As a current scoutmaster, I can tell you it is still about having the biggest fire, playing with knives, and archery and rifle shooting are still the favorite activities at summer camp (I just got back from a week of it). As others here have pointed out, scouting is doing a good job of exposing the scouts to many new skills and activities that are relavant to todays job market. The new robotics, programming, and game design badges are good axamples of this.
Scouts have done a pretty good job keeping up with the times in most areas. I remember when I was a Scout they had Computers MB, but computers were the realm of a few companies and NASA in those days! We only knew them as blinking lights on the bridge of the Enterprise (TOS!). I think my Scoutmaster, who was a EE, was probably the only person I knew who had used a computer in his work. He used to print out our goals on punch cards!
The main reason I am still active in Scouts is that I teach outdoor skills to adults and older Scouts! In addition to making sure they know how to keep bears safe from our food, , I make sure thay can still find their way with a compass, or even the sun or moon, when the batteries in their GPS go dead.
On the flip side, I made sure that the Scouts in my troop were exposed to many career opportunities. We had many speakers and field trips. I still say in touch with several of them, and are impressed at the directions in which they have taken their lives and careers.
Come to think of it, one of our Eagles just graduated from my Alma Mater with his BSME...I could use another young engineer at the moment....I need to give him a call :D
Yes, times are changing, but I think it's a good change. I personally know a group of former Boy Scouts (now in their 20s) who all had an interest in computers when they were kids. They ended up starting their own computer repair business, which has now existed for eight years.
As a former Boy Scout, I'm surprised to see a Programming Merit Badge as an option unless there are also many new merit badges outside of the core outdoor activities. I did participate in an Engineering Explorer Post which did specifically do science and physics projects at the end of my time with the Scouts. Definitely times are changing.
Wow, I am old. My days in Boy Scouts was all about who could make the biggest, hottest fire. Who could tie ropes knots, set-up shelter, and help the little old lady across the street. We loved to see who could shoot a bow and arrow straight. Who could shot a target at 50 yards. What happens to a can of un-opened beans placed on a fire! And in MN a case of OFF was mandatory!
But in the Motto of "Be Prepared", I guess programming is a good thing to instill in boys. Their generation will grow up in an era of computing and control by software.
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