Re: Stats, etc.
Steve Tobin (srtobin@MMM.COM)
Fri, 19 Nov 1993 13:13:39 -0600
Re: Msg from Mike Walton:
Thank's for your 'short' reply. I wonder what you could do if you weren't
You bring up some good points; sometimes we are like the 7 blind men
trying to describe an elephant. We only have access to a small part of
the picture, and need a broader perspective to balance out our observations.
Our local council is currently coming out of a periond of poor management,
and may also have an effect. Our current Exec is doing wonders, and we have
a new DE that is becoming very effective as she gains experience and
>It's NOT the "First Class in the First Year" emphasis...the BSA is
>merely returning to the standard of getting Scouts to First Class
>Scout in their first year of Scouting. To illustrate this point, one
I do not remember anyone getting 1st Class so soon when I was involved
in the early '60s, but this varies between troops I'm sure. But we had
to learn morse code and signaling for the rank, and I find it hard to
believe we did all that in a year.
>I would have to disagree with your observations. While yes, strong
>parental support is needed, the OVERALL difference is that Troops that
>have Scouts that understand and IMPLEMENT the Scouting principles and
>know the Scouting skills are those Troops with a strong youth
>leadership and a trained, willing Scoutmaster and several Assistant
>Scoutmasters that know the program AND the boys in their Troop. While
Again, assumming a good program, if the parents don't support the boy's
involvment the boy will surely not stay for long. My experience, again,
is limited to what I see. I took over a disfunctional troop a little over
3 years ago, with no patrol method, no JL training, no adult leader
training, etc. When I came in all of the older boys had quit, or quit soon
after, so I started from scratch with a crew of 11 & 12 year olds.
Needless to say, I made plenty of mistakes, but have been successful in
implementing the scouting method in the troop. I received the basic
training (love the new fast start tape), and insist my ASM's all have it.
I have conducted JLT sessions with outside experts coming in, until this
year when I felt competent to do it my self (love the SM JLT training
package). I have a functioning troop committee, am rebuilding a good
relationship with out sponsor, and am really seeing things pulling
together. But throught it all, I find it so frustrating because a boy
will (almost ) not stay if his parents to not support (not push) him.
They forget meetings and outings, show up unprepared or unequiped, and
eventually drift off. Maybe this will change as the program continues
to gather strength.
>If the Scout is publicily recognized for that acheievement (we have
returned to presenting First Class Scout Certificates, in it's own
folder, to First Class Scouts...I don't have the catalog number
available, but your local Council office should have them on the
shelves. If they don't, shame on them for failure to live up to their
end of this emphasis!).
Never heard of it. I'll have to check it out. We are in the process
of changing the recognition process. The scout will get MB's and awards
as soon as he earns it, instead of at a Court of Honor. I am holding
the cards back, though, and will present them at the COH. They repsond
very positively to this.
> If the Scout is presented his First Class
Badge by a Eagle Scout in your Troop or in a neighboring Troop (please
note, Steve, that I did *not* mention the Scoutmaster or any other
adult doing the presentation...First Class Scouts need to be visibly
Good idea. The SPL always presents the awards as we have no Eagle Scouts
but we could certainly borrow one.
>..... We built
camping facilities (many now which are being closed) in as best a
primiative state as possible BECAUSE THAT WAS PART OF THE EXCITEMENT
OF BEING A SCOUT...the idea of backpacking into a "wilderness area"
Somewhere (and I don't really know when this trend moved...if you give
me some time, I could find out) in the time...the idea of camping at a
"wilderness" camp faded and camps were pushing each other in line to
get monies to build dining halls, swimming pools and massive
administration buildings. Entire local Councils DUMPED their previous
wilderness camping facilities in favor of "brand new camping centers"
complete with man-made (or located close to a natural water source),
aquatic centers and all of the "things of home". It was thought that
the "big money people" don't want to see rustic (historic) shacks and
old rutted-out (from years and years of Scouts traveling down those)
trails...they wanted to see new, sharp buildings. They wanted to see
the clear, clean lake or stream and the motorboat on the lake. They
wanted to be entertained not on a hillside but on a nice arena with
In other words, they wanted to see a state part completed by the
Scouts...not a Scout camp. What you are seeing now is the next phase,
getting the families to use those "expensive, multi-dollar" facilities
(because, as you and I know, the more people use the facility, the
more money that can be made (and repayed) on the facility and the more
usage the facility will have!
This I can identify with! Our council let a beautiful 'primitive' camp
that I used as a scout detiorate into ruins. We still own the property,
but nobody now at council has even been there. Most of the SM's don't even
know about the site. My troop has begun to use it again as a hiking/tenting
camp (cabins are falling down and vandelized) and they love it. I gives
them the challenge that boys this age like. The council is building
a new & improved cub camp (just 4 miles from Council hq), yet is talking
about closing the Scout summer camp facility because they can't make it pay.
But they haven't invested anything in it for years. It is fairly
basic, and a 6-7 hour drive from the council offices. No glory there.
Perhaps this is a local problem, but I see similar things in neighboring
[OLD FOGEY ALERT]
This, obviously is not the '60's. There isn't much wilderness left, and what
there is, is rationed and crowded. My most memorable experience in scouting
is the 10 day canoe trip in the (pre-park) boundry waters through Sommers
Canoe Base. I still remember most of it like it was last week. I find it
hard to believe, based on my observations, that kids today have lost the
desire for this kind of personal challenge. They are bored with the
prepackaged, see what we have done for you, sterile 'State Park' approach.
The neighboring council put on a Jamborall last year, which was a mini-
National Jamoree. They really pulled out all the stops, brought in a
fantastic arrary of MB exhibits, 3-times a day stage shows & celebrities,
a fantastic Electric Campfire stage show, great activity area, etc...
I though they would be thrilled, but the reaction was very lukewarm. I was
kind of put off, actually. But take them to the abandoned, run down camp
with no water I mentioned earlier for a day hike, and they can't wait to
go back. They talk constantly about returning and fixing
it up, tenting there for a weekend, etc. There must be a lesson there.
I think we better decide what scouting is all about, and how to best
accomplish it. If we are going to train ethical leaders and all the rest,
we better (re)discover how to do it. If we are going to compete with
Disneyland, Chunky Cheese and Sea World as entertainment centers,
then we better get at it.
Anyway, thank's for the response. There is a lot to think about there. I
think a lot of organizations loose site of their mission over a period
of time, and I think it's good to re-evaluate where we are and where we
are heading. We have to put our own agendas aside to do what is best
for the boys we serve. There is a real leadership crises in this
country, and I believe scouting is more important now that ever before.
Steve Tobin, SM Troop 39
p.s. sorry for the length. I wasn't in a rush...
p.p.s. this is my second try on this. The system locked up in the middle
the first time, and I don't know what happened to the msg I was typing.
Aplologies if it was sent out.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City