Wed, 1 May 1991 19:45:48 CDT
I was frankly shocked at the vehemence of the response elicited by Don
Izards comments concerning his Scout camp. Were they hasty? I do not
know, but Scout camps elicit feelings of loyalty and reverence in a
greater fashion than any other piece of property, in my experience. If
Izard's comments were out of line, they certainly do find sympathy with
many of us who have shared similar experiences (Scout camps sold--butchered
for timber--mismanaged, etc), and the respondent (whose name escapes me)
should make some allowances on this subject--I know I do.
That said, Izard's swansong was a both overdramatic and inappropriate.
(Your "recollection" of the pre-Ordeal ceremony was as precise as it
was inappropriate for this network---the value of the ceremonies is
in their novelty when heard for the first time on your Ordeal!!)
Signing off this network, quitting scouting, or cursing your council
executive will not bring back those things lost at the camp. Also,
adapting is necessary for survival (see Darwin), and this is a skill
that the BSA is uniquely bad at!! Fear of change is pervasive among
the "red-jacket" crowd, and this fear may be the movement's undoing.
This is not addressed to the particular property situation debated
on this net, but rather to the entire enterprise:
1) Drop the constant fighting over the God issue--it is costly and
unproductive. Mind you, I do not advocate changing the oath/law etc.,
but these lawsuits are killing us financially and reputationally.
The BSA brags about the large number of Scouts who have their first
exposure to organized religion in a scouting setting. If this is true,
non-believers are precisely the type of kids we should be going after!
2) Integrate the movement sexually. It has happened in virtually every
aspect of life, and in most or all other Scout organizations in the
Western world. Canada has had their first female "Queen's Scout"
(Canadian equivalent of Eagle) and the program is working fine. We
all know that there is a stigma attached to being a boy scout, and
that stigma of "uncool" would evaporate the moment we admitted females.
The Boy Scout division continues to shrink while the other two grow,
the time for change is now!!! (I would be willing to consider a
modified mix, where Cubs are mixed, Scouts 10-13 are separate, and 14
on up are mixed again--much like Australia and UK)
3) America is browning, that is becoming far more ethnically diverse.
Like it or not, the facts are that the movement is still by and large
white middle and working class. Minority units that succeed are noted
precisely because they are so rare. Many professionals (I speak with
experience, remember) organize units, collect money, and never return
to minority areas because unit organization is so tough! This is not
a formula for success. We need to diversify this organization if we
wish to be relevant in the next century. (For example, only about
one half of all Californians are white, with hispanics, blacks and
asians making up the other half).
I am pressed for time here, but I am interested in people's reactions
to my ideas and concerns--please spare me the "tradition" based lec-
tures, reasoned responses preferred. More to follow.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City