Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Just now, Eagledad said:

Weed out is a bad use of terms.

But that is what was being suggested: that "bad units" have their charters pulled. And I quote

37 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

Eliminate bad units ... if there are 4 packs in one town and two implement the program well, pull the charter from the other two

So what are you suggesting? That a unit that fails to make JTE Gold have their charter pulled? Silver? Bronze?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 155
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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

Bear in mind that my youth scouting was in the UK, while my adult leadership is in the US. My observation tends to agree. Much as I love the Eagle program, and the merit badge programs, I see a lot of

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

18 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

But that is what was being suggested: that "bad units" have their charters pulled. And I quote

So what are you suggesting? That a unit that fails to make JTE Gold have their charter pulled? Silver? Bronze?

I wasn't the poster who suggested weeding out. But, there are several posters who have said basically the same thing, not by the traditional scouters wanting the go back to the old ways, but by the progressive members looking to bring scouting into a better light. Neither are bad, but balance is required to come up with positive ideas.

Because of my experience, I was often called by districts and council to visit and counsel struggling programs. In just about all cases, those programs struggled because they did not understand BSA mission or the process toward that mission. Improving a unit performance starts at understand the goals and the program process toward those goals. As I said, units that choose not to follow the program are generally the ones the eventually drop out or change leadership.

But, keep in mind, unit performance is very dynamic in a council with 30 Cub units an 15 troops. New units learning the ways to improve while, old units are slowing dying because they are to burned out to care. To some degree, weeding out takes care of itself. The problem is that it doesn't happen fast enough, mostly because Councils don't like to loose units.

Barry

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

So what are you suggesting? That a unit that fails to make JTE Gold have their charter pulled? Silver? Bronze?

I expect it won't happen ... but I'm sure UCs can tell when a unit is headed downward.  The ideal solution is to improve the unit; however, if that is not taking hold ... I do think it would be in BSA's best interest to end the unit gracefully as possible. 

In my town, we have 4? Packs .... 1 is barely functional.  High dropout rates of scouts within the program and almost 0 Cubs transfer to Scouts BSA.  Why would BSA want that Pack to continue ... essentially just giving parents/youth a bad idea of what Cub Scouts are.  My Pack is OK, but I'm very concerned that we do not have the volunteer pool to continue.  Our relationship with the school is non existent (they went to the effort of ripping out all of our recruiting signs in 2019).  I have been looking to step down for 2 years with no parents interested (even after talking with specific parents).  I see our program in decline (partially due to Covid).  I plan one more major recruiting drive (youth & parents).  The other two packs seem ok, not really sure.

In the past, BSA DE/UCs in my area seem much more focused on adding new units than saving or consolidating existing ones.  I am just saying that I think that focus should shift.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

The ideal solution is to improve the unit; however, if that is not taking hold ... I do think it would be in BSA's best interest to end the unit gracefully as possible. 

I've seen zombie units like this. Here's the problem: they are the LAST to admit they have a problem.

So as I said, unless you want to turn unit commissioners into "council spies" for real, this plan is just rife for strife.

I know my troop is fantastic. But I've got people on my committee, including but more especially my CC, who dislike the idea of a U.C. to begin with. If they knew that the Unit Commissioner was coming to "inspect" us and had the authority to yank our charter, I know they would simply refuse to let the man in the door.

Edited by CynicalScouter
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/8/2021 at 9:47 PM, fred8033 said:

 

It's the paramiltary appearance of scouting that has definitely fallen out of style.  From the outside, scouting can look creepy and anacronistic:  march, salaute, military like uniforms, etc.  Those deeply involved know that scouting is much more about the outdoors, ecology, etc.  But from the outside, scouting can look a bit creepy.  

I wouldn't call the BSA uniform any creepier than a school uniform. I've worn the traditional Rover uniform with beret and shoulder boards, which is way more "military" looking, in public, and I've gotten nothing but curiosity and delight from people who see me in it.

The uniform is meant to create identity and unity among scouts, and is meant to have a neat look to it like a school uniform. It's supposed to draw some attention and curiosity. I bet if more scouts wore their uniform outside of scout activities, we'd see more youth joining. The uniform is part of the appeal to youth.

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, AMRC18 said:

I've worn the traditional Rover uniform with beret and shoulder boards, which is way more "military" looking, in public, and I've gotten nothing but curiosity and delight from people who see me in it.

What is the "Traditional Rover uniform". Can you post a link?

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

What is the "Traditional Rover uniform". Can you post a link?

Here is a drawing done by Baden-Powell.

https://images.app.goo.gl/zoAvvXgxQrwNTBJd6

Here's me (center) wearing it. I haven't earned all the proficiency badges yet.

20201114_182910.jpg

I'm part of a traditional scouting association for adult scouts, called Rovers. We can also wear this uniform with pants or a kilt. It's interesting to note that the Webelos shoulder knot originates from the Rover Knight shoulder knot, with the colors of the 3 sections (yellow for cubs, green for boy scouts, and red for Rovers).

Sorry if this got a little off topic 😛

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, AMRC18 said:

It's interesting to note that the Webelos shoulder knot originates from the Rover Knight shoulder knot, with the colors of the 3 sections (yellow for cubs, green for boy scouts, and red for Rovers).

Fun fact. Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/15/2021 at 7:06 AM, AMRC18 said:

I wouldn't call the BSA uniform any creepier than ...

The uniform is meant to ...

Love your uniform.  You look great!   

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/9/2021 at 3:51 AM, DuctTape said:

Hiking, camping and other outdoor pursuits have grown for sure. Data confirms this.

IMO, you are correct that scouts is really not outdoors focused. On this board many have lamented how scouts is advancement oriented. I agree. Over time scouts shifted from outdoors focus with advancement simply as a natural outcome of doing the outdoor activities to advancement being the primary focus with the outdoors being an option.

Bear in mind that my youth scouting was in the UK, while my adult leadership is in the US. My observation tends to agree. Much as I love the Eagle program, and the merit badge programs, I see a lot of obsession with rank advancement, getting the merit badges to get advancement, and a scouting career that ends with Eagle. To me, Scouting is about getting confidence in being in the outdoors, in trying new (adventurous) things. The rank advancements happen naturally and provide incentive to participate in the activities to learn the skill.

I joined Scouts as a youth as I wanted to camp and hike. As I progressed I happened to learn and continually practice the skills I picked up, tying knots, navigating, cooking. I got repeatedly exposed to more adventurous activities, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, mountain climbing, wilderness survival. I see a lot of Scouts now check off their requirement and really never have to do these things again.

What sets Scouting apart is the outdoors and adventure. A Nature centre might organize a short hike. But they aren't going to organize a multi day backpack or canoe trip, or rock climbing. There is no equivalent of a youth organization committed to providing such varied, safe, adventurous activities (at such a low cost!). I say this to highlight that I think the program is (can be) excellent if you can get kids into the program. The challenge is the recruitment.

A key issue I observe with recent/current Scouting is the tendency to be exclusionary. I have seen and heard many arguments over the years that were essentially "if the kid is _________ they shouldn't be allowed to be in Scouting". You can substitute various terms, be that "female", "gay" or "atheist" depending on the hot argument of the time. Although Scouting as a private organization has certain rights to be exclusionary, it doesn't seem sensible to me with declining membership to be advocating for keeping the pool of entrants smaller. But I think the effect goes further, it gives parents pause of being associated with an organization that does, or recently has, taken a moral stance that doesn't align with their own. This was a concern for me having my son join and I love the program. Society has changed over the years to become more inclusionary and less accepting of discrimination, Scouting carries the reputation of being slow to adapt to remove those prejudices (allowing girls, allowing LGBTQ youth and leadership) or not having adapted at all (allowing atheists). This negative reputation was further worsened by the whole abuse scandal.

 

I think Scouting essentially has a great program. I think it needs to take a hard look at what it wants to be and who it wants its community to be. And then it has a big challenge in marketing out that message to counteract the negative impressions it has. Without addressing those core issues it is just left to the individual Troops to try and make best do with what they have got.

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/10/2021 at 6:41 PM, Eagle1993 said:
  • How do we fix this?

    • Reduce Volunteer burden ... improve IT systems, simplify forms, etc.  GSUSA sign up & renewals are easier than BSA.  Simplify as much as possible.   I also used to believe in Lions & Tigers, but have flipped.  Eliminate those programs as they are burning out volunteers.
    • Improve training ... this is a mixed bag as a lot of my volunteers already struggle giving up time to the Troop, so asking to have them take time for training is difficult.  Find ways to reduce burden but still have high quality training.  This is a tough challenge.
    • Cancel the noise ... if BSA is planning on making any other controversial changes, get them out of the way now.  (To me, that is the possibility of eliminating the declaration of religious principals).  If that is in the cards, do it now.  Exit bankruptcy soon as possible and ensure you have years of non controversy (as much as possible).

I just read through this thread. While the discussion on changes of belonging by generational cohort were interesting and relevant, I think this hits on some more relevant issues. Granted, the reason so many of the younger GenX and Millennials are less likely to have a sense of loyalty to institutions or organizations, from employers to churches to scouting is precisely because of the abuse and unreliability of many of these institutions towards them over the decades.

But back to Eagle1993s points, this really is a time of crisis, which means a good time to reassess, reorganize, and eliminate the unnecessary impediments. We should be 100% committed to making it easy for people to join, for volunteers to commit, and that means, off the bat, registration has to be simple. Renewal has to be simple. Accessing data has to be simple. Changing positions and transferring to new councils/units when you move has to be simple. Your 'story' has to be simple to go with you.  And it has to work. Too much paperwork, too many overlapping reports, poor use of data. Few people have the patience to sort through all this, and we should not ask them to. 

Just last night I heard again from a dedicated volunteer, a Cubmaster, who simply cannot find a way to make it work. He's got one kid in cubs, a girl. His pack is a family pack. But the requirement to have a separate den for the girls from the boys, with the requirements around leaders, makes it almost impossible to continue. The girls are all going to drop out, because of an artificial barrier to participation. 

The national reorganization, eliminating layers of bureaucracy and improving direct relationship from local to national and vice versa is all good, a step in the right direction, but i wonder how much more we can apply the ideal that less is more. What else do we need to pare down to the essentials?

...That being said, i don't see the declaration of religion principle being in this set. Yes, if there's any serious consideration of it changing, do it now and get it done with, but you cannot eliminate something that is at the core of the entire Scouting movement. No more could you eliminate community service, or camping, or the idea of being prepared. Otherwise I agree with the general sentiment - take advantage of this time of change and make a wholesale reform, with intention. 

 

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Protoclete said:

...That being said, i don't see the declaration of religion principle being in this set. Yes, if there's any serious consideration of it changing, do it now and get it done with, but you cannot eliminate something that is at the core of the entire Scouting movement. No more could you eliminate community service, or camping, or the idea of being prepared. Otherwise I agree with the general sentiment - take advantage of this time of change and make a wholesale reform, with intention. 

 

Organized religion is only at the core of US Scouting (note, not World Scouting) because Scouts BSA has chosen to make it so. The only part of US Scouting where it is explicit is in the Oath.

The Scouts BSA Mission Statement is: The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. (NB - One can make ethical choices without partaking in an organized religion)

A Scout is Reverent (definition of Reverent is: feeling or showing deep and solemn respect.)

Only the Oath makes mention of "To do my duty to God" which is an inherently JudeoChristian way of describing ones religion and in itself exclusionary of other religions. I know ScoutsBSA say that other religions are allowed, but the language choice in the oath is not accommodating. Regardless, oaths can change. For example, UK Scouting now has alternate oaths including one for atheists.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/18/2021 at 1:27 PM, UKScouterInCA said:

I think Scouting essentially has a great program. I think it needs to take a hard look at what it wants to be and who it wants its community to be. And then it has a big challenge in marketing out that message to counteract the negative impressions it has. Without addressing those core issues it is just left to the individual Troops to try and make best do with what they have got.

Hmm, you only have to look at the Canadian Scouts to see how total inclusion will effect the membership numbers.  Last I heard was that Canadian Scouts was at 40% to 50% of the organizations membership before going total inclusive 20 years previous.

Your post suggest that a total inclusive program would have little effect on the core principles that drive the BSA Vision and Mission. But as others have mentioned, religion is a core principle of the BSA program. Looking at the Canadian Scouts, giving up on some core principles will not improve membership. much. In fact, the risk is membership will likely fall even more.

So, is increasing membership really that important? Or is the desire really just having a totally inclusive youth program?

That is not to say we shouldn't discuss these things, but maybe the discussion should consider what sacrifices folks are willing to accept to be more inclusive. 

Barry 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Scouts UK has 450K "young people".  BSA membership is under 1M and even BSA is not indicating getting back to over 1M until 2025. There are about 16M "young people" (from 5 - 25) in the UK so % of them in UK Scouts is 2.8%.  My guess is that % is higher when you look at under 18. Now .. BSA is about 1M today and just counting 5 - 18 and younger is about 62M.  So, about 1.6%.

UK scouts no longer require DoR. They show you can have a successful program without DOR.

Now ... I DO NOT think removing DoR will have any real positive impact on the US numbers.  I do not believe there would be a surge of applications.  I think you might see some minor changes to some groups willing to host scouts, perhaps some contribution changes (could go either way) but this would likely be minimal and rare.  I also don't see public schools coming back, even with this change.

The only thing it could do is remove a potential future controversy.   I think we should only consider it if it is being considered in the future (to get it out of the way now).  I think you can operate without it and be successful ... you can also go the Scouts Canada route.

In terms of impact on day to day on unit function ... I think almost none if you remove DOR.  Troops & Packs that are chartered by non religious institutions are already very secular.  Unless you are a hard core atheist, you can easily meet our current DOR.  Note that not all religions believe in a God or gods ... but they still fulfill DOR.  For example, Buddhist do not believe in any deity, but you can still get a BSA religious medal.

So, if I were running BSA, I would probably not make the change and ensure there is no debate about a change going forward. 

Quote

The BSA maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to these precepts from the Declaration of Religious Principle and the Bylaws of the BSA shall be entitled to register.

 

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Protoclete said:

... Granted, the reason so many of the younger GenX and Millennials are less likely to have a sense of loyalty to institutions or organizations, from employers to churches to scouting is precisely because of the abuse and unreliability of many of these institutions towards them ...

As I've mentioned before, it is more helpful to refer to this broad range young adults as post-modern nomads. That encapsulates their outlook quite accurately.

As I went to morning coffee with my grandson on my back, we heard the click and remote-start of a car. I explained to him that in our day we opened the door and sat down before starting the engine. Not sure how much he understood of that, but my scoutmaster minute to you is that these generations are ready to go before the door is even unlocked. A lot of institutions previously relied on generations of members willing to mold to them. A post-modern nomad seeks out organizations who mold to him/her.

As a practical matter this means scouting can't grow numerically if it is one thing. I foresee an American Federation of Scouting Organizations of which BSA would be one part, cooperating with others.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...