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Scouter.

Air Conditioned Eagle Encampment

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OK this is bugging the heck out of me and I cannot contain myself. I've tried to hold it in and can't.

 

WHO IS THE IDIOT THAT CAME UP WITH THIS?!?!?!?!?!?! ( and yes I'm am shouting at frustration at this idea.)

 

As GBB said, Scouting is outing. I have Cub Scouts, yes CUB SCOUTS, chomping at the bit and driving me nuts as to when they will be going camping next now that spring has come. You should have hear them last night when I announced two camping trips April and May. Heck I lost one family b/c "we don't go camping enough."

 

The kids WANT the outdoors (emphasis this time around). I have guys who are focus on sports througout the year and miss meeting and some activities. BUT you mention a camp out, they are there. They may be late coming from a game, or may leave for some time Saturday and come back that afternoon, BUT THEY WANT THE OUTDOORS.

 

Now this next bit is anecdotal, but I am trusting the source. One dad told me last nite that his older son got so into Boy Scouts because the troop camps every month in all kinds of conditions, that he rather Boy Scouts than sports. Same dad said his younger son, is also starting to get more intersted in Scouting sicne we are now doing meetings outside and have cmap coming up. And I knwo that is a fact since the younger son is in my den.

 

BSA went through a crisis in the 1970s when it took the 'Outing out of Scouting." from talkignto folks here and elsewhere, it appears that the old school, 'Hiking and Camping" troops that retained their outdoor program really thrived, while other troops that adopted the newer, "Urban Scouting," suffered. I know my brothers looked at troops when they moved, and didn't find a troop they liked. I bet their old troop was an established one, while the troops they visited were brand new since the area was just underdevelopment.

 

If we take the OUTING out of ScOUTING, we will suffer as a movement. We learned this once before, and Green Bar Bill had to comeout of retirement and save the BSA. He's "gone home," and I do not think there is any individual, capable of doing what he did and save us if we continue down this trail.

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"The kids WANT the outdoors."

 

Not necessarily. I guarantee if this were offered locally (and okayed by the SM) we would have a disappointly large number of our Scouts attend. On the other hand, these are the same kids who went to Philmont last summer and put together a great wilderness survival campout a couple months ago.

 

While they may enjoy the outdoors, the kids have been taught by their parents (and an unfortunatly number of Scout leaders) to look for the "most efficient" route through advancement. They see a bunch of boxes to be checked off and treat it as such. It then becomes a question of how fast can we check the boxes.

 

I want it to be difficult. There, I said it. I want that 30-year-old Eagle to come back and say, "Dang, that was tough. I thought I'd never finish those 90-day merit badges. Mr. Twocubdad held my feet to the fire, but I stuck to it and I EARNED it. Thank you for helping me see that I can reach a goal if I work hard and stay focused."

 

I know I'll get a pile of responses about being an ego-maniacal adult enjoying making things tough on little kids. Well, I'm one of the least egotistical people you'll meet, but I'll own the last half of the statement. Scout advancement is supposed to be a series of surmountable challenges to be overcome. Why do we set up these challenges but then give the boys the cheat codes?

 

Forget the air conditioning. Do you really want your Scouts to earn HALF of the Eagle-required merit badges in one week?

 

 

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TwoCub,

 

Thanks for both of your posts. Excellent stuff. I don't have too big of a problem with certain merit badges being taught at summer camp or the occasionally well run merit badge fair. But when given an inch, people tend to take a mile. What was occasional becomes the norm. Let's look at what the merit badge program was. People who knew a subject signed up to be MB counselors. They didn't even have to be an active scouter, just register as a MB counselor....and yes, that can still happen. But what happens in many troops is Bob is MBC for 15 different MB's and Joe is MBC for 10 different MB's and they teach them in class settings during troop meetings......or the troop just sends the boys to a merit badge fair if they don't have the resources. The old idea was that the council, district, unit maintianed a list of MBC's and when a boy was interested in taking an MB, he found a buddy interested in taking the same MB, they discussed it with his SM, got approval and a phone number to call the MBC. Then they had to call the MBC and set up a time, date and place to visit with the counselor. They do the work they discussed and bring it back for his approval. This did a number of things. First, it enforced "adult association". Second, it taught the boy valuable social skills in approaching new people, presenting himself and how to deal with others. This kind of skill comes in real handy when they go on a job interview, not to mention it teaches them something of about work ethic. When MB's get taught in scheduled, group settings where mom and dad sign you up and you go set in a classroom and churn out an MB in 4 hours so it can be checked off of a list for Eagle Scout, something gets lost in the whole idea behind the MB program.

 

This program is little more than the summer camp Tenderfoot to First Class programs that troops have come to rely on because it's easier than having to develop the program yourself.

 

Heck, if you run the kids thru a T21 program their first year and take the next year getting them thru star and life, you can send them to a program like this and pump out teams of 13 year old Eagles. It just depends on how motivated the parents are. ;)

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The kids want the outdoors-Eagle92

 

not necessarily- Twocub

 

Sorry Twocub but Eagle92 is 100% correct, the outdoor program is and has been the backbone of the entire scouting program since its inception. You may have a few boys who do not want to camp or be in the outdoors and my answer to that is that there are other organizations for them. Too many parents are forcing their boys into scouting to "make a man out of them" or "for them to become an Eagle to help them get into college or a good job." I have heard this all to often in my years as a scout leader and after talking to the boy I tell the parents both of these are not good reasons to become a scout, and suggest they find another outlet for their son.

 

Unfortunately what we are seeing in too many troops today is that a large percentage of the scouts hate the outdoors, as do many of the current crop of scoutmasters, and the result is a troop program which is classroom oriented, academic in nature, in other words is NOT in any way a true boy scout program. So it should be no great mystery why the BSA continues to lose boy scouts and troops on a larger scale every year. The new "Cupcake Scouting"(Kudu's term)sadly is becoming the norm rather than the exception, and the way National and CSE Mazzuca are dealing with it will only make this situation much worse. This Eagle Camp is just a precursor of things to come IMO.

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I'm going out on a limb here and saying that we get rid of the academic merit badges or at least cut down on how of them there are. Do we REALLY NEED 3 different citizenship badges? Family life is a make work project IMHO. A well functioning family will do this already and a poorly functioning family will never get through it, either way its a bust of a badge. Communications is really just Public Speaking with a twist or two. Don't know how it is else where in the country but my kids do boat loads of presentations and speeches at school why repeat in Scouts?

 

If the concensus is having an academic camp to get these badges done is a bad thing for scouting then wouldn't the answer be to get rid of the badges? No matter when or how these badges are done, at an academic camp, summer camp, merit badge fair, or traditioanlly 1:1 with a counselor, you can't get around that they are academic exercises that really don't lend themselves to getting our scouts outside.

 

I know of at least 10 kids that have dropped out of scouting due to the academic merit badges being required to advance. A couple were told by parents do them or quit, we aren't paying for you to play and camp. A couple more had learning disabilities and just couldn't wrap their heads around some of the subject matter (personal management). The last group quit over family life, parents didn't want the needed discussions to occur around the much younger siblings, or put the effort into the family projects - Junior is the scout not us.

 

At any rate if require academic badges then we have to accept an academic solution to the problem or change the system.

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Well trainerlady, I can truck with that. I never saw the need for ALL those academic merit badges. My guess is most kids take Civics, Geography, and/or Current Events in school. I don't understand why we have to re-hash that. The Family thing is exactly like you said: a fuctional family does this anyways, and a dysfunctional one NEVER will (and I can get behind the fact that it is HIS journey, NOT mine!).

 

I will be ALL over getting rid of all but maybe 1 or 2 academic badges as being required for Eagle and make the rest of them ALL outdoors. In fact, I think it would be great if the MBs required were Hiking, Bicycling AND Camping (NOT "OR").

 

But if that doesn't happen, I am more than fine with doing academic merit badges in a classroom A/C setting. I don't see why you have to sweat and be itchy and uncomfortable in order to learn something.

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As a long time teacher, subbing at most levels, I cannot say that the schools do a very good job in covering these areas noted in the last post. I am constantly amazed at how little kids understand about even the basics of our history, or the foundations of the government. Of course, it would help perhaps if our reps actually worked within these foundational areas after being elected.

 

But, there really is nothing wrong with expecting a Scout earning Eagle to have a better grounding in these areas than his peers, IMHO anyway. That is contingent on the counselor doing their job though, not just looking at the filled in worksheet in a cursory manner; rather actually discussing pertinent points with the candidate.(This message has been edited by skeptic)

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OK Now the Cub leader is going to weigh in, throw a grenade and run for cover. . .Is the issue the fact that they are holding the camp in the first place (regardless of when or where) or is it that is air conditioned? To me, a visitor from the northern climes to Florida's oven like sweatbox in July, the air conditioning seems as natural as us in New Hampshire advertising the training in mid-January as heated. Just makes sense if you want 'em awake and paying attention to what you are teaching.

:)

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A few comments.

 

1)While I admit I HATED the paperwork MBs as a scout (that's emphasis y'all, not screaming or ranting ;) ), as I got older and started being an MBC for the Citizenships, I was appalled at what is not taught in the schools.

 

So I do see a place for some, stressing SOME, p/w MBs. I think the the Citizenships could me merged as they once were, Family Life gotten rid of, and incorporate someof the requirements of Communicatiosn into other MBs.

 

2) I actually prefer the term "parlour Scout" to "cupcake Scout," as BP used it, but that's me.

 

3)IMHO, summertime is when you take advantage of the outdoors. If you are going to teach p/w mbs at a summer camp, at least do it at nite time when not much is going on.

 

4) Again IMHO, winter camps are ideal for p/w MBs in the indoors. But I admit I hate the cold. ;)

 

5) While summer camp is a good time to work on adavancement b/c you are livign and breathign scouting fro the entire week, ADVANCEMENT SHOULD NOT BE THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOING TO CAMP! (caps for emphasis) I see this as a real problem it seems as if more and more summer camps are turning into MB mills, or are solely focused on programs geared towards advancement.

 

An aside: how many summer camps still provide inter troop competitions at camp? How many offer free boating, swimming shooting, climbing, etc periods? How many have a campwide campfire, beside opening and closing, or campwide games? How many provide the supplies for a troop to do either their own or multitroop crackerbarrell and fun nite?

 

Yes it's been a long time since I worked summer camp. And from what I keep hearing this isn't happening anymore.

 

6) why is it that the parents who push their kids into Scouting to get Eagle have more problems than those who sit back and let the kids enjoy themselves. yes I've seen parents force and bribe their kids. Soemtimes it works, sometiems it don't. But I've aslo seen parents who will let their kids go do what they want, and while Scouting may get on the back burner, in the end it just happens.

 

Ok off soap box

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Maybe I wasn't clear, BP, 'cause I'm in agreement with you. My point is we have created a disconnect between the outdoors and advancement. Even my guys who are clearly into the outdoors programs will jump at a chance to knock off half their Eagle-required MB if we make is cushy enough for them.

 

I'd also love to see us dump all the academic MBs. Problem is in the current environment they would be replaced with Pet Care, Leatherwork and Wood Carving. I'd like to see them replaced with a multi-tiered list of progressive MBs which build on the earlier ones. Earn First Aid as for Star, but then Wilderness First Aid or maybe something closer to real first-responder certification for Life or Eagle. Personal Fitness for Star Scout, Hiking, Backpack or Cycling for Life or Eagle.

 

Part of the problem is that all the MBs are attainable for 12 and 13 year olds. By 16 or 17 the only thing difficult about a merit badge is taking the initiative to buck-down and do it or in keeping up with the 90-day requirements. Which is why these Eagle mills are so popular -- they remove those last two obstacles.

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Not to defend this program, but my take on it is that it is a program totally seperate from summer camp. While I could be wrong, I'm making a wild guess that the council still desires that every boy attend their council camp AND then those who want to attend the program. Aren't we the same way with Philmont, Northern Tier, Jamboree, NYLT, NOAC, etc.? We still want our scouts to go to summer camp while availing themselves of the additional opportunities provided. Now I realize that many families will look at the price tag of certain opportunities and nake a decision of one over the another. My son once brought up in the troop annual planning session by the boys the possibility of doing a ski trip over a Christmas break or spring break. The SM wasn't opposed, but quickly added that if boys were considering it over summer camp, he had a problem with it. Now, he does plan a high adventure trip each year and seems OK if boys choose it over summer camp, so go figure.

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SR540Beaver...correct...they do summer camp at another time. That council does this program as a supplement, not a substitution.

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2cub, you just described the venturing recognition program. Youth earn national (i.e., not exclusive to BSA) certifications, not MB's. Share (in front of other youth, not an adult counselor) and/or apply what they've learned. Qualify for an award.

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Pchadbo -- my problem is with the program. HVAC is just a symptom.

 

Scouterperiod -- I guess they can get the other six required MBs the following week, huh?(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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TrainerLady: Thanks for nailing it.

 

If you require academic merit badges, how can you complain about having them done in a classroom?

 

Move your requirements outside, and your classroom will follow.

 

We've got badges for Home Repair, Electricity, and Plumbing.

No Air Conditioner Repair?

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