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madkins007

Is 'Outdoor Method' the ONLY way Scouting works?

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WHOA! I don't mean it the way you may be reading it!

 

Please forgive a little background...

 

B-P started Scouting because he saw a natural interest in boys in an area he was well-versed in and had a deep love for- the outdoors. He mixed in his love of theatrics and boating to create an incredible youth program.

 

The outdoors was his tool, his hook that he hung the character building part on. Get them doing something fun and cool, and teach'em some stuff along the way about being a better person. His incredible love for the outdoors, for self-reliance, and for boys was the fuel for this new machine.

 

If Baden were doing it today, would the outdoors have been the big hook? Would kids today be reading his book on being an army scout and playing it in their backyards?

 

What, if anything, would be the hook for the program if it were just starting today?

 

Computers and video games is an easy answer, but how do you build an entire character building program out of that?(This message has been edited by madkins007)

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Thank God we have the historical traditions started by BP and that the BSA was founded on. I dont know of any other method that would be as successful as the outdoor method.

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An interesting thought experiment. Certainly just being outdoors is not an essential ingredient to achieving our aims of character development, promoting personal fitness, and fostering citizenship. Many people have achieved these aims without ever being outside of downtown Brooklyn, say. However, the outdoors provides a laboratory of sorts, somewhat isolated from the day-to-day distractions, in which we can focus on fundamentals. I think that is the key. The outdoors provides a change of venue which strips away the non-essentials of daily life.

 

So what would a youth character development program look like in the 23rd century when there is no more "outdoors"? Maybe excursions to the far side of Luna in thermally controlled pressure bubbles. Would that be Scouting? Perhaps not as we know it, but if it builds character, fosters citizenship, and promotes personal fitness, who cares?

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Well, BP probably picked the things he did as the centerpiece of his program because those were things that he was familiar and comfortable with. The results speak for themselves. Whether the BSA approach is the "best" way or the "only effective" way to teach character, etc, is pretty speculative, and most probably not correct given the multitude of other programs that youth participate in that, arguably, do just as effective a job of instilling character. When you compare youth programs, determining whether one is better than another is filled with subjective views. AND, it depends not only the program, but the location, the adults involved, the youth involved, and any number of other variables. That's not to denigrate Scouting at all, but if you've got a bunch of kids who want nothing to do with camping and things like that, then something other than Scouting may be a better program for them, especially once you get to Boy Scouts.

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At times I do wonder if some Boy Scout Troops have forgotten about the outdoors method.

It seems to have been replaced by the Merit Badge Class.

The reason for this is that the adults don't have any imagination. They are great at reading a merit badge book and covering the requirements. Given enough time we could dispense with the leaders completely. Groups of Scouts could be assigned classes to attend check out the DVD watch it in the church basement. One guy could turn the DVD player on and ensure that it's not upside-down, we will call him the PL of course the DVD player needs a TV so someone needs to turn that on, set the volume and make sure the set is on channel 3. A lot of responsibility there we will call the guy who does that the SPL.He could train a couple of the guys how to turn the equipment on and off. This could pass as a healthy dose of leadership development.

Everyone will need to pick up the blue card from the Scoutmaster's wife, that is adult Association.

If we can get a couple of guys in camo and scout socks while they watch the show, that has to be uniform. We could arrange the chairs in groups of 6 or 8 or 16 the lad on the first chair will be in charge, heck sounds like a Patrol to me!! The guys will see things that they never seen before and will advance this covers the advancement and personal growth method.

Maybe we could have a talking head on the screen rush through the Oath and Law, that covers the ideals and of course being that we didn't burn copies for each scout and mail it to them, they had to leave home and go outdoors.

We covered all the methods and a merit badge to boot.

I was of course being silly!!

There are Lads that don't like doing outdoor activities and I don't think that they join Scouts.

I think one reason for declining memberships in troops is that they don't do enough outdoor activities.

"He who hath smelt wood smoke"

Eamonn.

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Great Question! The thing to look at is the larger societal changes in the early twentieth century that the outdoors element of scouting is related to. B-P's scheme took ALOT from Seton and the Birch Bark Roll.

 

Also in the US was the "Woodcraft" movement (not Seton's Woodcraft Indian program) which had started some years before with the likes of George Sears a.k.a. Nessmuk.

 

In the 20-30 years prior to the founding of the BSA the Woodcraft movement promoted healthy outdoor living, a return to masculinity and self reliance, and escape from modernity. It was during this time that summer camps developed.

 

Theodore Roosevelt, a great supporter of the BSA, thought boys and men should live the "strenuous life". Being outdoors, camping , fishing, hunting, hiking.

 

TR also became quite the football fan and thought it bully for building men.

 

During the early 20th century to with the advent of the automobile made it easier for people to escape the city and camp. Henry Ford help promote this and was even instrumental in developing charcoal for outdoor cooking (read the KingsFord bag)

 

So I really don't belive that B-P was the great genius many make him to be in developing the scouting scheme. I know Seton deserves much more credit than he is given. Seton worte most of the first BSA handbook which was quite diffrent from B-P's.

 

The BSA in fact is quite diffrent from scouting in other countries and the BSA likes it that way. For instance how many here will celebrate the 100th Aniversary of Scouting in 2007 with the rest of the world. (By the way anyone going to the World Jamboree).

 

If scouting hadn't been developed when it was-I am not sure what would happen today. A large part of the woodcraft movement was against materialistic consumerism and for doing it for your self.

 

Of course a lot of the early woodcraft movement had to do with chopping down trees to build, shelters, beds and camp gadgets a big no-no today.

 

Any way enough rambling - sorry I am not more succinct in my writing - thats why I have post so little the past year since joining - but I do enjoying reading the forum and have learned much

 

Thanks

 

YIS

Ron

 

 

 

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So a 21st century B-P might base a program on...

 

Science, discovery, and invention? (At least this would touch on computers, video games, and TV)

 

Sports? (already been done?)

 

Career, business, making money?

 

Hobby exploration?

 

Mystery, magic, Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings? Maybe Sci/Fi- Star Wars, etc.?

 

 

Part of B-P's genius (or luck) was identifying a trend that made a strong core, and building on it.

 

I've ofttimes wondered if the enthusiasm, love, and energy B-P had would have worked as well if some other tool had been the main hook, say dramatics or sailing (two of his other big loves).

 

 

 

You know... I can sorta see a movement based on a hybrid of the old Knights of the Round Table (one inspiration for Scouting) and a touch of the Jedi Knights with a dash of the ethics of Lord of the Rings...

 

Or one based on science and discovery, loosely structured after Lewis and CLark's 'Corps of Discovery'.

 

 

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You could base it on all sorts of things, but you would still need a place to do it. That's where the camping comes in. And if your going to camp, you will have to learn to be comfortable doing it. And then, well, your back to the outdoor program.

Unless your going to rent out a hotel and confrence rooms camping is the only game in town (well, out of town, but you know what I mean.)

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Good reading, Ron. I see that you have been studying your Scouting history.

 

You have hit upon several important themes with regard to the development of Scouting. One is that Theodore Roosevelt had an important role in the development of the Back to Nature movement in the United States, keenly advance by the YMCA and their quest to develop another way for boys to get closer to God.

 

Another is that B-P used some material from Seton. He did so because Seton was the identifiable figurehead of the aformentioned Back-to-Nature movement. Therefore, Seton should get more credit than he was given for his Scouting work. However, do not underestimate Baden-Powell.

 

You write,

 

>> So I really don't belive that B-P was the great genius many make him to be in developing the >> scouting scheme. I know Seton deserves much more credit than he is given.

 

Did I understand you to say that BP was not a genius in developing the Scouting scheme because of his borrowings from Seton? hmmmm Lets examine that. I guess that it all comes down to ones definition of genius. One definition of genius is extraordinary intellectual or creative power especially as manifested in creative activity.

 

Are you really suggesting that BP does not fit this definition?

 

The big advantage that BP had over Seton is that he was an internationally famous person already. It was his fame from Mafeking that got the world press to note his every move. Also, he had a heck of a promoter and advertiser in his publisher C. Arthur Pearson, who brilliantly brought out Scouting for Boys in serial parts.

 

Before the Savoy Hotel meeting with Seton on October 30, 1906, BP had a Scouting scheme in the works already. That is a fact. What Seton did was to unknowingly provide the missing link, the structure, that BP lacked. BP already had the Patrol method, he called then clumps (8 boys per clump) to Setons bands (30+ boys per band). BP also had proficiency badges from his work with the army to Setons honors system. What BP did not have was the realization that these army methods would work with boys, yet Seton proved that they could work. Clearly BP borrowed Setons naming system of the patrols from Seton animal naming system along with the patrol calls of animals. We can see that from his own diary entry of that date. Specifically, the Savoy meeting was a watershed moment in the mind of BPs development of Scouting and the Patrol System and he ran with it.

 

And what he developed from his worldly experience was Scouting (a small part of Setons Back-to-Nature movement)...and it was pure genius.

 

Please refer to my new article n the Seton/BP plagiarism argument at: http://www.scouting.milestones.btinternet.co.uk/setonfeud.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think that the outdoor method is the most successful foundation that scouts could have been based on but as people start inventing more video games and game systems outdoor scouting becomes less interesting. But as long as the leaders keep a tight holk on the troop i think that it will never die out.

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Miki

 

Thnaks for your reply post. Sorry I didn't pay attention and see it sooner.

 

Regarding B-P's genius I am not one to really say. However what I meant to convey was that most lay scouters have put that label on him and given him ALL the credit. And as time passes we are forgetting more and more about Seton, & Beard. BP was rather sly with his uncle remark, eh?

 

It is just one of those things about history. Like the "argument" I had with my fourth grader on whether or not Ben Franklin "discovered" electricity. What is often passed down gets distorted.

 

I also believe that West was a great man, obviously a "genius" at organization, but few of would have probably liked him, except maybe Bob White :)

 

Perosns like you who do the research and share it with others are to be commended for saving the richnest of our Scouting Past. I look forward to your book - please let us know whne it is available.

 

I also look forward to learning and discussing more about Scouting's history here on the forum.

 

YIS,

ronvo

 

 

 

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To analyze a great program is to search for the reasons that it works. One can write about the benchmarks, outstanding ideas, great people but a program is also greater than the sum of its parts. When we look at Scouting today, it is breath taking. If a person visits Philmont or travels the backwaters of the canoe bases, one might get a feeling that Scouting is the world rather than a part of it. When one is standing on top of a mountain in a Scout camp and looking out on hills, valleys, meadows, and lakes below, one might get the feeling that somehow this is what it is all about, meaning, life itself. Scouting has aligned itself with these views (perspectives) unlike so many other programs. It is as if most of the world has forgotten that there is an out of doors to behold. Scouting allows us to experience vistas that can only be approximated with dreams and yes, it was individuals that had the foresight to save us a glimpse of that majesty and for that we are thankful and indebted to their memory.

 

FB

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