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Acceptable Attrition Rate?

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We never had rock fights, but the days of camp raids ended with the free-standing tents. You pull the stakes and nothing happens. :(


Heck, if you didn't get your campsite raided 2-3 times during the night at a camporee, you were not a popular troop. How many patrol flags can you collect in one night?


I have one one of my two front teeth chipped due to a camporee a long time ago. Kinda screwed with my saxophone playing, but I managed. :)


I ended up in the dirt my first summer camp because the boys would travel from one tent to another by rolling under the wall tent walls and hiding under the occupants cot to hide from the SM, sometimes knocking them into the dirt. A large bundle of Canadian thistle under the cot solved that problem for me. :)


Inter-troop capture the flag in the dark got to be kinda scary at times too. Running into another boy was no big deal, but there wasn't any give in a tree.


Of course lying in wait in the dark to scare the kajeebies out of some other troop's newbie scouts always played an important past-time for some. (It was called "Looking for Girl Scouts", hide in the bushes and when they walk by, you grab their ankles and they sound just like Girl Scouts) Today, left-handed axes, and two-way smoke shifters are the best we can do.


The really sad part of all that shenanigans going away is today, one no longer sees the troop interaction that used to be a large part of scouting. Unless it's a competition, one doesn't see it much. Each competition is designed to keep the troops separate too. The only hanger on seems to be the all-out klondike sled race still hanging in there. Even tug-of-war is gone.... :(


As far as I know, none of us ever ended up with any permanent damage, but a ton of great memories. :)


Stosh(This message has been edited by jblake47)

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Oh, those things were always against the rules, weren't they? I bet whenever you got caught, you got a stern talking to by the Scoutmaster. And if things really got out of hand, he might even try to catch someone. :)


By the way, I know that "hazing" is against the rules, as it should be. But I hope that doesn't mean new scouts aren't given the opportunity to meet people in other troops by going to look for a smoke sifter.


I met a lot of nice people that way, including the kindly scoutmaster who gave me a cookie, asked me if this was my first campout, and told me that maybe the other guys in my troop were pulling my leg.(This message has been edited by clemlaw)

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Seriously? Do you think the SM's didn't have a clue as to what was going on? For example, 75% of the boys mysteriously disappear out of camp just after sunset, 25% of the boys have taken up "post" around the perimeter of the camp, and the SM can't figure out what's going on? I don't think so. Back in the day the patrol yell was the call to bring your boys back to camp because you were being overrun by someone else. If it got really out of hand, the bugler sounded Assembly! They brought back the historic Stealth MB, we were just putting that into practice. Morse Code signals were flying all over the place as each troop positioned themselves in the raids. Organizational skills by patrols as to what part of the camp each patrol was to pull stakes. You followed your PL's instructions. Pulling stakes was very much akin to counting coup back in the days of early American history.


Rules against it? Nope. Don't remember any. :)


The key to success was once your tent went down, leave it, they can't do anymore to you that night unless they get up and do a 2:00 am raid. :)


Hazing? NEVER! I was 4' 11" tall and weighed in at a whopping 98 pounds until I got my growth spurt at the end of my sophomore year of high school. I may have been hazed a ton, but I was also the center of attention for everyone that way and I didn't mind it one bit. I may have been the smallest in the troop, but when it came to "Looking for Girl Scouts" my size meant I could do it the best. I could hide in places the bigger guys only wished they could! Also being the best outdoorsman in the group, meant that along with the hazing, I was sought out for the scoutcraft skills and picked first. Somehow I always felt that it balanced itself out over the long run. If one is interested in what being the smallest, most hazed boy in the troop, just go back and read the PeeWee Harris historical novels by P. K. Fitzhugh. Yes, that's the same PeeWee we have around today in BSA literature. Ever wonder where WALTER Harris got the nickname PeeWee? :)


After the four years I put in Scouting I don't remember being chastised by the SM ever. And when all was said and done, I probably knew as many boys outside of my troop as within. I don't know if that's the case today.


Rules against hazing? When did they make that a rule? I hope they meant that the boys aren't supposed to haze other boys, because if they meant the SM isn't supposed to haze the boys, I'm in trouble. Does that means I can't call my Scout->Eagle->ASM Slug anymore??? :)


My best haze was when a young Tenderfoot came to me an asked for the keys to the troop trailer, is QM older brother told him he needed to get a Dutch oven lifter-sifter out of it. I told the boy that he had to go back and find the QM and have him help look for it and don't come back without it. After about a half hour the two of them came back and the QM had a rather sheepish grin on his face, but had gone along with it knowing he had got caught red-handed in the joke. Obviously they didn't have the Dutch oven lifter-sifter and for the next 5 minutes the QM (Star rank) got chewed out for not doing his job as QM by not having one in the trailer and that it wouldn't bode well for him to not be doing his job when it came time for SMC and Life BOR. I kept it up until he fessed up to his younger brother, who was totally clueless to the prank and was kinda feeling bad he got his older brother into so much "trouble".


The only "rule" I have had over all the years of working with youth is that one cannot play a prank/haze unless it falls within the boundaries of the Scout Law AND they have to had the prank pulled on them as a newbie.


Have the boys hazed ME? Sure, why not. I've had a ton of experience on the receiving end as well. How do you think I ever found out about the mint grass? :)


Rules? Have only three.


1) Be safe

2) Look and act like a Scout

3) Have fun


I learned those as a scout many moons ago. After 40 years of working with youth I've followed those rules and have never, ever come close to burning out!



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Took my older son to a Civilian Markmanship Program class so he could learn safe shooting of high power firearms. His troop adult leadership gave thumbs down to this activity as it goes against something I think it is called the GAGA (Guide Against Great Adventures :)) where Boy Scouts can only shoot single shot 22's. Besides the troop is adult-run, my son had no business offering an activity idea.


Anyway imagine our surprise to see the class mostly composed of scouts and a few adult leaders from another troop. All well behaved, learning firearm safety and marksmanship. In the afternoon, each scout shot 60 rounds with either an M1-Carbine, '03, M1-Garand, or AR-15 in a single stage (100yd) match with 4 strings of fire. My son said shooting 60 rounds in a day is more shooting than a week at his summer camp!


Were those scouts there to earn a merit badge? Nope most already had either Rifle Shooting or Shotgun Shooting. There we there to safely learn more, have fun, and have a little adventure.


Too bad that troop is too far away to transfer to. They have no trouble with attrition rate.

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Remove the overbearing "adult shadow" well meaning but misguided pseudo leadership.


Hold scoutmasters and commissioners to their commissions.


Actively promote patrol activity with boy led adult supervised outings.


Insulate Boy Scouting from the "cub scout" notions of shock and awe.


Insist on regular Scoutmaster-Parent-Scout conferences to evaluate and renegotiate if needed the agreements of membership (play the game or stay home)


Relegate BOR to "evaluations of the program provided by the Scoutmaster" rather than star chambers for dividing and conquering the scouts.


Scoutmasters insist on negotiating membership with parent-child and not weeb leader and "his den"


It's no wonder "why thwey leave"

It's quite plain.


Too many adults "workin tickets"


Back to Gilwell Happy Land .......................


Scoutmasters and especially commissioners "Take Back Your Turf"


all scouting is local













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The new Journey to Excellence program, which replaces the Centennial Quality Unit/District/Council program, stresses retention and growth. For example, requirements for troops include:


Objective -- Retention: Improve retention rate.

-- Bronze Level: Retain and re-register 76% of eligible members, or have a 2 percentage points increase.

-- Silver Level: Retain and re-register 80% of members, or retain and re-register 76% and have a 2 percentage points increase.

-- Gold Level: Retain and re-register 85% of members, or retain and re-register 80% and have a 2 percentage points increase.


Objective -- Building Boy Scouting: Have an increase in membership or be larger than the average size troop.

-- Bronze Level: Have a net gain of one member over last year, or have at least 14 members.

-- Silver Level: Increase youth members by 5%.

-- Gold Level: Increase youth members by 10%.


Dan K.



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If you wan and to improve things on the Boy Scout side of things, you need to take a long hard look at the patrol and all aspects of the program.


The patrol needs to become the essential and fundamental unit of Scouting. Not the troop.


The entire advancement system, the guide to safe scouting, everything needs to be looked at anew with the idea of the patrol.


For example, if a patrol is the main unit for doing Scouting, particularly outings, perhaps we need to enable Scout leaders to better prepare their patrols to go and do Scouting as a patrol. We need safety ideas not based on always having well trained adults with a library of rule books ready to spring in at a moments notice, rather we need to train and prepare the youth to do for themselves much better than we can do for them.


We need to move to a system that avoids "though shalt nots" as an extreme and considers legalistic and nannyish attitudes to be disqualifiers from leadership positions in the program. We have an entire culture that thinks it needs and act of congress and signed permisssion slip from mommy before it does something. We need to completely destroy that attitude in Scouting. Quite frankly the rules themselves aren't so bad, the prevailing attitude about rules is terrible.


We need to be more honest about what we are selling. Don't offer the greatest adventure on earth and then fail to deliver. Realistic expectations for both the youth and the parents are important.


We need to do a better job selecting and recruiting the right type of leaders. Quite frankly most of the rules we have are because of poor leadership quality not only in the past but in the present. The attitudes about rules and rule making is more evidence of this. Not everyone is qualified to be a Scout leader. We should be far more selective about who we make Scoutmasters and commissioners. On that same note, we need to figure out why we lose all of our young adults. In Europe your normal Scout leader is a young adult not long out of the program themself. Plus in Europe two deep leadership is a strange notion, as is the idea of the Scouts not being able to eventually be trained and earn the right to do all sorts of activities on their own. (The fact that our activities are at the physical level for a bunch of 60 year old office workers to be the leadership for hints at the problem.)


Those old requirements about taking hikes, journeys, overnights and the like with a buddy, the patrol, or even solo need to be looked at and need to come back. No, we don't want to send 11 year olds on long distance solo hikes without training. On the other hand if two 17 year old Eagles are not capable and qualified of planning and taking a cross country trek together we have goofed up something rather badly. The fact that they can't take such a trek as Scouts indicates rather strongly we don't think our Scouting program does that very well.


Finally the process of leaders starting out as leaders of Tigers, then Cubs, then Webelos, and eventually Boy Scouts is all wrong. The leaders need to have a base of experience greater and more advanced than the youth they lead. This entire process introduces everything backwards and programs the adults to approach things from a Cub Scout mindset that they later have to be deprogrammed from. Plus, how does a leader prepare the youth for the next step when they themself don't know anything about that next step? Quite frankly we need young, vibrant leaders for the Boy Scout program and as they get too old and too stick in the mud-ish they can be gradually demoted to working with younger and younger youth until eventually we give them a rocking chair and coffee mug and make them senior trainers of other adults or some other harmless thing.





Part of the above is a bit sarcastic and tongue in cheek, but only to a limited extent.

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I like what you had to say here. I'm a Cubmaster that started out really not knowing anything about Cub Scouts about a two years ago. On the other hand, I really know everything about working the patrol method. As a youth, I was Senior Patrol Leader and ran our council's week long Troop Leadership Training Course for three years in a row, working both to teach leadership skills and model ideal Scouting in the patrol method. Of course the best part about being a Cub leader is that I get to be in a position as an adult that I actually got to do as a SPL. Who knows, even when I want to move on with my son to Scouts, mostly to have a good reason to go out camping monthly and eventually get into cool high adventure trips, I may find my way back to Cub Scouts someday to get that rush of jumping around like a crazy man and planning cool and fun things. Don't get to do that as a Boy Scout leader. But I also know about transitioning leadership and decisions onto the Webelos, having all the Cubs involved in the things we're doing, asking them questions and letting them know they are important. I make sure they know this is their program, and it is necessary that they contribute. If I didn't understand Scouting and the Patrol Method, I probably wouldn't know to do some of the things that I do without thinking. And I think this is fun!!

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You seem to get just what I was meaning. You know and understand the patrol method and the different types of adult involvement.



Too many start out as Tiger leaders and never learn what the Patrol Method is until they and their sons have been in a Boy Scout troop for a while. This is one of the reasons I think the patrol method is necessary knowledge for every type of Scout leader. You can't very well gradually transition your Cubs and Webelos into something you don't know about.


In any case, I think you have the right attitude. If you want to play over grown patrol leader, Cubs is a great place to do that.

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There is lament from time to time in these internet rambling the lack of understanding "patrol Method" in its fullest granduer (and it's attendant Court of Honor- no not the one hijacked by adult well intended but misguided- the other Court of Honour owned by the lads themselves which covenes anytime a few scouts gather to palaver things great and small)


There are legates who from the long green or red line can provide such knowledge but they keep being driven off by forces and policies following agendas (follow the money and the new aristocracy but thats another story)


Local scouting is starving for its meshenawahs of the founding principles of scouting (even those that predated BP) and modern MBA, six sigma and the pedagogicals are swamping any chance of return


(Say it aint so, smokey)


Scoutmasters, Commissioners---take back your turf


then take some lads camping

let them form their own gang (patrol)

Let them bubble their own leaders

Toss them your old handbook (any edition)

go catch your dinner and prepare your bed (set the example)

when they come back to you for any old thing give them enough to scamper of wanting more

do this often enough soon you will be bringing back scouts who some day as adults will see old problems with new eyes


all scouting is local

all else is vanity





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