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Troop Contextualism, or Individualism?

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From my experience troops that set their own bylaws are doing so so that the adults have control. Sorry guys. But nowhere in the paper work does it say anything about ADULT SCOUTS OF AMERICA. It is BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA with the focus on the BOY. As far as I am concerned a scout can work on as many merit badges as he wants to. I have one boy that has 15 going right now. He will probably have all of them finished before he makes Eagle. My Kevin has 6 going right now. Two of them take 90 days to complete. The only real BSA policy rule is that to be earned they must be complete by the boys 18th birthday.

On uniforms. From my understanding BSA does not require a uniform. THey recommend that boys have them. But it is not a requirement to be a scout.

I have two boys in our troop that simply can not afford the expense. We have found them good used shirts. THey have the scarves. Do we get all the scores at events on uniform inspection? NO. Do I really care? NO. Do my boys have fun? YES. Do they advance in rank and earn badges? Yes. The focus in scouting should be of the boys learning and growing. Not in what they wear. Know a troop that had one boy that had green hair. Hears a SM say he would never allow a boy like that in him troop. Well guess what. The boy with green hair made Eagle at 16 and was a wonderful scout. He simply like green hair.

Our PLC handles any rules that they feel the troop needs. They plan the program, run the meetings and set the activities. Is it always what we as adults want? NO Would it be easier for the adults to do that? Yes Would it be better for the adults to do that? NO. Even when boys fail they grow. Part of growth is failing. Without failure you don't appreciate success.


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I agree with Lynda's post completely. Scout leaders need to learn the difference between rules and regulations and the recommendations of the BSA one is mandatory one is not. There are already enough rules in the scouting books that adding additional ones can get cumbersome. This is a boy run organization with the adults serving as advisors not controllers. A well trained and run PLC will save the adults many headaches and problems, and if something comes up they can't handle they know to come to you for backup.


The one problem I have seen in SM training, Woodbadge, etc. are trainers who have never been scoutmasters telling you to follow everything in the manual, including the recommendations no matter what, their expertise was sorely lacking and it showed in their presentations. The trainers who are or recently were scoutmasters brought a wealth of useful and practical know how that was beneficial. Training is more than just reading information from a book, its the ability to take that information and put it in a format that the scouter can and will use in their troop. Thats the difference between quality training and regurgitating information back to an audience. You don't ask a mechanic how to do brain surgery, you ask a surgeon. If you give the PLC quality training they will be successful. Comments have been made in the past about the need for all scouters to be trained and I agree, but it must be quality training based on method and experience that is useful and practical, not idealistic prattle from someone with no firsthand experience.

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I'm surprised by your comment Backpacker, I thought you said you had served on Wood Badge? Certainly you are well aware that it is not a "Boy Scout" training program. Its lessons you must recall are not based on the the Boy Scout Handbook, and that it is for any Scouter in ANY posoition. Why would a Scoutmaster be any better trainer for Wood Badge than a Den Leader who knew and understood the skills of the course?


I wonder if any scouter reading this thread has ever been in a cub training course that wasn't lead by cub leaders, or a Boy Scout leader course that wasn't staffed by Boy Scout Leaders. Oh there may be the occasional situation of a DE stepping in if a volunteer isn't available but that is pretty seldom. I really think your concern takes place so rarely that it is not really worth wide concern.


And lets not think that only scoutmasters have troop scouting skills, there are far more active assistant scoutmasters in the program then there are scoutmasters, and they have nearly all the same responsibilities as the SM.



BW(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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You do love making those personal attacks at my every post and then you cry foul when it's done to you.

To quote you, "Stop making this thread about me and stay on the topic please."


I am on WoodBadge staff this summer and we have an all new staff of trainers, experienced and knowledgable, unlike the former group of deadwood who haven't been involved with a troop for decades. You know the type Bob, super critical, their way is the only way, love to talk about the good old days and think they are training new leaders. Well our SE finally cleaned house and our council numbers are better than ever as are the number of trained leaders," who are motivated,inovative, excited and delivering a great scouting program." to quote a recent visitor we had from National office.

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Nowhere in that post were you attacked Backpacker. You suggested that Wood Badge needed to be staffed by Scoutmasters ("Woodbadge, etc. are trainers who have never been scoutmasters") and I was surprised by that since having taken Wood Bagde as often as you have you know that it is not a "Boy Scout" course.


There was not a malicious word or intent anywhere in my post.


I really do question how often a person teaches a scout course who isn't a leader in that program. I'm just not sure your concern happens often enough to really be a problem of any real scope. While I agree that there are good trainers and bad trainers I disagree with the criteria one should use for that evaluation.


The prime evaluator is not their personal experience, they are not there to teach "their" program. The best way to determine the quality of the trainer is... did learning take place. Whether the trainer is currently a scoutmaster, recently a scoutmaster, or a committee member. If learning took place then the trainer was successful.

Can you think of anything more important?



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