Interesting but Sad

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Interesting but Sad

Postby ThunderingWind » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:28 pm

I recently attended an Eagle ceremony for three boys in the troop I work with. I used this as a converstaion starter with my son at 30,000 feet while we traveling this weekend. I asked him about Scouting and why he did not want to pursue it any longer.

He stated it was because of his previous experience at the other Troop when he crossed over. I told him that this is a new Troop and that they are very different and will not have that same problem. NOTE: We had two special needs boys in the patrol and no one knew how to work with them except me and I left after 6 months due to Katrina and no one in the troop stepped up to even try to help.

Next he stated it was because Scouting did not offer a Urban, inner-city youth option with no camping and more focused on service to the community. He went to on share that the leadership skills taught by the BSA can be applied in a non-outdoor environment and the other, equally important skills can be taugh other than knots and fire building.

Next he stated he felt the Merit Madges reqired were not of any quality anymore. He further stated that a young boy should be able to put "I earned XYZ Merit Badge" on on a job or college application and have it mean that the boy earned nearly a college minor in the subject and can be seriously considered well versed in the subject.

He further states that First Aid should be a minimum of EMT certification but without a license to serve the public. He described his view of other short comings in the Merit Badges. He basically thinks the Outdoor Bronze items from the Venturing program ought to be the T-2-1 requirements of the Scout program. And things like the Hornaday Gold award and Master LNT Instructor are to be the miminum "projects" for and Eagle.

Sad. I do not know how I failed to inculcate the positive aspects of the entire Scouting experience.
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby FrankJ » Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:28 pm

Venturing crews can do the inner city service with no camping. Maybe that is an option. The Venturing awards can be more demanding than merit badges.

Merit badges are actually the opposite of what he envisions. They are are generally meant to give an exposure to an subject, not make you an expert.
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby wagionvigil » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:16 am

Many years ago BSA made a big push into the Urban setting.This was the period that made Camping no longer required and swimming and lifesaving were no longer required plus swimming requirements were softened (imo). It failed miserably and hurt the other boys throughout the organization. I agree we are missing this part of our youth and I agree that First ai MB should be at least a real first aid course Like WFA.I also believe there should never be an Eagle Scout without Swimming an Lifesaving MB unless they are Physicially handicapped. The big problem with getting into the urban setting is leaders. I know that Pittsburgh has an exec that their job is totally inter city urban. Most of these units are after school type programs with paid leaders. THese groups have their own activities usually separate form the main stream scouting units. I have seen inner city troops at the National Jamboree again leadership is really important. The GPC troop is lead by a genlteman that absolutely takes nothing and is very strickwith these young men they are very well managed and there are little problems. Then there was a troop from a lagre metropolitan city in the NR that mayhem insued and the troop was removed by the MP's in mass and sent home by Tuesday morning. AGain Leadership and getting leaders in this environment is really difficult. Our new Chief Scout is from what I have heard going to try to fix this problem. But it may be a really steep hike. :(
PS: Last summer I had a group of urban scouts come to climb and rappel at the Cave. two of them had a fist fight at the top of the drop. As you can imagine I was not a happy camper. Got things settled down and finished their program. I am sure my attitude changed at that point and they were lucky I finished their program. How surprised was I when I was given a bad eveluation from the group? I should have just escorted them out
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby smtroop168 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:21 am

Don't beat yourself up. His reactions and comments are his thoughts on how to improve the program. Leverage his ideas into concrete actionable items and forward them up the chain. That way he can be part of solutions which is what we want Eagle Scouts to be - Leaders. Isn't that what we all are trying to do? We've all commented and debated on how good or bad individual MB or rank requirements are and how we wished they were like the "old" days or as written in the old BSA handbooks.
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby Mrw » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:52 pm

I do not know how lod your son is, but here are my comments on his views.

As far as the MB's and T-2-1 requirements, these are aimed at younger boys. The average 11-12 year old cannot manage the Venturing Bronze award requirements and this would drive boys away in droves. I do agree that some of the merit badges are way too easy, even for a younger boy, but they are an introduction and not meant to produce experts. If a boy is really interested in the subject past this intro, he can always pursue it further.

For the First Aid, an EMT level knowledge is great, but again out of the reach of most younger boys. The minimum level of instruction should be at least at the level of the Red Cross cert that is available to the general public.

As for the inner city program, the boys in the inner city are more likely to need the camping experiences than our suburban and rural kids. These are kids who might never have the opportunity to go to any other sort of camp and spend time in the woods. (A few years ago there was an article in our local paper about an inner city group on a bus tour - even many of the parent chaperones were amazed by driving past fields of cattle on the freeway as they had only ever seen it in pictures.) Maybe instead of working towards a non-camping troop option, he could lead the troop to partner with an inner city troop that needs the skills and camping equipment for their boys and do outreach that way. Broadening their horizons would benefit both troops and all the boys. Teaching the inner city boys to be self-reliant on a campout will go a long way to helping them see opportunities outside of their current world.

I have known men who were in the program as youth and been away from it for 30-40 years who, when scouting comes up, can still recite the Scout Law from memory at the drop of a hat. Clearly they retained something from the program! And these are not guys who made Eagle either. That is what the program is about after all - helping boys grow into responsible men with leadership skills and the morals to use them wisely.
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby WVBeaver05 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:41 pm

Well said MRW!!

I agree completely!!!

YiS
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby asm 411 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:28 am

As for merit badges being like a college minor. I have always thought that perhaps there should be something in the program so a Scout could have some guidance to take any merit badge farther. At one point I thought perhaps an additionally set of requirements if completed the Scout could put a small pin on the merit badge similar to the knot device for the religious awards. Maybe have different colored ring around the outside for completing a more in depth study of the topic.

The more I thought about it the Scouts who have a deeper interest don't need additional recognition all they really need is to be pointed in the right direction to do and find out more. Sure the MBC could be a good resource but perhaps just section in the back of each merit badge book with a list of things to pursue for more in depth study and resources.
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby wagionvigil » Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:35 am

For those that are not Familiar with venturing. The Core Requiremenst and the electivies for the Ranger Award are very similiar to Merit Badges with one big difference. The Venturer is required to go back and do some sort of presentation on that Subject to another Group, Cub, Boy, Girl, Youth Group. Plus some other fine tuning whnich make them more indepth training. First Aid requires a Firstc Adi Course plus WFA or When Help is delayed.
Lets Look at Scouting this way as far as content
Cub Scout = Elementary SChool
Boy Scouts =Middle School
Venturing = High School and College
Gee is this not how they are actually divided?
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby ThunderingWind » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:29 pm

My son is a home schooled high school freshman. His IQ is about 80 points above mine, so it is tough keeping up with him.
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby AquilaNegra2 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:13 pm

Thundering, we have incorporated our boys' Scouting into their schooling -- it's a major part of their curriculum. There is a yahoo group (Scout_School) of people who do this. Yes, there are some people who do "gimme" badges -- it doesn't mean that HE has to.
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby ThunderingWind » Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:35 pm

AquilaNegra2 wrote:Thundering, we have incorporated our boys' Scouting into their schooling -- it's a major part of their curriculum. There is a yahoo group (Scout_School) of people who do this. Yes, there are some people who do "gimme" badges -- it doesn't mean that HE has to.

I wish I could get him back into Scouting, but right now I can not. And he is running out of time to make Eagle with the required Time In Rank requirements.

Frankly, he views the Merit Badges equal to what he learned and earned as a Webelos (the 21 pins). That is about the same time his brain clicked and his mental abilities skyrocketed.

He feels that Scouting is so watered down it is no longer meaningful to him.
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Re: Interesting but Sad

Postby WVBeaver05 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:39 am

I know those teenage years well ( 2 through them, and 2 right in the middle of them now).

Perhaps a different approach would work, especially with his advanced mentality. People who think as hard/well as you are describing often think things out much further and plan things more carefully than the typical teenager. Why don't you show him the future benefits of attaining the Eagle rank (potential scholarships, positive impact on job interviews, etc.)? No guarantee, but he may be willing to invest some time in something that he is less than enthused about for future gains. May not work, but certainly worth a try.

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