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dloome
08-23-2009, 10:35
I hike a lot, all over the place. I've seen many scout groups out there, probably a couple dozen, and not once have I been positively impressed.

I've seen Scout groups hacking live trees to pieces with hatchets, camping on sensitive riparian land in the desert, camping directly at the mouth of a flash-flood prone slot canyon during the monsoon season, leaving toilet paper unburied, etc. I've come across entire groups on the wrong trail miles from where they wanted to be (they asked me for directions). Entire groups dressed in cotton clothing with no rain protection for their packs IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. Entire groups with no sun-protective clothing or hats, and carrying a 16 oz. bottled water apiece IN GRAND CANYON and many more examples of general ignorance, or much worse.

I realize not everyone can, or wants to afford high-end backpacking gear, but this is no excuse for going out with totally inappropriate equipment, into areas which exceed your backcountry skills, for not even trying to leave no trace, or for putting yourself (and potential rescuers) into danger by being completely uninformed to the specific hazards of your chosen hike.

I don't think I've ever seen a more reliably unprepared, clueless lot in the outdoors, period. Is this indicative of the entire Scout organization these days? Do they teach these kids any real skills at all anymore? To what extent are the troop leaders at fault? If you're involved in the Scout organization, why do you think the stuff I describe occurs, and how might Scouts be better educated for the outdoors?

russb
08-23-2009, 10:47
The problems you describe are the result of the adults involved. Most of the time this is due to having only parents of the scouts who themselves are not outdoorspeople as the leaders. Many councils provide training for the adults, but having been to some of these I can tell you that it is only the basics and very few of the adults have any experience in the outdoors. They really need someone in the troop to lead THEM. The troops/councils, IMHO, that have the best prepared scouts are ones whose leadership is made up of adults who have been with the organization for quite a few years, many of whom their sons are now adults and no longer involving in scouting (in the local area). I have volunteered at a few troops over the years and this generalization is based on my experience only. In an organization where the adults are volunteers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find competent leaders to help teach not only the scouts, but their parents. Once the cycle is broken it is very difficult to repair. If you, or others reading this have the time and/or inclination I would recommend calling your local council and asking about how you can volunteer. Even if it is to just give a workshop on LNT, or proper tent site selection, etc...

Russ

PS. I am an Eagle Scout.

SteveJ
08-23-2009, 10:59
Frankly, given the tone of many other (not all) emails about positive encounters with scouts by non-scouters, I find it difficult to believe that you have ONLY had negative experiences with scouts, and that all scouts you have encountered have been this stupid.

I can't decide whether you are trolling and/or have such negative views of scouting that you choose only to see those doing dumb things.

P.S. I'm the Troop Committee Chair, father of an Eagle Scout (with another on the way), and have personally approved 30 Eagle Scout applications. I also just walked in the house from a weekend troop camping trip emphasizing LNT.

trippclark
08-23-2009, 11:02
Russ gave a proper reply. Scouting relies on volunteer leadership. All Scout volunteers are well intentioned, but the still level and experiences are widely varied. I've been involved in Scouting as a youth and adult for more than 30 years and have seen troops that are very skilled in the outdoors, and many that are not. The program does offer training, but much of it is optional (but encouraged). For many leaders, already giving generously with their time -- literally hundreds of hours each year -- it is tough to attend ever training course out there. So we end up with leaders with a wide variety of training levels.

David, proper outdoor ethics is obviously something that you care about and are knowledgeable about. I would suggest talking with your local council and seeing if they can put you in touch with your council and/or district training chairman. That person -- also a volunteer -- would likely be very sensitive to your concerns and would probably be able to work you in as part of the solution, perhaps by assisting with upcoming council or district training opportunities where you can be part of the solution. You will probably find it to be a rewarding use of your time where you can have an impact on an issue that you feel passionate about.

Wise Old Owl
08-23-2009, 11:12
We have long threads that address this subject in the past at WB, and this is most likely going to open some passionate posts like "Dogs need leashes"

It really has nothing to do with the uniform, we are all human and we make mistakes, Young immature boys come from all walks of life, some have their act together, others don't. Some are mentally handicapped or others have no visible issues but a hidden challenge like Ashbergers. The volunteering adults are challenged to do the right thing as much as the scouts are. Remember its to teach outdoor skills and leadership roles in life.

They will always be looking for help - Why not vollenteer a night a week and find out? Walk a mile in their boots - You will make freinds for life.

Harold Swarbrick (Grand Father) England Scouting just prior to WW1
Mark Swarbrick - Eagle Scout
Austin Swarbick - Eagle Scout

Rocket Jones
08-23-2009, 11:14
Ditto on what Russ said, and it's not a recent thing either. When I was a youngster, my brother and I belonged to an excellent troop led by experienced outdoorsy adults. We moved across town and my brother and I found ourselves in a troop where we had more outdoors experience than all of the rest of the troop combined, including adults. Kudos to the adults for volunteering, but the lack of leadership can destroy enthusiasm in the kids.

Midway Sam
08-23-2009, 11:18
Who's at fault? You are. Seriously, I'm not joking... What scouting lacks is people like you with both the knowledge and the desire to see someone do things the right way.

Most often dads who don't have the proper knowledge are forced into being leaders simply because they are the only ones willing to step forward for these boys.

To quote Ghandi... "Be the change you would like to see in the world."

royalusa
08-23-2009, 11:44
After having thru-hiked the AT last year, the biggest issue we had with the boy scout troops was their group size. We came across several troops hiking in groups as large as 15-20 which puts a serious strain on the shelter tent spots. Imagine the shelters that had 6 documented and designated tent sites and then a group of 15-20 scouts arrive. I think the standard maximum group size for anyone is supposed to be 6-8, isn't it?

Lellers
08-23-2009, 11:48
I just retired from scouting after 15 years as a scout leader, 10 of those as an assistant scoutmaster. I still continue as a backpacking and hiking merit badge counselor.

Sadly, I've observed similar situations. But I've also seen some well prepared, well taught groups, as well. Back in April, I stopped and talked to a scout group at the Tye River. They were preparing to climb the Priest as part of a training shakedown for the Grand Canyon. They seemed well prepared, their leaders were experienced, and we talked about their plans for gear shakedowns, physical training sessions, and fundraising etc., which would take the better part of a year before their planned trip to the GC. I was impressed. A few hours later, I happened upon another boy scout troop at Harpers Creek shelter. What a mess! They had just hiked in for the day to "play", according to one of the adults with them. There was trash everywhere. I observed a few of them peeing into the creek. They were heaving rocks, cutting saplings for marshmallow sticks, digging holes near the shelter. I had a foot injury and limped into the shelter area on a hot day. The limp was obvious. I looked and smelled like a backpacker. I thought it was pretty obvious that I would want to sit down somewhere, but the shelter was full of lounging adult and their trash and gear. Boys occupied every spot at the picnic table. When I asked one boy to move over a bit, he actually said to me "I was here first." His friends laughed, and a few echoed his comment. Not that it should matter, but I'm a woman, well old enough to be the mother of any of the boys. I was really irritated by the rudeness. I smiled at the boys and said, "Let's run the Scout Law, my friends." Which seemed to attract the attention of one or two of their adult leaders.

"Running the Scout Law" is a decision-making technique taught to scouts. If they have a question about whether or not to do something, or if they want to evaluate a decision made, they simply run down the Scout Law and ask themselves, "If I do/did this, will it be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent." If they answer NO to any of those points of the Scout Law, then the decision has to be re-worked. In the case of our rude scout who didn't want to give up his seat to a lady/injured hiker, we didn't even get past helpful, let along friendly and courteous. A bit later, I had a private conversation with the scoutmaster. One adult did apologize to me later, saying that he was new to the troop and "had concerns" about the group. The boys did clean up at the end of their stay, and they packed out their trash after I nicely explained to them why it was a bad idea to toss it down the privy.

The problem with that group, and with most unruly, unprepared scout groups was with the adults. Scouts are boys, so the responsibility will always fall to the adults who volunteer to lead them. Adult leaders should attend BSA training. One thing that is emphasized in training is the "sandwich principle". If you picture a sandwich made with a bun, the top and bottom of the sandwich should always be Qualified Supervision and Discipline, with the main part of the sandwich being Scouting Safety.

Qualified Supervision and Discipline. And therein lies the problem! It's just darn difficult to find qualified adults willing to volunteer and who have a talent for working with young people.

It's hard to find good volunteers for anything. Many parents sign their boys up for scouting but don't volunteer to help. Some volunteer, but they aren't qualified. Many times, the boys and the adults have the same level of experience in the woods, which is next to nothing. Some adults are experienced, but they have no talent for dealing with young people. Some are reliving their own days as boy scouts and think they know everything. They may attend training, but they don't actually absorb any information presented to them.

In my opinion, that's it in a nutshell. It's hard to find good volunteers who are willing to give up so much of their time, who have the skills and experience, the talent to work with rowdy teenage boys, and the patience to deal with their parents who will not back down from their misinformed opinions. (Ok, the parent thing is my own personal weakness. And if you care to read about one of my parent issues, I posted a thread last year about a trip I organized through SNP for 6 boy scouts.) Since there is a shortage of qualified adults who volunteer with the boys, often any warm body is accepted as a leader. These adults don't know enough, they don't go to training enough or at all, they don't learn, they're tired from a long work week, they consider their weekend camping trips with the scouts to be their vacation, etc. etc.

In short, it's the responsibility of the adults. The BSA offers excellent training, but its effectiveness is hit or miss. In recent years, the BSA has begun tightening up on the training requirements. Some councils are now requiring that ALL adults go to training. That's fine, but at the current time, attendance is all that's required. There is no testing following the training. There are new, stricter requirements for the health and conditioning of leaders. If you plan a 100-mile hike with teenage boys, you better be able to keep up with them! There is also a new requirement that at least one adult in a group doing backcountry activities has to be certified in wilderness first aid. Great! It's improving, but there is a long way to go. There is no scout leader police, per se. No one goes out and checks up on what a troop actually does in the woods. But you and I can always speak up. Pull an adult leader aside and talk to him/her about what's going on. Sometimes the information is received well. Sometimes not. If you want to go further, find out their troop number, council and district. You can always call one of the paid BSA staff people at council offices and talk to them about dangerous situations you've seen. And, if you are so inclined, you can volunteer. That's the best way to help the situation.

It's not perfect, but scouting does great things for lots of kids. Some troops are fantastic, some should be shut down and hosed out. Like every other mostly-volunteer organization, there just are not enough good people out there who are willing to step up and volunteer. Back in the early days of scouting, there were fewer boys in the program and more adults who had experience in the outdoors. The balance was better. Today, our society is so much more "civilized", and often adults have no more experience in the outdoors than do the boys. It makes me sad, but there are still a lot of great scout troops out there. I hope you run into one of those!

SouthMark
08-23-2009, 11:51
Who's at fault? You are. Seriously, I'm not joking... What scouting lacks is people like you with both the knowledge and the desire to see someone do things the right way.

Most often dads who don't have the proper knowledge are forced into being leaders simply because they are the only ones willing to step forward for these boys.

To quote Ghandi... "Be the change you would like to see in the world."

You are so right and most often these inexperienced dads that are forced into leadership roles do not get ant help from the other parents in the troop and have to go it alone. BSA (Baby Sitters of America). Been there, I know.

Just a Hiker
08-23-2009, 12:05
I, for one, don't mind the Scout Troops that I encounter on the trail because I always score great food off of them; however, I understand what you are all saying. When I was in Scouts my Scoutmaster was a raging alcoholic and our Assistant Scoutmaster had just returned from Vietnam and was going through a difficult time. The result was that we ran wild when we went on hiking trips and Jamborees and we did some pretty stupid stuff.....and I am quite sure we annoyed serious long distance hikers with our lack of backcountry knowledge.

Dances with Mice
08-23-2009, 12:41
Speaking strictly for myself I like seeing kids out on the trail. Scouts, church groups, Hoods in the Woods, families, whatever.

Granted, I'm from an area where the trail is designed to host groups. If the GATC didn't recognize that Georgia gets a blast of hikers early in the season we'd be blind. We ain't. We ain't perfect either but I can't speak for either the GATC or, again, anybody else but myself.

That being said, I like seeing the footprints of youngsters on the Trail. Because out of 100 kids out underprepared on the Trail maybe 25 will want to come back better prepared. Maybe. And of those maybe 3 or 4 will continue backpack as they outgrow Scouts. Maybe.

And one of those might decide later to join the local maintaining club. Maybe.

If you got a better plan for how kids are supposed to be exposed to wilderness hiking and backpacking then lay it out here. Anyone have a story about how unprepared they were as Scouts out on their first trips into the wilderness?

If so you've made my point.

skinewmexico
08-23-2009, 12:43
99.9% of the adults now take their kids to Scouts because they think of it as "Baby Sitters of America". So you can't get volunteers, the ones you get are inexperienced, and very few people who have experince will volunteer to help teach, even temporarily.

Jester2000
08-23-2009, 12:46
. . . I can't decide whether you are trolling and/or have such negative views of scouting that you choose only to see those doing dumb things. . .

There is a third possibility, which is that he's just telling the truth.

Pedaling Fool
08-23-2009, 12:50
...When I was in Scouts my Scoutmaster was a raging alcoholic and our Assistant Scoutmaster had just returned from Vietnam and was going through a difficult time. The result was that we ran wild when we went on hiking trips and Jamborees and we did some pretty stupid stuff.....and I am quite sure we annoyed serious long distance hikers with our lack of backcountry knowledge.
Those are the kind of scout leaders I would want as a kid. Started drinking pretty early in life:sun......ahh, the good ol' days...

dloome
08-23-2009, 13:05
Yeah, I hate kids too.

Oh, please. Kids are great. (I still am one.) ;) I absolutely love seeing a parents with their child, even entire families in the outdoors, in our National Parks, on trails, etc. This is wonderful! I have every interest in ensuring the next generation likes the outdoors as much as I do- Like I read right here on WB some time ago, "If you don't take a kid hiking, there won't be trails in the future." I work with some of the outdoor programs at the U in town, but haven't worked with younger kids yet, which is something I'd like to get into.

My thoughts in this case were simply that the Boy Scouts are a major organization that often functions to introduce kids to the outdoors and nearly everything I have experienced first hand indicates that this is not always being done very well, sometimes quite poorly. The Scouts are of course not the only organization who would experience these issues. I chose to use a couple negative/extreme examples, and possibly this set a poor or confrontational tone for the thread which was not intended.

Are there well-equipped, well prepared scout troops out there being led by experienced, responsible adults? Unquestionably, and they should be commended. I would be thrilled to meet some of them on a trail someday.

Why there aren't more is what I was interested in. It's easy to criticize, much more difficult to offer real solutions, I know. Young boys are an inherently unruly bunch no matter what organization they're affiliated with. This is reality.

Anyway, all this poses some tough questions, such as-Which is worse? To have a group of young kids in the outdoors without responsible adult leadership and supervision, or for that same group to not have time in the outdoors at all? Both scenarios are pretty unfortunate.

For those knowledgeable about the subject who are willing to have a real discussion: Specifically, what do you think are the most important lessons or ideas you'd like to see Scout and other youth groups "take away" with them when it comes to the outdoors, wilderness ethics, etc.?

Thanks Russ and Lellers for your constructive input.

The Weasel
08-23-2009, 13:24
dloome -

If you are going to be as immediately confrontational and judgmental about kids Scouts or otherwise - and their parents as you were here with your initial post, as well as asserting an "everyone of them was bad" mentality as a means of "asking" about things, you really need to get into some other kind of work that with children.

TW

Camping Dave
08-23-2009, 13:25
Really? Cotton clothing! OMG what noobs. Imagine the nerve of those 11 year old boys, thinking they can go into the woods to have fun.

Quit your whining loome. "Real" hikers do that kind of stuff too, and worse: doping, drinking, shooting guns, leaving tons of trash, etc. Did you ever think about helping, or does your ability to lend a hand only extend so far as keyboard complaining?

hikingshoes
08-23-2009, 13:39
Im not big on talking about someone,but dloome Id say stop talking about the Scouts and help them(if you can).Your young so show them what you know.Maybe just alittle help with your skills would go along way...Charles :)
I hike a lot, all over the place. I've seen many scout groups out there, probably a couple dozen, and not once have I been positively impressed.

I've seen Scout groups hacking live trees to pieces with hatchets, camping on sensitive riparian land in the desert, camping directly at the mouth of a flash-flood prone slot canyon during the monsoon season, leaving toilet paper unburied, etc. I've come across entire groups on the wrong trail miles from where they wanted to be (they asked me for directions). Entire groups dressed in cotton clothing with no rain protection for their packs IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. Entire groups with no sun-protective clothing or hats, and carrying a 16 oz. bottled water apiece IN GRAND CANYON and many more examples of general ignorance, or much worse.

I realize not everyone can, or wants to afford high-end backpacking gear, but this is no excuse for going out with totally inappropriate equipment, into areas which exceed your backcountry skills, for not even trying to leave no trace, or for putting yourself (and potential rescuers) into danger by being completely uninformed to the specific hazards of your chosen hike.

I don't think I've ever seen a more reliably unprepared, clueless lot in the outdoors, period. Is this indicative of the entire Scout organization these days? Do they teach these kids any real skills at all anymore? To what extent are the troop leaders at fault? If you're involved in the Scout organization, why do you think the stuff I describe occurs, and how might Scouts be better educated for the outdoors?

jesse
08-23-2009, 13:44
Scouts are a work in progress. Leaders are responsible for keeping the boys safe, and to insure LNT principles are followed. Having said that, you gotta give them room to make mistakes so they can learn from those mistakes.

I have found that hunters to be one of the worst groups of people who use the outdoors. They will trash an area, and not even try to practice LNT. They have no intention of hauling out beer, and soda bottles/cans.

The Allatoona WMA in Georgia is a cesspool.

dloome
08-23-2009, 14:16
Really? Cotton clothing! OMG what noobs. Imagine the nerve of those 11 year old boys, thinking they can go into the woods to have fun.

Quit your whining loome. "Real" hikers do that kind of stuff too, and worse: doping, drinking, shooting guns, leaving tons of trash, etc. Did you ever think about helping, or does your ability to lend a hand only extend so far as keyboard complaining?

Although I think you're misrepresenting what I'm saying, you raise some fair points. I regret the tone of my initial post, take responsibility for the negative tone it set and apologize. A bad judgement call on my part. A recent very frustrating encounter with a group is what motivated me to start this thread and I admit being a little hot-headed at the onset. I should have chosen my words more carefully. Let's move on.

Look- There are so called "good" and "bad" hikers out there, not all of which belong to Scout groups. We all know that. The point I'm trying to make here is that obviously, failure to follow LNT principles, poor trail ethic, etc., (if obviously not occurring with absolute frequency), still occurs pretty often often amongst youth groups which in this case would include the Scout groups I used, however unfairly, as an example. The fact that so many hikers have experienced this at one time or another should indicate that this isn't an uncommon thing, and that this should concern us collectively.

I think this is an important thing- These kids are the ones that will acquire responsibility for the maintenance and protection of our National trails system, National Parks, and wilderness and public lands at some point, and it's worrisome to me that so many of them seem to be learning bad ideas and lessons.

I hope we can move on from the negativity (which I contributed to, and apologized for above) and talk about some ideas. Such as- What kind of qualifications should adults leading youths in the outdoors posess? Would greater selectivity among group leaders result in fewer available adult candidates, potentially harming youth-oriented organizations? Does reducing group size among youth groups contribute to a more positive experience or will it unfairly limit the number of kids that potentially get out there?

The Weasel
08-23-2009, 14:28
Nice post, Dloome. Your questions are all ones that Scouting deals with, usually very effectively. Perhaps you might stop by the nearest Scouting Service Center and ask if there are ways you could volunteer. You'd learn that Scouting is far more effective than you think, and you'd help make it even more constructive.

TW

russb
08-23-2009, 14:39
Scouts are a work in progress. Leaders are responsible for keeping the boys safe, and to insure LNT principles are followed. Having said that, you gotta give them room to make mistakes so they can learn from those mistakes.


I agree wholeheartedly. Although those mistakes should be made in such a place as to keep both the boys' safety and the environment's safety a priority.


I have found that hunters to be one of the worst groups of people who use the outdoors. They will trash an area, and not even try to practice LNT. They have no intention of hauling out beer, and soda bottles/cans.

The Allatoona WMA in Georgia is a cesspool.

In my experience it isn't the hunters, most of them up here are basically as good/bad re: trash etc... as hikers/backpackers. The worst offenders up here are the ATV riders (who aren't even supposed to be on most of the trails) followed closely by snowmobilers. We once carried out a junk pile which contained multiple mayonnaise, ketchup, etc... jars, prolly 2 cases of beer bottles, countless cans (both from beer and food) and .... 100 D-cell batteries!

Lellers
08-23-2009, 15:14
What kind of qualifications should adults leading youths in the outdoors posess? Would greater selectivity among group leaders result in fewer available adult candidates, potentially harming youth-oriented organizations? Does reducing group size among youth groups contribute to a more positive experience or will it unfairly limit the number of kids that potentially get out there?

My thoughts:

What kind of qualifications should adults leading youth in the outdoors possess?

This is already part of the BSA training picture. The necessity of having Qualified Supervision is emphasized. There is also a 4-adult minimum for trips. (Let's use a long distance hike as an example, because there are instances when scouts can do certain things on their own, or with 2-deep adult leadership.) My personal feeling is that at least one adult should have some long distance hiking experience. I'm not sure how I would quantify it. Should we insist that every backpacking adult on a scout trip have thru-hiked the AT? That's certainly overkill. But perhaps the requirements for the backpacking merit badge (http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Backpacking) would be a good start. Any adult who would organize backpacking activities for a scout troop should have done all of the things that the boys are expected to learn, and should feel comfortable doing them. In addition, that adult should have a broad enough knowledge base and skill set to adapt to changing conditions in the environment and in the group. And in general terms, the adult leader should be able to work with youth, teen boys in particular. You don't have to be a child psychologist, but you'd have to have loads of patience and a good understanding of how boys think (and quickly forget). Of course, BSA adults should have completed all the basic training requirements and as much "extra" BSA training as possible, such as Trek Safely, hazardous weather training, and wilderness first aid. Much of this is required and/or just a darn good idea. But having been a BSA trainer for several years, I know that we generally just filled a room with people, ran the training program, and gave training cards to everyone who attended. Without testing following training, there really is no way to accurately gauge how much of the information stayed with a training participant after the session finished. And there is never a substitute for experience. I would like to see the BSA require some sort of post-training evaluation or experience requirements for some of the training that is offered before training cards are given to participants, certainly for any high adventure type activities.

I also haven't even touched on the concept of boy-led, which is the leadership training component of scouting. Older, more experienced boys should be teaching the younger ones coming up. When this happens, adults really have more of a supervisory role. The boys themselves should be planning and leading these trips, but of course, the adults have the final responsibility and must know when to let the boys learn from their mistakes and when to step in to sort things out. That's a whole other component to this discussion, but let's just concentrate on the adult part of it.


Would greater selectivity among group leaders result in fewer available adult candidates, potentially harming youth-oriented organizations?

Short answer: Yes.
Not so short commentary: But, as mentioned in other posts, it doesn't help the situation when boys and adults go out unprepared and have a horrible time or worse, end up hurt or dead. If a boy has a tough time of it because he is unprepared and the adults don't know what they are doing, then we lose that boy. The experience is so awful in his young estimation, that he never wants to go out into the woods again. Now we've lost a potential volunteer and lover and protector of the earth.

At the heart of scouting, and so many other youth organizations, is training to be a contributing member of society. Taking kids into the outdoors is a method, it's not the reason for scouting. Scouting doesn't exist to raise up camping and hiking enthusiasts. It exists to raise up honorable men. When boys have successful outdoor experiences, when they learn from their mistakes, teach younger boys, develop good relationships with mentor-adults, they become capable. CAPABILITY is the underpinning for future success and productivity, as far as I'm concerned. A young person who learns to assess challenges, overcome them, and has a darn good time doing it will become the type of adult we need in the future.

So, we need to balance selectivity. That is why I say that in a group of 4 adults on a scout outing, at least one needs to be well qualified and experienced. If the other three have the psychological makeup to learn, if they aren't know-it-all hard heads, and if they enjoy helping the boys learn, then those other 3 adults will eventually become as experienced as the one adult who met the BSA Qualified Supervision standard.

Sharing of resources would help with the shortage of volunteers, as well. If one troop has a qualified, experienced backpacking adult, then that person should be available to all the scouts and adults in their district or council. Those are the people who should be doing training sessions, running training trips for adults, etc. Scout troops and their adult leaders can sometimes be very territorial and competitive and won't share their resources. I'm not sure why. But if one troop has experience planning and running these sorts of trips, why not share that knowledge with a less experienced unit? To some degree, that knowledge sharing does happen, but I think there's room for more of that sort of thing.

Does reducing group size among youth groups contribute to a more positive experience or will it unfairly limit the number of kids that potentially get out there?

Ahhh! Now here is an issue that I've seen debated on WB repeatedly. My personal feeling is that no scout group on a trail should be larger than 10 individuals. I liked to work with 6 youth and 4 adults. That sized group constituted a patrol or crew. It's easier to manage. Any more than that, and I just think the fun is sucked out of it. That's my opinion, and many disagree. That's my opinion of what constitutes the perfect size hiking patrol, but that doesn't mean that an entire troop can't all hike on the same weekend. Patrols organized on ability levels can take different or shorter routes in the same general hiking area. Or patrols of equal experience levels can simply hike in different directions or different trails so that they are not camping in the same area or all walking down the trail at once like a loud gang of thugs. The problem with splitting up into several smaller groups is that each group should have 4 adults with them. And now we're back to the top of the issue again, the shortage of qualified adults who are willing to volunteer.

I think your interactions with some unprepared scout troops is valid. I've had the same experiences myself. I'm glad that you are asking these questions. But I'm wondering, would you ever consider volunteering, either with BSA or some other youth group that participates in outdoor activities? (I ask because after reading through this thread, I'm feeling a bit guilty for having stepped away from scouting last year.)

mudhead
08-23-2009, 15:39
I have seen both extremes, and some in the middle. Young bucks learn by example. I certainly have seen some meathead adults helping them, but they are doing more than I.

I would much rather see them being boys in the woods, than at the mall. I know I never did anything stupid when I was young.:)

sheepdog
08-23-2009, 16:09
................................

JimM
08-23-2009, 16:42
Your subject line caught my attention, then I looked at your join date, and I couldn't help but wonder what motivated your question. After reading the entire thread, I'm interested in knowing if you found the input helpful?

Wise Old Owl
08-23-2009, 18:50
I agree wholeheartedly. Although those mistakes should be made in such a place as to keep both the boys' safety and the environment's safety a priority.



In my experience it isn't the hunters, most of them up here are basically as good/bad re: trash etc... as hikers/backpackers. The worst offenders up here are the ATV riders (who aren't even supposed to be on most of the trails) followed closely by snowmobilers. We once carried out a junk pile which contained multiple mayonnaise, ketchup, etc... jars, prolly 2 cases of beer bottles, countless cans (both from beer and food) and .... 100 D-cell batteries!

There's a good quote.:cool:


Leller's - what got my goat is we had 75 boys and the same 4 dads over & over again, They went back and told all the dads they now had required participation to change it up. unfortunately there was quite a few mom's with dads missing in action.... tough times for those boys, The mom's were told this was a boy run troop and sorry their participation was minimal. Interesting Huh?

"......................".Sheepdog come on step out of that comfort zone! Nobody here is a hater (yet)

Fiddleback
08-23-2009, 19:05
My Scouting experience is way different and way old. I hope Steve J is correct...I want him to be correct.

I got my camping experience and expertise because of a wonderful volunteer...

Just sayin'...

FB

mister krabs
08-23-2009, 19:33
I'm doing my best to be part of the solution. Sprout is just in 2nd year of cubs, but I'm there along with him every meeting and more, as well as planning campouts and hikes. I plan on going as long as he does, maybe even longer.

This weekend we took the canoe out to a boat in only camp site on carter's lake for some fishing. As we were bringing our gear down to the boat this morning, my 7 year old son said to me, "Dad, wait! We didn't make our campsite better than when we found it!"

I couldn't have been more proud, I put down my duluth pack and we patrolled for wrappers, caps and scraps of paper.

When I grow up, I want to be like him.

Lellers
08-23-2009, 20:23
As we were bringing our gear down to the boat this morning, my 7 year old son said to me, "Dad, wait! We didn't make our campsite better than when we found it!"


Reading that brought a great big smile to my face! :D

Good job!

Lellers
08-23-2009, 20:30
Leller's - what got my goat is we had 75 boys and the same 4 dads over & over again, They went back and told all the dads they now had required participation to change it up. unfortunately there was quite a few mom's with dads missing in action.... tough times for those boys, The mom's were told this was a boy run troop and sorry their participation was minimal. Interesting Huh?



Yeah. I understand that they are desperate for help, because I've been in that situation where I was one of the only 4 volunteering month after month after month. But, a troop of 75 boys needs lots of adult help. They need to focus on finding qualified individuals and not worry about gender. Simply saying that dads participation is mandatory puts them right into that trap I mentioned in earlier posts. Taking any warm body as a volunteer is not the solution.

Don H
08-23-2009, 20:42
Well there are some experienced Scoutmasters and some that are not so experienced Scoutmasters. Just like the hikers I see on the trail, some know what their doing and some don't! About group size, ever been to a shelter during peak thru hiker season? Hikers packed into a shelter on a cold rainy night with more on the way and half of them complaining they need to be in the shelter cause they don't have a tent or tarp? Talk about being prepared! Almost all of the Scouts I see on the trail are well behaved. Considering they're kids, no they don't have the latest and greatest equipment, probably just a used pack and the clothes they use everyday. The Scouts I see are always polite and I enjoy talking with them. Maybe that's because I am a Scoutmaster so I know how to relate to them. You might want to help these youngsters, they are the future of our sport. After all why would we need an AT if no one hiked?

Tabasco
08-23-2009, 20:46
What Troop do YOU volunteer with? I assume you are at least an ASM? if not, quit complaining and volunteer. Sick and tired of the people trash talking Cub / Boy Scount who haven't spent 10 minutes helping out.

<<<<<7 years given to Cub Scouts

Wise Old Owl
08-23-2009, 20:55
What Troop do YOU volunteer with? I assume you are at least an ASM? if not, quit complaining and volunteer. Sick and tired of the people trash talking Cub / Boy Scount who haven't spent 10 minutes helping out.

<<<<<7 years given to Cub Scouts


Who was this directed too? well Tabasco part of blogging is about trying very hard to be clear, in future "quote" what your reading, and if you read the entire thread very few are trashing. Don't worry, you have a pass this time.

shelterbuilder
08-23-2009, 21:02
I was an ASM in 2 different troops when my boy was going up. In the first troop, the SM and the 1st ASM didn't really have the physical ability to lead the boys on backpacking trips - cabin camping was the closest the boys got to the woods. As a backpacker, they turned to me for leadership...but I'm only one person, and none of the other dads had any outdoor experience. We did the best we could, but I was unable to be out in the woods every weekend (work duties), so the group outings were considerably larger than 10 persons.

In the 2nd troop, there was plenty of leadership - but there was a bit of a power-struggle, too...as a (knowledgable) newcomer, my advice was often ignored, even though my presence was required on outings. Again, because of work duties, I couldn't make it to many of the troop outings - especially the annual trip to Scout camp - and this was not considered "good form".

In the end, the actions of any troop are dependent upon the adult leaders. If the boys are "running amuck", it is the fault of their adult leaders, who need to be knowledgable and "on top of things". If the boys are doing things right, it is because their adult leaders took the time to teach them what they needed to learn. I've run across good and bad troops on the trail, and it always comes back to the adult leadership.

Now, who wants to make a difference by volunteering?

Jim Adams
08-23-2009, 21:35
Frankly, given the tone of many other (not all) emails about positive encounters with scouts by non-scouters, I find it difficult to believe that you have ONLY had negative experiences with scouts, and that all scouts you have encountered have been this stupid.

I can't decide whether you are trolling and/or have such negative views of scouting that you choose only to see those doing dumb things.

P.S. I'm the Troop Committee Chair, father of an Eagle Scout (with another on the way), and have personally approved 30 Eagle Scout applications. I also just walked in the house from a weekend troop camping trip emphasizing LNT.


I've only had 1 positive experience but tons of bad experiences with scouts in the outdoors. Most leaders that I've run into don't have a clue!:mad:

geek

Don H
08-23-2009, 22:15
I think having only one good experience in "tons" of meetings statistically unlikely.

The Weasel
08-23-2009, 22:19
I am reminded of the line from the musical, "Bye Bye Birdie":

"Why can't they be were, perfect in every way!
WHAT's the matter with...kids today?"

TW

Jester2000
08-23-2009, 22:59
I think having only one good experience in "tons" of meetings statistically unlikely.

. . .and I think that the statistical likelihood of something statistically unlikely happening to one out of "tons" of people is probably pretty good.

Jim Adams
08-23-2009, 23:02
I think having only one good experience in "tons" of meetings statistically unlikely.
No, my statement is pretty much how it is!

geek

Wise Old Owl
08-23-2009, 23:05
No, my statement is pretty much how it is!

geek


Sorry Jim thats depressing you don't relate well to youth. Most guys at least give it a try it's called Parenting.

Reid
08-23-2009, 23:07
I am reminded of the line from the musical, "Bye Bye Birdie":

"Why can't they be were, perfect in every way!
WHAT's the matter with...kids today?"

TW

Mad men?
.............

SteveJ
08-23-2009, 23:09
OK...you all win. I will continue to be involved with the troop, but will just accept as reality that the average scout (11 or 12) and his dad know nothing about backpacking, LNT, and how to hike the "right way." I will discontinue my efforts to give them information about how to do this in troop meetings, countless phone calls, emails, and making the multi-hundredth copy of gear lists. I will certainly NOT plan backpacking trips for these boys, and will not allow the Scoutmaster to. They should not be given the opportunity to get out in the "wilderness," much less the AT, to see if they like it, and want to invest in better gear and clothing. The reality is that until these boys are mature enough to understand that their very existance impacts those around them they should not be on the trail. I quit.





NOT. :cool:

Jim Adams
08-23-2009, 23:34
I saw 1 leader actually sitting with the boys and teaching them about the local wildlife, local history and leave no trace. I was so interested that I asked if I could sit in on the talk and listen. He was very informative and the boys were very into the talk.

OTOH, I saw a young (or just small) boyscout with a much too heavy and ill adjusted pack for his size complaining to his adult leader that he had to stop because his pack was hurting too much to hike with. He was told by this "leader" to "suck it up and hike, backpacking is supposed to hurt". I'll bet the kid never will backpack again.

I was passing (the opposite direction) a line of scouts who looked like they were dragging and out of energy. I stopped and helped adjust 2 of the boys packs (Strap adjustment only) and they were immediately SCREAMED at because they had talked to a stranger and could be kidnapped or killed so easy in the "wilderness" without anyone knowing.

Uncountable times crossing paths with groups of scouts hiking in cold rain or wet snow with cotton shirts and jeans with blue lips and shivering.

The worst was a group hiking in wet falling snow in cotton T shirts and jeans with tennis shoes, stopped for lunch, uncontrollable shivering and several crying and NOT being allowed to put on their jackets because they will "get them too wet in this weather".

A group 45 minutes before dark and 4 miles from their camp site / shelter destination in cold rain and soaked. I attempted to get the leaders to camp right where they were (big open clearing, established site, spring source for water at the site). The boys were mizerable and had had enough. The leaders wouldn't even consider staying because that was not their planned destination and "the BoyScouts ALWAYS follow their plans".

Myself and a PA. DER ranger attempted to talk a group of scouts into leaving the trail at a road crossing due to severely dropping temps with high wind and rain. The leaders response was "no, we'll be just fine. The boys need to learn how to suffer alittle".
Yes, I could go on and on. "tons"

I think that it is amazing that most Boy Scouts even attempt backpacking a second time.

geek

Tabasco
08-23-2009, 23:39
Who was this directed too? well Tabasco part of blogging is about trying very hard to be clear, in future "quote" what your reading, and if you read the entire thread very few are trashing. Don't worry, you have a pass this time.

the NEXT time I need a free pass from you will be the first time I need a pass from you. Your condescending attitude sucks. For your reference, The commnent was directed to the OP.

hopefully this is clear enough for you.

Jim Adams
08-23-2009, 23:40
Sorry Jim thats depressing you don't relate well to youth. Most guys at least give it a try it's called Parenting.
I taught swimming to children ages 3 to 15 for 7 years.
I have a son and daughter that are now 37 and 33 respectively and absolutely love the outdoors due to all of the time and education that I and my friends gave them in the outdoors as they were growing.
And I proud to say that they both seem to be more mature than most people posting on WB.
Don't be depressed at my relating to youth...I'm not the one with the problem as opposed to all those out there sticking their heads in the sand and claiming that the Boy Scouts have no problems.:-?

geek

Frosty
08-23-2009, 23:42
Who's at fault? You are. Seriously, I'm not joking... The OP is 22 years old. At that age he can be part of scouting, but is not the guy to lead kids in the outdoors.

I understand what you are saying. Scouts are as good as their leaders, and as a former Scoutmaster, the biggest problem I faced with both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts was getting parents to help out.

It would be nice to get more parents involved, but a 22 year old is too close to the age of the kids.

Frosty
08-23-2009, 23:43
And I proud to say that they both seem to be more mature than most people posting on WB.Big deal. That isn't exactly a bragging point :-?

Jim Adams
08-23-2009, 23:45
[quote=SteveJ;883043]OK...you all win. I will continue to be involved with the troop, but will just accept as reality that the average scout (11 or 12) and his dad know nothing about backpacking, LNT, and how to hike the "right way." I will discontinue my efforts to give them information about how to do this in troop meetings, countless phone calls, emails, and making the multi-hundredth copy of gear lists. I will certainly NOT plan backpacking trips for these boys, and will not allow the Scoutmaster to. They should not be given the opportunity to get out in the "wilderness," much less the AT, to see if they like it, and want to invest in better gear and clothing. The reality is that until these boys are mature enough to understand that their very existance impacts those around them they should not be on the trail. I quit.

Not.:rolleyes:[quote]

SteveJ,
I think that it is wonderful that you do those things and sincerely hope that you will continue to do so. The problems that I've seen are from the other end of the spectrum where the leaders really don't have the training, knowledge or background to be in the leadership positions.
I wish you well...it is a very good thing to do.:sun

geek

OutdoorsMan
08-23-2009, 23:50
This is an interesting post for anyone who is involved with the BSA organization. I agree with Lellars' objective comments (good and not so good) about Scouting.
Yes, the primary function of Scouting is to teach boys how to apply the principles of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law in their lives but a secondary benefit of Scouting is the adults. Many adults don't have leadership opportunities in their employment and Scouting gives them that opportunity. Many adults have little outdoors experience and they have that opportunity as they work in Scouting.

It is amazing though to see how adults view their role as adult leaders and these viewpoints can be a recipe for disaster or in some cases result in a cooperative effort that makes a superb Scout Troop - one that practices LNT to a standard far above the average hiker for example.

My reading indicates that there is a sigtnificant downward trend in participation in outdoors activities as evidence by visitation at National Parks, the number of hunting licenses purchased is decreasing and I believe users of hiking trails like the AT is decreasing. I know of no other organization that exposes so many boys to the outdoors like the BSA does. These boys will soon be in positions to influence conservation, our National Parks and other outdoor related policies. For many, it will only be because of their experiences doing outdoors activities in Scouting that will cause them to have an interest in our public lands and of course it will provide them with some knowledge of our natural environment.

Yes, Scouts make mistakes that are generally the fault of uninformed (but in most cases well meaning) adults but I have seen many thru-hikers do the same things as highlighted by the poster of this thread. What you may not be aware of is that within a week of an outdoor excursion the Scouts will be at a Troop Meeting where the outing will be discussed including the mistakes that were made so that they are not repeated on the next hike.

Consider this; the BSA owns a 200 square mile piece of real estate called the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Every summer, more than 20,000 Scouts take treks on this ranch from about 50-120 miles. As a participant on one of these 65 mile treks this summer, I didn't see ANY trash, grafitti, uncovered cat-hole, messy fire ring, no short trails at switchbacks, etc. Philmont demands the highest standard of LNT imagineable and 20,000 boys adhere to it every summer. Name an organization that even comes close to that!

George
08-23-2009, 23:51
I find church based groups to be the most lacking in any idea of good / bad practice, well intentioned but the agenda is not about any backcountry guidelines. The scouts have the structure for good practice, but as covered in previous posts the human factor makes for a wide variety of implementation. I lean toward an attitude that any backcountry use may be better than a utopian ideal excluding most of the population from the backcountry allowing only "perfect" users. I back this up with a willingness to clean up /repair/maintain trail areas without moaning about the "bad" users

Wise Old Owl
08-23-2009, 23:54
the NEXT time I need a free pass from you will be the first time I need a pass from you. Your condescending attitude sucks. For your reference, The commnent was directed to the OP.

hopefully this is clear enough for you.

Yup you are right - I try every day to "avoid" that condescending attitude. You found my "problem" I would rather be your Friend and yet I knew that this thread was going to set fire to many folks here. But the Op had already discussed that he had started the thread on a bad note and retracted his earlier statement. One cannot erase the title.

I was trying with the post to understand what you were talking about, it wasn't clear and I certainly not trying to get a rise out of you, I will apologize for my poor word choice.
WOO

George
08-24-2009, 00:03
Hmm strictly enforced Philmont guidelines do raise the question, if BSA pulls this off on the property that they own/control then why such a loose rein on scouts elsewhere?

Jim Adams
08-24-2009, 00:03
This is an interesting post for anyone who is involved with the BSA organization. I agree with Lellars' objective comments (good and not so good) about Scouting.
Yes, the primary function of Scouting is to teach boys how to apply the principles of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law in their lives but a secondary benefit of Scouting is the adults. Many adults don't have leadership opportunities in their employment and Scouting gives them that opportunity. Many adults have little outdoors experience and they have that opportunity as they work in Scouting.

It is amazing though to see how adults view their role as adult leaders and these viewpoints can be a recipe for disaster or in some cases result in a cooperative effort that makes a superb Scout Troop - one that practices LNT to a standard far above the average hiker for example.

My reading indicates that there is a sigtnificant downward trend in participation in outdoors activities as evidence by visitation at National Parks, the number of hunting licenses purchased is decreasing and I believe users of hiking trails like the AT is decreasing. I know of no other organization that exposes so many boys to the outdoors like the BSA does. These boys will soon be in positions to influence conservation, our National Parks and other outdoor related policies. For many, it will only be because of their experiences doing outdoors activities in Scouting that will cause them to have an interest in our public lands and of course it will provide them with some knowledge of our natural environment.

Yes, Scouts make mistakes that are generally the fault of uninformed (but in most cases well meaning) adults but I have seen many thru-hikers do the same things as highlighted by the poster of this thread. What you may not be aware of is that within a week of an outdoor excursion the Scouts will be at a Troop Meeting where the outing will be discussed including the mistakes that were made so that they are not repeated on the next hike.

Consider this; the BSA owns a 200 square mile piece of real estate called the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Every summer, more than 20,000 Scouts take treks on this ranch from about 50-120 miles. As a participant on one of these 65 mile treks this summer, I didn't see ANY trash, grafitti, uncovered cat-hole, messy fire ring, no short trails at switchbacks, etc. Philmont demands the highest standard of LNT imagineable and 20,000 boys adhere to it every summer. Name an organization that even comes close to that!

Again, I totally agree.
My complaints aren't about LNT, damage to wildlife or flora or scouting principles. My thoughts were helping the scouts to have a good experience or just to keep them alive. Yes, we do need these young people to fight for our land protection in the future but how much of that will really happen if they come home from a scouting trip and refuse to ever do it again.
I do understand about lacking parental help but at times those parents are so ill informed or trained that THEY are the liability in the scouting plan.
I certainly don't know know how to solve that problem and I do wish all of scouting a good future but your work is cut out for you with some of the stupidity displayed out there.

geek

Jim Adams
08-24-2009, 00:06
Big deal. That isn't exactly a bragging point :-?
LOL. You got me there!:D

geek

Wise Old Owl
08-24-2009, 00:12
Jim it appears that when you see scouts on the trail they set a poor example for other boys or men on the outset. So let me see if this is straight. You have only seen one positive example of a troop in the past? They all carry far too heavy packs and yes some whiners need to suck it up. If you don't know the boys first hand ... Oh nevermind.

Jim Adams
08-24-2009, 00:33
Jim it appears that when you see scouts on the trail they set a poor example for other boys or men on the outset. So let me see if this is straight. You have only seen one positive example of a troop in the past? They all carry far too heavy packs and yes some whiners need to suck it up. If you don't know the boys first hand ... Oh nevermind.

I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout back in the day but got out of it because our troop never did anything in the outdoors.
My son was a Cub Scout and he quit for the same reasons...he was bored. He has spent untold days and nights in the wilderness, more canoeing than backpacking but his teaching of the wilderness came from adults that were knowledgeable and educated in the correct and safe ways to travel in such conditions.
The boys that I was describing weren't whiners.They were totally miserable hikers that were in that situation because their leaders weren't trained, taught or educated in the correct ways of backpacking. It was very obvious that:
a. the boys weren't shown how to pack lighter.
b. the boys weren't taught about poor clothing choices that could be fatal.
c. the boys weren't shown how to correctly adjust their backpacks.
d. the leaders on those hikes didn't have the training to lead such groups in those conditions.
The scouts weren't setting poor examples, the leaders were!

A few weeks ago there was major discussion on WB about a Scout who had gone dayhiking in the Whites and ended up being prepared for surviving 3 days in bad weather and then charged $25,000 for a rescue that he did not need but charged anyway because of " his stupid decisions and actions". How much should these leaders be charged?
It seems that you just don't get it. I think that the Boy Scouts is a great organization for the youth of today and for our wilderness however you just don't see that some of them need educated.

geek

SteveJ
08-24-2009, 01:07
Hmm strictly enforced Philmont guidelines do raise the question, if BSA pulls this off on the property that they own/control then why such a loose rein on scouts elsewhere?

The BSA is primarily a VOLUNTEER-RUN ORGANIZATION! There are two paid "professionals" in my district, responsible for the entire program delivered by 32 Boy Scout troops and 30 Cub Scout packs (they both work 80+ hour weeks, and make about $30K a year, if you are interested). They are primarily measured/held accountable for membership and fundraising. The meat of the program side of scouting is delivered by VOLUNTEERS, many of whom not only are involved in their son's troop, but also volunteer with their district and council to run training programs. If you aren't satisfied with what you see, then get involved!

George
08-24-2009, 01:32
In my area the girl scouts start the outdoor experience in camps owned, controlled and maintained by the girl scouts. The BSA uses Philmont as a finishing school/reward for those who already have a high skill level hence the good results at that facility and the variety of results put forward to the public when the scouts are beginners. The pat answer of if you do not like the results then volunteer has already been covered including the fact that right or wrong the voice of the 'new' parent/volunteer is often not regarded

sylvia_claire
08-24-2009, 02:56
What Troop do YOU volunteer with? I assume you are at least an ASM? if not, quit complaining and volunteer. Sick and tired of the people trash talking Cub / Boy Scount who haven't spent 10 minutes helping out.

<<<<<7 years given to Cub Scouts




can we stop idea that if you aren't working on this particular problem than you have no right to say anything argument, that people keep bringing up. Yes scouts need better volunteers in many troops, but that doesn't mean you have no right to complain if you are not one. it could be that you volunteer your time at a community garden to raise vegetables for a soup kitchen, take care of a trail, raise money for breast cancer, and help Habitat for Humanity two weeks a year that would not mean you can only make complaints related to those causes. I certainly agree that if you are doing nothing to help better the world then you should just stop complaining but if you work on every issue you will get very little done


and yes I have volunteered to help the boy scouts(well cub scouts) though only for two weeks at a camp one summer(my aunt's troop)

I suggest feeding them less SUGAR.

SteveJ
08-24-2009, 03:07
My definition, as an adult, of whining is: complaining about something you are unable or unwilling to do something about.

sylvia_claire
08-24-2009, 03:32
[quote=SteveJ;883106]My definition, as an adult, of whining is: complaining about something you are unable or unwilling to do something about.[/quote



?

Camping Dave
08-24-2009, 08:14
I was passing (the opposite direction) a line of scouts who looked like they were dragging and out of energy. I stopped and helped adjust 2 of the boys packs

Well that's might fine.


and they were immediately SCREAMED at because they had talked to a stranger.


SCREAMED at in all caps? Doubtful. Could have happened. It's easy to understand a scout leader's anxiety when he witnesses an old man stop two youth and start touching them.


Uncountable times crossing paths with groups of scouts hiking in cold rain or wet snow with cotton shirts and jeans with blue lips and shivering.


Laughably false, unless by "uncountable" you mean zero.


The worst was a group hiking in wet falling snow in cotton T shirts and jeans with tennis shoes, stopped for lunch, uncontrollable shivering and several crying and NOT being allowed to put on their jackets because they will "get them too wet in this weather".


Another obvious fiction.


I think that it is amazing that most Boy Scouts even attempt backpacking a second time.


And yet they do. Without your help. Which is probably just as well, as it's clear you have a problem relaying accurate information and making points without resorting to hyperbole.

We took 8 scouts backpacking in May, 17 in August on a shorter trip, and everybody had a good time. Getting ready for another 8 or 10 in September. How can this possibly happen?

russb
08-24-2009, 08:35
Most of us will remember negative experiences, or will notice things that look out of the ordinary. Thinking back there were many times while in Scouts that passersby never would have known we were scouts on the trail (or water). They and us were just doing what we were doing and neither party brought any attention to themselves. I am sure that many of us have run across patrols such as this and never even noticed they were scouts, and/or it was not memorable enough to make an impression. One should also remember that community service is a requirement with BSA and many of the trails we enjoy have been maintained in part by boys giving of their time in service to others. Of course, unless we happen to be there while they are working, we may never realize this positive aspect, yet we benefit from it.

Not all troops have the same focus, as the range of activities is great.
Jim, it is a shame that neither you nor your boys shopped around to find a troop that was more outdoors oriented. If you had, you would probably have had a more positive experience and also helped contribute to other boys love of the outdoors and not just your sons.

jcramin
08-24-2009, 09:36
WOW I started watching this conversation and it sure took off. I am an Eagle Scout myself and I have a son who will be an Eagle Scout next year. I have 35 years in Scouting and I have seen good and bad and it has to do with the parents and the leaders both. If a parent does not teach their child right from wrong it sure is hard for a Scout Leader to do it. Right now I have to admit I am in one of the not so great troops when it comes to Leave No Trace and Being Prepared. We have a Scout Master who only has a few years experience in Scouting and he wants all the power and that just does not workout. especially when your Scout Master does not rely on his experienced assistants.

jcramin
08-24-2009, 09:45
Yeah. I understand that they are desperate for help, because I've been in that situation where I was one of the only 4 volunteering month after month after month. But, a troop of 75 boys needs lots of adult help. They need to focus on finding qualified individuals and not worry about gender. Simply saying that dads participation is mandatory puts them right into that trap I mentioned in earlier posts. Taking any warm body as a volunteer is not the solution.


I have to say things arnt great, but they have gotten MUCH BETTER. Back 30 years ago when my dad was my Scout Master 90% of the Scout outings we went on my dad was the ONLY adult leader with anywhere between 20 and 30 boys.

Wags
08-24-2009, 10:48
i worked w/ boyscouts backpacking this entire past summer. it was my 1st experience w/ scouts. we have 7 different groups of kids (14-17 yo). all of those groups exhibited better 'trail manners' than a number of thrus who felt it's someone else's job to clean up after them

Doctari
08-24-2009, 10:54
I have encountered Groups 3 times: #1 The leaders were mostly at least aware of the basics, but 3 leaders & 35 kids (I counted) lets say I gladly let them pass me by & then camped a few miles before they did (I asked).
#2, the leaders were totally indifferent, the group size was manageable by 2 leaders, they had 3 & about 12 kids (I didn't count). I met them less than 2 miles from where they parked, the kids were doing as described: cutting down live trees, tearing up fragile plants, etc. The leaders couldn't care less.
#3: WOW, I was impressed, and I don't impress easily! The kids had ONE adult leader, there were 15 kids, they were polite, offered to get water for this old guy (Me) & did chores without being told. We shared food & stories, and they were having a GREAT time (I asked and you could see it.) I am shamed to admit that I started to pack up to leave when I saw them coming into the (Large enough for all) shelter area. I am glad I was talked out of it by others there.

Sadly, I think in this day & age group #3 is rare. Yes, I could offer to help, not going to happen, I'm done raising kids. Anyway, I feel your pain.

wystiria
08-24-2009, 11:12
as a lifetime member myself - and a Gold award recipient I find it interesting that we have so many scout fanatics here saying that it is "fiction" that people see scout groups out there in cold conditons in Jeans, or cotton - or that never do they see leaders yelling at kids for crying or whining. I have seen all of this! absolutly. infact I once whitnessed a BS leader reprimand a young BS at a camping competition for crying about having an embedded tick from his neck. his exact words were "suck it up and be a man" I am not joking. This same leader wore jeans to a weekend camping competion in early april in new england and saw no problems with this. Even though it was expressly "outlawed" in the competions rule book (which I know he did not read since I performed the inspections on campsites and personal gear)


as everyone else has said there is good through bad in the scouts and it all comes down to the leaders. I have just as many fabulous stories from great encounters with groups. Sadly though, the truly bad ones are the ones that stick with you.

I do think the BSA probably needs to step in and mandate more training for backcountry trips. However, having watched the pendulum swing in the GSUSA to extreme red tape and training I know that can be a double edged sword. becasue i know in GSUSA it is VERY difficult (especially in new england) to get enough adults or any adults that are properly certified to take girls out on multiday trips. there has to be a middle ground, hopefully both organizations will find it.

I will say I am on sabatical, becasue it was just soooo difficult dealing with troops where not even the parents would volunteer. *sigh* and I don't even have kids. but I will go back eventually, becasue it is a great orginization (both boy and girl) and it provided me with great opportunities and I want to pay it back.

Skyline
08-24-2009, 11:23
You can't generalize nor stereotype about Boy Scouts' behavior in the woods any more than you can about any other group of people. Good and bad apples fall from almost all their trees.

However, BSA could certainly mandate that an acceptable level of backcountry training be required of anyone leading Boy Scouts into the woods—or they just don't go. We should leave it to wiser persons than me to decide what that acceptable level is, or perhaps we could compile suggestions here.

If adopting such a BSA-wide regulation means fewer backcountry visits by Boy Scouts, so be it. They, other hikers, and our environment, will be better and safer for it. The Scouts who wind up taking woods outings led by truly competent, well trained adults and senior Scouts will also be better for it.

mister krabs
08-24-2009, 11:55
As a cub scout leader, our pack can't go on an overnight without at least 2 leaders trained in Basic outdoor leadership. I know that we usually have at least 4 or 5 trained adults on every outing. Boy scouts is in essence a local organization. They have an international professional staff and guidelines, but where things really happen is at the Leader to Scout level. Good leaders make good scouts, as described numerous times in this thread.

Two Speed
08-24-2009, 11:57
Been watching this debate, and I don't think I've seen a good response to DWM's challenge in Post #13 (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showpost.php?p=882777&postcount=13): "If you got a better plan for how kids are supposed to be exposed to wilderness hiking and backpacking then lay it out here."

Yeah, I've been annoyed by Boy Scouts. Yeah, they can be a total PITA. Still, anyone got a better plan?

mudhead
08-24-2009, 11:59
Dad teaches son. That is how it would be in a perfect world.

woodsy
08-24-2009, 12:07
I met a great group of scouts recently who were out on a blue blaze overnighter.
When i came upon them they were taking a break in the middle of the trail while the two leaders were pumping water from a hole not far away.
As soon as they saw me coming they gathered up their packs and opened up the trail so i could pass through.

Two Speed
08-24-2009, 12:13
. . . Still, anyone got a better plan?
Dad teaches son. That is how it would be in a perfect world.'Kay, we got the "perfect world" option. Anyone else?

Cannibal
08-24-2009, 12:24
I liked the Boy Scouts till I hiked the AT. And yes, I did volunteer to help. I volunteered their Troop Leader to go pick-up all the trash his kids left laying on the ground blowing around in the wind. It fell on deaf ears; big surprise!

I ran into 4 troops on my way thru the Smokies; all of them were deplorable. Kids are going to be kids, I get that. The people who volunteer to guide them should be better than that. I don't have an answer how to fix it, but then again I don't have any children to contribute to the problem. I just get the joy of dealing with other people's kids in the woods, the parents of whom never understand why I don't want to be chummy with them and their hellions.

Jim Adams
08-24-2009, 12:30
Camping Dave,
Ohhhh, there you are....I was wondering who had their head buried in the sand!

geek

Wise Old Owl
08-24-2009, 12:31
I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout back in the day but got out of it because our troop never did anything in the outdoors.
My son was a Cub Scout and he quit for the same reasons...he was bored. He has spent untold days and nights in the wilderness, more canoeing than backpacking but his teaching of the wilderness came from adults that were knowledgeable and educated in the correct and safe ways to travel in such conditions.
The boys that I was describing weren't whiners.They were totally miserable hikers that were in that situation because their leaders weren't trained, taught or educated in the correct ways of backpacking. It was very obvious that:
a. the boys weren't shown how to pack lighter.
b. the boys weren't taught about poor clothing choices that could be fatal.
c. the boys weren't shown how to correctly adjust their backpacks.
d. the leaders on those hikes didn't have the training to lead such groups in those conditions.
The scouts weren't setting poor examples, the leaders were!

A few weeks ago there was major discussion on WB about a Scout who had gone dayhiking in the Whites and ended up being prepared for surviving 3 days in bad weather and then charged $25,000 for a rescue that he did not need but charged anyway because of " his stupid decisions and actions". How much should these leaders be charged?
It seems that you just don't get it. I think that the Boy Scouts is a great organization for the youth of today and for our wilderness however you just don't see that some of them need educated.

geek

How is it that we both volunteer our time over the years and you come away with such a poor attitude or writing and put down what I say? I am thinking you are contradicting yourself, Great Organization but the leaders set a poor example? Only one good remembrance? Jim you are suffering from crotchety old man stuff, are you a proffessional curmudgeon?

I will agree Cubs was aweful - I didn't last long either. I think My mom took me there just to have one on one time with other gals in the neighborhood. It wasn't fun until one day a dad got involved and got us boxing with gloves that it became interesting.

I find fault with everything I highlighted above, I cannot agree with what you wrote. I feel Camping Dave above has something there about what you wrote, I won't call it fiction.

I dug up an old picture, because I don't want pics of current scouts here on WB - This is from a thirty miler in Pennsylvania, from 2003

All these boys were given lists and pictures of what to wear, and patrol skits to show how to pack. Some brought more than they needed, others not enough. Most of them showed up in Blue Jeans anyway, and they all had a good time. Four Adults with a ASM and SM, I am holding the camera. http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg275/MarkSwarbrick/FXCD0090a.jpg
And keep in mind Blue Jeans have been the mainstay for almost a hundred years.

tlbj6142
08-24-2009, 12:59
Dad teaches son. That is how it would be in a perfect world.Amen. That's my current plan. And it seems to be working. Plus I don't make them do badges when they could be having fun collecting firewood, bugs, crayfish, etc.

I'm more worried about the "badge factory" aspects of BSA than "back country knowledge". Plus I have 2 daughters and GS is nearly worthless when it comes to "outdoor activities". They have great day-camps and overnight camps, but for whatever reason GS seems to just die about 4th grade. I'm doing Y-Tribes (aka Indian guides) with my son which gives us good Father and Son time. Plus all the times I kick his butt at Mario Kart!

With the above "external" groups, combined with a yearly backpacking trip (Grandpa comes as well) and several car camping trips we (my family) are doing fine. I don't want to have to "un-do" the potential damage BSA might cause. Plus I can do it on my schedule.

Jim Adams
08-24-2009, 13:05
Not all troops have the same focus, as the range of activities is great.
Jim, it is a shame that neither you nor your boys shopped around to find a troop that was more outdoors oriented. If you had, you would probably have had a more positive experience and also helped contribute to other boys love of the outdoors and not just your sons.



I used to try to help but only as a father and an extra adult. I was never an official part of the "scouting leadership".

The straw that broke the camels back for both my son and I was a Cub Scout outting that his troop had. It was an overnight campout in a local county park after hours. We would be the only people in the park which normally doesn't allow camping. Notices were sent out with every scout to attend with their father and have some quality time with the boys. When my son and I arrived we found maybe 12-15 scouts and 6 adults. This started around 7pm in the early fall. As soon as we arrived the group was stationed around a pavillion with electricity, water and lights. The boys were instructed to set up their tents for the evening and get their beds ready. No interaction with the other adults at all. The adults proceded to fill a HUGE pot with water from the tap (3 gallons?) and put it on 2 burners of a coleman 3 burner stove. Two hours later the water was boiling and about 32 hot dogs were dumped in. The dogs were done in just a few minutes and the scouts were all called in for "supper". Complete meal was hot dogs and grape koolaid. After they ate the scouts were bored so I played hide and seek with them, layed in a field and pointed out stars and constellations to them, tried to identify wildlife (possum, raccoon, skunk) by the glow of their eyes in flashlights and talked about camping.
About 10:30-11:00 the other adults informed everyone that it was time for the scouts to turn in. The boys all headed to their tents and as boys do layed awake for another hour razzing each other verbally from tent to tent.
This entire time that I was with the boys having fun, the other adults never left the pavillion. Once the scouts were in their tents, I went to the pavillion to "hang" with the other adults. They were all sitting in lawn chairs drinking beer and watching a football game on the TV that they had brought with them. They all thanked me for coming because they didn't know what the boys would have done without me there.
That was the last time that my son asked me to go scouting.
I do understand the need for volunteers and there are areas where there are GREAT troops and areas with POOR leadership troups but I think that the situation has more to do with parent / volunteers involved than it does with area or location. I think that if the volunteers / parents involved are good outdoorsmen and outdoors women then you have greatly successful troops. Those that simply have volunteers /parents involved just so that there is scouting in the area produce poor troops. Once these volunteers / parents have had there full amount of the position, be it kids aging and leaving scouts or a change in available time by the leaders, then the leadership changes...not always for the same or better but sometimes worse. I don't feel that there are good scouting areas and poor scouting areas but the luck of the draw as to WHEN these boys and girls are involved in scouting. I don't have the answers...I wish I did but the statement about learning from their father (parents) kinda says it all. Both of my grown children are totally capable of surviving and making intelligent decisions in the wilderness and in emergencies. The fact that neither of them learned any of this from scouting is sad.

geek

Jim Adams
08-24-2009, 13:17
How is it that we both volunteer our time over the years and you come away with such a poor attitude or writing and put down what I say? I am thinking you are contradicting yourself, Great Organization but the leaders set a poor example? Only one good remembrance? Jim you are suffering from crotchety old man stuff, are you a proffessional curmudgeon?

I will agree Cubs was aweful - I didn't last long either. I think My mom took me there just to have one on one time with other gals in the neighborhood. It wasn't fun until one day a dad got involved and got us boxing with gloves that it became interesting.

I find fault with everything I highlighted above, I cannot agree with what you wrote. I feel Camping Dave above has something there about what you wrote, I won't call it fiction.

I dug up an old picture, because I don't want pics of current scouts here on WB - This is from a thirty miler in Pennsylvania, from 2003

All these boys were given lists and pictures of what to wear, and patrol skits to show how to pack. Some brought more than they needed, others not enough. Most of them showed up in Blue Jeans anyway, and they all had a good time. Four Adults with a ASM and SM, I am holding the camera. http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg275/MarkSwarbrick/FXCD0090a.jpg
And keep in mind Blue Jeans have been the mainstay for almost a hundred years.


This is great that you have such good scouting in your area. AND the only reason that it is good is because of the leadership. My area wasn't so fortunate years ago and from what I run into on the local trails, it is still poor leadership in my area. I am by no means a curmudgeon. I'm just stating the things that go on with scouting at this time in my area. OTOH I'm not the one being closed minded thinking that it is impossible for scouting to be this way. I didn't fabricate, embellish or lie about any of those instances that I told about and there were more of them. I have no doubt that there are great scouting troops out there...what you have to realize is that there are also some very bad ones.

geek

Walking Dead
08-24-2009, 13:27
... I arrived we found maybe 12-15 scouts and 6 adults.
Well there's the first problem. BSA rules for Cubs is that a parent must attend the outing with the son. Doesn't have to be dad only.


...They were all sitting in lawn chairs drinking beer and watching a football game on the TV that they had brought with them.
Alcohol is also expressly forbidden at scouting events. I blame the pack leadership completely here.

[rant on]
I'm a scoutmaster with a troop of 24 young men. We try, to the best of our ability, to teach properly topics like LNT, proper equipment, etc. I'm by no means an expert but I've logged my share of miles, but no matter what I can't force the youngsters to go out and buy pro quality gear. What we do is learn to adapt what gear we do have to make things as reasonably safe and fun as possible. Cotton might kill and kids do pack too much and the wrong things, but remember, people have been hiking for years when only cotton or wool was avaiable and light meant your pack was under 50 lbs.
Please do help volunteer. We adults that do want to make a difference can use all the help and advice we can get. Best hiking lecture I've had so far was from an asst scoutmaster who completed the AT, while filming it (Trek), and then volunteered his time to take a group out to the JMT. I'll bet my bottom dollar he made a few converts.
[/rant off]

Wise Old Owl
08-24-2009, 13:27
Amen. That's my current plan. And it seems to be working. Plus I don't make them do badges when they could be having fun collecting firewood, bugs, crayfish, etc.

I'm more worried about the "badge factory" aspects of BSA than "back country knowledge". Plus I have 2 daughters and GS is nearly worthless when it comes to "outdoor activities". They have great day-camps and overnight camps, but for whatever reason GS seems to just die about 4th grade. I'm doing Y-Tribes (aka Indian guides) with my son which gives us good Father and Son time. Plus all the times I kick his butt at Mario Kart!

With the above "external" groups, combined with a yearly backpacking trip (Grandpa comes as well) and several car camping trips we (my family) are doing fine. I don't want to have to "un-do" the potential damage BSA might cause. Plus I can do it on my schedule.

It was never intended to be a badge factory, it was to promote and inspire more knowledge about things you might know and introduce you to "some" things you don't have any knowledge about. Some are easy and other's require a lot more skill. Such as boy organizing several other boys to plant small trees on a damaged hill. Remove invasive species,etc. Some of the skills are manditory such as learning to swim before going on a canoe trip.

I had more problems "undoing" the damage of "D.A.R.E" in the past than anything to do with scouting.

once again see post #13

Camping Dave
08-24-2009, 14:47
I find it interesting that we have so many scout fanatics here saying that it is "fiction" that people see scout groups out there in cold conditons in Jeans, or cotton

Didn't say that. The jeans and t-shirt part of geek's tall tale is the only believable part. A whole group of hypothermic (what else could he mean by uncontrollable shivering?), crying boys, NOT ALLOWED to wear rain coats because the coats might "get wet". Puh Leez. Geek has an ax to grind, and he's making stuff up. There comes a point where you add so much baloney to your story that the whole thing becomes a fantasy. Geek is way past that line.

I've seen bad scout leaders and I've seen internet bull hockey. Geek's story is the latter.

Wise Old Owl
08-24-2009, 15:13
ok lets get back on topic.... keep it cool.

Camping Dave
08-24-2009, 15:14
I used to try to help but only as a father and an extra adult. I was never an official part of the "scouting leadership".

Translation: "I neither understand the program nor made any attempt to understand it"


The straw that broke the camels back for both my son and I was a Cub Scout outting that his troop had.


It was an overnight campout in a local county park after hours. We would be the only people in the park which normally doesn't allow camping. Notices were sent out with every scout to attend with their father and have some quality time with the boys. When my son and I arrived we found maybe 12-15 scouts and 6 adults. This started around 7pm in the early fall. As soon as we arrived the group was stationed around a pavillion with electricity, water and lights.

So far so good. 15 ten year old boys in the woods.


The boys were instructed to set up their tents for the evening and get their beds ready.

What, There was instruction?


No interaction with the other adults at all.

And the scouts managed without your help. So far so good.


The adults proceded to fill a HUGE pot with water from the tap (3 gallons?) and put it on 2 burners of a coleman 3 burner stove. Two hours later the water was boiling and about 32 hot dogs were dumped in. The dogs were done in just a few minutes and the scouts were all called in for "supper". Complete meal was hot dogs and grape koolaid.

Sounds like a yummy 10 year old meal.


After they ate the scouts were bored

Hmm. 15 ten year olds in the wood bored? Nah. More like 1 grumpy geek bored.


so I played hide and seek with them, layed in a field and pointed out stars and constellations to them, tried to identify wildlife (possum, raccoon, skunk) by the glow of their eyes in flashlights and talked about camping.

So you decided to become the all-knowing center of attention for a group of 10 year olds. Sad.


About 10:30-11:00 the other adults informed everyone that it was time for the scouts to turn in.

Proper adult supervision.


The boys all headed to their tents and as boys do layed awake for another hour razzing each other verbally from tent to tent.

Because that's what 10 year old boys do.


This entire time that I was with the boys having fun, the other adults never left the pavillion. Once the scouts were in their tents, I went to the pavillion to "hang" with the other adults. They were all sitting in lawn chairs drinking beer and watching a football game on the TV that they had brought with them.

Foul. They should not have beer at a scout event.


They all thanked me for coming because they didn't know what the boys would have done without me there.


That's what we say to clueless parents who refuse to register, get trained, and help out in a meaningful way. Believe me, those 10 year olds would have found something to do without you.


That was the last time that my son asked me to go scouting.

Maybe he was too embarrassed ...

tlbj6142
08-24-2009, 15:14
It was never intended to be a badge factoryUnfortunately, this is very common. I've had two co-workers that had their children in two different troops. Both insisted that any time the kids "started to have fun" on an outing, they were told to "work on badges". I brought this up with another 3rd gen Eagle friend of mine and he "completely understood" and the kids need "to work on their badges, why go to scouts if you aren't gonna work on badges?" Maybe just to have fun? Not everyone cares about advancement and badges?

I remember from cub scouts/webelos dreading "that damn book". The though of having to work on a badge now (at 40) makes me angry. Might as well be at school.

ed bell
08-24-2009, 15:28
Technically, this thread should be moved to the "General Non-AT" forum. The fact that it was framed around Scouts backpacking is giving it a pass for the time being. Please stay on topic and cool it with the personal jabs.

Jester2000
08-24-2009, 15:31
Didn't say that. The jeans and t-shirt part of geek's tall tale is the only believable part. A whole group of hypothermic (what else could he mean by uncontrollable shivering?), crying boys, NOT ALLOWED to wear rain coats because the coats might "get wet". Puh Leez. Geek has an ax to grind, and he's making stuff up. There comes a point where you add so much baloney to your story that the whole thing becomes a fantasy. Geek is way past that line.

I've seen bad scout leaders and I've seen internet bull hockey. Geek's story is the latter.

Can you point out for me in Geek's quote where exactly, when he's talking about kids in the snow, he refers to the jackets as "rain jackets?" Just curious. Or are you searching so hard for proveable falsehoods (rather than your opinion that he MUST be lying) that you're not bothering with particulars or circumstances?

wystiria
08-24-2009, 15:34
I think the really help/fix the problem there needs to be better adult training. NOW mind you I know these are volunteers (I am one and I am an adult trainer) but bottom line most adults just don't have the skills to take kids in to the back country.

it truly is a different skill set to take kids out. the amount of work need to prep them, get them geared up, make sure they can physically and mentally handle it, take time, dedication and A LOT of orginization!!!!

My mom worked with two other women to help write the GSUSA Backpacking certification course - it is a good course! but very time intensive requires multiple "in town" sessions and then a trip out on the trail. it is now required by GS to be backpacking certified to take kids out.


The caveat to this - is getting volunteers to take the training. becasue we are all volunteers and our time is valuable. so it comes down to that balancing act of training/cert time vs time with the kids.

I will say - it is VERY rare that you will see a GS troop backpacking (not day hiking) that isn't decently prepared. I am NOT saying that they have top of the line gear etc. but they do have as close as possible proportionate packs, breathable clothing where they can (thrift stores are GREAT for this btw) and group size 12 or under. PLus they are practising LNT skills etc.

the problem is you RARELY see a GS troop out backpacking :( becasue getting a vounteer to take the course is hard, the course isn't offered often, and I hate to say it but in my personal experience there are fewer women willing to go out and backpack let alone take kids! and also sadly, in my personal experience men are not as well recived in GSing.


having said all of this - there are GS troops out there!!! and I have only been on sabatical for 3 years and I can tell you I co-founded the CT outdoor group and we ran multiple trips including winter trips for any Cadette or Senior registered scout in CT. we actualy opperated in additon to a regular troop and ONLY offered outdoor activities (it was how I wanted to volunteer my time) so there are ways to volunteer and just do the outdoors that also allow for badge work etc.

Jester2000
08-24-2009, 15:50
Camping Dave --
I withdraw my previous question -- you don't have to answer. I have just reread Jim's post that you dissected to a ridiculous extent, as if he were criticizing every little thing when the obvious intent of the entire post was that on an outing specifically designed for fathers to spend time with their sons in the woods the fathers had no interest in doing so whatsoever.

That you are so angry that you think he was critical of the bedtime, or the scouts talking after bedtime, or that you don't get the point that he thought the fathers should have helped erect the tents (you know, 'cause it's something to do together) rather than just tell them to ("instructed to" doesn't equal "instruction," as I'm sure you are well aware), speaks of someone scanning a post for anything that can be perceived as criticism to be blindly and snarkily opposed, rather than someone open to the possibility that someone, somewhere might have had different experiences than themselves that are nonetheless true.

So I withdraw my question. The kind of people who act as mentioned above tend to be completely capable of making fools of themselves, and rarely sway anyone to their point of view.

You might even say that it's not the sort of example one might want to set for, say, a group of Scouts.

I, for one, would be interested in hearing from Jim some more on how the Scouts can go about attracting (or training) more quality volunteers, as he does seem to value at least the concept, if not the execution, of Scouting.

Wags
08-24-2009, 16:19
aren't you kind of doing the same thing you're bashing him for doing? lol geeks on the internets

Jester2000
08-24-2009, 17:10
aren't you kind of doing the same thing you're bashing him for doing? lol geeks on the internets

Kind of. On the one hand, though, I'm not angry at anyone, I'm not unfairly parsing someone's statements to justify that anger, I have tried to steer the conversation back to the topic (genuinely -- I'd like to hear Jim's solutions rather than just the complaints), I am already a self-professed fool, and I frequently sway people to my poit of view.

And on the other hand, I have five fingers.

Jester2000
08-24-2009, 17:11
That's right, I said it -- my poit of view.

Dances with Mice
08-24-2009, 18:38
As I said before I like seeing youth groups.

The last time I ran across a Scout group on the Trail I demonstrated the fine art of campfire live glowing hot coal juggling and gave lessons and tips on how they could best do it themselves. Excepting only the adult leaders, it was an appreciative audience. I have no doubt some of those kids will try on later campouts.

That's how I learned. All these years later, a couple of knots and hot coal tossing is all the skills learned in Scouting that I still use.

One problem with youth groups on the AT is that they might have to share a campsite with someone like me.

High Altitude
08-24-2009, 18:38
Dad teaches son. That is how it would be in a perfect world.

This is what I do with my kids. I tried the scouts with my son but it was a complete disaster and a waste of time as far as I was concerned.

woodsy
08-24-2009, 18:44
Technically, this thread should be moved to the "General Non-AT" forum. The fact that it was framed around Scouts backpacking is giving it a pass for the time being. Please stay on topic and cool it with the personal jabs.

Don't make ED call the:

Mags
08-24-2009, 20:52
Gotta watch out for those unsupervised boyscouts:
http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/radscout.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hahn



Apparently, the boy scouts encourage this by giving merit badges in Atomic Energy. The "Mad Scientist" merit badge being unvail at this time. :D


I bet he grew up and made the wrist mounted flamethrower I discussed in another thread. :-?

Wise Old Owl
08-24-2009, 21:21
Thanks Mags

Here is what you need to know, a small baseball sized Plutonium atomic weight 239 must weight just shy of 15 lbs. compressed on all sides at a fraction of a 1/1000 of a second with plastique perfectly on all sides to create fission within a sphere of pressurized liquid Hydrogen and adding a cylinder of 5 additional pounds to the center to "tickle the dragons tail" will add a 40 kilotons of power.

On the other hand 239 with a fission of a beta particle will create a particle of 235 or Uranium - the best invention of man that politics screwed up.

The breeder reactor!

Wow scouts was exciting! Not - none of this stuff was from a boy scout merit badge,

Going to the library at the age of 11 - I read a lot of "available books" on Chem, physics, and trials a triblulations of science backfires.

Remember the discovery or Nitro was an accident. So was just about everything else.

Egads
08-24-2009, 21:31
Gotta watch out for those unsupervised boyscouts:
http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/radscout.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hahn



Apparently, the boy scouts encourage this by giving merit badges in Atomic Energy. The "Mad Scientist" merit badge being unvail at this time. :D


I bet he grew up and made the wrist mounted flamethrower I discussed in another thread. :-?


Thanks Mags

Here is what you need to know, a small baseball sized Plutonium atomic weight 239 must weight just shy of 15 lbs. compressed on all sides at a fraction of a 1/1000 of a second with plastique perfectly on all sides to create fission within a sphere of pressurized liquid Hydrogen and adding a cylinder of 5 additional pounds to the center to "tickle the dragons tail" will add a 40 kilotons of power.

On the other hand 239 with a fission of a beta particle will create a particle of 235 or Uranium - the best invention of man that politics screwed up.

The breeder reactor!

Wow scouts was exciting!

You guys just shut White Blaze down. Put on your tin foil hats the G-Men are coming after you.

Wise Old Owl
08-24-2009, 22:03
Now can we get back to scouting and not extremes and weird stuff that have nothing to do with scouts behaving badly...

Jim Adams
08-24-2009, 22:07
Translation: "I neither understand the program nor made any attempt to understand it"





So far so good. 15 ten year old boys in the woods.



What, There was instruction?



And the scouts managed without your help. So far so good.



Sounds like a yummy 10 year old meal.



Hmm. 15 ten year olds in the wood bored? Nah. More like 1 grumpy geek bored.



So you decided to become the all-knowing center of attention for a group of 10 year olds. Sad.



Proper adult supervision.



Because that's what 10 year old boys do.



Foul. They should not have beer at a scout event.



That's what we say to clueless parents who refuse to register, get trained, and help out in a meaningful way. Believe me, those 10 year olds would have found something to do without you.



Maybe he was too embarrassed ...


LOL, you really don't have a clue!


geek

Wise Old Owl
08-24-2009, 22:15
Thanks Jim - please stop telling people that are in scouting they don't have a clue... Dale Carnegie wrote a book on this subject,

The title was not>>>>>>>>> How to win Friends and Irritate people.

Just stop and think, the thread was inflammatory right from the beginning, are you fanning the flames?

slow
08-24-2009, 23:15
Cub,boy,eagle is a joke.Even in the 60's.They wanted me to join and the leaders had no clue,i was only 7 at the time.:-?

Reid
08-24-2009, 23:22
I've never had a problem with the Boy Scouts besides the fact that they are kids and kids can be annoying sometimes. But I will say this. The ones who've identified themselves as "always prepared" in their adult years seem to have a chip on their shoulder. Boy scouts are like fraternity guys to me.

slow
08-24-2009, 23:29
I've never had a problem with the Boy Scouts besides the fact that they are kids and kids can be annoying sometimes. But I will say this. The ones who've identified themselves as "always prepared" in their adult years seem to have a chip on their shoulder. Boy scouts are like fraternity guys to me.

Well put.:D

TD55
08-24-2009, 23:56
[quote=dloome;882729]I hike a lot, all over the place. I've seen many scout groups out there, probably a couple dozen, and not once have I been positively impressed.
quote]

When you have a half of a canteen of water is it half full or half empty?

Reid
08-24-2009, 23:58
[quote=dloome;882729]I hike a lot, all over the place. I've seen many scout groups out there, probably a couple dozen, and not once have I been positively impressed.
quote]

When you have a half of a canteen of water is it half full or half empty?

Sounds like lake mead to me, half empty.

TD55
08-25-2009, 00:03
Cub,boy,eagle is a joke.Even in the 60's.They wanted me to join and the leaders had no clue,i was only 7 at the time.:-?

Not a joke at all. You missed a whole bunch of good stuff. Maybe for you it wasn't a good fit, but for lots of us it ment alot of good times, learning and character building. Scouts got me on the AT when I was 13. Got me to the Rockies too, Philmont. My first job was as a lifeguard, they got me certified for that. Just sayin...

Jim Adams
08-25-2009, 05:32
Thanks Jim - please stop telling people that are in scouting they don't have a clue... Dale Carnegie wrote a book on this subject,

The title was not>>>>>>>>> How to win Friends and Irritate people.

Just stop and think, the thread was inflammatory right from the beginning, are you fanning the flames?

Sorry! No I wasn't fanning the flames and this will be my last post in this thread but when someone who wasn't even there says that I was making things up and tries to put words in my mouth, I will defend myself. Suffice it to say that I have had very few positive encounters with scouting. The encounters that I have had have shown "Be Preparred" to just be a motto, not a practice and that is a shame.

geek

mister krabs
08-25-2009, 08:01
Sorry! No I wasn't fanning the flames and this will be my last post in this thread but when someone who wasn't even there says that I was making things up and tries to put words in my mouth, I will defend myself. Suffice it to say that I have had very few positive encounters with scouting. The encounters that I have had have shown For those that I have encountered that they consider "Be Preparred" to just be a motto, not a practice and that is a shame.

geek

Please put down your paint roller Jim and try to limit your comments to those that you have encountered.

It's not just a motto to millions of people around the world.

Surplusman
08-25-2009, 08:06
My experience in the Boy Scouts was very positive. Our leaders let us be boys....to a point, and then you had to be responsible for your actions on and off the trail. Most of our leaders were WWII veterans, who had done some hard "camping out", but they took the time to show us what they knew and how to do it the Boy Scout way. They set an example. Even though it was almost 40 years between my time as a Boy Scout and the next time I hoisted a backpack, their instruction remained with me. Hiking and camping philosophy has changed radically from my Boy Scout days (for the better), but the dedication of those men has remained with me. Of course that was 50 years ago. I guess things have changed somewhat.

Jayboflavin04
08-25-2009, 09:03
Scouting, as a whole, is in desperate need of good volunteers. There are many great parents/voluteers involved that give up their free time to be involved in a very good organization. If you are an experienced backpacker maybe just voluteering enough of your time to give a backpacking lecture for local scout troops.

Someone should write an article for "White Blaze" about packing with scouts. Emphasizing some of the points that have been brought up: group size, LNT, ect.

I ran into a scout troop on my first AT trip. Mostly the kids were pretty good, some of the adults were ill prepared chaperons. One kid was so damn mouthy he needed his A$$ whooped. If "MY" son ever acted like that I guarantee that a young green sapling would die that day to lavish his bottom.

Darwin again
08-25-2009, 09:48
Thanks Mags

Here is what you need to know, a small baseball sized Plutonium atomic weight 239 must weight just shy of 15 lbs. compressed on all sides at a fraction of a 1/1000 of a second with plastique perfectly on all sides to create fission within a sphere of pressurized liquid Hydrogen and adding a cylinder of 5 additional pounds to the center to "tickle the dragons tail" will add a 40 kilotons of power.

On the other hand 239 with a fission of a beta particle will create a particle of 235 or Uranium - the best invention of man that politics screwed up.

The breeder reactor!

Wow scouts was exciting! Not - none of this stuff was from a boy scout merit badge,

Going to the library at the age of 11 - I read a lot of "available books" on Chem, physics, and trials a triblulations of science backfires.

Remember the discovery or Nitro was an accident. So was just about everything else.

Mmm-kay then.
You win the "Validate me!" merit badge. :D

In all activities wherein humans do things, any things, leadership -- either tacit or explicit -- is absolutely key.
Bad scouts = bad leaders.

JJJ
08-25-2009, 10:06
Who's at fault?
We've moved from an agrarian society to a cubical society.
There just isn't as large a pool of people who are comfortable in an outdoor setting, unless its a sports arena, as there once was.
I'm not sure if there is a decline in volunteer-ism, but that could be at play too. But in general, backpacking is less in sync with your daily tasks, unless you're a soldier, a cowboy, outdoor recreation guide, or a hobo.
Corporately driven team sports have largely captured the public psyche and sadly serious scouting may be becoming an anachronism.
I'll always prefer scouting to Nike-ism, but if you agree with me your probably out of step with modern American culture.
I probably should become a scout volunteer, but I'm not much in the leadership department and not sure I have the ability to "fit in".

Carry on,
jjj

Midway Sam
08-25-2009, 10:21
Who's at fault?
We've moved from an agrarian society to a cubical society.
There just isn't as large a pool of people who are comfortable in an outdoor setting, unless its a sports arena, as there once was.
I'm not sure if there is a decline in volunteer-ism, but that could be at play too. But in general, backpacking is less in sync with your daily tasks, unless you're a soldier, a cowboy, outdoor recreation guide, or a hobo.
Corporately driven team sports have largely captured the public psyche and sadly serious scouting may be becoming an anachronism.
I'll always prefer scouting to Nike-ism, but if you agree with me your probably out of step with modern American culture.
I probably should become a scout volunteer, but I'm not much in the leadership department and not sure I have the ability to "fit in".

Carry on,
jjj

This is, in my opinion, the most accurate reply to this thread. This is something I suppose I subconsciously knew to be true but never really thought about it, let alone was able to put it down into words so well.

Sad ain't it?

jersey joe
08-25-2009, 10:35
Scouting is only as good as it's leaders. My leaders did an excellent job of teaching "Leave No Trace" and how to respect the wilderness. I guess it helped that one of our leaders was a Tom Brown desciple. Being a Boy Scout enabled me to do things that I never would have gotton to do as a kid.

Wise Old Owl
08-25-2009, 11:22
Mmm-kay then.
You win the "Validate me!" merit badge. :D

In all activities wherein humans do things, any things, leadership -- either tacit or explicit -- is absolutely key.
Bad scouts = bad leaders.


Thanks Darwin... I needed that!:D

Wise Old Owl
08-25-2009, 12:23
now that we are a few pages back folks I will reveal a bigger darker secret of scouting from the past that few know about... Its not the scouts that were incompetent, it was the boys that went into sports. When Scouting truly caught on around England prior to WW1 boys were snapping up the books and going on hikes in the country side, learning Morse code, figuring out new outdoor skills. When the war hit Many of the older boys were already knowledgeable to run a small group, of men. They were given leadership roles in the Army! Younger boys were put into the signal corps. Which is what happened to my grandfather. With the first years of WWI my grandfather became SGT.

With the skills they had they were way ahead of the learning curve.
Here is his picture as he entered the Signal Corp

http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg275/MarkSwarbrick/HS.jpg

Tin Man
08-25-2009, 12:55
Been watching this debate, and I don't think I've seen a good response to DWM's challenge in Post #13 (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showpost.php?p=882777&postcount=13): "If you got a better plan for how kids are supposed to be exposed to wilderness hiking and backpacking then lay it out here."

Yeah, I've been annoyed by Boy Scouts. Yeah, they can be a total PITA. Still, anyone got a better plan?


Dad teaches son. That is how it would be in a perfect world.

In a perfect world, you need both. Competent Dad teaches son skills and respect for others, among other things, and Competent Youth Group Leaders teaches / reinforces skills, respect for others / the environment, and most importantly about leadership. That is the whole purpose behind scouting - teaching young men how to be future leaders. You cannot learn to be a leader at home.

ki0eh
08-25-2009, 13:41
... You cannot learn to be a leader at home.

Depends on how large your family is!

Dances with Mice
08-25-2009, 14:38
I'll always prefer scouting to Nike-ism, but if you agree with me your probably out of step with modern American culture.
I probably should become a scout volunteer, but I'm not much in the leadership department and not sure I have the ability to "fit in". Carry on,
jjjNice post. Let me just address the volunteering part - did you know you can volunteer to be a hiking and backpacking resource to all the Scout troops in your area without having to ....

.... go to any meetings, buy a uniform, go to training sessions, or deal with more than two boys at a time?

And your interaction with the Scouts could be limited to only topics like hiking and backpacking and and you would only need meet the boys at your house at the time of your choosing?

It's called being a merit badge counselor. Only the boys wanting to earn those badges would contact you and together y'all would set up a time and place to meet to help them fulfill the badge requirements.

Merit badge counselors are an important part of the Troop's advancement program. You can choose the merit badges you'd like to teach. You could specialize in Hiking (http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Hiking#Hiking_Requirements) and Backpacking (http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Backpacking#Backpacking_Requirements), for example. Once registered, depending on where you live, you might be contacted by Scouts from several troops during the year.

Contact your local Scout Council. It's an easy way, and great way, to get involved without having to deal with all the BS within the BSA.

Dances with Mice
08-25-2009, 14:45
In a perfect world, you need both. Competent Dad teaches son skills and respect for others, among other things, and Competent Youth Group Leaders teaches / reinforces skills, respect for others / the environment, and most importantly about leadership. That is the whole purpose behind scouting - teaching young men how to be future leaders. You cannot learn to be a leader at home.In our Troop somewhere between a quarter and a third of the boys didn't have a father at home. That's not unusual, I'm afraid.

rpenczek
08-25-2009, 14:56
I really struggle with this entire thread. It began with the exclamation “I hike a lot, all over the place. I've seen many scout groups out there, probably a couple dozen, and not once have I been positively impressed.”

I assume this poster was certain that each youth group he encountered doing the inappropriate things he describes were in fact Scout groups. I further assume that this poster questioned every other youth group he encountered on the trail that was not doing anything inappropriate to determine they were not a Scout group; otherwise, the post would be a misrepresentation of the facts (“not once have I been positively impressed”).

One particular item in the first post is really troubling to me. In describing the inappropriate actions, the poster writes “leaving toilet paper unburied.” This portion of the post makes me wonder how the poster knows that it was a Scout that left toilet paper unburied, was he/she watching the Scout answer the call of nature.

Finally, it is clear that the poster does not understand the point of Boy Scouting. We do not exist to teach boys outdoor skills. We use the outdoors as a game to teach leadership, citizenship and fitness. Backpacking, camping, canoeing and hiking are all just games used to deliver leadership, citizenship and fitness. Yes, sometimes our adults don’t know all the rules of the game, they are learning too.

Yes, we may have cotton cloths on and no pack cover to protect our gear but I suspect you didn’t see us on Mt. Everest either. Also, we just might have learned (right here on Whiteblaze) to line our pack with a garbage disposal bag so we don’t need a pack cover (did you look in our packs to check). Also, we just might “Be Prepared” and have clean dry cotton cloths inside that garbage bag inside our pack. Yes, it is heavy and we might be cold and wet right now, but we are learning (adults and youth alike) and we will make better choices next time we backpack.

You might even hear one of our leaders tell a boy to “suck it up” but what you may not have herd is that same leader, before the hike, suggest the boy not bring along a two liter bottle of Mountain Dew and two extra pairs of cotton blue jeans. Hint, these will become learnings after the trip when to do roses and thorns (debrief the trip and discuss what worked and what did not work.) Also, you may not see that boy’s buddy’s offload his gear and help him out when they get further down the trail (what good citizens they are sometimes).

Finally, I notice the poster has a website that says he has 11,000 miles of backpacking experience and is 22 years old. Hmm, simple math says he could have thrued the AT 5.25 times. The average thru-hiker takes 6 months. Again simple math says he has hiked about 31.5 months or about 2.6 years. At 22 years old, I have to wonder if dloome has ever contributed to society or if he has ever done anything for anyone other than himself in his very short and inexperienced life (I would never believe this because to generalize and say any 22 year old that has hiked his entire adult – over 21 – life has never contributed to society would be prejudiced, I am not, I just wonder). Further, dloome’s website exclaims his desire to “share his experiences and enable others to experience these things for themselves.” I submit that dloome either put-up and volunteer some time with the Boy Scouts to help them out or shut up and go away.

sheepdog
08-25-2009, 15:18
I really struggle with this entire thread. It began with the exclamation “I hike a lot, all over the place. I've seen many scout groups out there, probably a couple dozen, and not once have I been positively impressed.”

I assume this poster was certain that each youth group he encountered doing the inappropriate things he describes were in fact Scout groups. I further assume that this poster questioned every other youth group he encountered on the trail that was not doing anything inappropriate to determine they were not a Scout group; otherwise, the post would be a misrepresentation of the facts (“not once have I been positively impressed”).

One particular item in the first post is really troubling to me. In describing the inappropriate actions, the poster writes “leaving toilet paper unburied.” This portion of the post makes me wonder how the poster knows that it was a Scout that left toilet paper unburied, was he/she watching the Scout answer the call of nature.

Finally, it is clear that the poster does not understand the point of Boy Scouting. We do not exist to teach boys outdoor skills. We use the outdoors as a game to teach leadership, citizenship and fitness. Backpacking, camping, canoeing and hiking are all just games used to deliver leadership, citizenship and fitness. Yes, sometimes our adults don’t know all the rules of the game, they are learning too.

Yes, we may have cotton cloths on and no pack cover to protect our gear but I suspect you didn’t see us on Mt. Everest either. Also, we just might have learned (right here on Whiteblaze) to line our pack with a garbage disposal bag so we don’t need a pack cover (did you look in our packs to check). Also, we just might “Be Prepared” and have clean dry cotton cloths inside that garbage bag inside our pack. Yes, it is heavy and we might be cold and wet right now, but we are learning (adults and youth alike) and we will make better choices next time we backpack.

You might even hear one of our leaders tell a boy to “suck it up” but what you may not have herd is that same leader, before the hike, suggest the boy not bring along a two liter bottle of Mountain Dew and two extra pairs of cotton blue jeans. Hint, these will become learnings after the trip when to do roses and thorns (debrief the trip and discuss what worked and what did not work.) Also, you may not see that boy’s buddy’s offload his gear and help him out when they get further down the trail (what good citizens they are sometimes).

Finally, I notice the poster has a website that says he has 11,000 miles of backpacking experience and is 22 years old. Hmm, simple math says he could have thrued the AT 5.25 times. The average thru-hiker takes 6 months. Again simple math says he has hiked about 31.5 months or about 2.6 years. At 22 years old, I have to wonder if dloome has ever contributed to society or if he has ever done anything for anyone other than himself in his very short and inexperienced life (I would never believe this because to generalize and say any 22 year old that has hiked his entire adult – over 21 – life has never contributed to society would be prejudiced, I am not, I just wonder). Further, dloome’s website exclaims his desire to “share his experiences and enable others to experience these things for themselves.” I submit that dloome either put-up and volunteer some time with the Boy Scouts to help them out or shut up and go away.

Well said, but you could have left the last pargraph out. Always take the high road.

Mags
08-25-2009, 15:22
I can honestly say that the Boyscout trip I took in 1986 (http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php/Outdoor-Writings/first_time_at.html)changed my life. No hyperbole.

That hike on Mt. Lafayette as a 12 yr old never left my mind. Would I have the current life I have now if it was not for that boy scout trip? I honestly don't think so.


As others said, it is a mixed bag when it comes to scouts. It all depends on the adult leadership. But, as my own example shows, much good came come out of it, too.

(I'd volunteer..but I strongly disagree with an organization that bans gays and atheists. Not looking to start a debate...just stating my own personal reason. I think the scout troops on the local level are very dedicated and probably have different opinions/more progressive than the national level. Thanks.)

ps. Yep. I am wearing blue jeans...along with Texas Steer work boots and what we called a "bomber jacket" then. Probably the nylon/synth fill jacket is the only piece of gear that my 2009 self would consider wearing. :)

pps. Some day I'll figure out how many miles I've hiked....but probably not. For example, I just hiked to the coffee pot to pour myself a cup of coffee. That's at least 30 ft round trip.

JJJ
08-25-2009, 15:36
.....
It's called being a merit badge counselor. Only the boys wanting to earn those badges would contact you and together y'all would set up a time and place to meet to help them fulfill the badge requirements.

Merit badge counselors are an important part of the Troop's advancement program. You can choose the merit badges you'd like to teach. You could specialize in Hiking (http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Hiking#Hiking_Requirements) and Backpacking (http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Backpacking#Backpacking_Requirements), for example. Once registered, depending on where you live, you might be contacted by Scouts from several troops during the year.

Contact your local Scout Council. It's an easy way, and great way, to get involved without having to deal with all the BS within the BSA.

Thanks for the advice and encouragement, DWM. I just emailed out local council offering to help in that capacity.
jjj

ShoelessWanderer
08-25-2009, 15:48
Who's at fault? You are. Seriously, I'm not joking... What scouting lacks is people like you with both the knowledge and the desire to see someone do things the right way.

Most often dads who don't have the proper knowledge are forced into being leaders simply because they are the only ones willing to step forward for these boys.

To quote Ghandi... "Be the change you would like to see in the world."

I was reading his thread and thinking exactly those same thoughts! Did you step up and offer to help them? Do you explain to them what they are doing is wrong?? Most scouts really look up to those "real hikers" that they see on the trail. You'd be amazed how receptive they'd be (even more so then they would their leaders).

And wearing cotton clothing is really not that big of a deal, I mean, for long trips yeah, for a kid out for the weekend, not a big deal! I learned to backpack in blue jeans and a flannel shirt, never had a problem.

P.S. Lifelong Girl Scout, Boy Scout Camp Counselor and Volunteer for both

Darwin again
08-25-2009, 16:00
Boy Scouts bans atheists? :eek:

That's some real social leadership there, Lou...

sheepdog
08-25-2009, 16:05
Boy Scouts bans atheists? :eek:

That's some real social leadership there, Lou...
I don't think they ban athiest scouts. The Boy Scouts are a Christian organization and expect their leaders to share their Christian values. Sounds reasonable to me. Why do you have a problem with that?

Jester2000
08-25-2009, 16:13
rpenczek -- you may have been so frustrated with the tone of the original post that you noticed neither that dloome apologized later for his tone and included youth groups generally in his comments nor that he asked some questions, the answering of which might be more constructive than just telling him to volunteer or shut up, and definitely more constructive than questioning how he's chosen to live his life.

Here are some possibilities:


. . .To what extent are the troop leaders at fault? If you're involved in the Scout organization, why do you think the stuff I describe occurs, and how might Scouts be better educated for the outdoors?


. . .Why there aren't more is what I was interested in. It's easy to criticize, much more difficult to offer real solutions, I know. Young boys are an inherently unruly bunch no matter what organization they're affiliated with. This is reality.

Anyway, all this poses some tough questions, such as-Which is worse? To have a group of young kids in the outdoors without responsible adult leadership and supervision, or for that same group to not have time in the outdoors at all? Both scenarios are pretty unfortunate.

For those knowledgeable about the subject who are willing to have a real discussion: Specifically, what do you think are the most important lessons or ideas you'd like to see Scout and other youth groups "take away" with them when it comes to the outdoors, wilderness ethics, etc.? . . .


. . . I regret the tone of my initial post, take responsibility for the negative tone it set and apologize. A bad judgement call on my part . . . The point I'm trying to make here is that obviously, failure to follow LNT principles, poor trail ethic, etc., (if obviously not occurring with absolute frequency), still occurs pretty often often amongst youth groups which in this case would include the Scout groups I used, however unfairly, as an example. The fact that so many hikers have experienced this at one time or another should indicate that this isn't an uncommon thing, and that this should concern us collectively. . .

. . . What kind of qualifications should adults leading youths in the outdoors posess? Would greater selectivity among group leaders result in fewer available adult candidates, potentially harming youth-oriented organizations? Does reducing group size among youth groups contribute to a more positive experience or will it unfairly limit the number of kids that potentially get out there?

I would also like to note to everyone that thinking that hypothermia is only a potential problem on a trip to Everest or on a longer-than-a-weekend trip is exactly wrong. This is the sort of wrong information that many Scout Leaders seem to possess. You may have grown up doing it, and yeah, you're still alive, but it leads to leaders

a)not understanding why cotton might be a bad idea and
b)not recognizing the symptoms of the onset of hypothermia, because, heck, we're not on Everest.

I have been hypothermic twice in my life. Once was in Pennsylvania in July. Fortunately, in both cases, friends around me knew what was going on and took appropriate measures. (thanks, Jack!)

Midway Sam
08-25-2009, 16:15
I don't think they ban athiest scouts. The Boy Scouts are a Christian organization and expect their leaders to share their Christian values. Sounds reasonable to me. Why do you have a problem with that?

Not technically true. It is a faith based organization that requires Scouts and Leaders to take an Oath recognizing "duty to God". There are Scouting units of all faiths who recognize a God...

http://scouting.org/Visitor/WhyScouting/FaithTraditions.aspx

http://www.praypub.org/pdf_docs/DutytoGod2008.pdf

sheepdog
08-25-2009, 16:46
Not technically true. It is a faith based organization that requires Scouts and Leaders to take an Oath recognizing "duty to God". There are Scouting units of all faiths who recognize a God...

http://scouting.org/Visitor/WhyScouting/FaithTraditions.aspx

http://www.praypub.org/pdf_docs/DutytoGod2008.pdf
I stand corrected. :)
It would still be nice to see a little more "tolerance" from some of the athiest crowd.

Tin Man
08-25-2009, 17:03
In our Troop somewhere between a quarter and a third of the boys didn't have a father at home. That's not unusual, I'm afraid.

I know. And many 'fathers' can't be bothered with fathering.

Mags
08-25-2009, 17:10
I stand corrected. :)
It would still be nice to see a little more "tolerance" from some of the athiest crowd.

As I said, I am not looking for a debate.

I just philosophically disagree with an organization that does not tolerate atheists or gays. I am sure otherwise qualified people would volunteer if it were not for those restrictions.

As I also said, I think the organization on the local level is generally wonderful. Most of the adult leaders probably just want to help out their sons become young men. The agenda on the national level is probably the furthest item from their minds.

rpenczek
08-25-2009, 17:22
Thanks for clearing up the Christian based thing Sam.

As to Jester’s post, the point I was trying to make (perhaps not well) was that just because you are wearing cotton and are wet does not mean that you can not get warm and avoid hypothermia (what did backpackers do before tech-t and nylon zip-offs were invented). Most Scout leaders will recognize the symptoms and do something about the problem. The action may be as simple as changing into dry cotton (assuming its not still wet weather) or stripping down and putting on a rain suit or stopping the entire group, setting up camp and getting into a sleeping bag. My comments in regards to this point were around dloome’s full knowledge (or lack thereof) of the total circumstances (based on observations of a few groups). What a person sees for 15 minutes along the trail may not be the full story.

Also, I did not comment on deloome’s chosen way of life, I commented on his very short 22 years of experience on this planet with almost 2.6 years on the trail, causing me to wonder how he finds himself qualified to comment on the goings on of a youth group he sees along the trail. Can he possibly see (or understand) all that is going on or as Andy Rooney says “the rest of the story”?

I believe my comment on put-up or shut-up is very constructive. After all, I am simply asking deloome to put into action exactly what he talks about on his web site rather than coming to a forum that is suppose to be helpful in regards to hiking and questioning the desire of an entire group to do the right thing (but with perhaps not the ability/training/resources).

The key here is this site is meant to help folks, not rip them apart. Others have answered deloome’s later more thoughtful questions, I will again. Volunteer your time, help a group get outdoors and teach them (youth and adults) to be respectful of others and their environment. It is pretty simple, don’t talk about it, just do it.

Jester2000
08-25-2009, 17:29
Anyone want to actually tackle these questions? I'd be interested in the responses:

". . . What kind of qualifications should adults leading youths in the outdoors posess? Would greater selectivity among group leaders result in fewer available adult candidates, potentially harming youth-oriented organizations? Does reducing group size among youth groups contribute to a more positive experience or will it unfairly limit the number of kids that potentially get out there?" --dloome

sheepdog
08-25-2009, 17:36
As I said, I am not looking for a debate.

I just philosophically disagree with an organization that does not tolerate atheists or gays. I am sure otherwise qualified people would volunteer if it were not for those restrictions.

As I also said, I think the organization on the local level is generally wonderful. Most of the adult leaders probably just want to help out their sons become young men. The agenda on the national level is probably the furthest item from their minds.

Do you philisophically disagree that a private organization can set standards for their leaders and members?
It really disturbed me to see the boy scout's color guard booed at the Democratic National Convention.

Jester2000
08-25-2009, 17:43
. . .Also, I did not comment on deloome’s chosen way of life, I commented on his very short 22 years of experience on this planet with almost 2.6 years on the trail, causing me to wonder how he finds himself qualified to comment on the goings on of a youth group he sees along the trail. . .

My apologies, then. When I see this (emphasis mine):


. . . At 22 years old, I have to wonder if dloome has ever contributed to society or if he has ever done anything for anyone other than himself in his very short and inexperienced life (I would never believe this because to generalize and say any 22 year old that has hiked his entire adult – over 21 – life has never contributed to society would be prejudiced, I am not, I just wonder). . .

. . . I take it as a commentary and a slam rather than a questioning of qualifications. I apologize for my misinterpretation.

Mags
08-25-2009, 17:51
(This is a long e-mail...warning!)

As an aside, I will be volunteering with a youth group that is not BSA based (starting after labor day).

What kind of qualifications should adults leading youths in the outdoors posess?

A love for not only the outdoors but an ability to pass on the knowledge and passion as well. There are many competent outdoors people who make lousy instructors. How to quantify those assets? Damn-if-i-know. Some people just have a knack for leading and organizing and sharing. Others do not.

Would greater selectivity among group leaders result in fewer available adult candidates, potentially harming youth-oriented organizations?

It stopped me from volunteering. Without false modesty, I feel I am qualified not just because of my outdoor experience, but because I am very good at leading groups, organizing trips and passing on info. However due to my (lack of) religious beliefs, I am not considered a viable candidate.

Whether limiting potential candidates based on sexuality or religious believes is a hindrance to an organization is another debate all together.

Does reducing group size among youth groups contribute to a more positive experience or will it unfairly limit the number of kids that potentially get out there?

Ah! This one is very near and dear to me.

One of my favorite recent reads is WILDERNESS ETHICS: PRESERVING THE SPIRIT OF WILDNESS (http://www.countrymanpress.com/titles/WildernessEthics.html) by Linda and Guy Waterman (any New England hikers will probably know the names).

I enjoy this book because the authors have some obvious opinions, but it is not a polemic. The authors asks questions to the reader, gives their opinions after said questions and the logic behind their well reasoned opinions.

One of the chapters specifically deals with group sizes in both outdoor (AMC for example) AND youth groups (BSA, college groups).

The chapter mirrored my own thoughts and doubts as an active trip organizer in the outdoor group I am very active with.

Do we want to expose more people to the outdoors? Or do we want to make the outdoor experience more personal by limiting group size?

The trips I organize often fill up and marked as full. I was asked why do I limit trips. Out of the readings in the book and the fairly constant questions, I wrote the following essay:

From http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php/Outdoor-Writings/trip_is_full.html

I've recently been a bit more strict about the size of trips I organize. Some members of the outdoor group to which I belong have questioned this TRIP IS FULL designation. Some seriously, some teasingly, all wondering.
Here is my response.

Recently, I've been asked and/or teased about the TRIP IS FULL designations for the trips I've organized.
Though it is mild teasing, I believe there is some kidding on the square (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidding_on_the_square) involved.

So, why all the TRIP IS FULL designations lately?

Why not just organize another group that happens to meet up with us (wink, wink. nudge, nudge.) or just let everyone on the trip?

There are several reasons why I cap off trips.
The idea of having another group that "just happens to meet up with us" is still one large group of thirty people.
So what is wrong with large groups in the outdoors?

By letting large numbers of people into the outdoors, are we not introducing more people to the outdoors? Exposing others to something we love?

In the past, while I have not necessarily endorsed this view, I could at least understand it.

But it is a view I can no longer believe in.

There are often regulations in place that limit the size of trips. Whether you agree with these limits or not, they are the limits set by the local agency. It is a limit I would like to respect.
As any educator can tell you, a large group limits the lessons that can be taught. A far better way to introduce someone to the wilderness is in a smaller group.

For purely selfish reasons I tend to enjoy an outing, even on social trips, when the group size is smaller.

A small group is something I can manage. A small group is where I can talk to people. A small group lets me enjoy the outdoor experience more fully. I'd like to think others enjoy the outdoor experience more, too.

Finally, it is for philosophical reasons why I mainly limit group size for trips I organize. I just do not think it is right to bring hordes of people into the outdoors, especially for backcountry trips. A large group has not only an environmental impact, but a wilderness impact as well.

Twenty plus people on a backpacking trip changes the environment. Rather than a wilderness experience, it is a social experience. A cocktail party in the woods.

I obviously enjoy the camaraderie the can be fostered in the backcountry. I've been known to make a nice fire, enjoy some wine and tell jokes. Even on the very large trips.... But, I feel uncomfortable on these trips. Our enjoyment may, and has, impacted upon others.

As a group do we want a wilderness experience? Or do we want a party with a nice view? Is it right to impose our impact upon others?

In the past, I've been flexible on this position due to wanting to be inclusive and/or other friends wanting a social experience in the back country.

However, I am starting to be less flexible about this trip size limit.
Obviously, some trips have a different feel of what constitutes a smaller trip versus another (e.g. a remote valley vs an Open Space trail), but the philosophy is the same. By limiting group size, we not only enjoy the views. We not only enjoy the camaraderie. Or enjoy the challenges. But we are also experience something a little more wild. A little more intense. A trip that is more intimate. Something more than just a cocktail party in the woods.

It is an ethic I've aimed for. It is also an ethic I've not always achieved.
But it is an ethic I plan on holding myself to more strictly.

On trips, we want some wildness to go with our wilderness. Large groups in the backcountry do not allow this sense of wildness.
It is a view that I don't expect all members of the group to share, but it is a view that I hope others will understand.

Further reading:
Walking by Henry David Thoreau (http://thoreau.eserver.org/walking.html)
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey (http://www.amazon.com/Desert-Solitaire-Edward-Abbey/dp/0345326490)
Wilderness Ethics: Preserving the Spirit of Wildness by Guy and Laura Waterman (http://www.amazon.com/Wilderness-Ethics-Preserving-Wildness-Appreciation/dp/0881502561/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222376147&sr=8-1)

Mags
08-25-2009, 17:57
Do you philisophically disagree that a private organization can set standards for their leaders and members?



This point was not argued one way or another by me.

What was stated is that *I* do not feel comfortable volunteering for a group that would not accept me. Also stated is that I wish to avoid direct debate on this issue. Thanks.

mudcap
08-25-2009, 18:02
I really struggle with this entire thread. It began with the exclamation “I hike a lot, all over the place. I've seen many scout groups out there, probably a couple dozen, and not once have I been positively impressed.”

I assume this poster was certain that each youth group he encountered doing the inappropriate things he describes were in fact Scout groups. I further assume that this poster questioned every other youth group he encountered on the trail that was not doing anything inappropriate to determine they were not a Scout group; otherwise, the post would be a misrepresentation of the facts (“not once have I been positively impressed”).

One particular item in the first post is really troubling to me. In describing the inappropriate actions, the poster writes “leaving toilet paper unburied.” This portion of the post makes me wonder how the poster knows that it was a Scout that left toilet paper unburied, was he/she watching the Scout answer the call of nature.

Finally, it is clear that the poster does not understand the point of Boy Scouting. We do not exist to teach boys outdoor skills. We use the outdoors as a game to teach leadership, citizenship and fitness. Backpacking, camping, canoeing and hiking are all just games used to deliver leadership, citizenship and fitness. Yes, sometimes our adults don’t know all the rules of the game, they are learning too.

Yes, we may have cotton cloths on and no pack cover to protect our gear but I suspect you didn’t see us on Mt. Everest either. Also, we just might have learned (right here on Whiteblaze) to line our pack with a garbage disposal bag so we don’t need a pack cover (did you look in our packs to check). Also, we just might “Be Prepared” and have clean dry cotton cloths inside that garbage bag inside our pack. Yes, it is heavy and we might be cold and wet right now, but we are learning (adults and youth alike) and we will make better choices next time we backpack.

You might even hear one of our leaders tell a boy to “suck it up” but what you may not have herd is that same leader, before the hike, suggest the boy not bring along a two liter bottle of Mountain Dew and two extra pairs of cotton blue jeans. Hint, these will become learnings after the trip when to do roses and thorns (debrief the trip and discuss what worked and what did not work.) Also, you may not see that boy’s buddy’s offload his gear and help him out when they get further down the trail (what good citizens they are sometimes).

Finally, I notice the poster has a website that says he has 11,000 miles of backpacking experience and is 22 years old. Hmm, simple math says he could have thrued the AT 5.25 times. The average thru-hiker takes 6 months. Again simple math says he has hiked about 31.5 months or about 2.6 years. At 22 years old, I have to wonder if dloome has ever contributed to society or if he has ever done anything for anyone other than himself in his very short and inexperienced life (I would never believe this because to generalize and say any 22 year old that has hiked his entire adult – over 21 – life has never contributed to society would be prejudiced, I am not, I just wonder). Further, dloome’s website exclaims his desire to “share his experiences and enable others to experience these things for themselves.” I submit that dloome either put-up and volunteer some time with the Boy Scouts to help them out or shut up and go away.

I agree,I thought the OP was trolling for a fight. Seem like the OP was VERY self-important. Bunch of crap in my eyes!:rolleyes:

The Weasel
08-25-2009, 18:37
the NEXT time I need a free pass from you will be the first time I need a pass from you. Your condescending attitude sucks. For your reference, The commnent was directed to the OP.

hopefully this is clear enough for you.


Yup you are right - I try every day to "avoid" that condescending attitude. You found my "problem" I would rather be your Friend and yet I knew that this thread was going to set fire to many folks here. But the Op had already discussed that he had started the thread on a bad note and retracted his earlier statement. One cannot erase the title.

I was trying with the post to understand what you were talking about, it wasn't clear and I certainly not trying to get a rise out of you, I will apologize for my poor word choice.
WOO

Well, Owl is nice about it, as he always is to pretty much everyone. I think your attitude, Tabasco, was a bit over the top, perhaps without realizing it. Let's not get this thread shut down when it's otherwise useful.

TW

The Weasel
08-25-2009, 18:47
I think the thing that is overlooked is that Scouting teaches skills (and yes, it's a hook for the "Three Cs" that are the real purpose of Scouting, 'character, confidence and citizenship') to young men who lack them. In a word, they're "noobs". As we teach them, they pick up more and more, to the stage where they often develop a love for the outdoors and backpacking that lead to them being, well, "One of us." Others don't, but learn to appreciate that some things in life are hard, and that there is a world beyond TV and video games.

I'd also have to say this: I've been a Scout and Leader for over half a century. In all that time, I've been a part of about 20 different Scout units, and seen, literally, thousands more (yes, thousands: I've attended four National Scout Jamborees, with a total of over 170,000 Scouts and Leaders, which comes to about 4,000 or so Troops), and here's this: Not one piece of litter was left in a single Scout campsite that I've ever - ever - seen. Every one of those sites had young men who were every bit as rowdy as kids from 11 to 18 can be, but with virtually no fighting, no stealing, no problems generally worse than homesickness. Ask a Scout to hand you a knife, for instance; he won't let go until you say, "Thank you," signifying that you have it firmly in your hands. If you see a Scout lighting a wood fire, ask to see his "Firem'n Chit," authorizing him to use matches...and ask what it means to 'lose a corner.' Ask one how to move a person who has fallen down a hillside, and see him tell you 'That's a trick question.'

In a word, well, folks: Scouts - even the newest ones - know more, behave better, and are tougher, pound for pound, than just about anyone I've known. And I've known a lot.

TW
>>>---WWW--->>>

dloome
08-25-2009, 19:26
the poster writes “leaving toilet paper unburied.” This portion of the post makes me wonder how the poster knows that it was a Scout that left toilet paper unburied, was he/she watching the Scout answer the call of nature.

Also, we just might have learned (right here on Whiteblaze) to line our pack with a garbage disposal bag so we don’t need a pack cover (did you look in our packs to check). Also, we just might “Be Prepared” and have clean dry cotton cloths inside that garbage bag inside our pack. Yes, it is heavy and we might be cold and wet right now, but we are learning (adults and youth alike) and we will make better choices next time we backpack.

At 22 years old, I have to wonder if dloome has ever contributed to society or if he has ever done anything for anyone other than himself in his very short and inexperienced life (I would never believe this because to generalize and say any 22 year old that has hiked his entire adult – over 21 – life has never contributed to society would be prejudiced, I am not, I just wonder).


rpenczek- I was hoping to remain out of this thread for the most part and merely contribute to the productive exchange that has occasionally been occuring, but I felt I should respond to you.

-Toilet paper: I happened to walk through an established campsite in a Utah National Park as a troop of Boyscouts was leaving, after spending the night there. (A water source was located such that passing through the area was necessary.) In the camp on the way out, I saw that the scouts had left used toilet paper laying on the ground- I know it was the scout group because it was left... very recently, if you get my drift. Your ridiculous insinuations otherwise are childish and across-the-board offensive. Grow up.

-Pack covers, etc: Generally speaking, when one sees an unbagged sleeping bag rolled up and strapped directly to an external frame backpack, which is being subjected to pouring rain, one can assume the user has a pretty wet sleeping bag.

I am "young", in the numerical sense. I would appreciate it if you would omit your speculations as to my life experience beyond this.

You have no idea where I come from, how I live my life, what I have done with it, what struggles I have overcome, and what sufferings and joys I have experienced. (Though filling you in would probably give you a clue.) I hope that in your own four decades on this Earth, you've come to realize that age is merely a number- There are teenagers who are more "aged" than people born long before them, and people who have lived remarkably full and experienced lives before theirs was cut short, including a young woman very close to me.

The fact that you dare to make such overt, negative assumptions regarding the experience of someones life is simply apalling coming from someone who should know better. Really.

Want to know more? Then PM me. Questioning my life and proffering utterly tasteless insinuations doesn't belong in this thread. Thanks.

The Weasel
08-25-2009, 19:42
Dloome:

Take the flaming outside, please. If you keep it up, the thread will no doubt be closed, which would be a shame. And keep in mind that, in your 8th post ever on WhiteBlaze, you emphasized your "experience" as well as posting your age. So yeah, that's fair game, as long as it doesn't get to the "How dare you!" level you're starting. Meanwhile, chill out a bit and let the thread continue.

TW

Dances with Mice
08-25-2009, 19:44
What was stated is that *I* do not feel comfortable volunteering for a group that would not accept me. Also stated is that I wish to avoid direct debate on this issue. Thanks.I'm not going to debate the point except to point out that you WOULD be accepted as a counselor by the group even at a national level in the areas of hiking and backpacking even if you were an atheist, Unitarian, Druid, pagan, or, absolutely worse of all, a sports juggler.

Just sayin'.

dloome
08-25-2009, 19:52
I'm not going to debate the point except to point out that you WOULD be accepted as a counselor by the group even at a national level in the areas of hiking and backpacking even if you were an atheist, Unitarian, Druid, pagan, or, absolutely worse of all, a sports juggler.

Just sayin'.

I used to post on here as -bleach-, and just changed my user name since I no longer use my trail name. I have been a WB member since 2006. Any references to my 'experience' would correspond to backpacking/outdoor type experience. Not the "what have you ever contributed to society" type experience that rpenzcek brought up.

Also, when someone insinuates that I watch young boys defecating in the woods? Sorry, that's 'How dare you' territory to me.

dloome
08-25-2009, 19:53
Oop, Didn't meant to do the quote there.

Dances with Mice
08-25-2009, 19:56
Oop, Didn't meant to do the quote there.Understood.

The Weasel
08-25-2009, 20:10
Children (which may or may not include dloome):

Today's word is, hyperbole. Can we say that? Hi-PERB-oh-lee. Very good. Dloome, try to catch as well as pitch. It will make you live longer, and then you can have even more and more experiences, including, perhaps, with Scouting.

TW

Mags
08-25-2009, 20:11
I'm not going to debate the point except to point out that you WOULD be accepted as a counselor by the group even at a national level in the areas of hiking and backpacking even if you were an atheist, Unitarian, Druid, pagan, or, absolutely worse of all, a sports juggler.

Just sayin'.


I doubt the BSA would like it too much if they were foolish enough to "hire" me and if I publicity stated my atheism esp on the national level. :)

It is not something I define myself by, but I don't hide it either.

http://www.komonews.com/news/archive/4074941.html

Youth and Adult Volunteers

The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.’ The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members."http://www.bsalegal.org/duty-to-god-cases-224.asp (http://www.bsalegal.org/duty-to-god-cases-224.asp)

Really can't say I agree with the above. So, for better or worse, they will lose people like myself or those who are not heterosexual.
I can (somewhat) see why they would not like non-religious people as its roots are a Christian youth organization in many ways. However, barring gay people..well, that's a large can o' worms.

Then again, they may not want me because of other worse reasons (For example, I think squid is tasty... and I have tendency to say "wicked' too much. And I kinda talk funny when I get excited (goes with the "wicked' usage.)

The Weasel
08-25-2009, 20:17
Actually, you might be surprised.

While things are different (and that's not a great topic to get into in this thread), adult registrants are not required to somehow certify their beliefs, and there are even some ways to honestly belong to Scouting without being a theist. (For example, Unitarians and some Eastern religions, to the extent they do not have a Supreme Being, are acceptable for members of Scouting). And while some organizations that sponsor Scouting may - repeat may - ask an adult's beliefs, it often doesn't happen, and in 35 or so years as a Unit Chairman, Cubmaster and Scoutmaster (in other words, as a 'lead dog') I've never seen it asked, at least in non-church sponsored units.

TW

Mags
08-25-2009, 20:22
Actually, you might be surprised.

TW

I would.

Because that is a direct quote from the BSA legal site.

So, at best it is a "don't ask, don't tell policy". A policy that still states, at least on paper, a person must have a belief in some theology (In fairness, the BSA allows many denominations in addition to the traditional Judea-Christian ones)). And, that is something I don't agree with. I won't make a big stink of it by joining and then suing. But, well, I just won't join at all. :)

rickb
08-25-2009, 20:28
(For example, Unitarians and some Eastern religions, to the extent they do not have a Supreme Being, are acceptable for members of Scouting).

The Unitarians don't believe in a Supreme Being?

Didn't know that.

I may need to check them out.

Dances with Mice
08-25-2009, 20:29
I would.

Because that is a direct quote from the BSA legal site.

So, at best it is a "don't ask, don't tell policy". A policy that still states, at least on paper, a person must have a belief in some theology (In fairness, the BSA allows many denominations in addition to the traditional Judea-Christian ones)). And, that is something I don't agree with. I won't make a big stink of it by joining and then suing. But, well, I just won't join at all. :)And you misunderstand the role of merit badge counselors.

Counselors for the Hiking and Backpacking merit badges neither have to join the BSA organization nor are they considered leaders.

The only dues you'll be asked to pay is the time you spend with kids interested in hiking and backpacking.

Jester2000
08-25-2009, 20:30
I agree,I thought the OP was trolling for a fight. Seem like the OP was VERY self-important. Bunch of crap in my eyes!:rolleyes:

Well, I don't know. While the OP was obviously initially upset by a recent encounter and admits he posted with a bit of anger, I think his post has fostered some pretty good discussion.

Due to my own love of completely nonsensical posts I can't say every post I put up adds much to the conversation, but I wonder how you feel about your own post? Does it pretty well sum up itself?

Mags --
The post was long but informative, I think. Thanks! I think the question about "greater selectivity" had more to do with leaders being required to have good outdoor experience rather than qualifications having to do with religion or sexual preference, but in the end it would probably lead to the same thing -- fewer leaders.

It's a bit of a connundrum. Scouting does have a religious foundation, and I understand that scouting is not just about outdoor knowledge; so while it is a shame that those knowledgeable outdoorsmen who object philosophically to some of the tenets of the scouts choose not to participate, it's probably for the best.

In the other direction, limiting leadership roles only to those with outdoor skills and understanding probably would mean that too many kids wouldn't get to participate.

Does anyone know if BSA requires that there be at least one person on backpacking trips with Wilderness First Aid or First Responder qualifications or anything like that? Just curious.

Jester2000
08-25-2009, 20:34
And you misunderstand the role of merit badge counselors.

Counselors for the Hiking and Backpacking merit badges neither have to join the BSA organization nor are they considered leaders.

The only dues you'll be asked to pay is the time you spend with kids interested in hiking and backpacking.

I don't want to speak for him, but perhaps Mags just doesn't want to support an organization that doesn't support his belief system. In any way, not just monetarily.

The Weasel
08-25-2009, 20:36
I would.

Because that is a direct quote from the BSA legal site.

So, at best it is a "don't ask, don't tell policy". A policy that still states, at least on paper, a person must have a belief in some theology (In fairness, the BSA allows many denominations in addition to the traditional Judea-Christian ones)). And, that is something I don't agree with. I won't make a big stink of it by joining and then suing. But, well, I just won't join at all. :)

Well, Mags, the lawsuit has been filed, heard, and decided, at the Supreme Court level: Scouting, wisely or not, as a private organization, is free to set standards for membership as it wishes. Some of us in Scouting think this policy should be modified, but that hasn't happened.

But as for denominations 'allowed', that's not correct: BSA doesn't "allow" any denomination or disallow any. All that is required is that a youth profess a belief in a Supreme Being, or otherwise belong to a recognized religious group (which, a bit incongruously, can include some groups that don't beleive in a Supreme Being, but I don't write the rules). If a youth is asked (as sometimes, albeit rarely, occurs, generally (if at all) when a young man is at the brink of becoming an Eagle Scout), all that's asked is, "Do you have a sincere belief in a Supreme Being?" In that, Scouting is no different than the Masonic Order, the Knights of Columbus, the Elks Club and many other organizations.

As for adult leaders, it's not quite a 'don't ask-don't tell.' One can be asked. The same answer should be sufficient. If someone is a complete athiest, and is asked, then they may be asked to resign. Maybe not. Depends on who's asking and who is listening.

TW

The Weasel
08-25-2009, 20:38
I don't want to speak for him, but perhaps Mags just doesn't want to support an organization that doesn't support his belief system. In any way, not just monetarily.

Actually, yes they do. An application, including subscribing to the principles of Scouting, but most importantly containing background information including criminal convictions, references and more, is required for MB Counselors to be approved, although dues are waived. This is part of Scouting's "Youth Protection Program" and, frankly, is something that very few other organizations serving youth do, to my regret, in minimizing risks to kids.

TW

Lone Wolf
08-25-2009, 20:39
to some "yutes" satan is a supreme being. emos gotta belong somewhere. scout on!

The Weasel
08-25-2009, 20:42
Mags:

Good for you for volunteering for a youth group. But I'll cavil at one thing; you ask, "What is the most important qualification for adults working with youth in the outdoors?" or almost those words. The primary qualification is, "Good moral character, based on a reasonable investigation by the person selecting the adult volunteer." I'll leave it aside whether a religious belief is evidence of that, since I know people who are religious, but of poor character. But more important than knowing which side of a tree to look for moss is knowing that an adult has not been convicted of criminal offenses, is not using illegal drugs, is known by other people to be prudent and careful, and has a reputation for being a good role model for youth. Scouting focuses on that, and has no requirements of 'outdoor knowledge' because, frankly, the latter can be learned, while the former is inside of a man or woman.

TW

Mags
08-25-2009, 20:48
And you misunderstand the role of merit badge counselors.

Counselors for the Hiking and Backpacking merit badges neither have to join the BSA organization nor are they considered leaders.



Would they be considered adult volunteers?

To remind you and Weasel, the powers that be state quite clearly:

Youth and Adult Volunteers
Boy Scouts of America believes that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. Accordingly, youth members and adult volunteer leaders of Boy Scouts of America obligate themselves to do their duty to God and be reverent as embodied in the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. Leaders also must subscribe to the Declaration of Religious Principle. Because of its views concerning the duty to God, Boy Scouts of America believes that an atheist or agnostic is not an appropriate role model of the Scout Oath and Law for adolescent boys. Because of Scouting’s methods and beliefs, Scouting does not accept atheists and agnostics as members or adult volunteer leaders.

So if a a merit bage counselor is not really an Adult Volunteer, then perhaps I misunderstanding a volunteer vs. an Adult Volunteer? :D

All that is required is that a youth profess a belief in a Supreme Being, or otherwise belong to a recognized religious group

So they merely disallow non-believers? :)


Well, Mags, the lawsuit has been filed, heard, and decided, at the Supreme Court level: Scouting, wisely or not, as a private organization, is free to set standards for membership as it wishes. Some of us in Scouting think this policy should be modified, but that hasn't happened.

Again, I am not arguing against the policy. I am just saying why *I* can't in good conscience support a group that states the key to good citizenship is to believe have some kind of religious belief.

I don't want to speak for him, but perhaps Mags just doesn't want to support an organization that doesn't support his belief system. In any way, not just monetarily.

Bingo! I'll devote my time to a group that fosters good citizenship and outdoor practices to youth regardless of religious belief or sexual orientation. Again, I am not arguing if the Scouts should allow non-religious people in (or gays). I just think that I can not in good conscience support a group with this belief stated on their legal site. Even if most members (but not all) ignore it.

This policy of exclusion is causing them to lose Adult Volunteers (or volunteers?) such as myself.

OK..I've said enough. I've come to the point where I am repeating myself. I'd love to discuss group size limits in the outdoors and how it may impact the wilderness experience (my own personal hobby horse), but I'll refrain from further discussion on the religious aspects/sexual orientation part of this discussion. Feel free to get any last words in as well. :)

Mags
08-25-2009, 20:52
"What is the most important qualification for adults working with youth in the outdoors?"

TW


I answered this earlier. Good moral character is obviously important as well. But, damn-if-know what that may be. ;)



What kind of qualifications should adults leading youths in the outdoors posess?

A love for not only the outdoors but an ability to pass on the knowledge and passion as well. There are many competent outdoors people who make lousy instructors. How to quantify those assets? Damn-if-i-know. Some people just have a knack for leading and organizing and sharing. Others do not.

Wise Old Owl
08-25-2009, 21:01
Rpenczek You are 100% RIGHT!



Boy Scouts bans atheists? :eek:

That's some real social leadership there, Lou...

Sheepdog is right. Its a "Christian" Organization but now a Religious Organization, Family values, they value that as a young man that you adopt being an active Jewish, Christian or Muslim in your community or you cannot graduate to Eagle. That is very clear from the beginning. Something I had to struggle with when I made Life.

Also there is a background check for adults - FBI for Megan's Law issues. Also required by the leadership. I absolutely know and have met gay's in the organization and this appears to be a don't tell / don't ask but if they "get involved" with the boys they will spend a long time in Jail.




As I said, I am not looking for a debate.

I just philosophically disagree with an organization that does not tolerate atheists or gays. I am sure otherwise qualified people would volunteer if it were not for those restrictions.

As I also said, I think the organization on the local level is generally wonderful. Most of the adult leaders probably just want to help out their sons become young men. The agenda on the national level is probably the furthest item from their minds.

Mags to answer the above post - tons of leadership books & field training for leaders.

To answer the above / above post - MB counselors are not leaders. They are counselors.

kolokolo
08-25-2009, 21:02
A large group has not only an environmental impact, but a wilderness impact as well.

Twenty plus people on a backpacking trip changes the environment. Rather than a wilderness experience, it is a social experience. A cocktail party in the woods.


I agree with what Mags said above, and I think that the failure to limit crew size (or to split a large crew into multiple smaller crews) is a major cause of peoples' negative experiences with Boy Scouts in outdoor settings.

Large groups tend to overwhelm tent sites, shelters, privys, and water sources. And sometimes the group unwittingly takes on a character of its own, and the boys do and say things that they would never do or say in a normal setting. This can all happen in spite of the leaders' training and the boys' level of preparation and experience.

Lone Wolf
08-25-2009, 21:02
satan. cartman. supreme beings.

Dances with Mice
08-25-2009, 21:04
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Midway Sam
08-25-2009, 21:05
I agree with what Mags said above, and I think that the failure to limit crew size (or to split a large crew into multiple smaller crews) is a major cause of peoples' negative experiences with Boy Scouts in outdoor settings.

Large groups tend to overwhelm tent sites, shelters, privys, and water sources. And sometimes the group unwittingly takes on a character of its own, and the boys do and say things that they would never do or say in a normal setting. This can all happen in spite of the leaders' training and the boys' level of preparation and experience.

And therin lies a rub with me as a Scout Leader to be honest with you. I just don't like taking 18 boys and 6 dads out on a backpacking trip. I have tried devising ways to split up the group into manageable subgroups, but as the only leader with backcountry experience and LNT ethics, I cant be in all groups at all times.

This is my conundrum.

Midway Sam
08-25-2009, 21:10
satan. cartman. supreme beings.

I smell a prime candidate for an American Cultures merit badge counselor. Wolf, you want for me to send you an Adult Application. :D

Wise Old Owl
08-25-2009, 21:12
I don't think they ban athiest scouts. The Boy Scouts are a Christian organization and expect their leaders to share their Christian values. Sounds reasonable to me. Why do you have a problem with that?

Yes they will accept scouts - but if they choose to be Atheist - they won't get Eagle.

The Weasel
08-25-2009, 21:14
And therin lies a rub with me as a Scout Leader to be honest with you. I just don't like taking 18 boys and 6 dads out on a backpacking trip. I have tried devising ways to split up the group into manageable subgroups, but as the only leader with backcountry experience and LNT ethics, I cant be in all groups at all times.

This is my conundrum.

Sam:

Any of us who've had larger troops (congratulation on having 18 on a backpacking trip AND 6 parents - note, Moms might like th hike, too!) have been where you are. Here are some ways to accomplish it:

1) Three levels of skill: Very skilled (usually older Scouts), Experienced, New. SEND YOUR LEAST EXPERIENCED ADULTS WITH THE EXPERIENCED ONES. You go with the "noobs". Middle group should have your next best leader, and she/he should get a sitdown with you on specific expectations in advance.

2) In the program meetings (at least 3) before the trip, emphasize LNT in each, as well as "good hiking" principles of small groups, dispersed camping. Explain WHY. If possible, get a National Forest Service Ranger (they LOVE to do this!) to a meeting to explain why. They come across to the boys as "God" and they get listened to.

3) Have a 'leader meeting' with LNT principles discussed in detail. Do a checklist for each group (you don't need it but the others do) on how they should be doing things, e.g. camp location, litterpicking, cooking areas, and so on.

4) If the other fathers are real noobs too, ask another unit if they have someone who would like to join you that has experience, as a "Coach". NOT as the leader (have one dad/mom be responsible, but to "encourage" wise rules to be followed).

5) Check at your Scout Roundtable for experts who can help you with this too.

Good luck!

TW

Mags
08-25-2009, 21:15
And therin lies a rub with me as a Scout Leader to be honest with you. I just don't like taking 18 boys and 6 dads out on a backpacking trip. I have tried devising ways to split up the group into manageable subgroups, but as the only leader with backcountry experience and LNT ethics, I cant be in all groups at all times.

This is my conundrum.

An honest answer. I am not saying this to be sarcastic, but honestly curious: How does the BSA address this issue? Encouraging volunteers to take classes and training? Do they discourage large group sizes? Many areas do not allow groups of more than 12 (for example). What is the BSA policy concerning NPS/USFS/state park/etc. size limits?

I know, in my own (loosely organized group), that group size limits are sometimes suggestions. I'm one of the few trip organizers who likes to keep the trip size on the smaller size and/or within legal limits.

Seems large group sizes are common not just to the BSA, but all outdoor groups. Be they college outings, the Sierra club, etc.

30 single people hiking by themselves have less impact then a group of 30. A group of 30 really does turn into its own entity and takes on its own life it seems.

ShoelessWanderer
08-25-2009, 21:17
In my area the girl scouts start the outdoor experience in camps owned, controlled and maintained by the girl scouts. The BSA uses Philmont as a finishing school/reward for those who already have a high skill level hence the good results at that facility and the variety of results put forward to the public when the scouts are beginners. The pat answer of if you do not like the results then volunteer has already been covered including the fact that right or wrong the voice of the 'new' parent/volunteer is often not regarded

In all fairness the boy scouts also have lots of council owned camps that function as well (if not better) as the girl scouts. Sadly, girl scouts don't get as much funding as the boy scouts and have also decided to close a LOT of there camps because of budget problems. With boy scouts you don't see that. I was always disappointed as a girl scout to have so few girls enjoy the outdoors, not a normal problem with the boyscouts. And I practically cried the day I heard my old council was selling all their camps, except one (the newest and smallest, i should add).

As to volunteering, I think everyone should. But yeah, new volunteers normally aren't regarded as high, until they have proven themselves. Just because you walk in and tell me you are this great backpacker, that means nothing. You gotta prove it. Ignore what other say, and worry about helping the kids involved. (whether that be girls or guys)

ShoelessWanderer
08-25-2009, 21:19
Sam:

Any of us who've had larger troops (congratulation on having 18 on a backpacking trip AND 6 parents - note, Moms might like th hike, too!) have been where you are. Here are some ways to accomplish it:

1) Three levels of skill: Very skilled (usually older Scouts), Experienced, New. SEND YOUR LEAST EXPERIENCED ADULTS WITH THE EXPERIENCED ONES. You go with the "noobs". Middle group should have your next best leader, and she/he should get a sitdown with you on specific expectations in advance.

2) In the program meetings (at least 3) before the trip, emphasize LNT in each, as well as "good hiking" principles of small groups, dispersed camping. Explain WHY. If possible, get a National Forest Service Ranger (they LOVE to do this!) to a meeting to explain why. They come across to the boys as "God" and they get listened to.

3) Have a 'leader meeting' with LNT principles discussed in detail. Do a checklist for each group (you don't need it but the others do) on how they should be doing things, e.g. camp location, litterpicking, cooking areas, and so on.

4) If the other fathers are real noobs too, ask another unit if they have someone who would like to join you that has experience, as a "Coach". NOT as the leader (have one dad/mom be responsible, but to "encourage" wise rules to be followed).

5) Check at your Scout Roundtable for experts who can help you with this too.

Good luck!

TW

Just wanted to say what great advice you just gave!!

Midway Sam
08-25-2009, 21:30
An honest answer. I am not saying this to be sarcastic, but honestly curious: How does the BSA address this issue? Encouraging volunteers to take classes and training? Do they discourage large group sizes? Many areas do not allow groups of more than 12 (for example). What is the BSA policy concerning NPS/USFS/state park/etc. size limits?

I know, in my own (loosely organized group), that group size limits are sometimes suggestions. I'm one of the few trip organizers who likes to keep the trip size on the smaller size and/or within legal limits.

Seems large group sizes are common not just to the BSA, but all outdoor groups. Be they college outings, the Sierra club, etc.

30 single people hiking by themselves have less impact then a group of 30. A group of 30 really does turn into its own entity and takes on its own life it seems.

Most of the "required" training is CYA training devised by BSA legal. Don't get me wrong, it's good info regarding youth protection, etc. but it's main purpose is to hopefully reduce the litigation required to be the BSA.

It is stated that the Basic Outdoor Leader training (http://www.scouters.org/council_training/leader_specific/iols.htm)"is the required outdoor training for all Scoutmasters, assistant Scoutmasters, and Varsity Scout coaches" but no one has ever checked to see if I have had the training so the "required" part is rather loose. I would say it varies from council to council.

Finally, in order to earn the first rank in Boy Scouts (the Scout Rank) each boy must profess to abide by BSA's Outdoor Code (http://www.macscouter.com/advance/boyscout/outcode.asp).


More info regarding BSA Leader training for those interested...

http://www.scouting.org/sitecore/content/Home/BoyScouts/NewLeaderTraining/specific.aspx

Don H
08-25-2009, 21:39
DWM said "Counselors for the Hiking and Backpacking merit badges neither have to join the BSA organization nor are they considered leaders."
I know MBCs have to fill out an adult app., they are registered in our district "at large".

Wise Old Owl
08-25-2009, 22:01
FYI for all you OA's Last year was the worst, they were forced to give up on Treasure Island.

Wise Old Owl
08-25-2009, 22:21
I smell a prime candidate for an American Cultures merit badge counselor. Wolf, you want for me to send you an Adult Application. :D


You know seeing LW surrounded by a bunch of BS's would be incredibly fun.

Feral Bill
08-25-2009, 22:22
Do you philisophically disagree that a private organization can set standards for their leaders and members?
It really disturbed me to see the boy scout's color guard booed at the Democratic National Convention.


A private group can set whatever standards it wishes for it's members. It can also be criticized for those choices, especially when they are bigotted. BSA gets way too much of a free pass here for my taste.

FB

Lone Wolf
08-25-2009, 22:24
i'm surrounded by bs all the time

saimyoji
08-25-2009, 23:21
satan. cartman. supreme beings.

don't forget the flying spaghetti monster. all hail his noodliness.

Bulldawg
08-25-2009, 23:29
Look, as said many many many times here, it goes back to adult leadership. Just for the record I am leading a group of cub scouts this weekend on a very short start of the scouting year outing. I am taking them from Tray Gap to the summit and back. Short distances for these young boys. I explicitly told all parents to not show up without some sort of sack. We will be picking up trash on the trail the entire way. Hopefully one small grocery sack will hold it all, but I am requiring each boy to bring a sack anyway. We have had the LNT training and will cover it again Saturday morning at the gap. I for one will not lead a group of unruly, disrespectful scouts into the wilderness. These parents know this and those who refuse to discipline their child will probably not even show up for this reason. Those who choose to come ready to hike to a beautiful view and ready to pick up trash will have a great time.

Don't hate the hiker, find your trail karma!!

Lellers
08-25-2009, 23:34
Does anyone know if BSA requires that there be at least one person on backpacking trips with Wilderness First Aid or First Responder qualifications or anything like that? Just curious.

Yes, they do. One adult leader must have WFA certification if the scouting activity takes the group further than 30 minutes from emergency medical resources. That's a new one that started first for Philmont Scout Reservation, I think in 2007 or 2008. It is requirement for all scouting activities.

pyroman53
08-26-2009, 00:06
In a word, well, folks: Scouts - even the newest ones - know more, behave better, and are tougher, pound for pound, than just about anyone I've known. And I've known a lot.

TW
>>>---WWW--->>>

Sir, you are my Gyro!

As an Eagle Scou and former Philmont and other BS camp staffer, I have to say scouts come in all styles. One troop I ran with was totally bogus. Another was way together. In either case, I learned stuff that I've tried to teach my kids.

My first night on the AT was on a Philmont shakedown hike and we were clueless Of course, back in 1969 most of us were clueless. We hiked in circles for hours in the dark in the rain and lightning, and ended up sleeping back at the trailhead when we couldn't figure out where to go. We got wet and were miserable. Most of you would be agast had you encountered us on the trail. We, on the other hand, had a blast!

No one got hurt, we learned, and we had a freakin blast!

This outdoor stuff isn't rocket science. What we know now (and take way too seriously), wasn't any big deal back then and still isn't (i.e jeans and cotton). Its just walking and maybe getting wet. If you get wet, you warm up. If not, you go back to the car. The sun comes out and you dry your stuff. Heck, one thing Boy Scouts know how to do is start fires - in ANY weather. And if you can start a fire, you can warm up and survive. If you can survive, then no one gets hurt.

The rest will come. As TW said, BS teaches the good stuff and they'll learn. LNT, First Aid, etc. Granted, some Troops never learn, but most will. As has been said many tmies, any activity that gets kids out in the woods is a great start. And BS generally does a darn good job of it. Those same kids who maybe didn't know better and left the area in a mess this time may become the ones who carry an extra bag or two of litter off the mountain every time they hike FOR YEARS TO COME. Just look at how many posters here were scouts as kids.

The trick is, in making sure no one gets hurt. Maybe that's where the BS hierarchy (Council, Troop Committee) needs to make sure that any leader who take scouts into the "field" are at least minimally qualified to lead the trip.

A few years ago a local scout group ended up stranded by a late snowstorm in the Supersitions here in Phoenix. Big news story with helicoter video shots "rescuing" the scouts. No big deal. It could have happened to anyone cause it really was a freak storm. What got me PO'ed was that they only had 2 small tents for perhaps 10 people. Everything else was no big deal - coulda been anyone that weekend, but what's the Scout Motto...BE PREPARED!!! That's not being prepared. Anyone who leads an unprepared outing should be sensored. And in this case, I don't think they started a fire!!

Crazy Larry #1
08-26-2009, 00:28
I am not impressed at all with scout troops, and there are ones that are even worse than the scouts and that is church groups.........

but i have run into department of justice groups with troubled kids who have been incarcerated and are hiking the trail as part of their program and have not had a bad experience with them, the leaders of those groups do not put up with nonsense....

mister krabs
08-26-2009, 10:11
An honest answer. I am not saying this to be sarcastic, but honestly curious: How does the BSA address this issue? Encouraging volunteers to take classes and training? Do they discourage large group sizes? Many areas do not allow groups of more than 12 (for example). What is the BSA policy concerning NPS/USFS/state park/etc. size limits?

I know, in my own (loosely organized group), that group size limits are sometimes suggestions. I'm one of the few trip organizers who likes to keep the trip size on the smaller size and/or within legal limits.

Seems large group sizes are common not just to the BSA, but all outdoor groups. Be they college outings, the Sierra club, etc.

30 single people hiking by themselves have less impact then a group of 30. A group of 30 really does turn into its own entity and takes on its own life it seems.

Just some quick googling turned up these items referring to group size.
Requirements for the Backpacking merit badge:

Do the following:
3a. Define limits on the number of backpackers appropriate for a trek crew.

Respect Others

Thoughtful campers


Travel and camp in small groups (no more than the group size prescribed by land managers).

And this from the Wilderness Use Policy of the BSA.

The Boy Scouts of America emphasizes these practices for all troops, teams, and crews planning to use wilderness areas:

Contact the landowner or land-managing agency (USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state and private agencies, etc.) well before an outing to learn the regulations for that area, including group size limits, to obtain required permits and current maps, and to discuss ways Scouts can fulfill the expectations of property owners or land managers.

Two Speed
08-26-2009, 10:40
. . . Feel free to get any last words in as well. :)
Terms are subject to change without notice . . . Lastly, if you have just sat and read the whole of this disclaimer, thank you, but haven’t you anything better to do?
:banana I think we have a winner! :banana

Jayboflavin04
08-26-2009, 10:57
My hats of to TW for a half century of scouting! You have totally earned my respect for giving up your free time and money to a quality organization. I was in the process of getting involved with our pack, but my current work situation does not allow me to partipate. My x-wife has since stopped taking my son to scouts....total bummer to me.

Again scouts is a good organization (not perfect) that has shaped alot of young mens lives. They are in desperate need of good quality volunteers. Alot of the adult leaders are involved because their son is involved. This does not mean they are outdoor enthusiates. It means they are willing to spend quality time with their/your son on something he is going to remember for the rest of his life.

PMags....I totally respect your decision and appreciate your non-volitile approach to this thread. And as he pointed out he does voluteer his time and knowledge to a group. Hats off to PMAGS.

I would also like to note that I grew up in a single mother home. Being a father is damn important to me. I have found a sport that allows me to spend some real quality time with my son. I also would like to teach him a love and respect for the outdoors. Wee-man just completed his first 31 miles AT section bout a week ago.

Jester2000
08-26-2009, 11:35
You know seeing LW surrounded by a bunch of BS's would be incredibly fun.

I don't have any of Lone Wolf. but I have a great picture somewhere of Baltimore Jack talking to a group of scouts. If I recall correctly a main topic of the conversation was about why you shouldn't kill every rattle snake you come across (which they were doing). It was a nice moment, watching someone pass along some good outdoor ethics. But the picture itself is pretty hilarious.


Yes, they do. One adult leader must have WFA certification if the scouting activity takes the group further than 30 minutes from emergency medical resources. That's a new one that started first for Philmont Scout Reservation, I think in 2007 or 2008. It is requirement for all scouting activities.


Thanks, Lellers!

Mags
08-26-2009, 12:29
Just some quick googling turned up these items referring to group size.



Seems the outdoor group leaders need to do some googling, then. :)

mister krabs
08-26-2009, 12:47
Seems the outdoor group leaders need to do some googling, then. :)

Indeed, though I can appreciate how difficult it is to enforce policies when 99% of the workforce is unpaid volunteers. Volunteers often have a different paradigm of responsibility as their livelihood doesn't depend on doing the right thing.

Rest assured that I am aware of the policy and will reinforce it to any group I am part of and guide others in doing the right thing.

As a sidebar, as evidence of our commitment to appropriate outdoor behavior, our pack has a goal of having all 50 of our cubs earn their Leave no Trace award this year. This requires them to learn and understand Frontcountry LNT principles, as well as applying them on 3 outings and a service project. It's an early start for these 1-5th graders, who are well on their way to being part of the solution.

Jester2000
08-26-2009, 13:21
As a sidebar, as evidence of our commitment to appropriate outdoor behavior, our pack has a goal of having all 50 of our cubs earn their Leave no Trace award this year. This requires them to learn and understand Frontcountry LNT principles, as well as applying them on 3 outings and a service project. It's an early start for these 1-5th graders, who are well on their way to being part of the solution.

This is awesome! Get 'em young!

Bulldawg
08-26-2009, 13:30
Indeed, though I can appreciate how difficult it is to enforce policies when 99% of the workforce is unpaid volunteers. Volunteers often have a different paradigm of responsibility as their livelihood doesn't depend on doing the right thing.

Rest assured that I am aware of the policy and will reinforce it to any group I am part of and guide others in doing the right thing.

As a sidebar, as evidence of our commitment to appropriate outdoor behavior, our pack has a goal of having all 50 of our cubs earn their Leave no Trace award this year. This requires them to learn and understand Frontcountry LNT principles, as well as applying them on 3 outings and a service project. It's an early start for these 1-5th graders, who are well on their way to being part of the solution.

All cubs who participated in our county summertime twilight camp earned their LNT award this summer. I taught the course and have been since been impressed with the boys' willingness to practice what I taught. We will again be practicing this Saturday when we climb to the summit of Tray (in groups of 8) and pick up every piece of trash we see. Hopefully there is none.

Mags
08-26-2009, 13:32
Indeed, though I can appreciate how difficult it is to enforce policies when 99% of the workforce is unpaid volunteers. Volunteers often have a different paradigm of responsibility as their livelihood doesn't depend on doing the right thing.




Just from my own experience with outdoor groups, it seems that most outdoor groups are social groups first with the emphasis on outdoors secondary.

Certain BSA troops may fall into this pattern, I know groups I've belonged to fall into this pattern (depending on the trip organizer), and the college outing groups certainly fall into this pattern.

So, limiting numbers on trips seems "wrong" to many people. Why shouldn't we let all people on the trip? Shouldn't all people be allowed access to the outdoors? As with many groups (seems the BSA falls into this) qualified and willing trip organizers/leaders are thin on the ground. There is extra pressure to get in on the limited trips as well.


Definitely a tough conundrum. Exposing people to the outdoors, but at the same time respecting not just the environment and providing a wildness experience (yes, wildness), but also respecting the fellow wilderness users.

Frankly, most groups don't seem to care about limiting numbers.

I realize limits aren't absolute (a wooded city park trail can handle more people than a remote,off-trail,valley, for example), but limits are something to keep in mind.

Glad you are instilling this baseline respect at a young age. Only a generation or so ago, it was common sense to bury garbage and use a cook fire for all meals. Perhaps a generation or so from now, all outdoor groups will realize the value of smaller group sizes and respecting the limits set by agencies not just for legal reasons, but for really enjoying the wilderness.

rpenczek
08-26-2009, 14:17
As pointed out, Boy Scouts are taught (they may not retain 100%) LNT for both front country and back country experiences.

We (my Troop anyway) do not limit particiaption in front country (camp ground, mostly BSA camps) group size. Of course, if we are at a state or national park we rent the appropriate number of camp sites for our group, but always try to get that park's youth tent area (less partying going on).

Back country experiences are more difficult to deal with. We (my Troop) make every effort to limit our group size to a crew of 12 (fewer if regulations require) with a minimum of 2 being adults. Having said that, I have backpacked with a crew of 15. This does come down to qualified adult leadership. Often there may only be two or three adults, and we must have at least two adults with each group. Getting non-outdoors type adults (moms included) is easy when car camping, it is a very different story when walking long distance with heavy stuff (even light stuff) on your back.

While the wilderness experience is more difficult with a group larger than 12, a group of 15 accomplishes some very important things for my Troop. First, the three boys that would be left out get to go on the trip; second, the entire group is supported by a knowledgable experienced adult; and three, the inexperienced adults gain training and experice to allow them to provide leadership to crews in the future.

In my experiences on the AT with Boy Scouts (last two years), we have camped near shelters (we need the water sources and flat spots like anyone else), but never in the shelters. The only shelter my boys were tempted to use was Overmountain and the entire upper floor was empty. I intended to let them use this shelter (assuming more hikers needing the shelter did not show) to let them experience the mice on their own (one of those learning experiences), but they opted for their tents all on their own. Learning all on your own (with a little guidance) is a wonderful thing.

Finally, I don't see how the group of 12 or 15 following LNT does any more dammage to the environment at a shelter area or camping area than six or seven groups of two following LNT might do to the environment. As long as both follow LNT there is no difference in my opinion.

rpenczek
08-26-2009, 14:24
dloome,

I should have taken the high road with my original post. I do believe that if you are truly passionate about helping others to experience the outdoors you need to get involved. There is a youth group out there who can benefit from your hiking experience. If helping Boy Scouts interest you in the least bit, contact your local Boy Scout Council, they can help you help others.

I apologize for my unnecessary sarcasim.

Mags
08-26-2009, 14:24
Finally, I don't see how the group of 12 or 15 following LNT does any more dammage to the environment at a shelter area or camping area than six or seven groups of two following LNT might do to the environment. As long as both follow LNT there is no difference in my opinion.

On the environment, probably minimal difference. (I'd argue there be more on some level just because of the group dynamic)

On the wildness experience? Quite a lot. A group of more than 15 takes on its own dynamic and tends to focus inward to the group rather than the mountains around them.

It becomes a social experience rather than wilderness or wildness experience.

12 is probably not bad. 15 is borderline. Any more than that? It really does become a loud, raucous group. (Notice I am not saying BSA per se. Any large group takes on this character).

A large group also impacts on the experience of OTHER people, too.

Hike solo sometime and come up a large group of 15+ people. Observe the interaction, the noise level and how they relate to the environment. Much different than 15+ people hiking by themselves.

If anyone gets a chance, I really do suggest reading WILDERNESS ETHICS. (http://www.countrymanpress.com/titles/WildernessEthics.html) Though written at the cusp of the cell phone being ubiquitous technology (1993), the questions it poses really do apply to any modern outdoor user..esp if they lead outdoor trips.

rpenczek
08-26-2009, 15:27
Mags I am with you on a group of 15 hiking together. I likely violate an unwritten BSA rule by allowing our group to stretch out a bit, we are often 20 minutes apart (first to last person) while on the trail. As long as the boys have a "buddy" and wait for the entire group at major trail intersections, I allow them and like them to hike in much smaller groups of two or three. Once we begin to hike trails with less marking, this will become more of a challenge, but it will also provide for more land navigation learning.

We also have worked very hard at not impacting others, at shelters/camping areas especially. The boys can be boys (loud) at times. But we do remind them of mutual respect for others and the environment.

On another thread I began, related to our AT trip summer, someone suggested I train them to tear down camp stealth style – packing up in the morning in total silence. I like this idea and we have begun to work on it. It is really hard on day one, but becomes easier with each day on the trail as boys begin to develop a rhythm (unpacking and packing the same way each day).

Mags
08-26-2009, 16:05
As long as the boys have a "buddy" and wait for the entire group at major trail intersections, I allow them and like them to hike in much smaller groups of two or three


FWIW, that's what I do. I do add a person I trust as a sweep as well.




The boys can be boys (loud) at times. But we do remind them of mutual respect for others and the environment.

That's great! Lessons imparted at a young age...AND gets them away from the computer/video games/texting/etc. (OH...the irony as I've been on this for almost two days working on something. :D)

Wise Old Owl
08-26-2009, 16:11
FWIW, that's what I do. I do add a person I trust as a sweep as well.




That's great! Lessons imparted at a young age...AND gets them away from the computer/video games/texting/etc. (OH...the irony as I've been on this for almost two days working on something. :D)

No, assign some free time and all the Game Boys whip out!

Bulldawg
08-26-2009, 16:15
No, assign some free time and all the Game Boys whip out!


Hey man, don't hate the hiker, find your trail karma!!!

SteveJ
08-26-2009, 16:20
No, assign some free time and all the Game Boys whip out!

chuckle...not in our troop. All electronic equipment on any camping trip, including cell phones, become the temporary property of the Scoutmaster.....

Cannibal
08-26-2009, 16:24
chuckle...not in our troop. All electronic equipment on any camping trip, including cell phones, become the temporary property of the Scoutmaster.....
Good way to score a SteriPen. :D

Mags
08-26-2009, 16:44
chuckle...not in our troop. All electronic equipment on any camping trip, including cell phones, become the temporary property of the Scoutmaster.....

The Helicopter Parents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter_parent) must love that. :)

Wise Old Owl
08-26-2009, 16:52
:eek:Wow mention Game Boy and suddenly all the Mods are here!:banana

WB Shock & Awe.

rpenczek
08-26-2009, 17:04
I let them keep their ipods, cell phones, game boys, etc.... There is a time and place for everything (that learning thing again) and if they use these tools in the proper way and at the proper time, I have no need to ban them all together.

Also, I have found that music or a phone call to the girlfriend can sooth the savage beast in the evening around hiker midnight, after wilderness time has ended for the day.

Most of them have also learned that you never know when your cell phone will just become a brick you are carrying in your pack due to lack of service :).

sheepdog
08-26-2009, 21:56
Do you philisophically disagree that a private organization can set standards for their leaders and members?
It really disturbed me to see the boy scout's color guard booed at the Democratic National Convention.


A private group can set whatever standards it wishes for it's members. It can also be criticized for those choices, especially when they are bigotted. BSA gets way too much of a free pass here for my taste.

FB

That's right Feral Bill. Lets tell the world that we are intollerant of the intollerant. There is no room in a free society for diversity. Call the little boys names, boo them they got it coming. We must all believe the same thing in this society, in order to have our true feedom. :-?

SteveJ
08-26-2009, 22:02
I let them keep their ipods, cell phones, game boys, etc.... There is a time and place for everything (that learning thing again) and if they use these tools in the proper way and at the proper time, I have no need to ban them all together.

Also, I have found that music or a phone call to the girlfriend can sooth the savage beast in the evening around hiker midnight, after wilderness time has ended for the day.

Most of them have also learned that you never know when your cell phone will just become a brick you are carrying in your pack due to lack of service :).

Honestly, one of the reasons we ban the cell phones is the built-in camera. Boys will be boys...which mean they will do inappropriate things at some point. We just don't want it on youtube.... :eek:

Feral Bill
08-26-2009, 23:47
That's right Feral Bill. Lets tell the world that we are intollerant of the intollerant. There is no room in a free society for diversity. Call the little boys names, boo them they got it coming. We must all believe the same thing in this society, in order to have our true feedom. :-?

Huh? Are you reading what I wrote? I am very aware that many scout troops don't ask too many questions and do great things for kids. There is plenty of evidence of that on this site.

I certainly didn't call "little boys" names. The national leadership of BSA, yes. The shoe fits.
Maintaining a policy that excludes any minority is biggoted, and a damned shame. Doing so while posing as positive roll models for young people is hypocritical as well.

Do you propose that we not critcize those we don't agree with? That would be a very sad world.

FB

beakerman
08-27-2009, 01:30
chuckle...not in our troop. All electronic equipment on any camping trip, including cell phones, become the temporary property of the Scoutmaster.....

Electronic devices!? not in my troop...it becomes mine forever! That's what I tell them and none of them have challenged me on it and I doubt they ever will.

As for all this hubbub about who's to blame for poor scout skills really its both the leaders and to a certain extent the scouts themselves.

Boy Scouts are a boy run organization...many of you forget that...the adults are there to help out. Sure in those instances described in the OP the leadership dropped the ball big time but the boys have a responsibility to plan their activities and prepare for them properly. A boy should know to bring rain gear...that is in the Cub Scouts hand books folks as standard day pack gear. It's also in the Boy Scout handbook too so if the boy bothers to read the darned thing rather than waiting to be spoon fed everything they would pick up on some basic things like that.

I know they all get crazy with the hatchet...I just had to bust an entire patrol in my troop on their wilderness survival camp out for cutting trees they were not going to use. Trust me those boys will not do that again. Let's just say they were in no mood to swing the hatchet again after cutting through a dead fall that was about 2 feet in diameter---yes I said hatchet not axe.

The SPL and PL's should be doing gear reviews before they leave on any adventure. the adults should check that this was done and done properly. Again 99.99% of this stuff is in the book so you don't have to attend endless classes just open the book and then apply some very general rules of thumb for things like how much water to carry and so forth.

Someone mentioned a rude scout? oh they exist don't take that the wrong way but the leaders didn't step up righ there? that is just wrong. Im my troop we catch a scout pulling crap like that they don't make rank--that is not living the scout spirit.

See it basically all boils down to this one simple thing both the leaders and the boys actually have to read the handbook so they know what is expected. Many folks gloss over the real important parts like the scout law, motto, slogan and oath--they give them lip service but I've seen boards of review when not a single question is asked about any of them. Mostly because the tendency is to stress "skills" over character. The mission of scouting is not to prepare boys to become highly skilled woodsmen it is to prepare them to be great men and leaders. That is where I fear scouting is really failing in many of these cases.

generoll
08-27-2009, 01:41
Beakerman makes a good point. The Scouts have standards. Detractors call them legalistic or bigoted for insisting that members follow those standards, but those standards are what set (or should) a scout troop aside from a loose pack of boys out on a lark away from parental control.

People get carried away with slogans like HYOH or do your own thing. That's just what poorly trained and poorly disciplined scout troops are doing. Scouts who actually follow the principles and standards of scouting should generally be welcome in any campsite. They'd be a positive contribution to it. The question is whether they should be exposed to the behavior of many of the AT hikers that one comes across. I'm sure I need not provide you examples.

Tin Man
08-27-2009, 02:54
chuckle...not in our troop. All electronic equipment on any camping trip, including cell phones, become the temporary property of the Scoutmaster.....

we do the same, but let them have one electronics weekend - the winter cabin trip where they line up all the tvs and game consoles and have at it. it's very popular and plays into our retention progam, but i don't go on this trip other than to drive. this year they surprised me in that they spent most of the saturday daylight hours hiking and just enjoying the outdoors.

jesse
08-27-2009, 04:27
chuckle...not in our troop. All electronic equipment on any camping trip, including cell phones, become the temporary property of the Scoutmaster.....

same as our troop.

Tankerhoosen
08-27-2009, 07:23
Not to hijack the thread but people here are complaining about the BSA's membership standards. Do you know why that standard is still in place? Because the organizations that are the largest chartered partners with the BSA also happen to be the most conservative organizations in the country, The Mormon Church, The Catholic Church, the Baptists Etc. More liberal organizations made a huge error by pulling their support for units when the membership standards became big news. Why do I say this? Because when they pulled out they lost their voice, if more open and affirming churches sponsored units they would have more of a voice on the national side. But they chose to walk away effectively silencing their voice. Its akin to not voting then complaining about the government. Decisions are made by those who show up.

I love the BSA, I grew up in and am an Eagle Scout, the good the organization does FAR outweighs the "bad".

Skyline
08-27-2009, 08:58
Not to hijack the thread but people here are complaining about the BSA's membership standards. Do you know why that standard is still in place? Because the organizations that are the largest chartered partners with the BSA also happen to be the most conservative organizations in the country, The Mormon Church, The Catholic Church, the Baptists Etc. More liberal organizations made a huge error by pulling their support for units when the membership standards became big news. Why do I say this? Because when they pulled out they lost their voice, if more open and affirming churches sponsored units they would have more of a voice on the national side. But they chose to walk away effectively silencing their voice. Its akin to not voting then complaining about the government. Decisions are made by those who show up.

I love the BSA, I grew up in and am an Eagle Scout, the good the organization does FAR outweighs the "bad".



That's one way to look at it. Those who disagree—sometimes vehemently—with BSA's bigotry could get involved with BSA and try to change those positions. If enough did so, it might send a strong enough message to effect change. Probably not in our lifetimes.

Another way would be to withdraw support for BSA and instead support other organizations which do not inherently believe in discriminating against boys, young men, and adult leaders just because their religious beliefs and sexual orientations don't line up exactly the way BSA's cookie cutter dogmas insist.

The Boy Scouts do some good things; have done so throughout their existence. They also practice intolerance consistently at the national level and quite often at the regional and local level. They aren't the only game in town. By losing volunteer support, membership, money, and the right to use public facilities and public funds in some locales—that sends a strong message too. It probably won't effect change in our lifetimes either, but it may help build alternative youth organizations that are open and affirming of diversity.

tlbj6142
08-27-2009, 09:20
They aren't the only game in town. What other, even remotely, similar organizations exists?

jersey joe
08-27-2009, 09:27
The only other youth organizations I can think of are the sports organizations in almost every town. These are typically good alternatives for kids.

saimyoji
08-27-2009, 10:01
FWIW, that's what I do. I do add a person I trust as a sweep as well.


keeping the trail clear. MS would be proud.

Skyline
08-27-2009, 10:04
True, sports leagues are a great alternative to BSA in almost every neighborhood and town, tho they don't teach backcountry skills. (Just to stay on topic, ya know:).)

Other alternatives to BSA can be read about (sometimes between-the-lines) at these links:

http://www.ucc.org/ucnews/mar03/inclusive-organization-offers.html

http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/45487.shtml

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=364x467228

http://www.dcmetromoms.com/2009/05/boy-scouts.html

http://ask.metafilter.com/105811/Are-there-any-alternatives-to-the-BoyGirl-Scouts-that-are-secular-in-nature

Skyline
08-27-2009, 10:57
What other, even remotely, similar organizations exists?


In addition to the links provided above, which provide discussion (and even links of their own) about alternatives to Boy Scouts, we on WB don't need to look far at all.

Most trail maintaining clubs along the AT (and many other trails) offer activities that provide valid alternatives to the Boy Scouts and do not demand its participants adhere to leadership's strict interpretation of what comprises "morality."

Among these activities in the club (PATC) I am a lifetime member of, and volunteer with, are Backpacking 101 and Backpacking 202 hands-on courses, complete with LNT components. Regularly scheduled dayhikes and backpacking trips. Lots of volunteer opportunities on-trail, and in other less strenuous areas of interest.

These clubs have a hierarchy, in most cases, but they are not typically as military-like with all those rankings BSA seems to cherish. They also don't—to the best of my knowledge—promote merit badge quotas or anything like that to which each participant must adhere. They do provide individual recognition of volunteers' efforts in several ways.

Being involved with trail maintaining clubs provides the guidance, comaraderie, building of self-esteem, and other good attributes of BSA—for people of all ages. Without the BS.

skinewmexico
08-27-2009, 10:59
True, sports leagues are a great alternative to BSA in almost every neighborhood and town, tho they don't teach backcountry skills. (Just to stay on topic, ya know:).)

Sorry, I'll take the life skills my boys have learned in the Boy Scouts over anything they've learned from the screaming, frustrated ex-high school wannabe atheletes coaching their youth sports. The proper corner kick or bunt is never going to replace their ability to stop arterial bleeding or do CPR.

Mags
08-27-2009, 11:03
keeping the trail clear. MS would be proud.

They shovel the snow, too. Can't have hikers walk in snow.

The Weasel
08-27-2009, 11:14
A private group can set whatever standards it wishes for it's members. It can also be criticized for those choices, especially when they are bigotted. BSA gets way too much of a free pass here for my taste.

FB

Bill:

Which of the following groups do you also consider "bigoted"?

Exclude athiests:

- Masonic Order
- BPOE ("Elks Club")
- Knights of Columbus
- Ebenezer Baptist Church (ML King's home church)

Exclude women:

- Rabbinate of Orthodox Judaism
- U.S. Army and Marine Corps (combat specialties)
- Major League Baseball (as players)
- Masons/KofC (also above)

Scouting is a private organization, and while it has made some choices about membership that many of its members disagree with, it is no more "bigoted" for that than atheists are bigoted for not believing in God. Indeed, unlike many other organizations (including those which include women and atheists), Scouting teaches respect and tolerance for all, including those with different (or no) religious beliefs.

TW

Camping Dave
08-27-2009, 11:18
Sky, it's ironic that you criticize BSA for bigotry and intolerance through ad-hominem attacks. PATC (great org) is absolutely littered with scouts and scouters, btw. When will your campaign to eradicate them begin? You guys and gals build some sweet shelters on the Tuscarora. Our scouts say thank you.

Tin Man
08-27-2009, 11:23
Bill:

Which of the following groups do you also consider "bigoted"?

Exclude athiests:

- Masonic Order
- BPOE ("Elks Club")
- Knights of Columbus
- Ebenezer Baptist Church (ML King's home church)

Exclude women:

- Rabbinate of Orthodox Judaism
- U.S. Army and Marine Corps (combat specialties)
- Major League Baseball (as players)
- Masons/KofC (also above)

Scouting is a private organization, and while it has made some choices about membership that many of its members disagree with, it is no more "bigoted" for that than atheists are bigoted for not believing in God. Indeed, unlike many other organizations (including those which include women and atheists), Scouting teaches respect and tolerance for all, including those with different (or no) religious beliefs.

TW

Betcha the same people whinning about scouts excluding gays whine about gay priests interacting with altar boys. :rolleyes:

skinewmexico
08-27-2009, 11:27
I always think it's funny how everyone tiptoes around the intolerance of Islam. But they'll sure puff up about Christians.

Jester2000
08-27-2009, 11:28
The proper corner kick or bunt is never going to replace their ability to stop arterial bleeding or do CPR.

Possibly not, but it does give one something fun to do while that person is dying.

mister krabs
08-27-2009, 11:52
Whoooo, lookin like the mods might come down soon if we can't keep this nice.

4-H anyone??

jersey joe
08-27-2009, 11:57
4-H anyone??
4-H clubs aren't easy to find in Northern NJ, but pretty much every town has a Boy Scout troop.

Mags
08-27-2009, 12:27
So much for the possible reasonable and informative discussion about group sizes, electronics and other issues that effect the wilderness experience. :)

ShoelessWanderer
08-27-2009, 12:30
I always think it's funny how everyone tiptoes around the intolerance of Islam. But they'll sure puff up about Christians.

I don't understand why we can't all just be accepting of everyone else’s religions. Who cares if they are Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Wicca or atheist (or any of the other thousands of religions out there). As long as they are essentially good people and not doing bad things, why not let them worship (or not worship) whatever they want!

Skyline
08-27-2009, 12:33
Sky, it's ironic that you criticize BSA for bigotry and intolerance through ad-hominem attacks. PATC (great org) is absolutely littered with scouts and scouters, btw. When will your campaign to eradicate them begin? You guys and gals build some sweet shelters on the Tuscarora. Our scouts say thank you.



Eradicate Scouts from participating in PATC? Are you serious? I did not even go close to there. That would be insane.

Quite a few people, judging from a quick search on the web, seek alternatives to the Boy Scouts of America for any number of reasons. I simply listed a few. No, not carbon copies of BSA minus the moralizing, but good alternatives nevertheless.

I absolutely respect BSA's right to its own rules as they are a private organization, including who it may exclude from membership. That doesn't mean folks like me can't disagree with the exclusions themselves, and find our own ways to peacefully protest them.

Skyline
08-27-2009, 12:43
Sorry, I'll take the life skills my boys have learned in the Boy Scouts over anything they've learned from the screaming, frustrated ex-high school wannabe atheletes coaching their youth sports. The proper corner kick or bunt is never going to replace their ability to stop arterial bleeding or do CPR.


Sports leagues are just one of many alternatives to BSA for those seeking other options, which was the question I answered. My earlier point being the Boy Scouts are not the only game in town.

There are any number of alternatives to BSA where youths can learn first aid, including wilderness first aid.

Bet you knew that.

Bulldawg
08-27-2009, 13:23
No, not carbon copies of BSA minus the moralizing, but good alternatives nevertheless.



I'll take an organization teaching morals to our young people over one not teaching morals any day. The mess our nation is in now is owed to lack of morals.:eek::eek:

Tin Man
08-27-2009, 13:30
Sports leagues are just one of many alternatives to BSA for those seeking other options, which was the question I answered. My earlier point being the Boy Scouts are not the only game in town.

There are any number of alternatives to BSA where youths can learn first aid, including wilderness first aid.

Bet you knew that.

FYI... Sports and Scouts aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, our troop encourages both.

sheepdog
08-27-2009, 13:38
I'll take an organization teaching morals to our young people over one not teaching morals any day. The mess our nation is in now is owed to lack of morals.:eek::eek:
me too....

Wilson
08-27-2009, 13:43
I'll take an organization teaching morals to our young people over one not teaching morals any day. The mess our nation is in now is owed to lack of morals.:eek::eek:
That should be a no-brainer...This internet is full of idiots.

Skyline
08-27-2009, 15:12
I'll take an organization teaching morals to our young people over one not teaching morals any day. The mess our nation is in now is owed to lack of morals.:eek::eek:


An opinion. Not necessarily fact. At least some of our current messes can be laid squarely at the doorsteps of the most crusading "moralists."

It is indeed good to teach young people right from wrong. We may define what that is differently on occasion. That's our right as free people. So long as you don't step on my rights, and I don't step on your rights, as it applies to legislating civil law—not much harm will be done to either of us.

As this involves the BSA, those who seek good alternatives often simply don't want to support that organization—and they don't want governmental agencies they support through taxes to give special treatment to BSA.

We are straying from the topic of incompetent/unprepared Boy Scouts.

Skyline
08-27-2009, 15:13
FYI... Sports and Scouts aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, our troop encourages both.


Agreed. But an earlier post challenged us to come up with good alternatives to BSA. Organized sports is one of several such alternatives, for those who are not comfortable with BSA.

Monkeyboy
08-27-2009, 16:15
That's one way to look at it. Those who disagree—sometimes vehemently—with BSA's bigotry could get involved with BSA and try to change those positions. If enough did so, it might send a strong enough message to effect change. Probably not in our lifetimes.

Another way would be to withdraw support for BSA and instead support other organizations which do not inherently believe in discriminating against boys, young men, and adult leaders just because their religious beliefs and sexual orientations don't line up exactly the way BSA's cookie cutter dogmas insist.

The Boy Scouts do some good things; have done so throughout their existence. They also practice intolerance consistently at the national level and quite often at the regional and local level. They aren't the only game in town. By losing volunteer support, membership, money, and the right to use public facilities and public funds in some locales—that sends a strong message too. It probably won't effect change in our lifetimes either, but it may help build alternative youth organizations that are open and affirming of diversity.

You couldn't be more wrong if you tried.........

Monkeyboy
08-27-2009, 16:16
What other, even remotely, similar organizations exists?

tons.........

Monkeyboy
08-27-2009, 16:19
That doesn't mean folks like me can't disagree with the exclusions themselves, and find our own ways to peacefully protest them.

I doubt they really care about your protests..........

Monkeyboy
08-27-2009, 16:25
As this involves the BSA, those who seek good alternatives often simply don't want to support that organization—and they don't want governmental agencies they support through taxes to give special treatment to BSA.




What a crock.........because you would absolutely DEMAND that they support a gay and lesbian association, but if they differ from that viewpoint, they shouldn't be supported by the government that they pay taxes too.......

Like I said.....what a crock.

Bearpaw
08-27-2009, 16:41
Folks, one more reminder. This thread is about issues and-or encounters with Scouting units that are poorly prepared for wilderness travel, not about support or lack thereof based on personal philosophy.

PLEASE focus on that area. Otherwise, the thread is going to break down into another socio-economic-political debate.

Monkeyboy
08-27-2009, 16:53
No problem, BP........

superman
08-27-2009, 17:09
I was a cub scout and a boy scout. My scout leaders were WWII vets who thought they were preparing us for Normandy. In hind sight we were very lucky to have them. They taught us a lot, challenged us and watched us like we were their green troops.
I was disappointed on my thru hike to see the boy scouts led by leaders who didn't seem to know what their role was. The scouts lacked leadership and seemed almost out of control.
This was in contrast with a church youth group that appeared well led, motivated and they knew why they were hiking in the rain.
The very best group was an outward bound group of teenage boys in Maine. They were led by a young woman who seemed to be only a few years older than the boys. The young woman had thru hiked the AT and she knew what needed to be done. She calmly directed the tasks of the boys and when each of them finished their assignment they came back for a new task. It was a pleasure to watch.

skinewmexico
08-27-2009, 17:12
I would expect Outward Bound leaders, and the youth whose parents paid major dollars for them to attend, to be exemplary. Big difference in paid leaders and volunteers, and kids who wanted a trip enough to pay a lot for it.

superman
08-27-2009, 17:24
I would expect Outward Bound leaders, and the youth whose parents paid major dollars for them to attend, to be exemplary. Big difference in paid leaders and volunteers, and kids who wanted a trip enough to pay a lot for it.

Yes, good point. The scouts used to be the best...in my opinion. I don't know what's been changing in scouting. They certainly used to be able to attract quality volunteer leaders. I don't mean to paint all scout leaders with the same broad brush either. I'm sure they have good leaders...just not the ones I saw on my thru hike. My limited observations on my thru hike are definately not definitive of any of the groups. I was only commenting on the ones that I saw.