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SPI vs BSA Climbing Director


Eric L · · Roseville, CA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 115

Thanks John.  The materials have gotten better since I was first approved as a MBC.

FoamFinger _______ · · Rad Town, Not set (USA) · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 250

I'm sure that it will provide a contextual foundation for understanding Risk management and group dynamics but you won't really learn much more than that, based on your described skill level.

I don't come from a BSA background and spending time with 30,000 other people "climbing" doesn't appeal to me at all, so definitely not going to Jambo.  

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City/Burlington · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 140
FoamFinger _______ wrote:

I'm sure that it will provide a contextual foundation for understanding Risk management and group dynamics but you won't really learn much more than that, based on your described skill level.

I don't come from a BSA background and spending time with 30,000 other people "climbing" doesn't appeal to me at all, so definitely not going to Jambo.  

I absolutely need the most work in the program side of things so that is good to here. Yeah Jambo sounds like a total shitshow regardless, plus you still have to PAY if you want to work there! 

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 487

I don't really know a lot about boy scouts because I wasn't allowed to join boy scouts as a Jew. However, I do know a lot about climbing, or at least I like to think I know about climbing. I would trust somebody who had taken the SPI course, even if they didn't pass the test, than I would somebody who did boy scout climbing training. BSA training might be more useful for climbing with boyscouts than an SPI because the curriculum is specifically designed for climbing in boyscouts.

But if something in the BSA training smells funky, I would highly encourage you to do your research because their practices may well be outdated and/or less preferable than current accepted practices within the climbing world. If it isn't safety critical, you're probably better off just jumping through their hoops but if they are doing something dangerous you need to enlighten them. After all, we don't want kids going splat left and right.

About the figure 8 being used instead of ATCs, I'm not a huge fan of the figure 8 but I can see how it could be advantageous in this context. The figure 8 doesn't depend on the braking angle quite as much as an ATC. I think this might be a good thing considering they teach outdated belay motions.  

Eric L · · Roseville, CA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 115

Eli,  not sure why being Jewish prevented you from joining sorry for whatever prevented you from have my that experience (there is no religion restriction with the BSA).   Just to dispel any need for "enlightenment," scouts are supposed to have a second rope on them with an adult belay when rappelling, so the 8 has no risk to the scout.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 487
EricL wrote:

Eli,  not sure why being Jewish prevented you from joining sorry for whatever prevented you from have my that experience (there is no religion restriction with the BSA).   Just to dispel any need for "enlightenment," scouts are supposed to have a second rope on them with an adult belay when rappelling, so the 8 has no risk to the scout.

I've been told from many different people that the scouts have no religious affiliation for restriction. I'm sure this is true on paper, but I grew up in the South, and things are a little bit different down there, both on and off paper. 

Oh and I was actually talking about the use of the figure 8 for belaying, not rappelling. For rappelling, figure 8s are probably a better choice than the ATC because they hold up much better to wear and tear than an ATC and I'm sure the scouts don't want to deal with logging wear and replacing ATCs more frequently than they would with figure 8s.

Eric L · · Roseville, CA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 115

Ah, well, blame the local community.  I haven't seen that behavior (we had evangelicals, Catholics, agnostics, atheists and a Jew in cubscouts - still good friends with all.)  Sorry for your experience; sometimes people suck.  

The only mention of using an 8 as a belay device is, "can also be used as a belay device when used according to the manufacturer's guidelines" under the section for figure 8 decenders. Black Diamond actually states the Super 8 was "designed with belaying in mind."  I've never seen one used or trained that way - would probably object.  Then again, it's possible a local group could decide to break from "better judgement."

George Wu · · Newport Beach, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 62
eli poss wrote:

I've been told from many different people that the scouts have no religious affiliation for restriction. I'm sure this is true on paper, but I grew up in the South, and things are a little bit different down there, both on and off paper. 

Boy Scouts of America (national) officially require that all participants have a belief in a higher power, but otherwise do not specify which religion.  However, religion is one of the few areas where national allows individual troops and their sponsors to place greater restrictions than national policy.  So, for instance, a local church can require that all Scouts belong to the church, or at least their flavor of religion.

That said, the local Church of Latter Day Saints started a new troop up near me a few years ago.  The troop leaders decided to allow anyone to join.  I think about half their Scouts are not Mormon, though I never asked any of them about religion, so I don't know the actual number.  Out here in California, I've found most Boy Scout programs are pretty open minded.

The troop that I lead has a few Jewish kids.  I was just invited to a Bar-mitzvah, my first.

Mobes Mobesely · · Granite island · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
eli poss wrote:

I've been told from many different people that the scouts have no religious affiliation for restriction. I'm sure this is true on paper, but I grew up in the South, and things are a little bit different down there, both on and off paper. 


It was just a few years back in 2012 that the BSA were still trying to ban openly gay youth and openly gay adults from scouting. This was not just the south, this was the national organization. Consider yourself lucky .


Mobes Mobesely · · Granite island · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
George Wu wrote:

Boy Scouts of America (national) officially require that all participants have a belief in a higher power, but otherwise do not specify which religion.  However, religion is one of the few areas where national allows individual troops and their sponsors to place greater restrictions than national policy.  So, for instance, a local church can require that all Scouts belong to the church, or at least their flavor of religion.

That said, the local Church of Latter Day Saints started a new troop up near me a few years ago.  The troop leaders decided to allow anyone to join.  I think about half their Scouts are not Mormon, though I never asked any of them about religion, so I don't know the actual number.  Out here in California, I've found most Boy Scout programs are pretty open minded.

The troop that I lead has a few Jewish kids.  I was just invited to a Bar-mitzvah, my first.

Its like hanging out with the KKK and saying they arent that bad of people once you get to know them. The LDS and the BSA both have long histories of racism, bigotry and homophobia. No thanks.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

I was wondering how long it would take for the Boy Scout-hate to come out. Kind of like the way any mention of REI devolves into REI-hate.

Mobes Mobesely · · Granite island · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
FrankPS wrote:

I was wondering how long it would take for the Boy Scout-history to come out. Kind of like the way any mention of REI devolves into REI-hate.

FTFY

George Wu · · Newport Beach, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 62
T Roper wrote:

Its like hanging out with the KKK and saying they arent that bad of people once you get to know them. The LDS and the BSA both have long histories of racism, bigotry and homophobia. No thanks.

You've convicted us for the sins of our forebears.  At the National level, we're no worse than the general population of our time, and we strive to be better.  At the local level, I'm proud of my local troop.  We are composed of boys and their parents of every creed, race, religion, and yes, sexual orientation, albeit hiding in the closet.  Everyone's welcome as far as I'm concerned.

"It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and, in other ways, to prepare them to make ethical choices during their lifetime in achieving their full potential. The values we strive to instill are based on those found in the Scout Oath and Law."

And the tool we use to achieve that mission is teaching outdoor skills.  Earning the BSA Climbing Director certification isn't fun.  Shepherding a bunch of little boys into adulthood, making them leaders and citizens, is.

Jon Miller on the WS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 15
George Wu wrote:

I've taken the BSA Climbing Instructor training three times including in the past year.  The training is focused on keeping the Scouts safe, and so parts of the course have little to do with the actual climbing itself.  There are a bunch of BSA rules regarding climbing that get covered, things like how many climbing instructors are required, what activities a Scoutmaster must delegate to others while (s)he is overseeing a climbing activity, keeping equipment logs to document the full history of gear, etc.

One can become a BSA climbing instructor with limited real world climbing experience.  When I first took the course, I'd only ever top roped on anchors built by guides in a classroom setting.  Boy Scouts must climb, belay, and rappel to earn the Climbing merit badge, so instructor training covers the rules for those activities to keep them safe.  Boy Scouts may not lead climb, so a lot of time is spent building top rope anchors.  Really inexperienced climbers may not be passed, or as I was back then, strongly encouraged to partner up with another instructor with more real world experience.

Maybe its just a local thing, but I also found the BSA climbing a little old school.  There's a distinct preference for figure 8 devices, for example.  There's little shock load when top roping and rappelling are the only activities, but I would still be more comfortable with a modern device when a youth is belaying another youth.  (A parent or older youth always backs up a young belayer.)

Anyways, I can't speak directly to the AMGA certification, but I would imagine that its a little less isolated in its goals and what it teaches.

@Jon Miller - Are you the same Jon Miller who was District Executive here in Orange County?  If so, hello from Troop 37.

Sorry, different one!


John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,075
eli poss wrote:

Oh and I was actually talking about the use of the figure 8 for belaying, not rappelling. For rappelling, figure 8s are probably a better choice than the ATC because they hold up much better to wear and tear than an ATC and I'm sure the scouts don't want to deal with logging wear and replacing ATCs more frequently than they would with figure 8s.

Bsa teaches atc use for climbing belays and eights for rappelling. FWIW I logged miles of climbing with an 8ring as my only belay rappel device before the atc was invented.

One policy I thought was stupid at first was lockers on everything. If you read some of the injury accident threads on here you realize it's not so stupid after all.

JB

Eplumer400 · · Cleveland, OH · Joined May 2016 · Points: 115

Congrats on making Eagle by the way Adam. I'm interested to see what they've changed since I went through the training, although I doubt much has changed.

Mobes Mobesely · · Granite island · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
George Wu wrote:

You've convicted us for the sins of our forebears.  At the National level, we're no worse than the general population of our time, and we strive to be better.  At the local level, I'm proud of my local troop.  We are composed of boys and their parents of every creed, race, religion, and yes, sexual orientation, albeit hiding in the closet.  Everyone's welcome as far as I'm concerned.

"It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and, in other ways, to prepare them to make ethical choices during their lifetime in achieving their full potential. The values we strive to instill are based on those found in the Scout Oath and Law."

And the tool we use to achieve that mission is teaching outdoor skills.  Earning the BSA Climbing Director certification isn't fun.  Shepherding a bunch of little boys into adulthood, making them leaders and citizens, is.

Yeah thats nice but the BSA in the SE part of the country(HUGE population) is not what your BSA is I can guarantee you. I just wouldnt ever be comfortable with that, YMMV.

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City/Burlington · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 140
Eplumer400 wrote:

Congrats on making Eagle by the way Adam. I'm interested to see what they've changed since I went through the training, although I doubt much has changed.

Thanks man! It feels really good to get it done. If you're asking abiut Eagle, think it is very much the same. Unfortunately, the climbing practices have only changed slightly more.

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City/Burlington · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 140
John Barritt wrote:

Bsa teaches atc use for climbing belays and eights for rappelling. FWIW I logged miles of climbing with an 8ring as my only belay rappel device before the atc was invented.

One policy I thought was stupid at first was lockers on everything. If you read some of the injury accident threads on here you realize it's not so stupid after all.

JB

I think that the lockers policy is fine as most things in toproping should  have lockers. I have an issue with the use of giant steel biners for the masterpoint

George Wu · · Newport Beach, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 62
T Roper wrote:

Yeah thats nice but the BSA in the SE part of the country(HUGE population) is not what your BSA is I can guarantee you. I just wouldnt ever be comfortable with that, YMMV.

Yeah, its a fair bet my son and I wouldn't be welcome in Boy Scouts in certain parts of the country either.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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