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DeanRx

Is there ANYTHING a scout is ALLOWED to do anymore ?!?!?

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OK - so two back to back posts - and I admit its late, I'm tired and feeling a little less than positive at this point...

 

Is it just me, or has this actually happened?

 

In the 15-20 odd years between my last acts as an active scout and my entrance as a leader, it seems the organization has lost a good amount of the "adventure" portion that BP intended. The list of activities a cub can engage in is shorter than the list they can NOT do. Look at the G2SS - its FULL of DON'Ts.

 

We preach things like self-reliance, self-discipline, honesty, and character to these boys, but everything in the training I am forced to take (most of which is redundant from Tiger Leader Specific, to Den leader specific, to BALOO, to CM specific) focuses primarily on what NOT to do and what the cub scouts CAN NOT do! It is CYA (cover-your-*ss) training. Don't put yourself or BSA in a position to even THINK about being accused of something or at fault for negligence...

 

I understand safety. I've led men in the Army into harmful situations and brought them all back. I understand the need for YPG. Thanks to the acts of a few - the many must not be trusted and are always suspect. Been there - got the badge (or pocket card and "trained" strip). Frankly it pisses me off to have my integrity questioned because of the SINS (and I do mean that in biblical terms) of a few sickos that abused their status in the organization to prey on boys. I have to have certain forms signed before I can buy rank for my scouts at the scout-shop.... so much for promoting honesty... who would want to wear an award they hadn't earned anyways?

 

I'm just sick of going to trainings and meetings and hearing all the "you used to be able to do this skit.... but not anymore." "You used to be able to sing this song, but now its offensive...." "You can't TOUCH the boy scout" "You can't discipline the scout...."

 

Now, don't get me wrong - I do NOT condone crossing any boundries. I would never strike a scout. In fact I use the 2/3 rule. Anything I would do to my own child (praise or admonishment), I will only do 2/3 of the way to another scout.

 

BUT - as a leader, if a scout is out of line we are supposed to teach them to get back IN LINE. I'm not talking corporal punishment, but a hand on the shoulder and a low stern voice works wonders with a 8 year old. So does making them run a lap... BUT Nooooo - you must not discipline someone else's child!! The only tool at your disposal is to threaten to tell "johnny" that he can't participate? There's a recipe for success with a parent.

 

Just the same, if the scout falls down durring a game and scrapes his knee - I am supposed to think about the possible LAWSUIT for inappropriate behavoir before I inspect the knee and give the kid a "shoulder" hug and tell him, "Its OK - we'll get it washed and you'll be just fine..."

 

Between these types of senerios and the ever pressent PC censorship of songs, skits, etc.... not to mention the "openness" of the OA I once held as a sacred organization I was "tapped out" into (was told that is no longer an appropriate term - even if you don't really "tap-out"). The scouts of today are a far cry from the organization I remember as a boy... wonder if my father felt the same way as an adult leader with me in the 70's and 80's?

 

So far - what I see in the "management" of scouting is not leadership. It can best be described as paranoid mitigation of risk. Its the same mindset that has led to zero tolerance of drugs on school grounds, resulting in a teenage girl with cramps getting suspended for taking a friend's Midol - just so the administrators and their lawyers don't actually have to employ REASON and LOGIC to a situation on a case-by-case basis or actually do their job and DEFEND the position based on a case-by-case basis.

 

I know I'm on a little (ok BIG) rant, but after the roundtable I went to tonight - I truely wonder if the adult leadership that is supposed to be guiding these yougn men to become strong, independent, leaders is in fact churning out whimpy, passifists - that will never really know the true meaning of being a scout as BP envisioned? Every meeting I walk out of, I think of people like BP, John Muir, and Teddy Roosevelt spinning in their graves...

 

Thanks for letting me vent a little...

 

Dean

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Most of what you're complaining about sounds like those internet warning e-mails, a grain of truth (maybe), 99 44/100 percent hooey. No, you cannot beat the kids into submission. "Cannot touch"?

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"Is it just me, or has this actually happened?"

 

The good news is that it has not actually happened, the bad new is it is just not you. Some other adults see things the way you do as well, it simply an exaggeration of the facts.

 

If you looked at the Guide to Safe Scouting with a little less skepticism you would see that it has many do statements. And really just one page of "Don'ts" which lists some prohibited activities.

 

There are still more things available for Cubs to do then you could possible do in the few years they are in the program. However, for the scouts you serve to see that you will likely need to overcome your current attitude.

 

 

BW

 

 

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While I understand your frustration let me attempt to reframe the situation.

 

It's your first day on a military rifle range and the person assigned to "read you on" to the range gives you a long, exhaustive list of don'ts. That list is for your safety, it tends to be the minimums required to keep you and everyone else on the range safe. Most people walk away from that lecture with the feeling you have now.

But as a professional(given your stated service) who has has several, (many?) years in that context you surely realize that there is a lot of freedom on a range to do the numerous things that CAN be done (in that context) that others would say were ridiculously dangerous, (i.e. movement under fire, changing lanes or supporting fires on adjacent lanes for just a few examples).

But those first basic rules no longer seem as ridiculous strictures, do they?

 

IMHO, you may be getting some overly protective context from your trainers - which is good that they want the boys to be safe - but I don't think that many of us on this forum (or in Scouting as a whole) would have an issue with anyone consoling an injured Scout(given the rest of YPT is in place) or with sternly addressing a wayward Scout who had momentarily forgotten some portion of the Scout Law.

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>>Most of what you're complaining about sounds like those internet warning e-mails, a grain of truth (maybe), 99 44/100 percent hooey. No, you cannot beat the kids into submission. "Cannot touch"?

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Sorry, but there are rules and regulations in every organization. In a youth organization there will naturally be more because the adults are charged with making sure that the other people's children we work with stay safe.

 

You had such a good experience as a youth partly because of the rules and regulations (which you knew nothing about) that your leaders followed.

 

BTW - the forms you have to sign before purchasing rank awards for the Scouts have nothing to do with your Scout Shop doubting your honesty. They have everything to do with making sure that your council (and also your Pack) has a record of each boy's advancement.

 

 

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Welcome back to the fold, DeanRx.

 

To address one aspect of your self-described "vent", the advancement form. That was to address the practice that some units had (have) of "stockpiling" badges and cards to save them a trip to the Scout Shop OR to preclude getting "burned" because frequently the shop would be out of stock and they didn't want to have a bunch of disappointed boys at the Pack meeting. Been there, done that. The problem was that the paperwork NEVER got filed and when a scout submitted his Eagle app, there was no record of prior ranks or merit badges. So, we have to do the paperwork drill. Not to say that solved the problem altogether, but that was the reason. Not that there was a black market on First Class patches (although you can usually buy whatever you want on eBay).

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Sigh! While I agree with Gunny and Bob White, I completely understand your frustration. I became an ASM way back in 1961 and was active as a unit leader in Boy Scouts through the early Nineties.

 

There is just no question that Scouting today is quite different than it was in 1961, not to mention B-P's time. As I read the posts on this forum, I note that many of them have to do with, "Is it okay to . . ." The same comes up at district committee meetings and commissioner staff meetings in my council.

 

But, just about the time I decide to retire from the program, I note how much other things concerning kids have changed. In 1961, kids in summer ran around outside all day and their parents had no idea where they were. As long as they were home by lunchtime or dinnertime or when the street lights came on, nobody worried. Today, it's rare to see a kid outside in the summer, or any other time except when going to and from school. Kids stay in the air conditioning and play video games. Sometimes they swim in the family pool, but the community pool is empty. Nobody wants their kids exposed to the dangers of predators, traffic, broken bones or God knows what.

 

It's just a different world and Scouting is part of it. But as the posts above suggest, there's still plenty to do in Scouting and the kids are way better off in it that out of it. Some of the rules and guidlines make me crazy (no open-toed shoes in Sea Scouting), but most make sense and like Gunny says, they have to spell it all out before they let you do what you came to do.

 

I still liked it better in the 1960's. :)

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Dean you are right on the head to a point. I understand your frustration, the warnings can seem are a little over the top, but only because of the adults disregard or just dont pay attention. We went to a very large regional camporee this past weekend. Had Troops there with only one leader how can that happen?

This is one of the reasons I prefer BS, you probably do need to be more cautious in CS. If for no other reason, I dont think youve had time to build a relationship, not just with the boy, but his parents yet. A boy of CS age cant relate to an adult like a teenager can. And if weve trained the teens well enough through discussions about abuse, YP, showing the videos, then the older guys are able to recognize what is inappropriate very quickly.

I miss the walks my SM and I used to take in the woods. Walk with me was an opening for a SM conference where it should be held, out in Gods splendor, not in a packed classroom full of the controlled chaos of a troop meeting. We all knew when we heard that invitation what it meant for our self and for each other. Today that phrase would be ridiculed as code words for doing something inappropriate (but I still manage to use it myself every now and then). So yes, some of that has changed; but there is still some leeway. In BS we are in it for the long haul and can build friendships and relationships that show our caring for each other. Guys Ive had for three or more years from Webs thru HS, that bond and trust is there. Getting phone calls and emails from guys that are off in college comes from that relationship. Their parents know and trust me to take their sons to far away places and do things they never would otherwise. But Ive had to earn that trust with each and every family, which takes time and patience. Im a touchy guy, not afraid to put my hand on an arm or arm around the shoulders when I see it warranted. You are so right, there are times some of these guys need that. Some have never gotten a simple pat on the back or a handshake from their father. A simple thank you from an adult looking them in the eye and not down their nose; a treatment of respect from an adult for their hard work can do wonders for a boys growth. Im lucky because I dont have to discipline very much and I believe its because of that relationship. My guys get as defensive over someone not showing respect to me as I do about them. Its amazing how it feeds from itself. Leaders that dont have that relationship are missing one of the best parts of Scouting (and sadly we all see those guys).

So vent a little, I did too. But its not so bad and the rewards only get better the longer youre at it. Youll find your own comfort zone and ways of dealing with the Scouts. Have fun!

 

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"I still liked it better in the 1960's."

 

Couldn't agree more (except for the Medical advances and a few other minor things).

 

Seriously, I thought about this all summer as I watched my 7 year old son. When I was his age it was precisely as you described - I was out exploring the woods around our suburban home, trekking along our "river", making forts, figuring out how to cross the "river" without getting wet, etc. He's not allowed out of the yard without permission, a bodyguard, etc. It's very sad IMHO.

 

That's why I see Cub Scouts as even more important today then when I was a kid. I have encouraged our families to participate in ALL the outdoor activities that are available. We did Family Camping twice last year, my family did Cub World for another day at the Scout Reservation. We visited the Nature Center, etc. As the boys in my, now, Wolf Den get older I hope to do more and more with them to fill in for what happened in my life in the 60's naturally and without adult sponsorship, organization, or supervision.(This message has been edited by docrwm)

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Ahh the "good old days". There are more things for a scout to do today then there were in the 60s. Communities have more resources now then 40 years ago, technology has made more adventures available to more people of less skill than was available 40 years ago.

 

Is there any generation that did not look back to their childhood and think is was a better time. Even people I know who grew up in poverty in the depression still look back and are able to see things they liked better than today. Memory is a fickle thing, and we are fickle animals.

 

Nor was scouting perfect even in Baden-Powell's day. I am curious how some of the posters in this thread would react if their sons came home from their last campout to tell how their Scoutmaster gave them each a massage?

 

AS a scout in the 80s Dean saw scouting through the eyes of a youth and now he is learning to see it through the eyes of an adult and it's different...it has always been different.

 

Interestingly enough the time that Dean harkens back to is considered by many to be one of the low ebbs in the scouting movenment, and yet Dean remembers it fondly. A tribute to both the strength of the program and the leadership of Dean's scout leaders.

 

There is nothing in any of the rules or procedures of the BSA that prevent Dean from doing the same things with the Cubs he serves today.

 

There is no rule that says that a leader cannot touch a Scout appropriately.

 

There is no cause for making a scout run a mile unless it is to fulfill a requirement for advancement or an award. That kind of punishment is pointless and there are so many more effective ways to deal with Scouts that there is simply no reason to resort to such tactics.

 

Why would a Scout leader want to give drugs to someone elses child? We are trained as program leaders not pharmacists or physicians. Stick to your training.

 

The 2/3 rule Dean offers is subjective and unmeasurable. I have no idea where such a method is taught or recommended, but I would doubt it has any valid basis or meaningful support. Our role is to deliver a scouting program and not to punish other peoples children. If a scout's behavior is interfering with that delivery simply return them to their parents for punishment and continue your job of delivering the program to those who want to be Scouts.

 

Are we a litigious society? Yes we are, but the BSA did not create that problem, they are just another victim of it, as are all of us. Dean's complaint and frustration on that matter is better aimed at lawyers and politicians not at the BSA or its programs.

 

Dean ponders..."I truely wonder if the adult leadership that is supposed to be guiding these yougn men to become strong, independent, leaders...."

 

Actually Dean the mission of the BSA is to help prepare young people to make ethical decisions through out their lives based on the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Not everyone becomes a leader but that does not lessen their value as a good person or their ability to be a good citizen, neighbor, friend, or parent.

 

I hope that as you learn more about the Cub Program and the other programs of the BSA you will find a balance between your memories of your youth and the opportunities avaibale today for you to deliver a quality program to the youth you serve.

 

Best wishes

BW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Yah, if memory is fickle I reckon we can instead compare modern American scoutin' with modern scoutin' in other countries.

 

Unfortunately, the comparison works out da same as DeanRx's conclusion, eh? We're far more restrictive, and far more a "babysitting" or at least risk-averse culture here in the U.S. Anybody remember the fracas the American contingent made at WSJ in Thailand? Tryin' to impose our SSD on the rest of the world's scouts who were perfectly happy with their kids just goin' swimming with supervision?

 

At one point I was trackin' how many new rules and guidelines in G2SS were generated each year on average. I gave up after a bit. Of course, no rules are ever subtracted. :p And there's lots of new guidance in other areas (YP, "hazardous weather avoidance", etc.) which aren't necessarily in G2SS.

 

As leaders, I think it's just fine to make judgment calls on mission vs. risk. Our mission is mentoring kids; if that means yeh need to touch a lad sometimes then you touch him. Our mission is outdoor adventure. If that means on a canoe trip that the lads jump overboard and go swimmin' to cool off without settin' up a buddy board, tags, and a roped swim area divided into three ability levels, that can be just fine. Understand the risks. Mitigate 'em reasonably. But don't compromise the mission with a lot of inappropriate universal rules.

 

Some risks are acceptable risks. Attorneys and risk managers will never volunteer that, eh? It's not their job. Those of us who run the primary mission of youth development need to know where risk management must yield to program goals. A good leader will say to risk management "thank you for your input, but we're doing this anyway because it's important" and keep da risk managers in check. Good accountants can do it, too, with cost-benefit analyses ;).

 

Beavah

 

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I think a lot of the stuff you are complaining about isn't scouting's fault (or the BSA's), but due to certain changes in our society.

 

Too many people, right or wrong, are very 'risk adverse'. Some is due to the fact that some people are too quick to blame someone else for something, and sue. Some is due to parents and others wants to shield their kids (right or wrong) from any risk.

 

Another issue is that too many people are hyper sensitive regarding offending others. No, you don't want to be offensive, but too often people take offence for trivial things. I'm in Toastmasters, and a lot of times I hear remarks by other members that 'we can't talk about X, we can't talk about Y', as those its policy, when our newsletters says that such rules do not exist.

 

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I think if you are going to compare the BSA program rules and procedures that you need to compare them with countries of similar culture and social norms.

 

I really doubt thet Thailand has the same litigious culture that has developed in the US nor does their scouting program have the same assets at risk that the BSA has.

 

The idea thet you cannot have an adventurous and fun program and still remain within the safety procedures developed over the past 100 years of scouting is just wrong. Whether it is the result of lack of training, poor training, or just personal translation of the rules is immaterial, and it is still wrong.

 

Scout units all over the country still engage in a multitude of activities at all adventure levels and do so within the structure of the program. The Guide to Safe Scouting is an aide to leades to avoid the mistakes that others have learned from over the years, it is not a shackle to keep scouts from adventure.

 

Most of Dean's concerns can be traced to him getting misinfomation or from misunderstanding the actual policy or procedure and its purpose.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I think if you are going to compare the BSA program rules and procedures that you need to compare them with countries of similar culture and social norms.

 

Yah, except da point was the same as emb's, eh? Our culture and social norms these days are what's generatin' all this guff. It wasn't just the host country that objected in 2003. My memory was that everyone else was put off by our SSD plan and behavior. The Thais were actually tryin' to be accommodatin' and find a compromise.

 

No question it's still possible to run an excitin' Scouting program. Also no question it's more work and paperwork, and a fair bit more adult-hands-on than it used to be. I reckon we all agree that we've seen plenty of scouters and trainers go overboard in conveyin' the "full of don'ts" approach like DeanRx suggests or like we've seen posted around here about the liability boogeyman.

 

That's a problem. It says that folks aren't gettin' the full message of a Scoutin' program with risk management as opposed to Risk Management with an occasional scoutin' program. The BSA was given assets to run a Scoutin' program - those assets exist solely to be put at risk, not to be protected. Folks like DeanRx shouldn't ever walk out of a roundtable feelin' like he describes. He should walk out of a roundtable feelin' energized about program! That's a failure of leadership at the RT, eh? But it's a sadly common one.

 

Beavah

 

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