A Scouting Alternative with Some Promise
Since doing yesterday’s show I have looked deeper into the Baden Powell Service Association. While I don’t think it completely frees people from the “Iron Law” it does seem to do a lot better than the current disaster represented by the central authority that is the Boy Scouts of America.
I realize my idea of a completely autonomous group for training up young people may be a bit ahead of the curve. That people like structure and programs. After a deep review of Baden Powell, I am very impressed with them.
I would recommend that people who want to run or work with scout groups or youth interested in scouting at least consider them as an alternative.
There are a few documents on the site that really show what these folks are about…
These two alone say a great deal about what this group stands for. The release and the policy regarding it, (you keep it, don’t send it to us) says strait away we guide you, we don’t dictate how to run things and what you can and can’t do with your troop.
The introduction guide has a few excerpts of note one is…
Sponsoring organizations – In the BPSA, we want to keep things simple and straightforward for members and leaders. There is really no concept of a “sponsoring organization” within the BPSA for chartered Scout Groups. This is a concept used by the BSA and GSUSA.
If a chartered group wants to find a sponsor for purposes of meeting place, shared resources, and adult members, etc; that’s fine. However, there is no formal contract or paperwork for that, as it would be between the chartered Group and the sponsor.
A sponsor must understand that they will have absolutely no say over the program of the BPSA or the chartered group. Sponsoring organizations should do so only because they want to help their community by supporting a local BPSA Scout Group.
A sponsor has no controlling stake in the group and cannot affect program, membership, training, or set down rules that violate the BPSA By-Laws or PO&R. The program is set up by BPSA and run by the Group Scoutmaster. Period.
So you mean people can actually form and run their own groups with guidance rather than control, decide their own activities and be respected as individuals? All this and the world will not fall apart?
It is also apparent that BPSA is open to both male and female but individual troops can be all male, all female or coed and that decision seems to rest with the organizing group. Um so once again individuals doing the work, the organizing, the training, spending their own time, talent and money, can decide what works best for them?
I also really like this!
Scouts can be members of the BPSA starting with the Otters program at age 5 as opposed to the BSA’s Tigers which start at age 6. The upper age limit for Scouts in the BSA is 20 through the Venturing program where the BPSA Rovers have no upper age limit.
The BPSA is open to males and females in any of the program divisions, where the BSA only allows female members in its Venturing program, which is only for ages 14 through 20, or as leaders (Scouters). The BPSA believes Scouting should be available to everyone, youth and adult, male and female.
Membership for both youth and adults is not conditional based on religious beliefs (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, or gender identification.
Oh my god gay people can be in scouting, this is the end of all things! Hold on, turns out this organization didn’t do this in response to BSAs conflict about this issue, nope. Turns out this organization has ALWAYS had this policy, seems to have no problems due to it and has been around since 1970.
And you know what I contacted a few people in this movement, turns out that it doesn’t even come up, no one can think of any issues that have ever occurred due to a policy of accepting everyone. No one even asks about it. Perhaps just perhaps when you don’t exclude people, they don’t feel a need to make a big deal about things?
Anyway given my show yesterday and the great feedback on it, mostly from Eagle Scouts by the way, which really made me feel good, I wanted to make this option known.
I still might set up a portal for “Sovereign Scout Groups” but I have to admit, if my son was 7 again, I might be highly tempted to help form a BPSA group based on what I have seen thus far, I do have a grandson who is 4, so time will tell.
If anyone that listens is involved with BPSA and would like to come on for an interview, please fill out the guest form.
You may also want to look at a group called Trail Life. This group was formed after the Scouts decision on Gays in Scouts. This group has really taken off.
A group that specifically for the sole purpose of excluding gay people? No I am not really interested in support them, helping them, etc.
I’ve been looking for an alt to BSA since my sons charter was cancelled by a church school that retaliated against the decision based on sexual orientation by closing the group down. I was a willing leader with some slightly heartbroken sons.
Ill have to check this out.
Note they have lone scout options, this means you could get them going with that and your support until such time as you develop a group, at least that is how I understand it.
Awesome find, Jack and Great show. I was just lamenting to the wife about this topic and your show discussion and the BPSA are perfectly timed.
As someone who had to help “recharter” a cub scout unit from a public school to a local church, I can empathize.
The school wouldn’t allow knives and many science experiments. The church was really cool about all that “dangerous” stuff, but some of the more secular folks were uncomfortable with the church setting.
As a past leader I never had any issues relating to sexuality come up, then again the boys were 5th grade and younger.
Let’s be totally honest – the stereotypical gay male probably isn’t all that interested in the activities usually associated with scouting. If you did the math, and figured what % of the total population had that orientation, and then within that which % wanting to go camping etc. – you could probably count them on one hand.
Yep there is that. I think if scouts actually do the things scouting is supposed to do, well there just won’t be much of an issue.
Have you noticed that the gay protesters seem to ignore anything at all that does not specifically exclude them?
Makes me think of this, https://www.simpsonsworld.com/video/312271939958/related/312271939958
I found the open source scouting episode highly thought provoking. As we are all looking for new ways to inspire positive change, promoting the global concept of traditional scouting seems like a good idea. I’m sure there are other small scouting groups out there but as is historically the case, big organizations with a monopoly on the market tend to make it tough for smaller ones to grow. Would love to hear from BPSA and others committed to teaching outdoor skills, self reliance and responsibility and I’ll look for traditional scouting groups in my area to offer my support.
I am an Eagle scout and although I didn’t love everything we did at the time (some things weren’t “fun”), I think it was a great program. I am not currently actively involved in scouting but I have 2 sons that I planned to put in it in a few years. Unfortunately, if things like this continue I’ll have to take another route. I want my boys to grow up to be men…not big babies.
There has been an alternative since WWl. Order of DeMolay. Check it out at http://www.demolay.org
Interesting, can’t really see what they actually do from that site though.
There is a growing earth skills and nature connection movement . More from the Tom Brown Jr perspective than BSA, with alot of other influences thrown in . I would say this movement is more decentralizes than BSA. I cannot speak for all ,but The organization I am affiliated with in Athens Ga is community driven and community focused.
Thank you for exploring this subject. I actually was planning on emailing you regarding this topic to see what your view was on it. I have been looking at bpsa and Navigators USA and really liked the traditional scouting that bpsa offered but liked the flexibility of the navigators. I think I will have to look more into the lone wolf program for my son since I don’t feel I have a lot of time to put into running a group right now.
Great show Jack , as a long time scouter the BSA has left a bad taste in my mouth . Right now I’m a asst scoutmaster, at one time I was a asst scoutmaster, cubmaster, , district membership chair, Weblos leader, Venturing adviser and a commissioner all volunteer positions . The problem with the BSA isn’t the volunteers , its the paid staff. As a commissioner I would hear the executive scouter for the council talk about ” the kids come first, if there’s a conflict always rule for the kids , its all about the kids, these are the same people who wouldn’t go after a adult that stole popcorn money , then shut down a pack or troop till the money was paid back. The paid Scouters put the numbers ahead of the kids One thing about the BSA , they have a great group of volunteers that try to run the best program possible for the kids.
I’m also an Eagle Scout. BSA needs to split into traditional scouting and progressive scouting. Call them Red Scouts and Blue Scouts. I’m not sure how otherwise to resolve the tension. Are we supposed to change the Boy
Scout oath (“morally straight”)?
BSA is only going down hill from here, remember it is the IRON law, not the clay law, the organization is too big. Again the Iron Law is,
“Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisers in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.”
I have now added The Spirko Cascade
That is that in the progression explained in Pournelle’s Iron Law there is an event horizon which once crossed is never recovered from. Upon crossing this horizon the culimination of the Iron Law will doubled every 1-2 years and within 10-20 year the organization will literally become fully incapable of seeing to its mission in any meaningful way.
Groups that have crossed the event horizon in the past 5-10 years…
Environmental Protection Agency
Food and Drug Administration
American Cancer Society
The US Federal Government as a whole crossed over about 1936!