GEN: scouting's goal (Long)
Rodger Morris (rlm@SUNED1.NSWSES.NAVY.MIL)
Wed, 9 Nov 1994 15:43:10 PST
>Bob McGwier <n4hy@CCR-P.IDA.ORG> writes:
>(much deleted in his reply to NorMac)
>>If this were his only posting on the topic of BSA, its program, and its
>>requirements for membership, I would agree with you. I stand by the
>>note as I sent it. I believe what I said in it to him. I find his postings
>>to be offensive and insulting. I believe others find them to be that too.
>I for one don't find them neither offensive nor insulting. I've been
>talking offline with Gregor for the past year or so, and find that his
>concept of what the BSA is all about based totally on what he reads
>here (and on Rec.Scouting) and comparing it against his home program
What we have here between Bob McGwier and Gregor Herrmann is a classic
example of the purist vs. pragmatist Scouting debate that has gone on for
decades. We in the BSA fall into the highly pragmatic camp. The Europeans,
the British excepted, tend to fall into the purist camp.
One may oversimplify the subject by stating that the Europeans emphasize
"doing the right things", whereas we in the BSA emphasize "doing things
right". Lazlo Nagy, former Chief Executive of the World Organisation of the
Scout Movement (WOSM), found it necessary to explain and defend the BSA's
approach to Scouting to the rest of the Scouting world in his book, "250
Million Scouts" (U.S. Library of Congress Catalogue Number LC85-HS3312,
>So Bob, Gregor's (and other's) questions are neither flammatory nor
>insulting to me. I take it as it is...questions and inquries from a
>non-USA Scouter that want to understand why we do the things we do.
>Shutting him out or telling him (or anyone else for that matter) that
>"his points don't count" to me is a lot like telling a Tenderfoot
>Scout when he asks "Why do we have to study the US Flag?", that he's
>un-American if he don't.
I concur with Mike Walton. Remember also, that Gregor writes English as a
second language. His English, while very good, lacks the delicacy of
expression that one might reasonably expect of a native-born English speaker
of a comparable level of education.
Stated another way, Gregor only knows how to ask questions in a direct and
blunt fashion that may easily be misinterpreted as a "putdown" of the BSA
and it's approach to Scouting. Couple this with the different Scouting
world-view held by most Europeans, and one may easily see why Bob McGwier
might take offense, where no offense was intended.
When I was stationed in Spain, we were not permitted to go out into the
local community until we had completed a one week orientation seminar
comcerning the conditions, customs, and mores of our host country. This was
expensive, as all military members, spouses, and children 12 years old and
older had to go through it. The consequences of ignorance, however, almost
got us kicked out of Spain on several occasions.
Example: Sailors cheered the bull at a bullfight in 1969. Most of Submarine
Squadron 6 (official guests of the Spanish government at the bullfight in
question) were arrested on felony charges as a result of this incident by
the Spanish Civil Guard. (a Spanish national police)
Here and now, as there and then, "What we have here, is a failure to
Anybody who believes that customs and mores are the same the world around
has never been more than about 50 miles from his/her doorstep, barring a few
terminally unobservant individuals (none of whom read SCOUTS-L <GRIN> ).
>Part of understanding *why we do the things we do* in the BSA is what
>brought me to this list. There are Scouters that were going around
>blindly doing things without understanding why they were doing them
>the way that the professional wanted them to do them and too scared to
>*ask* why, for fear of getting what you dished out to Gregor.
>I for one will answer his statements, comments and objections as best
>as I can...just like I will strive to do the same for you or any other
I shall post an excerpt from Lazlo Nagy's book in a separate posting that
addresses the crux of the "purist vs. pragmatist" debate in Scouting.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scoutmaster, Troop 852, Ventura County Council, BSA
National Woodbadge 416, Philmont, 1973
"I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City