October 12, 2017

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Cynical...

I am an Eagle Scout, a Firecrafter, OA, the works. I was a Boy Scout until I was 18, holding every leadership position possible in the organization. After college I started out helping a local troop as a merit badge counselor. That role quickly morphed into Assistant Scoutmaster. The boys loved a young twenty-something leader that was a bridge between the "dads" and themselves. I was closer in age to the boys and could relate with them better in a lot of ways.

After a couple of years I was approached by the professional Scouting types about becoming one of them. I interviewed at a couple of councils, was offered a couple of jobs. The only problem is I figured it out by the second offer. The Boys Scouts of America didn't really care about the boys, "scouting" was ancillary. They were interested in numbers; sign up more boys, raise more money. The program was a means to an end, not the driver of the organization. I said no thanks.

Suddenly, the move of Boy Scouts in the seventies to a more urban-centric program made sense. The camping, hiking, knot-tying culture of Baden Powell depicted in traditional  scouting (See the Disney flick "Follow Me Boys") appealed to rural boys. The population centers were in the cities, places without fields and campgrounds. The sixties were hard on the Boy Scouts, they needed more members. Thus the change to more urban-themed programs. To get my hiking merit badge I had to do a "city hike" ? I had to march up and down every street in my little town to get in the requisite miles.

I am not astonished the Boy Scouts of America is inviting girls into the ranks. My only surprise is that it didn't happen earlier. They let women become scoutmasters decades ago. The constant pressure from the LGBT community and cut-off from corporate funding and access to public accommodations resulted in changing the rules a few years ago. This new announcement was just another step to remain viable in the modern age where camping, cooking, and hiking in the woods has less appeal to modern teenagers. Why march around when you can play a cool video game?  Heck, neither of my sons joined the Boy Scouts, only one was even a Cub Scout.

To be honest, nerdy perpetually horny 16 year-old me would have loved a couple of chicks in the tent next to me at summer camp. "Let's go for a hike in the woods, Baby". I was taught four ways to start a fire without matches, maybe now they will teach coed scouts three ways to have sex in the woods without getting preggers. Identifying poison ivy is probably still a valuable skill, though.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Time keeps marching on, things go out of style and need.

Melissa said...

As the mom of a soon to be Eagle Scout and a Girl Scout - to me the Boy Scouts is a better run organization. The Girl Scouts are very very unfamily friendly while The Boy Scouts are family friendly.

Our daughter will join Venture Crew - the coed part of Boy Scouts in the spring as for her trying to get Eagle I think that part we will stay out of.

Joe said...

Congrats to your son. Eagle Scout is rare and wonderful.

Scouting was good to me, I learned leadership without knowing it at tne time. I mostly stayed on because I liked tne camping. Weekly meetings, not so much. Working toward rank, even less. I was a life scout for about two years before I finally bothered to complete my Eagle requirements.

Joe said...

If your son lives outside of central Indiana I encourage you to find a troop here and go to summer camp with them. The Firecrafter organization was one of the best things I have ever been part of. My rank is far, far, far more important to me than my Eagle Scout badge. It is superior to OA in every aspect, starting with the concept that one has to actually earn it.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

OA presumes (or used to presume) that you had earned it. OA's kinda different (or, like I say, used to be). The theory was that you had proven yourself to be an honor camper and a leader, and now you were given an honor that encouraged you to keep bettering yourself.*

Anyhow, I don't know if that's really true anymore. I know I earned mine, but I was an adult when I got it. And I earned my Vigil, too. I honestly don't think I would have accepted it if I hadn't felt that I had.

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* When you learn that the two founders of the Order were Freemasons, you start to get an inkling of why the Order operates the way it does. Myself, when I took my Entered Apprentice degree, it was all I could do not to bust out laughing and say, "Gee, I've been here and done this before!" Well, not exactly, but a lot of it was veeery familiar.

Joe said...

I have a brotherhood rank in OA. My camper, woodsman, and Firecrafter took significantly more effort, I wasn't rewarded for my efforts, I had to prove I could do the skills and more

Both organizations teach leadership and service and give a little of that mysticism that teens like and need. My intention wasn't to put down OA, more to tout Firecrafter

In the early days of scouting there were many of these honor organizations and typical of the national council they dictated there will be but one and chose OA. The Old CIC and later CoA council pretty much said too bad weare keeping Firecrafter

BTW, my Firecrafter patch is one of he old felt ones handmade by a lady who worked at the Indy scout office circa 1975 I earned my Firecrafter and went to the OA ordeal both in the same summer.

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