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  • Poor Rich Kids Scouting

    Every so often, we encounter a kind of complaint that goes something like this:

    "Spoiled rich kids... show offs, lazy, munching down fast food as mom shuttles them from activity to activity in their gucci SUV. Everything comes too easy for them. They don't appreciate scouting like poor kids do. When their uniform is spiffy it's because they're spoiled little show-offs - whereas a poor kid with a spiffy uniform is simply proud of scouting. Yep - rich kids' very existence is an affront to fairness."

    And it's often followed up with a belief/hope in retribution that goes something like this:

    "And oh they'll pay! They'll get their comeuppance! They'll be sorry! They won't learn all the valuable lessons like the poor kids do! They won't appreciate life after all the peak experiences they're getting now! They'll never know the satisfaction of earning their way. They don't deserve nearly the respect that the poor kids do."

    Sometimes it really looks like the deck is stacked against the rich. According to Matthew (19:23-24), Mark (10-24-25), and Luke (18:24-25), Jesus also voiced concerns about the difficult circumstances of the rich.

    So if rich kids are comparatively more spoiled, ill behaved, and possibly of inferior character... and if rich kids are headed for trouble... why is working with poor kids viewed by many as especially admirable when there are plenty of spoiled rich kids out there that need help?

  • #2
    Rich is a relative term. Anyone with more money than me is rich. Anyone with less money than me is poor.

    The troop I serve is based in a suburban neighborhood in an area with the highest level of education in the country. Meaning more people have degrees and advanced degrees than any other area. As a result, saleries tend to be higher and the standard of living nicer.

    The lads need just as much leadership training, self confidence building, and challange as any other 11-17 yr old, regardless of their financial situation. Bratty kids mature during their time in scouts. Shy reserved kids learn they can be confident and accomplish more than they thought.

    Helping the needy is always seen as worthy. Helping the poor and downstricken seems somehow more worthy than helping a "normal" person. I joined scouts because I enjoy scouting. I wanted a good program for my sons. In the process I am able to help other peoples sons develop into better adults. If I lived in a lesser situation, I would still volunteer with the local troop. It is not about those who are more or less deserving, it is about helping those in my community.

    Comment


    • #3
      resqman,
      Good thoughts and well put.

      Comment


      • #4
        It's a different kind of help. Working with a kid who has all the right equipment and goes to a top school and never has to worry about money and needs an attitude adjustment is a different challenge from working with a kid who carries his gear in a trash bag and whose school stinks of mold and roaches and whose parents work multiple jobs to get enough to eat and needs a genuine opportunity from someone willing to guide without judging.

        The great thing about Scouting is it can be an equalizer.

        Like with a great many of your writings, Callooh, I wonder if this was spurred by an actual situation, or if you're just stirring the pot with an extreme hypothetical.

        Comment


        • #5
          "I wonder if this was spurred by an actual situation, or if you're just stirring the pot with an extreme hypothetical."

          It was spurred by an actual situation; complaints in this forum about rich kids along the lines of and in most cases worded similarly to the collected composite of them in the OP.

          As for stirring the pot... it's standard procedure for cooking sacred cows. But the OP was intended not to stir a pot, but rather to throw cold water on the old stereotype about the spoiled undeserving rich versus the virtuous and deserving poor.

          In your examples, you say the rich kid may need "an attitude adjustment" while the poor kid needs "a genuine opportunity from someone willing to guide without judging."

          But mightn't the rich kid need "a genuine opportunity from someone willing to guide without judging" him to be in need of "an attitude adjustment?" And might not the poor kid miss out on a needed "attitude adjustment" if the person "willing to guide him" does so "without judging?"


          (This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!)(This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!)

          Comment


          • #6
            When I used to work at (non-scout) camps, we had a lot of rich kids who would come to camp straight from boarding school. They'd stay at camp for 8-10 weeks and then go right back to school from there. I don't know if some of them ever went home from the time they were about 10 to when they graduated college.

            Those kids tended to have a lot of nice stuff and a lot of world-wide experiences. Unfortunately, many had messed up family lives brought about by access to the many temptations that money can buy. They tended to have problems making friends, relating to "ordinary" kids, and taking care of themselves, too. As in, didn't know how to make a bed or do laundry, had never used a broom, were horrified to have to set the table/do the dishes/muck out the stalls (it was a horse camp). I remember the start of one camp season, just about falling off my (surplus army) bunk laughing hysterically, after one young lady indignantly ordered me to make her bed because that's what her nannies, maids, and butlers always did for her. The more she stomped her foot and tossed her head, the harder I laughed. Poor kid. She actually turned out to be pretty ok, by the end of the summer.

            For some, it took them a while to appreciate the relative freedom and independence that we offered at camp, or the responsibilities that came with that independence. Some learned how to drop the attitude and get dirty with the rest of us. Some came to love it. Others might have appreciated it later in life, I don't know, but they were a right pain in the rear at the time.

            On the flip side, we also used to get poor kids from NYC via the Fresh Air Fund. That's a great program but let me tell you, some of those kids were a right pain in the rear, too. Just for different reasons.

            Teens being teens, all of them have a capacity to be brats. The exact nature of their brattiness might vary and our individual thresholds for various types of brattiness may also vary. The ones we help are probably the ones that we have the most tolerance for. I guess that's ok and is a good reason to have many different troops and many different adults in each troop. But all in all, I do think "rich" kids have more access to opportunities for help and "poor" kids tend to be thrown back on their own internal resources more often.

            Comment


            • #7
              rich folks take care of their own.

              Case and point.

              Went to college with a fellow....He was a definite under achiever, family was mad he went to a public university and stayed in the dorms. My life was definitely better rooming with him, received his cast off clothing and left overs he wouldn't eat.... His major was business, another disappointment to for dad.

              He graduated and was going to marry a gal beneath his parents status....well they took care of it. This was the mid eighties and jobs were hard to come by, he went to work for Meijers which is a better class of walmart box store as an assistant manager. I lost track of him for a number of year.......well ran into him, facebook......Seem grandpa died he held a patent on a key process in recycling or production of aluminum.....Well, he is quite wealthy now, doesn't work.

              He married a gal whose parents are majority owners in a paint company. He worked for the father in law as an inventory controller from his description...... Now retired at 44 years old.

              So despite his best efforts to the contrary he lives in a 5 million dollar home on the lake with a collection of Porsche and Triumph motorcycles......

              All this thru luck of birth. He is a failure in my eyes, what is his legacy??? He is an absentee dad, Personal vacations, country club, boats and trout clubs are more important that his son and daughter.


              So Rich vs Poor scouts. Rich scouts jump on planes and go to summer camp, have troop busses and tandem axle trailers. Monthly campouts involve trips further from home base and include more expensive high adventure. An example is my friends boys cub Pack drove 12 hours each way for a weekend outing in Charleston a board the Yorktown. They also rent a lodge at Mammoth Cave halloween weekend, $1500 for the lodge according to him cause I asked. Other huge trips.

              Scouting with money is much easier....Uniforming isn't a problem.....Personal and Troop Gear isn't a problem, Transportation to events isn't a problem, money for camping isn't a problem. Typically the marriage rates are higher, so dad is either at home and active in the boys life. This allows much higher adult participation in the troop.

              The Poor kids don't know any better unless the adults clue them in. My boys are happy camping and backpacking free and cheap at the state parks and national forest.

              The worst my boys ever felt was when they were made fun of 2 years ago at summer camp, but that may have been as much about race as class station.


              Poor scout challenges
              Single parent homes
              Extremely limited pool of adults able to be leaders
              Most adults with a criminal record and refuse background checks
              No or limited extra money for scouting
              No or poor quality personal gear
              Uniforming is always a challenge
              No vehicles or vehicles in to poor condition to leave the city, transportation is a problem
              Most parents work odd shifts and weekends, scouting is not a priority
              Troop gear is nearly irreplaceable, fundraising is impossible in our home area.
              The schools and neighborhoods are tough, muggings, drugs and violence.

              Case and Point......Winter camporee, Air temp is 10 degrees wind chill is single digits below zero. Boys show up with walmart sleeping bags or just blankets to sleep in. Most don't own a decent pair of winter boots, several show up in tennis shoes, winter coats only three in the group. We went for the day, the troop accrossed the beltway had 4 season tents for everyone, The boys had winter boots and coats.

              I simply can't ask my parents to buy winter gear for a single weekend. They don't own 3 season sleeping bags let alone a winter bag.


              on and on.


              Now we have poor spoiled kids too, I am sure they are just as bad as their rich brethren. We have helicopter parents too, many the kids are all the parents and grandparents have.

              I wish no ill will on the folks who have money, I just don't like having it rubbed in my face or my boys faces.

              Rich folks nearly never "get theirs" They can afford good attorneys and buy their way out of most any legal situation. Look at white collar crime, insider trading, the boys steal millions and get 6 months at Club Fed. 16 year old knocks over the circle K for $50 and gets 20 years at the state pen. Rich DUI gets pleaded down to wreckless op, I know for a fact, Poor gets a Public Defender and loses license for a year or jail time for first offense.


              Comment


              • #8
                Being rich or poor does nothing to a scout. It doesn't make them more or less proud of what they do or their uniform.

                In my experience, this is what I have seen:

                Rich mom or dads can be the problem. I say "can" because some of our rich mom and dads are some of the hardest working, dive in to help, compasionate, make sure everybody is treated fairly - parents!

                Of course, some of the rich parents think that , because they have a better house, car, job, bank account - that the rules do not apply:
                Mom sneaks her son a case of soda for camp. Tells SM she gave son a case of water. Before we leave, she looks at son and asks if he has his (wink, wink) water in his tote box. Scouts says , yes, I have my (wink, wink) water.

                Mom gets into her $45,000 Expedition and drives off. Scout is only doing as he is given example to by his parents.

                With the scouts, it's how they are being raised by their parents.

                We have one scout who is heading to Betchel next year who is raising 100% of all funding by himself even though it would be much easier to get daddy to pay for it. THis scout is also tanned and has quite a muscular body as he choses to work outside doing whatever he can to make money. Dad just doesn't understand why.

                WE have some scouts who would go to the ER if trhey developed a calous on their hands.

                Why the difference between these two scouts?

                How they were raised and how their parents attitudes are.

                SO, I'd never ever say that a rich scout is spoiled or that they will get it one day. They may be the least spoiled and have "gotten" it a long time ago.

                Tell your complainers that they are making excuses for their own shortcomings.

                Signed- A "not rich by any means" scouter!

                Comment


                • #9
                  'Rich', 'Poor'...are such subjective, perhaps meaningless, terms. Come with me to Haiti in order to understand that there are very, very few 'poor' people in the USA. Yes, there are some truly poor people here, but most of us are 'rich' in the eyes of someone else: rich in opportunities, rich in experiences, rich in resource availability, rich in available nutrition, rich in potential support services, etc.
                  While I see Lisa's and Basementdweller's points, most of this discussion is really BY rich people about other people who are RICHER.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    While you make a point Pack.....I think it is kinda of irrelevant to the discussion.


                    Callooh point was poor little rich kids shouldn't we show them pity.

                    And

                    Aren't the poor coddled enough and why should BSA leaders who work with the poor held in perceived higher esteem than leaders who work with the rich.

                    Poor troop money is the problem

                    Rich troop the adults are the problem

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's about preferential treatment, discrimination if you will, based on economic status. I get that. The spirit of Karl Marx is alive and well in this thread. Callooh! Callay! is giving us an opportunity to choose sides.

                      Adults are always a potential problem. They might be a more visible problem if they have the 'resources' (time, money). But where a parent who doesn't have those resources might merely (and quietly) take their family out of scouting for some reason, the parent who does have the resources might complain and 'push' a point. Which is worse?

                      Edit: OK, I admit some frustration with discussions like this. I think the deeper question is: Can persons with the resources and means to be scout leaders ('rich' if you will) be truly 'blind' to the economic status of individual boys?
                      And if not, do we tend to discriminate in some way? And is there a fair way to compensate?(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If scouting is about first aid, outdoor skills, and citizenship (scoutcraft), then the less advantaged boy benefits the most. He is taught to rely on himself, to be able to cope with the world, to struggle through. He learns that if he has a list of what he needs, a plan, some helpers, and some safety precautions, he can do ANYTHING!

                        If scouting is about ethics and values, then society probably benefits this most from the wealthy child receiving this training. He is taught to be merciful, kind, and conduct himself with courtesy.

                        Fun with a purpose should work for anyone.

                        Our challenge is to make it fun and achieve the purpose as a side benefit. Anything we do that is not fun STINKS and should be re-thought. It's supposed to be a game. But most leaders involved today do not treat it as a game. The culture of "Boards of Review" has ensured that the Boy Scout program is not a game.

                        Regardless of our political bickering on this policy or that method in the program, I think our mission has to be to make it fun, have fun, and ensure the boys look forward to everything that they do.

                        That includes EVERYTHING. Including filling out an application for Eagle, writing up a project, doing the project, and being in a board of review. If the lad looks scared and nervous, you failed, because you didn't make it fun with a purpose, and that was our only mission.



                        (This message has been edited by BSA24)

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                        • #13
                          I have met few to no rich kids as described in this thread.

                          But I'm reminded of "Captain's Courageous" where a spoiled rich kid gets thrown into the working life of a fishing boat and learns something from it.

                          Scouting should offer that kind of opportunity to rich kids, too, I would suppose.

                          The Washington Post had an article about a Scout Troop in Washington DC that had a bunch of top people in the Federal Government as parents. Those kids got to see some pretty top drawer things.

                          But if you have to cook your own breakfast on a camping trip, spoiled rich kids don't necessarily finish first, I would suppose.

                          I guess it's up to the leadership of the troop and Scoutmaster, though.

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                          • #14
                            if parents are unavailable because of work, I wonder if the grandparents are avaiable? Some may be still active enough to handle half a week of camp (trade off mid-week). Some may be well-connected enough to be able to borrow the church bus to take the Scouts to camp

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                            • #15
                              fish did you bother to read my post

                              Money does directly effect a scout.....


                              Had I been in rich troop the winter camporee would not have been canceled because all of the boys would have had proper winter clothing and camping equipment.

                              Had I been in a rich troop we could drive 400 miles and go white water rafting on a weekend.



                              I know my station and the fact that my boys scouting experience is and will be significantly different than the boys a crossed the belt way..

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