Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1999: Re: Council Communications - Back to Pro Bashing?
Re: Council Communications - Back to Pro Bashing?
Calvin H. Gray
Wed, 8 Sep 1999 14:01:39 -0500
A list member wrote:
> Why are you asking? As a pro recruiter, I would say that Scouting is a
> good chance to spend valuable time with your son, now I'm not so sure!
> The responses that I can't even make sense of tell me that this group
> has no interest in the facts, only wanting Scouting to continue. I find
> it unbelievable that so many can respond and say that Scouting is doing
> fine. Everybody knows better! But I guess we all must maintain our
> illusions. Oh well, to be expected I guess. I was hoping that Scouting
> meant something to at least these folks. Honesty and all that Jazz...
Well, my experience during 21+ years as a Scouting volunteer leads me to
a different conclusion. I see many signs that Scouting is growing and
improving in delivering the promise to young people.
When I became active as a Cub leader in my community back in 1979, there
were two packs and two troops. Now we have eight packs and six troops.
Scouting has a significant presence in my community, and in my district,
council and state.
Young people "vote with their feet" and I see more and more of them
staying active in Scouting through their teen years. The Venturing
program is growing. During the next five years, most of the merit badge
requirements will be updated. Leave no Trace camping has been adopted
by the BSA and, if troops follow the LNT principles, will result in a
significant improvement in Scouting's public image.
Ten years ago, it was fairly easy to book a Philmont expedition or an
expedition at the other two BSA National high adventure bases. Now,
Philmont is completely booked for 2000 and 2001, and I understand the
Florida Sea Base and Northern Tier have also experienced tremendous
growth in demand for their programs. Councils all over the country are
adding high adventure programs to attract older Scouts.
More and more opportunities are becoming available for training. This
year, for the first time, the Philmont Training Center was completely
booked during each week. A new Wood Badge course is being developed.
The BSA isn't standing still!
I remember when there was no "Guide to Safe Scouting" or publications
such as the wonderful "Passport to High Adventure" booklet that lists
over fifty council operated high adventure programs for older youth.
The BSA has a web page and is constantly improving the content. More
and more councils, including mine, have official web pages which enhance
communications with volunteers. I applaud the BSA for publishing a
Scout Handbook that Scouts actually read and use.
Of course, the BSA isn't perfect. I would like to see the uniform
changed, and see the BSA use electronic methods of communications to a
greater extent. I would like to see a study to determine if the current
structure is the most effecient and effective way to offer the Scouting
program in the USA. Boy, would that be a great thesis for someone
working toward a doctorate in Commissioner Science!
Finally, I've found that getting things changed within the BSA is far
easier if you have a proposed solution to a problem rather than merely a
gripe, especially a gripe aired on a public forum such as this.
Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
I used to be an Owl (WM-62-2-98 @ Philmont)