Thu, 2 May 1991 16:16:37 EDT
I have read with interest the recent comments on re-organization of BSA
Perhaps the following description of my experiances as a Scout during
the reorganization of the Scout Association in Britain during the 1960's
will help people work through what is likley to be a difficult time if
BSA is to survive and prosper in the 2000's.
I was 14 when the re-organization started; working on my first class
hoping to get my Scout Cord and looking forward to Rovers and working
to get my Queen Scout (my dad had been a King Scout). Suddenly there
was to be no Rovers just these new fangled Ventures. The Scouters
in my troop were Tradditionalists (with one exception the Cub Leader
a women) Grey Wolf our Skipper,who would tell us tales of going
camping with a Trek Cart and on fixed wheel bikes, decided he was too old
and resigned. The younger Scouters and Rovers tried to fight the changes
and eventually left to form a new troop under the aspicies of the
Federation of Eourpean Scouts who would let them continue as a
Rover Unit. There was a law suit over who owned the Troop equipment.
As boys caught up in all this I and the other Scouts were used as
pawns, both sides claimed they were acting in our best interests.
With totally divided loyalties I quit scouting - I got the First
Class but never made Queen Scout. Over the next few years I vacilated
backwards and forwards working as an assistant cub leader in the
Scout Association and then joining the FSE Rover Crew. In time I went
University and joined the Scout and Guide Club (my first experience of
co-ed Scouting). Later I became the Asst. to a local Scout troop a
position I left with some saddness when we moved to the States.
The final camp I ran before leaving was a joint camp with the
district Venture crew (Mixed) and our Troop, my wife came along
as the "female" scouter, this was one of the best camping trips
we had none of the horrendous things predicted by the tradditionalists
happened, the young women were treated with a certain amout of disdain
by some of the older scouts until we went asailing(repelling) when the
proved they had every bit as much courage (in some cases more) than
Now both my wife and I are active in Scouting both in our son's
pack and in the Council so what is the message of this some what
long winded story?
1) When you oppose or promote a change do not use "It's for the good of
of the Boys" to hide your own prejuducies. Examine your motivation
2) Be an optomist do not assume the worst of the young men and (perhaps
soon) young women in our charge - if we do our job as adult role
models correctly they will behave. If you have low expectations
they are sure to meet them.
3) The loss of leaders from Scouting during times of change is a
problem - the loss of boys because of descention amongst adults is
4) Talk to the boys about changes - get their feelings without
imposing yours. You might fined what strikes you as revolutionary
will seem to them a common place.
Yours in Scouting
Pack 49 Moutaineer Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City