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Trevorum

What would YOU change?

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Lots of us here on Scouter.com seem to have terrific (or sometimes merely half-baked) ideas on how to improve BSA (or, nodding to Kudu, Scouting in the USA). A few of us might say things are okely-dokely just as they are, but I get the sense that many folks here would like to improve just this one little thing, or "tweak" (grins at OGE) that one aspect.

 

So, let me ask each of you: If you had the office and the authority, what one change would you make in the BSA of 2007? And what effects would you forsee from making that change?

 

I'll start. I would drop the DRP as a condition of national membership and allow individual units to impose that condition on unit membership if they so wished. Assuming no other changes, I don't see many effects in the short run. Eventually however, I think opening the doors to all families would have a positive effect. I know not all of you agree with this notion of inclusiveness, but rather than telling me how I'm wrong, tell all of us what you would change.

 

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I would do away with the requirement for DEs to add units each year. I know their performance is judged partially on new units being established, so I would prefer the emphasis be placed on growth within already established units and helping struggling units return to vitality. It seems to me that instead of starting up a new unit with a handful of Scouts and a few untrained leaders (a unit that more than likely will fold in a couple of years), it is more important to help Troop XXX grow from 8 Scouts to 20, Troop YYY grow from 2 patrols to 3, Pack XXX grow from only having a Tiger den to having one den of each age group.

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I would require CORS to attend training on what a CO is and what a COR does. I would require COR to attend all meetings and vote.

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In my bigger council/national persona, I would change the exec structure and evaluation process. Allow for more specialization of roles and place a much greater emphasis on service.

 

I'd also really like to see our morass of paperwork cut down, conflicting information fixed, policy language properly corralled, and the whole thing indexed, made available electronically, with commentary and examples. It seems a fair number of people view the stuff as tablets from Mt. Sinai, so we have to pay more attention to our writing.

 

I'd spin off and sell most of LFL.

 

In my local positions, I would do something different with training. Not sure quite what, but it needs to become more performance-oriented and less seat-time based. It should parallel what we expect of kids - instruction, practice, feedback, and evaluation. Recruiting non-BSA expertise should be used more frequently when "internal" people really don't have the depth of experience to teach a topic. No "warm bodies!"

 

Somewhere I'd like to see more CO's engage actively. The LDS and the Catholics seem to be "getting it" but the rest is really a mixed bag. I'm a proponent of our current membership policies, but if we had more active and involved/responsible CO's, I think we could eventually relax this to a CO decision.

 

Beavah

 

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wow, i dunno which i like better, tossing the sad DRP or everything that Gwd-Scouter said.

 

Id would also add to stop the selling of council property, making scout run BORs universal and getting rid of those damn burros in Philmont.

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Save the Burros!

Save the Burros!

 

Viva los Burros!

 

I'd bring back skill awards and make advancement more rigorous. Tenderfoot is probably OK now, but Second class and up needs to be tougher.

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Make training mandatory.

 

Make cooking a required merit badge.

 

Make the Quality Unit award tougher to earn.

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I agree with Beavah's post.

 

I add a specific element to the advancement program:

 

Strengthen cooking to the level it was in the 1965 edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, including Cooking MB being on the Eagle list.

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I was going to suggest what Ed did, make training mandatory but reflected upon training in my council and decided to think on it a bit. Introduction to Outdoor Leadership skills for Webelos Leaders is being offered soon by two different districts. One district is doing it as a weekend, Friday evening 7pm to Sunday morning 11am, bring a tent and camp out. The other district is doing it as a one day, 9am till 3pm, lunch included. Both classes will certify that the attendees are considered trained for C09 which is the code for this course. Yes the syllabus for the course has a weekend or one day option and that's what I would change. Make training fit the skill level we want the participants to take home. Offer introduction and advanced courses if necessary. Quality control for trainers and training courses, just cant figure out how to actually accomplish that.

LongHaul

 

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I agree with 95% of whats been sugested.

My 2 cents, ban the wearing of neckerchiefs under the collar by males, only ties should be worn that way. A uniform shirt thats good for more than a trip to the library. An all green scouters baseball style cap, fitted, not one size fits most.

A scout handbook with more usefull info.

A shift in requirements too more scout/field craft skills.

An end to doing things a certin way to produce big numbers for national to brag about.

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Well, . . . lets see, . . . other than making firebuilding (All you get is two (2) wooden matches, remember?) a requirement for the Scout rank (If that scout in North Carolina had had a small box of matches in his pocket - like we did when I was a scout

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I agree with Beavah on paperwork, LFL, and training.

 

The DRP appears to serve mostly as a lightening rod for controversy. I'd get rid of it.

 

And I'd certainly adjust the evaluation process for DEs to something more sensible.

 

My pet peeve on the cub level is the idea that you can earn belt loops more than once. I'd get rid of that.

 

Some days I imagine an organization that is less chaotic at all levels - where the council office is organized, camporees are organized, advancement policies are more uniform, etc, but I have the feeling that it would require more paid staff and we'd have a smaller, tighter, and more expensive organization. And I don't know that that would be a good thing.

 

Oak Tree

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Just one thing? That's tough...

 

OK I'm going to cheat. I want to change "just one thing" for cubs and "just one thing" for boy scouts, and "just one thing" for the BSA in general. Maybe these are only half baked and they'd probably change if you asked again in a week or so.

 

In General: I'd drop the DRP.

 

Boy Scouts: I'd make the advancement process more routinely rigorous, less of a potential rubber stamp. I'd allow troops to include the SPL, ASPL, or PL in a portion of the BOR - not to give them a veto, but to include them in a discussion of scout skill and scout spirit. They will have a better sense of how a scout is doing than some committee members, who might not ever camp or even attend weekly troop meetings.

 

Cubs: I'd require some sort of pack-level training to include all parents, or as many as possible, whether they're leaders or not. I'd do this on an annual or biannual basis. Have a roving district training team to deliver it to each pack. Too many parents in the cub program have no idea how the program works because no one tells them (leaders never went to training and are "winging it"), and the results are predictable: we lose a lot of cub scouts. Those who stick around typically don't find out about the many support services and programs that the district provides until they've struggled to re-invent the wheel on their own for a year or more.

 

Also many younger parents are having their first go-round with organizational behavior when their kid joins a pack, and it isn't always pretty. So do a "cub pack challenge" sort of training to teach them a) the program and b) team building/recruiting/how to work together. (Yes I know some of this is covered in pack committee training, but not all, and often not well, and usually only a couple times a year, removed from the pack setting, without non-leader parents present.)

 

This assumes that it would be a high quality training, and that it would be delivered effectively by people who are good trainers. That's probably a dangerous assumption. So maybe I'll add one more change: I'd wave my magic wand over district training teams everywhere and make them all competent!

 

 

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