Monday, May 21, 2012

The Real Reason for Scouting

Recently, the Indianapolis Star published an editorial about Boy Scouts losing membership. The author did their best to present the positives of Boy Scouting and why every young man needed to take the trail to Eagle. Many points were made but I am not sure that valid points have been made to convince today's society of the need for Scouting.
When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2002, I needed to find a way to keep my life normal. My world was completely rocked and I had 3 small children at home. A friend suggested that I walk away from my Cadette troop that I was leading at the time so I could rest. I quickly realized that those girls gave me the strength and the courage to continue my fight. I still dearly love those girls.
Later life handed me a diagnosis of CML - Chronic Myloid Leukemia. Again, my daughters' troops filled that need to continue. Their constant hugs and encouragement was all that I needed to again get my life back to normal.
This past year, my family moved from Indiana to Alabama. My kids and I moved with some uneasiness on what to expect. I started another troop and yet again, those girls pulled me along with them and made my transition a positive. My girls flourished with their new friendships.
Three times in my life, my Girl Scout troop gave me the support when I needed it. I also need to include my Boy Scout troop. Many times I have received texts from my friends in the troop that gave me that little kick that I needed.
I have met several military families here in Alabama. They taught me something very interesting. Many of them are involved in Scouting because it is a constant that they can provide for their kids. Where ever they go in the world, Scouting is always there for their kids. Military families are also very involved as a family with most of their activities - including Scouting. Perhaps that may be the secret that Scouting needs to sell to our population - the family nucleus
The family nucleus as a whole has been damaged over the years. We work later at our jobs and make up for the lack of being their for our kids by putting them in all the activities we can stand. We work hard to pay for the stuff that we buy to make up for not being there. Doesn't make much sense to me.
I often find myself watching old family programs when I want to veg for a while in front of the television. I think I long for the more simple times of days gone by. No cell phones, tablets, IPods, various lessons and business trips. Mom and Dad work and then spend time with the family. Again, there is that concept.
Scouting is family time. Ask any kid that is involved in Scouting if they would like to share their experiences with their parents - they would answer yes. Cub Scouts uses this concept to the fullest. Tiger Cubs must have a parent partner for their meetings. Basically they are there to referee but they are there.
When ever I speak with parents about Scouting, I always reinforce the idea that they are missing something fantastic when they drop and run. Scouting is an avenue that allows kids to explore new things and do that with friends and possibly a parent.
I think we need to stop and take back our families. I think we need to encourage our kids to continue to grow as they become young adults. BSA and GSUSA are two organizations that provide that. I wouldn't be who I am if it weren't for Scouting then and now. By the way, my Mom is still very involved too.