Mike Rowe’s thoughts on the Boys Scouts of America

BSA LogoMike Rowe, an Eagle Scout and a Distinguished Eagle Scout, shares his thoughts on the current state of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

His experiences as a scout mirror my experiences – I very vividly remember playing British bulldog, learning First Aid, shooting rifles, tying knots (I can still a bowline one-handed with my eyes closed), and lots of hiking and camping. The fact that our experiences are similar should not be a surprise — he is only 2 months older then me.

Reading his thoughts got me thinking about todays role of the BSA.

Some background –
I am an Eagle Scout, my dad is an Eagle Scout, my dad’s brothers are Eagle Scouts, my brother is an Eagle Scout, and one of my sons is an Eagle Scout.
I spent 4 summers working at Scout camps.
My Grandfather served as Scoutmaster of Troop 40 in Hartford, NY for decades, my dad was Scoutmaster and spent years as a volunteer, and I was Cubmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster for my boys Pack/Troop.
So you could say I have some history with the BSA.

It is challenging to sum up Mike’s thoughts in a couple of snippets, but my take aways are that he believes that

our country’s current obsession with “safe spaces” is destroying character faster than the Boy Scouts of today can build it.

And

if Scouting could somehow recapture that combination of risk and wonder and pride and personal accountability – I believe their ranks would swell with the sons and daughters of millions of anxious parents, desperate to expose their kids to a program that prepares them for the real world.

All Baby Boomers remember riding our bikes around the neighborhood with no one watching us, walking to school or the store by ourselves, playing sports and not being given a ‘participation’ trophy, having free rein of the fields and farms around where we lived, getting punished for pointing an unloaded air gun at a passing car (if that seems pretty specific it is because it happened ‘to a friend’ of mine), or getting hurt playing, getting patched up, and back at it again.

The world has changed since I was a kid, but I think we have gone too far and are to protective of our children – scared by what we see and hear on the news of all the bad things that could happen.
I don’t deny bad s#!t can happen, but we should not be paralyzed by fear.
If kids are not pushed out of their safe spaces by their parents — how do they grow and be confident adults. And if the BSA is not willing to fill that role — who will be?

We need to teach boys (and girls) the life skills they will need as adults and challenge them to help them grow — aka push them out of their safe zones. I think the Boy Scouts of America is a great resource for that challenge.

Since I was a scout we have seen significant changes in the BSA. Two that come to mind are the policy changes regarding gay leaders and scouts, and the recent news regarding the expansion of programs for girls.
I think these were positive changes and show that the BSA is aware of the cultural changes in the 21st century and is trying to adapt. The challenge BSA leadership has is how do they adapt to societal changes but not lose the core of what they are – an organization

to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

A happy dog day

Stella But all is not sad in the Gibson household when it comes to dogs.

Last summer we fell into an opportunity to rescue a dog – a small German Shepard mix. We named her Stella (or Stella Blue if you ask Beverly).

We are guessing she is 1-2 – she sure has the energy of a puppy. She is wicked smart and extremely loving. She loves going to get coffee and gas with me, or to the pet store with Beverly.

Oh – and chasing balls. She LOVES to chase balls. I think if we did not stop she would keep going until she collapsed.

The Stella Flickr album

A sad dog day

Guinness HeadshotAll dogs are special – but our black lab Guinness was really special.
He came to us via a breeder in the UK. He was 3 years old at the time and he had had some medical issues that we never got all the background on.

For the past 10 years he has been an integral part of our family and was strongly bonded to Beverly. He traveled with us to Utah, to Oregon, and loved going to Mavericks (a beach near where we live). Like all Labs he loved to eat, sleep, go for walks, then eat some more.

Unfortunately old age, and maybe some of his preexisting conditions, caught up with him. Guinness’ last day was March 11. He will be missed beyond words.

A Flickr Album of Guinness photos

Connor’s photos go national

Sports Journal Logo

For the past several months Connor has been one of the staff photographers shooting Bay Area sports for The Sports Journal. He has shot the SF Giants, the SJ Sharks, and the SJ Earthquakes.

The Sports Journal is primarily web based, but they do publish a physical magazine. In the October 2015 issue an article titled ‘Drafting a Dynasty’ about the SF Giants included one of Connor’s photos !!. The pdf of the magazine is here, His photo is on page 57 of the magazine (or page 29 of the PDF).
I could not find a permanent link to the specific issue, so if the Oct issue is no longer available on-line, drop me a line and I can send you the PDF. 

Way to go Connor !! Hope this leads to more awesome photo opportunities.

Landon gets published

PPIC Logo

It has been what, 16 months since my last post. What could it possible be that would motivate me to do a post.

Well, I have been thinking about starting to make an effort to post on a more regular basis – where more regular means more than do a couple of posts . . . wait a couple of years . . . do a few more posts . . . repeat.

But the catalyst today is this article published on the Public Policy Institute of California’s web site – Nursing Homes in California. Other than the fact that I am getting along in years and may need the service of a Nursing Home someday, the reason I call this out is that this is the first solo published article of an up and coming public policy expert – one Landon Gibson.

Gotta say, it is pretty special and makes one proud when you see someone you care for continue on their path to success.