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While working on the two projects I mentioned earlier this semester, I am developing a plan for expanding Scouting into underserved areas.  In doing so, I have been reading a lot about youth programs in general and Scouting in particular.  One thing stood out to me.  Scouting survived WWI because the PLCs took over and ran the units while the adults were off at war.  During Desert Storm, my troop was in the same situation.  Our adult leaders were fighter pilots or ground crew and deployed.  That left me and another 16 y/o to run the troop for 8 months.  According to the G2SS, we were not allowed to meet.  I understand the necessity in normal times, but there needs to be some flexibility built in and it needs to be stated.  

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@RichardB I  know better than to not follow the rules. So I do my best to keep up with BSA policies to the point that I have often had to tell my council's professional staff what is and is not a

Boy, I'm not sure why you want to set people's teeth on edge before you offer input, but you sure do a good job at it.  It's not the way I'd try and persuade folks, but I'll assume you have a reason.

"Coffee is gone"  😈👿😡

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10 minutes ago, Armymutt said:

While working on the two projects I mentioned earlier this semester, I am developing a plan for expanding Scouting into underserved areas.  In doing so, I have been reading a lot about youth programs in general and Scouting in particular.  One thing stood out to me.  Scouting survived WWI because the PLCs took over and ran the units while the adults were off at war.  During Desert Storm, my troop was in the same situation.  Our adult leaders were fighter pilots or ground crew and deployed.  That left me and another 16 y/o to run the troop for 8 months.  According to the G2SS, we were not allowed to meet.  I understand the necessity in normal times, but there needs to be some flexibility built in and it needs to be stated.  

Remember, the G2SS is written and updated by lawyers, professional staff, and volunteers who have not been involved at the actual unit level for many many (if ever) years.  The goal of G2SS is not actual safety, but legal mitigation.  Most of it is common sense, but many of the details are at best mind numbing.

The wizards of the G2SS do not understand the patrol method and the promise of Scouting (Scouts BSA at least) is to have youth leading and handling their own adventures, being independent, being responsible.  If it was up to the G2SS folks the whole thing would be Family Camping, no youth allowed without the adult partner, thus moving any risk away from BSA.

The current track of the BSA seems to be focused on Cub Scouts and the Family camping.  Also to make Scouts BSA more book centered, less outdoor adventure and make sure each Scout has a caretaker.  If they can figure a way to do away with the Scout troops out doing risky things in the wilderness, that is the path forward.

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My dad was a 15 year old SM during WWII because there weren't enough men around. His dad (my grandpa) didn't want the job, but said he would sign everything required by the adult if my dad was SM. And they made that work for 2 years. My dad enjoyed being a SM, but regretted doing it because he wanted to get his Eagle and didn't have the time.

Jameson said what I was going to say. I want to add, that stating something in writing usually takes out flexibility. How many discussions have we had on this forum of why Unit level restrictions and requirements for discipline or attendance tend to take away from the patrol method part of the program because they by nature take away independence of making decisions?

I personally encouraged activities until we were told to stop. Laser tag is an example. 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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23 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

The goal of G2SS is not actual safety, but legal mitigation. 

 

23 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

If it was up to the G2SS folks the whole thing would be Family Camping, no youth allowed without the adult partner, thus moving any risk away from BSA.

Bingo!

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2 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I personally encouraged activities until we were told to stop. 

We continue with dodgeball (or extreme catch) and vegetable cannons.  But we're sort of rogue sometimes

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57 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

We continue with dodgeball (or extreme catch) and vegetable cannons.  But we're sort of rogue sometimes

I'm hoping that troops like that still exist when my kids are old enough.  Lots of new people to the program and are timid about it.  I told our chapter chief last night about a game we used to play - star gazers.  Sort of a quiet duck duck goose, except the guy walking around had a belt and would drop it into someone hands.  They then started whipping the guy to their right, chasing him around the circle.  Once he got back, it was repeated.  

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Yep, many things we did that made the youth stay were the challenges of games and one on one physical competitions.  In the early Scouting materials you can find many such contests that pit one on one.  Many, today, would be considered "too dangerous" or "too much of a chance for minor injuries".  What those of us now in the doddering stage of life may still remember is that we learned to deal with minor pain and trivial scratches or strains, especially if we defeated an arch competitor.  I used to teach the kids to do Indian leg wrestling which means success is often in the quickness and technique, but if the combatants are too different in size much chance for the smaller ones.  Yet, the smaller boys often insisted on being rolled just for the fun of it.  We also did a balance joust game with padded batons made with old boxing gloves and later additional coverage of foam.  At SOR's, we did these things as part of the show, and we were always busy.  The worst injury to come out of those SOR contests was my own; a serious hamstring pull when I took on another leader and we were locked in the air in a stalemate for a long while until I literally heard the sound as the pain shot through to my glutes.  Could not walk for over a week without serious help.  I suppose today if that happened to youth in a contest it would be liability time.  That in itself is where much of our problems lie.

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2 hours ago, Armymutt said:

 During Desert Storm, my troop was in the same situation.  Our adult leaders were fighter pilots or ground crew and deployed.  That left me and another 16 y/o to run the troop for 8 months.  According to the G2SS, we were not allowed to meet.  I understand the necessity in normal times, but there needs to be some flexibility built in and it needs to be stated.  

As others have mentioned,  the G2SS is constantly being updated, to the point that even the professionals cannot keep up with all the changes (kinda sad when I have to tell the SE something is no longer allowed in the GTSS) Prior to 2012, patrols could camp on their own without adults. UP to 2018, patrols could do day activities: meetings, hikes, grocery shopping, etc, on their own without adults. So back in our day, what happened with your troop, your older Scouts taking over without adults, was perfectly acceptable. 

 

2 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

The wizards of the G2SS do not understand the patrol method and the promise of Scouting (Scouts BSA at least) is to have youth leading and handling their own adventures, being independent, being responsible. 

While @RichardB is a product of the program and should know how the program is supposed to work, I wonder sometimes if A)  his involvement was during the screwed up "Improved Scouting Program" fiasco that took the outing  out of Scouting and he did not get a true Scouting program ( saw that happen with some SMs and ASMs I trained and/or worked with who did not understand why camping was important), or B) if his time as a health and safety guy has blinded him to how the program is supposed to work. And I am still upset that the lie that Dodgeball has never been an approved activity is still posted in the FAQ, Not only do I have published works with Dodgeball and its variants as approved games, but also pointed out to him on the Scouting.org website  AFTER THE BAN WAS PUT IN PLACE (emphasis) that dodgeball and several variants were an approved games on their website. Like 1984, the information that BSA did approve Dodgeball was quickly removed.

 

2 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

The current track of the BSA seems to be focused on Cub Scouts and the Family camping.  Also to make Scouts BSA more book centered, less outdoor adventure and make sure each Scout has a caretaker.

Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. The 1970s' Improved Scouting Program fiasco shows what happens when you take the outing out of Scouting. Back then, William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt was alive, and saved Scouting when he came out of retirement to write the 1979 Handbook.

As for "family scouting," I saw what it almost did to my old troop. COR had to intervene to keep it a traditional troop. If "family scouting" is what we turn into, I see a 100 year old troop folding, and many others.

2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

My dad was a 15 year old SM during WWII because there weren't enough men around.

Something similar happened to a friend of mine. As SPL, he ran the troop without any adults. At 18, he was de facto SM and was doing such a good job, remained the SM for over 60 years. Sons and grandsons of his original Scouts were in the troop.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
changed over 70 years to 60 years.
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On the other hand, this in from Bryan on Scouting offers a valid and, to me, exciting direction to the program, if done properly.  https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2021/11/19/scout-camps-new-skilled-trades-center-will-introduce-young-people-to-in-demand-fields/

This plays well into the current California redirection of junior colleges to more focus on local options and trade school opportunities.  I could see a camp being part of the refocus of this needed venture in redirection of education and skills.  We already have a perfect example at our camp with welding, run by Jack Compton, the creator of the main elements of the merit badge.  Besides camp, he also does the program for units, usually finalized with a weekend of welding and camping on his property in the Lake Piru area.  

Proper utilization of the camp properties should include these types of options, as well as more traditional adventures.  And, the development might add to the community outreach and positive vibes for the various areas.  

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16 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Those who think the Scouts (and I was one) don't really care about the rigor of the requirements are really off base.  YOUR adventure, YOU working with peers, YOU making things happen, YOU realizing mistakes and how to correct...That's what Scouting is.

Certainly not hanging out on a community college campus on a Saturday at an MBU.

Sadly the  drive for MBs is turning off my Scouts. They seeing folks with all 130+ merit badges being earned in under 2 years, especially during COVID, is frustrating, angering, and discouraging them. They know the MBUs, online courses, and even a few summer camps, are giving away MB. Here are the guys earning them the right way by actually doing the requirements and not just by attending a class. I have had 3 conversations to date about this. One got so frustrated, he almost gave up on Eagle because it no longer meant anything because "everyone is getting it." 

I used @Jameson76 approach: focus on your adventure, and choices; and don't worry about what anyone else is doing.

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4 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Sadly the  drive for MBs is turning off my Scouts. They seeing folks with all 130+ merit badges being earned awarded in under 2 years, especially during COVID, is frustrating, angering, and discouraging them. They know the MBUs, online courses, and even a few summer camps, are giving away MB. Here are the guys earning them the right way by actually doing the requirements and not just by attending a class. I have had 3 conversations to date about this. One got so frustrated, he almost gave up on Eagle because it no longer meant anything because "everyone is getting it." 

I used @Jameson76 approach: focus on your adventure, and choices; and don't worry about what anyone else is doing.

Fixed that for you 😜

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26 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

focus on your adventure, and choices; and don't worry about what anyone else is doing.

Focus on adventure is the KEY

That is what many do not really understand.  If Scouts are having fun and adventure and if THAT is your focus, everything else works out.  Our troop has a lot of Eagles.  Statistically 40% - 45% of Scouts that join the troop, attain the rank of Eagle.  Why?  Because they remain active, go on outings, and for lack of a better word, chip away at Eagle over the years and 4 to 5 summer camp weeks and other Troop activities.  Many times we sit down with the 16 year old Life and assist with their plan.  They are sometime surprised at how far along they are.  Most still need Personal Mgt, Family Life, Cit in the Community, plus the project.

Key take away is Eagle is not the goal, fun and adventure is the goal.  Our high Eagle count is the result of good outdoor program that Scouts want to be participate in.  No advancement outings, no push for MBU, etc.  We do not burn out Scouts at 8th grade but provide them with good stuff, high adventure trips, challenging outings, and a leadership rolls.  

Edited by Jameson76
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