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10 hours ago, yknot said:

It is clearly associated with BSA. I'm not sure why you are not seeing the connection:

https://www.hoac-bsa.org/mic-o-say

No Mic-O-Say is not associated or recognized by BSA or the OA. They are somehow affiliated with that camp, just like other organizations are affiliated with other Scout Camps, like ROTC units, Boys & Girls clubs etc. 

While what they do my be annoying or even offensive to some, as long as they don't break rules or policies, I am not sure what BSA can do without getting into more legal issues. 

10 hours ago, yknot said:

I had already visited that site you linked to and I went again to see what I might have missed. There is nothing on that site that comes close to what you describe, at least not in recent photos. Again, the couple of potentially recent I could identify dates on are at least 7-8 years old, possibly older, and most of the rest are much older. Unless you are saying cultural appropriation somehow falls under YPT I am not seeing what you are talking about. 

10 hours ago, yknot said:

However, if you think shirtless youth wearing loincloths, even over shorts, in the company of adult men in camp ceremonies in the woods for no reason is not inappropriate from a youth protection standpoint, then that's the explanation for why this kind of thing persists. 

The point is that I am not seeing any evidence that it does persist. Like face paint, that type of regalia has gone away. In fact many lodges are no longer using regalia at all, instead opting for field uniforms. I have been to countless ceremonies from crossover to vigil and I have not seen anything like you describe in at least 8-10 years if not longer. 

Edited by HelpfulTracks
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OK, I hid a couple of comments that I felt were a bit too descriptive for an open Scouting forum.  While they may be historically accurate, they felt a bit uncomfortable for me. I have asked the other

I work with several national staff and national OA on a regular basis, I can guarantee they would want to know and it would cause an immediate reaction, particularly given the current headlines regard

Turning a blind eye? That is more than a little insulting to people who care about scouting and scouts and are trying to make sure things are done right.  And you become indignant toward peopl

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9 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

This times 10,000

Expect him to turn a blind eye just like everyone else at national does.

again I called the 800 number and reported  it and absolutely nothing happened.

Turning a blind eye?

That is more than a little insulting to people who care about scouting and scouts and are trying to make sure things are done right. 

And you become indignant toward people willing to help when:

  • You can produce no names of abusers or victims
  • no location of abuse
  • no date of abuse
  • no location
  • Your only claim is to say Google it, you will find it

There is just nothing you have pointed to that is actionable. That is like trying to find a specific grain of sand on a beach.

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Since Mic-o-say isn’t a thing in my council, all I have learned about it is from posts like this one (and there was a substantial post on the BSA subreddit board recently) — 

 

 

From the perspective of a more recent returnee to Scouting than many on this board, I would add that I honestly find some of the elements of what I have read worrisome, and - as described - counter to YPT training.  Specifically, the requirements for new initiates to be partially clothed as part of joining (while others are not) and the in group/out group dynamics that have been described by some.  Both are reminiscent, at least to me, of things that create power dynamics — particularly between adults and scouts, though potentially among scouts — that the YPT training suggests could be used to facilitate abuse.  

Because of my involvement with a girls troop, the question also comes to mind how the organizations’ activities could be more problematic now with girls in BSA — which for me always puts arguments that have been made here that this is essentially “the same as a swimsuit even though they aren’t swimming” in a different light.  And puts additional emphasis why it might be seen as problematic for leaders (adult or youth) in such a group setting requirements about how “unclothed prospective female members have to be” to join.  

More broadly, however, if things about members having more privileges at camp, there being closed areas to all but members, etc. that I have read in some of the posts about the group are true, I think it is also worth asking how the existence of this kind of “semi-sorta-secret society” at a Scout camp… even if organizationally it is only “Scouting adjacent” versus being an official BSA program… could affect views of scouting and people’s willingness to participate.  Even having been an Eagle Scout as a youth and someone who was eager to return to Scouting with my daughter, if our first experience at camp had been “and here’s this extra super fun group that the cool kids join that gives you extra perks but you have to semi-strip down to join,” I think my reaction would have been “If this is what Scouting is now, it isn’t something I want anything to do with.”

 

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48 minutes ago, BAJ said:

Since Mic-o-say isn’t a thing in my council, all I have learned about it is from posts like this one (and there was a substantial post on the BSA subreddit board recently) — 

 

 

From the perspective of a more recent returnee to Scouting than many on this board, I would add that I honestly find some of the elements of what I have read worrisome, and - as described - counter to YPT training.  Specifically, the requirements for new initiates to be partially clothed as part of joining (while others are not) and the in group/out group dynamics that have been described by some.  Both are reminiscent, at least to me, of things that create power dynamics — particularly between adults and scouts, though potentially among scouts — that the YPT training suggests could be used to facilitate abuse.  

Because of my involvement with a girls troop, the question also comes to mind how the organizations’ activities could be more problematic now with girls in BSA — which for me always puts arguments that have been made here that this is essentially “the same as a swimsuit even though they aren’t swimming” in a different light.  And puts additional emphasis why it might be seen as problematic for leaders (adult or youth) in such a group setting requirements about how “unclothed prospective female members have to be” to join.  

More broadly, however, if things about members having more privileges at camp, there being closed areas to all but members, etc. that I have read in some of the posts about the group are true, I think it is also worth asking how the existence of this kind of “semi-sorta-secret society” at a Scout camp… even if organizationally it is only “Scouting adjacent” versus being an official BSA program… could affect views of scouting and people’s willingness to participate.  Even having been an Eagle Scout as a youth and someone who was eager to return to Scouting with my daughter, if our first experience at camp had been “and here’s this extra super fun group that the cool kids join that gives you extra perks but you have to semi-strip down to join,” I think my reaction would have been “If this is what Scouting is now, it isn’t something I want anything to do with.”

 

Thank you for posting that. The Reddit poster's views are current from this summer, as are other posts with current Summer 2021 photos on Reddit. 

It seems almost impossible that anyone involved beyond a passing level with National or OA has never heard of this Council and its activities or would be able to dismiss them. It's debatable how "adjacent" the Council, camps, and society may be given that it is all  clearly operating with BSA approval. It is using branded logos, materials, and webistes and intertwining program and fundraising aspects and leadership.

I hope some of these reports to National make a difference but I am doubtful. I think the only thing that will make a difference is when some lawyer in a high profile future lawsuit needs proof that BSA's negligence in dealing forthrightly with youth protection issues is ongoing and not historic.

 

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10 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

No Mic-O-Say is not associated or recognized by BSA or the OA. They are somehow affiliated with that camp, just like other organizations are affiliated with other Scout Camps, like ROTC units, Boys & Girls clubs etc. 

While what they do my be annoying or even offensive to some, as long as they don't break rules or policies, I am not sure what BSA can do without getting into more legal issues.

What folks are telling you, is they are violating BSA rules. Further, Mic O Say is not like ROTC. It's a BSA affiliated organization unique to Camp Bartle. The council that runs that camp could do away with it whenever they please. Or BSA national could force them to. 

While a scattered claim with no evidence should be viewed skeptically, this is not the first time on this forum or elsewhere where people have talked about the violations or odd practices of Mic O Say. 

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1 hour ago, Sentinel947 said:

odd practices of Mic O Say. 

It is funny since they are able to do a number of things that due to the national oversight of OA, the OA isn't allowed to do. Bare chests, face paint, AOL ceremonies, adults conducting ceremonies, etc. are not allowed in the OA. Mic-O-Say gets away with a lot. 

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12 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

No Mic-O-Say is not associated or recognized by BSA or the OA. They are somehow affiliated with that camp, just like other organizations are affiliated with other Scout Camps, like ROTC units, Boys & Girls clubs etc. 

Mic O Say participants are Scouts and Scouters, and the activities take place in a Scout camp. In the current bankruptcy, there is discussion of how to define a Scouting activity. It's hard for me to imagine how a Mic O Say event could fall outside that definition.

The council has a Mic O Say page on its website. That's beyond tacit approval; it's an endorsement.

The BSA would never be able to convince a court that Mic O Say activities are outside the realm of Scouting.

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12 hours ago, HelpfulTracks said:

No Mic-O-Say is not associated or recognized by BSA or the OA.

Uhhh...

https://www.hoac-bsa.org/mic-o-say

Quote

Mic-O-Say serves as a leadership enhancement program of the Heart of America Council designed to help the Heart of America Council fulfill its mission of preparing the young people of Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

If I am the attorneys for any of the abuse victims with claims against Heart of America Council, I'm going after them hammer and tongs.

Again, I've called, others have called, BSA won't lift a finger.

So, tell me again how BSA takes YP seriously?

Edited by CynicalScouter
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While it is more visible, many camps still have their variants on these traditions.  We have our Tribe of Matilija at our camp, but they do not do ceremonies.  It is mostly just another option for the summer program and gets some service done in camp while units earn the award, which is now far different than its original requirements that developed in the thirties at Camp Gray.  The Tribe was the basis for the OA Lodge, and the original Lodge members were all part of the Tribe of the time when started in the forties.  Long Beach has a very large Tahquitz group at the camp, and it too is part of the summer program and allows camp service separately from OA.  They appear to have modified much of their initiation programs away from the Native American concerns, but not sure about the hard core, as I am not in that council and was only made an honorary member as a leader at camp years ago.  Chawankee has its Tribe, and as far as I know they still run their in camp program as well, though modified from what I have been told.  Again, though I am on paper a "Medicine Man" and appear in their log of the Medicine men "quests", I do not recall much real NA details, but also it is likely two decades since we regularly attended the camp, and my entry was in the early 80's.  

I suspect that there are many more local "tribes" or "clans" at camps.  In earlier days, it was often one of the main components of camp programs, some very elaborate, others just a smaller part of the larger program.  A few of the very early patches, for example, from long gone camp groups have become premium "collector" items, ofthe bring four digits if a prime item.

None of it from the past should taint the present IF current YP is in place and followed.  Reality here, like in everyday society, is that there are those that either through ignorance, "I have a right" attitudes, or simply beligerance will flout rules and laws.  That is why we have to have law enforcement.  And NO organization will ever be absolutely secure or safe from those that choose to ignore or simply never try to even understand guidelines.  

While padding YP and making sincere efforts to police it are necessary, no amount of oversight can ever offset the realities of the societal scoflaws or simply warped personalities.  We can never have that utopia; but we also cannot then shrug and not apply oversight reglularly, and deal with violators without favoritism to power and money, which often are joined at the hip.

 

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14 hours ago, gpurlee said:

While they may be historically accurate, they felt a bit uncomfortable for me. 

Thank you for making my point.

The Native American cultures of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries are not portrayed or described accurately by the scouts who claim to "honor" them.  The truth is that most people today despise that culture as much as our ancestors did.  

If Native Americans had not been forced to assimilate into our Western culture by past generations of Americans, we would probably be forcing them to do so today.  We would be doing so under the banner of child protection.  We would be forcibly removing children from their families and putting them into government run facilities.

As we speak, politicians are decrying the actions of our forefathers and calling for public apologies and reparations.  This is hypocrisy.  These politicians would never allow Native Americans to return to their culture as it was practiced in previous centuries.  That culture offends modern sensibilities.

 

 

Edited by David CO
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2 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

What folks are telling you, is they are violating BSA rules. Further, Mic O Say is not like ROTC. It's a BSA affiliated organization unique to Camp Bartle. The council that runs that camp could do away with it whenever they please. Or BSA national could force them to. 

While a scattered claim with no evidence should be viewed skeptically, this is not the first time on this forum or elsewhere where people have talked about the violations or odd practices of Mic O Say. 

Sentinel - you are absolutely correct, that is what people are telling me. But what they are not telling me is what rules they are breaking. They are telling me what they do not like, what is distasteful, what is obnoxious. So far no one has put forth any credible actionable information to show anyone breaking any rules. RedEdit post and Google searches will not hold up for that, unless they lead to specific information. If you want to make a rule banning boys from taking off their shirts, the please do so. If you want to make a rule banning regalia, be my guest. If said rules make sense, I'll support it. If some breaks the rules, I'll be the first to ask they be appropriately punished. 

But if we are going to demand action be taking against individuals or groups based on vague internet claims that someone broke the law or BSA rules, without some form of proof, then we are just letting mob rule win. And God help us all if we do that. 

1 hour ago, mrjohns2 said:

It is funny since they are able to do a number of things that due to the national oversight of OA, the OA isn't allowed to do. Bare chests, face paint, AOL ceremonies, adults conducting ceremonies, etc. are not allowed in the OA. Mic-O-Say gets away with a lot. 

Here is the thing, BSA isn't the ones making those rules (other than those dictated by changes to safety rules). It is OA National volunteers. The OA has chosen to make rule changes about its organization, often those changes are driven from the bottom up. 

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1 hour ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Here is the thing, BSA isn't the ones making those rules (other than those dictated by changes to safety rules). It is OA National volunteers. The OA has chosen to make rule changes about its organization, often those changes are driven from the bottom up. 

The National BSA’s OA National Committee is making those rules. I don’t buy your “national isn’t making them” since it is a committee of the national council. Thus, national is making them. 
 

Your argument is akin to the national advancement committee making a new rule “doesn’t come from national since the committee is mostly volunteers”. Yeah, so, that is how national works.

 

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1 hour ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Sentinel - you are absolutely correct, that is what people are telling me. But what they are not telling me is what rules they are breaking. They are telling me what they do not like, what is distasteful, what is obnoxious. So far no one has put forth any credible actionable information to show anyone breaking any rules. RedEdit post and Google searches will not hold up for that, unless they lead to specific information. If you want to make a rule banning boys from taking off their shirts, the please do so. If you want to make a rule banning regalia, be my guest. If said rules make sense, I'll support it. If some breaks the rules, I'll be the first to ask they be appropriately punished. 

But if we are going to demand action be taking against individuals or groups based on vague internet claims that someone broke the law or BSA rules, without some form of proof, then we are just letting mob rule win. And God help us all if we do that. 

Here is the thing, BSA isn't the ones making those rules (other than those dictated by changes to safety rules). It is OA National volunteers. The OA has chosen to make rule changes about its organization, often those changes are driven from the bottom up. 

Appropriate attire is required for all activities under BSA Youth Protection and Adult Leadership rules. Start there. The recent inclusion of girls in the program, as an earlier poster noted, is a logical time for BSA to enforce its own rules. 

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18 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

The National BSA’s OA National Committee is making those rules. I don’t buy your “national isn’t making them” since it is a committee of the national council. Thus, national is making them. 

Exactly, the OA National Committee is volunteers. By BSA, I mean professional and legal staff. 

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