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Where's the adventure that was promised?


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#41 Ankylus

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 10:52 AM

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.

 

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I have a hard time believing that BSA labeled Summit a "high adventure camp"...and much of what goes on at Seabase isn't high adventure either. 


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#42 qwazse

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 11:07 AM

@Anklyus, you face a double-edged sword. In a very large troop, you have more eyes on the boys, but you're more likely to have some boys find ways to thwart regimented discipline, especially in tight quarters. When our troop was large, such pyromania often occurred within a tarp's space of adults.

 

In a small troop, being a first-class scout (concept, not patch) is at such a premium that boys are "up or out". In other words, they conform to the SM's goals for discipline -- especially fire safety -- in order to be trusted to hike and camp independently with their mates. Or, they become the cause of the patrol's hike plans being rejected.

 

It's the long leash principle. The patrol of hooligans will be rewarded with frequent SPL and adult visits. If the PL can't account for the location of his boys, there are big issues. (Sometimes if he can there are still problems ... as when my patrol "borrowed" the spray paint used to make our patrol flag and improvised a flame thrower. But nobody was under any delusions that the SM being any closer would have prevented such shenanigans.) However, the patrols who shores up their members, over time, will be awarded with new hike plans and challenges/responsibilities.

 

Fire safety is, of course, only one dimension.

 

It's all part of inculcating a vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.


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#43 CalicoPenn

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 11:47 AM

Where is the adventure?  It is wherever you left it.

 

Blaming National and it's rules and it's attempts to keep the organization alive by adapting to the times and to the attitudes of todays youth and parents is easy and we seem to do it all the time.  I'm going to be bold here and say none of it is National's fault.  None of it.  Let me repeat that - None of it.

 

National, Region, Council, District - they aren't leading the boys.  Volunteers in Troops, Packs, Crews are.  Is your unit providing adventure?  If not, why not?  Because National has all these rules?  Let me be blunt - National does not have these rules to protect you, the chartered organization or for that matter the boys.  It may appear that way but the reality is National has all these rules to protect the corporation and it's sub-corporations (Council).  They help to provide a layer of protection against lawsuits and insurance claims - and that's it.  If you're on an outing and you failed to follow the Safe Swim Defense rules and a Scout dies - National can point to their rules and  show that people in the Unit were trained (why do you think they're doing online training on these things, and requiring all chartered volunteers to complete it if not to be able to pull up those records as evidence that the Unit Leaders were aware of these rules) and say that National/Council is not at fault and that the fault lies with the unit and the volunteers (and to the Chartered Organization who chose and approved of the leaders).  These rules aren't created out of a vacuum - they come from something - and that's often going to be some lawsuit or insurance claim that landed in National's lap.  National didn't just decide one day that 13 year old boys couldn't use a power drill - someone, somewhere down the line was using a power drill, got hurt and the parents sued.

 

No one is being 100% compliant with the rules - most likely not purposefully, but we all know units that will ignore a rule they don't like and do a work-around to do an activity that is banned - calling a Troop just a bunch of friends getting together on their own to play laser tag with the Scoutmaster and ASM's is one of those things.  We probably all know a unit that doesn't even bother with a work-around and will just blatantly ignore rules they disagree with. 

 

The thing is, even diligently following the rules, there is still plenty of adventure out there, but that's for the units to provide.  National and Council provide some of the tools, but they aren't going to handhold you through everything.

 

If there isn't adventure in your unit then you need to look at your unit.  Yes, a Troop should be boy-led but we as adults in the unit have to start being a better resource.  Telling the PLC to go research and come up with the program themselves isn't the best way to ensure that adventure abounds in the unit - but having the adults plan it all isn't the best way either.  The best way is for the Scouts and the Adult Leaders to work together to create that program - the Boys decide but you get to advise and in some cases consent (it doesn't do the Boys any good to plan a weekend camping trip to a cave 150 miles from home if there aren't enough adults around willing to provide the transportation and help with the logistics).  Don't just let the Scouts loose on the internet to research camps and campsites - I know folks like to claim that their 13 year olds are better at technology that they are but the fact is, that 13 year old still is learning about things like researching and critical thinking.  Anyone can type in "campgrounds near your town" in a search engine but sorting through the information takes some skill, which comes with experience.  Anyone who has ever done a research paper in high school then does a couple of research papers in college will tell you how little they actually learned in high school on how to research - and any one that has a Master's will tell you they didn't really know anything about researching until then - and we expect our 13 year old boys to be good at it?  This is where we as adults come in to play - we help them research (not by doing it for them but by guiding them through the process - and I'll bet that is most of the successful boy-led units out there, some adult had already done a lot of research into camps, etc. - not to hand it to the boys but to know what the Scouts could expect to see) and we help them think outside the box - we guide them through the brainstorming process - sure, the SPL may be at the front of the room leading the session, but an occasional nudge from the SM or ASM in the meeting can go far.  An out of the blue "do you think anyone might be interested in a weekend canoe trip?" can help get those creative juices flowing.

 

If your unit is truly adventurous, then it should be really easy to recruit - if your Scouts aren't successfully recruiting, maybe its time to look at the program your offering.

 

Summing up - Stop blaming National for the shortcomings in your programming.  Instead of looking at these rules as things you can't do - try to see the things you can do - and there are an awful lot.

 

Oh - and Summit and Seabase isn't High Adventure?  Check your adult bias - to a 14 year old boy from Iowa, a week at Seabase will be a high adventure.  To a 15 year old boy from Kansas, a week at Summit learning whitewater kayaking will be a high adventure.

 

<mic drop>


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#44 mgood777

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:54 PM

I haven't even made it through the first page and I'm loving this discussion! Tonight at roundtable I'm talking about the Aims of Scouting, and lightly touching on the Methods. My audience will include a new Scoutmaster who focusses 80% of the time on merit badges (for a troop made up almost entirely of Scouts who just crossed over from Webelos about a year ago), and another new Scoutmaster who is experieced in Cubs but not in Boy Scouts. Some thoughts from the posts here will probably come up in discussion tonight.

Mike
Eagle Scout and former Philmont Ranger who has gotten caught up in the bureaucracy of Scouting as a District Commissioner.

Edited by mgood777, 02 March 2017 - 12:58 PM.

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#45 Eagledad

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 01:11 PM

Where is the adventure?  It is wherever you left it.

 

Blaming National and it's rules and it's attempts to keep the organization alive by adapting to the times and to the attitudes of todays youth and parents is easy and we seem to do it all the time.  I'm going to be bold here and say none of it is National's fault.  None of it.  Let me repeat that - None of it.

 

..................................................................................

The thing is, even diligently following the rules, there is still plenty of adventure out there, but that's for the units to provide.  National and Council provide some of the tools, but they aren't going to handhold you through everything.

 

If there isn't adventure in your unit then you need to look at your unit.  Yes, a Troop should be boy-led but we as adults in the unit have to start being a better resource.  Telling the PLC to go research and come up with the program themselves isn't the best way to ensure that adventure abounds in the unit - but having the adults plan it all isn't the best way either.  The best way is for the Scouts and the Adult Leaders to work together to create that program -............

 

Summing up - Stop blaming National for the shortcomings in your programming.  Instead of looking at these rules as things you can't do - try to see the things you can do - and there are an awful lot.

 

That is one good perspective. But actually National does have some control of the program and it starts with membership. 

 

I realize and understand the complexities of today's culture and the survival of a values program in the middle of it, but we have to be realistic with the sacrifices that come with large program changes. I got involved as an adult leader right after the induction of female troop leaders and I have watched the program continually become less adventurous. Not because women are considered the weaker sex or whatever, but because they were a massive induction of inexperienced campers and scouts. Lets be realistic, you can't teach what you do not know.

 

Now there is a discussion of bringing in girls on another forum. OK, I understand that National hasn't said anything official, sometimes these threads just happen. And I also understand that admitting youth females is not about bringing in more inexperienced adults, but actually it is. Just like dads who like to be part of their sons youth activities experiences, so do mothers with their daughters. Bringing in more female youth will increase the percentage of inexperienced adults. 

 

Anyone who has been working with other units the last 20 years knows that leaders without a scouting and camping experience struggle to put on a scouting and camping experience. I used to work with the adults of those units. But when you see the number of units who struggle with putting on an Aims and Methods program, the over all affect is adventure is down over the whole BSA program. Our PLC in 2000 scheduled at least two patrol campouts without the troop a year. They could do more if they wanted and they could do it without adults. A troop can't plan a campout without adults today. Big deal? Oh maybe not, but it is symbolic of the trend.

 

I used to teach an "Aims and Methods" course for adults, guess which adults struggled with the idea of patrols camping 300 ft. apart from each, as well as from the adults? Guess which adults struggled with scouts doing hikes without adults, much less 5 miles hikes? I remember adults walking out of the course in frustration because I kept giving them examples of how they could provide such a program even with all their ignorance and fears. True Patrol Method camping is hard to imagine if you haven't seen it.

 

I am not turning this discussion into if girls should be admitted discussion. I'm only saying that National inadvertently drives out adventure with many of their program changes. As we get generation on generation of inexperienced adults taking over units, the expectation of adventure in the unit is being driven lower.  I retired as a scoutmaster about 15 years ago now. The program has changed enough that I would have to change some of how we did things then. And not for the better. Some of our best adventure experiences are in our troop program. But a lot of that started from experiences the adults had as a youth. 

 

I'm not sure how to keep the adventure up for the future troops. I worked with hundreds of adults in teaching them how to do this scouting stuff and many just don't trust it. It's a lot of work getting adults to let their scouts experience adventure just on a campout.

 

Barry


Edited by RememberSchiff, 02 March 2017 - 03:25 PM.
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#46 DuctTape

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:02 PM

Adults do not need to have the camping experience as a youth as a pre-requisite for helping boys plan and lead their own adventures. The adults need to be willing to learn and courageous enough to accept the next level of adventure. The adults can grow and learn as well. After 1 or 2 years any adult will have gained significant experience. If I was mentoring a new SM with zero outdoor, camping, or scouting experience I would give him a copy of my BSA Fieldbook. The first one. The "pow wows" are a linear progression of adventure using the patrol method. It is almost a "boy scouts for dummies" play by play.
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#47 Stosh

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:13 PM

Our boys when they went to the BWCA had a Scouter come in and teach them how to plan a BWCA trip.  He knew how to pack, what to pack, all the rules/regulations, and what to expect.  He taught the boys ARC First Aid and CPR and reviewed canoeing techniques.  His boys had never gone on any high adventure trip.  So, we combined his skill and our experience with high adventures and took both troops up there.  When all was said and done his boys now knew what high adventure was and could be and our boys knew the ins and outs of BWCA treks.  Win for everyone.  I found out that doing a 3 mile portage with a 85# canoe is not fun, but the boys on my crew found out that - yes the packs are a lot lighter, but together they were heavier.  They chose to double portage it.  :)  My 85# canoe wasn't so bad as I thought it would be, but it still was a struggle.


Edited by Stosh, 02 March 2017 - 02:17 PM.

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#48 Col. Flagg

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:17 PM

Adults do not need to have the camping experience as a youth as a pre-requisite for helping boys plan and lead their own adventures. The adults need to be willing to learn and courageous enough to accept the next level of adventure. The adults can grow and learn as well. After 1 or 2 years any adult will have gained significant experience. If I was mentoring a new SM with zero outdoor, camping, or scouting experience I would give him a copy of my BSA Fieldbook. The first one. The "pow wows" are a linear progression of adventure using the patrol method. It is almost a "boy scouts for dummies" play by play.

 

Well, they need proper training for the adventures they are supporting.


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#49 Eagledad

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:36 PM

Adults do not need to have the camping experience as a youth as a pre-requisite for helping boys plan and lead their own adventures. The adults need to be willing to learn and courageous enough to accept the next level of adventure. The adults can grow and learn as well. After 1 or 2 years any adult will have gained significant experience. If I was mentoring a new SM with zero outdoor, camping, or scouting experience I would give him a copy of my BSA Fieldbook. The first one. The "pow wows" are a linear progression of adventure using the patrol method. It is almost a "boy scouts for dummies" play by play.

I fully agree in theory. In reality unexperienced adults need three years of additional guidance to guide a mature boy run patrol method adventure program. That opinion is based from my experience of helping and training adults in both packs and troops. If you think that is a bit harsh, I also believe adults with an extensive youth troop experience needs AT LEAST 3 years OJT to be a productive Scoutmaster for a mature program. 

 

Sadly, what programs like Philmont and Boundary Waters have done is given adults the idea that real adventure starts at 14. I would venture to guess that 90% of scouts today have never done a weekend backpacking trip with their patrol or troop because the adults are waiting for them to reach the right age. And while age is the excuse, it really has more to do with the inconvenience of the level of effort required. But hey, I'm excited to see a troop spend a weekend just fishing. 

 

Barry


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


#50 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:41 PM

I am finding the low level of backpacking and non-car camping experience among the younger Dad's putting a considerable damper on the boy's planned adventures. Add a rising minority of younger guys who clearly are in a race to eagle with the minimum level of camping and it has been a struggle for the PLC's plans to get carried out when the required Adults's cut a trip short because they want to get home early or avoid a second night on the cott(!!!). It is a sad and sorry day when the crippled, limping Turtle who never camped a day before his kids did scouts (but was willing to learn) is the manly man. I find myself doing more tarp or cowboy camping just to set a good example.

 

We still have a core of older adventuresome lads so there is still hope...


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#51 Stosh

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:44 PM

I bet there is the necessary expertise in every BSA Council across the country to tap into if one needs direction and instruction.  Hey Mr. Stosh, our troop is looking to go to BWCA and would like some pointers on what we need to do to be ready.

 

I already have an offer for next summer to take a expedition to Isle Royal for a different troop than mine.

 

The Mrs. and I are always open to taking a group to BWCA.

 

Nobody asks, so we just go anyway.


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


#52 Col. Flagg

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:52 PM

I am finding the low level of backpacking and non-car camping experience among the younger Dad's putting a considerable damper on the boy's planned adventures. Add a rising minority of younger guys who clearly are in a race to eagle with the minimum level of camping and it has been a struggle for the PLC's plans to get carried out when the required Adults's cut a trip short because they want to get home early or avoid a second night on the cott(!!!). It is a sad and sorry day when the crippled, limping Turtle who never camped a day before his kids did scouts (but was willing to learn) is the manly man. I find myself doing more tarp or cowboy camping just to set a good example.

 

We still have a core of older adventuresome lads so there is still hope...

 

Ah, Millennial Dads...

 

6ymlWNR.jpg?1


Edited by Col. Flagg, 02 March 2017 - 02:53 PM.

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#53 mgood777

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 03:10 PM

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


When I was a Ranger, the "bearmuda triangle" was fromm the fire pit to the sump to the bear bags and back to the fire pit. Camping INSIDE that triangle was strongly discouraged.
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#54 Col. Flagg

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 03:31 PM

When I was a Ranger, the "bearmuda triangle" was fromm the fire pit to the sump to the bear bags and back to the fire pit. Camping INSIDE that triangle was strongly discouraged.

 

I suspect it was prohibited.  :D

 

I am sure he was talking about the philmont graphic which also shows the tents in the pic, but not actually inside the triangle.

bearmuda_triangle_layout.gif


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#55 RememberSchiff

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 04:48 AM

Has anyone heard of more provisional weeks at HA camps? As I understand, Philmont has provisional weeks for NAYLE?, STEM , and trailwork but not treks.


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#56 DuctTape

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 09:39 AM

I fully agree in theory. In reality unexperienced adults need three years of additional guidance to guide a mature boy run patrol method adventure program. That opinion is based from my experience of helping and training adults in both packs and troops. If you think that is a bit harsh, I also believe adults with an extensive youth troop experience needs AT LEAST 3 years OJT to be a productive Scoutmaster for a mature program. 
 
Sadly, what programs like Philmont and Boundary Waters have done is given adults the idea that real adventure starts at 14. I would venture to guess that 90% of scouts today have never done a weekend backpacking trip with their patrol or troop because the adults are waiting for them to reach the right age. And while age is the excuse, it really has more to do with the inconvenience of the level of effort required. But hey, I'm excited to see a troop spend a weekend just fishing. 
 
Barry


I completely agree. The adventure starts small for scouts and scouters. As both grow and learn, the adventures increase.
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#57 Fehler

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 11:25 AM

And the best way to encourage adults to lead campouts is to ridicule the gear they use when camping with their family. 


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#58 John-in-KC

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 11:59 AM

Has anyone heard of more provisional weeks at HA camps? As I understand, Philmont has provisional weeks for NAYLE?, STEM , and trailwork but not treks.

 

They are not provisional.  They are actual programs.

 

OA Trail Crew is designed to work with young men who may be seeking careers in conservation service.  They're gonna bust their butts for a week, doing things in the back-country for the Ranch.  In return, they have the freedom of the Reservation to design their week two trek.  If they want, they can go from Phillips to Baldy to the Tooth.  It's not for young boys, you have to be at least 16, so we're talking 10th graders and up.
http://adventure.oa-bsa.org/oatc.php

 

NAYLE is youth leadership education.  I think I preferred the old method, where the emphasis was train the trainer:  The Scouts who came were going to teach youth leadership training in their own council; they learned from a team of Scouts who came from councils to teach them.
http://www.philmonts....org/nayle.aspx

 

And yes, the Mountain Trek program continues.  Go to PTC, your young man or woman, of Trek age, goes out for a week.
http://www.philmonts...70FD63BB11&_z=z

 

As far as STEM camps go, I know of no national program.  Maybe others do.


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#59 Col. Flagg

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 12:53 PM

And the best way to encourage adults to lead campouts is to ridicule the gear they use when camping with their family. 

 

When you're 35 and you use a queen size air mattress for comfort or cot (with no medical condition), while the kids are sleeping on the ground or a foam pad? Yeah.

 

If you lead, you lead by example. Simple as that.


Edited by Col. Flagg, 03 March 2017 - 12:53 PM.

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#60 EmberMike

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 02:06 PM

I am not turning this discussion into if girls should be admitted discussion. I'm only saying that National inadvertently drives out adventure with many of their program changes. As we get generation on generation of inexperienced adults taking over units, the expectation of adventure in the unit is being driven lower.  I retired as a scoutmaster about 15 years ago now. The program has changed enough that I would have to change some of how we did things then. And not for the better. Some of our best adventure experiences are in our troop program. But a lot of that started from experiences the adults had as a youth.

 

 

You could have made your point quite well by just leaving it at this, that inexperienced adults are a cause of the loss of adventure in scouting. And then I would have agreed with you. But then you had to ruin your whole point and blame women and girls specifically. Women who don't even exist in some units, and girls who aren't in the Boy Scouts main program at all. 

 

It's an inexperienced adult issue, period. Many units have no women involved and they still have problems keeping up the adventure. An inexperienced male leader can be far more detrimental to the adventurous spirit of a unit than an experienced female leader. 


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