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Posts posted by scoutscooter

  1. We're back.


    It was a good. The SM was friendly and made it a positive experience for me and the other women who showed up. This was a great relief. I'd been afraid he was going to make it as miserable a weekend as possible. Seems he's a better man than that. Good for him! That tells me something about his character.


    I got a chance to see the program and the men who administer it in action and had many questions answered. Though I still would prefer my boy to be in a troop that welcomed women, I am encouraged he'll learn valuable skills with this troop and it could be a positive experience for him. He certainly came home ready to go again.


    For me it was a productive, informative weekend. I watched the boys attend various skills classes. I learned a few new things myself and came away with a greater understanding and appreciation for how the program works.


    Some things I found weird. Though most of the camp procedures for leave-no-trace, semi-primitive camping were similar to those my dad (a Korean War Vet) had taught us as children, there were small differences. Most of the boys brought little fuel-powered stoves rather than use the can-and-coal method my father taught his children. Also, with the exception of the SM, who brought only what he could carry in his backpack, the men brought coolers for their food, coffee makers, camp chairs and such. Honestly, the women had packed lighter than most of the adult men.


    The most surprising thing was that this troop urinated and defecated all over the woods. Is that the common practice nowadays? Is there new thinking on this practice since I was a kid?


    When I was a child, Daddy "marked" the boundaries of our camp when we first arrived, but then we dug a deep hole and hung an "occupied/unoccupied" flag on a tree, throwing in a small shovel full of dirt after each visit. My father would never have tolerated us using the entire woods as a bathroom. He would have considered that disrespectful to other hikers and future campers, since the personal dig-and-bury-system (especially when practiced in the dark or cold or rain or by children) often doesn't get toilet paper and "other things" deep enough to remain undisturbed and prevent eyesores, nose offenses, and human scent that drives away some of the wildlife people come camping hoping to see. That was the thinking back in my childhood anyway. So this was a new experience for me. Twice on walks through the woods I saw my fellow camper's gifts-to-mother-nature. I admit I like the old way better.


    Anyway, my son is happy to be among his buddies and I am reassured about the program he's in. Still, there's a lingering sadness about this whole no woman routine.


    On the bright side, after we got home from camp and I'd put my feet up, my son came in and told me how glad he was I was there for his first time out with the troop. I was surprised since I'd been so careful about hanging back, staying silent and giving him no help or advice. We hadn't exchanged more than a few sentences the whole campout. When I pointed this out to him he said that was true, but it was still important to him that I was there. That was a lovely moment.


    Later when his dad got home from work and asked about his campout, he got the usual "it was fun" and one or two antidotes. Having been there, I realized he was leaving out so much that a parent would want to know, things that I now knew because I was able to be there.


    This morning my son woke me up. He had gotten up early and done his own chores, most of my chores (yay!), and made a hot breakfast for the entire family. How cool is that?




  2. Wow! Thank you for all the support and helpful advice.


    I checked out going to the CC, but discovered he is an elderly relative of the SM. I called the single mom and offered to share my tent. She had already gone out and gotten one, but was happy to talk a while. She is very frustrated. Like me, she had decided to go ahead and attend the campout and then make a decision. Unfortunately, her son, like mine, wants very nmuch to stay with all his buddies.


    My husband and I sat down and had a talk with my son. My husband told him that he wasn't "raising any children who didn't respect half of the population" and if he saw any of that coming from our son his involvement with this troop would be over. My son surprised us both by telling us that he didn't care if the SM wanted me there, he wanted me there and that's what mattered. He also said when he was SPL (ambitious little dude, isn't he?) he would push to be sure women were welcome.


    Having spoken with my son and seen how strongly he feels, I agree with the poster who said moving him to another troop would probably result in him leaving scouting. He loves it so much, I don't want that to happen.


    Yesterday afternoon he put up and took down his tent by himself on the front lawn until he could do it alone in under ten minutes. This took a while since the neighbor kids and a stray father insisted on helping a few times, before finally going off to put up a tent in their own front yards. Though his sister sat on the porch to encourage (or harrass) him, I stayed in the house so I wouldn't be tempted to help.


    Then last night after sports he had me drive him to a dark field near the house so he could time himself and see how long it took him to put up his tent alone in the dark - 18 minutes. I stood on the side of the road and watched him quietly. From a mother's perspective those were 18 wonderful minutes. I don't want to intrude on his Boy Scout experience, but I don't want to miss out on it either.


    I'm going camping.


    Maybe I should practice putting up my own tent.





  3. My son began as a Tiger and recently recvd his Arrow of Light. The man who led his den was a terrific leader, my son made good friends and had a wonderful experience with Cub Scouts.


    When it came time to select a Boy Scout Troop to join, his father and he attended, with his den, the meetings of several troops. Since all but one of the boys in his den went with a single troop, my son insisted on going to that troop as well. My husband was not very happy with that choice, but we allowed him to go with his friends.


    My husband's objection to the troop was that he felt they had an anti-woman attitude he didn't want our son to pick up. I didn't take this very seriously at the time. After all, I thought, this is 2005 how anti-woman can they be?


    At the first meeting the SM made a very big issue about the fact that they wanted absolutely no women on campouts and would prefer no women attended scout meetings as well. He told a few antedotes about women who had insisted on coming and had quickly stopped when they realized how very sincerely they were not wanted. How that had been communicated to them he didn't say.


    I didn't care for that, but my son is soooo happy to be in the troop with his buddies and sooo proud to have been selected Patrol Leader, I told myself just to let it go.


    Now it's time to go off on the first campout, a car campout. This troop camps 12-14 times a year.


    My husband cannot attend because of his work schedule, but my son says he'd like me to go. So I told the SM I would like to go on the first campout only, just to get an idea of how things go and then I would stay home and let them do their "just the boys" thing. I am now persona non grata.


    The single mother of another new scout told him she was going to go just this first time as well. She was planning to camp in her huge SUV rather than pitch a tent. He immediately told everyone they could use the cars to drop their equipment at the camp site, but must then park their cars a very long way from camp and not use them during the campout. When she didn't withdraw at that he announced that everyone must sleep in a tent and on the ground (no cots) and bring nothing into camp they couldn't fit in a back pack. The rules kept coming until the car campout planned by our supposedly boy led troop bore no resemblance to what the boys had planned.


    Is this kind of thing common in the Boy Scouts? This SM doesn't even have a male child of his own, but has been leading this troop for almost 20 years because he says he just loves scouting. That seems like a very generous gift of his time, but does it give him the right to be so mean?


    I don't know what to do. Easy enough to say I just won't go; my son might prefer to have me along this first time out, but he doesn't really need me; he's been on plenty of camping trips and knows how to pitch a tent, etc. But like my husband I am very disturbed by this anti-woman message that is being sent to my son. I can tough it out and go anyway, but I am concerned his unhappiness with me might be redirected toward my son.


    Do I pull my boy away from his friends and look for another troop? Do I back meekly away and let the SM's bullying work? What message does that send to my son? I don't want to break his heart, but I don't want to turn him over to virtual strangers whose leader is causing me to question if he is decent role model for a young boy.


    Anyone have any sage advice?

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