Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: What is going on here!!
Re: What is going on here!!
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:42:42 -0600
Ken Mitchell <kennat@INREACH.COM> asked *the number one question*
asked of me frequently:
"Why have a list when everything you guys (and gals) talk about
are contained in a booklet or manual somewhere?? It seems to me
that you spend too much time asking and answering questions that's
found in some book somewhere!!"
>What disturbs me. Is that a lot of you are not reading the scout
>handbooks or listening to the trainer if they are reading the
>books correctly. In scouting you do not do uyour own thing. You do
>the Scout thing!!!
Ken, I'll answer this like I answer that same question from
"well-meaning" professionals and some other volunteers that after a
couple of weeks, find what we talk about here "stupid, considering
that people can't read and get the answers on their own!"
(not saying that you nor anyone else here says this!)
First, let me say that for the most part, our volunteer training
programs are really first class. The trainers teaching others the
basics of Girl Scout or Boy Scout adult leadership in differing
roles are doing a great job with the materials at hand, with the
ability to localize and personalize the training to the trainees,
and with a great deal of tact and understanding that not everyone
learns the same way.
Now, saying all of those kind words, let me add a lot of real-life
into the mix: Many of our Scouters are NOT TRAINED. PERIOD. They
go through the motions of attending (in part, not full) a training
course or session and declare themselves "trained" because they
attended half of the course. Other Scouters attend the course, and
don't learn anything except the name of the District's Executive,
and perhaps the first names of a couple other Scouters, because the
trainers had better stuff to do on a Saturday and "rushed through
the materials" to "get out early." Other Scouters don't WANT YOU
TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS, primarily because they don't know the answers
and choose not to write down or record otherwise your concerns. To
them, they are there to "teach what the syllabus says" and anything
else outside that syllabus don't get taught or even discussed.
About those books. When I came onto this forum in 1990, many
Scouters here didn't even KNOW that professionals had a "manual" to
go by. Nor did many know about advancement materials that's
supposed to be available to them as volunteers. Nor were they
aware of many of the other materials which the BSA (and the GSUSA)
makes *for volunteers to use and follow*. Why?? Because many of
those books were "held" by key volunteers at their Councils and
when asked if those materials were available, they were simply told
"you don't need to know this; we'll let you know what the changes
Good thing for the Internet and electronic mail!
Remember, Ken, that not EVERYONE has access to those materials
STILL, and that those whom provided "chapter, verse and
interpretation" of those manuals and rule books and guides and
materials are doing a great service to other Scouters (even if
their interpretation isn't exactly what the BSA's intentions
are...and we will unforutantly NEVER know the BSA's intentions in
many aspects because there's no "official BSA spokesperson" here
Trainers should never just "read the books" to those participating
in training sessions. They should read the information out and
apply their OWN examples and illustrations...to make the material
more "than just words on a piece of paper". My wife's basic
training session was exactly as you stated: some person reading out
loud the material in the training materials, and on occasion
offering an example. Jessi came away from the eight-hour (eight
hours OF READING ALOUD to a group of people!) very upset and almost
quitting right then and there....there was no "application" of the
Good thing she had this list to "fill in the material" by!
>I wonder how many people read the Cub Scout program planning book
>which gives the programs each month and recommends Program
>planning for the whole year . Do all you have a theme for each
>month. Do you all have an opening and a closing? Do you all have
>an advancement ceremony.
That's all fine and good, Ken...but what people come here for is
not just "what's the theme for next month and how its carried out
in the "books", but also "how can I make MY PACK different than the
OTHER Pack in the town or county" and "specifically, how can I
address specific problems that I don't see addressed anywhere in
"How can I make my openings and closings better" or different?
"Is there another way that I can do a flag ceremony -- we don't
even *have a flag*!"
Many Packs choose to consolidate all of their advancements together
at the Pack meeting rather than to hand them out during the weekly
Den Meetings because it becomes a family affair and because to be
very honest, that's the ONLY time they get to see the parents of
the Den members!!
>If you watch your training videos it is pretty explicit as to how
>this is done.
But it's NOT THE ONLY WAY IT CAN BE DONE, Ken!! There's a lot of
variations that's allowed, and that's what makes Scouting
"Scouting". As a former District Commissioner, I had 47 Explorer
Posts and Ships in my District. Every Post was different, even
though I had nine Medical Explorer Posts and 19 "outdoor adventure"
Explorer Posts in my District. The way that each unit and it's
leadership (adult and/or youth) carries out the program is
different and that too adds to the specialness of what Scouting is
>Am I missing something here?
Yep, Ken, you're missing the important part of Scouting: the idea
that EVERY UNIT IS UNIQUE and while they implement the same
program, that the WAY that they choose to implement and carry it
out is different from unit to unit.
There's NOTHING in the BSA's stated literature which states that
ALL PACKS MUST USE THE STATED NATIONAL PROGRAM THEME FOR EACH
MONTH! Nothing. There's NOTHING in the BSA's stated literature
which states that ALL TROOPS MUST USE THE STATED NATIONAL PROGRAM
THEME FOR EACH MONTH. Nothing. Each unit is free to develop their
OWN monthly program. The Program HELPS are just that -- "helps" --
to give the unit that cannot think up their own program some ideas
and to provide a baseline for those units that choose NOT to "think
on their own".
As long as the unit is following the BSA's program to the best of
its ability, Ken, that's all the BSA is concerned with. Remember
that each unit "belongs" to that chartered partner, and that
chartered partner is responsible for insuring that the BSA's
program is carried out within the guidelines of the chartering
(c) 1999 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") email@example.com
http://www.mninter.net/~blkeagle Burnsville, MN 55306-7130 (612) 435-3068
privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
---- FORWARD in service to youth ----
YOUR BINDER, in time for Scouting's new publication format, is at my website NOW!