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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

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. 

It's a great approach but it's counter culture in a lot of units. 

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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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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

You got that right!

But, there is loads of research touting the value of unstructured time as critical for youth development.

Yup. Many of the countries we try to compete with in mathmatics and science place a much higher value on treating children like children and letting them explore and learn. We keep trying to turn it into a trendy new expensive  curriculum program or advancement process. 

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I've told the story many times here of the SM of a 6 month old troop calling to ask what activities scouts can do on campouts besides advancement. When I suggested a few hours of free time, he couldn't allow it because the scouts would just go out and get into mischief. 

That SM was never in scouts as a youth and I've observed over the years that adult leaders without a youth scouting experience have a different expectation of the scouting experience than those who did have a youth scouting experience. To be fair, they aren't purposely taking the outing out of scouting, they just don't know. They start by doing what is easiest, and that is following instructions for advancement. 

And while I enjoyed working with, and mentoring, many female adult leaders, bringing them into the troop program as leaders changed the program a lot because they didn't bring with them a boy scout youth scouting experience. Of course male adults without the experience are just a problematic, as I pointed out in my example above. But women, at least in our area, make up around 50% of the adult leaders in troops. It's just a guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if 75% of new adult troop leaders today didn't have a youth scouting experience.  So, we shouldn't be surprised of a trend where scouts are restricted from creative freedoms and decisions.

Barry

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54 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

It's just a guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if 75% of new adult troop leaders today didn't have a youth scouting experience.  So, we shouldn't be surprised of a trend where scouts are restricted from creative freedoms and decisions.

Completely and totally agree. Check out the Facebook posts to see all the interference new adults with no experience are causing: selecting MBs for their kids, holding back a scout so he the rest of his NSP can advance with him, adults picking campouts, ad nauseum.

And if you try to discuss what they are doing is wrong, you are told "you do not know my scout," "my scout has (name your medical issue) problems,"  "why are you bullying me," etc.

My favorite parent comment is still "he might hurt himself using a safety pin." We teach Scouts to use knives, axes, saws, etc.  

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And quite a few had a youth scouting experience which was completely adult driven and run; they are doing what they know. Quality Control in BSA is non-existent and hasn't existed for decades.

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6 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

And quite a few had a youth scouting experience which was completely adult driven and run; they are doing what they know. Quality Control in BSA is non-existent and hasn't existed for decades.

The only apparatus I know of for this "Quality Control" and some sort of 'standardization' of program and execution would be through a Commissioners' Corps.

This is one critical area lacking in our council...I think because the primary pool of candidates for Commissioner, those 'graduated' unit leaders, have become jaded by how crappily (is that a word?) our council is run and how our dedicated volunteers are treated with disdain...

No one wants to join a losing team, especially when they have seen others with equal dedication join that team and just get beat down...

 

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2 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

And quite a few had a youth scouting experience which was completely adult driven and run; they are doing what they know. Quality Control in BSA is non-existent and hasn't existed for decades.

Quality control is basically training. Adults hate to be told they are doing it wrong, so theoretically training should start them in the right direction at the begining. But, the BSA is learning from the experience of bringing in female adults. One of the ironic results of the old training courses is that they set the wrong example for new leaders. The reason Woodbsdge was changed was because leaders were trying to mimic the Woodbadge course. One big example was adults eating their meals with the scouts. National realized that it needed a more basic style of training designed with inexperienced adults in mind. That is what the courses are today, believe it or not.

Other than watching and learning in a functional scout run troop, I'm not sure how to get new adult leaders up to speed.

Barry

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42 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

And quite a few had a youth scouting experience which was completely adult driven and run; they are doing what they know. 

Or they were involved during the 1970s "Improved Scouting Program." One Eagle from ISP era did not understand why camping is so important. They do a lot of car camping and MBUs.

 

32 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

The only apparatus I know of for this "Quality Control" and some sort of 'standardization' of program and execution would be through a Commissioners' Corps.

This is one critical area lacking in our council...I think because the primary pool of candidates for Commissioner, those 'graduated' unit leaders, have become jaded by how crappily (is that a word?) our council is run and how our dedicated volunteers are treated with disdain...

No one wants to join a losing team, especially when they have seen others with equal dedication join that team and just get beat down...

 

In my neck of the woods, that is an understatement. I have heard of district commissioners being yelled and cursed at by professionals, and read one DE's abusive texts to the district commissioner. I myself have been ignored and overruled by the DE about an event I was running. I have friends who have had events changed at the last minute by professionals. I had a friend removed from his district and council level duties because he was not a "team player," read he opposed the sale of a camp and was trying to save it. Within the year prior to removal, he was responsible for 2 council level and and 5 district level activities.

So volunteers are used until they burn out, or forced out, in my neck of the woods. 

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10 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Or they were involved during the 1970s "Improved Scouting Program." One Eagle from ISP era did not understand why camping is so important. They do a lot of car camping and MBUs.

 

In my neck of the woods, that is an understatement. I have heard of district commissioners being yelled and cursed at by professionals, and read one DE's abusive texts to the district commissioner. I myself have been ignored and overruled by the DE about an event I was running. I have friends who have had events changed at the last minute by professionals. I had a friend removed from his district and council level duties because he was not a "team player," read he opposed the sale of a camp and was trying to save it. Within the year prior to removal, he was responsible for 2 council level and and 5 district level activities.

So volunteers are used until they burn out, or forced out, in my neck of the woods. 

The Commissioner Corp is only as good as the District Commissioner.  I personally belive that the District Commissioner is the most important scouting in the district. The DC controls or has heavy influence in all the the District Activities.

Barry

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38 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Quality control is basically training. Adults hate to be told they are doing it wrong, so theoretically training should start them in the right direction at the beginning.

And even then, folks will ignore their training. I had one SM I trained tell me "The BSA needs to change with the times." He was doing a lot wrong, hemorrhaging Scouts, and not recruiting  Scouting. Eventually and DL I trained and worked with became an ASM, and slowly turned some things around. And one of the parents that was causing problems in my old troop was 'trained." he "didn't care what I'm suppose to do."

46 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

 National realized that it needed a more basic style of training designed with inexperienced adults in mind. That is what the courses are today, believe it or not.

Other than watching and learning in a functional scout run troop, I'm not sure how to get new adult leaders up to speed.

 And how is that working out? The training today sucks. All you need to do is read some of the Facebook posts to see that. And when you do try to help, you get all types of excuses, and being accused of being a bully.

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Sorry, going off on a tangent and venting. My district and council is in major trouble because professionals have run off  long time, experienced, and dedicated volunteers. It has gotten to the point that units are beginning to do their own thing, not attend any district or council events or activities, and are shopping at neighboring councils' stores for Scouting supplies so that none of the units' money supports the council.

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18 hours ago, yknot said:

...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.

We've been working to reduce meal excess, too. We had a guy who was a real foodie a few years back and while the meals he prepared were great, the amount of gear and work it required of all of the adults was too much. We were lugging heavy stoves, grills, coolers, etc. I actually got a hernia from lifting one of the coolers.

Now we do much more light-weight cooking, smaller portable stoves as needed, simpler meal plans. And everyone is happier because of it. It's less work and stress on the adults, and everyone has more time to enjoy the camp.

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1 hour ago, FireStone said:

We had a guy who was a real foodie a few years back and while the meals he prepared were great, the amount of gear and work it required of all of the adults was too much. We were lugging heavy stoves, grills, coolers, etc.

Sounds like one Scouter I know. His Idea of "packing light" is having everything in the back of the truck. Usually he has a trailer of cooking supplies. On a positive note, you won't starve and the food is excellent. ;)

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On 3/16/2022 at 7:34 AM, Eagledad said:

That SM was never in scouts as a youth and I've observed over the years that adult leaders without a youth scouting experience have a different expectation of the scouting experience than those who did have a youth scouting experience. To be fair, they aren't purposely taking the outing out of scouting, they just don't know. They start by doing what is easiest, and that is following instructions for advancement. 

I'm going to push back on this a bit. I've met plenty of parents and kids that would have really enjoyed the free range part of scouts and yet had no desire to join. It seems to me the perception of scouts is more organized activity than make up your own fun. Advancement can easily be seen as everyone fulfilling nearly identical rrequirements. An expensive uniform that is used for meetings and travel is, well, uniform.

The idea that scouts can choose their own activities is buried way down in what anyone sees from the outside.

If that's the perception then is there any wonder why we struggle with parents that want highly structured activities? Maybe scouts is attracting the wrong kids and parents.

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