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Is It Time For Hacker Scouts?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the earn-a-lightsaber-badge dept.

Hardware Hacking 186

ptorrone writes "MAKE Magazine asks: is it 'Time For Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts 2.0?' What might the future of education be like if it were based on online & earned skill badges, and what could the future of traditional organizations for kids, like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, be like in a very modern, tech-savvy world? Social networks and the maker movement are the perfect intersection of where the kids of today are, but we don't see 'leaderboards' for skills yet; we only see them for video games. Is it time for Hacker Scouts?"

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Badges (4, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39226931)

You got the First Post badge!

Re:Badges (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227211)

Badges? We don't got no badges! We don't need no steenkin' badges!

Re:Badges (2, Funny)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227609)

Badges? We don't got no badges! We don't need no steenkin' badges!

Of course not. We just need achievements [] .

Re:Badges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227857)

I meant to mod this funny, but hit "overrated" instead. Oh well, it is actually funny in an overrated way...

A Hacker is (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39226945)

untrustworthy, disloyal, surly,
angry, rude, mean,
obstinant, cranky, greedy,
anonymous, smelly, irreverent

Re:A Hacker is (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227353)

OK, that made me laugh out loud.

Re:A Hacker is (0)

Qubit (100461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227413)

Drink if you get the reference.

Drink twice if you still remember the original by heart.

(and while you're at it, take another drink for all your bros kicked out of the BSA for religious/orientation reasons)

Re:A Hacker is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228011)













Headline with a question mark == (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39226951)


What a Pedobear patch ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39226983)

PedoBear []

Is it time? (5, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227001)

Yes, probably. Let's roll some tech into it.
But do NOT lose the outdoor aspect. Camping, etc. Far, far too many kids have no clue what the "big green room with the blue and white ceiling" looks and smells like.

Re:Is it time? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227055)

The funny thing is, I remember computer camps being common in the 80s. Somehow as computers got more popular, computer camps got less so.

Re:Is it time? (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227097)

Somehow as computers got more popular, computer camps got less so.

They became appliances. Just like a TV, dishwasher, telephone. It's there in the house, it mostly works, everyone has one. Nothing special.

Re:Is it time? (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227863)

We need more dishwasher camps too.

Re:Is it time? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228457)

Aren't those the Girl Scout's camps?

Re:Is it time? (4, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228433)

Yes, I've seen that kind of 'appliance' thinking in action.

That's why we have a weird schism. One generation which bankrupted us and couldn't fix a toaster to save their lives, another which could write a fair number of new OSs but is hamstrung on the financial issue, and another generation immediately thereafter which has acquired both generation's mistakes and understands neither finances nor technology. W00F!

Re:Is it time? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227225)

i loved my summer computer camp. I would hang out all day in that room full of apple IIs. Times were different back then though. There was only one guy in my class who had one at home. I only owned 2 floppies (that i modded to make double sided with a hole punch).

Re:Is it time? (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227349)

The funny thing is, I remember computer camps being common in the 80s. Somehow as computers got more popular, computer camps got less so.

That is because those camps were designed to get the geeks like us out of the picture for the summer. Now everyone is a geek.

Re:Is it time? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227213)

But do NOT lose the outdoor aspect. Camping, etc. Far, far too many kids have no clue what the "big green room with the blue and white ceiling" looks and smells like.

Isn't that what the Occupy movement is for . . . ?

In the case of cities, especially the smell part.

Re:Is it time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227569)

Slashdot would have been one of the last places I'd expect to find someone who really believed that...

Re:Is it time? (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228581)

The Occupy movement, among other things, (and I will put this charitably) is decrying the lack of employment; their argument appears to be that it's not for lack of want that they are unemployed, but for lack of employment opportunities that they are so. Which arguably, when tied in with the whole 'Wall St. Bailout' thing kind of make sense, in an interpretation of capitalism (the more perfect version of) -> that is, the capital that was 'acquired' from the taxpayer would have, if it had followed the initially projected course (pre-acquisition), annihilated the various financial firms that had their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar, and, in their deaths (via creative destruction), spawned a whole bunch of new firms / opportunities (to take their places) which these people would have sought gainful employment with (and, arguably, would have preferential access to, as their resumes would not be dirtied with having been at the helm of the previous disaster) -> the firms, of course, would not be strictly financial, but perhaps a fair number of new and differing corporations / companies / small-businesses of every color. What we had here, instead, by virtue of our political 'friends,' was a 'Reverse Phoenix' -> the sacrifice of the new and young, for the sake of the old and decrepit. Throwing sailors' bodies under the ship to keep it afloat, and what a price we've paid!

The only major problem here is that Mr Market (the personification of the market, typically the creative destructive arm thereof, though not limited to) doesn't appear done with the US. Those old firms, the ones which manufactured this sacrifice...he appears to want them, and is willing to destroy the country to get them. See the fun with Greece for a better example -> not content with the bailout they received, the old firms have been holding Greece for ransom; they bought into the bonds, knowing that Greece would default, but figured that with their might, they could force the ECB to pay them off. This whole nonsense with a slow default is only so the Europeans can scramble to find a way to prevent a Credit Default Swap, which would annihilate them all.

I couldn't for the life of me, figure out why the Europeans wouldn't just let Greece fail; they knew it, as well as the rest of us, that Greece couldn't repay that money, yet they were handing it to them in briefcases. It turns out that these firms, typically US in origin, had setup a game, just like the mortgage crisis in the US ("Heads we win, Tails you lose"), with the Greek bonds; and the Europeans, while being asked to pay off these firms (something like two Euros for every one Euro on the face of the bond), have been slowly trying to disable that poison pill.

And Mr. Market has been very slowly working his way, through all their defenses, to claim them. They must die.

Re:Is it time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228871)

Obviously you need the outdoor element. That's when you get the merit badge for "gaining access to a satellite to gain Internet access from the middle of the desert". Which obviously comes after such badges as "Wardriving" and "Dumpster Diving for Information Gathering", and may come before or after "Living Outdoors While on the Run from the FBI".

Ironic Captcha: camped

Coder Dojo (2)

Randyj70999 (322677) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227013)

There is a coder Scouts, called Coder Dojo []

Re:Coder Dojo (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227449)

There is a coder Scouts, called Coder Dojo []

Scouts have Explorers. When I was in High School I was in a computer technology/electronics Explorer post. It was rad. First taste of computers, programming and stuff. Not a new idea.

Re:Scouts have Explorers (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227955)

Then they grew up, sans computer skills (some of them), and have Internet Explorer, drive Ford Explorer, and their kids watch rerun-DVD's of Dora the Explorer.

Other Boy Scout traditions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227019)

Will Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts 2.0 include online predators? []

Scouts is About Camping Skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227021)

Spawn Camping! That's a patch!

This will be followed by the Creative Cursing patch, which is then followed by the Greater Internet F-wad patch.

Simple Answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227041)


We already have an obesity problem (2)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227043)

Kids need to be outside and learn useful things. The Internet is pretty easy to use, coding and configuring software is best left to teachers or summer camps. The scout programs really need to stick to their guns, don't spoil a good thing. Theyre one of the last bastions of real childhood enrichment.

Re:We already have an obesity problem (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227725)

Useful things... let's see, which one might it be in our time and age? How to make fire by rubbing a stick in a board only or how to make efficient SQL statements?

Don't get me wrong, I'm with you at the "childhood enrichment" part, but useful? Only if you believe the "end of the world at the end of the year" thing.

Re:We already have an obesity problem (2)

ancienthart (924862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228027)

Useful in that it gets kids to think beyond "That's just a stick and a board."

I was raised on a small dairy farm, so we had to do a lot of our repairs, modifications and fabrication ourselves. Good old wire and bailing twine. :D

I'm now a science teacher and am constantly surprised when some city (thus, supposedly more advantaged) kids freeze up at the idea of designing their own experiments or equipment. It's anecdotal, but it seems that the kids that have outdoor lives as well as books and computers, are the ones who come up with the coolest solutions.

Re:We already have an obesity problem (4, Informative)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228091)

I don't know about you, but knowing how to tie knots, set up a tent, use a compass, etc are VERY useful to me, especially since I like camping. And by the way, once you get to the higher levels, your group can actually specialize. For instance, I helped set up an isolated telephone network that spanned multiple kilometers with only a single power source at our last 2 Jamborees. We also set up Internet connections for kids to contact home and for the on-site hospital (no joke) to diagnose problems as well as radio towers and a dispatch room. Pulling cat5 cable through underbrush is a unique experience that few people get.

Re:We already have an obesity problem (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228377)

You can teach someone orienteering through an online class with online tests. This isn't about whether to have computer-scouts, but scout-badges-on-computers, which is possible for many badges, and could greatly increase the educational value of the scouting program, but "camping" badges would still be done outdoors.

Re:We already have an obesity problem (1)

seringen (670743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228623)

You can teach them the principles of orienteering through an online class with online test, but it's definitely not orienteering! My old scoutmaster would take us out at night with a compass, get us lost, and have us figure out how to get home. that has been a very important life skill and something that would be impossible to do online. Nowadays people are hopeless without GPS, it is shocking and frankly bothers me.

I still generally agree with you, but teaching someone how to read the outside environment is a wonderful tool and has literally saved my life on a couple of occasions.

Re:We already have an obesity problem (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229105)

heh yea, we recently went on a camping trip with some buddies, I was the only one able to figure out how to toss a rope over a branch and string a lantern over it, our site was the only one with a (sterno) stove and a light, everyone else was trying to heat beans in the dark 4 foot away from a piss poor fire

I'd like to direct your attention to... (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227083)

...a book published in 1965 called "the mad scientist's club". The main difference as I see it is that the kids did technical pranks and hardhacks outside in the sun and fresh air, a concept that would probably be considered abnormal now.

Re:I'd like to direct your attention to... (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227189)

And tangentially, see "the child and the machine", a decently researched book about the financial incebtives behind throwing computers at the largest groups of the youngest kids possible, and also about how computers being involved at an early age have resulted in poorer academic performance in the majority of cases.

Re:I'd like to direct your attention to... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227417)

...a book published in 1965 called "the mad scientist's club". The main difference as I see it is that the kids did technical pranks and hardhacks outside in the sun and fresh air, a concept that would probably be considered abnormal now.

I get a nice even tan from my monitors, thank you very much.

Re:I'd like to direct your attention to... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228281)

You can buy vitamin-D supplements in bulk at Costco, I hear...

Sounds a bit like "Carl and Jerry"... (2)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227945)

A regular series from the old days of Popular Electronics magazine. Some of them are available online at: []

Re:Sounds a bit like "Carl and Jerry"... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228275)

Well, like that, except funny.

Re:I'd like to direct your attention to... (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228687)

Also, one of the first stories in the series involves the kids purchasing a WWII surplus miniature Japanese submarine, making it seaworthy in some way, and doing some kind of prank with it without particularly much in the way of adult supervision.

The number of government agencies, from municipal to federal, that would freak out completely at the first hint of such an activity in this day and age is amusing and sad to contemplate.

For further reading, Edward Abbey's "The Monkey-Wrench Gang" is like a sequel in which those kids grew up discovered women and dope, and joined Earth First.

Fine as is (4, Insightful)

twnth (575721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227111)

I do not think it is necessary to reform all organizations to match some illusionary techno elite mold.

Scouts/Guides teach different skills, like what the sun looks like and how to get along with others, that are not well represented by the can't-lift-face-from-LCD crowd.

Badges are about basic skills and sense of accomplishment (little milestones met). Leaderboards are about competition. Each has their merit.

P.S. Get off my lawn

Re:Fine as is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227285)

I agree with not changing the basic layout of the Scouts, but the badge proposals in the article do make sense. The Scouts have a Computers badge which involves making spread sheets and power point stuff. A badge for tweets, and 3D fabbing fits perfectly. Some of the badges, such as Nuclear Science can get very involved and have almost nothing to do with the outdoors.

Re:Fine as is (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228117)

I can't talk for the BSA or any other countries, but Canada is actually in the process of updating all their technology badges. The current one actually references scsi drives! They are looking to add Internet safety, security, etc to the badge now to make it fit current technology better.

Re:Fine as is (1)

ancienthart (924862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228065)

I loved Cup Scouts because our scout leader got us to do all sorts of interesting things for the sheer hell of doing something new.
However, the instant I was old enough to get into Scouts, trying to earn badges got boring fast.
I feel the same way about "kicking a ball around" and joining a team sport.

I'm not sure competition is the best way to motivate young children.

Merit badges already available... (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227123)

I just got the Fry-o-later achievement badge in TF2 today!

Really? (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227127)

"Social networks and the maker movement are the perfect intersection of where the kids of today are"

Who writes this crap? It's like somebody yelled cheeseburger and I got there and they hand fed me a potato chip.

What kind of autistic parents want their kid to grow and develope in some electronic cocoon? What's really driving this:

A) fear of legacies not surviving the technologized future

B) fear that at the rate forests are being consumed, there won't be any such thing as campgrounds in the future

C) just straight fucking autism

No (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227153)

Isn't the point of scouts is to get kids out of the basement to move and do something?

Re:No (2)

mianne (965568) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228481)

I'd say there's a huge difference between pwning n00bz in WoW for 15 hours a day and intensive hands-on training in AI, robotics, e-commerce, cryptography, rocketry, etc.. We have more than enough kids trained in the former, and so precious few skilled in the latter.

Not really (4, Insightful)

bjdevil66 (583941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227163)

Yes, the core Scouting organizations could use online resources for organizational purposes or for some merit badges that could be done online.

However, most of the valuable experiences from scouting can only be gained in person - experiencing things in real life. Camping. Swimming. Hiking. Shooting. Meeting people in various fields and getting a real education about a topic (even if it is cursory), Etc.

However, online scouting would lose a lot of the value you get by interacting with live people who can share their experiences.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227751)

Hacking has plenty of camping, swimming, hiking, and shooting! Having you seen Tron, ReBoot [] , or Cyberchase [] ?

Discrimination Issues (4, Informative)

RCC42 (1457439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227207)

I just wanted to mention that the Boys and Girls scouts of America do not allow homosexuals into leadership positions, youth or adult.

Moreover they completely bar atheists and agnostics from membership of any kind.

Support them if you so desire but do so with full awareness of what you are supporting.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227447)

Feature, not a bug.

Re:Discrimination Issues (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227475)

"Moreover they completely bar atheists and agnostics from membership of any kind."

false. not sure where you heard this. there is nothing on the application form that says 'specify religious affiliation here' and 'if none, go find the nearest exit.' 'a scout is reverent' is a core element of scouting. but great flexibility is given to 'reverent'. This would vary greatly from group to group, however, as some groups chartered by certain churches have an expectation that you'll be part of that religion. There are certain advancement opportunities that are faith based. at each youth level, most involve having a discussion with your parent about faith and what that means to you. even if you take umbrage to that, and decide to forego that part of advancement, you can be a member of the group. no one kicks you out unless you decide to stop coming. At least, that's BSA GSUSA policy. any one church might apply their own house rules.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227829)


"The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.’ The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members."

Who would want online pedo charges? (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228567)

The current boy scout handbook, before anything else, starts off with a dozen or so pages about sex abuse. There are very strict rules for troop leaders/helpers - always do things in pairs, etc. So who in their right mind would want to videochat or be a troop leader for a bunch of kids online - instant lawsuits.

Also yup, you have to be a believer. They are very lax on what qualifies as belief and accept almost any faith. They need a badge for 'technically following the letter of the rules' if someone is a pastafarian. It's a serious shame. I helped out as a co-leader with a local troop for a year and the issue didn't come up, I don't remember having to put my religious beliefs on any official paperwork. However I do know athiest troop leaders have been removed from news stories I've seen. It's hard enough to get participation in the boy scouts and girl scouts as it is. I doubt religion keeps many people from being involved.

Re:Discrimination Issues (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228859)

In the field, the requirement is that the boy acknowledge that there is a 'higher purpose' to life. I suppose that does exclude the nihilist boys, but those are pretty rare.

Re:Discrimination Issues (1)

jdogalt (961241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229079)

parent post is BullShit as well, again, coming from a christian, who when he was an atheist cub-scout, having fulfilled all the requirements to become a boy scout (bridge/arrow of light ceremony), kept his honor by refusing to become a boy scout which required the following pledge-

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
" []

Re:Discrimination Issues (1)

jdogalt (961241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229039)

I call BullShit of the first order on the parent post's reply to this grandparent post:

""Moreover they completely bar atheists and agnostics from membership of any kind."

false. not sure where you heard this. ... even if you take umbrage to that, and decide to forego that part of advancement, you can be a member of the group"

  *as a former cub-scout atheist, now a Christian at age 36*, who refused to become a boy scout because of the required pledge to God during the bridge/arrow of light ceremony.

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
" []

Re:Discrimination Issues (5, Informative)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227495)

The Girl Scouts have nothing to do with each other and entirely different philosophies.

The Boy Scouts are basically structured to be the youth program for the mormon church.

The Girl Scouts are far more warm, friendly, and liberal.

Re:Discrimination Issues (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227929)

I can tell you from vast amounts of experience, liberals are not friendly and warm unless you embrace the exact lifestyle they lead.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39229063)

Funny, I'm warm and friendly to people who aren't into kinky bondage sex, and I'm also friendly to people who like sticking their penises into other men or rubbing their vaginas against other women - one of which I'm not into, and the other I'm entirely incapable of doing.

Then again, I'm socially liberal and fiscally conservative, so don't fit in the category of Conservative(tm) (socially tyrannical, fiscally liberal) or Liberal(tm) (socially centrist, fiscally completely fucking insane).

Re:Discrimination Issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228397)

Indeed, I would just like to reiterate.

The Girl Scouts as a whole do not discriminate upon orientation, nor sex. They work with Planned Parenthood and many of the leaders are feminists. (Read this [] if you think feminists are all "feminazis")

Just recently they allowed a transgendered girl to join [] .

Now, what often happens is local chapters don't agree. In fact, a troop in Louisiana disbanded [] in protest. Which is really really stupid. Boggles the mind people would be willing to sacrafice such an excellent program for their daughters because the organization as a whole rightly believes that a girl isn't defined by what's between her legs.

Here's a dispicable group that had a 14 year old girl make a video very much against transgendered people, calling for people to boycott buying Girl Scout cookies. So of course everyone ended up buying a ton of cookies from them, I also think they figured out who she was and kicked her out. Unsurprisingly that video has been taken down, but there's probably copies up elsewhere. They have a Wall of Shame that is better read as Wall of Awesome. []

Also, the web layout is just awful. Just plain awful.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228747)

Most of the troops that operate as Mormon Youth Groups are not held in high regard.

Re:Discrimination Issues (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228845)

The Boy Scouts are basically structured to be the youth program for the mormon church.

Um, no - the Mormon units don't really interact with the rest of them. You should go work with a local Scout unit to see what they're about. Reading online complaints isn't the way to find out what acutally happens. Worst case, you've confirmed your fears and feel right about it. Best case, you learn something new.

Also, the way Scouting is run is very dependent on the local culture - you'll find varying views among a varying population. Not shocking, really.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227985)

God... Cackling... Lmao.... Really?

Do you think we're all that moronic?

What about the constant stream of counselors anything but the model you preach?

So you throw them out when you catch them. And I throw up if I'm too sick. But unlike a person woth a strong immune system,you get these sickoes into your ranks so consistently that I along with most people I know would never advise a parent to release a child to your temporary observation or guardianship!

Fuck that, i mean, since you obviously can NOT screen for the whacked fucks when they sign on but, just like the catholic church, only react after the fact by denying it happens, who gives a flying FUCK about your insipid and devious attempt to resemble human beings with feelings?

  Maybe you could focus less on getting peoples' kids far away from them an into trust situations under strangers, and maybe focus on providing something real to the fucking United States of America. Because we don't need another outlet for pedophiles and acid dosing abuse freaks, any more than you all need holes in your heads.

Re:Discrimination Issues (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228169)

I'm a 48 year old Scout. I joined Boy Scouts at age 11 and have been a Scout or leader ever since. I'm an Asst. Scoutmaster (ASM) and have been for over 25 years now. I know about Scouting and its principles.

I'm posting anonymously because I could be "fired" as a Scout leader for the things I'm about to say.

The parent is incorrect in that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are different organizations. Girl Scouts do not bar membership for homosexuals or atheists. Boy Scouts ban both. I HATE the fact that Boy Scouts does this and makes it their official policy.

Why they do this is fairly straightforward. In addition to posthumously baptizing Jews who died in the holocaust, the Mormon church has Boy Scouts as its OFFICIAL youth organization for boys. They do not have Girl Scouts as the organization for their girls, for exactly the difference in stance noted above.

As such, I HATE the Mormon church. They are ruining an organization that I love very dearly.

My personal feeling is that Scouting should be about lots of things - having a moral code that asks you to treat others with kindness and respect, and helping them when you can. It should have NOTHING to do with sex, let alone sexual orientation, nor should it require a belief in God. Simply a "higher power" would suffice for me, and would be consistent with other groups such as AA.

I have struggled with this for many years. I have friends who have had to leave my troop because they are gay. One was a very close friend. His departure was a huge loss for our troop (but happily a gain for a more enlightened organization). I have almost sent my Eagle Scout award to Scouting for All, an organization working to change BSAs position on these two things. (I wish I could send it... I worked too hard for it to mail it away... I still struggle with this) Regardless it would do little good. BSA cannot afford to lose the Mormons. The organization would probably fold if it did, so the Mormons have BSA by the short hairs, and there isn't much that can be done.

On a brighter note, while there is no Hacking Merit Badge, there are merit badges for Computers, Electronics, Engineering, Geocaching, Inventing, and Robotics.

And there are troops out there that only pay lip service to the 2 principles discussed above. For example, in my troop, there is no requirement to profess a belief in God, so long as one does not publicly proclaim atheism. No Scout or leader has ever been dismissed for being a homosexual, so long as that information remains private. It is essentially a "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy. As such, it is flawed and asks people to live a lie, and is still wrong. But its the best we can do under the circumstance, for if we left an openly homosexual leader in place, the National Council would revoke our Charter, and the entire troop would cease to exist.

Like I said, I struggle with this. I don't ask for pity or praise. I feel like a coward. Because I am a coward. I tell myself about the greater good, and put it out of my mind. But what hurts the most is that my position and actions basically controvert the exact principles on which Scouting was founded.

On my honor.... (do I have any?)
I will do my best... (am I?)
To do my duty to God and my Country... (what will God think of me not standing up for my friend?)
To obey the Scout Law... (how many of those words have I broken now?)
To help other people at all times... (unless they are an atheist or gay?)
To keep myself physically strong
Mentally awake... (I guess I still have this one)
And morally straight... ('nuff said)

Re:Discrimination Issues (2)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228485)

A belief in a "higher power" is just a cop-out for belief in a deity. It has neither the rigor of belief in a deity that will hold you to account, nor the boldness of admitting none at all. If Scouting wants to maintain its insistence on belief in God, then it's entitled to - after all, it's a private organization. But don't be a fucking pussy about it.

BTW, why not send in your certificate? You were awarded the Eagle; you earned it; you proved yourself. A principled resignation of your title does not diminish your accomplishments: it adds to them.

Re:Discrimination Issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228715)

I am an Eagle as well and am involved with my son in Scouting. Like you, I have very strong concerns with the bigoted idea that that religious beliefs and heterosexualilty are prerequisites for morality.

But....if you have been involved in scouting that long, then you're well aware that the ban on homosexuals in scouting is there for the same reason that females are not allowed/strongarmed out from being overnight activities leaders in the Boy Scouts. It is purely about liability. There have been plenty of sexual liaisons between boys or boys and leaders over the years that have really hurt the program. ...and having been involved in council level work, I'm aware that there are many many more that never see the light of day due to embarrassment of the parents/victim.

Yes, the Mormons have a very strong talon wrapped around the throat of Scouting....but it is also a very conservative organization that is deeply rooted in churches across the US. (almost every troop I know of use a Church's facility or resources) There is plenty of weight on the organization to uphold the religious requirements, even though they pretty much boil down to "you can have a belief system of agnostic or higher" and "you must say the Pledge of Allegiance, Scout Promise, etc as they are currently written".

Re:Discrimination Issues (2)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228773)

> I HATE the Mormon church.
I don't. I grew up in it, still belong to it I guess. It does good things. It does bad things. It's run by laypeople, many of whom are very sincere, many of whom are intelligent and reasonable, many of whom are genuinely Christ-like (turn-the-other-cheek as opposed to belligerent sanctimony).

But collectively it is a global corporation with hordes of lawyers, accountants, and a budget many nations could envy, and it has considerable political clout. They really have hijacked the BSA with their own politics.

AC, you shouldn't be ashamed for not tilting at windmills. We're all imperfect humans, some of us try to act with altruism. That the social routes available are imperfect shouldn't stop us from wielding them for good.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228813)

My scout troop was mostly atheist/agnostic, had 1 open gay member, and was run by a crazy veterinarian, a bluegrass player, and a rather cool episcopal priest. Never had any kind of issues. Granted, we also didn't sell popcorn and had almost no connection to the regional scout council. We were just barely tolerated enough to participate in OA.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39229163)

Thanks for sharing this. I have similar views -- I think the Girl Scouts are great and I hate what the Mormons did to the Boy Scouts.

I've always hoped in time the Boy Scouts might break free into their own entity again and revert back to what the Girl Scouts is now, where it's all about openness and tolerance mostly. I think it will happen, probably within the next 20 years.

Re:Discrimination Issues (1)

ethicalcannibal (1632871) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228509)

As other's have said, the two organizations are not remotely connected. The Boy Scouts don't allow athiests or LGBT folks. The Girl Scouts however, have been supporting transgirls in their troups, and doing some amazingly inclusive things. This is causing some conservative groups to boycott the Girl Scouts. I've actually just bought 20 boxes of cookies today to support the Girl Scouts. I never normally buy Girl Scout cookies, either.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228849)

The Boy Scouts don't allow athiests or LGBT folks.

Leaders. At this time. The boys don't have such requirements - Boy Scouts takes all boys.

Re:Discrimination Issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228571)

As an atheist parent of a girl scout, I think you have unfairly painted both organizations with the same brush. Girl Scouts have no religious test. They even let a transgender kid in.

Note the recent Indiana moron in the news who claims that girl scouts promote homosexuality.

Boy Scouts are completely discriminatory though.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228819)

I just wanted to mention that the Boys and Girls scouts of America do not allow homosexuals into leadership positions, youth or adult.

Fine, so the Hacker Scouts can turn this into a "no Apple fags!" rule.

Re:Discrimination Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228895)

Yes, because gay men going on overnight camping trips with 14-year-old boys is SUCH a great idea. Oops, did I just offend someone with an inconvenient truth?

Re:Discrimination Issues (1)

Sosarian Avatar (2509846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229127)

Gay guys are attracted to ADULTS of the same sex; they're no more interested in little boys than hetero guys are in little girls. Are you trying to imply that you molest little girls, or are you truly cowardly enough that you'll only admit your beliefs anonymously?

We have failed (1)

LuckyJ (56389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227241)

What the hell is about? Seriously? Slashdot, have you have completely succumb to the stupidity of the general population? I've been a loyal reader of Slashdot for quite some time now, but I'm getting sick of the cyber hacker 2.0 source crowd linked advanced persistent open source bitcoin controversial privacy landscape threat awareness law. You guys dropped your balls a thousands exits ago got played by the man.

This has definite hacker education potential. (2)

sixtyeight (844265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227443)

There are a lot of comments on the Boy and Girl Scout associations, but not yet many on the use of online merit badges as an alternative educational model.

Imagine educational sites done easily in Drupal, in which users learned skills and knowledge sets about... well, anything. Skillsets disruptive to the status quo, for instance. Hacking. Encryption. True American Common Law. All manner of "disruptive" information. They could earn merit badges and level them up just as they do in an RPG, and display or link them on social networking sites and in their .sig files on sites like Slashdot. As they promoted their learning and interests, others would notice and learn about them as well if they found the material interesting. From there, it's not much of a stretch to imagine them getting together in online forums of interest groups. And then you'd have an alternative model of information distribution from the mainstream media. You'd also have a mechanism for giving people the skills they need to overcome the status quo.

As a bonus, geeks who created sites like that could charge users a negligible amount of BitCoins in monthly dues once they'd leveled past a certain point. The interesting part would be that the moment users became responsible for monthly dues, they would also be eligible for a portion of dues paid by any other new users they'd brought to the site. It would provide some great incentive for users to not only promote awareness by displaying the badges they'd earned, but also mentoring their recruits - thus assisting in the transmission of the information. Anyone doing that actively would find learning and teaching skills of interest to them online would be a sort of profit model, and that they were accruing far more from it than they were paying out.

By making it fun, easy, interesting and profitable, it would be very easy to imagine this model catching on among the mainstream Facebook crowd who are currently sitting around playing FarmVille instead. And thus, you'd have a means of bringing the mainstream back to reality and fixing society while making money for yourself in the process.

Really?... no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227445)

Certainly in the UK, scouts can be the only opportunity for many kids to get out and experience the natural world, enjoy being self-sufficient and socialise with other kids from many geographical and social backgrounds on common terms.

Sitting around a campfire, sewing newly earnt badges into one's camp blanket whilst singing songs with other scouts is, in my opinion, a great thing. The scouts has broadened its horizons into 'some' tech, but at the core of it is comminity and life skills. All these kids know how to use the internet, and any that are keen on computing more than from a user's p.o.v. would probably find a watered down version uninspiring.

Keep Scouts what is always has been, swiss army knives, woggles and annoyingly repetitive songs.

I was a "hacker" scout in 1994 (3, Insightful)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227453)

It's called an "explorer post." My troop was hosted by a kids Dad who was an engineer at a company that made Mars rover prototypes for NASA. We made websites for ourselves to start out, which they hosted on the companies web server (*nix running apache), and after we learned http we made websites for for car dealerships and other small businesses to raise money for the post. Among the many cool activities we did, they also let us program very expensive Mars rover prototypes to walk around and explore the office and we had challenges to see who could program the best runs etc...

That experience, and having a computer in my room at very young age, are probably the two biggest reasons why I ended up choosing a career in Engineering. I have often thought that if I ever get off my lazy butt to do something good for the community it would be a technology explorer post like the one I was lucky enough to get into.

Re:I was a "hacker" scout in 1994 (1)

spaceman375 (780812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227591)

I did explorers back in '74. I sat at Bell Labs in Holmdel, nj and played Hunt The Wumpus on computers 50 miles away. Got to write any programs I wanted, any language I cared to tackle, on state of the art mainframes, with willing tutors for whatever direction I chose. Didn't realize the spectacular opportunity I was missing 'till much later. I'd give Explorers two thumbs up, except that I think they belong up the bigoted Boy Scouts of America's ass.

Interesting! (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227505)

I think it's an awesome idea, but I disagree with the name "Hacker Scouts". I think "Hacker" is and has always been a misnomer for the hobbyist-level of Electrical Engineering, Structural Engineering, Computer Science, etc, with a real focus on repurposing everyday items.

If you call it "Engineering Corps" or something like that, I could get behind it. I find it hard to believe you will have much support from the largely-brainwashed general masses using the term 'hacker'. "Being a hacker is bad! They take down websites and are against the government and order!" They don't know any better, because Fox News doesn't tell them any better.

Author must not know the kids of today too well (0)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227513)

Yeah let's hit the roster. We'll give it a "run down" and "audit" the in-tek of the pledges:

[private file]

Lil Billy. Three-four. Ten. One-twenty. Overweight and chubby. Calls daek skinned people "nigger" if his mom isn't hiding him under the flaps of her fringed leather biker jacket with the wolves painted on the back. Wants ta hunt rill good. Already fishes pritty good without hooking his thumb and ain't too fraida worms. His father comments on Billy's weight condition: "he'll outgrow that." Billy kniws computers are important but notices that girls see guys who thunk computers are important as icky, and he needs all the help he can get. RSVP says not attending this year's indoors away from home.

Little Jerome. The men in his father's side of the family, including his immediate family, are all members of the same gang. Almost half the younger women are members of the female gang counterpart. His father rapes his sister and smacks Jerome's face and legs with a cane. Jerome, six, dreams of one day abusing his father's handgun. He knows computers are for bitch ass nerds and has declined to attend the camp.

Teen Roger "Malfoy" (as his friends call him) says hacking is done in private in one's own home and believes the camp is a sting. Porn-phishing reveals that this potential Eagle/Mitnick grade scout knows nothing about security or DIY but has masturbated to dozens of cracker flicks. Recon produces a tape of the young man avoiding social contact at school by typing high-speed gibberish and speaking slowly to the screen as an aid in psychological projection. RSVP attending but his mom said no way.

Jonathan, twenty, wants to attend for all the wrong reasons and has sued the supreme court to be allowed to go. Dems and GOP both feel he has a good chance but only because they still understand neither technology, nor pedos, nor children.

Megan, black girl aged 9, wants to attend with her soul sister Whitney, white girl aged 7, and their mutual BFF (some other kid) because they actually, precocipusly as it may be, "get" the concepts behind the hacker scouts' conception. Megan's Dad is a special ops vet turned trucker, her mom is a drunk. They taught her principles that led to her abilities and early cognitive maturity, but still can't afford to send her. Whitney's parents won't let her go because they didn't know Megan was black and it really put a stop to their friendship, even though Megan's dad is white. The otger kid wants to go but unlike Megan, both of his parents are drunks, even though his dad is a fairly successful dot com enterpreneur and his mom is a bank accountant. They fight too much to listen to him, and if either one allows him to go it would be seen as favoritism and since e's the judge of the household, that can't be abided. He spends eleven hours a day on the computer and has no friends besides Megan and Whitney. At eight he's already contemplating suicide. He wished he could hack the bank account and bus tickets to go anyway but, catch 22, he doesn't know enough. Threw RSVPs to decline.

It's definitely possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39227543)

I'm a geek, software engineer, and a Scout leader here in Australia. It is important to keep the outdoors and practical camping skills in Scouting, but there is definitely an avenue for computing skills as well. I would love it if I were approached to be an examiner for a Venturer (teenagers aged 14-18) who wanted to use programming to earn one of the badges towards their Queen's Scout Award. Hasn't happened yet, because most teenagers I know have little interest in learning how to program.

Admittedly, one of my Venturers did need some assistance designing is website, so I helped him hack the PHP/JavaScript he'd got from some online template - and I think he learned a little bit about web "programming" as a result. (Yeah, I don't consider PHP or JavaScript proper programming languages either)

Boy Scout Explorers (2)

stox (131684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227675)

1978, we spent Tuesday evenings with full run of the computer ( IBM 370/158 ) at Exxon R&D. Occasional field trips to places like the Sarnoff Labs ( RCA ), and
Bell Labs. It was at Bell Labs I was introduced to C and Unix by Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan. Little did I realize that I was going to make a career out of that.

"...we don't see 'leaderboards' for skills yet..." (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39227833)

Acquiring skills is a positive-sum game. We don't need to know who is "winning".

Badges, badges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228125)

Badges! Badges! We don't need no stinking badges!

Don't come any closer!

Too late! Pwned!

Wait.... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228191)

"MAKE Magazine asks: is it 'Time For Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts 2.0?' What might the future of education be like if it were based on online & earned skill badges, and what could the future of traditional organizations for kids, like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, be like in a very modern, tech-savvy world?

Wasn't this answered decades ago when they came up with Explorers? []

Typical Explorer posts include groups of teenagers specializing in a field such as law enforcement, fire and emergency service, health careers, engineering, aviation, skilled trades, and technology. The majority of Explorer posts have an Explorer uniform that they have especially designed for wear during formal meetings and community service activities, a long-standing tradition dating from the time when Exploring was a traditional BSA program.

The organization is already there. Just use it.


4H was sort of like that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228597)

4H used to have science stuff. (even though it was agriculturally based)

Whats with the gender groups anyway?

Would the uniforms (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228651)

be T-shirts pre-stained with Cheetos?

A lot of this is already being done. Volunteer. (1)

enjar (249223) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228685)

I guess they need to open their eyes and re-use what's already out there. There are plenty of youth organizations that already include technology in many ways. From my own personal life:

I've offered to help out co-worker's son and whatever other boys want to come to earn their Computers merit badge by giving them a full-on tour of our data center and then sticking around as long as it takes to answer whatever questions they might have about software development, testing, release, integration and whatever points of the software business they might like to know. We can go deep on languages, hardware, storage -- whatever. I'm really looking forward to it.

I also volunteer with the state Science Fair program as a judge. There is a hierarchy of competitions at the middle school and high school levels, and they are always looking for people with science and engineering backgrounds to help out. It's some of the most rewarding time I spend anywhere. The ingenuity, hard work and "i'm going to change the world" attitude some of these kids show up with is nothing short of amazing.

My daughter's elementary school has just started a FIRST / Lego Robotics team. There are already existing teams at the middle and high school levels. The school also sponsors a chess club, too.

I was a Scout in the 80's -- achieved Life, went to Philmont, Order of the Arrow. Lots of camping, lots of great leadership lessons and a lot of great experiences. I can say without qualification that I still use leadership skills I picked up in the Scouts to this day, as well as lots of other stuff that makes me useful around the house as well as at work. Plus I know how to play with fire and how to handle a firearm. One of my biggest regrets in life is not achieving Eagle, I wish I could do that over.

What I wish the Scouts had done over was their policy towards homosexuals. It just goes so far against the otherwise inclusive nature and ideal of Scouting. I recall meeting other Scouts at camp or at Philmont from other parts of the nation and world, and trading troop patches and stories. I wish we had more of that and a leadership who said "you know what, it's not right to malign people for pretty much any reason -- so let's include them and see what they can teach us". But no, we get fear and hate baked into the organization. It's pathetic. FWIW I'm very happy my daughter is in the much more inclusive and progressive Girl Scouts. This isn't lefty loopy stuff, either -- in case you haven't read the news, the military allows openly gay soldiers, state after state has ratified gay marriage and we have people in positions of leadership in both the private and public sectors who are gay.

i'd love to see "maker scouts" (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228721)

The idea is not to expose kids to technology. They are surrounded by it already. They can't help but be "exposed."

The idea is to expose technology to the kids. Far too much of modern technology comes with the implied "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!", and not nearly enough "oh, you like the glowing green head projector? Here's how to make him have boobies on his head and a snidley whiplash mustache! And this button makes him sound like a chipmunk! Would you like your own big green glowing head projector? Awesome! Here's how I made mine!"

There is far too much compartmentalization in modern society, and due to that, there is a very large demographic that relies on children not being more savvy than them with tech. This is mostly in educational and political circles. This reliance makes a conflict of interest when it comes to tech; they teach just enough to use, but not enough to comprehend and adapt the tech. (They call this a wide variety of things, but the most common is "abuse" of the technology, or vandalism.)

Maker scouts would focus on kids that have already been exposed to the tech, and want to learn more. It would actively encourage novel applications of technology, and the creation of disruptive appliances. In short, it would be every technology teacher's nightmare come true, where the kids learn dangerous things like assembler, kernel hacking, lowlevel electronics and computer logic, and graduate from drawing penises on the lab computers, to creating network worms that do it for them.

I would really love to see something like this, but I realize that most people would consider this on par with having a terrorist training camp for cyber terrorists.

The idea is exactly the opposite though. Terror comes from ignorance, and learned helplessness more often than not. This would seek to break that trend. The kids that come out would know what real cyberwarfare is, and laugh at the antics paraded around on the news, like many of us do.

As an Eagle Scout myself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39228779)

I 100% support implementing some kind of programming/robotics merit badge or course. Aside from your philosophical disagreements with the BSA (as an agnostic, I have many), it is a great way to introduce more kids to technology in a environment where they can learn how and why it operates, instead of just accepting that it does work and leaving it at that.

Re:As an Eagle Scout myself... (3, Informative)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229131)

As an Eagle Scout myself, I know I learned many fundamentals of electronics, radio communication, metal working and even helped build a hero robot as a troop project. Really there is everything from wilderness survival (which is what pops into most peoples mind) and basket weaving, but in all if there is a topic, there is a badge where you can learn the basics as a child.

do I support the activities mentioned in the article? yes, but its amusing because its already there ...other than buy a 500 3d printer from us cause your kid needs to know something that will become a toaster in 20 years, but drafting and cad, which are useful skills are already a badge []

guess where I learned how to do it first?

Huh? Did they stop? (2)

jejones (115979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39228949)

My sole experience in Scouting was with an Explorer post at what was then the Oklahoma City Western Electric works where my mother worked. A group of us (I remember two sisters and their brother and myself) went there, I forget how many evenings a week, and learned FORTRAN on an IBM 1130 and FOCAL and PDP-8 assembly language (on a PDP-8, of course). That would be around 1973 or 1974.

Fp g8aa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39229019)

Open platfo8m, []
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