scouts-l Mail Archive for May of 2000: Re: Scouting Cyberspace (LONG)
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Thu May 25 2000 - 23:49:48 CDT
Hey Doug and welcome to the "International Roundtable Meeting which NEVER
You've asked questions which collectively we've answered several times
before, and which I've personally answered about four times. It's great
that _Scouting_ is planning to do the article....but I hope that THIS TIME,
the magazine, instead of telling about a few sites and stating the BSA's
point of view with regard to all of this...focuses on FAMILIES and SCOUTERS
whom have been assisted through this online medium (and also cautions
against "getting all of your information via the Internet", as several
including myself have cautioned over and over and over).
You asked specifically (and I'm posting to the list as well as over to
Embers because this is the time of year that we lose a lot of Scouters to
camps, high adventure activities and other summertime (funtime) events. I
hope that some of the Scouters here will turn on their printers (if they
haven't already! *smiling*), print and retain this so that the next time
some well-meaning Scouter or parent asked "What good is all of that
internet stuff you are involved in?", you can give them a copy of this and
explain simply "lots."):
>� How has e-mail helped you with your Scouting activities? Give an example.
Being able to share my experiences -- my joy in getting a new unit
organized; my gut-wrenching, almost to the point of cussing agony at
watching several MONTHS worth of "cultivation" go down the drain because
the parent or Scouter or chartered organization decides "no, I think I
won't do that after all..". Being able to share a joke or two with a
Scouter OUTSIDE my District, OUTSIDE my Council, OUTSIDE even the BSA.
Those things are important to me as they are to many other Scouters. It
helps up keep from getting the "big head", keeps our minds sharp (or
sharpens them!), and most of all, reminds me that the things I suffer and
the joys I receive others also do receive as well....
This list is made up of some 3000 or so individual Scouters. Volunteers.
Parents. Professionals and former professionals. Chartered organizational
representative and partners. People from all walks of life, accessing us
with everything from the latest and greatest computer technology to
machines almost as old as the youth they work with (or older). People who
PAY UPWARDS of $10.00 A WEEK to get our 50 messages; and people who get
Scouts-L through the graces and hospitality of other Scouters receiving
this in DIGEST form, and printing them all out, photocopying them, and
laying them out each month at their Roundtable meetings. Or at their unit
Committee meetings. Or at their District or Council committee meetings.
These people WANT to interact with other Scouters OUTSIDE their "regular
monthly or weekly circles". They WANT to talk and listen to those others
who have ideas and impressions and opinions...some they may agree with,
others they will absolutely hate...but it's that INTERACTION that they want.
We don't get this kind of interaction at our monthly Roundtable or
Committee meetings. And we don't get the variety, depth and resources of
the answers we get here.
On the personal side, I LOOK FORWARD EVERY SINGLE DAY in reading what is
going on here on Scouts-L. I do. When I can't read Scouts-L - because I'm
busy doing work (including Scouting or youth program work), in the backside
of my mind I'm thinking "I wonder if that question about the WEBELOS Den
medallions got answered" or "I know that someone knows the answer to when
the deadline for the Jamboree is up as far as the age limits?" or whatever
and I look forward indeed in reading and finding out those answers and
providing my own.
No, it's not an obsession. It's rather wanting to stay in touch with 2000
or so of your "closest friends". And there are days in which I don't even
post to the list.
I read this list for the reasons that many Scouters have wrote to me
privately about their participation in the list: we can ask questions
without being ridiculed (teased, yeah, sure...but that's it!); we can
receive a set of answers from people who've "been there, done it (some
several times), and even are wearing the teeshirt", and most of all, I can
sit down with all of this information and make an informed, well-thought
out decision. I can also get a wealth of information that I would have to
bug the daylights out of my Council office and the professional staff
with...so much to a point whereby I am POSITIVE that if there wasn't a
Scouts-L (and all of the other lists out there where I can get and exchange
this information!), as soon as I would park my car in front of the Council
office, I would see EVERYONE - employees, professionals, even walk-ins --
ALL HIDE!! *laughter*.
>� How has a Web site (yours or someone else�s) helped
>you or your troop plan and carry out activities? Give
>� How has a Web site (yours or someone else�s) helped
>you or your troop with your fundraising activities?
>Give an example.
I will let others answer those questions, Doug....I've used a lot of
websites to answer questions from Scouters to do both; but because I've got
two websites which also provide answers and resources to both, I don't
think it's fair for me to answer those two questions without doing a
commericial for my site or the ones I use or contribute to.
>� How have Scouting-oriented chat rooms on the Web
>helped you? Give an example.
Chat rooms haven't helped me out at all, I'm afraid, Doug. While chat
rooms, like the ones on America Online (tm) and Yahoo (tm) are great, we
spend much more time discussing the outsides of an issue instead of the
"meat" of an issue. They are too short, too, and you don't get to "hear"
one voice but several voices are all "coming at you" at the same time.
It's hard to focus. They have their place....but I enjoy the email and
newsgroup formats much better because I can think, with very little
distraction (my wife's wanting me to find the checkbook...hang on...okay.
Those kinds of distractions I can deal with....*smiling*) about what I want
to say and how I want to say it (maybe not as clear as I want to, but...)
>� What has been a problem stemming from your use of
>the Internet, Web sites and e-mail with Scouting
>activities? Give an example. How did you solve the
The biggest problem I've personally had, and its going to sound really "big
headed" but it's really true, is that there's a large group of Scouters who
still believe that either I'm not for real...as in I don't exist....or that
I'm somehow part of the BSA's official "press and information machinery",
providing Scouters here what the BSA wants them to know. The way I've
solved this, other than my own personal appearances at various events and
activities over the last 12 years, has been through my own website,
complete with photos of myself, my family, my friends, and what I did and
do. It sounds like a broken record, but on four locations on my website,
I've got information there that clearly explains that I don't represent the
BSA, am not employed by them, and that I do speak my own mind which doesn't
sometime coincide with the official BSA line.
And that's where other Scouters DO get in trouble with their Councils with,
Doug. They DO speak their own minds, but to SOME Councils, their "own
minds" reflects their Council and sometimes professionals forget something
called the "right to free speech". I've received lot of tearful messages
from Scouters stating that because they have participated in this forum or
some other, or because they said something negative about their Council and
the way they do business here "in the open", that their Council has barred
them from participation, or have up and taken their registration status
And when I post every quarter my "encouragement posting", asking the
participants here to actually ask questions, it never fails that I get
three to eight postings back stating something like "I did and this is what
it got me....no, I'm keeping my mouth shut. Maybe I'll get back in their
graces and they'll let me back in..." I can only offer the advice to them
that I've been giving to professionals who want to participate but their
bosses won't let them: if you want to say something, good, bad or
otherwise, but are afraid of "hearing the consequences", post the note to
our Listowner or to other Scouters on here and ask them to post it without
your name or location. In answering lots of questions, current and past
professionals will "slip me a piece of paper" to answer the question, with
the condition that I don't say their name nor Council. Some volunteers
have likewise "slipped me" and others here "a note", asking us to ask the
question to the list in general but "leave my name out of it, because I
know that so-and-so from my Council or from my unit is also here...." We
do, and those issues are resolved as well. I am sure however, they would
love not to have "third and fourth parties" to interpret and forward their
feelings, thoughts and emotions to all of us...they would rather do it
Not a great way to provide a service to a program which among its Aims is
to promote responsible citizenship....
>Please provide your e-mail address and phone number in
>case I need to ask a question or call for further
My email address and phone number are on my website, which is listed below.
You can also reach me during the day at 1-800-THE ARMY extension 3153 or 3013.
Thanks for asking...I hope you receive a LOT of responses (but I hope that
you will repost your question next week after those Scouters return from
the BSA's National Meeting, the Transatlantic and Far East Council's Annual
Meetings and Conferences, and from the All Hands professional meeting)!!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
[Purchase Your Binder! for Scouting's Y2K's publications!]
personal inquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
professional inquiries via email@example.com
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