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It's just not possible that they do it so that there are special things that can only be done at Day Camp or a district webelos camping trip which helps make these events something special


Hopefully not.


I'll hop on my soapbox and recite da Beavah's constant refrain to districts and councils: We exist to provide service to help the units with their program, eh? They don't exist to provide service to da district or council, and their program shouldn't be hamstrung so as to make da district or council program more attractive.


Fact is, lots of units don't have great districts or councils that offer such events, so they get shortchanged. Lots of units also can't avail themselves of district or council events, because of scheduling, or religious obstacles, or distance, or cost.


The scoutin' program that those boys experience should not be weaker just because they are part of a weak district, or are remote, or whatnot. Leastways, not if there are other, non-council resources which can provide the program for 'em safely. Plus, close as I can tell, da accident rate for council activities is just as bad as for units. Sometimes it seems worse.


Yah, there's a lot we can do. But in da troops and teams and crews, the youth leadership gets to choose what it wants, eh? And if we tell 'em its youth led, then we shouldn't put up artificial roadblocks in their path without a really well thought out good cause. Yep, ATV usage has never been a traditional part of scouting. Neither has mountain biking. Both are fun, interestin' to kids, and yeh can do good scouting with 'em.


Plus it'd be really nice to teach some ATVers a scout-like courtesy and conservation ethic. ;)




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"Gee - if an activity is prohibited, it just must be because the BSA is afraid of litigation and the risk management folks are just going overboard, right?


It's just not possible that there could be other reasons for some of the prohibitions."


Of course there are! Some things were recognized early on as being either unsafe or not conducive to a healthy Scouting program.


Martial arts is as good an example as any. One of the original topics for "Badges of Merit" was Master at Arms. Essentially. a Scout was expected to learn a fighting style to earn this badge. By the time that the BSA introduced the merit badge program in 1911, this badge was gone. So martial arts was never really contemplated as a component of Scouting beyond its formative stages.


Still, I wonder if you have to be a bit too accepting to believe that many of the recent changes have occured for some other reason than litigation prevention. That motivation is powerful, and it has replaced common sense in most corporate decision-making processes for quite some time now.



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Most of the restrictions are an image thing. A few of them are more about safety I guess, but I have participated as a BSA unit leader in just about all the restrictions on Beavahs list through the years, mostly before they made the restricted list and a few from ignorance. But I have to say the most dangerous activity I ever led was the Cub Mobile races. If those cars arent raced just right, they can develop a lot of speed quickly. I had a few scouts get pretty scuffed up before we got the basics down. None of those scouts or their families complained.


But its kind of funny, we originally built the cub mobiles for a summer pack project one year. The scouts had so much fun with them that it became a pack activity at least three or four times a year. But after we used the Cub Mobiles at the District Summer Cub Day Camp, the DE asked us to help them turn it into a district event. So we taught the other packs how to build the cars and ran the first year district competition. The district ran the event every April after that for 10 years.


Cub Mobiles is a great event, but dont say it to loud, its not on the list yet.




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This thread, following on the recent discussion on when to sign off (on achievements), got me thinking about parallels between the two. In that thread there were opinions expressed that scouts need not be proficient when being signed off on requirements, or when advancing in rank. I dont think that it is a far stretch to think that if scouts are not expected to be proficient at the skills, then perhaps they really shouldn't be trusted to participate in activities that may be risky.


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Two years ago I had a Tiger Cub parent (now Cubmaster) who was disappointed that his son's karate achievements weren't recognized in Scouts.


I did my best to explain that as best I could. I pointed out that other activities like tackle football weren't recognized either, but that sports in general were recognized and encouraged.


I suggested that activities where getting hit in the head, hard, was part of the program tended not to be recognized! I also suggested that perhaps uneven supervision and training of those leading such activities might be explanations.


Of course activities like swimming are hazardous and are recognized. They are also surrounded by programs of training and qualification designed to mitigate the risks involved.


Of course we are free to engage in any activities we wish if we accept the liability for getting sued. I don't care for that kind of risk myself, and I have a measure of sympathy when the BSA decides it needs to draw lines as well.

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How about building a tower out of logs (the same design that is in the Pioneering Merit Badge book), and then not being allowed to climb on it?

Let's just have the youth build a simple bridge out of logs crossing NOTHING, placing it on the flat, level ground, that way if one should slip while crossing it, he won't get a scraped knee.

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Simple idea. Excellent, too! Why didn't I think of that?


Inviting boys to bring in sports and other kinds of awards for recognition at den or pack meetings is obvious, but I can't say I've seen it done.



Old Gray Owl,


When I was rebuilding a failing pack we had a June pack campout in 2005. The Commiittee Chair was an ex Eagle Scout who fondly remembered his Pioneering projects. I helped him build a monkey bridge a few feet off of flat ground.


The Cub Scouts loved it --- the bouncier and more difficult to cross the better!


It's been replicated pretty much every year since then for that pack activity.

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TwoCubDad - The other activities are I fear the hint to the BSA Soccer leagues.. Next will be the Dodgeball & Basketball leagues..



Gee, Moose, thanks a lot. I hadn't thought of it that way. Great.


Or to quote Slim Pickens (Mr. Taggart) in Blazing Saddles, "I am de-pressed."


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on the news recently was a teaser that said something like this: lost young skier saved himself with skills learned from...Then came a commercial. I was sure when the news item came up that it was going to say skills learned from being in the Boy Scouts. Instead, it said from skills learned by watching survival programs such as Survivorman.

Could a 14 year old Scout who didn't watch survival programs done as well? Doubtful with the typical sanitized program usually presented. The equivalent of wilderness survival mb should start from day one -- out in the field

From ABC News:

A 14-year-old boy who found himself stranded on an Oregon mountain while skiing on New Year's Eve said he used skills learned from reality television to find his way out of the woods.

Jake Denham of Portland was found after a nine-hour search on Mount Bachelor, Oregon, having endured temperatures as low as minus-5 degrees and built a small snow cave to stay warm.

Denham attributed his useful survival skills to information that he learned on two of his favorite TV Shows, "Man vs. Wild" and "Survivor Man."

"I love those shows," he said in an interview with ABC affiliate KOHD-TV in Bend, Ore.



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Although Scouting has it's issues and problems, it's still the best program ...( at least in my area)..... because all the other ones are limited duration or a one shot deal.


YMCA has summer swimmimg in a pool, But it has it with 1,5oo kids lined up foir their turn. You pay almost as much if not more money for 2 and 1/2 months of very, very limited and timed swimmimg time compared to an entire year of scoutimng. Plus, once the swimming is over at the YMCA..then it's done and over. KAPUT!


The local parks and recs offers programs like daytime camp sesions, but activities are limited because of public assocaition and potentail lawsuits. Plus 45 boys watch as a adult may or may not light a campfire wich consists of 25 charcoal briquetts.


Most any guided activity is just that: guided. The guid rambles through a worn and worn out dialog about blah, blah, blah, but doesn't actually teach you any useful skills that you retain. Any ifo is the very minimalist kind. Get you in, get you going and get you out ..hope you enjoyed what you just paid for!

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Are we getting into "myth" territory here too? I've found nothing in the policies that water down the program in a way that prevents a Troop from offering a challenging program that would prepare Scouts for those "Survivorman" situations. I suspect the reality is that adult leaders don't have the skills or don't want to do these things and cover by saying "it's against the rules".


I see nothing in G2SS that says you can't use safety gear to climb trees. I see a prohibition of Technical Tree Climbing, which is a whole different animal that putting a harness and rope on a Scout as a safety precaution so that he can climb a tree safely without it being a technical climb.


I see people saying we can't build Monkey Bridges over 5 feet tall, or build towers like in the old pioneering books and climb them, but I can't find anything in G2SS that says you can't do this. G2SS states that, as a general safety precaution, you "should" build your Monkey Bridges no more than 5 feet high, and that you "Should" not attempt to build COPES course high ropes elements.


Words mean things - and while Should suggests you have a duty to follow a recommendation, Shall suggests that you must do something. I don't see these Should's as "Cant's". I see them as "if you're going to do it, be darn well sure you know what you're doing, and are prepared in case something goes wrong. Or am I wrong in thinking this?



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I asked when did the BSA become Basic Simple Activities and no one answered. I will


We became Basic Simple Activities because that's what the majority of adults want to do. Yes, there are the strapping virile men of the Forum who could teach Bear Grylls a thing or two, but thats far and few. Kudu in his recruitment presentation promises danger, how many adults follow through on that promise? How many times do we tell the parents, don't worry, nobody will get hurt. WHat do the youth think about that. Maybe the response should be, don't worry, we have two Paramedica along on the trip so when people get hurt they will survive


Of course presenting a more "dangerous" program means more training and costs but thats ok, right?

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