Either past ideas are relevant or they are not.  With all of the academic development, teaching methodology,  the implied necessity that character development is the purpose of the BSA there is no time for fun.  The lesson plans that are in place for adults are more in line with something that Ford or ATT is looking for and is far removed from what is needed for successful Scout leaders.  Again, the proof is in the pudding or perhaps the sludge.

Proof of what exactly? What's the sludge?

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This has all been discussed here at length.

One might distinguish between why youth join Scouting and what Scouting aims to accomplish. 

Those aims (or goals) have varied slightly over the years and from Scouting organization to Scouting organization.  One expression is that the goals of Scouting are developing persons of good character, who are good citizens and who are fit in mind and body.  BSA has made "leadership," once understood to be part of "citizenship," a separately-stated goal of its program.  

That B-P person said, "Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves get to absorbed in the steps. Don't let the technical outweigh the moral.   Field efficiency, back woodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, jamboree comradeship  are all means, not the end.   The end is CHARACTER with a purpose.   And that purpose, that the next generation may be sane in an insane world, and develop the higher realization of service, active service of love, and duty to God and neighbor."

In India, the largest Scouting association (The Bharat Scouts and Guides) says, " The mission of Scouting is to contribute to the education of young people, theough a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law to help build a better world where people and self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society."

"Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia or called Indonesian Scout movement is a name of non-formal education organization that performs scouting education in Indonesia.

Its founded in 1961 by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, and in 2011 Gerakan Pramuka Indonesia became the world’s largest scout association in the world with members [today] of about 17 million.

...

Every activity is performed according to the Scouting Basic Principal (Prinsip Dasar Kepramukaan) and Scouting Method (Metode Kepramukaan). The final goal of these activities is the formation of character, morals, and noble character of young people in Indonesia.

To find the aims and goals of Scouting, one need not"cherry-pick" scattered statements.  instead, to assert that Scouting in the U.S. is not about building character, citizenship and fitness, one must ignore everything said on the topic by not only the "founder," B-P, but by all that those who built Scouting here, primarily Bill Hillcourt, "Scoutmaster to the World.

 

The founders were wise enough to know that promoting an "educational movement" might attract adults.  To attract boys you needed, as B-P said, "good bait."  Fun and adventure are the essential "bait," but not the goals. 

The means by which these aims are to be accomplished vary over time and from Scouting organization to Scouting organization.  But calling them "methods" means they are, necessarily, not  "aims" or goals" unless one assumes that the authors of the statements lack a basic command of the language in which they have been expressed for over a century. 

 

 

 

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 "[P]reserving useful traditions . . . we must pivot from valuing the past . . . invest[ing] resources in those programs that our customers most value, allowing others to be cut from the vine." 
                -- BSA Chair-Elect Dan Ownby

51 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

Unfortunately since B-P's day, laws around minors have changed, parents expectations have changed, and the liability lawyers lurk waiting to pounce and fatten their wallets. Within these changing rules and expectations, I still think there is room to run a program that meets the spirit of BP's intent, even if it's not always possible to follow the prescribed methods. Still use the patrol method. Still separate the patrols as much is possible within the space confines. Do provide the required adult supervision, but that supervision needs to be in their own space, observing, and only intervening when needed for health and safety, or called upon by the youth leaders. 

Much of traditional Scouting is not at all dangerous, and as @Sentinel947 notes, can be carried on effectively in the presence of adults, as long as the adults exercise restraint.  I sometimes wonder if the differences between the Boy Scout program of 1970 (before the Improved Scouting Program) and the Scouts BSA program of today are really differences at all.  Or are they just the result of changes in technology, transportation, and family practices that don't really matter once we get the youth out to a camp or hiking trail?  Is the difference that it is just harder today "to wean them from indoors and to make the outdoors attractive to them"?  Is the real issue that we are stuck in the practices of the past and just lack the creativity to lure today's youth outdoors? 

My concern is that in deciding what traditions are "useful" and what programs "our customers most value," the decision makers will be like the city Scoutmaster whose troop never went on hikes because staying indoors is what they were used to.  That is, they mistake "comfort zone" for "relevance" and consider traditions and activities that would take youth and families out of their comfort zones to no longer be relevant or to have no value to our customers.  

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29 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

I hope that being back on topic is not the kiss of death.  🤪

Baden-Powell developed a game with a purpose.  Now we seek to preserve the game in order to continue fulfilling the purpose.  Before BSA decides to "pivot from valuing the past," like the outdoor program, or sacrifices the outdoor program as a "sacred cow" no longer relevant to a couch-sitting, screen-watching society, let's consider how we might keep it:  How do we take urban and suburban youth (and parents) who have no use for camping and hiking (if they even knew how) and lure them out into the wild? 

These days, youth with controllers in hand or virtual reality goggles on heads can have all of the adventure they desire without the inconvenience of getting cold, wet, or dirty.  If they seek physical activity, there are team and individual sports of all kinds readily available to them, both indoors and outdoors on grass or artificial turf fields.  It is difficult for our Scouting game of camping and hiking and related outdoor activities to compete.   

Just as we tucked Scouting's purpose within Scouting's outdoor game, maybe we could tuck that game with a purpose into some other kind of bait to attract youth and families. Something that they already know about (so we don't have to educate them on it).  Something universally accepted as important and urgent (so we don't have to sell it).  Something that is missing from their video games and youth sport leagues and schools (a hole in their lives).  Something where they can make an immediate and concrete difference (join now).  Such as, a cause.  A cause historically compatible with the values and traditions of the Boy Scouts of America.  A cause that requires youth to be outdoors for extended periods of time so that, while pursuing that cause, they experience camping and hiking.  And in experiencing camping and hiking, they learn the things that Scouts have always learned from the outdoors. 

That cause, of course, is the environment:  protecting it, conserving it, saving it, cleaning it up, improving it.  And it has many different facets:  learning how it works (STEM, environmental science), projects that make an immediate difference in a park or community such as stream cleanups (service), helping when things go wrong (emergency response, search and rescue, disaster relief), protecting and preserving endangered species (zoology) or endangered cultural sites (history, archaelogy) or endangered communities (civil engineering, geology), and on and on.

What I am suggesting is that in order to preserve the outdoor program as an important tool for developing citizenship, teamwork, responsibility, etc., that we stop talking about outdoor activities, skills, and adventures as our program objective.  Instead, our program objective becomes the preservation and protection of our environment.  And in pursuit of that objective, we do as much hiking and camping and canoeing and climbing as ever -- and have just as much fun as ever.  But we have that additional layer of a serious reason for going out there that no one can object to or ridicule, and that inspire youth to join us at any age (no need for a Cub Scout resume) or can induce some pangs of guilt for not joining us. 

And because this would be a serious effort by BSA in a universally-recognized important cause, it could help rebuild BSA's reputation.

Just a thought.

Words of wisdom. 

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2 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

I hope that being back on topic is not the kiss of death.  🤪

...

As long as that kiss of death is approved by your local SDW (social distance warriors), you'll be fine. :D

But I agree. Most of the discussion on my favorite trail page has as much to do with citizenship and stewardship as it does with the sheer joy of stomping around in the big woods. When someone brings up gripes about littered trails (or blazing forests), I remind them that fewer citizens are being raised up to behave like scouts. Most learn in their late twenties, after someone calls them out on the mess they've left behind.

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On 6/2/2020 at 3:36 PM, dkurtenbach said:

It is difficult for our Scouting game of camping and hiking and related outdoor activities to compete.   

Which is why we have quite a few young people who are seen as not fitting in to other groups of their peers...

On 6/2/2020 at 3:36 PM, dkurtenbach said:

That cause, of course, is the environment

BSA has a long way to go here...how many of your council camps have been logged??

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