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Where's the adventure that was promised?


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#1 Stosh

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 08:52 AM

@TAHAWK mentioned an issue that might be beneficial  to pursue further, the notion that the focus of BSA has changed from a rural program to an urban program to keep in step with the changing world.  Has this been a constructive thing to be doing and is it possibly the reason for it's decline in membership.  Yes, the original MB's were focused on Rabbit Raising, Farming, and such and are now Computers and Rocketry.

 

BP when he started Scouting, the world was about 90% rural, yet the focus and membership grew out of the urban areas.  Boys wanted the adventure of the outdoors, not just down the block.  During what I call the Golden Age of Scouting, the world had changed tremendously and urban expansion and suburbia was all around.  The small towns were not as small as they once were. But everyone was still in Scouting!

 

So the voices grew, we need to update Scouting to be more urban, more relevant to the youth of today.  So BSA adapted their strategies to those voices and membership declined.  They made it even more urban and technologically savvy and the membership declined.  Now they are grasping at straws.

 

One has to be constantly reminded that BP might have used military terminology when he set up Scouting, but he never called it a Boys Army, he called it Boy's Scouting.  The part of the military that is not operational with the rest of the army, but is an independent small group of soldiers that leave the safety of the army and go out and reconnoiter the unknown.  That's it's forte.  That's possibly why BP used the term Scouts.  ...and that's the real adventure missing today.

 

Has modern BSA made a mistake in trying to adapt to the world?  Should it have stayed the course?  After all, being prepared is the knowledge and skill necessary to deal with the unknown.  Are our boys not moving from the infancy of the a known world into the unknown of the adult world? 

 

What say ye?  Yay or Nay.


Edited by Stosh, 18 February 2017 - 08:54 AM.

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#2 Back Pack

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:03 AM

Focusing on the outdoor program is key. Forget STEM. Leave that to the schools. STEM outdoors like the Philmont program makes sense. MBs that keep up with the times are okay but the core program should be outdoor focused.
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#3 Stosh

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:31 AM

Okay @Back Pack I'll bite.  Outdoors to my mom was any place outside the house.  It might be playing on the swings at the park or going hunting in the woods.  What we determine as "outdoors" might be sitting on the front porch watching the traffic go by.  Some people really enjoy that, they get fresh air until the bugs get so bad they retreat to the safety of screened windows and doors. 

 

Is the focus outdoors or is there more to it than just that?

 

Oh, by the way, Raising Rabbits for the old MB was not considered an outdoor activity the same way we do today.


Edited by Stosh, 18 February 2017 - 09:32 AM.

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#4 Eagledad

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:58 AM

90 percent of the world doesn't know that the BSA has less adventure or a different kind of adventure than 100 years ago. The vast majority of of the community (including BSA adult leaders) believe today's scouting has just as much adventure as any troop in history. In fact, l would challenge that troops today have more adventure than most troops in the past. My dad's troop in the early 1940s walked to all their camp outs. Any adventure beyond 10 miles out of town was unheard of.

So I'm wondering how we should look at today's adventure in perspective of today's program.

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#5 qwazse

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 10:07 AM

Yeah, in 1910, you couldn't hijack a military satellite system and use it for personal treasure hunts.

Nobody was launching rockets in their backyard.

The foreign food festivals were few and far between.

Bungees?

Ziplines?

 

But, that's also part of the problem. Adventure has become more managed and complex.

 

Meanwhile, personal reflection (e.g., the First Class journey) has been supplanted by social media.


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#6 EmberMike

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 10:08 AM

Focusing on the outdoor program is key. Forget STEM. Leave that to the schools. STEM outdoors like the Philmont program makes sense. MBs that keep up with the times are okay but the core program should be outdoor focused.

 

By that standard (leaving school stuff to the schools, outdoor focus) we should dump a huge chunk of the program as it is today. Drop all of the Citizenship stuff, Personal Management, Family Life, art, science, etc. 

 

I'm not a fan of some of that stuff. I've said it myself over the years that I wish scouts were doing a little less repetition of school subjects, and that it drives me nuts when kids are sitting in a dining hall doing citizenship requirements while there's a whole forest to explore just 30 yards from where they're sitting. 

 

That said, I wouldn't take much of it out of the program. In fact, I'm a proponent of adding more stuff to the program, just within the original intent of Scouting to get kids outside. I think Skateboarding should be a merit badge. I don't mind the optional STEM stuff, especially the parts that connect to the outdoors. And although I cringe sometimes when I see kids with their noses in books on scouting trips, I know that citizenship is tied to service, and service is a crucial element of scouting. 

 

In a way, I think National Jamboree (or the Jambo promo videos anyway) gives us a glimpse into what National thinks scouting today should look like. It's outdoor-focused, it heavily emphasizes outdoor adventure and excitement, but it also mixes in a tolerable amount of science, book learning, faith, service, etc. Of course it's a glimpse at what scouting looks like when money isn't a concern and every troop can travel monthly to some exciting location or hold their weekly meeting at a skate park or give every kid a mountain bike. But in terms of intent and focus, it does kind of address both the traditional and the modern outdoor elements that many of us would like to see more of in the program. 

 

To answer your question, @Stosh, I think the BSA was right to try adapting to the world. I think they're still trying to adapt, it just gets diluted going from National's lofty ideas, and travels down to the local units where we often have very limited resources and capabilities to implement the vision of scouting that National seems to have. 

 

So then I guess it comes down to local, and how creative we can get with trying to be this outdoor-focused program. And if we're being honest with ourselves and really taking a good hard look at what we do on a regular basis, I think we can all say that there is more we can do in the spirit of being that outdoor-focused program. Truly traditional scouting from decades ago was about getting outside, even for meetings. When's the last time any of us attended an outdoor meeting? Why don't Dens/Patrols meet more often in a park, at a nearby camp, or just in someone's backyard? 

 

As for the decline in membership, I think we'd have seen that regardless of what route the BSA took. Staying purely traditional (camping, bushcraft, service) would bore the kids out of the program. I really don't see today's kids being enthusiastic about this for very long in an entirely traditional program. If anything, I suspect the decline would be worse if the BSA hadn't tried to make the program seem more exciting and modernized and tried to keep step with the modern world. 


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#7 Stosh

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 10:30 AM

@EmberMike

 

To answer your question, @Stosh, I think the BSA was right to try adapting to the world. I think they're still trying to adapt, it just gets diluted going from National's lofty ideas, and travels down to the local units where we often have very limited resources and capabilities to implement the vision of scouting that National seems to have.

 

Here's where my hitch seems to creep in.  What happens when the "world of today" goes away?  Hurricane, tornado, house fire or any one of a number of natural and man-made disasters (riots, crime, etc.) arise.  Are our boys Prepared for that?  There's a lot we know about "out there" but there's a big Unknown, too.  Are we prepared?  A while back we had the pseudo scare of the world as we know it being disrupted, Y2K  - Everyone was in a panic, what will we do when airplanes fall out of the sky and we have no electricity or food?  Have we prepared any of our Eagle Scouts to handle that?  Just a few months ago I was faced with a week of no electricity, natural devastation that limited our movement to mere miles, MRE's for food (survival food), no access to medical care and I was responsible for the welfare of 150 people.  Every Scout trick in the book came into play.  It was called Hurricane Matthew and I was a shelter manager for the Red Cross.  Nothing to do with Scouts, but my scouting background was there for me to use, which I did many, many times.  Feeding, sheltering, medical, all part of the T-FC training along with further training later in life.  Was what I experiencing an "adventure"?  Was it outside my comfort zone?  Were people looking to me for leadership, security, survival?  Was I prepared?

 

Seriously that was a big "unknown" for me living in the Midwest to find out about what a hurricane can do.  Fortunately for 150 people, I was prepared.


Edited by Stosh, 18 February 2017 - 10:32 AM.

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#8 RememberSchiff

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 10:49 AM

The adventure, back in the day, started with getting away from home, Mom, and Dad!

 

Yes our adventures were mostly thrifty, local adventures (hikes, campouts), but we scouts planned them and very often ventured without adults. 300ft? how about 3miles! And we didn't have cellphones; we sent a runner if anyone got hurt. Good lesson, don't get hurt. No earbuds, pay attention (situational awareness), lookout for your buddies. 

 

So today, what is closer to adventure from a kid's perspective :

 1. closing your bedroom door, putting on headphones, and connecting to fellow (patrol) Xbox gamers on Xbox Live

 2. going Family Camping with your unit

 3. going on a Philmont crew with THREE adults. It was just ONE in 60's and back then we wanted it to be ZERO, in fact, my patrol ascended Baldy without an adult.

 

As I have expressed before, I strongly support a scout planned and executed zero-adult high adventure outing in place of an Eagle project. Our program has no "rite of passage" into manhood, scouts just age out. This is all the more odd since we once drew so much from Native Americans. Okay BSA kept the word "vision" but dropped the "quest" from "vision quest". Instead we have "Family Scouting" which I consider "UnScouting" and bragging about adult membership numbers and awards in a youth program.

 

My $0.02


Edited by RememberSchiff, 18 February 2017 - 10:53 AM.

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#9 DuctTape

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 11:13 AM

There was always an ebb and flow with rural, urban, suburban, etc... I am a huge proponent of the outdoors personally and in scouting. However I still see the outdoors and the related activities not as the goal or even focus. I keep myself grounded to the the focus written in the first handbook for boys, BSA. The purpose of scouting is for boys to learn to do things for themselves. The out of doors is the location, and the patrol method is the means. If boys weren't interested in animal husbandry as a merit badge, but are interested in nuclear science then it makes sense to adapt mbs to the boys interest. The lack of adventure I see is not in activities or fun but the decrease in the amount the boys are doing themselves. A zip line is fun and all, but what did the boys learn to do themselves beyond planning the menu for the day trip. I am not suggesting that zip lines, etc... have no place. My point is the adventure is the boys deciding to do something, figuring out how to do it, and then doing it. Thus the lack of adventure to me is a result of well-meaning adults planning, organizing, fundraising, etc... I will probably get flamed for this last comment, but I think part of that is the fault of chartering organizations who use scouts for their own goals instead.

Edited by DuctTape, 18 February 2017 - 11:13 AM.

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#10 Stosh

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 11:45 AM

There was always an ebb and flow with rural, urban, suburban, etc... I am a huge proponent of the outdoors personally and in scouting. However I still see the outdoors and the related activities not as the goal or even focus. I keep myself grounded to the the focus written in the first handbook for boys, BSA. The purpose of scouting is for boys to learn to do things for themselves.and for those around them (help other people at all times) The out of doors is the location, and the patrol method is the means. If boys weren't interested in animal husbandry as a merit badge, but are interested in nuclear science then it makes sense to adapt mbs to the boys interest. The lack of adventure I see is not in activities or fun but the decrease in the amount the boys are doing themselves. A zip line is fun and all, but what did the boys learn to do themselves beyond planning the menu for the day trip. I am not suggesting that zip lines, etc... have no place. My point is the adventure is the boys deciding to do something, figuring out how to do it, and then doing it. Thus the lack of adventure to me is a result of well-meaning adults planning, organizing, fundraising, etc... I will probably get flamed for this last comment, but I think part of that is the fault of chartering organizations who use scouts for their own goals instead.

 

BP said that Scouting was a game with a purpose.  Now we can debate all day 'til the cows come home as to what that purpose might be.  I like the doing things for themselves (being independent) and for those around them (leadership).

 

So how does it happen?  I'll go back to the MB's just as a way of focusing.  MB's of interest are entertaining and fun to explore as maybe a career in the "real world" or entertainment purposes.  However, i don't see it just as a game, but a game with a purpose. 

 

Imagine if you will a natural disaster is eminent.  What MB's apply - Emergency Prep?  Probably.  Is taking that MB an adventure in and of itself?  Probably not.  So the disaster hits, hurricane for example.  The "real world" the current BSA has prepared you for to be able to take care of yourself and others is gone.  But now we have Search and Rescue, First Aid, Cooking, Camping, and even Wilderness Survival on one's plate.  Schools are designed to prepare kids for the world that is.  Scouting used to be preparing kids for the world that might suddenly appear out of nowhere and being able to handle it for themselves and others. 

 

Look at the requirements for First Class, first aid, cooking, building shelters, camping, surviving in a world the modern person is not necessarily prepared to deal with.  Is a scout prepared to take care of other people at all times if the world or situation they find themselves is something they have never experienced before?  How are the Citizenship MB's going to come into play?  How about Chess or Textiles?  or Fly Fishing or Golf?  Maybe it's a good thing to Be Prepared the next time the President of the United States invites you into his four-some.  The FC requirements are the core basics of the purpose of Scouting.  Unfortunately they have been tweeked to the modern era of today's world.  Heaven help the Scout that finds himself in a strange new world overnight. 

 

And by the way, it doesn't mean a disaster is necessary, maybe taking care of oneself and helping other people at all times will place them in a foreign land working for the Peace Corps.  Are we doing even a modicum of effort helping our boys to Be Prepared.

 

@DuctTape is right by saying the outdoors is closer to the world of what might be, it exposes the boys to a "strange" environment they normally don't experience, and it is a ton of fun.  But the game has a purpose.  Can one survive in that world?


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#11 TAHAWK

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 02:14 PM

By that standard (leaving school stuff to the schools, outdoor focus) we should dump a huge chunk of the program as it is today. Drop all of the Citizenship stuff, Personal Management, Family Life, art, science, etc. 

 

 

 

The purposes of Scouting are to create good people, who are god citizens, fit in mind and body,  I know that you know, but it still gets lost in these discussions.  What programs leads to those outcomes?

 

Scouting has always thought that citizenship training was a natural part of its program.  Does Scouting, after 109 years in the U.S., leave it to today's schools to teach boys to be good citizens?

 

Citizenship training is also a major reason for the Patrol Method.  Will the teachers let the "students" plan and lead the "program?"  

 

Do schools teach what is to be learned in Personal Management?  Not when I or my son went to public school, but things change.

 

Sports of all kinds, including team sports/Scout leagues,  were once a major aspect of Scouting, with the aims of teaching teamwork and fair play and promoting physical fitness.   I would prefer wilderness hiking, but walking is still good even if on a golf course.  A sport like tennis or golf is more likely to be followed into adulthood than the team sports. 

 

Chess? Mental fitness.  One of pour goals.

 

Textiles?  BP's push for occupational training.  A good citizen is a productive citizen.

 

.


Edited by TAHAWK, 18 February 2017 - 02:28 PM.

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#12 UncleP

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 03:40 PM

I do not think that STEM will be the answer for scoutings current problkems, because that niche is alreadying being filled by other organizations.   Locally Robotics Clubs are the big thing now.  Attached is a link to one that is close to where I am but not close enough for my nephew to use:

 

http://www.fremontro...com/aboutus.php

 

If you read the website you will see that a number of things in common with scouts - a) they state that participation in the club increases the likelihood that the member will participate in the local community, b) they have self-governance for the members (patrol system), and c) they have their own in-house "badge" system for qualifications (including first aid). 

 

So you get STEM (looks good on a college application) and the "cool kids" may make fun of you, but not as much as if you were in scouts.  They are trying to get a similar club started locally.


Edited by UncleP, 18 February 2017 - 03:41 PM.

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#13 MattR

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 05:32 PM

What is meant by "adapt to the world?" Here's another way of asking that question, what is it that keeps a scout around until he ages out? And is the BSA moving towards that?

 

For what keeps a scout around I'd say they need deep friendships, they need to make decisions that matter, and they need room for improvement. An adventure will create friendships. Just know different people have different definitions of an adventure. Knowing that you're truly responsible for others, and being able to handle it, will create purpose. Growth will always come from a deep enough problem. At the same time the subject has to be simple enough that a 16 year old can master it enough to show others how to do it.

 

I don't think the BSA is moving towards that. They're moving away because they're under the impression that short attention spans mean everything should be one and done. What I find is scouts that want to stick around are the ones that find something that keeps their interest for years. We run a haunted house for the council. As much as I'd like to ditch that program the scouts love it and we keep making it bigger and better. And it's a ton of fun.

 

The outdoors has proven that it works. It's fun, deep enough to get better at and yet the scouts can teach others. All of the other ideas I can think of fail. They're either too difficult for a scout to master and make decisions about, or only a few scouts will be interested. I think a better approach is to keep the outdoor emphasis in scouts and push some of the ideas about venturing down into scouts and encourage troops to find their adventure. Survival, STEM, 4H, helping to raise service dogs, getting a job to pay for scouts, regularly helping with habitat for humanity, taking ownership of a path at a state park. I think there are lots of possibilities. An adventure doesn't have to be a week in the woods. An adventure is accepting a challenge with your friends. An adventure that lasts years is just accepting a series of challenges with your friends.

 

Reworking the MB program to include more adventure and less classroom might really help. Make it so a patrol or troop can do an extended version of the MB. Do it for a summer or for 5 years. The scouts choose. A MB counselor would not just work with a single scout for a couple of weeks, he'd help a patrol develop a program for whatever time frame they'd like. Talk about getting patrols out of a rut. That would be way cool. The goal is not eagle (but you're welcome to it), the goal is a long adventure.


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#14 LeCastor

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 05:51 PM

I've mentioned it in the past but I'll bring it up again.  Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods discusses how nature and physical activity outdoors is inherently good for everyone.  He points to the litigious inclination in the United States as one reason for decreased exploring outside.  For example, if a child is injured playing outside his parents might sue the landowner.  Louv argues that this fear of injury and subsequent lawsuits in one reason kids just don't go outside anymore.  And, of course, we have the electronic gaming, iTunes, NetFlix, YouTube, etc that demand so much of everyone's time today.  

 

As a Scoutmaster of a Troop for five years, I struggled more and more with Scouts' not wanting to venture outside.  Camping became anathema to them over time as the older Scouts turned 18 and went off to college.  Incidentally, I visited a Troop meeting last week and THREE Scouts showed up: two spent 90 minutes on their phones and the other did book work for a merit badge.  I felt defeated and I wasn't even the Scoutmaster anymore!

 

There are those of us who try and have tried to keep the outdoor program alive in our own units.  My example (the non-camping Troop) is surely not unique.  I don't think it's BSA who is turning away from adventure, per se.  Rather, I think the current cultural norms of instant knowledge on your phone and YouTube everything that leaves little left to learn.  Scouts don't really have to dig deep to learn about things anymore; instead they can just Google it.  

 

Merit badges are cool, in my opinion.  I'm not worried that there is an emphasis on STEM or STEAM (with the added Arts component).  In fact, I think it's good that they have those career-focused badges.  Allow me to share a story...My best friend and I used to make home movies with his dad's camcorder using my old Star Wars action figures.  The storyline always revolved around our Troop and our goofy Scoutmaster (who we truly loved).  Skip ahead ten years and my buddy became a top-rate videographer who made numerous documentaries which earned him Emmys, Peabodies, and Edward R. Murrow Awards.  He found his calling in Scouting AND we went camping every month.  

 

The adventure is still there waiting for Scouts to seize it.  Philmont is there.  Sea Base is there.  Northern Tier is there.  Heck, What-cha-ma-call-it State Park is in their very own backyard.  If they can't put their cell phones down for 48 hours and seek that adventure I guess we just can't point the finger at BSA.  We've probably all heard of the Dark Side of the BSA which took place between 1972 (Improved Scouting Program) and the Return of the Jedi (a/k/a Green Bar Bill) in 1979.  The BSA does try to keep up with the times but ultimately we always find our way back outside.  Maybe Green Bar Bill will come back from Scouting heaven and write a new handbook to pick up where we left off when GPS units took the place of compasses.  (I'm not anti-GPS; just using one example.)

 

One day my old Troop will come around and dust off those tents, stoves, and cook kits that are languishing in the equipment closet deep in the church basement.  But for now they are in a digital holding pattern, digesting the latest video on YouTube and texting the Scout sitting next to them...


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#15 bearess

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 07:31 AM

Two main topics here-- first of all, I don't think Scouting was ever meant to prepare for a situation where 'the world of today' has vanished. My ex-FIL was the head of Red Cross disaster management for his region for 20 years or so. He ran LOTS of shelters in his day! And, sure- he may have used some Scoutcraft skills. But, much more than that, he used interpersonal skills and organizational skills. We were without power for 13 days after Hurricane Irene. Did I make a campfire most nights and use a camp stove for coffee? Sure. But, when I volunteered for the Cross, I spent my time going door to door, helping people with paperwork to be reimbursed for spoiled food. All of this is to say that, sure, survival skills are fine. But working with people is much more important. I think scouting's goal is to teach the people skills thru outdoor skills.
As to the adventure and adapting to the times- some adaptation is necessary. Times change. Merit badges should reflect that. Building off what others have said though- a lot of what the BSA defines as adventure is what I'd call 'adult facilitated adventure'. A zip line or a climbing wall or a high adventure trip is really, really fun! But it's not actually something young boys can achieve on their own. What they can achieve on their own sounds boring on paper- they can get to a campsite and camp. Cook their food, hike/canoe. I think Scouts has gotten away from that model, which is too bad. That's something boys can achieve almost I dependently from age 11 or so. I think BSA need to be aware of what feels really cool to adults vs what boys can achieve independently.
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#16 Hedgehog

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 08:42 AM

The program offers many paths.  It is up to you to decide what path your Troop takes.  As leaders, the question we have to ask is what is OUR goal for the Troop.

  • To get guys to Eagle Scout?
  • To teach life skills?
  • To develop indoor leadership skills?
  • To create true citizens?
  • To teach boys to lead in the outdoors?
  • To create and encourage independence?
  • Have scouting be fun for the boys?

What the goal is defines how you implement the program.

 

For me, the goal is to teach skills, independence and leadership using fun activities in the outdoors.  For me, Scouting is a game with a purpose played in the outdoors.  I can lament what I think other Troops are doing, I can itch and moan about "the Program", I can react to BSA pronouncements or I can focus on my goals for my Troop and Crew.

 

Looking forward, between now and when school starts in September, I've got 4 Troop camping trips (Klondike, camping and hiking, beach camping and bicycling based) , 2 Troop backpacking treks, 1 Troop week at summer camp, 1 Troop High Adventure trip to Sebase, 2 Crew backpacking treks, 1 Crew camporee (that we are backpacking into), 1 Crew campout (hiking among waterfalls) and 1 Crew whitewater rafting or canoeing trip.  On each of these trips, the Scouts are in charge - leading, teaching and having fun.  

 

My hope is that when they go off to college and beyond, they will decide with a group of friends to go camping or backpacking and without thinking take the lead in planning and doing the trip.  More importantly, I hope the skills, confidence and leadership they learn helps them lead in whatever path the choose in this world.


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#17 RememberSchiff

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 11:58 AM


My hope is that when they go off to college and beyond, they will decide with a group of friends to go camping or backpacking and without thinking take the lead in planning and doing the trip.  More importantly, I hope the skills, confidence and leadership they learn helps them lead in whatever path the choose in this world.

 

My expectation is that my First Class scouts should be able to do that now, certainly those in the PLC can. Granted they increasingly have to go "outside" of Scouting to hike and camp themselves.


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#18 pchadbo

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 09:03 AM

The thread seems to have broken down in a "T-FC skills vs Merit Bdge" type argument.  Unless I am wrong, and I know you will correct me if I am, the goal of every Scout is First Class. Which requires ZERO Merit Badges. So I guess I am missing the point of this discussion.  It is as it always has been.  The boys should be instructed and mentored to achieve First Class, then it is up to the boy to decide what, if any, interests, through Merit Badges,  and Rank advancements he decides to pursue.


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#19 Eagledad

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 10:06 AM

The adventure, back in the day, started with getting away from home, Mom, and Dad!

 

Yes our adventures were mostly thrifty, local adventures (hikes, campouts), but we scouts planned them and very often ventured without adults. 300ft? how about 3miles! And we didn't have cellphones; we sent a runner if anyone got hurt. Good lesson, don't get hurt. No earbuds, pay attention (situational awareness), lookout for your buddies. 

In another discussion I spoke of the chaos of new scouts. They go crazy on the elixir of independence and run as fast and as far as they can waiting for someone to yell, SSSSTOP!  The adventure for them is the distance to those far boundaries of boy run.

 

Schiff is right, adventure is really a simple thing that we seem to have turned into huge expensive treks that go around the world. Part of the problem is adults today seem to feel that scouts need to go through the right of passage of earning 1st Class. "Then" they can do the fun adventure stuff. I blame that on National's suggestion of "First Class in the First Year" promise.

 

I remember when our troop was young. We did a day trip to commercial climbing tower in downtown Oklahoma City where the scouts climbed for two hours. Our plan after was to eat pizza at a local restaurant about six blocks away. Without hesitating, the SM told the SPL that the adults would take the cars and meet the scouts at the restaurant. We drove off the SPL was assembling the scouts. The adults met scouts at the same time in front of the door. You would have thought that the talk of the day would have been the Climbing Tower, but it was about hiking the patrols through downtown OKC without any adults.  

 

Making simple independent decisions that impact the lives patrol mates is adventure. Learning from those decisions is adventure. Hey, lets squeeze in a little fishing, hiking, backpacking, canoeing and bike rides in there as well and those scouts are having adventures there friends only dream about.

 

I had a friend who had been a SM for eight months when he called me one night. He was Wood Badge trained under the old course and would not take any advice on leading his new troop of new scouts. His simple question to me was, "my scouts are bored to death of doing advancement on campouts. What can I do to fix that?".

 

I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into words. I'm not preaching about anti-advancement because I am very pro Eight Methods. But I think we need to train todays new adult leaders that the attraction of scouting is the active participation of new experiences. The simple adventure of hiking the last mile to a campsite at night. How about setting up camp in the dark, the rain or both.

 

LOL, I remember one ASM laughing at me as I hoped the rain in the distance while we drove to camp would hit us about the time we reached our camp sites. Do you realize how much confidence a boy builds by the simple act of setting up a tent in the rain? And in the Dark? It is amazing to watch. Truly! Their friends can't even imagine it.

 

Adventure is cooking the first meal with an older scout while he tells jokes. Adventure is chasing a rabbit or standing back as the local camp skunk walks by looking for food scraps. As I gave my SM friend a few suggestions, he was shocked to learn that our scouts have at least a couple hours of free time before preparing for supper. Free time never occurred to him because he never had free time at Wood Badge.

 

Imagine capture the flag after the campfire in the dark. Ah, adventure.

 

Some of my favorite adventure moments as a scout were the great discussions over the patrol campfire. As a eleven and twelve year old, I learned a lot about cars, fighter airplanes, girls and movies from those discussions. Funny, I knew most of the key phrases from George C. Scott in his character of Patton before I ever saw the movie. I remember thinking as I watched the movie for the first time that it wasn't as good as how my patrol mates told it. LOL

 

Adventure is doing something different in their patrol than if they stayed home. It's not as hard as it sounds. How can we explain that to new scout leaders?

 

I haven't said it in a while, but I love this scouting stuff.

 

Barry


Edited by Eagledad, 21 February 2017 - 10:10 AM.

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"Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives the test first, then the lesson."


#20 qwazse

qwazse

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 10:33 AM

@pchabdo, for point of reference, the crew president decided to devote last nights meeting to fire-starting skills.  Each member successfully kept to one match - except for the oldest, most impatient and easily distracted venturer.

 

Long range goal: multi-point insertion, land-navigation, and general survival drill. (Or as we used to say growing up: a walk in the woods to some cool campsite in the middle of nowhere.)

 

I don't talk adventure anymore. I'm about resourcefulness. Be resourceful, and the adventure will come.


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