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Should BSA develop a "Classic Scouting"


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#61 Pale Horse

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:37 AM

Odd. Because most of the places I've looked say demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years. So that would make them plenty old enough to not only have kids, but to have kids of Scouting age.

The problem is you have to move out of one's parent's basement to do that.

 

There has been a tendency to lump Gen Y with Millennials, but most people still see a distinction between an under 25 Millennial and someone approaching 40 years old.  When someone complains about "snowflake millennials" they are complaining about the former and not the latter.  

 

Even if we do use the definition of someone born as early as 1984, that person is now 33 years old.  Using the average age of first time mothers of 26 (NPR numbers as of 2013), their children are just now coming of Cub Scout age.  Of course there are exceptions who had children at much younger age, but these are also typically the ones that don't have spare time to volunteer. Many of them are single mothers struggling to get by.

 

Young millennials are also the people that are struggling to find full employment, pay off crushing student-debt and raise children in a dual income necessary environment.  They don't have the luxury of free time that older, established Gen X and retired boomers do.

 

What I do see though is a socially active and involved group of people that actually care about the environment and spending what available time they have enjoying it.  If we can interest them in Scouts and pass on our love of Nature as a foundation for Scouting, I'm all for it.

 

I tend to see the extreme lack of parental help and volunteerism as an across the board issue, with no age group having a monopoly on it.

 

Now that we're fully derailed, I'll apologize.  


Edited by Pale Horse, 10 March 2017 - 08:57 AM.

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#62 blw2

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:46 AM

and one more thought, looping back to the original question.... what would "traditional scouting look like"?

I'm no historian like stosh and many of you are, so I can't claim to know what it was like way back in the day

 

But I'm thinking it could probably be summed up with one statement

 

Get the adult influence, interference, and involvement out of the way...and let the scouts have fun playing the game of scouting.

 

Based on what I have read about what BP had written, and seeing some of the early requirements, some of which were posted here

it seems that the adventure and opportunity was focused greatly on boys doing stuff with their friends..... with a fairly basic outline of the rules of the game.... and limited adults acting as an adviser, or "older brother"

that simple structure and steering from the "older brother SM", gave the boys just enough nudge to get out there and put themselves into opportunities to grow and build character.... and more than that have fun doing it!

the requirements were not much more but get out there and camp... a lot.

there weren't volumes upon volumes of rules, procedures, and requirements.... clearly what the adults have brought to the party over the years


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#63 Back Pack

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:51 AM

ROFL. I love text book answers.

Most of the late boomers I grew up with had to buy their own cars, pay for their own college, and pay their own way after high school or college. Most of the jobs and college slots were taken up by the boomers. And yet, somehow, my generation was able to engage, survive and proper. Mommy and daddy didn't do that for us. And we had the oil crisis, Carter's hyper inflation and the Cold War economy to live through. We rolled up our sleeves and worked.

That's not happening with Millenials.
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#64 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:01 AM

So opinions on the make-up "classic scouting" by different generations - Greatest Generation, Boomers, Gen X, etc.?


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#65 Pale Horse

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:04 AM

ROFL. I love text book answers.

Most of the late boomers I grew up with had to buy their own cars, pay for their own college, and pay their own way after high school or college. Most of the jobs and college slots were taken up by the boomers. And yet, somehow, my generation was able to engage, survive and proper. Mommy and daddy didn't do that for us. And we had the oil crisis, Carter's hyper inflation and the Cold War economy to live through. We rolled up our sleeves and worked.

That's not happening with Millenials.

 

I hate answers that consist basically of "back in my day..."

 

If you really care about the economic disparity between 1950s America and today, take a look at this.  http://www.mybudget3...g-cars-college/

 

There is simply no comparing being able to work part time in 1950 and having the ability to afford a new car and college to today.  I'm impressed by any parent that can swing full tuition for their kids, much less asking junior to pay full ride while working summers at the grocery store.


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#66 EmberMike

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:07 AM

Most of the late boomers I grew up with had to buy their own cars, pay for their own college, and pay their own way after high school or college. Most of the jobs and college slots were taken up by the boomers. And yet, somehow, my generation was able to engage, survive and proper. Mommy and daddy didn't do that for us. And we had the oil crisis, Carter's hyper inflation and the Cold War economy to live through. We rolled up our sleeves and worked.

That's not happening with Millenials.

 

 

I'm a millennial and I did everything you mentioned. I worked all through high school and college, paid my own way, never relied on anyone for help. 

 

For a forum of scouters I'm constantly surprised at just how often people here throw around over-generalizations and judge people by generational status, political affiliations, regional location, etc. This morning alone I've gone from one discussion telling me what my govt/social political values suggest I believe to what my age says about my work ethic. 


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#67 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:33 AM


in the back of my mind, it kinda saddens me that boys today will never know what I know having been a scout back in the 50's and 60's.

 

If I had a time machine and as a Dad who wants the best for his sons, I would send my sons "back in my day" to experience the better scouting I had at my old, probably below average, troop.

 

But after a month or year what would be their preference?


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#68 qwazse

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:36 AM

From the time the term was presented to me (at son #1's 8th grade graduation), I hated the term millennials, because it makes it sound like this group of youth are like the Jetsons with robot maids and jobs behind monitors at the Sprocket factory. That said, the boy is taking a continuing Ed course in Visual Basic, and his wife getting an online master's degree from a traditional school on the opposite side of the country. :confused:

 

That's why I use "post-modern nomadic." Because, if you're not spending an hour or more in a tin can getting to a job where someone will pay for your work, your spouse/friend is.

 

And kids born into this culture are working far longer (albeit somewhat less back-breaking) hours than any I've known.

 

But, because of that, they have less patience for advancement requirements that are self-aggrandizing (e.g., "troop camping only", "talk to a friend about being a scout", "log your service hours", etc ...). So, by "classic", I'm thinking of merely lest pretentious.

 

(Edited Note: I'm not entirely sure "pretentious" is the right word when I'm talking about these meticulously worded requirements. But maybe you all have seen the look in a late-teen's eyes when they stumble upon a "busy-work" rank requirement that isn't necessarily there in younger teens.)


Edited by qwazse, 10 March 2017 - 09:42 AM.

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#69 Col. Flagg

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:43 AM

There is simply no comparing being able to work part time in 1950 and having the ability to afford a new car and college to today.  I'm impressed by any parent that can swing full tuition for their kids, much less asking junior to pay full ride while working summers at the grocery store.

 

Who ever bought a new car during high school or college? Who pays in full for college? I know I didn't. Perhaps Herr Rucksack (that's Backpack for those non-Deutsch speakers) was referring to one's first car which was usually used back then? 

 

I can only speak from my experiences. In my area if you drive in to the high school parking lot you don't see beat-up, second or third-hand fixer-upper cars. You see a large number of recently used or new cars. Nice ones. Nicer than I ever had. That's the late Bloomer and Gen-Xers buying them for their kids. I highly doubt the kids are paying for these 20+k cars themselves.

 

And you actually can compare salaries and cost of living from one decade to the next. Economists study many years and make a pretty good living off of it. You can adjust various elements to see comparatively what it would cost back in 1975 in today's dollars. It's pretty close.

 

cost-of-living-chart.jpg


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#70 Pale Horse

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:55 AM

You can adjust various elements to see comparatively what it would cost back in 1975 in today's dollars. It's pretty close.

 

 

 

If you call earning 10% less to pay for a house that costs 20% more, an auto that costs twice as much and college that costs 2-3x the amount it did in 1975 "pretty close", then our definitions of the words are a bit different.  Extrapolate these numbers back to 1950s before the "hyper-inflationary" period and they're even more divergent.

 

At least we're paying less for milk and eggs though.

 

I would assume the trend in newer cars has something to do with the inability of the home mechanic to do any work on newer cars.  They're essentially computers on wheels and any little thing totals them out.  Safety features have come a long way in the last 15 years for cars too.  No doubt mom & dad are paying for these new cars though.


Edited by Pale Horse, 10 March 2017 - 10:15 AM.

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#71 Col. Flagg

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:16 AM

Anyone who buys a new car at 31k is, well, unwise. Live within your means. Same with a "new" house? And college? Well, as Mike Rowe points out there's plenty of great  paying jobs that don't require college. Lastly, the SSA has median income around 8k not 12k, so there's more parity there than this example shows.

 

If one uses the inflation calculator from the BLS the comparison is much closer than in this example.


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#72 Peregrinator

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:22 AM

A better gauge would be the cost of a first house and the cost of a first car. Older folks tend to have more money to spend on such things than younger.


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#73 Stosh

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:22 AM

When one is doing comparisons between generations, one must also take into consideration the dynamics of what people think is important.  Back in the 1960's no one had cell phones, they had one phone, no answering machine, that hung on the wall.  Cost?  Pennies compared to today's cell phone addiction.  How much of that income goes to cell phone, internet, cable/satellite TV, etc. that wasn't even on the radar of those of the past eras.  We can't afford $2 bread, but they can afford a $100+/month cell phone,

 

One of the reasons people tend to think the cost of living is so high is because they have added a tremendous amount of opportunities to the mix that didn't exist 50 years ago.  What one doesn't take into consideration is the fact that the statistics are misleading.  A new house? or a used house?  A new car or a used car?  These are factors that aren't taken into consideration.  I have never lived in a new house.  I have only once ever purchased a new car.  Just isn't worth the extra money to have the latest/greatest of everything and thus my cash flow is far less than the "average" person of today.

 

In 1968, the minimum wage was $1.10 so in less than 10 years it doubled, in 1959 my dad had a new house built for $12,000.  He also bought a used house in 1970 for $29,000 and when he retired sold it for $140,000.  So that "income" isn't calculated into the statistical income on the charts, too.

 

Of course the statistics shown aren't necessarily reflective of various areas of the country.  I don't live on the coast because housing and the cost of living is ridiculous.  Not worth it.  Can't afford to live in the Midwest after going to an Ivy League school out East or one of the prestigious colleges out on the West coast?  Personal choice.... not a good one, but a choice nonetheless.

 

Community college, state university, small seminary, 4 degrees and $1500 in total student loans in that process.  And 2 of the degrees were from the 1990's so they weren't all that "back in the day". 

 

A Scout is Thrifty.... Might want to focus in on that Law as one progresses through life.  After all, I never made over $45,000 in a single year ever in my lifetime, I own 2 houses outright, I have 5 cars, I live on a 9 acre hobby farm, owe no one anything, and I retired a millionaire.  I think the biggest problem is not inflation, it is they missed out on the Personal Finance MB.  In many respects, peoples' poor choices is what makes them struggle financially, not the other way around.


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#74 perdidochas

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:27 AM

If I had a time machine and as a Dad who wants the best for his sons, I would send my sons "back in my day" to experience the better scouting I had at my old, probably below average, troop.

 

But after a month or year what would be their preference?

I wouldn't.  The troop my boys are in is much more boy led than mine ever was.


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#75 MattR

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 01:28 PM

Just the other night they the last troop meeting.... "they" decided to set up first aid stations.  Not sure who's idea it was, but I know "they" have a renewed focus on trying to get the younger scouts moving along with their advancement...

blw2, this is not classic vs current scouts, it's adults not respecting the scouts. Nothing needs to be changed with the program to support that. The adults just need a better understanding of how it all fits together. Maybe just a classic attitude is needed. I swear people just didn't worry so much about advancement when I was a scout. I don't remember doing advancement at summer camp. Eagle was nice but just not a big deal.

 

Another classic idea is that it just takes time to be a kid. Scouts was fun and it was not a rush. It was also not a constant Harrison Ford adventure either. We had one really cool campout a year and the rest were nothing special. We had time to hang out and that was okay. Some adults get mad at me now because I want the scouts to have time to do what they want Saturday afternoons and the adults think we should have more scheduled activities. "Scouts will get into trouble if they have free time." I've noticed that scouts will get in trouble if they have all day and are stuck in a cabin, but a morning activity and an afternoon to climb on the rocks is magic when it comes to making memories. The best SM conferences I do are talking to 17.99 year olds. They all tell me how great it was to just hang out with their friends on campouts. Yes, they also talk about high adventure trips. So adventure is good, but it's not everything. For some scouts, just perfecting a DO pizza is also an adventure.


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#76 Ankylus

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:26 AM

Of course not. Earn it as an adult in your troop. Maybe den chiefs could sign off pack leaders! :D

 

Every scout deserves an accountable leader.

 

Wow, I am really not ready to layer another level of bureaucracy for adult leaders. For one thing, it would detract from focusing on the youth.

 

But, IOLS is presumably to tool BSA uses to get adult leaders up to speed on First Class type skills. Perhaps a better mechanism would be to conform IOLS to First Class skills a little more closely and then make IOLS a prerequisite for Wood Badge. As a practical matter, my guess is very few Wood Badge attendess won't have already taken IOLS.


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#77 Ankylus

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:32 AM

I am not sure I would reach that conclusion.  It may be that those vague requirements from 1911 were interpreted in radically different ways by SM's and MBC's (if they even had MBC's at the beginning) and a decision was made to make the requirements more specific, such as to require that the camping be a Scouting activity.  It might help to know when that change was made.

 

As a lawyer, I find that more complicated and convoluted language in anything is invariably to product of conflict over simple, more concise wording. I have no doubt that the longer, more verbose wording are an attempt to head off disputes over advancement caused by vague language.

 

However, another laudable goal that might have driven the verbosity is to institute some consistency in the application of requirements.

 

The more verbose "modern" requirements are probably driven by both factors.

 

That having been said, I agree with the sentiment expressed earlier that if you expect 12 year olds to read and understand them, then you have to make it readable and understandable for 12 year olds.


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#78 Ankylus

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:50 AM

Well, I don't believe that Bird Study should be an Eagle Requirement. It's too specialized. I do believe that Nature merit badge should be an Eagle Requirement for a similar reason  you think Bird Study should be required.  I also think the Sustainability merit badge should be immediately eliminated as an Eagle required badge--it's just too boring for the boys. 

 

I believe that making the Sustainability MB Eagle required (option, of course) is a symptom of US scouting's departure from the its core mission as originally conceived.

 

National should really sit down and talk to the SMs that give SM conferences. No scout EVER said, "What I enjoyed about scouting was learning about sustainability."  And I will be surprised if any one of them ever does. For one thing, they are inundated with this kind of subject matter in school every day, and even in popular culture. Who needs scouting to learn about "Sustainability"?

 

That's not to say it is unworthy of being the topic of a MB. But, presumably, Eagle-required are such precisely because they are deemed core topics that every Eagle scout should know. Sustainability? Really?

 

Admittedly, I have never had a scout talk about enjoying Citizenship in the World, but at least citizenship has always been a core value of Scouting.

 

And a similar thing can be said about all the "explain", "discuss", "tell", and "speak to" requirements. They get school all day in school. I understand sometimes that is the way to impart necessary knowledge. But there's way to much of it. We need more "doing" and less "explaining".

 

But part of the problem has been that Scouting has evolved by trying to be all things to all people. They want all boys to have access to scouting and an opportunity to succeed in it. That includes urban youth with no or limited access to the outdoors. So, over time, they have watered down the outdoors aspect of scouting and brought in other things. Like STEM. 

 

BSA really needs to figure out whether they want the historical core mission. If they don't, then quit pretending. If they do, then makes some changes to get back to it. Instead of Sustainability and Family Life, perhaps Orienteering, Pioneering, and/or Signals.


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#79 qwazse

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 11:09 AM

Wow, I am really not ready to layer another level of bureaucracy for adult leaders. For one thing, it would detract from focusing on the youth.

 

But, IOLS is presumably to tool BSA uses to get adult leaders up to speed on First Class type skills. Perhaps a better mechanism would be to conform IOLS to First Class skills a little more closely and then make IOLS a prerequisite for Wood Badge. As a practical matter, my guess is very few Wood Badge attendess won't have already taken IOLS.

Not sure where you're seeing the layer of bureaucracy.

 

One grabs a handbook. Works with fellow moms and dads until skills are mastered. Instead of a weekend away from the troop, they can work on it at a troop adult campsite 100 yards distant from the other patrols. Loan field specs to anyone who needs to observe the youth in action ... youth-focused is instantly increased depending on the quality of the binoculars.

 

I agree this might create some knowledge gaps, but there is a build-in solution that doesn't require entire weekends away from troop and family: round tables. This is where scouters find out who can fill in their skill deficits or give them refreshers. How much more engaging would that be than power-points on internet rechartering?


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#80 fred johnson

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 11:27 AM

.... Instead of Sustainability and Family Life, perhaps Orienteering, Pioneering, and/or Signals.

 

Here here.  Scouts are to be well rounded, but not by pounding boredom into them.  

 

So many of the merit badges are worse than worthless in today's society as the topics are pounded into them by school and other groups.  Asking them to do them in scouts hurts the scouting program.  Scouting covers them in poorer form than it is covered by school.  

 

How about this ?  Add an option for scoutmasters to wave merit badges if they have already been sufficiently covered in the local school or other channels.  If waved, find a challenging MB to replace it.  


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