Along the lines of what I wrote about Cub Scouting, in all fairness, I really shouldn’t have just attacked one aspect of Scouting. I should have jumped all over things and just said to do away with all Scouting. I mean, really, what does the BSA stand for? No, not Be Strong Always, but Baby Sitters of America, or as one former co-worker said to me, the Bull S–t Academy.
Using a lot of the reasoning about my disbanding Cub Scouts post, let’s talk about some of those reasons and how those precious resources can be redirected.
* Time – honestly, who has the time for teenagers. They have their own agendas, and want to be independent. They don’t need mentoring or coaching or an adult to talk to…that’s what their school teachers, parents and sports coaches are for. Why should I take an extra 10 minutes to get to know a boy that’s not going to listen to me, do what he wants and may even give me attitude while I am speaking to him? If a boy wants to sit around and play games, text with friends, or sit in the food court in the mall, good for him, he’s not egging my house or stealing from my garage.
* Teaching – teenagers already know it all. They have it under control. They know that they are going to make $80,000 a year out of high school. What is there to teach to someone that knows it all? These boys these days are just too smart to ever get into a situation like going in the ditch with their car, or getting stranded somewhere, without a phone or blanket or candles/light source or food. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and you can’t teach teenagers anything.
* Resources – Scouting doesn’t really hold anymore relevance in today’s society, and therefore, is a drain on resources that could be funneled in other ways. Schools, churches, fraternal organizations have better use of the empty space at their facilities. Why clutter it up with Troop flags, US flags, totes full of Scout program materials or shelves of Merit Badge pamphlets?
* Citizenship – why do we want good citizens? No matter what you do, boys are going to be bad seeds. You hear about it in the mainstream media everyday. These young men rarely do anything positive, and even when they do, it just gets shoved to the bottom of the fold on the back page of the paper, or the second to last story on the nightly news, getting 3 seconds of airtime. And have you seen how most of the local governments don’t like to work with Scouts? That kind of attitude just pushes these boys in a negative direction.
* Uniforms – see other post. Untucked, not worn when told to. Patches in the wrong spot. Grandpa always said if you are going to do something, do it right. And since these boys have no sense of uniform, it’s just pointless to even try as a leader.
* Boy Led – Yeah, right. Let’s go back to teaching. As a leader, you sit for hours, getting trained, learning all about the program. Then you take all that information, and try to teach it to the Scout that you appointed Senior Patrol Leader. You know that kid, the one who never shows up on time, never in uniform, never prepared, and total lack of respect for the adults, the youth or even himself. Getting these guys to cook on campouts, or do a good flag ceremony or tie a proper knot just ain’t happening, and no matter how many times you teach it, they will never get it. It’s just easier for the Scoutmaster and his Assistants to teach Merit Badges during troop meetings, and if they run out of Merit Badges to teach, then a game of dodgeball or a snowball fight will fill in nicely.
* Patrol Method – Why bother? Lord Baden-Powell stated that if your troop doesn’t use the patrol method, then you haven’t a troop at all. His words are for his time, 70 years ago, and no longer matter in today’s society. Just group them all together in the middle of the room and have them take notes while the leaders teach from the handbook…which, by the way, is a waste of paper. I mean, really? They expect a Scout to read all those pages? It’s just better for the Scoutmaster and the rest of the adults to know all the materials and to make the Scouts take notes.
* Advancement – All the time wasted on working on ranks is simply that, wasted time. Teach a knot, they forget it. They learn to set up a tent, then need you to do it when you get to camp. They forget simple lashings, or how to set up a wash station. Adults, save that headache, and either do it for them (because they expect it anyways) or just don’t camp.
* Outings – Why take your well deserved weekends to haul a bunch of Scouts around, putting miles and wear & tear on your vehicle. They climb all over your car, making a mess with their food or sodas that you told them they couldn’t have in your car, but did it anyways. Then, there’s the Scout that overpacks, or his mom packs for him, and either can’t find what he needs, or it gets forgotten at home.
Now, hopefully you have read this far, and not commented on other social media sites about how horrible this post is.
I have a passion for the program, and understand this…
I don’t feel this way about any of the program. If that were the case, I would just resign from it all, and find another outlet for my 3 sons.
The things stated above have either happened to me directly, or I have advised another leader on behaviors like above. When it comes to Boy Scouting, adults need to let the Scouts cross that line and peer over the edge of the cliff. Sure, don’t let them jump, but some leaders won’t even let Scouts get 5 feet from that line, let alone peer over the edge to see what’s down there.
All this blogging has made me tired….maybe it’s just time to go back to podcasting.