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I usually feel pretty good after Pack or Den meetings or after visiting with our sister troop. Yeah, nobodys perfect but the boys seem to be having fun and everybody is doing the best they can.


Then I come here and see that Im wrong and things are pretty messed up. Maybe not so much with Cub Scouts, because on that side people seem pretty happy with the program. But on the Boy Scout side, things are so fundamentally wrong, according to people who have years of experience in the program, or at least years worth of experience making forum posts.


Where do we start? National, of course, doesnt have a clue. Theyve completely wrecked Woodbadge, EDGE is a joke, they turned the Eagle badge into a shell of its former self, and they killed the Patrol method.


So many problems catalogedWebelos IIIs. Cupcakes and Girl boy scouts. Paper Eagles. Merit badge clinics. Summer school summer camps.


I know it's human nature to focus on the negative, and talking about what works well doesn't make for an interesting forum post. Nevertheless, the sheer volume of problems is depressing. What if the troop my son wants to join is a firm believer in first year, first class? What if its patrols dont camp 300 feet apart? Just not sure what to do anymore!


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Just not sure what to do anymore!


Well, you could stop reading the forum!


No, seriously, if all you get out of it is frustration and find it depressing that others are pointing out what they think are problems and you just don't agree, well, don't frustrate and depress yourself.


If on the other hand you want to complain about there being too much complaining, er, can't help you there. Nothing's perfect, and folks have ideas about what BSA could do better. Especially considering one of the big problems we have is a lack of leaders with experience in the program as a Youth, a place like this where, um, the phrase was something like "curmudgeons who see the fuzzy past through their bifocals" can ruminate over stuff is a really good thing.


And if on the Gripping Hand, you just think there should be more positive stories, chime in with one!

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Is the unit benefiting youth? Are they learning self-reliance, good citizenship, and the value of fitness? Are youth given the chance to really lead? If so, improve from there. On the unit level all the issues you mentioned can be overcome. National does not, for example, keep a Troop from camping every month of the year or from Patrol camping. If 300 feet is the be-all and end-all, do it.


Shop around. Not all Troops are the same.


Example: I posted my ire about the "super" summer camp (among many others) that handed out Scoutcraft MB's with no individual testing and, so, no proof that any of the Scouts knew anything/had any of the skills required AND with few qualified MB Counselors (Most were Scouts with minimal knowledge. [Did you know that a "bear bag" is a bag so tightly woven that a bear cannot smell the food through the cloth? 0___0 ])


BSA knows this goes on, orders it to stop, and deliberately takes no action to stop it. ("But we told them . . . .") By "deliberately, I mean, for example, Camp Inspectors being told not to inquire into such things.


We are not going to that camp next summer and we told them exactly why.


That they will fill every site every week is on the Scouters who take their units there. (I know two SM's who will continue go there, but their Scouts do not take any Scoutcraft MB's there.)


Having witnessed the original BSA Wood Badge and staffed the second version (Said in the 1970's to be the death of Wood Badge) and the third (current) version, I can say that most of the leadership skills at the heart of the second version are present in the third.


What IS missing is outdoor skills training beyond the First Class level. The second version of Wood badge had some outdoor skills training. That is gone, and BSA has utterly failed on that front. It is up to local volunteers, through "other" training, to fill the chasm left by BSA in training and literature. If we are not doing that, it's on us. National has not ordered that no such training be given. Paid Scouters would not be the staff even if it was national standard training. No one to blame but ourselves if we are not passing on outdoor skills.

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Where do we start? National, of course, doesnt have a clue. Theyve completely wrecked Woodbadge, EDGE is a joke, they turned the Eagle badge into a shell of its former self, and they killed the Patrol method. So many problems catalogedWebelos IIIs. Cupcakes and Girl boy scouts. Paper Eagles. Merit badge clinics. Summer school summer camps.


Yah, have yeh listened to the regular news lately? :)


When yeh collect stories from an entire nation, there's bound to be a murder or a plane crash or rape somewhere, eh? Delivered right into your living room. Or yeh can just spend some time talkin' to cops, lawyers, or psychologists, eh? Any of 'em can convince yeh that everyone's a crook or nutjob. Or yeh can just watch House. ;) And it seems to me that just about everybody agrees these days that there's somethin' wrong with the bozos at "national"!


People naturally respond to bad things because we want to fix 'em. That's a good thing. It shows we care. And the folks servin' as commissioners or long-timers are a bit like cops or psychiatrists, eh? Don't let 'em get yeh down, they're good folks too. Even da lawyers. :) I can't vouch for da congress, though...


So enjoy the local scouting that has good people running it, puzzling out how to make the program work for the boys in their care. Support 'em, cheer for 'em, pray for 'em. That's real Scouting, and there's a lot of good, real Scouting still out there. But don't be too hard on da folks who want to make it better, or who are strugglin' with the places where it's run off the rails a bit.


The only time we really have to worry about da future of Scouting is when people stop caring enough to argue long and passionately about it. Because the sound of that lack of complaining will be the sound of people walkin' away, and Scouting becoming irrelevant.


To paraphrase Elie Weisel, the opposite of love isn't hate or complaining. It's indifference.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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In the Golden Age of Scouting," West wanted to make all SM's paid employee's of the BSA so he could control them better. Boys went to Summer Camp by being divided up into Cabin Crews under a staff member. The "good old days" are definitely old. Good? Even polio aside, not entirely?


But you can make a difference in the here and now.


The first Scout Troops in the U.S. were started in 1908. Yup, two years before BSA existed.


When BSA got to my area 1912, there were 99 Troops already.


When BSA got to where I Scouted as a kid in 1916, there were already 123 Troops in the County. Mine was the 43rd, and kept that number


So bureaucrats are essential why?

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I wouldnt get too upset, I see the forum as a sorta Employee Lounge. In Japan the employee lounge often has an effigy of the "boss" and encourage employees to blow off steam by screaming or beating on it. Here people blow off steam, If people were as totally distraught and outraged and disillusioned in the program as you might think from their posts, then you would have to question their sanity by staying with it and continuing to endure the torture that must define their BSA experience

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As others said, do what you can with the unit you are with. It makes a difference, trust me.


One thing we have in our favor is what I call the "multiplication effect." You do your best as a leader to make a difference in the lives of your scouts. And while they age out, go away to college, etc, they will remember what you did for them. And when their time comes to step up to the plate, they are going to do their best to follow your example.


Don't believe, well I got two dads in my den who were scouts, one getting Eagle, the other Medal of Merit for saving someone's life. Both have stories of their time in scouts, one is my ADL and is trying to do things like he did them, and the other cannot wait for his son to be a Boy Scout so that he can find a troop like his own growing up. While not a CS leader, he is on the district committee.


I have a friend from my old troop whose son is Wolf age now. Guess who is a DL. Guess which troop is the pack is affiliated with, and he cannot wait for son to join it?


See what I mean.


And even outside of scouting, the guys I knew are makign a difference and living up to the ideals of scouting. They are businessmen, Marines and airman, they are volunteers.


I think my old SM Mr. Joe would be proud.

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I recently had a new family join our Tiger Cub Den. Today the boy, both his parents and two grandparents showed up for our district Cub Scout Bowling Tournament.


Last Saturday the Dad attended my Tiger Cub Den Leader Training. The new Scout appeared in a full new uniform. The boys grandfather related that he had been a Cub Scout and Boy Scout in his time, and he was interested in being an adult leader in our pack program.


How can you be a pessimist when you have stories like that going on?


In the Cub Scouts, we Do Our Best. That's the bottom line.

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Another thought,


There are those who can only exist if they are in the in the worst circumstances possible. I have worked with people who just knew for certain they worked in the most awful place on earth, were the most underapreciated employees in the entire world and it was a testiment to their skill and and ability to just function at an average or normal level. For them to admit to themselves that they themselves are average or normal is anathema to their own self image, therefore if they are not beheld for the majestic wonderfullness that they are, the only certain thing is they are being held down due to forces beyond their control.


It is always something beyond them that is the core issue, its National, Its Council, Its District. They want to be the best and are not and seek an explanation.

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