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David CO

Lone Scouts - a better structure

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With the Lone Scout structure, you would lose the leadership opportunities of Positions of Responsibility and the team-building opportunities of patrols.  But there must be other pros and cons of such a structure.  For example, you wouldn't need the facilities (meeting rooms, group campgrounds), group equipment (trailers, chuck boxes), or a corps of adult volunteer leaders (den leaders, Scoutmasters, unit committees, chartered organization).  And with a parent serving as Friend and Counselor to the Lone Cub Scout or Lone Scout, there would be a lot of flexibility in arranging activities.  

What else?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

With the Lone Scout structure, you would lose the leadership opportunities of Positions of Responsibility and the team-building opportunities of patrols.  But there must be other pros and cons of such a structure.  For example, you wouldn't need the facilities (meeting rooms, group campgrounds), group equipment (trailers, chuck boxes), or a corps of adult volunteer leaders (den leaders, Scoutmasters, unit committees, chartered organization).  And with a parent serving as Friend and Counselor to the Lone Cub Scout or Lone Scout, there would be a lot of flexibility in arranging activities.  

What else?

You're still thinking the BSA model of Lone Scouting, rather than the LSA program.  LSA had the equivalent of patrols, troops, and positions of responsibility.  The LSA model was more fluid.  The boys created and ran their own patrols.  Very little adult involvement.  LSA had no adult "Friend and Counselor" to the Lone Scout.  Adults would help out, but they had no official positions like SM, ASM, CC, CM, etc..

LSA was much more involved in promoting literacy.  Most of the articles and artwork in Lone Scout Magazine were submitted by kids.  Not adults.  In addition to the national magazine, they also had regional and local magazines and newsletter published by the kids.  In Chicago, the Lone Scouts had a radio show (sponsored by Sears).

 

Edited by David CO

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2 hours ago, David CO said:

I agree that BSA would just see this as a competing organization.  They would never go along with a split.  

Which is why I think you have to decide what is more important to you:

  • Lone Scouting based on the BSA advancement model
  • Lone Scouting based on a different advancement model

If you care about the BSA advancement model, then you need to do this within the BSA.  If you don't, then start your own.

2 hours ago, David CO said:

BSA has a lot of "paper" Chartered Organizations.  These are fictional entities that only exist on paper.   Their sole purpose is to allow the leaders of new units to complete the chartering paperwork without actually having a Chartered Organization.   A Lone Scout program would benefit BSA by allowing BSA to get rid of all of these fictional charters without depriving the scouts of an opportunity to participate in scouting.  

Yes - I know this is factually correct.  However, I don't think getting rid of paper COs brings much real value to the BSA.  The kind of value that will get the BSAs attention is membership growth.

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15 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Yes - I know this is factually correct.  However, I don't think getting rid of paper COs brings much real value to the BSA.  The kind of value that will get the BSAs attention is membership growth.

I know that too.  BSA's attention is on membership growth and the $$$ it generates.  BSA is not focused on program.

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, David CO said:

You're still thinking the BSA model of Lone Scouting, rather than the LSA program.  LSA had the equivalent of patrols, troops, and positions of responsibility.  The LSA model was more fluid.  The boys created and ran their own patrols.  Very little adult involvement.  LSA had no adult "Friend and Counselor" to the Lone Scout.  Adults would help out, but they had no official positions like SM, ASM, CC, CM, etc..

@David CO Thanks for the clarification.  In the litigious and risk-averse society of today, I don't know that such an organization could exist as a practical matter.  But it reminds me of my friends and I, half a century ago, hiking all over our small town, nearby pastures, and in the little bit of woods we had, defeating invasions by imaginary hordes, building huts and treehouses, digging tunnels (a la "The Great Escape") in backyards and vacant lots, building campfires, and riding bikes 14 miles on a two-lane highway with semis roaring around us in order to get to an old mine to explore.  

We were focused on "program."

Edited by dkurtenbach
Added last sentence.
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6 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

@David CO Thanks for the clarification.  In the litigious and risk-averse society of today, I don't know that such an organization could exist as a practical matter. 

I'm not a lawyer.  From a layman's point of view, it seems to me that the current organizational structure is what has put BSA into litigation and bankruptcy.  BSA is being held responsible for the actions of its leaders because BSA took an active part in the registration and supervision of leaders.  Would that have happened if BSA had used the LSA model of scouting and had no registered leaders?

 

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1 hour ago, David CO said:

I know that too.  BSA's attention is on membership growth and the $$$ it generates.  BSA is not focused on program.

Sort of, but I'm sure you know it's more complicated than that.  Membership and money enable the BSA to provide programming.  Without membership and money, the BSA would be 3 guys sitting around in a tent talking about how great Scouting could be.   Yeah, it would be nice if the there was a magic fund that enabled the BSA to operate with less regard for either of them, but it doesn't.  This is where a great endownment would be helpful - but alas, it doesn't exist.

Membership is also what enables the BSA to fulfill it's mandate of bringing Scouting to the youth of America.  If they've got the world's best program, but no-one joins then what's the point  I do get your point.  It would be nice to just have a great idea and the have people go implement it.  But, membership is what is used in our world to measure the efficacy of major initiatives at this point.  

All that aside - this is where you've got to decide what you care about.  If you want Lone Scouting, there's a path - demonstrating it can grow membership.  Why not explore it?

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38 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

@David CO Thanks for the clarification.  In the litigious and risk-averse society of today, I don't know that such an organization could exist as a practical matter.  But it reminds me of my friends and I, half a century ago, hiking all over our small town, nearby pastures, and in the little bit of woods we had, defeating invasions by imaginary hordes, building huts and treehouses, digging tunnels (a la "The Great Escape") in backyards and vacant lots, building campfires, and riding bikes 14 miles on a two-lane highway with semis roaring around us in order to get to an old mine to explore.  

We were focused on "program."

You know what? This summer I have seen the closest thing to the way I, and it sounds like you, grew up. Yesterday driving around town I saw multiple pods of kids on bicycles, with fishing poles, hiking around parks and skimming stones in places I usually never see kids. It's not as bad out there as we think. The problem is BSA has no idea on how to reach these kids or any mechanism or true desire to modify its program in order to do so. I'm not a kool aid drinking scouts person. I got involved with scouts because I want to see kids outdoors, because that's what I love and is what I think is good for kids. The endless merit badges and advancements pressure and religious/social rigidity and uniform nazis and homework like programming  is not where my head or heart is at. This summer, for the first time in 30 years, I've seen kids out of doors in numbers. All I know is that I'm going where the kids are. I hope BSA figures it out and follows because I think that is truly the only way to be relevant and survive. 

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13 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Membership and money enable the BSA to provide programming.  Without membership and money, the BSA would be 3 guys sitting around in a tent talking about how great Scouting could be.   

Membership and money enable BSA to pay exec salaries.  I think we give kids too little credit for being able to entertain themselves.  

 

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4 hours ago, David CO said:

Are these the same BSA sources that say we never allowed dodgeball?  BSA sources are not always reliable.  They have their own agenda to push.

The authors of the Wiki article didn't seem to be too clear on the origin of Lone Scouting.  The article acknowledged the role played by the newsboys in Chicago, but it sounded unsure about many of the details.  Which came first, the newsboys or the farmers?  I strongly suspect that the authors read the BSA sources, and were confused by the discrepancies. 

Having spoken first hand with men who were among the first Lone Scout recruits, I am convinced that LSA started with the newsboys in Chicago.
 

Has anyone here updated a Wikipedia article?  I nominate David to update :)

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I'm not sure Lone Scouts will fly. It might fit the kid model of fun, which I've endorsed elsewhere, but Gen X and Millennial parents are looking for something different. A good hybrid of Lone Scout (which would need to be renamed because it sounds like Lone Wolf and an army sniper program neither of which are PC today) and as a Covid/Rural option for scouting might work under the umbrella of a larger program. Parents today want kid showcases and accomplishments for the time they invest as families. The only thing saving scouting right now apart from those who love the outdoors aspect or the service aspect are the die hard parents who want to push their scout through to Eagle so they have something to put on the college app. 

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32 minutes ago, David CO said:

I'm not a lawyer.  From a layman's point of view, it seems to me that the current organizational structure is what has put BSA into litigation and bankruptcy.  BSA is being held responsible for the actions of its leaders because BSA took an active part in the registration and supervision of leaders.  Would that have happened if BSA had used the LSA model of scouting and had no registered leaders?

It is really broader than just registration and supervision of leaders.  Whether it is sexual abuse or a broken leg from falling while on a hike, a key question is whether the injury occurred at least partly because of the organization.  Did a victim and a perpetrator meet because they were both involved in the organization?  Did a member get injured at an activity that is part of the organization's suggested program?  Did a member involved in an organization activity injure some someone not involved?  Then, if there is some connection to the organization, did the organization have the responsibility to prevent the actions that caused the injury, to protect the person from injury?  Did the organization have policies and procedures in place to avoid the actions that caused the injury?  Did the organization provide proper training to its members before the occurrence?  Did the organization provide proper supervision while the actions were going on?  Did the organization take appropriate action when it learned of the injury to aid the victim and prevent any recurrence?

So even if we had an LSA organization of the kind you describe, with no registered adults, if an injury is suffered by someone in the course of a youth-only Lone Scouts activity the LSA could be sued along with every parent or guardian of the youth taking part.  And one of the main claims would be that the organization and the parents were negligent in not ensuring control and oversight of the youth by responsible adults and not having rules, policies, and other safeguards to prevent the youth from creating the dangerous situation.

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5 hours ago, David CO said:

Membership and money enable BSA to pay exec salaries.  I think we give kids too little credit for being able to entertain themselves.  

 

We have a BSA to provide Scouting to kids.  Seems pretty natural that we'd measure success of the BSA by how many members of has.

I think you know the path to seeing Lone Scouting again.  If you really want it, work for it.  The rest of this stuff is just platitudes.

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4 hours ago, yknot said:

The only thing saving scouting right now apart from those who love the outdoors aspect or the service aspect are the die hard parents who want to push their scout through to Eagle so they have something to put on the college app. 

Maybe it's also be the only thing holding scouting back from being something much more enjoyable and meaningful? A point of discussion is whether burning down BSA national will help it get back to the basics. Some think that's extreme, myself included. But I have to admit that bling is a double edged sword in this program.

4 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

So even if we had an LSA organization of the kind you describe, with no registered adults, if an injury is suffered by someone in the course of a youth-only Lone Scouts activity the LSA could be sued along with every parent or guardian of the youth taking part. 

While I agree that the adults are the last line of defense from Lord of the Flies, they have more use than that. If they weren't so caught up in bling they might be easier to train to help impart wisdom to the scouts.

But why even consider creating a new program? That's beyond anyone's control. Why not just make the change within your unit. "As a troop, the adults are not going to do anything to promote advancement. The adults will encourage learning skills, doing service and going on adventures that the scouts are interested in. The adults are only interested in developing character. The scouts mostly decide what the methods are."

Try it out. Nobody will stop you as long as you're true to the safety issues and the aims of scouting. The rest is baggage that you can dump. If it works then let us know and let your neighboring units know. If it works really well then it will grow and eventually take over. That would be much easier to implement than starting over. 

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I've always felt that die-hard parents are a royal pain in the backside.  This is true of scouting, but it is especially true of sports programs.  

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