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Tampa Turtle

Benefits of Scouting for Scouters

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On 12/13/2017 at 3:09 PM, Tampa Turtle said:

Obviously the folks on this forum must get a lot of scouting as an adult Scouter to stay in despite all the sturm und drang in modern scouting. I have been thinking about this lately and I was wondering: why do you really do it? What is the pull of scouting to an adult over other pursuits? Just curious. ( I put this topic in 'Issues" rather than 'Program; since it is more of a philosophical thread.  

Long and the short of it is...I enjoy it. Okay, sometimes it's frustrating, annoying, and stressful. I love seeing the going people grow in confidence, being brave, growing up, trying new things and doing the things they love. I'm not gonna lie, I feed off their enthusiasm and joy, I get a kick out of it if you like. There's the camaraderie with the other leaders, and yes, with the young people too. There is something magical about doing things together as a group.  There's probably a bit of the Peter Pan in me that still enjoys things that still enjoys things I've done hundreds of times - what's not to like about lighting and sitting round a fire?

Why do it over another self selected hobby? I'm not sure. I don't really fancy doing much else, I like the variety of scouting, plus I always feel a bit selfish for my family if I spent money on toys for me, or time doing this that and the other, then again, if I wasn't scouting, that would free up a good chunk of time.

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On 12/13/2017 at 3:55 PM, Stosh said:

I do it because I was asked to do it.

When one has the background I do, people would like my input into the program.  I was all set to leave scouting many times throughout the past 45+ years and only flat-out quit when I was in Scouts as a youth.  When my boy quit I was tempted to join him.  When the troop's adult led policies were running rampant, I was tempted to quit.  When I was asked to step down as SM, I was tempted to stay out of it.  I have no skin in the game other than people (the Council this last time) asking me to do something.  Then I stay on.  

I prefer doing my outdoors selfishly with my wife.  We do a lot together and I don't have to worry about what the boys are up to at the moment.  I can relax, I can enjoy the fire and I don't have to worry about a thing.  I don't care if it's a church that asks me to help with their youth program, the American Red Cross wants me to deploy to a disaster, or the BSA wants me to fill a spot on some roster, I still fall prey to "help other people at all times."  

As the years creep up on me, I'm going to need to do better at prioritizing.  The church's mission is clear, the ARC's mission is clear, the BSA's mission is not.  It will probably be the first to go.

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On 13/12/2017 at 3:09 PM, Tampa Turtle said:

Obviously the folks on this forum must get a lot of scouting as an adult Scouter to stay in despite all the sturm und drang in modern scouting. I have been thinking about this lately and I was wondering: why do you really do it? What is the pull of scouting to an adult over other pursuits? Just curious. ( I put this topic in 'Issues" rather than 'Program; since it is more of a philosophical thread.  

I don't think there's one straight forward answer to that.

partly I guess I can't imagine life without it. It's also fun. The stuff we get up to is just that, fun! The last camp I was on was quite relaxed in terms of program and we spent a weekend chewing the fat round the camp fire. Other times we've been climbing, canoeing, gliding, sailing. What's not to like?

The kids are also great fun, they keep me young I think. They come and go. There are those that come along for a year or so and others that stick at it seemingly forever. And some ultimately do go from being those you helped grow up to being friends. Again what's not to like?

Theres also the sense of being something wider, bigger and global. We have a twin troop in Canada. We've got a German leader visiting us next term. We've previously had links with Sierra Leone. That always feels good.

So lots of reasons really.

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I enjoy the international links. I'd love to visit some of the folks like skip someday. On a good day Scouting feels like a calling, on a bad day there are better things to do with my time but then I get sucked in my some scout that needs me and get all those positive vibes. My own sons have now aged out of the program after pretty good 'careers' I was pretty happy to be around to see a side of them I did not know existed. I now have to figure out the best place to put my energies in my (or a nearby) Troop. I also need to tend to the knitting at home with my 'Scout Widow' wife. If she wants to start up couples ball room dancing on Troop nights well that is that!

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3 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

I enjoy the international links. I'd love to visit some of the folks like skip someday. On a good day Scouting feels like a calling, on a bad day there are better things to do with my time but then I get sucked in my some scout that needs me and get all those positive vibes. My own sons have now aged out of the program after pretty good 'careers' I was pretty happy to be around to see a side of them I did not know existed. I now have to figure out the best place to put my energies in my (or a nearby) Troop. I also need to tend to the knitting at home with my 'Scout Widow' wife. If she wants to start up couples ball room dancing on Troop nights well that is that!

TT, don't write off the informal ball-room dancing. It's one skill that many of the continental European scouts who I've met have that we don't. (I think that was more from schooling than their troop, but it sounds like there was a bit of synergy between the two.)

Also, talk to your council relation's committee, there may be some opportunities to meet scouts on exchange.

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I'm about an hour away from my last night as Scoutmaster, so not a bad time to reflect.

The usual and most selfish reason, my oldest son. He always wanted to be a scout, from the first time he heard about cubs, he was all in. It's been awesome to share in some of his adventures and watch him grown. He's close to his Eagle, but even without that he's gained so much from his various experiences. 

I need to keep in shape for all those experiences, so physical fitness is a plus.

Less selfish, but still gives me a glow. Working with young people. I've coached both son's teams, and here in scouts with my oldest, I've had the chance to work with and mentor many more guys.

I've wanted to give back, and was given to as well, what could be better than that?

Now I'll step back and hand the keys to the next person up. It's how it works.

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I recently saw Terry Fossum speak. He is an Eagle Scout, successful business man and winner of the realty survival show Kicking and Screaming.

He thanked every Scouter in the room for what we do, because he said it was Scouting that saved his life. He and his brother grew up in a gang riddled neighborhood, they lost their father at a young age and were even told they would not survive living in that neighborhood long enough to grow up. He credited Scouting for teaching him, the adults for leading, caring about and protecting him. Both went on the earn their Eagle. Both have been very successful. In fact his brother fell in love with astronomy because of Scouting. He went on to become an Astronaut and even sent a message to Scouts from the space station.

I got into Scouting because I was asked and thought it would be a great way to bond with my son.

While I have no illusions of grandeur that I have saved anyone's life, I do hope that I can be a positive role model for the youth. Maybe because of something I have done sometime down the road one of the youth will make better decisions and make a better life for themselves and others. That is a legacy I can be happy with.

Also, it is a heck of a lot of fun! Including camping, teaching and watching the youth grow up in so many amazing ways!

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On 12/15/2017 at 4:46 PM, qwazse said:

TT, don't write off the informal ball-room dancing. It's one skill that many of the continental European scouts who I've met have that we don't. (I think that was more from schooling than their troop, but it sounds like there was a bit of synergy between the two.)

Also, talk to your council relation's committee, there may be some opportunities to meet scouts on exchange.

When my first son was a newbie me and a mom parent pranked him my telling him there was a new Eagle Required Merit Badge called Dance. It had a pink ballerina on the patch, required 3 hours of dancing with a girl (jazz, modern, and slow) and a 10 minute ballet recital before the troop and/or school. We kept this up for several weeks, the mom would insist she was the MBC and made up the mock patch. We were waiting for him to freak out and then we would all start laughing but he just sighed and said "If it is Eagle required I guess I have to do it...." He is now 19 and when he runs into the mom she teases him "Still got an opening Tuesday in my merit badge...we're doing Tap!". Smiles all around.

Yeah I guess it was hazing but if you cannot torment your own child what good are they?

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I guess that I do it for a number of reasons.

  1. My son is in it, so I feel that I should help out as well.
  2. It is fun, I get to go on great adventures
  3. I get to help guide youth in a formative part of their life.  I didn't have great adult role models so I want to help.
  4. I love comradery with my other adult leaders.
  5. That one time when a scout tells you how much he appreciates your helping him out.

What I will do when he ages out, probably be sad for a short time them become a unit commissioner.  I have a scouting problem :-) 

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