Jump to content

Recommended Posts

SeattlePioneer writes:


Rigid adhearance to the Congressional charter as Holy Writ


The Congressional Charter is not "Holy Writ," it is a secular Act of Congress: A Special Rights Law.


In a nutshell, the Federal Charter gives us the "Exclusive right to emblems, badges, marks, and words" (Sec. 30905) that were in common use in Boy Scout Troops here and the rest of the world before the BSA was invented.


In exchange for this lucrative state-imposed corporate monopoly, the Federal Charter requires the BSA to adhere to the Three Purposes of Scouting (Sec. 30902).






So SeattlePioneer is exactly wrong:


The BSA does in fact enforce "rigid adherence to the Congressional Charter" every time it issues a "cease and desist" order enforced under Sec. 30905. The Congressional Charter is the legal instrument by which the BSA receives favorable rulings when it sues competing international associations (such as Baden-Powell Scouting) that seek to provide American citizens the Scouting program as it was played in a specific year.


To obey the Congressional Charter, a Retro-Innovation Scouting association would offer the BSA program as it was played in 1916:




In the rest of the world, the Retro-Innovation date is usually 1965 (the year before innovation's Advance Party Report), or 1938 (the last year that Baden-Powell edited the rule book):




Scouting Retro-Innovation embraces advances in three areas:


a) health & safety practices

b) environmental concerns

c) light-weight camping technologies.




Although it does not favor the Patrol Method, I would include Adventure Innovations such as Scuba Diving Merit Badge:




SeattlePioneer writes:


Frankly I see my drawn to support the programs of the Chief Scout Executive and his innovative programs


Remember that "Innovation" is the exact term used by corporate CEO leadership experts to justify "outside the box" programs that replace real assets with unregulated toxic assets.


The Chief Scout Executive's "innovative programs" are the same thing: They replace Scoutcraft (which can be measured) with "Character and Leadership" (which can not be measured).


By replacing Sec. 30902 with "Character and Leadership," he can offer toxic programs to keep twelve-year-old Boy Scouts away from camping. Not just to play soccer, but to bring them indoors in front of computers to sit "side by side with adults of character."




Back in 1916 Americans would say of their worst enemy "It would take an Act of Congress to get him to do the right thing."


The greatest "Innovation" in 20th century Scouting was the discovery that not even an Act of Congress can compel The Boy Scouts to do the right thing:


A Scout is obedient. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them.




Yours at 300 feet,




(This message has been edited by Kudu)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 33
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

"The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916."


I suspect that most folks who look at this see the "June 15, 1916" date and immediately dismiss the Charter as irrelevant. But it is clear that the Charter is NOT talking about Scoutcraft as it existed in 1916, nor about the uniform as it was then, nor about any particular book, tool, or other item. Reduced to its essence, the actions commanded by the Charter are:


"[T]o promote . . . to train . . . and to teach . . . using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916."


The _method_ of promoting, training, and teaching developed and pulled together by Baden-Powell is the essence of Boy Scouting and always has been. This should be no surprise to anyone. What would be surprising is the suggestion that the Boy Scout method of promoting, training, and teaching developed by Baden-Powell is outdated and irrelevant.


Of course, the Charter also tells us _what_ it is we are supposed to promote, train, and teach:


"promote . . . the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others"

"train them in scoutcraft"

"teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues"


How do we find out what methods for promoting, training, and teaching were in common use by Boy Scouts in 1916? Well, Baden-Powell himself has left us a wealth of material. That's a good place to start learning how to do the promoting, training, and teaching. And those are areas where no innovation is needed, and in any case innovation there is foreclosed by the Charter.


The "ability of boys to do things for themselves and others" needs no explanation (I hope). "[P]atriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues" are -- ahem -- "timeless" and in any event are reflected in the Scout Oath and Law. "Scoutcraft" is not pegged to any particular time period, and therefore properly consists of whatever current -- and innovative -- skills and techniques constitute the outdoorsmanship and other elements we think of as "Scoutcraft."


The concern that many of us have is that Scouting has been going "soft" on training boys in Scoutcraft. The outdoorsmanship advancement requirements are too few, and those that remain are too easy. There is too much emphasis on "innovating" in a way that minimizes Scoutcraft training (and thereby violates the Charter) for the sake of membership numbers.


Dan K.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Many of the things listed here as innovation in Scouting are substantive changes to the program. Honestly, I don't know how those changes are made. Who decided to have Tiger Cubs? Some Cubmaster just decided to start enrolling kids one grade younger? Obviously, I ask rhetorically. Likewise, I can't change the expected job description of a commissioner (despite the fact that they are widely perceived as being of little to no value by many leaders), nor can I implement new required courses, nor how the chartering process works.


So I don't know the answer to the question of where innovations come from at the grand all-Scouting level. I do think it can be useful to look at how they get rolled out, and how people react to them, and most people do have experience with that.


I can think about how we've made changes in the troop. Usually they come from one person who sees something wrong and proposes a change. Then you have to get buy-in. Then you have roll-out.


I'll take Eagledad's recommendations (as always, thoughtful and insightful) and adjust them into mine:

1. Innovation needs to naturally sustainable. Somehow, the work for the innovation to continue must be spread out amongst many people. It can't depend on one person consistently pushing other people to do something they don't really want to do. Sustainable innovation is that which can be regularized - either through a simply-stated policy ("Our pack camps four times per year"), or a requirement/prerequisite for something ("All leaders must be trained"), or a tradition ("Our troop recites the Outdoor Code at the beginning of every troop meeting.")

2. Innovation should provide an easily identifiable benefit to the people who have to implement it. This type of innovation catches on because people immediately see the value - and so it propagates itself.


(a) Some other examples of innovations that have occurred:

i. Introduction of the pinewood derby in Cub Scouts

ii. Introduction of the Academics and then Sports & Academics belt loops in Cub Scouting

iii. Internet-based training (not really specific to BSA, but a widely accepted innovation in the BSA)

iv. Use of many new communication vehicles in troops - email lists, web sites, etc.

v. Use of PackMaster/TroopMaster or similar programs


On a troop level, some specific innovations might be

vi. Assigning each patrol their own tents to own.

vii. A particular fund-raiser that proves to be easy to do, fun, and with a significant return


(b) Where to see more innovation


Each troop might have their own places where they need to see some innovation. For general, Scouting-wide innovation, I do think the options listed earlier might be interesting on a behind-the-scenes level, although points i and ii here don't really show up for the Scouts nor for most Scout leaders:

i. Charter process (although to be honest, I'm not sure how to phrase this as a problem amenable to an innovative solution)

ii. Commissioner corps - "How can we best use our experienced volunteers as mentors across all of our units?"

iii. Uniforms -"What would be most effective at getting people to like the uniform and/or boost recruiting/retention?"

iv. Consistency - "How can we best insure that awards are roughly equivalent from troop to troop, district to district, approver to approver?" - Here I'm imagining things like merit badges (currently ranging from summer camp total disregard for requirements to some counselors who are real sticklers), or Eagle rank, which has a wide variety in interpretation of what is a sufficient project from council to council.

v. Outdoor traditions - "Is there something else like the Klondike Derby that could be a successful outdoor district tradition? Anything at all for those units in the south?"



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...