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Old 07-27-2017, 09:17 AM   #1
webby459
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Former cub scouts or boy scouts?

My 3 kids have been in scouts, 2 cubs and a girl. I've been thinking about forgoing scouts for something else. The something else could be a different scouting org, a mentorship program, 4H, or simply something family led.

The question I have, I think, is whether people here (past scouts or not) think that the programs and/or resources of these organizations can practically be replaced by something else? Note that generally our family doesn't have enough resources to do things like the encampments during the summer, nor are we likely going to be able to afford Philmont, etc.

We are, however, active during the normal scouting/school year, so do all the campouts, most meetings, PWD, trips, etc. We also do a lot of outdoor oriented activities, organized or not. Example, we've walked/boated/biked all the parks in our town, garden, know lots of local flora/fauna, stargaze, bat watch, etc.
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:31 AM   #2
Terasec
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I am a scout dad
And involved in leadership role
It took me a while to understand and appreciate scouting
It wasnt until about a year into it where i saw those silly activities come together and serve their purpose
There are good and bad packs out there if you dont like your pack
Look for another pack or get into leadership role where you have more say
I have also been learning
As i have been self taught and most of my outdoor activities have been solo
I have had to put my ego in check and relearn the proper way to do things

Can see the cost problem with 2-3 kids
For that i would look into financial assistance at summer camp programs

Some pics of last week
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6...WtFazdNcFJTTEU
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:40 AM   #3
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I'm a scout dad and in a leadership position.

The thing I'm trying to learn is whether the resources that the BSA in particular has can realistically be replaced or is necessary, in the opinions of those that have or haven't participated and have given thought about the experience.
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:49 AM   #4
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You could look into the baden powell scouting
https://www.bpsa-us.org/pdf/intro-tr...l-scouting.pdf
Dont know anyone that follows it
As a group they are very limited

Last edited by Terasec; 07-27-2017 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webby459 View Post

The question I have, I think, is whether people here (past scouts or not) think that the programs and/or resources of these organizations can practically be replaced by something else?
YES.

I never was a scout but grew up spending the entire summer on an Adirondack lake without electricity. Needless to say we swam, skied, hiked, fished, and played outside all day and sometimes the nights. When my eldest son joined the scouts I wasn't thrilled and ended up establishing an organization called the Environmental Study Team (EST). This was a co-ed group of kids and we got involved in hiking, camping, and environmental stewardship projects, etc. It launched me into my current career as well. Anyways, I don't lead this group anymore but it is still in existence and has even branched out into chapters. An EST group or some facsimile there of can easily be established and lead by 1-2 parents it they are willing to put the time in. If you are in the Schoharie area you can contact this organization about their program and learn how they do it and I'd be happy to answer and questions as well: http://www.schoharierivercenter.org/...studyteam.html
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Old 07-27-2017, 10:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bioguide View Post
YES.

I never was a scout but grew up spending the entire summer on an Adirondack lake without electricity. Needless to say we swam, skied, hiked, fished, and played outside all day and sometimes the nights. When my eldest son joined the scouts I wasn't thrilled and ended up establishing an organization called the Environmental Study Team (EST). This was a co-ed group of kids and we got involved in hiking, camping, and environmental stewardship projects, etc. It launched me into my current career as well. Anyways, I don't lead this group anymore but it is still in existence and has even branched out into chapters. An EST group or some facsimile there of can easily be established and lead by 1-2 parents it they are willing to put the time in. If you are in the Schoharie area you can contact this organization about their program and learn how they do it and I'd be happy to answer and questions as well: http://www.schoharierivercenter.org/...studyteam.html
THANK YOU!

I will look into this, it's the type of info I was looking for. The age group is a little more advanced than mine are, but it gives me something to think about.
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Old 07-27-2017, 10:22 AM   #7
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Let me add a bit on some specifics of what we did with kids in the EST program I founded:
Built, sold, and deployed bat houses and conducted bat surveys.
Conducted a year long stream study of the Indian Kill which resulted in NYS DEC to conduct a follow-up survey and the town to reconvene their Water Quality Coordinating Committee after a 10 year absence. The study also resulted in remediation of an illicit discharge.
Hiking/camping: To such places as Grizzle Ocean Treadway and Pharoah mountains, snowsheing to Broomkstick Lake, Chub Pond, Good Luck Lake and Mountain.
Participated in River Watch Clean Water Congress...EST members had to do public speaking on the studies they were working on.
An outing with DEC staff on Moose radio tracking up at Perkins Clearing.
Canoe trips down the Battenkill, Mohawk Rivers.
Participated in shoreline clean-ups recording the type and weight of debris collected for a national research program.
Held weekly meetings with occasional guest speakers.
One year I had the group featured in the Gazette on the Lifestyles page i.e. 2 full pages in color about the kids/program and then kept them in the news paper with articles about them every other month for the year. The articles covered their activities they were doing.
One older kid, he was ~19 at the time, hooked up with me to help run the program and learn from it as well. He went off to ESF, got his masters and PhD and is now a section Chief with the DEC Division of water...

Anyways, like I said it can be done if one puts the effort in...
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Old 07-27-2017, 11:03 AM   #8
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I was also involved with scouting and was a scoutmaster. What stands out with scouting, IMO, is that it promotes leadership and sense of community.

What I observed with scouting is that the boys who excelled usually had a parent involved with the troop.

It can be a financial burden for a young family with a few kids in the scouting program.....uniforms, summer camp, equipment. But there is usually some help available.
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Old 07-27-2017, 04:04 PM   #9
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It's just a week, but the DEC camps for ages 11-17 are great.
My daughter went back a second year to volunteer for a few weeks.
She was sponsored in part by the local Garden Club. Now our gun club sends 1 to 3 kids a year. Currently $350/week.
http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html

Your kids sound a bit young, but you might want to check out Sea and Air Scouts.
I went into the Sea Scouts after Boy Scouts.... don't know if there's a ship in your area. It was sponsored by the Lion's Club. They had a barn in back with two 16 foot X-Boats (popular with all Sea Scout ships around the Saint Louis area and a 17 foot Turnover. We learned how to take care of the boats in the winter and to sail and race in the summer. Helped me get jobs in High School working the waterfront at summer camps (need also the Red Cross Life Guard cert).

There was also an Air Scout plane in the Saint Louis area....

Last edited by dockless; 07-27-2017 at 04:41 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-27-2017, 06:53 PM   #10
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I was a scout for a couple years.

Of course I don't know your beliefs, or why you are looking for an alternative, but if the current culture of scouting is the issue, here are two alternatives:

http://www.traillifeusa.com/

https://www.americanheritagegirls.org/
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Old 07-28-2017, 09:52 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info! Regardless of affiliation, this info could be of service in the future.

Also, the DEC week camp may well be something to look at in the near future. I think at least one or both of my boys may like this as an alternative to day camp, which although 1/4 of the daily price, the total cost (for less time) is the same.
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Old 07-28-2017, 10:25 AM   #12
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Webby, you might want to keep this program in mind for the future as well. I started it years ago with the Battenkill Conservancy:

http://www.battenkillconservancy.org...-trip-oat.html

While currently lead by a BSA crew adviser it's not part of the BSA.
Four days of overnight camping for $200...
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:21 PM   #13
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I am a former Scoutmaster and have had three boys in Boy Scouts. In the process of transitioning my troop from an adult-led troop to a boy-led troop, I have learned an awful lot about the program. I am a strong advocate of the Boy Scout program when it is implemented correctly. The following reflects opinions I have formed after many years of scouting experience.

The primary focus of Boy Scouts is NOT on the outdoors – more in this statement in a moment. Instead, its primary focus is on developing team and leadership skills in youth. And these are valuable skills to youth of all levels of capabilities. We are all familiar with the classic story of a CEO that pays tribute to the leadership skills he first learned in Boy Scouts. But just as important is the other end of the spectrum – where the less capable youth learns how to function effectively as part of a team. At both ends of the spectrum, these skills are often life-changing!

Boy Scouts uses the outdoor part of their program as the hook to catch the boys’ interest. The routine of going camping presents various management tasks for the youth leaders to overcome. Youth leaders (called patrol leaders) are supposed to manage a patrol of about 6 to 8 scouts. With proper adult leader guidance, the youth leaders learn how to lead a team: preparing for the campout, packing, gear inspection, selecting campsites, cooking, cleaning, etc. In turn, the team members learn how to contribute to the patrol – all to reach a goal that makes their camping experience more rewarding – that is - more fun. Something like ... the sooner we get done with our chores the sooner we can run through the woods with sharp pointy sticks...

Also important in this mix is learning the skill of teaching. The more experienced scouts are supposed to teach skills to the less experienced scouts. The skills include camping skills, first aid, LNT, and citizenship, just to name a few - all important life skills for anybody. Ideally, the adult leaders should appear to be doing nothing more than providing guidance to the youth leaders and acting as a safety check (sometimes boys do stupid things). Of course, other adults can help enrich the troop’s program by presenting special topics or introducing new skills.

Cub Scouts, on the other hand, has the primary focus of getting the boys prepared for entering Boy Scouts in 5th grade. The Cub Scout program, unlike the Boy Scout program, is geared toward participation of all members of the cub's family. A Cub Scout program is usually much more successful if it too has a strong outdoor component, including camping.

If your financial resources are limited, please check with the troop or the Boy Scout Council about ways to overcome this. For example, if your son wants to go to camp but you cannot afford to attend summer camp, my experience is that the council will bend over backwards to find a way to get him there.

As far as other organizations being able to achieve similar goals – I would recommend looking at the focus of the organization running it and see if it aligns with what is best for your children. My description of the Boy Scout program just scratches the surface. BSA has spent many millions of dollars in creating and then refining this program.
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