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The answer to our crisis of young men? Boy Scouts

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Dinosaur
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Didn't even mention the Boer War ;)



This Sunday morning, at the crack of dawn, I will put on an itchy tan dress shirt covered in small colourful badges, walk up the icy hill to our local church in West Toronto, and continue a nearly 100-year-old tradition of leading a parade of eight to ten-year-olds. Boys will stand proudly holding flags adorned with a maple leaf, a beaver, the Union Jack, and a fleur-de-lis. They will be careful not to let the flags touch the ground. They will walk in unison, ensuring their shirts stay tucked in. We will give promises to the community, thank the church parishioners, and then give a cheer that will undoubtedly rattle the stained-glass windows. One boy might even bring out our old stuffed wolf’s head.

The event will mark the birthday of Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement. To the layperson, it will undoubtedly seem archaic, quaint, and even odd, but the 153rd Old Mill Scouts have been doing it since 1936, I have been doing it since 1996 when I was five years old, and I think it’s part of our best hope for saving a generation of boys in crisis.

 
Didn't even mention the Boer War ;)



This Sunday morning, at the crack of dawn, I will put on an itchy tan dress shirt covered in small colourful badges, walk up the icy hill to our local church in West Toronto, and continue a nearly 100-year-old tradition of leading a parade of eight to ten-year-olds. Boys will stand proudly holding flags adorned with a maple leaf, a beaver, the Union Jack, and a fleur-de-lis. They will be careful not to let the flags touch the ground. They will walk in unison, ensuring their shirts stay tucked in. We will give promises to the community, thank the church parishioners, and then give a cheer that will undoubtedly rattle the stained-glass windows. One boy might even bring out our old stuffed wolf’s head.

The event will mark the birthday of Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement. To the layperson, it will undoubtedly seem archaic, quaint, and even odd, but the 153rd Old Mill Scouts have been doing it since 1936, I have been doing it since 1996 when I was five years old, and I think it’s part of our best hope for saving a generation of boys in crisis.

I was a beaver, cub and scout. Then quite to join army cadets in 1986.

My boys were beavers, cubs, scouts and then Ventures. I think the movement has something positive to offer our youth IF you have scouters mentoring them.
 
Didn't even mention the Boer War ;)



This Sunday morning, at the crack of dawn, I will put on an itchy tan dress shirt covered in small colourful badges, walk up the icy hill to our local church in West Toronto, and continue a nearly 100-year-old tradition of leading a parade of eight to ten-year-olds. Boys will stand proudly holding flags adorned with a maple leaf, a beaver, the Union Jack, and a fleur-de-lis. They will be careful not to let the flags touch the ground. They will walk in unison, ensuring their shirts stay tucked in. We will give promises to the community, thank the church parishioners, and then give a cheer that will undoubtedly rattle the stained-glass windows. One boy might even bring out our old stuffed wolf’s head.

The event will mark the birthday of Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement. To the layperson, it will undoubtedly seem archaic, quaint, and even odd, but the 153rd Old Mill Scouts have been doing it since 1936, I have been doing it since 1996 when I was five years old, and I think it’s part of our best hope for saving a generation of boys in crisis.

My grandson started with Beavers, moved up to Cubs and is now in Scouts. Both his parents are involved as leaders along with him. He has managed to stay out of any kind of trouble so far. Unlike his grandfather at his age.😉
 
I spent a good chunk of my formative years as a scout with the French Canadian version.

Started when I was 8 and was with the org as a Troop leader until age 25. The politics ended it for me at that point but I don’t ever discount the incredible benefit and lessons learned.

I learned to cook, to sew, more survival/outdoor resiliency than the army ever gave me. Leadership and life skills that have stayed with me.

Good on anyone still involved and involving their kids.
 
Small pedantic point but the ‘boy scouts’ haven’t existed in Canada for a long time now (1976). It is simply Scouts, as it now accepts girls too. Its been like that for almost 50 years now.

It is a excellent program however which gave me a lot of experience and opportunities.

In general I think there is a lot of merit to a male centric/female centric organization for youth. The advantage of a purely one gender group being that it allows them to develop skills without the distractions that can come from having the opposite gender there. Not saying it should be the only way things are, just that a summer like that can have a very positive effect on youth.

Another great example of a program now dead was the Ontario Junior Rangers program which took 16 year olds, sent them into isolated camps segregated by sex, to maintain trails by manual force, do camping, etc. You also earned a couple highschool credits and had a couple grand in the bank when you got back from camp.

Made a lot of good friends, had some very interesting experiences and it showed us how addicted to technology you were even at that point. The good part being after a few days without it, you really stopped caring about your email, social media, phone, etc.
 
I would, and have, sent my kids to Cadets. I believe that Scouting has been finished for some time, although individual units may shine. I was a scout, it makes me sad. Yet here we are
 
My daughter is part of a thriving Guides unit. She loves it and her leaders seem very motivated. Not the same topic per say, but I needed some extra key strokes. :)

She does a mix of things, she's played rugby with my club for 8 years, been in guides for ever, dancer for 8 years and volleyball for the last few as well.
 
I enrolled in Beavers, blinked, and now its been 30 years of continally being in a uniform of some kind (Cubs, Scouts, Cadets, and now the CAF.

The thing these organizations have going for them is that they truly do take all walks of life, level the playing field of socio-economic factors, and places heavy importance on good citizenship/being a decent person. I don't see that with the current crop of hockey players; which, lets face it, has become the Canadian equivalent of Polo: an expensive pass time that the upper/middle classes pass down, that has its own toxic and self-serving culture.

Contrast with the team based, "everyone puts in work, the accomplishments of individuals are based around the support and guidance from team members and mentors" mentality of scouting/guiding/cadets.... I'm happy to have my kids take part in those activities.
 
I spent my early years in the U.S. where I was a Cub Scout. Even though Scouting is probably considered more a product of yesterday’s values, I still think it has great relevance today in building a young boy’s character.
 
Even though Scouting is probably considered more a product of yesterday’s values, I still think it has great relevance today in building a young boy’s character.
On the contrary. The values of good citizenship, teamwork, self confidence, and stewardship are timeless. I would argue they are needed more than ever, given the geopolitical world we are living in.

Doing whats easy, vice what's right got us where we are in 2024. Having youth organizations that are based in "doing the right thing" might change that narrative in the future.
 
I find the mixing of females and males in our Navy League which is 9-12 has few problems, generally the girls hang out with the girls, as they are not yet interested. However I see that dynamic change in the senior Cadet program where the interest in each other takes off and starts causing issues.
 
On the contrary. The values of good citizenship, teamwork, self confidence, and stewardship are timeless. I would argue they are needed more than ever, given the geopolitical world we are living in.

Doing whats easy, vice what's right got us where we are in 2024. Having youth organizations that are based in "doing the right thing" might change that narrative in the future.
There is nothing wrong with doing what is right, despite some clowns saying otherwise.

What is right is not always popular, what is popular isn't always right.
 
On the contrary. The values of good citizenship, teamwork, self confidence, and stewardship are timeless. I would argue they are needed more than ever, given the geopolitical world we are living in.

Doing whats easy, vice what's right got us where we are in 2024. Having youth organizations that are based in "doing the right thing" might change that narrative in the future.
You’re right on that. Those values are timeless.
 
I find the mixing of females and males in our Navy League which is 9-12 has few problems, generally the girls hang out with the girls, as they are not yet interested. However I see that dynamic change in the senior Cadet program where the interest in each other takes off and starts causing issues.
I haven't seen much in the way of issues; local dynamics will vary, of course; and when I do see problems it's at about 13-14, then things subsequently smooth out.

I'm not convinced of a compelling need for gender-segregated youth programs, but am very much in favour of ones (like cadets, scouting, etc.) that offer a variety of opportunities under one roof, that aren't solely an individual development scheme, and which place real responsibility for others on their members.

Painting with a broad brush, I've also found girls who engage in traditionally masculine endeavours (rugby, cadets, trades, whatever) to be much more resilient and centred than their peers*. No idea if it's those nascent qualities which lead to participation those activities, or vice versa, or somewhere in between.

*Also seen some similar outcomes from some dance schools with a very robust mentoring culture, whole-troupe team approach, and reliance on dancers, versus parents and other adults, taking care of
 
It is an organization that is on the decline. There are also multiple rival scouting organizations that have sprung up in opposition to various changes. Kind of similar to how Christian denominations split.
 
I haven't seen much in the way of issues; local dynamics will vary, of course; and when I do see problems it's at about 13-14, then things subsequently smooth out.

I'm not convinced of a compelling need for gender-segregated youth programs, but am very much in favour of ones (like cadets, scouting, etc.) that offer a variety of opportunities under one roof, that aren't solely an individual development scheme, and which place real responsibility for others on their members.

Painting with a broad brush, I've also found girls who engage in traditionally masculine endeavours (rugby, cadets, trades, whatever) to be much more resilient and centred than their peers*. No idea if it's those nascent qualities which lead to participation those activities, or vice versa, or somewhere in between.

*Also seen some similar outcomes from some dance schools with a very robust mentoring culture, whole-troupe team approach, and reliance on dancers, versus parents and other adults, taking care of
boys need men to be their mentors; setting an example. The women who are leaders do good work but they are only substitutes for what is needed. They also need a place where they are safe and school isn't that. Scouts isn't perfect but for an hour a week the kids aren't texting and that is good.
 
boys need postive male role models to be their mentors; setting an example. The women who are leaders do good work but they are only substitutes for what is needed.
Clarified for you. Toxic masculinity is a thing (not in the weaponized, often memed version found around the internet) and sometimes having "men" mentoring boys is not the panacea is seems.

I would rather competent female leaders in those spaces in lieu of a boorish, imbecilic, "man" in those spaces.

They also need a place where they are safe and school isn't that. Scouts isn't perfect but for an hour a week the kids aren't texting and that is good.
This we can agree with. I value the spaces my kids have to be social without tech, that are well mentored and accessible.
 
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