Posts Tagged ‘young adults’

I was surprised to learn, via a recent New York Times article, that scouting for older kids (“young adults”) has expanded to include training to deal with terrorist attacks, hostage situations and border skirmishes. The training involves producing life-like settings “not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting.”


Phew, that’s a relief.

Things have certainly changed since my older brother was an Explorer back in the sixties. The teenaged boys (no girls allowed until later) were offered adventures above and beyond what traditional scouting had to offer and the chance to acquire some useful skills, like wilderness survival, navigation and first aid or even, as part of the Sea Scouts, nautical training. It was all kind of wholesome, albeit in a God-centric, homophobic kind of way.


Times are different. The article noted the training represents “…an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.” The accompanying photo made these kids – sorry, “young adults” – look like SWAT team mini-recruits. Very intense.


I suppose you can’t have too many people trained to police our borders, or be ready to take on terrorists. But if BSA (Boy Scouts of America) wants to offer its older members excitement, discipline, growth possibility and not only career but life-skills training (I think I’m fairly synthesizing the Explorer goals), the organization is missing some real opportunities. I mean, why stop at possible jobs with police or fire departments or Homeland Security? What about training for a position that might more typically be available to young people in these days of budget cutbacks? To give just one example of a simulation focused on career preparation:

Call Center Customer Service: Explorers are trained to multi-task by simultaneously pretending to listen to customer complaints, reading from a prepared script and updating Facebook pages. call centerParticipants are also encouraged to find other, creative ways to fend off mind-numbing boredom while at the same time avoid getting caught by the floor manager or called out by a customer who demands to talk with a supervisor.

As for a practice session that simulates an absolutely true-life situation:

Explorers must stand patiently in line for up to six hours at a job fair or unemployment office before coming face to face with an uninformed, unhelpful or openly hostile worker who will either send the Explorer to the back of the line, to another line, or home. Participant will be expected not to react violently, but instead restrict reaction to mild, inaudible grumbling while complying with orders from a clearly inferior person. The exercise teaches patience, temperance and belief in a Higher Authority or at least payback. unemployment

I’d like to believe neither of these situations or the several others I came up with (but didn’t include) might require training in dealing with terrorism, hostage situations or skirmishes with immigrants both legal and illegal. Then again, it’s a whole new world out there – Scout’s honor.  scout


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