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The Boy Scouts of America.  At one time this was the premiere youth organization in the country and possibly the world.  It was affordable,  active, and welcoming.  It was based on the dictates of the Scout Oath and Law, the Scout Slogan and Motto, and the Outdoor Code.  I know that everything is dynamic and is in a constant state of change, but when is "enough enough?"  I won't waste time in rehashing old issues and concerns,  opinions or worries, but for me enough is enough.  The BSA has a lot going on and has reduced their national staff,  raised the fees to make membership unaffordable for many, and apply additional rules and redundant regulations that are either unobtainable or simply ignored.  Now, they really do have patch sensors who arbitrarily approve or reject designs that are created by local artists.  Well, if that isn't infringing on the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, I don't know what else is.  The BSA is absolutely grinding itself out of existence.   Well, for me, enough is enough and after 50 years of membership, support, providing explanations and excuses, I've had enough.

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“ Now, they really do have patch sensors who arbitrarily approve or reject designs that are created by local artists.  Well, if that isn't infringing on the constitutional rights of freedom of speech

Then you have been defending something you don’t understand. The Bill of Rights protects you/us from the government infringing on our government from infringing on our inalienable rights. Please stop

Do you really think the US Constitution protects you from the BSA saying you can’t design a patch with its logo as part of it? 

The BSA was on a path to extinction a long time ago. That path has just branched off in some random directions over the years. The current branch (the abuse settlements) might be accelerating things, but we've been in this struggle in some form for way too long. Who are we, why are we relevant today, what do we offer kids that makes them want to be scouts, what should a modern sustainable scouting program look like? All questions we've all asked and no one, not even National, has answered.

I'm all out of excuses to give parents. How many years in a row can I say "Well, we're still cheaper than some sports," as fees go up yet again?

I don't have an answer to any of it, and no encouraging words for anyone to convince them to stay. I get it, it's hard to be even slightly enthusiastic about this program today.

As for the badge designs, all I can say to that is to do what I do: stop asking for approvals. Use your own vendors, get stuff made without the BSA lording over what you design. I know, not the way we're supposed to do it. But at this point, I'm willing to bend a few rules to get things done for my local program. That's all that matters to me right now, these kids showing up for meetings and trips, no matter how small a group they are, just looking for some fun things to do and some badges to earn.

 

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12 minutes ago, Mrjeff said:

Now, they really do have patch sensors who arbitrarily approve or reject designs that are created by local artists.  Well, if that isn't infringing on the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, I don't know what else is. 

If the patch design uses the BSA's copyrighted/trademarked materials like the word Scout or BSA or the logos associated with them, then it while it may infringe on speech and expression, it is constitutionally permissible.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, FireStone said:

all I can say to that is to do what I do: stop asking for approvals. Use your own vendors, get stuff made without the BSA lording over what you design. I know, not the way we're supposed to do it.

A scout is obedient...until it gets in the way of what they want, then they should stop asking and just do what they want.

I wonder how I'd react to a scout telling me "I know, not the way we're supposed to do it, but I want what I want and I'm not going to ask for your approval anymore."

Edited by CynicalScouter
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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

A scout is obedient...until it gets in the way of what they want, then they should stop asking and just do what they want.

I wonder how I'd react to a scout telling me "I know, not the way we're supposed to do it, but I want what I want and I'm not going to ask for your approval anymore."

You're not wrong, I get it, I'm breaking rules.

I'm not telling scouts that this is how I get badges or t-shirts or whatever else made. There isn't a Pack or Troop what hasn't bent some rules. Does everyone here live 100% by the rules of the BSA, every document, every code, uniform code, etc?

I know that doesn't excuse it either, but it's just sometimes how we keep things moving, locally, reducing the council or national interference. As long as it's not something that goes against YPT, I'm ok with bending a rule like this.

Edited by FireStone
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8 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

A scout is obedient...until it gets in the way of what they want, then they should stop asking and just do what they want.

I wonder how I'd react to a scout telling me "I know, not the way we're supposed to do it, but I want what I want and I'm not going to ask for your approval anymore."

While the BSA has a monopoly on BSA patches, they really don't have a monopoly on patches in general.

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13 minutes ago, malraux said:

While the BSA has a monopoly on BSA patches, they really don't have a monopoly on patches in general

This was my first thought in response to this thread as well.  I made a patch recently for a troop activity.  I went to a licensed provider, they looked at my design and told me what changes I’d likely need to make to get it approved in the BSA review process.  I grumbled a little, but in the end it got approved and so it has the Scout logo on it.  They also told me if I didn’t want to make changes, I could take the Scout logo off and it could be made that way without review, my choice. 

Having been on this board for a bit now, I would be willing to make a substantial bet that if a patch was made with BSA’s logo and name, and something viewed as explicitly political — whichever the end of the spectrum the political element came from — there would be critical discussion that was not appropriate for Scouting.  Unless everyone is cool with seeing patches that associate things they really don’t agree with and Scouting being worn on uniforms at Camporees and Jamborees, we should probably support patch review processes(even if that support involves some grumbling.)

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37 minutes ago, FireStone said:

Does everyone here live 100% by the rules of the BSA, every document, every code, uniform code, etc?

No. But there's a vast difference between "Oops, I didn't know that was a BSA rule" and "I know it's a BSA rule but I'm going to do it my way anyway."

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12 minutes ago, BAJ said:

This was my first thought in response to this thread as well.  I made a patch recently for a troop activity.  I went to a licensed provider, they looked at my design and told me what changes I’d likely need to make to get it approved in the BSA review process.  I grumbled a little, but in the end it got approved and so it has the Scout logo on it.  They also told me if I didn’t want to make changes, I could take the Scout logo off and it could be made that way without review, my choice. 

Having been on this board for a bit now, I would be willing to make a substantial bet that if a patch was made with BSA’s logo and name, and something viewed as explicitly political — whichever the end of the spectrum the political element came from — there would be critical discussion that was not appropriate for Scouting.  Unless everyone is cool with seeing patches that associate things they really don’t agree with and Scouting being worn on uniforms at Camporees and Jamborees, we should probably support patch review processes(even if that support involves some grumbling.)

I think there needs to be a distinction between official and unofficial patches for sure. But we certainly give away lots of other trophies or recognitions that are unofficial all the time. 

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37 minutes ago, malraux said:

While the BSA has a monopoly on BSA patches, they really don't have a monopoly on patches in general.

True, but the minute you use a BSA trademark or copyrighted item, BSA gets to decide yes/no.

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Just now, CynicalScouter said:

True, but the minute you use a BSA trademark or copyrighted item, BSA gets to decide yes/no.

Oh yeah, I'm not going to disagree with that. If you want an official patch for uniform wear, then that's what the approval process is for.

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Once upon a time, BSA DID allow units to come up with and use BSA logos. Heck they sold CD-ROMs with BSA trademarked images so that units could create their own recruiting flyers, letterhead, patches, etc. I have two  of those disks at home somewhere, and the images can be found on Macscouter.com. Heck the "newer" disk, the one I got from 1998, had the Venturing logo in maroon and gold in addition to the green and gold.

But that changed somewhere in the mid to late 2000s. BSA's marketing department started cracking down on local printers and patch makers.

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Keep it clean and neat.  Beyond that, there is an official endorsed uniform.   ... BUT ... don't stress on it and don't be the guy enforcing it on others.  Sure, we want to follow BSA's unforming guide.  Beyond that, does it motivate or make the scouts proud?  Inspire discussions, etc.  If so ... and it looks clean and neat, fine. 

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BSA has been taking knocks for 20 years.  Probably longer.  ... Perhaps we should focus on the small parts.  What brought us to scouting?  What do we really enjoy? 

Leave the muck behind.  

BSA's future is solid with the ideas and methods and values that can't be beat.  Get youth together.  Get them outside.  Do things new that stretches their comfort zone.  (and as a bit of bragging rights)  Hike.  Bike.  Canoe.  Explore nature.  Build friendships.    Then as part of that, naturally learning leadership and independence ... 

Ya can't beat that.  That's scouting.   

It's different than sports and academics.  It's much more dynamic and in areas not touched by sports or athletics.   

 

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