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Scouting – A Retrospection

February 7, 2012

I recall as a child spending several years as a cub scout.  As is the case these days the dens were typically led by mothers rather than fathers, at least up to a certain age.  Once the scouting curriculum became, well…more interesting, fathers began to take over leadership of the dens.  The same holds true today to a large extent.  In any case, I recall doing little field trips and projects in various people’s homes…but never my own.  We were very poor…I mean Appalachian poor…and we didn’t have folks of other socioeconomic groups visit very often if ever.  The last thing I recall from scouting was becoming a Webelos.  For those without the proper indoctrination that means “We Be Loyal Scouts”…don’t ask, I have no idea how it was bastardized thusly.  That is the point at which the father’s get interested and take over.  In my case that didn’t mean my own father.  He was, shall we say, emotionally distant from me.  After the loss of my older brother my father found it very difficult to identify with me.  That didn’t stop the other fathers from charging in however and before long my scouting experience degraded to watching the adults get drunk and the boys beating each other up.  So…I quit before bridging over to boy scouts.

Now…I am a den leader and have been for a few years.  My den, which includes my son, is about to bridge over to boy scouts and tonight I am preparing the Arrow of Light kits for them to work on tomorrow evening.  As I was doing so and going through the instructions something struck me.  You see, the arrows need to be painted with colored rings.  Each ring represents an accomplishment.  My den has completed every one of the 20 activity pins, the religious award, conservation award, and various others.  So much so in fact that I am not entirely sure there is enough room on the arrow for all the bands!  I am a bit proud of this.  The boys did a wonderful job, as did their parents, in focusing on these activities and getting them done…all while having fun along the way.  This bridging ceremony is for them but I can’t help but feel both a swell of pride at their accomplishments and a sense of loss.  With the bridging we move on to another chapter in their development.  As boy scouts they are required to become more self motivated and governed.  The adults play less of a leadership role, allowing the boys to grow into their own.  While I will be taking a role in the organization of their troop and will remain active I will miss the more frequent mentoring aspect of the cub scouts.  I am sure though that the increasingly exciting activities of venturing, camping, hiking, etc will make up for it.

In any case, if you read this and you have children or know someone who does, encourage them to be a part of a healthy scout pack…either boy or girl scouts.  It is an experience that will remain with you and provide memories for a lifetime.

Forgive me for being relatively mundane in this post.  I try to pass on those intelligent thoughts that pass by from time to time but tonight I thought a little “normalcy” wouldn’t go to far amiss.


From → Random Thoughts

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