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Where Do You See Scouting Membership In The Next 5 Years? What Can We Do To Grow The Program?

You know what’s better than recording? A scribe who takes minutes.
No need to waste time replaying if the motions are listed in plain text with the result - carried, failed, tabled.

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Yeah, I have to admit that the first thing that went through my mind was “…and the Scribe’s PoR is just to hit the Record button?”

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My opinion: If it is not written down, there is no record that it happened.

Also for all posters in this discussion, if you are going to state the “there is a rule that …” please include the source of rule (that is, cite the reference for the rule).

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@MarkClemons never said that the virtual meetings did not utilize a scribe to take minutes.

Minutes of meeting (MoM) typically describe the events of the meeting and may include a list of attendees, a statement of the issues considered by the participants, and related responses or decisions for the issues.

@Qwazse , per definition MoM’s do not provide the details and rational which led to the decision for the issue.

The Scribes Scribblings of troop 29 provide examples of minutes where a recording would be a benefit.

The MoM of 11/13/18 did not detail what was talked about for the November campout and did not provided a list of attendees. The MoM of 11 February, 2020 provides much more detail but only the items discussed were listed not the discussion itself which would contain invaluable information.

From these MoM’s recordings would have great benefit:

  • It is obvious that the MoM’s were authored by two different scouts, one that took somewhat copious notes while the other notes were lacking the talking points.
  • Recordings would pick up the slack for newbie scribes.
  • Recordings would provide the discussion itself for all to review and refresh their memory.
  • Recordings would provide the background rational for the benefit of the absentees.

Troop 29’s website is impressive! The webmaster is the SM of Troop 29. Every troop should have one of this caliber to provide continuity of expectations, historical perspective, and the great accomplishments over the years. It is an excellent marketing tool to attract more youths and parents to the program.

Troop 4370 implemented a forum to advertise the troop and to promote communication among the troops members.

I am late to this discussion but really interested in this issue. We have a small troop in a town with 2 troops. The other troop is much larger than ours and was easily able to form a girls troop with its own leadership. We can barely find adult leaders. We would love to have a girl troop but having it separate was insurmountable for us. When Covid hit, we kept meeting virtually and once we figured out how to do it safely, went camping and met outside, masked, and socially distanced.

The other troop didn’t meet at all. Their young girls’troop had barely gotten off the ground. If we could be truly coed, we could expand our pool of leaders and scouts.

It is disheartening to see the sexism here and elsewhere. BSA is a completely different program from GSUSA. I was a Girl Scout and we busied ourselves with crafts until I got bored and quit. What I wanted is what my sons get to do now. We know this is a good program and inclusion shares these values and the whole program with everyone. The vitriol I have seen by grownups about this is why we need diversity and inclusion.

We need to find a way to bring scouting to youth as the values apply to every race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and sociology-economic status.

We need to stand together and for all youth to have a chance to experience this great program.

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The best way for change to occur is when everyone is onboard. In the case of the BSA over the last 5-10 years much of the change has been forced with the adult volunteers left to deal with it without much support. This created an exodus in members that have been with the program for many years. I’m not saying they were right or wrong and no one wants to be labeled something they don’t see themselves or their kids as.

I think if a sponsor wants an all-boy, all girl or co-ed troop then that should be up tp the CO. There is value in all forms. There should be room for all views. I think in time it will happen.

Getting parents involved will always be one of the biggest keys to making Scouting work. A parent that believes in the program will make their child “tough-it-out” a little longer. A parent that has time to volunteer but chooses not and uses Scouting as a baby-sitter service where they can drop their child off and get them out of their hair for a few hours are the ones that need coaching up.

My girls also did crafts and nothing else except a nice summer camp. My youngest loved the horseback riding but alas the camp was sold off, so no more horseback riding.

Questions:

  1. Which of these merit badges do girls like?
  2. The merit badges were developed before Scouts BSA and girl troops. Could you suggest any merit badges that girls would like to see?
  3. Do you think the eagle required merit badges are aligned with girl interests? The link shows the history of the eagle required merit badges. Interesting!
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All of these merit badges are interesting to girls. These are basic skills to be a good citizen in the US or really, anywhere. Scouts BSA has crafting, citizenship, science, arts, and outdoor skills that appeal to American youth. There are not merit badges I would suggest as being “interesting to girls”. It is the Scouts BSA program that is interesting to girls.

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Those are, frankly, pretty sexist questions.

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Is it sexist to open a door for a lady? Some actually think so. I’m one that was raised to think it’s the gentleman thing to do as a sign of respect for a lady. Being in the over 50 crowd I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being “insensitive” because I was using jargon that was considered normal when I was younger.

We are not an androgynous society. When a person ask what merit badges would girls like I don’t perceive as sexist. I look at it as being genuinely interested in was our newest Scouts would like to see added to the program. While not lumping people into one large group there certainly is a “women’s perspective” and a “man’s perspective”.

Adults need to get their acts together before we start refereeing boys and girls in a coed program. Even old fashion horseplay can easily get out of hand if it involves boys and girls.

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To be equally frank
“We will also continue to listen more, learn more and do more to promote a culture in which every person feels that they belong, are respected, and are valued in Scouting, in their community, and across America.”

We cannot learn more if we do not ask questions! We must value girls in Scouts BSA and wish that we can do all we can to welcome them.

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If you’d hold the door for a woman and not a man, then yes it’s sexist, regardless of the intent.

Times change, and what was acceptable decades ago isn’t acceptable today. We, as leaders and as people in general, need to understand that. That’s true for big issues: was Columbus a hero or a villian?; and for small issues: am I treating others with respect today, regardless of the color of their skin or the pronouns they prefer to use?

So, when I read a poster ask these questions:

I can’t help but hear "why aren’t the girls happy staying in the kitchen?”

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HA HA…I guess it had to happen sometime. We actually disagree on something.

If being a gentleman in my example labels me as sexist then I accept it. As I said, what some people call sexist I call respect and manners.

Asking what a girl would like to see in merit badges might surprise you with some good ideas…I could of accuse you of being sexist by saying you are telling girls to “take what we offer and like it”…see how it can work? Look at what is being said in the context. People are warping words in a way these days like I’ve never seen.

Sure, but why aren’t you asking ALL THE NEW SCOUTS what merit badges they’d like to see added? Why single out the GIRLS?

And, honestly, OP’s prior post history was pretty consistently reactionary, which probably predisposed me to hear sexism in his questions.

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I think you are arguing to be a devils advocate but I’ll bite. The BSA just allowed girls to participate in a program that was all-boy for over 100 years. It was a program written for boys by mainly men. The BSA needs girls to grow this program. The boys had had plenty of time over the decades to offer their input and have.

I can’t believe you don’t see this as a bridge to making the girls feel welcomed. It’s like “opening a door” for them…There will be a time when the are fully integrated and coed and everyone is good.

I think that, while phrased poorly, sometimes these can be (or at least lead to) valid questions. There are a number of assumptions packed into the way that it was phrased (most notably to me that male and female youth are, respectively, monolithic blocks). At the same time, if there’s a large shift in the demographic of the folks we’re serving, and we don’t ask the question as to whether or not we’re also serving that new demographic well, then I feel like we’re doing all of our youth a disservice. The answer in this case, I suspect, will be what you concluded: female youth are just as interested in these skills as male youth are. Some will just just as disinterested as male youth are. That’s dertainly borne out by the fact that, when I asked for help with camp cleanup after our most recent chapter ordeal, I got the same enthusiasm from both our male and female youth. At the same time, the demographic change isn’t just female/male, it’s also youth whose lives are, in many ways, drastically more “digital” than certainly mine was at their age. The ways that they communicate (and I don’t just mean “txt spk”) and the types of free time activities that they choose are very different from what I chose to do at their age. I suspect they are different from what I would have chosen to do, even if I had more exposure as a youth to electronic infrastructure of the type that they have today, although it’s hard to decouple my preference for being outdoors from my upbringing.

I agree that this gets at the root of the question we need to be asking. What do our current youth want to see in terms of the program being offered? As I noted above, there is an assumption inherent in asking what the female youth want to do: that the male youth are already getting what they want to see in the program. I don’t think that’s a given, but I can see how the assumption is reached, given the fact that there is a longer time horizon over which the feedback of male youth has been incorporated into the program, at least at what is now the Scouts BSA level.

A similar question was raised at our OA virtual section conclave this weekend. One of the female leaders asked whether or not anyone had conducted a comprehensive survey, or even any survey, of what the female youth (and adults) want to get out of the OA. It led to a discussion later among the adults about whether or not we were adequately tracking in on what the youth want to do in general, or if we are unconsciously encouraging them to do “the same old things”. We got a lot of insight from two no-longer-youth (just turned 21) arrowmen who talked about how the interests of scouts in their units had changed just over the course of time they had been involved. Entertainingly enough for the old folks in the “back of the room” (does that expression even work in the era of Zoom?), their view on the interests of the new scouts came across to me nearly as “hidebound” as ours did. However, if no one had the guts to ask the question in the first place, I think that an important discussion would have been missed.

I think that there can be a lot of things learned by studying demographic distributions of responses, most typically in my experience how similar we all are, particularly given the shared values inherent in scouting. That said, if one has a unit or OA chapter or similar grouping that has undergone a large shift in membership characteristics – even if it’s just part of the changes due to interests evolving with the passage of time – I think it behooves us to keep asking the question “Are we serving the youth we have today?”

My daughter’s (3 of them, 1 a star scout, 1 will cross over in march, 1 a bear) love the merit badge list as is. My middle daughter is looking forward to art, graphic design, and music. My oldest has loved environmental science, wilderness survival, rile, pioneering, climbing, and wood carving. So, the offerings seem to meet their needs, at least now. I will ask them what would they add that is missing because they are girls. I am interested in their response. My guess is nothing, but I won’t know without asking.

Predisposed means prejudiced or biased.

You are calling me a sexists!
That is another Ad Hominem attack!

I think he called your questions sexist.

The only MB they said they would add is sewing. Since textiles is so wimpy, I asked if sewing should be added to that. They agreed. They would add a sewing requirement that requires a) sewing on a button b) hemming a pair of pants c) sewing on 3 patches.

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