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"Scoutmaster' Title Doomed?

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

The ground truth is that there is rarely one person at the helm of scoutmastering a troop. 

This is a whole topic in itself. 

When the scoutmaster is not available, troops do need to find an ASM to assume the role.  BUT the ideal is there is one person at the helm scoutmastering the troop.  The rest is done by the youth.  Doesn't matter if it's a 10 person or a 100 person troop.  That's the ideal.  

In reality, I had a great experience for about 12 years with one man as the scoutmaster.  The troop has several ASMs, but the SM was clearly the SM.  The ASMs had their individual roles supporting, but were not "scoutmaster".  

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On 6/28/2020 at 8:04 PM, skeptic said:

I say again, "nonsense".  Let me add, "rubbish", and "give me a break", and "stop building mountains from molehills".  Tradition has its place, and this is one that deserves to remain.  

I agree.  This is how political correctness takes root and flourishes.  I mean no disrespect to the previous commenting author. It’s true that terms come and go.  Psychiatry has marvelous examples of this.  For whatever bizarre reason, people or rather some individuals begin to decide that a term no longer is suitable.  There is a PhD thesis somewhere waiting to be made on this linguistic phenomenon.  Search and destroy gets changed to sweep and clear, soldier of fortune and mercenary get changed to contractor, problems get changed to challenges and opportunities, in Tampa, now the word ‘thug’ is alleged to be racist (though looking in the history of the word and synonyms I have yet to understand how that is possible)...the list goes on and absurdities have mounted.

the only reason I can think of that scout master is somehow wrong, is that the term master has become the newest target.  Master Blacksmith, master blade smith, etc all have the distinction of...mastery at ones craft.  Master craftsman, journeyman apprentice.  Master of ceremonies, master at arms, master sergeant, master chief, and as you know it goes on.  How the word master has fallen afoul of a solid meaning and use is beyond me.
 

 I get that people project meaning into terms. Here,  It could be master and slave, and couple that with sex abuse...well you get the idea.  What I fail to understand is how certain people of groups hijack the English language and take it upon themselves to redefine what is acceptable or not.  The very fact that people have to quibble over the title used successfully and without nefarious meaning for all this time demonstrates the human propensity to simply try to re-invent the wheel.  Humans can and  will take any word and make it sound ugly.  The problem often isn’t the word, it’s the intent and manner of the user. We have numerous multiple meanings and uses of the same words and ideas for all sorts of situations, often in contradiction.  People might say that words matter.  They certainly can, but it’s how they are used.  Why scoutmaster?  Sounds to me like people took a look at scouting after all these controversies and saw an untouched paradise of ways to arbitrarily tell others what terms mean, should mean, or could mean.  Heaven forbid that it is continually used as it is understood. 

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On 7/18/2020 at 11:14 PM, Troop75Eagle said:

 What I fail to understand is how certain people of groups hijack the English language and take it upon themselves to redefine what is acceptable or not.  The very fact that people have to quibble over the title used successfully and without nefarious meaning for all this time demonstrates the human propensity to simply try to re-invent the wheel.  Humans can and  will take any word and make it sound ugly.  The problem often isn’t the word, it’s the intent and manner of the user. We have numerous multiple meanings and uses of the same words and ideas for all sorts of situations, often in contradiction.  People might say that words matter.  They certainly can, but it’s how they are used.

Here's a great essay on Orwell's 1984 and this concept...

https://rorueso.blogs.uv.es/2010/10/28/manipulation-of-language-as-a-weapon-of-mind-control-and-abuse-of-power-in-1984/#:~:text=One%20of%20Orwell's%20most%20important,capable%20of%20formulating%20and%20expressing.&text=This%20idea%20manifests%20itself%20in,has%20introduced%20to%20replace%20English.

Enjoy the think piece  ;)

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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Here's a great essay on Orwell's 1984 and this concept...

Enjoy the think piece  ;)

Doublespeak: as in when one promotes "Family Scouting" instead of simply offering the Boy Scout program to girls.

Think about it: Why "Scouts BSA" instead of continuing as "Boy Scouts"  and adding "BSA for Girls" (or as I still affectionately say, BSA4G) as the new parallel program? Because the collective wants to give the impression that we are more Northern European than Indonesian or Indian (or, now that they have girls in their program, Saudi) in our approach to the sexes. Even though, for the majority of Americans, the thought of sexes mixing so liberally is anathema.

Why not BSA and GS/USA going to Jambo (National or World) together? Because Seton and Lowe believed that their respective scouts were learning mutually exclusive skills when we know for a fact that both groups develop youth into fully capable homemakers in short order. Why propagate this vision into the 21st century? Because pro's in both groups know that we parents will need fewer of them if boots on the ground were at liberty to work in lock-step across organizational boundaries when they felt that it suited their communities.

Why, in the 30s, stop calling the GS/USA troop leaders captain and merely call them adult leaders -- not (as BP was heard doing in an audio address to leaders of Guides and Scouts) scoutmasters? I suspect it had less to do with any true egalitarian sense and more to do with the profitability of organizational autonomy.

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On 7/18/2020 at 11:14 PM, Troop75Eagle said:

The very fact that people have to quibble over the title used successfully and without nefarious meaning for all this time demonstrates the human propensity to simply try to re-invent the wheel.  Humans can and  will take any word and make it sound ugly.  The problem often isn’t the word, it’s the intent and manner of the user.

This is true, but language, as much as fashion or culture, continually evolves.  I don't know about you, but I don't run around town wearing a frock jacket and a tri-corn hat, nor do I wear knickers and spats (the height of fashion during BP's day).  Just like fashion, the meaning of words can and do change over time, and we naturally shed words that have become obsolete or offensive. 

There is nothing wrong with that at all.  The BSA is over 100 years old, and in order for it to survive as an organization, it has had to continually reinvent itself for every new generation, and will continue to do so until it eventually becomes obsolete itself.  Just like the Tri-corn hat and the spats, the Boy Scouts have changed their culture and fashion numerous times.  I'm sure there was quite a lively discussion about the loss of manhood that followed the switch from knickers to shorts. "Shorts are for children, how can we expect our boys to grow into men if they're expected to wear shorts?"

The fact is, this may or may not be the time to shed the term Scoutmaster, and we can argue the merits one way or the other, but that's really not for *us* to decide if it's an appropriate time to change the term.  The next generation and *their* parents are the real decision-makers, because if *they* make a decision, and the BSA doesn't listen, then, then they simply won't join, and the BSA will cease to exist.

As far as I'm concerned, if something as simple as changing a title increases enrollment and allows more youth to benefit from the program, then ditch it and don't look back.  I can guarantee you that the children of today's scouts aren't going to be arguing about whether the program would have been better if they could have just referred to their leader as Scoutmaster.

 

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45 minutes ago, StrykerJW said:

 

There is nothing wrong with that at all. 

 

Yes.  There is something wrong with it.

It is true that some words become obsolete.  They fade out of use on their own.  People just stop using them.  This is different from legislating a word out of existence.  It is very different from having an angry mob harass a word out of existence.

We are quite right to be indignant when the mob mentality takes over.  We are right to be more than just annoyed when spineless bureaucrats cow tow to the braying jackasses who demand the right to redefine and restructure everything in our society from the meaning of simple words to the legitimacy of our most cherished ideals and values.

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1 hour ago, StrykerJW said:

I don't know about you, but I don't run around town wearing a frock jacket and a tri-corn hat, nor do I wear knickers and spats (the height of fashion during BP's day). 

Dress as modern as you wish.  I will still refuse to purchase blue jeans with holes in them.  I don't care how trendy it has become. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, StrykerJW said:

The fact is, this may or may not be the time to shed the term Scoutmaster, and we can argue the merits one way or the other, but that's really not for *us* to decide if it's an appropriate time to change the term.  The next generation and *their* parents are the real decision-makers, because if *they* make a decision, and the BSA doesn't listen, then, then they simply won't join, and the BSA will cease to exist.

Of course there is also the far more likely and sensible probability - that this "next generation" and its parents actually don't mind the terms Scout- or Cubmaster, and in fact are perfectly happy keeping them, and wouldn't even think twice about the matter unless it was pushed on them by overly politicizing factions who only want to look for trouble where there is none to be had. I feel comfortable saying this since, according to you, I fall into the category of the "real" decision makers - and I never, in all my functions at the unit, district and council level, have ever even heard of the terms being questionable, apart from this one isolated thread, in this one isolated forum. And I live in a densely populated, media-heavy, influential and involved part of the country.

So I think the term is safe for now. ☺️

Edited by The Latin Scot
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3 hours ago, David CO said:

Dress as modern as you wish.  I will still refuse to purchase blue jeans with holes in them.  I don't care how trendy it has become. 

Fashion is a poor example.  Versace and Levi’s come and go because the public taste is fickle.  You might as well try to predict costal sand bar formations.  Its true that words no longer become acceptable: faggot is a piece of firewood, Queer is odd, gay is happy and niggardly apparently is no longer acceptable at all though it has never had and still has no association with anything but the meaning of stingy.  It’s true that language is dynamic and ebbs and flows.  Curiously, however, I’m suspicious who decides what words no longer are valid.  I certainly wasn’t consulted about any changes and resent being told what is and isn’t a valid use of words and language.  Writers in history we revere and respect use language that may be arcane in some cases but that hardly means a whitewash is needed.  Too much of that is going on.  
 

We have traditions, such as the military with titles and ranks that mean something and that are recognized.  We have elected officials and their titles. On a trip in Africa, one lady was aghast when I said “stewardess in the plane” in telling of our trip.  I was asked what century I was from.  For whatever reason, hyper sensitive people sit around thinking up ways to change words because someone, somewhere might not like the sound of it, might be offended or because the might think it sounds better.  Worse still, some think up reasons to change words because others should be offended even if they aren’t.  The trouble with all these changes is that in this day and age and in this country in particular, individuals outdo one another in speeding up the changes.  
 

He and she Now have subcategories all the way down to referring to human beings as ‘it’.  No gender, no identity, only an expressed desire to be an ‘it’.  I’m not starting a debate on the topic of transgender, but that subject reflects the hyper radicalization of identity politics and language evolution on a meteoric scale.  Not everything ought to be subject to the fickle changes like fashion or, apparently, gender.  Scoutmaster ought to be good enough without linguistic tinkerers going to town.  We might not choose Gruppenführer for good reason.  But scouts has traditions and names just like the military and elected offices.  It’s ok to have some predictability.

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If we are going to worry about words, we should probably give less attention to innocent terms (like scoutmaster) and focus on the deluge of profanity we have been seeing so much of lately.  

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And, one is told,  the term "renege is no longer PC - especially in Contract Bridge.  :rolleyes:

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Perhaps it is the usage of the word that gives one pause.   If a  title is needed to refer to a particular person, the context of that person's  position and history in that position might need to be considered.  Slaves were incorrectly, unfortunately considered property, true,  and the "master" of the plantation was who gave them orders, if not the "Foreman"  or "Overseer"  .  Us Quakers are reconsidering our use of the term "Overseer" in our hierarchy of responsible people in out Meetings. More on that later. 

Is "captain"  a title that should be reconsidered because of it's association with less than "ideal" captains?   Captain Queeg?  Captain Bligh?  

The term Master implies authority,  if not control.  Jesus was referred as "master". So was Buddha.  School master?  Master of Arms?    

I find no problem with the term "Scoutmaster"  The context of the title needs to be always considered.  It is not gender specific. It implies knowledge, authority, concern,  counsel.   In loco parentis.  I do not know of any Scout Organization that calls their adult leaders anything other than "Scoutmaster" (or the language equivalent)

We are going to have Scoutmasters that encourage the Patrol/Youth led method and those that insist on Marine DI method.  The title has no reason for change. Only the context needs attention. 

See you on the (ZOOM) trail....

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25 minutes ago, SSScout said:

 I do not know of any Scout Organization that calls their adult leaders anything other than "Scoutmaster" 

I was interested to read somewhere that Scouts South Africa does not use Scoutmaster because of the master/slave connotation. Instead they use Troop Scouter.  

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1 hour ago, SSScout said:

I do not know of any Scout Organization that calls their adult leaders anything other than "Scoutmaster" (or the language equivalent)

Good point. 

23 minutes ago, yknot said:

I was interested to read somewhere that Scouts South Africa does not use Scoutmaster because of the master/slave connotation. Instead they use Troop Scouter.  

Interesting.  I still remember 35+ years ago watching a play with James Earle Jones, "Master Harold and the boys".

 

My concern was always about the nuanced implications of words.  I've never been that concerned with PC, though I do try to be PC.  ... or at least stay quiet at those times.   :)   ...   My focus was more on the nuanced implications of "master".  The term "advisor" is much much much more closely aligned with my vision of the adult contact for a troop.   Even "coach" is not as close as many see the coach putting the players on the field and the coach calling the plays.  ... It's not the biggest battle, but I think it's an important one.  Our young scouts and their experiences are constantly affected by adults that over step their bounds and it often destroys the youth's experience and the youth's passion for scouting.

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22 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

My concern was always about the nuanced implications of words.  I've never been that concerned with PC, though I do try to be PC.  ... or at least stay quiet at those times.   :)   ...   My focus was more on the nuanced implications of "master".  The term "advisor" is much much much more closely aligned with my vision of the adult contact for a troop.   Even "coach" is not as close as many see the coach putting the players on the field and the coach calling the plays.  ... It's not the biggest battle, but I think it's an important one.  Our young scouts and their experiences are constantly affected by adults that over step their bounds and it often destroys the youth's experience and the youth's passion for scouting.

I'm also not that worried about the PC aspect unless it''s something that is truly offensive but the scoutmaster title has always given me pause well before I ever heard of issues with it.

I'm probably repeating myself but I have always thought that for an organization with a history of child abuse, any title with "master" in it is maybe not the best choice. I've heard too many jokes and snide comments over the years. It's also headline fodder, like the most recent, horrific one this month in Overland Park. 

I also agree with your opinion that the title encourages certain types of personalities to take the title literally and become authoritative and dictatorial when dealing with youth. Advisor, mentor, guide is more in keeping with what I think the job description is in my opinion. I wouldn't think it matters much but we seem to have ongoing issues with units that struggle with scout led. 

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