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11 hours ago, yknot said:

... It could also be because of the nonstop marketing of advancement to Eagle over outdoor fun.  A lot of older kids drop out once they Eagle or because they are not into advancement. I don't see how adult involvement is the deterrent because then how do you explain why things like sports, robotics or 4-H are so popular. ...

Why market Eagle? Because its the one thing about BSA that intrinsically demands adult association. High school kids don't need an adult for outdoor fun.

They don't need an adult to:

  • Grab a ball/weights/running shoes, call up buddies, and condition for the big game. They can arrange their own time in the weight room, the QB can schedule additional film study without the coach if needed.
  • Visit sponsors, go to the feed store, get the stuff to raise your livestock, and bring it to auction. To my knowledge, they can have one-on-one E-mail exchanges with adults who help procure materials. But they can make that club happen with a minimum of adult interference.
  • Order their parts, get together and assemble your controller, build a bot to haul their gear to someone's grandpa's cabin, fish while the bot makes the fire. Bring the catch to the bot and run the "rainbow trout with cashews in teriyaki sauce 4.0" subroutine.

That last one is a bit forward-looking, but boys will be out opening day of trout season on their own because it's a lot more efficient than finding two adult leader's to chaperon them. (Heck, I never went fishing with an adult until I was married and went out with my in-laws.)

Older youth set aside scouting and venturing because it is good and right for well-trained fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and seventeen year olds to fulfill the vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mate.

Yes, I believe that those youth are at higher specific risks outside of the accountability to an SM or Advisor. But higher risk does not always mean "wrong."

Edited by qwazse
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This is one of that areas that the BSA can certainly clean up.  They need to be clear what is a YPT rule and what is a program rule.  Mixing the two dilutes the importance of the YPT rules.  It has to

Oh, the humanity!  Hang on to that picture.  If BSA survives the current round of lawsuits, you might be eligible for the next round.  Maybe in 10 years.  This may be your retirement plan.    

I was asking my Webelos aged son yesterday what games they play in PE at school so I would have some Den Meeting ideas.  He asked me if they could play Dodgeball.  Of course I had to explain that it w

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Just some comments.

14 hours ago, ParkMan said:

You absolutely could have a conversation between the commissioner staff and unit key 3.  District volunteers just have to listen and then explain the goal.

Of course this would have to start by having professionals and council volunteers actually talk to the unit commissioners.

Yep. This is why I think it's a push. The culture between council and units needs an overhaul. That's beyond my abilities.

12 hours ago, yknot said:

However, you could also argue that's due to a host of other reasons like changing demographics, a rise in other youth activities, and BSA's own ham fisted reactions to emerging social issues. It could also be because of the nonstop marketing of advancement to Eagle over outdoor fun.  A lot of older kids drop out once they Eagle or because they are not into advancement. I don't see how adult involvement is the deterrent because then how do you explain why things like sports, robotics or 4-H are so popular. 

This is what I mean by program quality. Eagle is a method and not a goal.

 

6 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

Here's the problem: I WISH it were heads on pikes. We don't even have THAT. Instead, YPT is thrown out there and (fingers crossed) adhered to. There's no effort whatsoever at followup, follow-through, or anything.

Heads on pikes is the atomic solution when all else fails in tough love, so we probably agree. The BSA just seems to let everything go until heads on pikes needs to be used. I refuse to be a commissioner because all they do is step in when it's heads on pikes time. They have no authority to fix things until it gets that bad. They can deal with drunk scouters but they can't deal with troops where nobody knows what patrol they're in, including the patrol leaders. YP issues? As mentioned above there is no control.

 

2 hours ago, ParkMan said:

The BSA needs to show it is serious here, but the BSA also needs to be careful about making the council/unit relationship even more adversarial.  Units that are distrustful of council wall themselves off and make it difficult for others to understand what is going on.  The BSA has a long history of imposing rules and regulations.  Yes, some things should be non-negotiable (such as following YPT rules), but the way we increase engagement on YPT isn't always more hammers and pikes.

I agree completely. This idea would require a big change in culture that would only happen if it was driven from the very top. The volunteers can not patch up the existing culture. I don't think there needs to be much change in the rules, but the mindset of councils and units needs to fundamentally change. The main goal of councils and districts  has to be developing stronger units.  The mindset of units has to be subordinate and trusting of council.

I've seen companies turn themselves around and it always starts with someone at the top seeing how it should be and pushing hard for it. The only way I see this happening is if national becomes weak enough that some councils figure this out on their own. Unfortunately, most councils are broke and all they see is money. That seems to be the root of all the problems.

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6 minutes ago, MattR said:

I agree completely. This idea would require a big change in culture that would only happen if it was driven from the very top. The volunteers can not patch up the existing culture. I don't think there needs to be much change in the rules, but the mindset of councils and units needs to fundamentally change. The main goal of councils and districts  has to be developing stronger units.  The mindset of units has to be subordinate and trusting of council.

I'm sure the councils would absolutely love to have top down leadership with subordinate units.  It ain't gunna happen.  Everyone would quit.

 

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3 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Every time I read "heads on pikes" I get this image of them being along the road at the entrance to the Summit as scouters are bused in for summer re-education camp! 🤪

Though how to square that with the principles of Leave No Trace... :)

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

Why market Eagle? Because its the one thing about BSA that intrinsically demands adult association. High school kids don't need an adult for outdoor fun.

They don't need an adult to:

  • Grab a ball/weights/running shoes, call up buddies, and condition for the big game. They can arrange their own time in the weight room, the QB can schedule additional film study without the coach if needed.
  • Visit sponsors, go to the feed store, get the stuff to raise your livestock, and bring it to auction. To my knowledge, they can have one-on-one E-mail exchanges with adults who help procure materials. But they can make that club happen with a minimum of adult interference.
  • Order their parts, get together and assemble your controller, build a bot to haul their gear to someone's grandpa's cabin, fish while the bot makes the fire. Bring the catch to the bot and run the "rainbow trout with cashews in teriyaki sauce 4.0" subroutine.

That last one is a bit forward-looking, but boys will be out opening day of trout season on their own because it's a lot more efficient than finding two adult leader's to chaperon them. (Heck, I never went fishing with an adult until I was married and went out with my in-laws.)

Older youth set aside scouting and venturing because it is good and right for well-trained fourteen, fifteen, sixteen and seventeen year olds to fulfill the vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mate.

Yes, I believe that those youth are at higher specific risks outside of the accountability to an SM or Advisor. But higher risk does not always mean "wrong."

A scout doesn't need an adult to call up a couple buddies and go for a hike, or go online to order something, or go to the scout store and buy whatever he needs to do a merit badge or requirement either. I'm not sure what you are talking about. There's no difference. Yes, high school captain's practices are one situation where kids are more on their own but even then they really aren't and that is hardly the norm for the millions of kids in sports. Most of the time there are multiple coaches, officials, parents involved in everything. And 4-H? I never did anything with less than two leaders around. And at fair time, there were rafts of additional adults involved in supervising everything we were doing, from judges, to committee members, to veterinary and animal welfare staff. Are you kidding me, lol? I was talking to a friend involved in 4-H in another state and they have to call law enforcement if a parent is late and leaves them alone with a kid. Could you imagine having that being  mandatory in BSA?  And yet, 4-H has almost 7 million members. One thing they've done is a lot more independent research on why kids join or leave 4-H, which is something BSA has never done.
 

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2 hours ago, MattR said:

I agree completely. This idea would require a big change in culture that would only happen if it was driven from the very top. The volunteers can not patch up the existing culture. I don't think there needs to be much change in the rules, but the mindset of councils and units needs to fundamentally change. The main goal of councils and districts  has to be developing stronger units.  The mindset of units has to be subordinate and trusting of council.

I've seen companies turn themselves around and it always starts with someone at the top seeing how it should be and pushing hard for it. The only way I see this happening is if national becomes weak enough that some councils figure this out on their own. Unfortunately, most councils are broke and all they see is money. That seems to be the root of all the problems.

I think we have to start by recognizing a basic truth that few in councils want to recognize.  The councils work for the units - not the other way around.

The BSA is a company that provides a product (Scouting) that units can utilize to run their own Scouting program.  CORs and their units are effectively little companies that buy the Scouting program from the BSA (through a local council) and then go off run their own program.  Youth are not the customers of the BSA - the CORs and their units are.  

These little companies (aka Scouting units) agree to certain rules when they operate the program.  These rules include things like YPT.  The BSA has two "hammers".  The first hammer is pulling the ability for a unit to use the program.  The second hammer is the ability for a person to be involved with any unit utilizing the program.

Councils get into trouble because they forget this.  Councils make the mistake of assuming that because they are the only supplier they can force units to do things.  But they forget who the supplier is and who the customer is.

  • BSA & local councils - supplier
  • local units - customers

When  you have a supplier (the BSA) with a complex product (Scouting), you deploy a team of field consultants who work hand in hand with the customers (the units).  

When you have a business model like this, you teach your field consultants how to partner with customers to make them more effective.  Few field consultants would ever show up at a customer and start making demands.  Field consultants build relationships with their customers, help them to solve problems, and demonstrate the potential in the product.  In short good field consultants build trust with their customers.  Yep, sometimes a customer so abuses the product that you have to tell them to stop using it - but it's rare.

The way you fix this really isn't that hard.  I'd start by simply having our field consultants (DEs & Commissioners) focus on maximizing the benefit the units get from Scouting.  It's not the job of units to trust the council.  It's the job of the council to build trust in the units - their customer base.

I think if the BSA simply started by orienting itself correctly, this would all work a lot better.

Edited by ParkMan
clarified a thought
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12 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I think we have to start by recognizing a basic truth that few in councils want to recognize.

The BSA is a company that provides a product (Scouting) that units can utilize to run their own Scouting program.  CORs and their units are effectively little companies that buy the Scouting program from the BSA (through a local council) and then go off run their own program.  Youth are not the customers of the BSA - the CORs and their units are.  

These little companies (aka Scouting units) agree to certain rules when they operate the program.  These rules include things like YPT.  The BSA has two "hammers".  The first hammer is pulling the ability for a unit to use the program.  The second hammer is the ability for a person to be involved with any unit utilizing the program.

Councils get into trouble because they forget this.  Councils make the mistake of assuming that because they are the only supplier they can force units to do things.  But they forget who the supplier is and who the customer is.

  • BSA & local councils - supplier
  • local units - customers

When  you have a supplier (the BSA) with a complex product (Scouting), you deploy a team of field consultants who work hand in hand with the customers (the units).  

When you have a business model like this, you teach your field consultants how to partner with customers to make them more effective.  Few field consultants would ever show up at a customer and start making demands.  The way you fix this really isn't that hard. Field consultants build relationships with their customers, help them to solve problems, and demonstrate the potential in the product.  In short good field consultants build trust with their customers.  Yep, sometimes a customer so abuses the product that you have to tell them to stop using it - but it's rare.

The way you fix this really isn't that hard.  I'd start by simply having our field consultants (DEs & Commissioners) focus on maximizing the benefit the units get from Scouting.  It's not the job of units to trust the council.  It's the job of the council to build trust in the units - their customer base.

I think if the BSA simply started by orienting itself correctly, this would all work a lot better.

That's interesting. To me though this means the BSA structure is organized around the wrong customer, because of course it has to be the scout. For example, Little League isn't structured around meeting the needs of local ball clubs, it's structured around meeting the needs of the players. It's rules are the rules, and the local clubs follow them. If a ball club has a hard time finding umpires or doesn't like using them, it doesn't get to still run accredited games just because they want to run their own program. Little League enforces its rules in order to provide a comparable experience for all players in the League no matter where they are. 

 

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5 minutes ago, yknot said:

That's interesting. To me though this means the BSA structure is organized around the wrong customer, because of course it has to be the scout. For example, Little League isn't structured around meeting the needs of local ball clubs, it's structured around meeting the needs of the players. It's rules are the rules, and the local clubs follow them. If a ball club has a hard time finding umpires or doesn't like using them, it doesn't get to still run accredited games just because they want to run their own program. Little League enforces its rules in order to provide a comparable experience for all players in the League no matter where they are. 

 

I want to be careful not to generalize the concept too much be expanding to other organizations.  This is part of the history of Scouting - the whole CO concept.  If you look through some of the materials around Scouting, you'll see the concept of the inverted pyramid too - that the council is here to support the units.

However - in the case of little league...  When you agree to use their product (baseball in the little league system) you agree to the terms of the agreement such as using their umps and following their rules.

Similarly - to your point of following rules.  By the Scouting units adopting the program, they agree to follow the rules.  When a unit breaks a rule, the council can let them know.  But, the council needs to be very deliberate in how it works with units.  Less boss and more consultant.

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20 hours ago, yknot said:

A scout doesn't need an adult to call up a couple buddies and go for a hike, or go online to order something, or go to the scout store and buy whatever he needs to do a merit badge or requirement either. I'm not sure what you are talking about. ...

I applaud your fast-and-loose interpretation of YPT:

Quote

Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings. ... Private online communications (texting, phone calls, chat, IM, etc.) must include another registered leader or parent.

If the scout calls his buddy without two registered adults online, it is no longer a Scouting activity. If a hike does not include two registered adults, it is, by definition, no longer a Scouting activity. If they conspire with the rest of their patrol to go fishing early in the morning on opening day without two registered adults, it is no longer a Scouting activity.

You mention work that would count toward advancement. If a scout does it in the presence of 0, 1, or 50 registered adults, it still counts toward advancement -- except when it explicitly must be "under the auspices of BSA" ... as opposed to that night before opening day when his buddies camped independently by that sweet bend in the stream. But that is my point precisely, the majority of scouts worldwide aren't interested in doing stuff for advancement. They are interested in fulfilling the vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates. Simply put, by YPT standards, the majority of youth scouting is no longer a Scouting activity. Therefore, American youth must leave Scouting to actually scout, and they do ... in droves.

In a sense, BSA over-sells Eagle and chaperoned HA bases: because it can no longer sell the vision of the pinnacle scouting experience.

That (and also that Eagle was not explicitly a youth award) is why BSA amassed membership through the 1960's. That is also why predators began to target such organizations ... it was almost easier than getting a teacher's degree or grooming one's young family member.

Edited by qwazse
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14 minutes ago, qwazse said:

If the scout calls his buddy without two registered adults online, it is no longer a Scouting activity. If a hike does not include two registered adults, it is, by definition, no longer a Scouting activity. If they conspire with the rest of their patrol to go fishing early in the morning on opening day without two registered adults, it is no longer a Scouting activity.

You betcha.   I just finished a virtual MBCollege. ZOOM can be a wonderful thing, but the email back and forth was a chore. I really prefer the "in person" thing. 

In person, for BUGLING MB (!), I would always have a GROUP of Scouts and SOMETIMES a volunteer adult in the back of the room, WITH THE DOOR WIDE OPEN>  I once had a neighboring MB class come and close the door, but I had to go and explain WHY the door was wide open to the hall.  NO OTHER ADULT IN THE ROOM.  Would they like to be my "partner"?   The door stayed open.  One must adapt....

On ZOOM,  no problem, group of Scouts,  sometimes a mom holding the music for the Scout (!).  Email?  I have a couple of Scouter friends (the DCommish and the DChair ! bless'm)  who understand why I include them in all my emails . 

Yes. let's go fishing.....  Baconfat cornmeal balls for channel cat.... 

 

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

I applaud your fast-and-loose interpretation of YPT:

If the scout calls his buddy without two registered adults online, it is no longer a Scouting activity. If a hike does not include two registered adults, it is, by definition, no longer a Scouting activity. If they conspire with the rest of their patrol to go fishing early in the morning on opening day without two registered adults, it is no longer a Scouting activity.

You mention work that would count toward advancement. If a scout does it in the presence of 0, 1, or 50 registered adults, it still counts toward advancement -- except when it explicitly must be "under the auspices of BSA" ... as opposed to that night before opening day when his buddies camped independently by that sweet bend in the stream. But that is my point precisely, the majority of scouts worldwide aren't interested in doing stuff for advancement. They are interested in fulfilling the vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates. Simply put, by YPT standards, the majority of youth scouting is no longer a Scouting activity. Therefore, American youth must leave Scouting to actually scout, and they do ... in droves.

In a sense, BSA over-sells Eagle and chaperoned HA bases: because it can no longer sell the vision of the pinnacle scouting experience.

That (and also that Eagle was not explicitly a youth award) is why BSA amassed membership through the 1960's. That is also why predators began to target such organizations ... it was almost easier than getting a teacher's degree or grooming one's young family member.

So, we are offering an opportunity to be awarded (notice I did not say earn) BSA's trademarked Eagle Scout product, under supervision of more than one adult?  ☹️

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