BSA Core Values....

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by tug_boat, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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  2. bearhunter66

    bearhunter66 Member

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    I served as a Den Leader for 5 years, Assistant Scout Master for 5 years and Scoutmaster for 2 years. One of my greatest honors has been watching 4 young boys who joined in the 1st grade obtain the rank of Eagle and prepare to graduate high school this year.

    "My" last scout obtained the Eagle rank in mid December and I immediately resigned from the BSA.

    I am immensely proud of what these young men have accomplished. I am deeply disappointed that the national organization has taken this path.

    This is my choice but I know many honorable men who have done the same and others who are struggling to balance their desire to serve and the direction the BSA is taking.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Interesting article tug. Thanks for posting. Hopefully they are learning more from their leaders at the local level than the dithering idiots at the national level. Certainly BSA is heading downhill but I don't think it's this one issue that defines it and the decline is more a reflection of society than anything BSA does.

    There are also other organizations that are growing and perhaps picking up some slack. In the south Indian Guides and Indian Princesses are growing organizations which do a lot in the community and help even if it's just spending more time with Dad.
     
  4. PaParent

    PaParent Member

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    BSA/GSA

    I can't speak of the BSA as God blessed me with four daughters, but I can speak of what I've seen of our local GSA. All four of my daughters had a go of it with the GSA. At the entry level, all enjoyed the activities, badge earning, projects etc... that came with the organization. However, once they reached middle school age a number of factors deflected their and their friends interests from GSA. First, and foremost, sports in particular come to dominate after school time (especially with "athletic" kids). Second, the troop leaders became much less effective in guiding the program along a purposeful path. Why? I believe a much more committed adult is required and there are fewer and fewer of those out there willing to stay the course. Third, the financial demands of the structure seem to dictate that constant fund raising by implemented to keep the ship afloat. Our kids were always peddling something to raise money. That gets old. Fourth and finally, most parents either fail to recognize or put too little value in the life lessons available thru scouting. My kids get a "camp" experience 10 weekends a year as my wife and I have a permanent campsite in a park about 1 1/2 hours from home. No cell phones, no electronics, just family and friends communicating with each other. Many young parents either NEVER experienced it, or forgot just how good an experience it is/was for them.
     
  5. egri

    egri Member

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    I agree with a lot of what PaParent said.

    My personal experience, just with my former troop, was that a lot of parents raised kids with issues, and rather than take responsibility for it, they abdicated the teaching of values and discipline to the BSA. So many parents did that that the result was the troop became a cesspool. That in turn drove out a lot of kids with leadership potential, who would have otherwise stayed in. Compounding that problem was that in between video games, tournament sports teams and other ECAs, it got really hard to recruit new scouts. My troop has the best adult leaders in the world, but they are not magicians, and in between the waffles at the national level, and (what I see as) my increasingly self-centered generation, there is not a whole lot they can do other than put lipstick on the pig.
     
  6. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    Well said, maybe that pertains to all of us now. This is a bigger problem for all of society instead of only the BSA.
     
  7. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I continue to disagree with the notion that millennials are some sort of self-entitled and self-absorbed generation doomed to destroy America. It's the generation fighting Iraq and Afghanistan. It's the generation that makes up the bulk of the armed forces, now. It's a group that donates much time and money to charitable causes. And it's a group that, surprising to many, is conscious of financial responsibility and liability.

    http://business.time.com/2012/11/08...-entitled-generation-is-willing-to-sacrifice/

    As far as my views on the BSA - I agree with the notion that they were indecisive and craven. Taking a purposely ambiguous stance with the goal of offending the least and maintaining the greatest membership/cash-flow instead of boldly declaring their intentions and position. I would offer another view, the BSA decline in membership isn't some representation of a generation of loafers but a generation that is conflicted by many BSA "values" and practices and seeks the same character development through other means and organizations.
     
  8. runslikeajohndeere

    runslikeajohndeere Member

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    Leadership

    Some great points and views here. Oldest, an Eagle scout, applied to West Point last year, but couldn't top the other candidates. Many of those skills are used now as ROTC cadet. As a side point, some of these Eagles are truly amazing while some are quite lackluster. Perhaps WP or other academies realizes this.

    Youngest will take same path, but may go Air Force as he loves memorizing facts on aviation. It should be noted that his den has many of the children that need help in one manner or another: divorce, disabilities, lack of discipline. He is very aware that these boys benefit from BSA(at the local level), and that he benefits from leading them as a Webelos II. Thus, BSA at the national level is like most of America trying to make changes (many unnecessary), but it provides great opportunities for boys to lead.

    If you can lead here, you can probably lead those that serve.
     
  9. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    Actually the millennials give less and less proportional than the older generations. I think this is more a direct result of much less opportunities in life than their generational parents and grandparents. I know so many stuck in perpetual grad school.

    http://www.thestreet.com/story/1200...-way-more-to-charity-than-gen-x-or-gen-y.html

    Those millenials fighting these wars the last twelve years are to be greatly commended, particularly with the many deployments. Some have logged more combat time than most of their ancestors combined. But less than 0.5 percent of the population serves in the armed forces, compared with more than 12 percent during World War II. Even less and less of the privileged and powerful shoulder arms.

    I agree with you the BSA has been impacted in membership by certain stands on some values which turn some people away. It is their decision on that.
     
  10. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Marketing and staying competitive...

    When I was a scout so many years ago, I remember billboards and bus stop signs posted, “Hire an Eagle Scout”, then it would list the attributes and skills these young men had. At the time everyone wanted to be part of the fun! Today you don’t see BSA marketing themselves. And in many respects has been out marketed by those who want to de-value a 100 year old, largest peace and leadership program that has ever been. Think about that, 100 year old organization! Not many business have lasted that long. And why? BSA has failed to market what is good and wholesome for our communities. If I could, I would take BSA Salesmanship merit badge away from them.


    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I just about choked to death on my food at the mere thought of a baby boomer decrying the self-centered and self-serving generation of today.

    Boomers: have you people met yourselves? Thanks for ruining everything and handing us the bill. Fight two wars over 12 years (which y'all started for us) without burning your draft cards and bras and turning Haigh-Ashbury into a cesspool of LSD and STDs...then I'll care about your assessment of my generation.

    Raimius is right on. Boomers can gripe about our "self-centered" generation all you want, but three things cannot be ignored.

    1. They raised us.
    2. We're paying their bills.
    3. We're cleaning up their messes.

    Leadership can be learned in a thousand places. A kid not wanting to don a weird uniform and be part of a den doesn't mean that the youth of today are feckless and wanting for development. How many of you older folks grew up to the join the Elks, Masons, IOOF, or Eagles like your parents did? How many of y'all are Rotarians?
     
  12. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    One of the issues the BSA faces is the public image of a Boy Scout isn't that flattering. If you aren't involved, when do you see them?...when they try to sell you overpriced popcorn.

    The other big issue I have is that many troops try to push their scouts to Eagle by "checking boxes." All the badges and programs are worth very little if everything is just done to the minimum. I've heard of too many cases of Eagle Scout being awarded to very young scouts whose parents shoved them through. For some, it's just another bullet for the college application, and that is a shame.
     
  13. egri

    egri Member

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    One thing that always stuck in my craw after all my years in scouting was the sheer number of boys who checked all the boxes and got Eagle, but were post turtles in every sense of the word. I think the non-scouting public has realized that while Eagles frequently go on to do impressive things, there are plenty of duds in there as well (William Westmoreland comes to mind). I'd like to think there are more of the former than of the latter, but it doesn't take that many rotten apples to turn off a lot of people to all the good that scouting can offer. And that's without the sex abuse scandals, the gay controversy, the adult leaders who use troop funds for their personal purposes, etc all added on top.
     
  14. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Two guys awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in our town, both were in DS's high school class, had a history of drug use and drinking. One also had a police record for destruction of private property (graffiti and breaking windows and leaving broken beer bottles behind downtown stores). He spent 2 of his high school years at a "military school for troubled teens." In both cases, it was their dads who did the majority of the work on the Eagle Scout project. That pretty much killed for me any amount of automatic awe when I hear of someone "achieving the rank of Eagle Scout." I need more information before I assume "Eagle Scout" means a boy is a leader of good moral character.

    That said, I have to agree that of DS's close circle of high school friends, most are now making good progress toward respectable careers that include a commitment to military service. I am so proud of all of them.
     
  15. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    If we are going to define any organization, title, role, citation, achievement or award by the "rotten apples" within that group, then I maintain there is nothing that we should hold an "automatic awe" of. There are bad examples found in every walk of life. Don't assume any award holder is a leader of good moral character.

    To put things in context, approximately 7% of Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

    This isn't a generational, political or social commentary. Rather, I offer a personal view on Scouting as it relates to this forum and the military. For me, Scouting provided the foundational base for many of the skills Uncle Sam refined during my time in the service. I was well prepared for living in the outdoors, marksmanship, first aid, backpacking, hiking, orienteering, survival, etc. I got my first taste of leadership responsibility while in the Scouts. I believe the skills and leadership I learned helped me during my time in the service. And yes, I am an Eagle Scout.

    Scouting wasn't necessary to succeed in the military. As Scoutpilot says, there are lots of other places to learn leadership. However, Scouting definitely gave me an advantage early in training when I was with lots of guys who had never been in the woods at night, never carried a pack or hiked any distance, etc. I learned life skills and leadership skills that were definitely applicable while in the service and afterwards. Of course, I also learned valuable skills on teams, jobs and extracurricular activities also.

    So for me, Scouting was a great experience that helped prepare me for my time as an Infantry Officer. Any young man's experience with Scouting will be influenced by his Scoutmaster, the kids in the troop and the parents of those kids. Some will be great - some will be terrible.

    Some Scouts and non-scouts will go on to achieve great things and become people of great character. Other Scouts and non-scouts will be bums.
     
  16. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    I am deeply grateful for your service as an Infantry Officer. I mean that from the depths of my soul, USMCGrunt. I'm also glad that your Boy Scout group was a positive experience that resulted in building useful skills for you. I agree that any troop can be a great troop with an excellent Scoutmaster, committed adult leaders and serious youth leaders too. And there are probably even some Eagle Scouts who managed to achieve that goal who didn't necessarily have a good leadership team, or parents that helped.

    May all troops be as strong as the one you grew up in!
     
  17. navymomwannabe

    navymomwannabe Member

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    +1 USMCGrunt

    My son will be an eagle scout in a couple weeks (has to have his Board of Review) and his experience in scouts has been a huge part of his character development. I agree with your statements completely. We have been blessed with a very good troop. They do not cut corners on the camp outs. These boys learn how to camp, cook, clean, leave no trace, take care of gear, etc. They even had to put out a small forest fire at summer camp one year and were commended by the local fire department. DS has gone to Philmont twice and loved the experience. Not all troops are created equal and to be honest, we ignore a lot of the national BSA stuff as it does not affect our local troop. I hope they figure out a way to save some face and be inclusive but I do not see boy scouts as a bad organization based on my son's (and my husband's) experiences.
     
  18. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I certainly agree with that, in general, and especially that last statement USMCGrunt. My Scouting experience with my three brothers, and all the kids for blocks around in the neighborhood, with my Dad serving as Scoutmaster matches yours. We went camping once a month for 48 straight months. Snow three feet deep? No issue, strap on the snowshoes. Temps at -30? No problem. Dig a trench fire in front of that lean-to shelter you built and put some tin-foil behind it to reflect the heat into the shelter. Cover 50 miles by canoe in three days? Consider it done. We certainly picked up lots of skills.

    That being said, I do think its different times. I'm not sure many folks spend anywhere near as much times outdoors. And certainly the character of many of our urban areas are far different now. And for PC reasons, Scouting has lost a lot of financial and organizational support. While I would still encourage any kid to join Scouts, I don't think it's as strong or as excellent an organization it was when we were kids, for various reasons.
     
  19. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    In the interest of full disclosure, I have two sons - neither of which went into Scouting. Therefore I don't really know much about today's scouting - I have to assume that the basic skill development, merit badges and Eagle Scout progression of ranks remains the same. My only political knowledge of the organization's issues comes from the headlines.

    I wanted my kids in Scouting but another point I missed in describing my experiences was the neighborhood friends factor. My scouting experience was fantastic for all the reasons I noted plus the fact that many of my friends were in the troop also. My kids tried it for a year but none of their buddies participated so they dropped out.

    Both boys were very successful in sports and competed in travel teams full time. This took the place of Scouting. They learned from participating on these teams - just not the same skills.

    So... my views are probably Norman Rockwell nostalgia for a time when all the neighborhood kids joined scouting, played pick up games and went camping on their own. My brother and I hiked 3 states of the Appalachian Trail on our own without any adult present. We got into athletics as we got older. I was a 3-sport Varsity athlete in high school. Both my kids were better athletes than I ever was and certainly played more games competitively than I ever did. Today's athletes are definitely better than we were - I see it at high school events all the time.

    To me, the generational difference is around focused participation at a younger age. Organized extracurriculars vs pick up games. More parental "protection". Less outdoor time. Expertise vs well-rounded focus.

    The world is different and today's youth learn their skills in different ways. But I am sad to hear that Scouting enrollment is struggling as I do believe it provides some unique experiences that are hard to find elsewhere.
     
  20. MilitaryBound2018

    MilitaryBound2018 Member

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    Thanks for posting. Scout is what you make of it. My DS enjoyed years of learning important values, leadership skills and it shaped his desire to serve others and serve our country. The adult volunteers in his troop worked tirelessly, spending their own time, gas and money to serve the boys in the troop and serve their community.
     

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