Scouts? Or something less?

Wow. Boy scouting has really become pathetic.

During my recent outing there happened to be a boy scout meeting going on at the same time.

They seemed like nice people when I returned a lost “be prepared” patch (Ouch! The irony) to them.

Later I watched from a distance as a group of them were shown how to carry a federal flag. And as they practiced what they were learning.

I saw nothing useful being taught, then or any time.

Then I asked a couple of scouts if they were being taught wilderness skills or anything. They said they weren’t.

Well, one said they were taught “survival knots”. Sigh.

So I asked, more specifically, if they were being taught firestarting for example. They said they weren’t. They said they can’t learn that until they earn a badge for it, nor can they carry a knife until they have a “knife badge”.

I asked how they are supposed to learn something to earn a badge if they aren’t being taught and aren’t allowed to practice. They looked at me like lost puppies, shrugged, and said they didn’t know.

Sorry, but that’s just disgusting.

I went back the next day to offer to demonstrate some actual skills to the group, but they were already gone. I suspected they might be by the lack of noise. (I will say I was impressed at how little litter such a large group left behind. Very unusual.)

OK, so maybe the scouts I asked were misrepresenting the situation. Maybe most troops are being taught more skills. Maybe these were “too young” to be learning such things (no, they really weren’t, but you and I both know in the year 2015 “childhood” is being stretched and prolonged beyond all reason, to the detriment of the kids). Maybe this example was not representative in some other way.

But if it is, scouting needs more competition.

I’d love to start a new kind of scouting: Browncoat Scouts.

Each group could choose who to allow in- freedom of association needs to be respected. Instead of “God & Country” I’d teach them that “right” is more important that “legal”, and is often unrelated to what is presented as “moral” by religions. I’d teach them that loyalty isn’t to be given automatically, but is earned. I’d teach them the importance of an honest deal resulting in a profit, and how there is no loser, but two winners, in such an interaction. I’d teach them that authority, including mine, is usually an empty illusion. There is a difference between a leader and a ruler, and almost all “authority” is nothing but rulers. And I’d teach them the importance of learning the proper way to handle weapons, fire, and other survival skills and tools. And, over all, the importance of never initiating force or theft.

I told my daughter she could be the first ever Browncoat Scout.

Update 5-19-2015: And it just gets more ridiculous all the time. link

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6 Responses to “Scouts? Or something less?”

  1. Enlightened Rogue Says:

    I was an Eagle Scout back in the 1960’s. Leaving aside the God and country crap (serving TWO masters?), I have a lot of fond memories of camping experiences. Back then, we WERE taught some survival skills. I can even remember times where we genuinely suffered, but all for our betterment. We learned and we were toughened.
    I was a scrawny, little 11-12 year old and being constantly challenged. Some of those challenges were quite scary for a kid that age.
    Sleep in a tent in the middle of winter, get up out of a (sometimes) warm sleeping bag on a 20 deg. morning, walk out into two feet of snow, start a fire and cook a breakfast. Challenge met.
    Hike 20 miles in one day. Challenge met.
    Swim a mile in a lake. Challenge met.
    Ride a bike 50 miles in one day. Challenge met.
    Jump into the water and “rescue” a drowning kid 6 years year older than you and 40 lbs. heavier. Challenge met.
    Hike and climb mountains for a week, with a 50lb pack on your back through heat, rain, and hail. Challenge met.
    Now, those kind of actions would be considered “abuse,” and if experienced by a black kid- “racism.”
    Now, I see kids that age (and even several years older) that can barely walk up a flight of stairs. They probably don’t even know how to start an electric stove, let alone a fire to cook on. They think food comes out of a vending machine.
    Maybe “Browncoat” Scouts can be what Boy Scouts used to be.

  2. Kent McManigal Says:

    See, that would be worth something.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Great idea. If you have a group of like-minded friends and relatives, perhaps you can band together and start such an organization. Just make sure the kids know what they're getting into ahead of time.

  4. Bob Gonnella Says:

    It is not unusual to see so little litter these days. The lesson being taught is that you should leave your camp like you were never there, as my webelo 1 is being taught today.

  5. Kent McManigal Says:

    I don't know. Almost every time I check out a camp site- and especially after a large group vacates- I find a lot of trash. “Like you were never there” makes me think of something else I just read: Leave No Trace killed Woodcraft…almost

  6. Bob Gonnella Says:

    Now that was a great article! Leave No Trace is what I was trying to remember, but could not.

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