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Daddy_O

Seeking guidance

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I posted this on another thread, but this may get a quicker reply - time is not on my side!

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I need some help, and I can see that Ive stumbled upon the right site!

I am the father of a wonderful 10-year-old. Hes popular at school, makes good grades, plays an instrument fairly well, and is a 2-sport All-Star in our town. Hes never given me, or his mom, a moment of grief in our almost 11 years together. We have a wonderful relationship, and he really is not in need of any outside influence to make him a good man; he will be a fine citizen.

 

Hes been a scout since Tigers, and although weve moved across the country he persevered and earned his arrow of light last month. Out of respect for his Webelos leader we let her pick his new troop. All three boys he crossed over with are now in the same troop. We visited 3 troops:

 

1) Ignored our boys, and their parents.

2) Never called us back

3) Took our kids camping, and treated them pretty well

 

Not great choices. She picked troop 3. We have not filled out the papers, and the SM is sort of pressuring me, but Im not easy to persuade, and I feel that Im holding a high card.

This is a camping troop, and my kid is really not an outdoor type. He wants to be an Eagle Scout, and earn merit badges. But his plate is full. Were not going to have weekends to camp. I understand that some camping is required, but he will certainly do the minimum. Hell do service though, and work like crazy. Hes declined to go to summer camp as it interferes with his highly-select baseball team.

 

I was a cub scout, but never a boy scout, and this seems like a good stopping point to me..

 

But he loves scouts, and wants to stay. We need an Adult led advancement-oriented troop. You guys write derisively about such outfits, but thats exactly what we need How do I find them? Were thinking about applying for lone scout status. What do you guys think?

 

 

Also, hes never really had a buddy in scouts. He has known some of the guys in his old den, in our old city, for many years but was never close to any of them. Hes on good terms with his fellow webelos/ boy scouts he crossed over with, but never sees any of them outside of scouts.

Sadly, the new SM split the 4 webelos into their 2 preexisting patrols, and the one kid my son liked the best is not with him anymore.

Lastly, hes an introvert, and he went out on a limb and recruited a boy into wolves. This boy, many states away, is now a boy scout. My kid wants to continue to wear his well-earned recruiter badge, and were getting some guff about that too. (Hes not taking that off his uniform!)

 

Thanks for your time. I appreciate your insight. That lone scout idea is now the one Im most considering. Or, maybe this has run its course for us.

 

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I just have one question, is he in scouts just to earn his eagle, or is he in it for the program. We often hear about Eagle Mills and Merit Badge Mills. Is this what you are looking for.

 

I would also have to say that splitting up the Webelos. It gives them a chance to meet new scouts. THat may be good for them. It is not saying that they cannot socialize with the other scouts, just when they are doing patrol activities, then they are with different people.

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Let's begin at the beginning: "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

 

To do that, in the Boy Scouting program, we use seven methods:

 

Ideals. The ideals of Boy Scouting are spelled out in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. The Boy Scout measures himself against these ideals and continually tries to improve. The goals are high, and as he reaches for them, he has some control over what and who he becomes.

 

Patrols. The patrol method gives Boy Scouts an experience in group living and participating citizenship. It places responsibility on young shoulders and teaches boys how to accept it. The patrol method allows Scouts to interact in small groups where members can easily relate to each other. These small groups determine troop activities through elected representatives.

 

Outdoor Programs. Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. In the outdoors the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose. Being close to nature helps Boy Scouts gain an appreciation for the beauty of the world around us. The outdoors is the laboratory in which Boy Scouts learn ecology and practice conservation of nature's resources.

 

Advancement. Boy Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Boy Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge. The Boy Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Boy Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.

 

Associations With Adults. Boys learn a great deal by watching how adults conduct themselves. Scout leaders can be positive role models for the members of the troop. In many cases a Scoutmaster who is willing to listen to boys, encourage them, and take a sincere interest in them can make a profound difference in their lives.

 

Personal Growth. As Boy Scouts plan their activities and progress toward their goals, they experience personal growth. The Good Turn concept is a major part of the personal growth method of Boy Scouting. Boys grow as they participate in community service projects and do Good Turns for others. Probably no device is as successful in developing a basis for personal growth as the daily Good Turn. The religious emblems program also is a large part of the personal growth method. Frequent personal conferences with his Scoutmaster help each Boy Scout to determine his growth toward Scouting's aims.

 

Leadership Development. The Boy Scout program encourages boys to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Boy Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership helps a boy accept the leadership role of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting.

 

Uniform. The uniform makes the Boy Scout troop visible as a force for good and creates a positive youth image in the community. Boy Scouting is an action program, and wearing the uniform is an action that shows each Boy Scout's commitment to the aims and purposes of Scouting. The uniform gives the Boy Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals. The uniform is practical attire for Boy Scout activities and provides a way for Boy Scouts to wear the badges that show what they have accomplished.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm very proud of my son. I call him EagleSon here. That's to keep his own name private.

 

- I'm proud of him because his life is taking wing.

- I'm proud of him because he's learned to associate with good people. That was a direct consequence of Scouting, adult association, and having his own ideals set in bedrock...through Boy Scouting and Venturing.

- I'm proud of him because he knows the work has to be done before the fun begins. That came from his being in a Patrol and being in the outdoors.

- I'm proud of him because he earned his varsity letter in HS, twice, and earned a merit technical scholarship. That's due to the Advancement Method.

- I'm proud of him because he's learned the tough things have a value when they are complete. That comes from his later experiences in the Outdoors in Scouting... from being on the trail at Philmont, to being a candidate for our Council honor camping society, to being a camp staffer at one of our Scout Reservations.

I'm proud of my son because he works well in teams... be it his praise team choir at church, his barbershop chorus and quartet, his work in his section in university marching/pep band, and his work in his studio. That's the Patrol Method and the Ideals method coming through, for the Scout Oath and Law are touchstones in his life.

- Oh, yes: I am proud that as a consequence of so many of these experiences, he was able to spend an hour seriously talking (but sometimes with great joy and laughter too) to several significant leaders in our metro area and our boy scout council. At the end of that evening, and with over five years of steady growth, he earned the right to say he was an Eagle Scout.

 

From my perspective, let your son discover the outdoors. Let him discover cooperative work in a Patrol. Let him learn that from disorder can indeed come order. I advocate you letting him be a Boy Scout.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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Yah, hi Daddy_O. Welcome to the scouter forums.

 

Before you go any further, I want you to listen to the following, then take a deep breath, walk around the block, and sleep on it for a few days.

 

Odds are very strong that your two-sport middle school "all-star" will never make high school varsity in either of those two sports, and are almost certain that he will not continue to play them in college or beyond. Fact is that elementary school and middle school all stars most often burn out, or are simply passed up by other kids when everyone passes puberty. Just the facts of life.

 

Second fact. Your wonderful 10-year-old will become an annoying teenager. Like every boy before him, he will begin moving away from his upbringing and in the direction of his peers and the few non-familial adults who care enough to spend time with him. He will rebel against your wonderful relationship. I promise you that if not by age 13 then by age 16 he will be exposed to drugs and sex and weapons and other things, and you will never know about it. But his friends will, and that non-familial adult might. The choices he makes will depend as much on them as on you.

 

Third fact. Your son's interests in the next few years are going to change. You have no idea where they're going to go. Right now he might like plain pizza, give it a few years and he's going to be doing calzones loaded with garlic and anchovies (well, maybe not the anchovies ;)). What he needs as a middle schooler is to explore, try lots of things, and find those that give him the most satisfaction and joy. Neither you nor your kid know whether or not he's "an outdoor type" at this point. You might be surprised.

 

Now go... and if you don't believe me, go talk to one of his teachers or some other person you trust. Take a big step back and get your head clear. And talk to your wife!

 

When you come back from that exercise, consider that if your kid is the great kid you say, he should choose. If he wants to stay in scouts, let him. If he wants to blow off baseball for summer camp, or summer camp for baseball, let him. If he wants to give up music in favor of theater, or drop scouting to take up madrigal singing, let him. All of those things are great activities, so let a great kid choose what makes his heart sing the most, and cheer in support of whatever choice he makes. Give him some experience making his own choices. He's going to need it.

 

And if you consider anything at all, consider what activities will give him longer-term relationships with peers and adults that you feel are good people. All boys need those longer-term relationships for success as teens.

 

Whether the scouting programs in your area will meet your son's interests or needs I have no idea. Neither do you. Let him explore.

 

Beavah

 

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I like John and da' Beav's responses. They are taking the high road. But for the sake of argument, and at the risk of being rude, I'm going to take your post at face value and respond to the situation as you have presented it to us: if you came to the troop I serve with that list of expectations, I would suggest you find another outlet for your son. I can't imagine going into any program with as many reservations as you have expressed.

 

I don't read anything in your post about why you or your son want to be in Scouts, other than possibly habit. If you don't think he will benefit from the "outside influences" of Scouting and doesn't want to participate in one of the main elements of the program, what's the point? Why does he want to earn merit badges and be an Eagle Scout?

 

Would you look for a school where he was sure to graduate with honors but received little real education? In my opinion, that's the troop you're looking for. I don't know much about the Lone Scout program, but my understanding is it is for boys in areas where there are no Scout troops, not for boys who just don't want to be bothered.

 

Here's another way to look at it. How would the baseball coach respond to this:

 

"My kid is really not an athletic type. He wants to be on the All-Star team and have a high batting average. But his plate is full. Were not going to have weekends for ballgames. I understand that some ballgames are required, but he will certainly do the minimum. Hell do go to the batting cage though, and work like crazy. Hes declined to go to team practices as it interferes with his highly-select Scout troop. "

 

My apologies if this sounds harsh. It is not my intention to insult you or your son. But I think you need to look at the reality of what you are asking. Better a little heartache now, rather than creating a huge problem your son and his troop later.

 

(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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Yup. You've already received some excellent input. For whatever it might be worth, here's mine.

 

1) Scouting and sports do not have to be incompatible. We have star swimmers, football players, baseball players, soccer players, and others (including marching band and drum corp guys who attend a lot of the games too) in our troop. But it does require a spirit of compromise, and parents who are willing to drive Junior around a bit more than normal. Some guys are seldom around during one part of the year. They may miss some meetings, or show up late and kicking off their cleats as they come in the door. Their parents might drive them out to the campout after the morning ball game on Saturday. That might be ok. It is the ones who play football-fall baseball-basketball-winter indoor soccer-spring outdoor soccer-summer baseball who don't last in the troop, because they never have the time to participate. If that describes your guy, then this is probably not going to work for him right now.

 

Of course you also need to understand that a boy who misses meetings and campouts frequently is going to advance at a slower pace. That's not a bad thing, since (unlike cubs) advancement in boy scouts is very individually driven and not a group thing. And advancement is only one part of the experience. Some kids never get past the early ranks, but have a great time in scouting anyway. But it is important to recognize that right up front so as to avoid disappointments.

 

2) Beavah said: "Neither you nor your kid know whether or not he's "an outdoor type" at this point. You might be surprised. "

 

Let me tell you, he's right. The rugged "outdoor type" kids don't always like scouting, or particularly need it, to get their fill of outdoor activity. What's amazing to me is how scouting can offer a bookish kid, or a sports-fanatic kid, or a video-game kid, who is NOT already an "outdoor type," a chance to have some wonderful outdoor experiences. My son is an example. We live a suburban life and he's not a huge outdoor guy. But he has come to love camping. Scouting turned him on to fishing, rock climbing, canoeing, rifle shooting and archery, and (most recently) backpacking and hiking, among other things. He'll be spending a week backpacking in a national wilderness area this summer, which I never in my wildest dreams would have predicted he'd want to do, just a couple years ago. By contrast, his cousin who grew up in a rural, outdoor-all-the-time, camp-whenever-you-want, hunting-fishing type family, found scouting a bit dull.

 

3) Kids need some separation from their parents. Scouting offers a safe environment within which they can get that. I don't send my teen off to scouts to get "rid" of him for the weekend, but I am sure he'd tell you that's one draw of camping - his parents aren't there to tell him what to do! Yet I also know there are good people keeping an eye out for him and he's unlikely to get into major mischief while camping with his scout buddies.

 

4) Kids need unstructured interaction with other kids. It is part of their socialization process. I know for my son, this has been the single biggest benefit of scouting since he is an only child. I know some boys who never have that experience. They may be involved in a lot of other activities and sure, they go to school all day with other kids, but school and many other activities are so rigid and so adult-driven that the kids don't have much chance to really develop their interpersonal skills. Scouting offers a different type of venue and that can be pretty important, I think.

 

5) The merit badge part of the program is great. 120+ badges offers enough for practically any boy to explore his budding interests. But unlike webelos, where the activity pins are a major focus of the program, merit badges in boy scouts are not the main point. That's why it sounds so odd for you to write that he'll work on badges but won't have the time to bother with camping. Boy scouting happens in the outdoors with a group of other boys, not inside working on merit badges by oneself.

 

6) Last one. What's all this "We" stuff? As in, "Were not going to have weekends to camp." Who is making the decisions here; you, or your son? I hope that doesn't offend you. There is certainly a lot of room in boy scouting for parents too. But ultimately it is HIS experience and as a parent you are along for the ride. If he wants to continue, let him give it a whirl.

 

(This message has been edited by lisabob)

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Thank you ALL so much for the thoughtful replies, and the warm greetings this is a lucid Blog! One detail I omitted in my outdoor type comment ( seized upon by many of you!) is the fact that my kid gets sick sleeping outside. Hes allergic to mold, and in this area there is a lot of rotting vegetation full of mold. After our 2-night Webelos campout he missed a week of school! He's not a sissy, and he does not complain and he likes being outside, hes just not designed for it.

 

SctDad Yes, I suppose an Eagle Mill IS what were looking for! But I wouldnt have put it that way. It was called an advancement-oriented troop on another thread.

 

John-in-KC beautiful essay, your kid sounds awesome! Does he need ALL 7? Are these and / or?

 

Beavah I hope youre wrong about the drugs and weapons. So far he does not keep a lot of secrets from me; he knows that the ol man doesnt judge him. My pop was a tyrant, and very disengaged with his kids. I learned how NOT to do it from him! Ive really worked to build something here Well see I suppose, as whiskers start etc.!!

 

Twocubdad Very candid, well-written and humorous! Very perceptive about habit. Maybe thats it. Hes been in this so long (half of his life!) he identifies himself as a cub scout. Its been a source of continuity in his life as weve relocated. I made him play sports. His mom made him play an instrument. HE chose to join Tiger cubs. He likes it. The boys like him; hes quiet and strong a genuine gentle giant. Also his uncle (my bro-in-law - much younger than his mom!) made Eagle Scout, and my son was in the ceremony. He admires this young man very much, and wants to be like him. I should and, not but as far as minimum participation on campouts; that sounds better.

 

Lisabob The 'we stuff' is because I too only have so much energy / time. There is another kid (lil' sis) who also demands my attention and we need to maximize the bang we get for each Joule invested.

 

If this doesnt work out we wasted a LOT of time and energy. Like most others in todays economy, my job is always at risk. We may move again (I hope not) and thats so disruptive of everything WE do!

 

I LOOK FORWARD TO OUR ONGOING DISCUSSION.

 

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Sorry to reply to my own post, but one more detail, for your consideration, please. When I say he gets sick from sleeping out I don't mean he gets a sniffle. I mean his mother and I are arguing at 2AM whether or not he should go to the hospital. Sometimes after a lengthy exposure he can't stop coughing. Then he can't talk.

It's unfortunate and ironic; I don't like the outdoors other than Bar-B-Q, and I can sleep with a cat, in a bed of ragweed, and never suffer any ill effect! I understand you guys' cynicism, but this is a good boy and a good scout. He needs a path forward - not a loophole!

 

Thank you all again--

-- DaddyO

 

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So, it seems your son wants to "earn" Eagle on his terms. I hope if he does accomplish this, then he does not beleive everything in life will be done according to his "terms"

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There are eight tools we use in Scouting to grow boys as described above by others -

1. Ideals (Scout Oath and Scout Law)

2. Patrol Method (Boy led, boy run by the PLC driven by SPL with adult guidance)

3.Advancement (Putting forth challenges; the Scouts confidence is built by overcoming them)

4.The Outdoors (the chance to associate with nature and learn self reliance and cooperation)

5. Uniforms (level playing field, unit identification and individuality)

6. Association with Adults (As many positive role models to learn from as possible)

7. Personal Growth (service to others and self)

8. Leadership (Individual opportunities to be an important member of scouting)

 

You will notice that the outdoors and advancement are on equal ground here. Now all these methods are woven together so trying to remove one portion is very difficult.

 

Most troops have 4 meetings a month, 1 campout a month (usually friday evening through Sunday, spend at least one week in the summer at summer camp, and one week doing some sort of high adventure trip. This means at the very most a troop will have 52 one hour indoor meetings; typically less due to holidays, spring break and the like. Doing a little math (12 x 40 hours [monthly campouts]) + (2*144 hours [summer camp and high adventure week] is about 800 hours of possible Scouting a year. (This does not include community service and some other things that are not as easy to capture here). Only 52 of those are indoors that is only less than 7% of the time an that is if the troop stays indoors for all those meetings. As soon as it is warm and light enough our meetings typically move outdoors. Most of everything our troop does is either in the outdoors or preparing to be in the outdoors.

 

I do not mean to be offensive but have you taken your son to any allergist? Is there anything that can done for him?

 

A note about Eagle mills. I know of two troops that have the term Eagle Mill associated with them regularly. One thing these two troops have in common is they camp twice a month and during the campouts they work rigorously on merit badges and advancement.

 

You mentioned the Lone Scout program. It is my understanding that this is only for Scouts who can not find a troop within reasonable driving distance. So I don't think this will be a viable option for you.

 

I really don't want to discourage anyone from being in Scouting because the program offers so much but in reality it is an outdoor based program.

 

Your profile says that you live in the Northeast. This may work in your favor because depending where you are your son are from you may be able to camp from November through March without any difficult. Typically environmental allergies are not a problem during those months.

 

I hope this was helpful to you.

 

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First I mis-spoke: Eight, not seven, methods of Scouting.

 

Yes, they all work together.

 

Others here are far more eloquent than I. I'm going to let them do the talking :), I've made my point: Boys are helped by Boy Scouting on their trail to manhood and adulthood.

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I still haven't figured out how a young scout can get to Eagle (via T-2-1 and Camping MB) without camping outdoors.

 

Am I missing something? :-)

 

Guy

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I will advise you that you really don't have a "high card" against the scoutmaster. You would be joining for your son's benefit not the scoutmaster's. Further that based on your writings, the Boy Scout program is not for your son or your family.

 

 

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"I still haven't figured out how a young scout can get to Eagle (via T-2-1 and Camping MB) without camping outdoors.

 

Am I missing something? :-)

 

Guy "

 

The BSA has in place procedures for requesting alternate requirements and alternate merit badges(but not alternate requirements for merit badges) for scouts.

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Yah, as to da mold allergy thing, this is what doctors are for. But there's about a bazillion types of mold, eh? Plenty in houses to. Yeh might find that your son is only sensitive to a few types, and that his prior bad experience is associated with one camping area and one season, not all of New England. In fact, I'd be surprised if that weren't the case.

 

And nope, I wasn't lyin' about the sex, drugs, and weapons. Parents are always the last to know. Always. That's why it's so important for kids to develop their own judgment, and a group of friends and mentors beyond their parents who are good folks.

 

As for time, one of the bonuses of Boy Scouting is that yeh don't have to be there all the time the way you were with cub scouting. Your lad can go on a campout without you, and you can spend that weekend for some great special times with your daughter. Your son can even get a carpool to the meet-up point and a ride home. The point is that your son's activities should be limited by his energy level and interest, not yours. And his interests especially are going to become different than yours.

 

Beavah

 

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