Author: Jeffrey Heck, Crossroads of America, Assistant Council Commissioner
Here is some of what you missed at Belzer’s Centennial today, Saturday, June 30, 2018
BSA has provided guidance for marketing Family Scouting. In some part it is simply a reminder to follow the Scout Law in marketing with concrete examples of violations of the Scout Law in this context.
Even so, it gives a checklist of “don’ts.”
Make sure you review this against your unit websites and emails.
As the BSA moves to being 100% co-ed, we need to study carefully what makes the BSA uniquely successful. In business this is called “best practices.” Best practices are an attempt to articulate in clear language and procedures what patterns of behavior in a business consistently lead to success, wherever tried.
The BSA has a history of moving adult leadership toward co-ed, so that once what was solely the province of men is now open to open women, too, especially the role of Scoutmaster. Even within our own district we have had successful female scoutmasters and cubmasters leading boys.
As girls move into the provinces that were once for boys only, we should consider with diligent care what are the Best Practices of leading scouts and cub scouts.
Since BSA adult leadership has been dominated by men with consistent involvement of women, some of the habits and practices that we have generated have come spontaneously from typical male leadership patterns. They are habits arising without thought or discussion. Some typically-male practices have been encouraged, such as the tendency toward a rougher and more chaotic pattern of play and participation. Some typically-male practices have been discouraged or outright banned, such as yelling orders at boys or hazing.
Psychologically we know that women tend to be more nurturing, protective, and risk avoiding, especially of infants and younger children; men tend to be more physically playful, bombastic, and risk inviting. According to Professor of Psychology Jordan Peterson, these two patterns help support one another in developing the most well balanced children. Both are essential to a psychologically healthy child. (Most of the analysis below is Peterson’s.)
Mothers create a safe environment where a child knows that the child will be well cared for when the child runs into problems, conflicts, or chaos. Mothers physically embrace and comfort children without hesitation when problems arise. Mothers speak soothingly and tenderly, allowing the child to right himself from whatever has upset him. This comfort and soothing are critical to allow a child to quickly find balance after something disrupt the calm surrounding the child. When my son was small, and even today as prepares to leave for college, when he is upset or frustrated, he is most likely to talk to my wife. My wife gives my son peace of mind.
Fathers create a risky environment where a child can explore the boundaries of the child’s body, its capabilities, and its limitations and of the world-at-large. Fathers are more likely to engage in rough and tumble play with the children. Children learn the limits of their bodies in such play. They learn that dad is heavier and harder to hurt. They learn there are consequences for inflicting pain on playmates. They learn difference between play and real fights. But most interestingly, children are so motivated by play that when dad tells them to do their homework before playing with dad, the children are more likely to do the dreary work first in order to be able to play with dad. This is one of the first and most effective means of teaching children the value of delayed gratification. When my son was younger, assuming dinner wasn’t ready, I would often toss my infant son up in the air and catch him, or tickle him. As he got older, I would change clothes then wrestle with him on the bed or do whatever game caught his attention at the time.
The father’s role in learning makes sense. Since we are creatures with bodies, our learning begins in the physical body’s interaction with the world. Our actions teach us more about the world than do our brains. We learn stoves are hot and dangerous through feeling heat (and hopefully avoiding contact). We learn how balls bounce through playing with balls, not reading books.
We learn how to walk through trying, while scientists are just now figuring out how to have robots do the same thing. This is called “embodied learning.” Robot designers have struggled with how to teach robots how to perceive and adapt to the world. They have used enormous amounts of computer processing and had little success. When they changed their perspective and focused on how a robot with a body would interact with the world, they quickly made huge break throughs. We embody learning because our bodies are our point of contact with the external world.
We learn love from mother’s caresses and hugs. We learn to walk by climbing up tables and trying our first steps. We learn to read by touching the page with our fingers to track where the next letter will be. We learn to treat others well through rough and tumble play. We learn to clean dishes after a meal when there are no clean dishes at the next meal. We learn to plan ahead by physically suffering from bad choices previously made. There becomes a desire to avoid the suffering the next time.
This physicality of embodied learning is a natural strength for male leaders. It encourages trial and error. It encourages individuality. It allows maturity-appropriate suffering while always avoiding and teaching the risks of life- or health-threatening suffering. Embodied learning is a core component of scouting.
So as girls become more involved in scouting, we have to be able to assess where male and female leaders strengths best serve our Best Practices.
We need to consider our Youth Protection Training and natural inclinations arising from chivalric principles about how men should treat and interact with women and young girls. How do we offer girls the benefits of embodied learning and physicality generally without overstepping our bounds, especially for male leaders?
I would suggest we recognize that these girls are joining Cub Scouts and likely will join Scouts BSA to have the experience of risk-taking, embodied learning, and other characteristics of male play that the girls have found lacking in other extracurricular offerings. We need to offer these girls what they have come for.
That means that mothers and fathers who are more risk averse for their “fragile” daughters need to be coached about the value of embodied learning that challenges these girls’ self-imposed limits. We need these mothers and fathers to recognize these challenges will make the girls anti-fragile. As a result, these girls will be happier, more self-confident, and more resilient.
In other words, we need to grow comfortable with telling the daughters’ parents that we don’t intend to water down the BSA program for their daughters. It is the undiluted BSA program that works. In essessence, we need to be prepared to explain why scouting works for boys and girls.
North Star Troop 56 (St. Luke’s United Methodist) announced the passing of its immediate past scoutmaster Dr. Brian Decker. Brian stepped down as scoutmaster when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had been battling ever since.
There will be a multi-faith Celebration of Life for Brian on Saturday, June 16th at 11:00 AM at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260). Following the celebration, there will be a light luncheon for fellowship with the Decker family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Indiana University School of Medicine Nephrology Division to be used to support fellowship training and personalized medicine activities. Please make memorial gifts payable to the “IU Foundation – IUSM” and mail to Indiana University School of Medicine, c/o IU Foundation, P.O. Box 7072 Indianapolis, IN 46207-7072. Please indicate “In memory of Brian Decker” on your gift.
Please keep Brian’s wife Peggy and sons Scott (age 19) and Noah (age 17) in your thoughts and prayers.
His obituary in the Indianapolis Star is posted here.
Last fall, the Indiana University Medical Center had posted a wonderful article about Brian, his battle with cancer, and its effect on his medical practice.
For any in the scouting community who would like to participate, please share any stories and/or photos of Brian with John Blue (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is collecting them for the Decker family. Cards to the Decker family can be sent to the Nephrology Division, c/o Sharon Moe, 950 W. Walnut Street, R2-201, Indianapolis IN 46202 (or campus mail R2-201) and will be sent on to the family.
If you have Spanish-speaking families in your pack’s or troop’s neighborhood, you may have difficulty making sure that they have all of the Spanish-language material you need. Council has undertaken a Latino Initiative to overcome this problem.
Currently, they are working on a dedicated Spanish-language version of the Council website.
Today they are rolling out the first part of this with a Crossroads of America Council En Español Facebook page. Please help us publicize this page by clicking on the link and “Liking” the page. That way your friends and family can find it easier.
This will also help you see how the Latino Iniative is progressing to help serve your unit.
Did you know that the Boy Scouts of America, last year in conjuntion with Kiwanis International, has hosted four symposia on Youth Protection? It has been designed to train other youth-serving organizations.
The symposium in 2018 will be in Atlanta, Georgia, October 8-10, 2018, sponsored by the Atlanta Area Council and run by National Council. More information as it becomes available.
If you know any school, church, or youth-organization leaders who are concerned about this issue, consider inviting them to attend this symposium. They are the intended audience. It will help build BSA’s credibility.
Can we develop better national soccer teams using Baden Powell’s methods than travel soccer? The evidence is coming in that answer is profoundly “yes.” From my years of backyard athletics, I can attest the skills development was profound. Read this blog post and the new book Shoeless Soccer for more.
Boy Scouts will become “Scouts BSA.” The organization’s name will remain same. That was what former Crossroads of America Council Executive Patrick Sterrett advocated for as he moved to Number 2 in the BSA. It looks like his recommendation held true.
Here is Scouting Wire’s more detailed version. This includes information on “Scout Me In” recruitment campaign.
UPDATED 5/3/18: Here is local council’s press release: Read the rest of this entry »
From Greg Hoyes:
North Star Venture Crew 408 in Zionsville has 2 crews going to FSB Out Island (MUNSON) on June 29th to July 5th (travel from June 27th to July 8th). One of the crews is filled with our fellow Boy Scout Troop and the 2nd Crew is all Crew 408 members. We do have 2 open spots in our Venture Crew and looking to fill them, with either Venture or Boy Scout members.
If the interested parties are male, the adult leadership is covered and if they are female, one of them must be over 21 to cover the required female leadership. This would be good for a mother/daughter or sister/older sister trip.
We have the travel all covered and would depart the morning of June 27th and will be returning on July 8th. We are planning some sightseeing stops for the return trip but have not finalized those details yet. The cost is estimated at $1240 for Out Island, travel (gas and lodging) and 2 crew shirts. I can be flexible in accommodating payment arrangements for someone that wants to go but can’t write that check today.
If you have anybody interested, please have them contact me and we can discuss other details.
On the Adventure
Crew 408 Committee Chair
At the April 2018 Roundtable for Scouts, the topic of different close-to-home high adventure outings was discussed. The ideas came fast and furious. We were having a hard time taking notes and capturing good information.
You have probably had the same experience. You are at a scouting meeting and somebody says, “We had a great trip to the Appalachian Trail. One of the cheapest and best high adventure trips we have ever taken!”
“Where did you go?”
“I don’t remember.”
“What did it cost?”
“I don’t remember.”
You get the idea. So, we decided that the District needed a central repository for ideas that scouts and scouters could use to share the wealth.
So now you can visit a page on the website, with its own link at the top of the page. Bookmark it. Use it. Send it to your Senior Patrol Leader, Pack Committee Chair, or Venture Crew Vice-President for Programming.
More importantly for the first 90 days, we need your help. We need you and your unit to download the questionnaire. Think of your 3-5 favorite outings during your tenure in scouting. If you are troop leader, think of outings you did with your Cub Pack too.
Follow the instructions at the top of the questionnaire to return it.
We will post the questionnaires in a PDF format as they are submitted. So, please use your best Scout Law etiquette in filling these out. They will be available to the general public.
If you have PDF flyers or other supporting documentation, we can post those, if the files are small (under 500K), since we have limited space on the website.
This is primarily intended for Best Practices and referrals. If you have had a disasterous experience, that is probably good information, too, but it is beyond the scope of this project. If you wish to email the questionnaire to us, we will accept them and figure out what to do those later.
Please help us make this one of the most powerful parts of this website! Send your questionnaire, however incomplete, now (we can use updated questionnaires later as you find the information)!
Please email this article to current and past scouters to get their feedback, too!