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1 hour ago, MattR said:

Contrast that with a program, linked to on page 1, of encouraging kids to learn how to play. The adults don't burn out because they're not trying to entertain kids while going over a bunch of repetitive activity pins. The kids do what they're naturally good at, they play. They make up games. They solve people problems. They look out for younger kids. The adults learn to back off. It also takes fewer adults.

Imagine those kids transferring to a troop. They would already have the skills to be in a patrol. Given some options they could pick the skills they wanted to learn. The parents would already understand to let the scouts deal with issues.

This describes the program our pack experimented with and it turned out very very successful as you expected. Sadly, the leaders who gained the knowledge from the experiment moved on and were replaced by leaders who didn’t grow from the experience. Not their fault, new leaders are expected to follow BSA published guidelines.

I ran into the same problem with youth leadership development experiments. Without a supported published standard of guidelines or syllabus, different ideas fade with future generations.

Big changes have to come from the top. So, how can we influence the top to make changes?

Barry

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I am really big on no structure on unit campouts.  Especially Pack campouts.  Have set meal times. maybe an organized hike during the day, but let em go play in the woods and do what they dont get to

Lenore Skenazy, who wrote the book Free Range Kids about just letting kids play more rather than all the structure/school work, helped start a new program called Let Grow,  which is about setting up m

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4 hours ago, malraux said:

173c7a44888ce11a7c8aa54de71a1bcc.jpg

SO SO SO TRUE !!!!!!!

I still remember the big camp toys built from trees.  That was cool and the scouts thought so too.  ... I also remember the lame class room styled skills training.  I wanted to leave too.

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2 hours ago, DuctTape said:

If I was to design a BSA program for 18-21 y/o. I would...

If we are building a program with a lower limit of 18, is there a good reason to cap it at 21?

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3 hours ago, malraux said:

If we are building a program with a lower limit of 18, is there a good reason to cap it at 21?

No, I used 21 as the end of the range due to BSA's policy basically prohibiting 18-21 y/o from truly participating. But as you correctly state, there need not be an upper limit for this. In fact my concept requires some older, veteran Scouters to really guide the young (in age and/or experience) to become well qualified Scouters.

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22 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Big changes have to come from the top. So, how can we influence the top to make changes?

Start from the bottom but make sure the entire program is so simple that you can teach it to someone over a cup of coffee. Simplicity will make it easier to grow, much like scouting when  it was new.

Make it explicit such that everyone involved knows. Just as importantly, explicitly remove the distractions. There is only one method - scouts learning to play and make their own decisions while abiding by the scout law. Advancement is a distraction if the goal is for scouts to define their fun or challenges. Simplify the uniform to be a tee-shirt and a neckerchief - both of which the scouts design.

A good picture is defined as much by what's not there as what is. Make a good picture.

 

 

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1 hour ago, MattR said:

Start from the bottom but make sure the entire program is so simple that you can teach it to someone over a cup of coffee. Simplicity will make it easier to grow, much like scouting when  it was new.

Make it explicit such that everyone involved knows. Just as importantly, explicitly remove the distractions. There is only one method - scouts learning to play and make their own decisions while abiding by the scout law. Advancement is a distraction if the goal is for scouts to define their fun or challenges. Simplify the uniform to be a tee-shirt and a neckerchief - both of which the scouts design.

A good picture is defined as much by what's not there as what is. Make a good picture.

 

 

Yep, great post. I agree with most of it, not all.

But, you didn't really address the question. Starting a National program from the bottom doesn't work. Been there done that several times. In fact, as a council JLT Chairman, I was part of a national group of other council training representatives communicating with National on their NYLT development. They didn't use one suggestion from our group.

At this point in the chaos of all the other stuff going on in the BSA, overhauling the Cub program is likely a very low priority.  But, that doesn't mean we can't talk about great ideas. 

Barry

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59 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

In fact, as a council JLT Chairman, I was part of a national group of other council training representatives communicating with National on their NYLT development. They didn't use one suggestion from our group.

When does national EVER listen to the volunteers? 3 instances come immediately to mind.

I piloted the NSP way back when, and it was a complete and utter failure, yet they implemented it.

Second time was "Instapalms" Of those polled about "Instapalms," 94% were either against ( 18%) or strongly against (76%) Yet they went with it anyway.

3rd time was the June 2015 Cub Scout Program. Several years by volunteers went into developing the program, and at least 1 member of the committee got input from active Cub Scout leaders on the ground. Program implementation info came out in advance at RTs, and RT attendees knew the changes would be a paradigm shift causing lots of changes. In my neck of the woods, those packs that went to RT got the info and implemented great programs. Those packs that did not attend RT freaked out and complained about all the changes., with some parents commented it makes it to hard for the Cubs. December 2016, without any advance notice National dumbs down the Cub Scout program changing requirements mid year. Thankfully my pack kept with the original requirements and plans until May, and changed things around again.

Unless you have money or a PhD, I do not think National will listen to you.

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@Eagledad, how ideas grow from the bottom up: a simple idea that works is easy to replicate and takes over the market. Say that a council has 5 such packs with waiting lines to get in. That would gain a lot of attention.

Certainly there's an assumption that it would be popular enough to create a waiting line but, to be honest, parents are desperate for ways to get their kids away from screens and be more responsible.

One of the approaches is as simple as "over the next week do something you've never done before. Then write it up on a piece of paper and bring it in." That is not only really simple but it develops confidence and instant results that parents see. And other kids will learn from it. A kid makes his family breakfast or gets a younger sibling ready for school or just walks to school on their own.

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58 minutes ago, MattR said:

... One of the approaches is as simple as "over the next week do something you've never done before. Then write it up on a piece of paper and bring it in." That is not only really simple but it develops confidence and instant results that parents see. And other kids will learn from it. A kid makes his family breakfast or gets a younger sibling ready for school or just walks to school on their own.

That was what the Cub Scout handbook was for me ... an outline of things to do that I had not tried before. I vividly remember:

  • holding open the page about neckties in front of a mirror until I no longer needed a clip-on.
  • learning referee/umpire signals. Although I wasn't athletic, I began to enjoy watching sports more because I could follow the adjudication as well as the action.
  • model boats with rubber band motors.
  • collections -- our DL had us bring what we were collecting to a Den meeting.

Plus, the book served Bobcat, Wolf, and Bear, if I recall.

The sons' handbooks were a little more structured, but not as navigable.

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

That was what the Cub Scout handbook was for me ... an outline of things to do that I had not tried before. I vividly remember:

  • holding open the page about neckties in front of a mirror until I no longer needed a clip-on.
  • learning referee/umpire signals. Although I wasn't athletic, I began to enjoy watching sports more because I could follow the adjudication as well as the action.
  • model boats with rubber band motors.
  • collections -- our DL had us bring what we were collecting to a Den meeting.

Plus, the book served Bobcat, Wolf, and Bear, if I recall.


Ah the good ol days.

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Quickest way to ruin a camping trip is to plan out every minute. Our good trips are the ones where we have a morning thing, and afternoon thing, and everything else is free-range.

My son's first camping trip with our Pack years ago was over-planned. Despite lots of activities on the schedule, at the end of the weekend when I asked him what his favorite part was he said, "Log battles" (2 scouts stood on a log and battled to see who could stay on longest). 😄

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51 minutes ago, FireStone said:

Quickest way to ruin a camping trip is to plan out every minute. Our good trips are the ones where we have a morning thing, and afternoon thing, and everything else is free-range.

My son's first camping trip with our Pack years ago was over-planned. Despite lots of activities on the schedule, at the end of the weekend when I asked him what his favorite part was he said, "Log battles" (2 scouts stood on a log and battled to see who could stay on longest). 😄

So true. Unfortunately there are a lot of units that have a very advancement focused, regimented culture. If you can't find time for a hike, or a couple of hikes, or for just checking out the stream or some flashlight games, something is wrong. The other thing I hate is when it becomes tailgating in the woods and no one can leave the campsite because food is the entire focus. I don't mind an occaisional camp out dedicated to cooking involved meals, or a signature fun meal or snack, but I also think if you are toting multiple coolers and apparatus into the woods every weekend you are missing out on the woods.

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29 minutes ago, yknot said:

So true. Unfortunately there are a lot of units that have a very advancement focused, regimented culture. If you can't find time for a hike, or a couple of hikes, or for just checking out the stream or some flashlight games, something is wrong. The other thing I hate is when it becomes tailgating in the woods and no one can leave the campsite because food is the entire focus. I don't mind an occaisional camp out dedicated to cooking involved meals, or a signature fun meal or snack, but I also think if you are toting multiple coolers and apparatus into the woods every weekend you are missing out on the woods.

One thing we have put into the Troop culture for trip planning is to block off 3 or 4 hours of 'unstructured time'  where the Scouts figure out what they want to do 'in the moment'.   All kinds of Scouting breaks out...one set of buddies builds (another) fire,  some hike, some have a rock skipping contest, flag folding, lashing, knife, ax, and saw work, rope work, some grab an older Scout or adult to work on requirements, etc, etc, etc  The only limitation is that you cannot sit around playing on a screen. 

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