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"Scoutmaster' Title Doomed?

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9 hours ago, fred8033 said:

... but the job is about control.

"Scout master general" is defined as "A person, formerly so called, under whose direction all the scouts and army messengers were placed."

                           https://www.definitions.net/definition/scout-master-general

Everyone expect scoutmasters to be skilled, but expect scoutmasters to lead the scouts. ...

One of my crew VPs who reviewed my woodbadge project for an online venturing description tool strongly suggested that I drop a line that said where troop's have scoutmasters, crews have advisors. Her reasoning:

"Nobody knows what a scoutmaster is. I never heard the word until I joined your crew."

This from a woman who was making chain mail from recycled materials.

Her generation is starting to provide potential cubs. They've watched Stranger Things, not Follow Me Boys. Any title to them is a blank slate. And they aren't going to care what title we give the adult who's taking a pie in the face from the kid who sold the most popcorn. If that's what they see, that's what the title means. No amount of etymology will persuade them otherwise.

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19 hours ago, MattR said:

While we're here I would like to add a 13th point to the scout law, however. I think Humble would be a good one. Maybe the assumption is that in order to be all of those other things like courteous and helpful, one has to be humble so there's no need to explicitly say it. It would just be easier to talk to some scouts, that are too full of themselves and starting to annoy everyone around them, that humility is a good thing.

I couldn't disagree with you more.

Boys get enough of this stuff at school.  Boys are told to be docile.  Girls are encouraged to be assertive and empowered.  It's enough to make a person sick.  Scouting should be an opportunity for boys to break away from these feminizing influences.  Go on an adventure.  Have a  blast.  Lean your head back and howl at the moon.

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19 minutes ago, qwazse said:

One of my crew VPs who reviewed my woodbadge project for an online venturing description tool strongly suggested that I drop a line that said where troop's have scoutmasters, crews have advisors. Her reasoning:

"Nobody knows what a scoutmaster is. I never heard the word until I joined your crew."

This from a woman who was making chain mail from recycled materials.

Her generation is starting to provide potential cubs. They've watched Stranger Things, not Follow Me Boys. Any title to them is a blank slate. And they aren't going to care what title we give the adult who's taking a pie in the face from the kid who sold the most popcorn. If that's what they see, that's what the title means. No amount of etymology will persuade them otherwise.

Yes, but who heard of Scoutmaster back in 1910? Just because she hadn't heard of the term doesn't mean the culture is all weird about it. And if someone hasn't heard the term before, which seems odd to me, they just learned something new. That's all. There are lots of things I never heard of when my daughter joined Girl Scouts. I didn't think that was odd. I just didn't know.

There seems to be this concern (fear?) that the SM is assumed the "Leader" when the position is supposed to be something other than a leader. Really! Something other than leader! SOMEONE has to assert the program and protect the vision of the program goals. If leader is so bothersome, then what do you want call it? When your child comes home and says I don't like that program because it makes me feel bad about myself, what title do you want to use to find the person who is responsible for the program. Guide!

Call the position what you want, but lets be honest in what the position actually requires. And, let's not blame this on culture, "master" is not offensive to normal people when used in the correct application.

Barry

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6 minutes ago, David CO said:

I couldn't disagree with you more.

Boys get enough of this stuff at school.  Boys are told to be docile.  Girls are encouraged to be assertive and empowered.  It's enough to make a person sick.  Scouting should be an opportunity for boys to break away from these feminizing influences.  Go on an adventure.  Have a  blast.  Lean your head back and howl at the moon.

If you believe that humility is a feminizing term, you haven't read the bible. OK, so you aren't religious. Be careful to those who are.

Barry

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

O

30 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

 If leader is so bothersome, then what do you want call it? 

Barry

"Scoutmaster" would be good.   Or "Head Adult."  Or "Chief Pickle."  :rolleyes:

 

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Posted (edited)

Head adult is OK I guess. But, that supports the myth that the Troop is a boys program where adults hang out only to drink coffee. Scouting is an adult program where Patrol Method is used develop growth in the youth that participate. Many keep implying that youth run the troop, so calling an adult a leader misrepresents the program. As I asked before, if a parent must talk to the program leader on a program management matter, who are they going to call? The youth?

How about the Program Head? Of course that takes away from the Scoutmaster's main responsibilities, but we seem to have lost our minds lately on labels and titles.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

If you believe that humility is a feminizing term, you haven't read the bible. OK, so you aren't religious. Be careful to those who are.

Barry

I was responding to MattR,  who didn't say that his views on humility were based on his religion.  They might have been.  I don't know.  I am not going to make any assumptions. 

My views are significantly influenced by the Muscular Christianity movement of the mid-nineteenth century, which was popularized by the Y.M.C.A.  It did run somewhat contrary to my Catholic school education, which tended to emphasize the contemplative rather than the physical nature of man.  I think there's room for both.

I prefer to be contemplative at mass.  I am annoyed by all the distractions that are added to Sunday services in order to make them more interesting and relevant to today's church-goers.  I can't stand to see people dressed like slobs at church.

On scout trips, I dress like a hobo and shout like a banshee.  Great fun.  Humility is fine at church, but sometimes a boy needs to be allowed to proudly puff his chest out and act like a boy.

 

Edited by David CO
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"Implying"? 

if by "myth" you compare BSA to "honest politicians," you are, I think 100% correct.

 A  "Troop" is said by BSA to be composed of "patrols," not Scouts, and operates a program selected, planned and led by Scouts, with the counsel, influence, and resources of adults.  if it is otherwise, THAT is on BSA, for doing a poor job of training, almost nothing to encourage Scouting or discourage non-Scouting, and on the adults who refuse to allow Scouting. 

 

BSA "says" as of 10/31/2019:

1. If a troop is not using the Patrol Method, "it is not really a ... Scout troop."

 2. Under The Patrol Method, a Scout primarily experiences Scouts BSA program in the setting or context of his or her patrol, not a troop.  "[Y]ou will belong to a Patrol...."

          COROLLARY:  A Scout spends most of his or her Scouting time doing activities within his or her patrol: planning; organizing; leading; learning; advancing; performing service; camping; hiking; playing, not in troop activities.

          COROLLARY: the troop primarily exists to provide support to patrol program: leadership training; resources; safety; institutional stability; advanced Scoutcraft training.

          COROLLARY: per the current Handbook, a troop is composed of patrols, not Scouts.

          COROLLARY: "Patrols will sometimes join with other patrols to learn skills and complete advancement requirements.”

 3. A patrol is a small (5-8 member),  semi-permanent, largely self-selected, compatible team of Scouts -  a mini-democracy - which, under the leadership of a Patrol Leader whom they democratically select, democratically plans and experiences Scouts BSA program as a team.

          COROLLARY:  Each member of the patrol has a "position" (job) assigned by the Patrol Leader, primarily through agreement or persuasion.

 4. A troop is the "league" within which patrol teams play the "game of Scouting."

 5. Troop activities involving Scouts, except for Boards of Review, are democratically chosen and planned by the Patrol Leaders' Council, chaired by a Senior Patrol Leader, himself or herself democratically chosen solely by the Scouts in the troop, who leads those activities in cooperation with the Patrol Leaders.  The Patrol Leaders' Council is composed solely of Scouts - only they vote - and represents the Scouts of the respective patrols.

          COROLLARY: Patrol Leaders support and cooperate in the leadership of troop activities involving Scouts, except for Boards of Review.

 6. The adult role in a troop is one of leadership trainer, coach, counselor, mentor, example, and resource, and, except as to matters of safety, not direct leadership. (Scouter response to question from a Scout: "Should we build the campfire now?"  A: "Have you asked your Patrol Leader?") 
 

 

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6 minutes ago, David CO said:

On scout trips, I dress like a hobo and shout like a banshee.  Great fun.  Humility is fine at church, but sometimes a boy needs to be allowed to proudly puff his chest out and act like a boy.

 

Ah! I shouldn't have pulled the religious card. My bad.

So much of my life is based from God's wisdom that it just blurted out as more of a habit.

And maybe because I strive so hard to "Walk Humbly with God", I still don't understand how humility is anything weak. In fact, I think quite the opposite. Humility is a strength that a weak culture is afraid to flex. As I said, humility a servant action. Can't have integrity without humility.

We each have our own walk. 

Barry

 

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5 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

"Implying"? 

Adults create the units and manage the program.  

Folks who struggle with the idea that adults have any authority on the program usually put the program design a head of the Mission. Without the goal of building moral and ethical adults, scouting is just an after school activities program.

A program intended to develop character requires continued tending to insure the youth are getting the most out of the Aims and Methods. Anyone who manages a true patrol method troop will agree that staying out of the Patrols way is a lot harder than just telling scout how to act in good character.

Barry

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Adults create the units and manage the program.  

Folks who struggle with the idea that adults have any authority on the program usually put the program design a head of the Mission. Without the goal of building moral and ethical adults, scouting is just an after school activities program.

A program intended to develop character requires continued tending to insure the youth are getting the most out of the Aims and Methods. Anyone who manages a true patrol method troop will agree that staying out of the Patrols way is a lot harder than just telling scout how to act in good character.

Barry

Scouting is said by BSA to be "experiential learning."  So Scouts learn to be good members of a representative democracy by experiencing representative democracy, as opposed to authoritarianism.  Adult leading is ignoring the mission.  A Scouter is honor bound to let the Scouts make the decisions even if his would (He thinks) be "better."  Thus, the youth is allowed  to learn by doing - even if what is done is "wrong."  Of course, safety issues trump all and Scouting values are to be maintained - one of which is youth leading  with adults teaching the teachers, counseling, coaching, and being a resource.  Being trustworthy in Scouting  fashion does require adult ego to be subordinate to the Mission and  even that fund-raising be subordinate to the Mission.

The value of being "trustworthy" includes not pretending to supply Scouting while actually supplying the adult-run "platoon" or after-school "club."

No one ever died from a burned pancake.  Scouting dies  some when the adults take over the pancake flipper.

 

 

Edited by TAHAWK
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2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

... Just because she hadn't heard of the term doesn't mean the culture is all weird about it. And if someone hasn't heard the term before, which seems odd to me, they just learned something new. That's all. There are lots of things I never heard of when my daughter joined Girl Scouts. I didn't think that was odd. I just didn't know. ...

But here's the rub, more kids American families are not scouts than are. And BSA has protected its brand so aggressively that mentions of anything with our organization's trademarks are extremely rare. The uniform is scrubbed from the bulk of political rallies. The culture being defined by this post-modern nomadic generation -- nearly two generations -- of Americans is not "weird" about scouting lingo, it is generally ignorant of it. They don't find it unnerving, they find it novel. I think there is a simple reason why ...

There are precious few alternative words that will describe someone who will walk your child through a decade of development -- in increasingly regular periods of 24 contiguous hours or more -- comfortable with, as @TAHAWK just described, downing the occasional burnt pancake. Most teacher's wont. Coaches wont. Caseworkers wont. Clergy wont. Most youth leaders wont. Rafting/climbing guides wont. Bus drivers wont. There are simply precious few words for that one person in a hundred who does that because those people are, well, one in a hundred. So, if someone's ear finds "cubmaster" and "scoutmaster" a little odd when they first hear it, it might just be because the person with that on their patch is not the least bit common.

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On 6/29/2020 at 8:21 AM, qwazse said:

So, you are saying that more youth would enlist in the program if it we used something like "responsible, participating, citizen and unit leader"?

That's testable. For a "nominal" consulting fee, I can arrange a marketing survey (from a rhetorician whose kids were never in scouting) to ask a randomly selected sample of citizens. If they'd be more or less inclined to enroll their kids in a program with an RPCaUL as opposed to one with an SM.

If, on the other hand, your first proposition (to rid the scouter-verse of tyrannical adults) is the more important motive, the best we have is anecdotal evidence that the title does not mold the leader. Any better would require a massive sociological analysis.

We're less in disagreement and more in violent agreement, it seems to me.

I'm not advocating changing 'Scoutmaster' - I agree with those who say its not a priority.  And I don't believe "the patch makes the leader (or tyrant)".

What I do believe is in the current climate anything can become a target for the cancel-culture (heck, this weekend some were castigating old broadcast jokes in an attempt to shade Vin Scully - even Giants fans have been coming to his defense!), and consequently we should Be Prepared.  To be sure, in the vein of "never let a crises go to waste" a couple of things have emerged from this thread:  1) There are Scouters who have expressed legitimate misgivings about the names 'Scoutmaster' & 'Cubmaster' (surprised me), and as you say that could be testable in the greater population (and likely should be for go-forward marketing surveys; and 2) there are Scouters who've also made legitimate points that "Advisor" would be a preferable alternative (which should also be tested).

Any change would have to demonstrate a considerable benefit-to-cost.  At present I agree the kitchen isn't hot enough to make a change on cost avoidance alone.  Nevertheless the discussion has illuminated some things and I think made us better prepared.

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LOL, so we are looking for a fix where there is no issue. I remember when we discussed real problems that were (still are) hurting the program. Seems we are living in a time when people feel empowered to demonize what ever personally  offends them.  

In reading qwaze's mention of the uniform, I was reminded of a girl who joined the BSA and commented that she couldn't wait to wear the Boy Scout uniform. Well I guess one person knew about it. I wonder if the girls are going to be tagged as traditionalist. 

Barry

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3 hours ago, David CO said:

I couldn't disagree with you more.

Of course you can't! My guess is you do indeed have a lot of fun howling at the moon on campouts. I also suspect you enjoy ribbing both scouts and adults, given your penchant for sarcasm I see here. The thing is, I don't think that has anything to do with humility. I do all those things as well because it's fun and the scouts really enjoy seeing an adult that can be silly, make a joke and take ribbing as well. Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less. And yep, that's a quote. You can be loud and boisterous and still think of others.

At the same time, humility is hard for me. It's a lot easier to decide if I'm being cheerful than humble.

1 hour ago, David CO said:

I was responding to MattR,  who didn't say that his views on humility were based on his religion.  They might have been.  I don't know.  I am not going to make any assumptions. 

I don't mind talking about my religious views. I'm sure @SSScout would enjoy it. The timing is good as last week's Torah portion has a lot to do with humility. It's where Korach and his patrol confront Moses and say "you're not my boss." Moses, replies that he never asked to be SPL, and that Korach should be careful. Korach isn't, Moses begs the Great Moderator in the sky not to wipe out Korach's entire family and Moderator says okay, fine, I'm just going to smite the one patrol. This portion is full of "wait! what?" moments but, after reading some opinions reaching back 2500 years, of others far more knowledgeable than I, at least to me this is about humility. One rabbi wrote that this is about how to argue with others. Arguing is fine, but there are good arguments and bad arguments. If the goal is to win or bludgeon the other then the argument is useless and should be avoided. Rather, if the goal is to find common understanding then it's good and should continue. It doesn't mean you have to come to agreement, but if you're going to argue then do it right. That takes humility.

Quote

What a great topic. You should start one and see where it goes.

@Eagledad, I put it here for a reason. The term Scoutmaster is denigrated because somehow all masters are deemed bad. But it's worse than that. All leaders, bosses and even knowledgeable people are considered highly suspect these days. That's a problem. There is not enough humility. And in another thread about how to sell scouting to parents, trying to sell leadership skills to people that don't even understand what good leadership means, that don't even trust leadership, doesn't seem to be productive. I agree that there are other problems that are more tractable for us to argue about.

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