Tahawk, Stosh, thanks for the additional discussion and insights.
I have no smoking gun, no preponderance of evidence, to support my screeds. But I was a scout, '74 - '81, and lived the NSP. Several of my scout leaders were very traditional, and stayed with the program for the benefit of us scouts. These were no malcontents, but great men who shared with their perspectives with me, as an SPL. As a scouter, I've observed the shift in the BSA over the years.
Here is a link that Kudu provided several years ago.
A few paras:
"Dr. John W. Larson, Director of Boy Scout Leader Training for the National Council, worked with Béla H. Bánáthy and Bob Perin, Assistant National Director, Volunteer Training Service, to write the new Wood Badge syllabus. Shifting from teaching primarily Scoutcraft skills to leadership competencies was a paradigm shift. It required rethinking the underlying assumptions, concepts, practices, and values guiding adults were trained as Scout leaders." (italics mine)
Context indicates this was circa '65. It seems to me that National was already contemplating a different approach to scouting. It may not have turned on a dime, but the shift was beginning.
Another quote that will seem familiar:
"Some individuals on the national staff resisted the idea of changing the focus of Wood Badge from training leaders in Scout craft to leadership skills. Among them was Bill Hillcourt, who had been the first United States Wood Badge Course Director in 1948. Although he had officially retired on August 1, 1965, his opinion was still sought after and respected.
Larson later reported, "He fought us all the way... He had a vested interest in what had been and resisted every change. I just told him to settle down, everything was going to be all right." Hillcourt presented an alternative to Larson's plan to incorporate leadership into Wood Badge. Chief Scout Brunton asked Larson to look at Hilcourt's plan, and Larson reported back that it was the same stuff, just reordered and rewritten. Larson's plan for Wood Badge was approved and he moved ahead to begin testing the proposed changes."
While GB Bill may have reconciled with scouting and WB toward the end of his life, it was not always smooth sailing. To my knowledge, GB Bill still has no place of honor in the National Museum at Irving.
It seems to me that National cast its lot with a group of scouters that wanted a more intellectual approach v. traditional scouting. One more interesting note:
"Baden-Powell also envisioned that Scouting would teach skills of the hands, the head and the heart. As Bánáthy sized up the first fifty years, he was clearly dissatisfied that Scouting had mainly succeeded in teaching hand skills."
Did the BSA need to improve its training? Perhaps. Always room for improvement. Nonetheless, when National decided to join forces with folks like Banathy and his proponents, they were ready to remold scouting. Despite the BSA's overwhelming popularity and success over the previous 50 years, Banathy was "dissatisfied." Why?
From my ragged NSP 8th edition scout handbook, Feb 73, page 10:
"You'll do alot of things on camping trips. But camping is only one part of Scouting. Another is learning and trying new things back in town. There are over 100 different merit badge subjects...." (italics mine)
What follows? A para on the Atomic Energy MB. Another on science. Then fingerprinting.
Ah yes, "back in town." That's where they wanted to take scouting. Out of the woods. To the church basement. To listen to lectures.
When they took camping MB off the Eagle required list, that sealed the deal (hence my across the board comment).
The "back in town" scouters now have the dominate voice in scouting.
Edited by desertrat77, 27 February 2016 - 06:01 PM.