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TAHAWK

Civil Protest, Policing, Moving Forward

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16 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

Change is inevitable.  Change is not necessarily improvement, even when the change is returning to what previously worked.

Indeed that is correct.  A slightly different approach is that progress is not always forward.  Sometimes lateral and indeed backtracking to an effective format.  
 

Another one of those bitter ironies of history that people have trouble accepting is that the more people are equal, the less free they become.  It’s inverse is true.  These objectives do not work in tendency with what people seek to achieve.  Communism.  That,  of course, goes to the lowest possible common denominator  where everyone socially is officially equal but only has the freedom to do what they are told and even then hope it turns out correctly.  Those societies are, perhaps, the most shocking examples of where everyone is supposed to be equal because it is progress for all.  It took the irony fist of government intervention to be sure everyone never bucked the system.   We have seen how those societies worked out.  Freedom, as it’s been correctly observed, once gone is very very difficult to regain on a societal level.  
 

The ideas go further though in distinguishing equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome.  The latter is where contention arises so fiercely and wherein the danger seems to be the greatest.  The latter, it seems, forces the loss of freedom on a colossal scale and presumably bars choice since those not like long the outcome could leave and go elsewhere.  That would thwart the desired outcome.  It would bar freedom of expression since, again, expression contrary to a specific outcome of equality would block that.
 

 Extreme? maybe, but these observations make the point that isn’t publicly discussed.  Freedom, equality and equality of outcome are not honestly addressed when overtures and demands for progress ‘forward’ are being made.  

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16 hours ago, FireStone said:

This right here is the ongoing struggle of Scouting in America, maybe globally, and it came upon us long before the ills of modern technology, politics, and membership policy changes. Scouting was already struggling when I was a scout (1990s), and some of the issues back then (at least from a youth perspective) I think are the same struggles we have today. How does the program fit into modern society, is it still relevant, do kids still want to do it, etc.

We can take all of the political and social issues out of the discussion and the problems of the BSA remain. The BSA has to change, it has been long overdue for major change for decades. I think they're trying to change things now, But maybe it's too late.

Scouting is local for local scouters. When I read that change is overdue without a substance of reason, the author is typically applying a local frustration to a national level.

 

1 hour ago, TAHAWK said:

Change is inevitable.  Change is not necessarily improvement, even when the change is returning to what previously worked.

In fact, no improvement is likely. You only have to read the variety of posts here to see that very few folks understand the big picture of the program. They just apply their usually emotional fixes to their local experience.

39 minutes ago, yknot said:

Yes. The prime reason scouting is in such a dire place is because of deep rooted, long term internal problems. BSA should never have allowed a single religion to run a shadow program within a program the way it did with LDS. BSA should never have limited its managerial talent pool largely to people within the organization. BSA should never have shifted its focus to marketing and membership instead of remembering that it is a movement focused on service, citizenship and character first. And the out of doors. BSA should have never allowed its organizational components -- national, council, unit -- to become so distinct from each other so incapable of collaboration on a common mission.  Stuff like that.  

well at least there is some reasoning here. Still, these are reasons based from emotional irritations, or just general hate of the BSA. The author is consistent giving negative criticism of the BSA. I always wonder, is consistent whining a type of integrity?

I remember about 20 years ago on this forum when several posters felt the gay issue was the reason for lost membership. No evidence, just conjecture. I remember thinking, where is that coming from? I was tuned in nationally and nobody was complaining. I didn’t know what a troll was then, but the issues of the time where nothing compared to today. 

While National has not manage the program well. It’s the law suit that is got everybody wondering how the BSA will survive. Everything else is just irritation. I would liked to have seen how National would of reacted to problems before the lawsuit. This could be the killer. And, what will the victims get out of it after the lawyers get their cut. 
 

Barry

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25 minutes ago, yknot said:

Yes. The prime reason scouting is in such a dire place is because of deep rooted, long term internal problems. BSA should never have allowed a single religion to run a shadow program within a program the way it did with LDS. BSA should never have limited its managerial talent pool largely to people within the organization. BSA should never have shifted its focus to marketing and membership instead of remembering that it is a movement focused on service, citizenship and character first. And the out of doors. BSA should have never allowed its organizational components -- national, council, unit -- to become so distinct from each other so incapable of collaboration on a common mission.  Stuff like that.  

What you say is in some respects true but there are factors that cannot be overlooked that make the problems difficult to overcome.  

It seems to me, that when bringing up the Dominance of a religious group, you get into really hot water.  Protected class from discrimination aside, the scouts would be in the unsavory position of having to convene committees or Star chambers to adjudicate persons on these sorts Of beliefs and undertaking purges to maintain some desired effect.  The idea that one or more people could decide state by state, region by region or nationally on this basis sends a chill down the spine...or it should.  That sort of practice and message sent to scouts, parents, volunteers and sponsors would be alarming and dangerous.  If it could happen to the Mormons, then any group could be picked on.Eagle is open to all, God and country to each in his belief system.  What does it say about an institution that selects and purges or partly purges a belief system they recognize as important?

I understand the disproportionate representation and power effect.  This portion is supposed to be checked by laws and bylaws that members agree to uphold.   Yes, the in group at any given time can change the rules to suit them and remake the organization into some different one. The last 4 major upheavals  due to external PC bitterly prove that point. 
 

You are correct about what the focal points have traditionally been.  But somewhere that broke down and became an ongoing tool for activism and change in the larger society rather than the development of character, leadership, service, brotherhood and skills particular to scouting.   I disagree about the region and councils being too separate.  The scout book lays down the purpose and particulars among other things.  People sign up for that content and local fellowship and activities.  At its core, scouting is local and joined at the hip with local family, community and interests.  Those common threads and traits are in every community across the US.  Local culture, history, tradition, concerns and so forth are what scouts deal with as an anchor to a larger world.  This is one reason a national organization can be do pernicious and insulting. It feels it knows what is best for locals.  How much more do when outside pressures force change they feel is right when often they have no connection.  
 

Ultimately, I would suggest, Scouting is in a bind like all organizations of its type or service groups.  Who steps up to the plate to lead?  Are the policy hawks, religious, dedicated, educated or even competent? One unfortunate reality is that stewardship of an organization in part or whole is dependent on these human factors.  If nobody or fee step up to the plate to lead, then it can fold in part or whole.  This happens all the time.  If locals aren’t interested, it folds.  I happen not to be Mormon, but I can’t help but admire them for bringing hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic people into scouting that set a stellar example for the traditions of scouting.  They stepped up, volunteered time, skill and resources to make it happen.  For generations of scouts, these participants seem to have not only kept the traditional spirit going but made it respectable and honorable despite the larger decline of service organizations.
 

 Is it any wonder that they finally threw in the towel when the institution they helped lead, support and nurture became more twisted from its original character?  Is it any wonder that Non Mormons are equally put off and might just feel the same?  Why give time, talent, support and new blood to something that no longer exists?  Is it bigotry, racism, fanaticism or just plain mean spirited?  Some might hasten to say so, but I disagree.  Forced change from above is an anathema to many.  Forced political and ideological indoctrination robs people of intellectual space and freedom.  Let kids learn in the schools and at home.  Scouts should be a neutral ground for local kids.  
 

now, we’re forced to ask, what will count leaders learn?  Do people learn what went wrong and why? Do they find a way to bring back millions of interested people who believed in scouting and what it has done?  Do they dismiss and waive off dissenters as good riddance?  Who are the leaders and how will they respond?  From the ground up? Or from on high with edicts?  Do they become pawns of social activism of the day or stick to principles?

 

those are questions that need answering.  The proof will come in the future when children choose.
 

 

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Avoiding the "gay issue," the co-ed "issue," the LDS "issue," and the Black Lives Matter Issue:

Was deemphasis of the outdoor program beneficial for BSA?  For Scouting?

Was deemphasis on the Patrol Method and creation of the "troop method" ("Patrols are one component of what we call youth-run, or youth-led, troop." https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/18-110.pdf  02/20/19 (updated March 2006)  beneficial for BSA?  For Scouting?

Was toleration of advancement mills beneficial for BSA?  For Scouting?

 

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Everything has become so complicated. Complicated. But through all of the changes that I have witnessed over the 53 years (youth/adult), the following is still possible.

1) You can still have patrols and use them appropriately to the betterment of the scouts.

2) You can still have fun and challenging weekly meetings.

3) You can still plan and go on camping trips, service projects, summer camps, high adventures, backpacking, and lots more.

4) Fund raise to pay for these activities also can happen.

All scouting is local. It doesn't have to be that complicated.

YIS

sst3rd

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27 minutes ago, Troop75Eagle said:

What you say is in some respects true but there are factors that cannot be overlooked that make the problems difficult to overcome.  

It seems to me, that when bringing up the Dominance of a religious group, you get into really hot water.  Protected class from discrimination aside, the scouts would be in the unsavory position of having to convene committees or Star chambers to adjudicate persons on these sorts Of beliefs and undertaking purges to maintain some desired effect.  The idea that one or more people could decide state by state, region by region or nationally on this basis sends a chill down the spine...or it should.  That sort of practice and message sent to scouts, parents, volunteers and sponsors would be alarming and dangerous.  If it could happen to the Mormons, then any group could be picked on.Eagle is open to all, God and country to each in his belief system.  What does it say about an institution that selects and purges or partly purges a belief system they recognize as important?

I understand the disproportionate representation and power effect.  This portion is supposed to be checked by laws and bylaws that members agree to uphold.   Yes, the in group at any given time can change the rules to suit them and remake the organization into some different one. The last 4 major upheavals  due to external PC bitterly prove that point. 
 

You are correct about what the focal points have traditionally been.  But somewhere that broke down and became an ongoing tool for activism and change in the larger society rather than the development of character, leadership, service, brotherhood and skills particular to scouting.   I disagree about the region and councils being too separate.  The scout book lays down the purpose and particulars among other things.  People sign up for that content and local fellowship and activities.  At its core, scouting is local and joined at the hip with local family, community and interests.  Those common threads and traits are in every community across the US.  Local culture, history, tradition, concerns and so forth are what scouts deal with as an anchor to a larger world.  This is one reason a national organization can be do pernicious and insulting. It feels it knows what is best for locals.  How much more do when outside pressures force change they feel is right when often they have no connection.  
 

Ultimately, I would suggest, Scouting is in a bind like all organizations of its type or service groups.  Who steps up to the plate to lead?  Are the policy hawks, religious, dedicated, educated or even competent? One unfortunate reality is that stewardship of an organization in part or whole is dependent on these human factors.  If nobody or fee step up to the plate to lead, then it can fold in part or whole.  This happens all the time.  If locals aren’t interested, it folds.  I happen not to be Mormon, but I can’t help but admire them for bringing hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic people into scouting that set a stellar example for the traditions of scouting.  They stepped up, volunteered time, skill and resources to make it happen.  For generations of scouts, these participants seem to have not only kept the traditional spirit going but made it respectable and honorable despite the larger decline of service organizations.
 

 Is it any wonder that they finally threw in the towel when the institution they helped lead, support and nurture became more twisted from its original character?  Is it any wonder that Non Mormons are equally put off and might just feel the same?  Why give time, talent, support and new blood to something that no longer exists?  Is it bigotry, racism, fanaticism or just plain mean spirited?  Some might hasten to say so, but I disagree.  Forced change from above is an anathema to many.  Forced political and ideological indoctrination robs people of intellectual space and freedom.  Let kids learn in the schools and at home.  Scouts should be a neutral ground for local kids.  
 

now, we’re forced to ask, what will count leaders learn?  Do people learn what went wrong and why? Do they find a way to bring back millions of interested people who believed in scouting and what it has done?  Do they dismiss and waive off dissenters as good riddance?  Who are the leaders and how will they respond?  From the ground up? Or from on high with edicts?  Do they become pawns of social activism of the day or stick to principles?

 

those are questions that need answering.  The proof will come in the future when children choose.
 

 

 

Whoa. I think you misinterpreted what I said. There is no issue in my mind with having LDS Chartering Organizations and units. LDS units, as any other religious or community contact, should be completely welcome in scouting, and I have often said I hope many of them come back in time. The issue is how the core scouting program was adapted over the years to fit specific LDS needs. The program, with perhaps minor tweaks to fit local circumstances, should be largely the same for all.

I disagree about the structure. I have my own theories about why the Catholic Church and Scouting have both been particularly vulnerable to infiltration and then enabling of child predators. The franchise like structure of both often leaves no one really in charge and does not foster communication or collaboration. Both organizations are bureaucratic, hierarchal, insular, and prone to allowing their most local manifestations to operate in a silo that can become almost a personal fiefdom for a few individuals. Problems result. Most other youth organizations are not run this way. 

"When children choose" is perhaps your key comment and one that I appreciate most. I think that's what we need to focus on, and not on what parents will choose. In another post, I talked about how many scouts we lose within the first year or two after crossover. Most love cubs, but the focus on Eagle and aggressive advancement, that appeals greatly to parents, and the weakening focus on outdoor adventures, at least in my opinion, is why we are not appealing as much to children. I hope as we go through this process that BSA does focus on want children want. 

 

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2 minutes ago, yknot said:

When children choose" is perhaps your key comment and one that I appreciate most. I think that's what we need to focus on, and not on what parents will choose. In another post, I talked about how many scouts we lose within the first year or two after crossover. Most love cubs, but the focus on Eagle and aggressive advancement, that appeals greatly to parents, and the weakening focus on outdoor adventures, at least in my opinion, is why we are not appealing as much to children. I hope as we go through this process that BSA does focus on want children want. 

 

Statistically BSA looses more scouts in the first year of the troop program than any other age group. It’s been that way at least from the 60s, which was as far back as I could find. But, I believe it goes back much farther because the reason for the huge drop is the large change in culture expectations (independent decisions) between the two programs.

Cubs are still led and guided by adults during the program, while Troop scouts are expected to make Independent decisions about their health and safety in the cold dark rainy woods. Even making a menu for the next campout can be stressful. Most scouts way over pack for there first campout because they are scared they won’t have something they need to be safe or comfortable. We learned new scouts need some lighting by the bathrooms or they will do their job by the tent, which gets smelly. We forget how scary a dark campsite in the middle of the woods can be. I first experienced that problem with Webelos.

Independence sounds good to a scout joining a troop until they see the risk of a wrong decision. Youth up to 10 years old have not been given much independence experience by adults to makes choices. It’s a shock. National tried to work this problem with New Scout Patrols thinking friends together are likely to feel better about the fear, but numbers haven’t changed. It’s literally a culture shock.

It is very stressful and adults don’t deal with the problem very well. The BSA says if a scout will hang around for a year, they will likely stay for at least 3 years. My data found that if scout gets through summer camp and liked it, they will stay for several years. So, the key is to wean them through through the program past summer camp, which is long enough to get used to the independence expected of troop age scouts.

im not a fan of Eagle Mills, but they do have a better average for new scouts staying because the adults are still so hands on.

Barry

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

Scouting is local for local scouters. When I read that change is overdue without a substance of reason, the author is typically applying a local frustration to a national level.

Not at all. Locally for me as a youth, Scouting was thriving. But we still heard the rumors of a unit in the next town shutting down, membership declines across the state, etc. The frustration was very much a national one, and has been for decades. I had no local frustration that influenced my thoughts on the bigger picture of the BSA around the country.

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45 minutes ago, FireStone said:

Not at all. Locally for me as a youth, Scouting was thriving. But we still heard the rumors of a unit in the next town shutting down, membership declines across the state, etc. The frustration was very much a national one, and has been for decades. I had no local frustration that influenced my thoughts on the bigger picture of the BSA around the country.

The next town is still local. And if scouting was thriving for you, what has to change. And what is the National frustration that you mention? There are all kinds of frustrations, especially at a local level.

I was scouting during those years you were scouting and I learned a lot of the National issues going on at the time, but very few people understood of the problems because they weren’t obvious at the local level. For example, admitting women leaders into troops caused a lot of unforceen issues and numbers were dropping. Enough that National scraped Wood Badge and started over to build a training program for adults without a youth scouting experience. But, the issues had to be seen at a National level data, local units wouldnt see it. The easy solution was stop accepting women. Is that where you would have started changing the BSA.

If you don’t understand how parts of the program effect other parts, then you can’t respect the challenges of making changes. Nationally the cubs program looses more than 50% of 2nd Webelos after crossover. The reason is very complicated, but it comes down to adult burnout. And, take this fact into account as well, scouts go where their parents go. Loose the parents, and the program likely looses the scout.

National has a lot of challenges to deal with, if they want to deal with them. Trends tend to take about five years to show up in the data. So, membership trends are more important than annual numbers. We even predicted some membership trends on this as a result of some unwise changes from National. And then the problem is identifying the cause. You imply the BSA needs an overhaul, but I can argue with facts that it only needs a tune up. After all, even your troop was thriving. Why change that?
 

Barry

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46 minutes ago, yknot said:

 

 

Whoa. I think you misinterpreted what I said. There is no issue in my mind with having LDS Chartering Organizations and units. LDS units, as any other religious or community contact, should be completely welcome in scouting, and I have often said I hope many of them come back in time. The issue is how the core scouting program was adapted over the years to fit specific LDS needs. The program, with perhaps minor tweaks to fit local circumstances, should be largely the same for all.

I disagree about the structure. I have my own theories about why the Catholic Church and Scouting have both been particularly vulnerable to infiltration and then enabling of child predators. The franchise like structure of both often leaves no one really in charge and does not foster communication or collaboration. Both organizations are bureaucratic, hierarchal, insular, and prone to allowing their most local manifestations to operate in a silo that can become almost a personal fiefdom for a few individuals. Problems result. Most other youth organizations are not run this way. 

"When children choose" is perhaps your key comment and one that I appreciate most. I think that's what we need to focus on, and not on what parents will choose. In another post, I talked about how many scouts we lose within the first year or two after crossover. Most love cubs, but the focus on Eagle and aggressive advancement, that appeals greatly to parents, and the weakening focus on outdoor adventures, at least in my opinion, is why we are not appealing as much to children. I hope as we go through this process that BSA does focus on want children want. 

 

I appreciate your feedback.  I understand your idea better.  I was, instead, addressing the theoretical and thorny issue of how to balance any group’s influence and dominance over a system and how to manage that.  From that particular perspective, it is a balancing act and can take sinister turns either way.  But I get that isn’t really what you were addressing.  It was really the description of “allowing a single religious group to run a shadow program,’ that motivated my response.  There was no real criticism of your observations but rather an expansion of one area that struck a cord with me. 
 

There can be a great deal of truth to what you say and it is an inherent problem with a relatively democratic system.  I was focused on a big picture scenario of just how a balance could be achieved.  My description of somehow controlling composition was a concern in the abstract that any group could face.  Likewise, the real problem of when too few people step up to lead guide and assist with time, resources and people and by circumstance or default end up with disproportionate control.  One could argue that by virtue of their influence, the organization survived...or could equally fall depending on circumstances.  
 

I have a pretty big libertarian streak so I tend to have a robust skepticism of centralized control, especially across the breadth of a nation. I realize that one could make the counter argument that without reasonable control and guidance you end up with a mixed bag.  It can be a tough call and requires a great brain trust of balanced thinking and dedication to maneuver. 
 

There is an excellent book called, “The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.”  It is worth reading.  Scouts may well take some of the examples of AA.  It’s chapters are ubiquitous and all run the same with the same content and program. Yet, there is no central authority.  When the internet started, investors could not get through their heads the idea of a leaderless entity that makes money.  The Apaches could never be conquered or exterminated by the Spanish because they did not have central authority.  In a more ugly and unfortunate example, Isis and Al Qaeda have proved maddeningly difficult to stamp out precisely because they are a decentralized franchise.  Yet they more or less do the same things.  

The idea of decentralized control is neither foreign nor inherently flawed and doomed to failure.  
 

As a hybrid example, Churches present a classic example of both sides of the picture.  Centralized control is good for towing the party lines and consistency in a particular interpretation, doctrine, ritual and practice of theology.  One of the biggest enemies of the church is schism,  that happens over and over and we have such a wide range of results and content as to be dizzying.  
 

Schism in scouts, I think, would be worse since the organization is put on the chopping block and sub groups spend more time invalidating the others than getting things done.  
 

So part of the job of any group of leaders, be they local, regional or national, is to convince the members and public that they have legitimacy.  That is no easy task at this point for all the reasons everyone has mentioned.  This is something, I think, the do not have for the majority gor all sorts of reasons.  At its heart, legitimacy comes from individuals.  No one can mandate it, force its acceptance, force people to like or respect it nor honor its actions.  This attribute is beyond the control of outside forces, hierarchy of leaders and interested parties.  This no doubt will enrage those trying to force change with colorful metaphors to describe those not giving their consent to legitimacy.  But such is the cost and burden of change.

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1 hour ago, sst3rd said:

Everything has become so complicated. Complicated. But through all of the changes that I have witnessed over the 53 years (youth/adult), the following is still possible.

1) You can still have patrols and use them appropriately to the betterment of the scouts.

2) You can still have fun and challenging weekly meetings.

3) You can still plan and go on camping trips, service projects, summer camps, high adventures, backpacking, and lots more.

4) Fund raise to pay for these activities also can happen.

All scouting is local. It doesn't have to be that complicated.

YIS

sst3rd

I agree with your statements.  There are complications to it however with the last 4 upheavals (sex abuse aside) and how content and changes are made and enforced.  Once bureaucracies get involved with changes a lot can happen that isn’t good.  This is especially worrisome In determining policing young scouts in their attitudes, comments and behaviors among themselves.  The scope of prohibitions and sensitivity has ballooned and will be subjective based on any one adult or child’s sentiments.  The scope and breadth of potential proof of determined training and content may well mushroom to having audits from a larger bureaucracy to be certain all goals regarding politically charged content is being instilled and retained before advancement.  If it sounds far fetched, maybe it is, but when an institution or organization is hauled before the court of public opinion and can be judged on the basis of a few cases rather than the whole, it becomes more real.  
 

people record each other all the time now with phones and PC culture is intolerant and subjective beyond measure.  A camping trip where kids are goofing around and say things in jest or act in ways that might upset one person suddenly gets beamed around the world and becomes an indictment of the whole.  Kids are not allowed to learn by making mistakes.  They are not allowed to relax and be themselves in such an environment.  So what is an organization to do?  Rely on local parents and leaders?  Probably not.  Have a rigid system constantly monitored by national because it’s been stung over and over?  I would think more likely.  Be nice and respectful, the golden rule, teaching negotiation and problem solving no longer are smiled on.  We see the common sign of “zero tolerance” for a long list of actions, behaviors, words, phrases, and implied  thoughts that make people so paranoid it’s no longer fun.  Today, unlike previous generations, the environment is not the same.  It is knee jerk reaction, potentially global and much more punitive.  That’s why the traditional enjoyment CAN end up so badly and with drastically reduced positivity. 

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

Statistically BSA looses more scouts in the first year of the troop program than any other age group. It’s been that way at least from the 60s, which was as far back as I could find. But, I believe it goes back much farther because the reason for the huge drop is the large change in culture expectations (independent decisions) between the two programs.

Cubs are still led and guided by adults during the program, while Troop scouts are expected to make Independent decisions about their health and safety in the cold dark rainy woods. Even making a menu for the next campout can be stressful. Most scouts way over pack for there first campout because they are scared they won’t have something they need to be safe or comfortable. We learned new scouts need some lighting by the bathrooms or they will do their job by the tent, which gets smelly. We forget how scary a dark campsite in the middle of the woods can be. I first experienced that problem with Webelos.

Independence sounds good to a scout joining a troop until they see the risk of a wrong decision. Youth up to 10 years old have not been given much independence experience by adults to makes choices. It’s a shock. National tried to work this problem with New Scout Patrols thinking friends together are likely to feel better about the fear, but numbers haven’t changed. It’s literally a culture shock.

It is very stressful and adults don’t deal with the problem very well. The BSA says if a scout will hang around for a year, they will likely stay for at least 3 years. My data found that if scout gets through summer camp and liked it, they will stay for several years. So, the key is to wean them through through the program past summer camp, which is long enough to get used to the independence expected of troop age scouts.

im not a fan of Eagle Mills, but they do have a better average for new scouts staying because the adults are still so hands on.

Barry

I don't think it's a badge of honor if your program ultimately does not appeal to the 75% of the youth you are lucky enough to sign up in the first place. We need to be able to retain more kids and recruit more among those youth we missed at the cub level. 

I don't think the problem, as your comments suggest, is that scouts is too hard or too elite for modern day scouts to cope. I think the real problem is that the program has been shaped too much by national  marketing and corporate interests and we've lost our focus on the youth engagement that makes it fun as well as the character aspects that help us 'grow' better kids.

 

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The Topic Drift Police may arrive directly.

Yes, more could be done than what BSA effectively advocates by misstatements and omissions, but not easily.

All the good words about Scouting methods are still  there - scattered about - if one knows what they mean taken together.  However,  decades have passed since they were combined in any coherent message - no chapter, no article, no check-list.  And the descriptions of methods are routinely contradicted by BSA statements by the unknowing "professionals":  "Patrols are one component of what we call youth-run, or youth-led, troop."   No, in Scouting, the youth-run troop is a component of the Patrol Method, and not the most important component at that.

BSA, as a bureaucracy, has done almost nothing  in decades to encourage use of The Patrol Method and nothing to discourage ignoring that method. Conclusion: ignorance or lack of interest. 

My first "roundtable" when I again became a Scoutmaster was a council affair.  My DE, whom I had just met, saw me talking to a west-side SM, a Mr. Watkins, now deceased,  and took me aside to warn:  "Be careful of listening to him.  He lets his boys elect their leaders."  Those few words told me much about the changes in BSA Scouting since 1967,  about my new (soon to be gone) DE (Who did not know I already  had six  times as many years in Scouting as he did.), and about Mr. Watkins, my neighbor at Summer Camp a few months later (His kids really knew their stuff!).

The newer adults - say who came on board in  the last twenty years - have no  reason to know what The Patrol Method is.  Reread the BSA Quote above, please.  Recall that for almost fifteen years, starting in 2000, Scoutmaster Specific Training, as set out in the syllabus section "Working with Youth, The patrol method", did not devote a single sentence to The Patrol Method.  In fact that section only used the word "patrol" once.  (It is somewhat better since, but the National Scouter responsible for the 2014 partial corrections did not get what he wanted in terms of change and was promoted out of that job.  He made people nervous.  He required his reportees to communicate with  mere volunteers!!!)

Basic youth leader training on the district level ("J.L.O.W.") was eliminated when  "Leadership Skills" and outdoor skills instruction left Wood Badge, nearly twenty years ago.  Thereafter, the new Scoutmaster, whose own SM [average tenure < 1 year] was likely mostly clueless, has only his experience and no coherent literature to help guide him, unless he has access to BSA literature from before 1971.  He is slightly urged to teach "Leadership Skills for Troops" when what is needed is "Leadership Skills for Patrol Leaders.  The old district training began  "Welcome to Scouting's Toughest Job," speaking of the Patrol Leader (now "patrol leader" vs  "Senior Patrol Leader.")  11/12th of the time in this long-gone training was about the PL's job.   

The BSA model Troop Meeting Plan (none for patrol meetings)  since at least 1983 models devoting 75 minutes to troop activities and 15 minutes to the patrol .  "Troop," "troop," "troop. "

BSA has urged on its website that  the "bulk" of a patrol meeting should be devoted to planning - a dismal failure to understand youth and a downgrading of the importance of the patrol.

Skills instruction is to primarily take place in a patrol context, not a troop context as incorrectly shown on the BSA model Troop Meeting Plan..  Skills instruction in a troop context takes place "sometimes" ("[The patrol is] the place where boys learn skills together. . . . ”       B.S.A. Scoutingmagazine.org., (currently posted); Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements.”   B.S.A., Scouting.org (2019)[emphasis added])

The typical Scoutmaster in this century, and I taught them on the district, council, and area levels for over thirty years, thinks in terms of the "troop method," as do so many of the young folks at BSA : Troops are "divided into patrols," rather than patrols combined into troops for administrative and support purposes.  Patrols "may" have their own activities, but only if they do not conflict with the far less important troop activities.  

As of 35 years ago, the vast majority of Scoutmasters in my current council appointed all Patrol Leaders and SPLs.  Why?  "The boys will almost  always pick the wrong Scout, based on popularity." 

The Journey to Mediocrity program does not require in any measurable way more than merely "having" "patrols."  They need not function in any way as patrols under The Patrol Method - for example they need plan nothing, they need have zero separate activities of any kind, Scouts need not lead anything, no leaders need be elected.  And this is a "primary tool" to track unit improvement. 0___0

A BSA goal - now a separate goal - is leadership development.  It is generally understood that this goal requires allowing Scouts to actually lead, however stressful.  The adults' role is not to lead but to train, coach, and be a resource or pathways to resources.  Every time an adult takes the "ball" from the Scout and toes the "rubber" to "pitch," they are defeating a important goal of the program.  Scouting, the magazine, said a few years ago, that youth leadership should await the youth becoming competent leaders, showing, once again, how clueless "professionals" can be.  The first requirement of leadership development is allowing the putative leaders to lead.  Yet unit after unit, with BSA encouragement, says its goal is youth leading - if they can just find the right circumstances.  And the years pass.

BSA says it prohibits the advancement mills, enforces nothing, and gives recognition to successful millery.  But, BSA, says many things it honors in the breach.

My former council - divided and rolled into two others three years ago - made a Scoutmaster "Scoutmaster of the Year" despite the troop having only two weekend campouts a year - one a electronics game "lock in" and one a stay in cabins with meals at MacDonald's and Burger King.  The Journey to Mediocrity program counts indoor meetings as "weekend campouts." (Shockingly, This honored Scoutmaster's Patrol Leaders, who wore no patrol medallions,  could not tell me the names of the respective patrols of which they were theoretically the "leaders."  That troop's patrols did absolutely nothing as patrols - even games were "ones" vs "twos.")

So The Patrol Method is largely dead, the outdoor program made some sort of sick joke by "outdoor" being defined as indoor, and advancement scandals are regularly tolerated.

Even in a decentralized program, leadership at the national and local levels is important.  The "tougher" the times, the more inept leadership hurts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, yknot said:

think the problem, as your comments suggest, is that scouts is too hard or too elite for modern day scouts to cope. I think the real problem is that the program has been shaped too much by national  marketing and corporate interests and we've lost our focus on the youth engagement that makes it fun as well as the character aspects that help us 'grow' better kids.

 

Whatever you need to justify your feelings of the BSA. I get it. 

Barry

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WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS) today announced 330,882,751 recreation visits in 2017 – almost identical to the record-setting 330,971,689 recreation visits in 2016. While numbers were steady, visitors actually spent more time in parks during their 2017 visits compared to 2016.

Increased attendance at parks, 1.5 billion visits in the last five years, also means aging park facilities are incurring further wear and tear. President Trump has proposed legislation to establish a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund that would help address the $11.6 billion maintenance backlog in the National Park System. The fund would take new revenue from federal energy leasing and development and provide up to $18 billion to help pay for repairs and improvements in national parks, national wildlife refuges and Bureau of Indian Education funded schools.

“Our National Parks are being loved to death," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "As visitor rates continue at a high level, we must prioritize much-needed deferred maintenance including aging facilities, roads and other critical infrastructure. President Trump's proposal to establish a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund is a step in the right direction. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is an American issue, and the President and I remain ready to work with anyone in Congress who is willing to get the job done.”

National Park System 2017 visitation highlights include:

  • More than 1.44 billion recreation hours in 2017, an increase of 19 million hours over 2016
  • Most – 385 of 417 parks in the National Park System – count park visitors
  • 61 of the 385 reporting parks set new visitation records (about 16 percent of reporting parks)
  • 42 parks broke a record they set in 2016
  • 3 parks had more than 10 million recreation visits – Blue Ridge Parkway, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • 10 parks had more than 5 million recreation visits
  • 81 parks had more than 1 million recreation visits – one more million-visitor park than 2016
  • Half of national park visitation occurred in 27 parks
  • The total solar eclipse last August brought visitors in record numbers to several parks

Parks that passed notable recreational visit milestones for the first time:

  • Grand Canyon National Park 6 million
  • Zion National Park 4.5 million
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area 4 million
  • Boston National Historical Park 3 million
  • Glacier National Park 3 million
  • Bryce Canyon National Park 2.5 million
  • Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park 2.5 million
  • Big Bend National Park 400,000
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve 400,000
  • Mississippi National Recreation and River Area 400,000
  • Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site 200,000
  • Congaree National Park 150,000
  • Great Basin National Park 150,000
  • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site 150,000
  • Monocacy National Battlefield 100,000
  • Waco Mammoth National Monument 100,000
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument 75,000
  • Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park 75,000
  • James A. Garfield National Historic Site 50,000
  • National Park of American Samoa 50,000
  • Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site 50,000
  • Agate Fossil Beds National Monument 30,000
  • Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument 30,000
  • Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve 30,000

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