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I'm kind of lost in this thread, are posters here  suggesting that the BSA needs to mold itself to each individual post-modern nomad youth to have a successful appeal? What then is THE goal, THE vision, THE mission? 

My high school teacher son says he learned how to approach his students (post-modern nomads?) from his scouting experiences 20 years ago. 

Help make this clearer for me.

Barry

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You are likely to hear/read a post-modern nomad say, "Adulting is hard." But, they are also doing some astounding things: Serving multiple tours in military reserves. Learning busin

Same here, well except the other half sounds like the bad advice I gave them.

You guys seriously meet with commissioners? Unless there are pics, gonna call that "unproven" We are in a large council and they seem to have professional staff all over the place (at least 5 in

17 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I'm kind of lost in this thread

I can see that vision. 😀

As you have described the goal, vision and mission elsewhere, I think it's great. The challenge I see is translating that into a program that is really simple for the new person, adult or youth, to understand and implement. 

A sport, for example, is simple. Learn the rules and skills, play the game. It might not be perfect but as a first cut it will get the youth going in the right direction. In scouting, if you ask someone what the game is the odds are they'll look at you funny. 

If the game is the outdoors then why do we spend so much time indoors doing schoolwork? As an example I just saw my troop spend 3 meetings doing bridges. They learned about bridges, they built bridges and there was some competition related to bridges. This did not lead to an outdoor activity but they said they had fun. 

However, if you watched this I'm not sure you could identify the game. 

I don't think it's so much that the kids can't focus as the adults can't focus - or maybe just can't see the game.

I would much rather see a troop say our game is the outdoors but it's hard camping from Thanksgiving to March so during that time we will have a lighter schedule that focusses on service to our community (except for one really cold campout 😀). In other words, don't have meetings just to fill time. If you're not playing the game then don't take up people's time. 

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I can see that Matt. But, I believe the how of the vision has always been a challenge for scouting. How can a program build character. Luckily, the fun part (outdoors and camping) are the over riding  attraction.

I learned over the years, that the vast majority of scouts join the program because their' parents motivated them to join. And, 99 percent of them started in cubs. My issue with the BSA is that they are driving youth away because the cub program burns out the adults. Last I checked, around 50 percent of Webelos don't crossover into a troop after graduating from the pack. That doesn't include the younger cub age dropouts or the first year scouts who joined but never went to a troop meeting. I believe that at least 80% of those youth left because of their parents. Parents didn't push them to leave, but they didn't encourage them to stay either.

What I'm saying is I don't think the nomadic culture is a problem today, I think yesterdays overburdened Cub program steels the illusion of fun from the adult perspective and they loose any enthusiasm of it for their kids. I got this from interviewing hundreds of adults.

Barry

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27 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

How can a program build character.

The program doesn't.  People build character in themselves and in other people.  We adults are supposed to be setting the example (Association with Adults, anyone?)  Unfortunately, a great many Scouters I have come across are not "people of good character".  Blame the Co's on this one...most often, the adult leaders are just the ones who volunteer to do it, without regard as to whether that person is a "positive role model"  "Scouts learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves."

"I think yesterdays overburdened Cub program steels the illusion of fun from the adult perspective and they loose any enthusiasm of it for their kids."

You got that right!!

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21 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

The program doesn't.  People build character in themselves and in other people.  We adults are supposed to be setting the example (Association with Adults, anyone?)  Unfortunately, a great many Scouters I have come across are not "people of good character".  Blame the Co's on this one...most often, the adult leaders are just the ones who volunteer to do it, without regard as to whether that person is a "positive role model"  "Scouts learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves."

 

And who determines a persons BAD character? That is the what MattR is talking about. Yes, scouting builds character, but how.

And while I agree, role models of good character contribute to building good character, a good Patrol Method experience is the main driver of growth, even among role models of bad character. Patrol Method forces the scout to make decisions for other scouts that reflects their character back at them. Now, try to explain how that works to a new parent.

And really  I should say mothers, because fathers more often accept the fun of the outdoors program without getting caught up in that complexity of the character thing. Mothers, most of the time, are less attracted to the shiny object of fun  (except for the Eagle), so they spend time analyzing (being skeptical) character development. Moms forced me to understand how the program worked toward character. Dads forced me to sit and enjoy the coffee.

Barry

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37 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

... And really  I should say mothers, because fathers more often accept the fun of the outdoors program without getting caught up in that complexity of the character thing. Mothers, most of the time, are less attracted to the shiny object of fun  (except for the Eagle), so they spend time analyzing (being skeptical) character development. Moms forced me to understand how the program worked toward character. Dads forced me to sit and enjoy the coffee. ...

I agree, to a point. (I've given a mom or two the stink-eye for packing their venturer's pack!) I know this is the harsh reality for some of the SM's in our district. But, I find our troop reigning in dads a lot. Maybe that's because 'round here we still have a culture where year-round outdoor overnights is a father-son thing. (Me and about four other dads saw it as a father-daughter thing. I knew only one family who made it a mother-daughter thing.) So, we usually have a mom delegating to a dad (the kids' own, or an SM/ASM if she's single), and the dad trying to figure out how he can contribute. About half the dads either get it, or they are a little bit too far removed and we have to rope them into the committee via BoR's. The other half need to tone it down a notch ... or two.

That whole circus is definitely not the troop I grew up in, where we could barely get one dad to be an ASM. The other ASMs were troop alumni usually attending the local college. The committee was rarely seen, and only heard during BoR's or serious disciplinary issues. Even the ASM who was a dad was one of the quietest men I ever knew. (Actually, that made him a good role model -- considering my boisterous Mediterranean family.) It wasn't until I joined a Jamboree troop that I learned that effective SMs and ASMs can have radically different personalities!

So, post-modern nomadic parents are much different to work with. However, we can't blame everything on generational shifts in expectations. BSA mandates that more adults be present to run more aspects of the program. The 19 year-old college student is not adequate. The PL simply meeting up with his mates to go on a hike is not adequate. Walking to town and earning Personal Management from the bank president (unregistered no YP) is not adequate. The overhead in terms of adult-hours required per youth served has sky-rocketed.

Scouting wants to be more secure -- we all agree. But, it needs to be less bloated. And right now we can't find a safe path from secure to efficient. (Efficient being youth hiking and camping independently with their mates.)

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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

You have jumped to the opposite end of the spectrum.  Fine.  The answer in all cases is the Chartering Organization.  You know that.

I'm talking about the bigger picture of the mission of developing character. Growth is based on the experience of making decisions, not watching role models. Role models are reinforcement of what is learned from the Patrol Method experience.

Barry

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25 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

This is one of the things that is killing Scouting.

To be specific (at least from what I observe in western PA), it's severely curtailing the activity of the BSA. It's not prohibiting scouting -- which our youth are happily doing in the broadest sense without bothering to find qualified adult chaperons. Other citizens are simply postponing the exercise of scouting until they are adults -- their scouting experience simply begins at age 18.

Also, this year, many more of our post-modern nomads have formed pods -- extended families who do a lot of this scouting stuff without all of the trappings of a national organization. They can assemble their own handbooks, order up their own uniforms, make their own patches (stickers, medallions), and have their own ceremonies.

Scouting needs those pods, in particular, to engage in the process. But ... guess how much input BSA wants from hordes of post-modern nomads?

I think I understand BSA's reasoning. The innovation in such pods impresses me. On the other hand -- with regard to child sexual/physical/mental abuse -- they terrify me. In the next decade health care professionals can expect to find themselves picking up the pieces from many of these pods that foster, rather than shelter from, abusers.

Edited by qwazse
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I agree the culture of parents today is more challenging. I'm not sure that it is a nomadic thing, but it certainly is there. Still, even the worst helicopter parents joined Cub Scouts because the program's activities are attractive. The problem isn't the activities, it's the overbearing weight of program  management.

Barry

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3 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Other citizens are simply postponing the exercise of scouting until they are adults -- their scouting experience simply begins at age 18.

Also, this year, many more of our post-modern nomads have formed pods -- extended families who do a lot of this scouting stuff without all of the trappings of a national organization.

Funny you mention this. Each year, about 10 or so, 22’ish young adults from my work go on a ad box backpacking trip in northern Wisconsin. Different people, more or less, each year, but it is totally like a high adventure trip. 

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50 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I'm talking about the bigger picture of the mission of developing character. Growth is based on the experience of making decisions, not watching role models. Role models are reinforcement of what is learned from the Patrol Method experience.

Barry

Hand in hand with Association with Adults goes Personal Growth.  The Aims are not discrete functions, they are a unified whole.  Again, you know that.

If we just pushed them out the door without the Adult Association (as many are doing outside of Scouting), they will rarely develop desirable character...  Lord of the Flies?

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17 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Hand in hand with Association with Adults goes Personal Growth.  The Aims are not discrete functions, they are a unified whole.  Again, you know that.

If we just pushed them out the door without the Adult Association (as many are doing outside of Scouting), they will rarely develop desirable character...  Lord of the Flies?

I didn't say no adult association. Every unit is different with the different accumulated gifts of the participants. As you said, the methods are not discrete functions. But, I believe all things being equal. the experience of the Patrol Method has more influence for growth than adult association. Especially with mature scouts. My style was the passive approach of mentoring. I found that for us, scouts grew faster when they had to search for relief from the stress of making decisions. The mentors were in the shadows waiting.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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23 hours ago, Eagledad said:

... My issue with the BSA is that they are driving youth away because the cub program burns out the adults. Last I checked, around 50 percent of Webelos don't crossover into a troop after graduating from the pack. That doesn't include the younger cub age dropouts or the first year scouts who joined but never went to a troop meeting. I believe that at least 80% of those youth left because of their parents. Parents didn't push them to leave, but they didn't encourage them to stay either...

I agree with this. I struggle with this in a variety of ways in my Pack. I think leaders and parents have good intentions trying to create the most robust cub program possible, with tons of activities, meetings, trips, etc. But it's exhausting. Five years of that and I can see how some parents probably just don't care anymore if their scout crosses over to a troop. They might even secretly hope they will ask to quit.

We butt head with parents who want the entire day in camp to be scheduled. I want time for the kids to go play and the adults to sit and drink coffee. Interestingly enough the parents who want to add more to the program and the ones who contribute the least. So they want a busier day for their kid at the expense of all of the other leaders and parents who have to make it happen.

Then we see some of the most active families burned out by crossover and they don't join a troop.

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