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Does Every Child Have To Be A Scout?

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No.  Many families can't afford it.

@@David CO, what are you defining as "it"?

  • Jambo or High Adventure: well that's only 5% of scouts anyway.
  • Uniforms? All those fellas in Trail Life should have spares.
  • Driving to the opposite end of town: ask the two ASMs who live closest to you to leave their current troop and help start one at the nearest ministry, VFC, VFW, legion hall.
  • Calling the nearest farmer, park manager, person-with a big back yard: phone minutes ... or day hike to their door.
  • Shelter: tarps and rope ... ask for donations. Even the local homeless guys might have a spare.
  • Books: library.
  • Youth Protection Training: Library computers.
  • Food: what they'll eat anyway.
  • Flags etc ..., the neighbors see boys actually trying, the step up.
  • Summer camp fees, well guess what FOS is supposed to do?
  • Meetings: time away from the store is a very real issue ... ask for help.

This applies to packs. I see those leaders (granddads and grandmas mostly) making due and showing up at the district-wide service project my crew hosts brimming with pride.


That's a whole lot cheaper than shoulder pads and helmets.


Far as I can tell, it's the 95%-ers who need boy (not "adventure boy") scouting the most. I am one of the "more fortunate" (married well and went without cable for decades), and my kids didn't need scouting. But their friends certainly did.


Not every child has to be a scout, but some children need to be scouts even if it's in the poorest of troops.

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Not every child needs to be a scout, but every childhood should contain many aspects of scouting programs.  Turn off the screen and the organized activities.  Make your own fun, get outside, have diverse experiences, learn at your own pace, form long term friendships with peers of all different abilities and interests, use your hands, explore your community, community service.....


Comp soccer or <insert your intense focused activity here> can't be the beginning and end of it all.

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Many if not most of us here believe in Scouting and have a passion for it.

So it's fair to say that maybe I'm unable to offer an un-biased opinion?


I really don't care if BP did or didn't come up the: Game with a purpose.

I do think that I really like the sound of it.

No kid that I have ever chatted with said that he joined Scouts  because he or she felt the need of to have his or her values or character looked at.

They join with the great hope of having fun, spending time with their friends and doing activities that are fun and maybe adventurous.

While maybe there are other groups, other organizations that offer young people similar opportunities?

I don't know much about these other groups and have never been a part of them.

At the risk of sounding selfish. I enjoy the company of young people and get a kick out of them trying new things, accomplishing new tasks or mastering new  skills. 

The purpose part starts falling into place when they see the benefits of teamwork, start caring for themselves and for others. I enjoy seeing and watching them grow and at the same time having fun with them.


Thinking about it.

No. - Not every child has to be a Scout.

Some will try it and for whatever reason decide that it is really just not their cup of tea.

Some will quit because we are guilty of not delivering what we promised or maybe not what they expected.

However I also think that it would be truly wonderful if every child was given the opportunity to be a Scout.


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As for the expenses:


Camping gear - can be used on the side or later on.

Summer camp - Scout camp is usually cheaper than other overnight camps.

Outings - Just another way for kids or families to get out and do things. How many people would otherwise take their kids camping, fishing, or hiking?

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Interesting topic and timely. I've been interacting with my grandchildren, the first just coming into the Cub Scout age. They have looked around their area and considered the CS program. The father is an Eagle Scout. But the programs seem to be something they are just not interested in and the local community has a strong youth program itself, not affiliated with any organization, church,...anything. They have decided to go what what they know and like.

I asked about the kinds of things scouting is advertised as promoting: character, good citizenship, etc. Their response was something on the order of: "That's what we are already. This family doesn't need some external program to do that."


I can't find a flaw in their logic. So, this probably means I'll be helping with that program and withdrawing from the unit I'm with. Interesting...how these things turn out. The ultimate in local option. Guess this is goodbye.

Might I ask what other youth program are you referring? Church? YMCA? Schools? 4H?  (I've seen all these be highly successful.)

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Does a kid have to be a scout? No.


Should a kid be a cub scout? Yes


Note I changed scout to cub scout.  I think boy scouting is different from cub scouting.  At the BS level, a kid needs the interest and desire.  Plus by the 5th/6th grade kids have begun to find their niche and it's possible scouting isn't it.  But at the younger ages I believe scouting is an activity parents should expose their kids to.  We all know the benefits so I won't rehash them.  I think it's responsible parenting to expose kids to cub scouting.  I put it on par with other must do activities or childhood prerequisites - learn to ride a bike, learn to swim, play on 1 or more organized sports teams, be exposed to a religion (I say this as a non religious person), travel and see different places, visit the zoo, go to a beach, learn proper manners, have some exposure to the arts, etc.


To me it's not so much that cub scouting by itself is so great, it's that it helps hit so many of the must do things for young boys - even if just at a high level.  In today's world of tight schedules & budgets, cub scouting is great at hitting so many things that otherwise might get lost in the shuffle of busy family life.


We have family friends with 2 cub aged boys.  Both parents work and without cub scouts, they would do virtually nothing with those kids due to (their own perceived) time and money constraints.  If not for cub scouts, it would be 2 lost childhoods.

Edited by SlowDerbyRacer

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