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Going by the Book, or Changing to Encourage Participation


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18 minutes ago, ramanous said:


Now, I wonder if this is at least partially the result of unreasonable expectations. The idea that a scout should make First Class in a year? I question how many 11 year olds are mature enough to complete the laundry list of requirements to the letter (I've read guide to advancement, 

 

I approached expectations and maturity by teaching the scout to set his own goals. I started by teaching his first skill, maybe the square knot. After he mastered the knot, I asked him if he would like to learn more? Which knots? And set a goal to when. It's easy with something like the knots because he can pick any knot and learn it immediately. But, as the scouts works toward higher level skills that take more time, I encouraged him to set a date and write in his book. There is no penalty for not meeting the date, it's not a test, I'm just getting him in the habit of setting goals, no matter how small. I want our scouts to be dreamers and creators.

By the time they get to a leadership age, they have practiced and developed some level of skills for setting goals and timelines. And, it is the scouts initiative to pick the goal and create the timeline. I taught in the adult leadership classes that the scouts should be dreaming of their scouting future and build goals and timelines, especially in advancement. In fact, advancement is perfect for scouts envisioning themselves in their future of the program. We don't want a scout to follow the adults dream of being the ideal scout, We want them to dream of the ideal scout they want to be, and to initiate setting goals toward their dream, at their pace. The average age of  scouts were awarded Eagle in our troop was 16. That is because they weren't really all that interested getting the eagle until 14 or 15 years old. They were having too much fun camping, hiking, canoeing, and so on. And then when they had the maturity to see themselves on top of that mountain, they had the skills to plan their goals and timeline. Which in reality, is the adult skill we want them to have anyways.

Barry

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This discussion is the cart before the horse. What is the purpose of scouting? What is the purpose of the activities? I learned as I gained experience to measure if each activities was providing a pos

Any of the methods, if done right, are fine. The problem is there are so many that everyone gets lost in the weeds and can't see the forest. I'd replace woodbadge with a 5 day class on creating f

My son just asked his best friend why he dropped out of scouting (from another troop).  He said Boy Scouts is 10 hours of boring meetings for every weekend of camping.   He can just go camping without

When I hear of boys, leaders, committee, etc that don't want to follow "the program", I have to question if they've ever really had "the program" explained to them.   Wanting to 'change' a 110 year old program is an alarm that screams one or more (usually more) aspects of Scouting are absent from the unit.

Scouting has never been a "baby sitting" program or the "Billy's weekend away from his kid sister" program.   Scouting has always been a Character Development program.    That means encouraging "youth leadership" whenever and wherever possible/practical, and when they're not good at it... then the role of the Scouter is DEVELOPING the skills not abandoning them or simply letting an adult "take over" because we know how to be more "efficient" or do a job "better".  (That was Cub Scouting, not Boy Scouting)   

Scouting is where they TRY and it's OK to fail so long as they get up and TRY AGAIN.  We shouldn't ever be in favor of "dumbing-down" the program for any reason.     Boys without "responsibilities" grow up to be irresponsible boys.     Boys given responsibilities, are inculcated to "do their best" and rise to the [steady] expectations of meeting those expectations, WILL rise meet the challenge and become "men" instead of another generational "man child".

Now that I've pontificated my "spiritual view" of Scouting, I'd like to know WHAT EXACTLY they think needs to be changed.    They (parents) don't want to raise RESPONSIBLE children??   Do they think their kids are "not smart enough" (trying to be nice in my wording) to actually do what is being asked of them?    (I'd phrase my questions exactly like that and then stare at Mom & Dad until they dare to answer.)  

Hopefully the Adult Leadership team would regroup & refocus on WHAT and HOW this program is supposed to be delivered (and delivering!) and work to change the perception of the Scouting program and how it benefits the youth.   

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1 hour ago, seguru said:

Scouting is ...

Agree.  Scouting is not baby sitting or adult led.  Scouting is a safe environment to try and fail.  ...   

Beyond that, "following the program" can be implemented many ways to create a unique personality for the troop.

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On 5/19/2022 at 2:55 PM, seguru said:

Now that I've pontificated my "spiritual view" of Scouting, I'd like to know WHAT EXACTLY they think needs to be changed.    They (parents) don't want to raise RESPONSIBLE children??   Do they think their kids are "not smart enough" (trying to be nice in my wording) to actually do what is being asked of them?    (I'd phrase my questions exactly like that and then stare at Mom & Dad until they dare to answer.) 

That's exactly what the situation is, though most of those parents won't admit it.  They want their children to always be completely safe and happy, obediently following the rules and doing only what they are told and not having to bear the responsibility or consequences for anything so they can just "be kids".  Somehow they think their kids will magically pick up the ability to cope with life's trials after they are 18.

The idea of raising children that question (politely) adults, determine what they think a solution should be on their own and who can function somewhat independently is simply anathema to some parents.

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6 minutes ago, elitts said:

That's exactly what the situation is, though most of those parents won't admit it.  They want their children to always be completely safe and happy, obediently following the rules and doing only what they are told and not having to bear the responsibility or consequences for anything so they can just "be kids".  Somehow they think their kids will magically pick up the ability to cope with life's trials after they are 18.

The idea of raising children that question (politely) adults, determine what they think a solution should be on their own and who can function somewhat independently is simply anathema to some parents.

In which case the answer to the parents is, "I suppose Scouting is not the activity you are looking for. Good luck with finding an activity which fits your needs." 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

In which case the answer to the parents is, "I suppose Scouting is not the activity you are looking for. Good luck with finding an activity which fits your needs." 

 

 

I ask parents:

"How many times have you cut yourself?"

"How many times have you gotten splinters?"

"How many times have you gotten stung by a wasp?"

"How many times have you gotten a sunburn?"

"How many times have you gotten into an argument?"

"How many times have you had to deal with someone who is acting like a jerk?"

etc, etc, etc,  They begin to get the right idea that they cannot (and should not) protect or shield their kid from all of life's risks.

"Well, it's going to happen here, and probably a little more.  But, we watch them closely until they can learn to take care of themselves and work well in a group.  We teach them how to avoid injuries and treat them.   And, we provide a leadership and learning laboratory [camping] where the relationship consequences aren't that serious now, so they'll learn to work through issues with their peers for the future.  Sometimes, it takes time to get to that point."

And if they cannot learn to behave themselves, they will not be welcome here.  We have dismissed Scouts from the Troop in the past for inability to control their behavior.

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There's certainly a multiple competing forces directing the subjective priorities of any troop.

My impression is that emphasis on Rank Advancement above all else, from parents (many of whom are active in the CO), and from older Scouters who are trying to keep the program from folding (recruit and retain, whatever it takes.) Hence, you have Eagle Scout factories producing Eagles that can barely tie their own shoes, let alone knots and hitches.

At the same time, we've lost families frustrated that the troop appears to emulate Lord of the Flies more than the Scouting for Boys.

We have Eagle Scouts that can't start a fire, have no idea how to lead a patrol let alone a troop. What I hear from the older Scouters is: the boys are resistant to putting in the effort and we don't want to run them off by expecting them to meet every requirement or be trained. Just in the last 3 months, I've seen two boys get rank advancement without meeting some requirements (yes, I'm sure about that.) The SM seems to think the boys will figure it out without any training. I wish that were the case, but as some point someone has to explain it (whether the boys implement is another matter.)

Our council is a mess, and there are hardly any troops left in our district so switching troops isn't really an option. There's an argument to be made that any troop is better than no troop. However, I'm seeing a lot of bad habits being passed along so sometime I wonder if my boy would be better off not being in Scouting (I hate that thought.)

 

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4 minutes ago, ramanous said:

There's an argument to be made that any troop is better than no troop.

No.  No, there isn't. 😛 

A poorly run Troop is the worst advertisement for Scouting.  It undermines everything we are about.

And yes, there are lots of them.

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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On 5/25/2022 at 10:56 AM, InquisitiveScouter said:

A poorly run Troop is the worst advertisement for Scouting.  It undermines everything we are about.

Amen. It would be sad, but I think I wouldn't want my kids in a poorly run troop even if it was the only one in town.

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Amen. It would be sad, but I think I wouldn't want my kids in a poorly run troop even if it was the only one in town.

Well, I don't want to give-up on Scouting. It was a great experience for me as a youth, and my boy does like it in general. I keep telling myself that there's a reason we're with the troop, and I just need to stick it out and keep trying to improve things. But, its obvious that the core Scouters have a different idea about what the Aims and Methods of Scouting should be. I'm just not sure what their idea is (I get the impression its  making sure the kids of the CO parents get Eagle.)

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If we change Scouting away from outdoor skills and leadership what does it become? At what point is the program competing with any other after school club? The SM in OP needs to hold the line and make the Scouts do the work. The program is here to develop outdoor skills, leadership, and imbue civic responsibility. 

 

I guess the question I have to people who are also seeing a drop off in the outdoor program participation, are you seeing a drop off in civic participation? Do people see units with empty leadership positions? 

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15 hours ago, Tron said:

If we change Scouting away from outdoor skills and leadership what does it become? At what point is the program competing with any other after school club? The SM in OP needs to hold the line and make the Scouts do the work. The program is here to develop outdoor skills, leadership, and imbue civic responsibility. 

 

I guess the question I have to people who are also seeing a drop off in the outdoor program participation, are you seeing a drop off in civic participation? Do people see units with empty leadership positions? 

I think the scouting program has moved too far away from outdoors and I don't think it does a good job of teaching leadership. The organization has promoted almost all its leadership from within for decades and BSA has been marked by extremely poor leadership. 

I think the thing about civic participation that I see is that scouts today are less likely to do things "just because" or due to tradition. It has to be something that appeals specfically to them. We seem to get good support for food and blood drives that have an actual impact. Few seem to want to do flag retirements, ceremonies, parades, etc., any more.  We get good turnout at events where they are doing something more than just parking assistance, etc., like stream clean ups, trail clean ups, etc. 

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2 hours ago, yknot said:

I think the scouting program has moved too far away from outdoors and I don't think it does a good job of teaching leadership. The organization has promoted almost all its leadership from within for decades and BSA has been marked by extremely poor leadership. 

I think the thing about civic participation that I see is that scouts today are less likely to do things "just because" or due to tradition. It has to be something that appeals specfically to them. We seem to get good support for food and blood drives that have an actual impact. Few seem to want to do flag retirements, ceremonies, parades, etc., any more.  We get good turnout at events where they are doing something more than just parking assistance, etc., like stream clean ups, trail clean ups, etc. 

So your experience is that if a Scout feels it has impact and is worth their time they engage civic duty?

 

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56 minutes ago, Tron said:

So your experience is that if a Scout feels it has impact and is worth their time they engage civic duty?

 

Yes, worth their time, appealing and impactful. Today kids are asked to do civic service everywhere and for everything and the opportuniaties can be a lot more... rewarding? Unified is huge as are high school envirionmental and service clubs. Even the sports teams are doing service projects. The stuff they can do is a lot more interesting and meaningful depending on the unit. They aren't that enthused about spending four hours parking cars at a fair or manning a booth or burning flags yet a lot of units seems to persist in these traditional service projects. 

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So I am going to go with we should allow the Patrol Method to lead the Scouts to what service projects they want to work on in order to find the satisfaction that they need.

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