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Law Suits; And Now It Spreads

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I'm looking forward to a couple of things right now.  First, planning our Troop open house for new Scout families to have their child join our 38-Scout Troop.  We had a couple of new Scouts join us over the summer and they, along with their parents, love our unit.  A safe place to learn about how to grow into a confident citizen and have fun in the process.  I'm also looking forward to our late September outing, when our four patrols will go on separate overnight outings at our local Scout Reservation after satisfying our physician-ordered testing and distancing process.  The families that have joined since we started the Troop last year are not that concerned about the bankruptcy and related topics debated in this thread.  They understand that bad things indeed happened some time ago, the BSA got its policy and execution on YPT right, and there is a process for paying some recompense as a result.  They are the current-day joiners and are not impacted by the views of how things were and should be again.  They really don't care what property they visit as long as it is a nice place with nice people teaching Scoutcraft skills.  They would probably chuckle at all of us debating the particularities of organization structure and theories about how Scouting should or should not be experienced.  What they would say is that commenters should observe the basics of the Scout law when posting.  We should all do a lot better in that regard. 

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15 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

I'm looking forward to a couple of things right now.  First, planning our Troop open house for new Scout families to have their child join our 38-Scout Troop.  We had a couple of new Scouts join us over the summer and they, along with their parents, love our unit.  A safe place to learn about how to grow into a confident citizen and have fun in the process.  I'm also looking forward to our late September outing, when our four patrols will go on separate overnight outings at our local Scout Reservation after satisfying our physician-ordered testing and distancing process.  The families that have joined since we started the Troop last year are not that concerned about the bankruptcy and related topics debated in this thread.  They understand that bad things indeed happened some time ago, the BSA got its policy and execution on YPT right, and there is a process for paying some recompense as a result.  They are the current-day joiners and are not impacted by the views of how things were and should be again.  They really don't care what property they visit as long as it is a nice place with nice people teaching Scoutcraft skills.  They would probably chuckle at all of us debating.  What they would say is that commenters should observe the basics of the Scout law when posting.  We should all do a lot better in that regard. 

I'm not sure of your point Chuck, but if the youth are chuckling from the discussions on this forum, don't you think they are in the wrong place? After all, forums are by design where like minded people come to seek or give opinions of the particularities of organization structure and theories about how the activities should or should not be experienced. Of course each adult has an opinion on the how's and whys', but isn't that a good thing. 

If you want some ideas for your activities next month, this is a good place to ask. 

Sometimes a reminder has to be posted that Scouting is an adult program used to develop the participating youths into moral and ethical decision makers (confident citizens). Many of the ideas I've passed along over the years on this forum I first learned on this forum. The forums made me a better scouter, I'm sure it will you too if you're open to it. 

Barry

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I don't know, Barry, anyone that can be positive about scouting these days deserves some respect.

Has anyone noticed the marked drop in both posts and participation of different people on this forum? We always wish more people from National would listen to us but maybe we're not that big of a voice. Maybe we're not as wise as we'd like to believe. Maybe some chuckling at ourselves, some Cheerful and Friendly, might be more inviting. I know that I sure haven't had fun scouting on this forum. No amount of pontificating here will make up for the loss of one fun campout. Between that and the virus I'm ready to join those that have already left. Maybe those scouts could reteach us something.

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Posted (edited)

Scouting is a strange volunteer experience.  Scouting needs volunteers in a number of difference levels in the program.  We need people who are thinking about how to take a 9 year old on the best weekend trip ever or how to take a 16 year old on a meaningful backpacking trip.  We also need people who are thinking about organizational issues at the unit, district, council, or area level.  One of the wonderful things about the program we have is that there are places for all kinds of volunteers with all kinds of skills.  I think we'd be better off if we simply recognized that and embraced it.

@MattR - I hear you.  I periodically get to the point where I need to step back for a bit myself.  For me, the spring and summer so far have been that.  

Maybe it's just me - but it feels like we are always pissed off about something in Scouting these days.  Unit leaders hate district, council, and national.  Volunteers dislike professionals.  etc..  We don't like Wood Badgers, OA members, <insert your own group>.  What I miss are the days of volunteers working together to try & make Scouting great - at whatever level you volunteer at.

Edited by ParkMan
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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, MattR said:

I don't know, Barry, anyone that can be positive about scouting these days deserves some respect.

Some scouters sound a lot like Baghdad Bob, who claimed at a press briefing that Iraq was winning the war (even though American tanks could be clearly seen rolling down the road behind him).  There is a big difference between being positive and being delusional.  There is just no way to sugar-coat either the child abuse scandal or the subsequent bankruptcy. 

Edited by David CO

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19 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Maybe it's just me - but it feels like we are always pissed off about something in Scouting these days.  

For good reason.  There is a lot to be upset about these days.

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42 minutes ago, MattR said:

Has anyone noticed the marked drop in both posts and participation of different people on this forum? 

Yep.  I miss Beavah.

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27 minutes ago, MattR said:

I don't know, Barry, anyone that can be positive about scouting these days deserves some respect.

Has anyone noticed the marked drop in both posts and participation of different people on this forum? We always wish more people from National would listen to us but maybe we're not that big of a voice. Maybe we're not as wise as we'd like to believe. Maybe some chuckling at ourselves, some Cheerful and Friendly, might be more inviting. I know that I sure haven't had fun scouting on this forum. No amount of pontificating here will make up for the loss of one fun campout. Between that and the virus I'm ready to join those that have already left. Maybe those scouts could reteach us something.

Do you not believe there a general frustration? Just like you, I was very active in the forum while I was active as a volunteer. I never felt like the discussions in the forum were out of context. In fact, I believe the information in the forum brought context to the bits of information that volunteers were hearing and experiencing. 

 

11 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

 

@MattR - I hear you.  I periodically get to the point where I need to step back for a bit myself.  For me, the spring and summer so far have been that.  

Maybe it's just me - but it feels like we are always pissed off about something in Scouting these days.  Unit leaders hate district, council, and national.  Volunteers dislike professionals.  etc..  We don't like Wood Badgers, OA members, <insert your own group>.  What I miss are the days of volunteers working together to try & make Scouting great - at whatever level you volunteer at.

I don't think so. What I've noticed is that folks don't seem to bring a tone of anything except contrary subjects.

Of what I've heard, this is the most civil Scouting forum. The other forum that I sometimes follow has almost zero traffic now, and it used to compete with this forum in it's heyday. So, where are the discussions we had 15 years ago? You really think this a Scouter.com problem. 

After National passed the homosexual membership change, I remember talking to a parent of a 5 year old about taking his son into scouts. He said they likely would not participate in scouting because just talking about scouting with friends brings up political bias debates. There is a lot of talk abut how the current environment has created the silent majority. Maybe there is something like that going on in scouting forums. They are out there just gleaning what they need from the discussions without having to identify themselves to a style of leadership. 

Barry

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

I periodically get to the point where I need to step back for a bit myself.  For me, the spring and summer so far have been that.  

I hear you.  I noticed that when COVID caused a big downturn in our bankruptcy case prospects, some began enforcing a purely negative orthodoxy on this site.  This reminds me of my years on camp staff in the old Northern Indiana Council when a Scoutmaster named Igor used to be condemning of everything and everyone associated with the camp, council, district or whatever.  I'm sure he was beloved back home, but to this day I cringe when recalling the intensity and regularity of the negativity.  I ran into a guy I served with on that staff who I had not seen in 44 years and he brought up hilarious Igor stories.  Igor had a big Troop and his kids obviously loved him.  I finally settled on the view that Igor "worked" because he thought there was great value in his pointing out every imaginable shortfall he observed.  It was his way of being heard and he intended to be helpful despite the sharpness of his manner.

That is how I react when I read the kind of postings you are thinking of.  I think of Igor and continue to be an optimist for Scouting and for the BSA in particular.  I have really enjoyed your longer and thoughtful postings on difficult matters and surely don't live up to the example you have established.  I look forward to your continued presence and postings. 

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Posted (edited)

I admit I am one of the "Negative Nellies" of late. I am not trying to be the "silent majority" that @The Latin Scot talks about above, but rather shout at the top of my lungs the BSA is headed in the wrong direction. A lot of concerns folks here and elsewhere had are coming to be because the experienced Scouters are being ignored. And it's not only on the local council level, where I am experiencing it, but also at the national level.

There were concerns about the membership policy changes causing us to lose Scouts, and the boys would suffer. We lost over 20% of our membership, and I am seeing boys being forced to take a back seat to the girls locally with two "linked" troops.

I mention how Pros at the council are ignoring and overruling volunteers, and I am seeing this at the  national levels. I've posted how locally the DE will contradict and take over activities from volunteers, and how it caused many Scouters to back away. It is now so bad that I attended a meeting where the council was begging for folks to take over different long-standing council activities. At the national level, we have key volunteers who are not being kept informed. Look at the National Philmont Committee and how they were informed about the mortgage on Philmont months AFTER it occurred. Even the Phillips Trust was not informed about the mortgage, and it appears they have a significant interest in the matter. Another example was the National Sea Scout Commodore finding out about the potential merger of Sea Scouting back into Exploring through a leak!

An then there was the Churchill Leak. Does anyone here really think national would have publicly posted the Churchill recommendations and allowed commentary on them if they were not leaked? While some things are off the table, others have for the moment been placed on hold but ":dialogue " will continue.

I hope and pray that Mosby and some of the remaining pros at nation can see the issues and fix them. But having been a pro at the council and working in national supply, I do not have a lot of hope.

So why am I still around?

1. My sons.

2. My Scouts.

3. I am not giving up on Scouting and will fight for it.

 

EDITED: Just read where the National Director of Learning for Life and Exploring will now have oversight over  Sea Scouts and Venturing.

But National is not moving Sea Scouts to Exploring "at this time."  I guess they are continuing "the dialog that prompted the recommendations." 

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Scouting will continue as long as youth grow from working together in new and challenging situations.  

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My last posting on this thread.  The stage of resolving fundamental conflicts within the BSA will soon be upon us.  What is different is that an external decision-maker will determine the fate of our resources and opine what is "core" and "not core" to our written governance documents.   There will be little discretion whether to keep or sell properties or end valued services in order to fund council purchases of  bankruptcy discharges -- the decision makers' hands will be forced by the judge and trustees.  Councils who can afford to will protect generations of individuals (like commenters on this site) and institutions from exposure to tort suits.  All will attempt to continue a BSA presence in their geography.   The decisions will come very quickly and the implementation will be immediate.

This process can be very upsetting.  We are still a large enough organization to broadly reflect the same differences of opinion that exist in American society these days.  It is not reasonable to think that the BSA can be conformed to a particular Scouting philosophy, membership preference or operational construct.  What will be helpful would be continued respect among us regarding our differing opinions on these issues.  I respect the views of every commenter on this site and will continue to do so.  This even includes those who seek liquidation and abandonment of the BSA.  They should be heard, as should everyone else.

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1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

 What will be helpful would be continued respect among us regarding our differing opinions on these issues.  I respect the views of every commenter on this site and will continue to do so.  This even includes those who seek liquidation and abandonment of the BSA.  They should be heard, as should everyone else.

It may get contentious, and folks have strong disagreements on this site. But I do see a great deal of respect from those here. Unfortunately that is not always the case elsewhere.

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20 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I don't think so. What I've noticed is that folks don't seem to bring a tone of anything except contrary subjects.

Of what I've heard, this is the most civil Scouting forum. The other forum that I sometimes follow has almost zero traffic now, and it used to compete with this forum in it's heyday. So, where are the discussions we had 15 years ago? You really think this a Scouter.com problem. 

I don't think there is a Scouter.com problem at all.  If anything, I think that what we see here is emblematic of the country as a whole.  It strikes me that there is less knowledge sharing today and more debating today.  What I cannot figure out is where people go who have questions on how to implement the best program possible.

14 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I admit I am one of the "Negative Nellies" of late. I am not trying to be the "silent majority" that @The Latin Scot talks about above, but rather shout at the top of my lungs the BSA is headed in the wrong direction. A lot of concerns folks here and elsewhere had are coming to be because the experienced Scouters are being ignored. And it's not only on the local council level, where I am experiencing it, but also at the national level.

I guess I wonder - when does our interest in discussing the future of the program overwhelm our ability to enjoy the program and advocate for it?

I am the first to acknowledge that national policies and structure are important.  It strikes me that the challenge is to keep our feelings on the big picture balanced with our desires to build the best local program possible.

In the midst of these lawsuits, this seems to me to be the big question.  While one may think the BSA organization is a joke and that it led to all these cases of abuse, but why turn that into a desire to see the BSA fail?  The likelihood that a "better" version of the BSA will replace it is very low.  So, are we not better off working internally to build the best Scouting programs possible?

Is it perhaps a more contemporary idea that we should dissolve and replace organizations instead of improving them?

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