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Where's the adventure that was promised?


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#21 EmberMike

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 11:10 AM

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?

 

 

This isn't the whole answer, but maybe part of it:

 

I've heard it said that scouting should not be presented like school subjects. Entirely the opposite whenever possible, in fact. If a leader finds themselves running a unit like a classroom, they need to stop what they're doing and reassess their methods. 

 

I saw a video recently that showed how to make a faux campfire ring for indoor use at den meetings. It had small rocks glued around a wooden circle with holes for tea light candles. To me, that's the classroom version of scouting. Often parents try to adapt outdoor ideas to indoor use to make it easier or more time-efficient to quickly pull together a weeknight meeting at someone's house. I get it, it's not always easy to do real adventure. 

 

But at the same time, it's not as hard as some might think. I can throw together a real backyard campfire faster than I can make a fake indoor one. If that's not possible in a particular area, there's probably a park nearby, or someplace outdoorsy that will work. 

 

I think it starts there. New leaders need to know that the adventure of scouting isn't in a classroom or a living room. 


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#22 Ankylus

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:18 PM

I agree, but with a twist. To me it's not so much rural vs. urban, as it is outdoors vs. indoors. The scouting program is trying to be all things to all people...you know, jack of all trades and master of none. That dilutes its core strengths. I do tons of SM conferences, and I always ask, "what is your favorite thing" or some variant. All the boys, without exception,enjoy the camping. Nobody has ever said, "the STEM activities" or "the NOVA awards", anything remotely approaching that. There's nothing wrong with these being available program, but the emphasis that the national organization puts on them is just nuts. 

 

The boys love camping and other outdoor activities...we need to focus the program on that. 


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#23 Ankylus

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:24 PM

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

 

It's more than just "outdoors", it's "outdoors activities". If you take the scouts to the park to work on their NOVA award or their STEM stuff, of to give them some kind of a presentation, it's still too much like school. School is for school and scouts is not...not that learning can't happen. But sitting a bunch of boys down to receive yet another talk by an adult isn't going to cut the mustard even if it is outdoors.


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#24 Ankylus

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:27 PM

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.

Barry

 

 

Part of the problem here is that national, as well as parents, wouldn't allow this to happen. The same is true with a lot of "adventure" in light of the Guide to Safe Scouting. And of that is that we just live in a different society. We have to find different kinds of adventure.


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#25 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 10:13 AM

Question for you, do you have an equivalent of what we call Scouting Active Support Units? (SAS) They vary what they do across the country. Some are effectively social clubs for mostly retired leaders but what the best ones do is provide the really stretching adventurous activities. They are typically staffed by a group of like minded scouters and those who would like to be but who’s schedules don’t allow them to be somewhere every week. Typically each weekend they have a different troop or unit with them. SAS provide the equipment and the instructors. In some cases it’s to give a taster of what it is all about. In other cases they run a longer course to get qualifications at the end.

 

There’s one close to us that offers Gliding that we’ve been to a couple of times, another one in the Peak District that offers rock climbing that we’ve used. Others that do caving, sailing, kayaking. It allows troops and units to get out and do things even when they don’t have scouters with the necessary qualifications or experience.

 

They are a great way of being able to offer the really stretching stuff without every troop or unit needing qualified instructors. If you don’t have an equivalent it might be something that BSA should think about.


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#26 bearess

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 10:28 AM

This comment has more to do with the co-ed scouting thread, but it see,ed like it belongs here. I think it is so easy for us, as adults, to forget how 'big' a relatively small event can feel to kids. And, weirdly, I think safe scouting deprives kids of real adventure and substitutes manufactured adventure.
Last summer, I went camping with friends and my boys. We were at a state forest on the edge of a lake. Our older boys (both nine years old) wanted to camp alone. There was an island about 200 yards from our campsite, so we let them pack their stuff for the night in a canoe and paddle over/camp alone. They got to build their fire, cook their dinner, and sleep alone. To hear them talk about it, you'd think they had summited Everest. But they can't do that in Scouts- everything is very controlled. Maybe that will change as they hit Boy Scouts, maybe not. But it's an area where I feel like Scouts is failing. Kids have so many opportunities to go on cool trips- after school clubs, parents, etc. They have few opportunities to really feel like they've had an adventure on their own. Scouts should provide that, but often doesn't.
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#27 Col. Flagg

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 10:39 AM

Maybe that will change as they hit Boy Scouts, maybe not. But it's an area where I feel like Scouts is failing. Kids have so many opportunities to go on cool trips- after school clubs, parents, etc. They have few opportunities to really feel like they've had an adventure on their own. Scouts should provide that, but often doesn't.

 

It won't change in Boy Scouts. If they are 200 yards away by canoe, alone on an island, then I suspect that's a bit too far to really get to them in an emergency.


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#28 Ankylus

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 12:09 PM

This comment has more to do with the co-ed scouting thread, but it see,ed like it belongs here. I think it is so easy for us, as adults, to forget how 'big' a relatively small event can feel to kids. And, weirdly, I think safe scouting deprives kids of real adventure and substitutes manufactured adventure.
Last summer, I went camping with friends and my boys. We were at a state forest on the edge of a lake. Our older boys (both nine years old) wanted to camp alone. There was an island about 200 yards from our campsite, so we let them pack their stuff for the night in a canoe and paddle over/camp alone. They got to build their fire, cook their dinner, and sleep alone. To hear them talk about it, you'd think they had summited Everest. But they can't do that in Scouts- everything is very controlled. Maybe that will change as they hit Boy Scouts, maybe not. But it's an area where I feel like Scouts is failing. Kids have so many opportunities to go on cool trips- after school clubs, parents, etc. They have few opportunities to really feel like they've had an adventure on their own. Scouts should provide that, but often doesn't.

 

One of the problems is that BSA has to make rules that apply to EVERYONE. It is apparent that your boys are sufficiently mature and responsible that they can camp "on their own" like that and do it safely and well. But there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of boys in scouting that are not able to do that. And it's not necessarily a function of age. We have a good troop with good scouts, but still a lot of them have a lot of problems. There's no way I am taking some of those boys camping and taking any kind of responsibility if they are going to be camping on an island 200 yds away. I hear what you are saying, and I agree to a large extent, but you just can't do it with some of these scouts. And so you can't do it with any of them.


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#29 TAHAWK

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 04:10 PM

It won't change in Boy Scouts. If they are 200 yards away by canoe, alone on an island, then I suspect that's a bit too far to really get to them in an emergency.

Why would that be?  Really.

 

Are the adults not "on the outing" if they are 200 yards away by canoe?  When canoeing, do they have to stay closer than that?  Says who?


Edited by TAHAWK, 28 February 2017 - 04:11 PM.

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#30 Col. Flagg

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 04:18 PM

Why would that be?  Really.

 

Are the adults not "on the outing" if they are 200 yards away by canoe?  When canoeing, do they have to stay closer than that?  Says who?

 

Having been to NT and had the riot act read to me -- for letting my crew, properly set up and following extreme bear protocol, do essentially what is being described here -- I am offering a personal experience. Personally, I would love nothing more than to allow something like this experience. It *IS* totally awesome. But the reality of lawyers, risk and liability make doing this in this day and age very, very unlikely.


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#31 Stosh

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 04:38 PM

"One of the problems is that BSA has to make rules that apply to EVERYONE"  Does that mean they dumb it down to the lowest common denominator of not knowing anything about camping and set the bar there?

 

By the time I was eligible for Boy Scouts, I could and had already camped for a good 5-7 years prior to that just about every weekend from early May to mid October.  In the fall, the boys and I would head out camping for the weekend and take our .22's to hunt for squirrel and rabbits as well. We didn't shoot each other, but we weren't all that good yet at shooting fast moving rabbits either.  We did get one, cleaned it, and had it for dinner.  Best weekend as a kid I ever had with my buddies.  It was a weekend the SM told us we weren't allowed to do that kind of activity, so we got parent's permission, dumped the uniforms, and went anyway.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#32 TAHAWK

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 04:42 PM

Who chewed you out?  An NT staffer?  A Philmont staffer told a crew in my contingent that they needed only one canteen and no insulation layer on their trek, which included 29 hours with no source of water in an 18-mile segment with a 3400 foot climb, sleeping dry at 9000 feet.  A Sea Base staffer told one of our SAs that two of the four adults on the trip "always had to be present." "One adult with the boys is OUT!"  A Council adult employee on camp staff told me last Summer that I could not meet with four MB candidates without another adult present. I was told by a DE at Roundtable two months ago that adults had to present on an in-town, three mile day hike to a park and back to eat lunch and do a bird survey (The route having been surveyed by the SM and a dad.)

 

Satan has been sued - in U.S. District Court.  That is also reality.    Sometimes you get chewed out even when following all rules. What you do then is on you, not the chewers.   You can minimize encountering the wrong-headed and ignorant, but you cannot insure they won't happen. They are part of the environment.  

 

The most likely occasion for a lawsuit is a motor vehicle accident.  I take it you drive kids to camp.  

 

It's your decision, but I thought you had some experience that revealed an unacceptable risk of harm to the kids.

 

Sure it a matter of balance, but one could be run down by a car within reach.

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The best revenge is good program.


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#33 bearess

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 08:04 PM

I realize the specifics of camping that far from adults isn't appropriate for all boys, and therefore it isn't appropriate for BSA.
But I think the general theme applies- boys (and girls, men, women) love to have a challenge that pushes them to the edge of their comfort zone and still allows them to master it. I think when BSA takes 'high adventure' to mean rock climbing walls and zip lines, boys miss out on the experience of mastering a genuine challenge, not a manufactured one. For some boys and some troops, lighting a fire with an dults twenty yards away is a sufficient challenge. For some boys, pitching a tent with an adult one yard away is enough of a challenge! But any experience where boys get to provide something 'primal'-- food, shelter, fire-- is always going to have a u ique thrill that doesn't exist in a more manufactured environment.
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#34 TAHAWK

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 11:26 PM

I realize the specifics of camping that far frompplies- boys (and girls, men, women) love to have a challenge that pushes them to the edge of their comfort zone and still allows them to master it. I think when BSA takes 'high adventure' to mean rock climbing walls and zip lines, boys miss out on the experience of mastering a genuine challenge, not a manufactured one. For some boys and some troops, lighting a fire with an dults twenty yards away is a sufficient challenge. For some boys, pitching a tent with an adult one yard away is enough of a challenge! But any experience where boys get to provide something 'primal'-- food, shelter, fire-- is always going to have a u ique thrill that doesn't exist in a more manufactured environment.

 

 

If "that far" is a mere 200 yards, It seems completely appropriate for most Scouts and, therefore, appropriate for B.S.A.   In fact, I can find is no BSA regulation or even suggestion to the contrary.  Adults are merely to be "on the trek."

 

Of course, judgment is required regarding individual boys.  But that judgment is for unit Scouters and leaders with a goal of fostering independence as a preparation for life, not an individual NT staffer all full of himself or herself.  The NT literature says nothing I can find to support a requirement of any particular distance between adults and Scouts or Venturers.

 

Adventure is what a boy thinks is adventure.  As you suggest, building a "fort" ("expedient shelter"), building a fire, and going to sleep in that shelter, or a tent, may seem like quite an adventure to a urban kid - probably explaining why BSA always did much better recruiting in urban areas than in rural areas (a fact missed by the theorists who temporarily steered BSA away from the outdoors with the "improved" and "urban-centered" disaster of the early 1970's).  If the kid can handle it, the adventure is greater in the patrol setting in which BSA says the Scout is to primarily experience scouting.  There is no "Troop Method."bearess, on 01 Mar 2017 - 9:04 PM, said:

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by TAHAWK, 01 March 2017 - 11:57 PM.

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#35 RememberSchiff

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 11:49 PM

I realize the specifics of camping that far from adults isn't appropriate for all boys, and therefore it isn't appropriate for BSA.
But I think the general theme applies- boys (and girls, men, women) love to have a challenge that pushes them to the edge of their comfort zone and still allows them to master it. I think when BSA takes 'high adventure' to mean rock climbing walls and zip lines, boys miss out on the experience of mastering a genuine challenge, not a manufactured one. For some boys and some troops, lighting a fire with an dults twenty yards away is a sufficient challenge. For some boys, pitching a tent with an adult one yard away is enough of a challenge! But any experience where boys get to provide something 'primal'-- food, shelter, fire-- is always going to have a u ique thrill that doesn't exist in a more manufactured environment.

 

Yes, but IMO the "challenges" in the adventure of Scouting should go deeper - solo leadership challenges.

 

But thrill is relative, consider

 


Edited by RememberSchiff, 02 March 2017 - 12:59 AM.

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#36 Back Pack

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:08 AM

Out Philmont ranger would not let anyone camp outside the established Bearmuda Triangle.
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#37 TAHAWK

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 09:29 AM

That may be a LNT issue in such a heavy-use area.  


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#38 Col. Flagg

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 10:01 AM

That may be a LNT issue in such a heavy-use area.  

 

That was one of the reasons the NT director gave. The others were 1) proximity to effect a rescue if needed, and 2) breaking up a crew in bear territory. All good reasons, none found in the literature.


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#39 Eagledad

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 10:31 AM

I have a lot of respect for BSA camp Rangers and look forward to learning new LNT techniques from them. Infact, we usually have two or three scouts who are Philmont Rangers each year. So I know what they go through. But sometime their maturity lets authority go to their head.

 

During one trek, the ranger decided to show off his fire skills at the evening fire before lights out. He poured some stove fuel on his hand and ignited it to show (show off) how the skin of his hand would not burn. Ironically this was after he led a Thorns and Roses discussion. The crew was careful to how they responded to his demonstration of physics because they knew the adult was going to have some words about fire safety. I don't like pulling authority on youth authority (he was 19) because it turns the relationship from the Crew Leader of a Crew to a Crew Leader of a Crew and adult. And that is what happened here. This Ranger was really very good and a good role model for living in the back woods, but after my very few words about safety, he treated me different the rest of the trek.

 

In a few words, scouting is about giving young people the confidence to behave adults. But sometimes the success of our confidence feeds over into our egos. Correction or our Egos hurts a lot worse than redirection of our confidence. I prefer a scout learn from his own mistakes without adult intervention because he learns the lesson faster if he doesn't have attend to wounded ego. But sometime humility needs to be fed as well to learn how to behave like and adult.

 

I only have a couple stories about loosing my cool because I am pretty tolerant and laid back with behavior. At most high adventure scout camps, the Rangers typically inspect each person in the crew gear to insure the crew is prepared for the trek. We are a backpacking troop and the Philmont Ranger was impressed with our preparedness. But he still felt the need to show his authority, so he picked on one scout who brought a personal backpacking stove and proceeded to chew him out for bringing more stoves than recommended for the crew. Our crew knew about it and welcomed the extra weight of the stove because the scout's mom and dad gave him the stove for his birthday just before we left for the trek. We would have brushed off the Rangers suggestion except he made such a big deal over it.  It wasn't what he said because technically he was right. It was how he said it. You could see it in our scouts eyes, he felt bad for forcing the rest of the crew carry the extra weight. I took the Ranger for a walk.

 

Over the years of Scoutmastering, I developed the skill of not letting my emotions react before spending time to calm myself down. But that situation got to me and even the scouts said they had never seen my face so red.

 

Sometimes the rangers don't always get it right. 

 

Barry


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


#40 Ankylus

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 10:40 AM

"One of the problems is that BSA has to make rules that apply to EVERYONE"  Does that mean they dumb it down to the lowest common denominator of not knowing anything about camping and set the bar there?

 

By the time I was eligible for Boy Scouts, I could and had already camped for a good 5-7 years prior to that just about every weekend from early May to mid October.  In the fall, the boys and I would head out camping for the weekend and take our .22's to hunt for squirrel and rabbits as well. We didn't shoot each other, but we weren't all that good yet at shooting fast moving rabbits either.  We did get one, cleaned it, and had it for dinner.  Best weekend as a kid I ever had with my buddies.  It was a weekend the SM told us we weren't allowed to do that kind of activity, so we got parent's permission, dumped the uniforms, and went anyway.

 

Yes, I do think national does that, although not quite to the level you state. I do think that the bar is high enough to learn camping and to practice it. But giving the scouts the kind of latitude that permits scouts to go off by themselves like in that previous post is not a part of that.

 

Your second paragraph sounds really good and, again, I have no problem with that for boys who are sufficiently mature and responsible enough to do it well and safely.

 

But we have many scouts who are broken in many ways, emotionally and intellectually.  In my older son's troop, we had one boy who snuck in some accelerant on a campout, poured it all into a lake, and tried to set the lake on fire. There was a second boy who wanted to build a "big fire" in a wooded area one fall so he made a giant mound from dead leaves and set it on fire.  A third scout tried to set the scout house on fire one night. Imagine if there wasn't any supervision for these boys. 


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