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Spouse thinks scout leaders are geeks

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The following was said I have no doubt, tongue in cheek:

Football players learn how to carry a little funny-shaped ball something less than 300 feet on a grassy field. Baseball players, well, play catch and hit balls with a stick - and spit. Yes, it can be fun to watch, but are these real life-long lessons?


I will use this as a springboard to say that I don't think that we should discount the values that participation in sports bring to our children; values that somewhat overlap with scouting's values in providing growth in character, citizenship, and fitness. From my view, sports can be more effective in instilling some of the lessons on these values than can scouting.


A couple of examples:

Commitment: High school level sports require a level of commitment to the team that, as a scout leader I have been unable to match. On a high school team, members must commit to attend all practices and games (or provide valid reason), or they are dropped from the roster or see less playing time. Each member has to make personal sacrifices for the good of the team. Contrast with scouts, where should someone propose that a member need to show commitment to their patrol (i.e., their team) by attending even half the time, they are admonished that this would be adding to the requirements and therefore not allowed.


Teamwork: The goal of the players is for the team to win. The highest reward is winning the game, the conference championship, the playoffs. Even the "stars" cannot advance without the support of the rest of the team, so the stars have vested interest in helping others rest on the team develop their skills to the best of their ability. And because of the Commitment to the team that is REQUIRED, the team members can develop the trust that goes with true teamwork. Contrast with scouts, where the issue of "provisional" patrols is a semi-regular topic. In addition, the major reward structure of scouts is on an individual basis; advancement to Eagle is mostly based on an individual completing individual requirements.


Fitness: In general, participants in sports get more exercize each week than participants in scouting.


There are some things that I believe scouting is better able to provide. For instance:

Leadership experience. In sports, there is a captain, or perhaps 2 co-captains, for a season. In scouts, there is more opportunity for more participants to learn leadership by serving actively as a leader.


So rather than pitting scouts against sports, position each as providing lessons in character, citizenship, and fitness in different ways. Ways that can complement each other, and/or that fit different interests.



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least we forget Steve Fossett, balloonist and Eagle Scout.


I have never heard of some one saving a life and later saying he relied on skills taught in football/basketball/baseball etc practice.


And I didnt know spending time helping youth was being geeky, but it does remind me of a song, everybody, to the tune of "Home on the Range"


Ode to Scoutleaders



Aren't Scoutleaders grand

For the programs they plan

And the hours they put in each night?

If they're ever home

You know they're on the phone

For the boys who they want to teach right.



We're at home in the woods.

On weekends with our troops we stay.

Thought we never get rest,

The boys are doing their best,

And that's what we're getting for pay!


They hike to their site

Though it takes half the night

Through the wind and the rain and the snow!

These leaders so brave

They could live in a cave

Except that their wives just say No!


Camp food tastes just great,

Like an old paper plate,

And the bug juice is not fit to drink.

So why every year,

For a week we come here

It's not for vacation, we think!


They read magazines

With great camping scenes,

Frustration does things to their brains.

Champagne is taboo, Miller Lite is too,

So for forty eight hours they abstain.


They feel like old men,

On a camp out, they've been

To be clean, to be warm, to be dry!

But to tell you the truth,

they're re living their youth

So in answer they merely reply!


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     First in my book the dad you mentioned is a prime example of a scout who attained the rank of Eagle as opposed to an Eagle Scout. Along with the list of famous people lets remember when Russia beat us into space with Sputnik. President Eisenhower made our space program a high priority. He demanded only the best pilots in the military ,he felt they were better disciplined, were to be tested. After all the testing and weeding out, the American people were presented with the Mercury Astronauts. Six of the seven were scouts at some time. The first American to orbit the earth John Glenn is an Eagle Scout. First Human to walk on the moon Neil Armstrong is an Eagle Scout. Jim Lovell commander of Apollo 13 "Huston, we have a problem." an Eagle Scout. The only Mercury Astronaut not a former scout was Deke Slayton. He was also the only Mercury Astronaut not to go into space, they said it was a heart thing but I think we all know what was missing. I've heard recently that after Col. Slayton resigned his commission, because the military physicians wouldn't admit he was ok, and got a civilian position as astronaut he did go into space. The thing is he had also joined Scouts as an adult leader and had just completed Basic Leader training before his flight. I have not been able to confirm that.

I'm all for organized youth sports I competed all through my Scout days. I encourage my scouts to be active in sports, your young once live life to it's fullest. They should be able to make time for both sports and scouts. With my competition days LONG behind me I'm still a Scout.


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If you're spouse was to watch the skit from the Closing Show at this year's Boy Scout National Jamoboree her opinion would most likely be reinforced... does National also feel Scouts are supposed to be geeks?????!!!!???



I'll admit that I am a geek. My physics teacher keeps telling us that is the hardest part about being a geek--being able to admit to it.. I'm a geek because I get good grades, take Honors classes, etc-- NOT because I'm a Boy Scout.


This weekend I went camping with 8 first and second year boys as well as 3 adults. Also, we had a high school aged Italian foreign exchange student join us. He is staying with one of the adults and his family currently. Anyway, he had never camped before-- or hike, etc.. We did 5.3 miles this weekend and he stayed up with everyone else. He really enjoyed it. We did cooking over the fire for the most part and did utensiless cooking Saturday night. No homework, no sports, nothing but the great outdoors and sharing the adventure of camping. It even rained for us;) (HARD)

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Gosh, your wife wouldn't be one of "THOSE" women jocks would she? (you know ...one of "those"...?) Man, don't you just hate stereotypes...


Cubbing is hard for many guys...too much nurturing and arts and crafts...in the early years. I guess when you are not confident in you "manliness"...darn, there it goes again, you know, that stereotype thing!


Me, heck, I just wanted to share some really good times with my boys. And I wanted to help other boys (whose parents were too cool to get dirty in the woods) "grow" an appreciation for the outdoors and their country...real geeky, I know.


'Course Boy Scouting isn't quite so geeky, but it's close...

I am sure that she will find rapelling, cave crawling, white water rafting, 100 mile canoe trips and fifty mile hiking trips, sailing, horseback riding, archery, rifle and shotgunning just "so un-cool". And the fact that many troops have "real hunks" (as my Son's girl friend likes to say) who play soccer, football, baseball, track and field, cross country runners, "rasslers", national honor scholars and yes even a few geeks, it is just plain embarrassing to think of her son (and husband, heaven forfend!)associating with them...


but really, when I do finally grow up I'll come explain the real world to her...if I can pull myself away from my horses, canoes and my sons...(take a deep breath and repeat 100 times..."she's the mother of my child...shes the mother of my...."


(oh yes I make a killer sour dough dutch oven bread!)


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What an interesting topic...


While I would be in the group that can find the overweight 50 yr old in knee high socks and olive green shorts a little....unfashionable, as one who has worn a uniform to work for the last 15 yrs I can accept it. Just don't let it transpire into the 70 yr old who wears the white shorts, black dress socks and loafers.


I can see how wearing the uniform to school might be a little embarassing to a 5th grader. But only because those who question don't know what that uniform stands for and why that 5th grader is so proud of those little patches sewn on it. But a 5th grader can have trouble understanding that.


Has Ms Fleetfootedfox ever witnessed a Scout ceremony or other parts of the program? I am sure that you have brought to her attention the benefits of the program. I appreciate your efforts in making sure your son doesn't learn to be as shallow as your wife seems to be (based on your descriptions). But she did marry you, a self-proclaimed former geek so I assume that she does have some level of acceptance of differing personalities and appearances.


I am just glad that my wife respects the program as much as I do. Now, please let me get back to working on my Committee notes during a break in Monday Night Football.

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My oldest son is a professional musician with tri color hair and and a ring in his nose... and an Eagle Scout. Oh yeah, and one of the best Assistant Scoutmasters we've ever had! You should see HIM in uniform! LOL

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Then again, what's a more endearing scene, ex-jocks sitting around a table drinking beer and recounting their athletic exploits of 30 years ago or geeks sitting around a roaring campfire assisiting in a campfire program that many of the youth who attend will never forget(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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If your spouse doesn't think Scouts are athletic, I would suggest you take her:


On a Philmont trek

Canoeing and portaging in the Boundary Waters for a week

Whitewater Rafting




We also try to keep our athletic boys involved by attending baseball, college football and basketball games, bowling, golf, and play sports at troop meetings and some campouts. Over the years many of our scouts have been and continue to be outstanding athletes, competing on school and club levels. A busy and committed person finds time for both sports and scouts.

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I had rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.



I have seen this issue come up too. I just tell parents that being an eagle scout looks a lot better on a resume' than playing sports.


Sports has its good qualities and many of our boys play sports, but there is a constant problem with bad attitudes amoung parents and coaches. Poor sportsmanship is a big problem in sports today.....

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"I had rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not. "


I like that quote. Not that fff wants his wife to hate him, but I think there is something about being true to your values. Yes, try to convince her of the great things scouting provides. But stay true to who you are. I hope, in the end, she'll love you for it.

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Let me add a couple of other thoughts.


My sons have played in sports every year they have been in scouts. I have been assistant coach many times. When you really look at sports, we as parents are only spectators or drivers taking them to this event or that event. We do not spend quality time with our kids here. The kids are preformers we are spectators. Don't get me wrong, as I said my kids have played sports and will continue, but I can't share a homerun with them or share a goal.


In scouting I can share a canoe trip, a campout, or whatever. We are experiencing the same events and creating memories together. Many scouts develop life long hobbies. Not very many 40, 50, 60, or 70 year old football players, but I have met several scouters in their 60s still canoeing, camping, etc.


One of my goals through scouting is that I am taking my sons on these trips now, I hope one day they will be taking me.

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Thanks for the imagery CM Jerry...and the nightmares.

Great quote full quiver...

My wife feels the same way about the uniform and I might be trying to recapture what I was not part of as a youth...but in my eyes, the uniform is inherently geeky...not the scout...

And yes, my wife sounds just like fleetfooteds wife...and yes, I speak to my wife and yes, she is an athlete and a collegiate national honor society member...so what!

For as many scouts and geeks you can put on a roster for important achievements, there are just as many non-scouts and athletes that have accomplished just as much.

I probably end up doing the same thing fleetfooted does and put on my uniform whenever the occasion presents itself and do my scouting thing...regardless.

The uniform does not make the man, the man makes the uniform...


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Unless you are wearing your uniform to dinner parties don't worry about your image. While in uniform and surrounded by eager youths, your image will be that of a carring dad and a community leader.


I have been involved in horse ridng clubs where you had to wear a white shirt, sport coat and 19th century tie in order to participate. But the group was extremely well-off and very geared toward proper manners and hospitality. A fine and wonderful group of well educated and well contected individuals.


I am a cyclist. I am in a local bicycle club that rides every Saturday. As is custom (and quasi-functional) in our sport we wear the most outrageous cycling clothes with Italian cement company logos and Belgium lottory ads wriiten all over the clothes. Great group and I would put any of their resting heart rates against a fashionable comfort bike rider.


The clothes don't make the man. If you were to see me away from my riding group in my 19th century riding clothes you would think "what a geek." Little would you know that I would be honoring a 300 year old sport and associating with some of the biggest movers and shakers in town. If you were to see me in my bicycling clothes away from my club and bike you think "what a geek." Little would know that I train 4-5 times a week and have the endurance to ride for hours without a break.


If you were to see me in my scout uniforma away from my unit you may think "what a geek." But little would you know of the adventures we take, the friendships we form, the responsibility we leaders have accepted and the commitment to the positive development of youths that we "geeks" have.



You can mock my silly clothes, but please don't mock the man in them.




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I had almost the exact same conversation with a colleague at work several years ago. He wanted his son, 6yrs old at the time, to " . . . go the sports route . . . ." instead of scouting. He said that cub scouts is fun, but sports develops character. I brought up a few "characters" like Charles Barkley, Pete Rose, who, whether they want it or not, are youngsters' role models.


I told him that sports reveals character; scouting develops it. Then I asked him if sports teaches about duty to God and country, or duty to others, etc, being trustworthy, friendly, courteous, kind, etc. Not really. Not at all.


It seems that the real reason for the boy to be in sports was to get an atheletic scholarship to a college. That led to another rabbit trail about graduation ratios of scholarship atheletes at universities.


Then I listed some of the "geeks" listed in the post above. Maybe they were geeks in their youth, but they are all Eagle Scouts.


Another criticism that he had about scouts is that there is no organized sports program in scouting. I mentioned the Varsity scouts program, that would give the boy a chance to be on a sports team and give him the opportunity to continue work on the Eagle.


He had heard of the Eagle Scout, knew it was a good thing, but did not know the details about it. I gave him an overview of the scouting program and the trail to Eagle. Okay, he was impressed. Did his son join a cub pack? Unfortunately, no. He still thought that sports was what was best for his son.


The boy is 12 now and not interested in sports. Seems dad pushed him a little too much. The boy doesn't want to belong to any organized activity. Sad, sad.

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