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sctmom

Fun or not fun

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My son is telling me that scouting is not fun. He doesn't want to camp, apparently because it is too much work now that he is in Boy Scouts. Even though he did most of the same work when camping with me before then and was happy to cook, set up the tent, etc. He's only been on one troop campout and summer camp (where they ate in the dining hall).

 

Last night he and a couple of buddies in the neighborhood are out "having fun". To me, it looked very similiar to what could be happening in scouting.

 

With rope they create a "train" of a bicycle, an old golf bag caddy, and his wagon. They were going around the neighborhood looking for items for a club house. They were getting limbs from my backyard. Searching for plywood and shelves. Got somebody to give them an old tire, a couple of old rims (those are going to be chairs), and an old metal toolbox. They took pieces of half rotten railroad timbers off somebody's hands (with permission). We had to force them when at dark and it being a school night. They were working hard dragging this stuff up and down a hill on their homemade trailer/train. The worked at this for about 3 hours. BUT it was FUN!

 

Unfortunately his neighborhood friends aren't old enough for Boy Scouts yet, but just a few more months. Hmmm, maybe I need to go get the information in their parents hands now.

 

Now, I have to subtly convince him that what he was doing can be even MORE fun if he learns more about pioneering, knot tying, etc. Any ideas? Have you also seen this happen with kids?

 

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The difference is that THEY created the fun and not someone else. I am astounded and very impressed that your son and his friends would actually make their own fun.

 

Maybe once your son discovers that he has input into what the troop is doing, it will be more fun for him.

 

In any case, what I do with my kids is to tell them that they have to stick it out until the next set of fees are due, then they can quit because I'm not wasting my money. Often their opinions change before quitting time.

 

There are no pat answers. Maybe Scouts isn't for you son.

 

Has your son earned his Tote'n Chip yet? Does he have his own knife? I recall that when my son got his own pocket knife, that made him feel as cool as cool can be because none of his non-scouting friends had knives (knives are dangerous, don't you know :-). To some extent my son lords his scouting experiences over his non-scouting friends.

 

I have a knife and you don't

I know how to use an ax and you don't

I get to cook over a fire and you don't

I'm going on a 50 mile bike ride and you aren't

 

Since most of my son's friends are jocks and he isn't, this levels the macho playing field a bit.

 

Still, there are no pat answers.

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Sctmom, you clearly have a Born To Explore child there. Encourage his explorations as much as possible. Then make sure that he has some opportunity for those kinds of adventures in Scouting. It's a lead-pipe cinch he ain't gonna get it at school.

 

 

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sctmom:

I would try to encourage the other families to consider scouting as your son has a history with those boys in the neighborhood. When they do join the program your son will feel that all the Scouting activities are more fun just because his friends are with him. They will also have a bigger voice together to help plan some of the activities that interest them.

 

As your son's friends get closer to joining age invite them (one at a time) to participate in a troop outing (with the SM's approval) to try to recruit them. This will give your son a few opportunities to entice his friends to join and at the same time keep him interested in the program because he has a friend along to make it more FUN. As a bonus he will recieve a 'Recruiter' badge that he can proudly wear on his uniform if his friends do join.

 

It also sounds to me like your son and his friends would love to get involved in some pioneering activities as that involves ropes, wood and lashings. Maybe he could present the suggestion to his patrol leader that he is interested in building gateways, rope bridges, towers and such and it could be incorporated into a future outdoor activity or campout. The troop or his patrol could earn the Merit Badge while having FUN together.

 

Whatever happens with his friends I hope your son stays involved in Scouting. My son also has his moments when he's had enough and feels as though he wants to quit but we get through it because I acknowledge his feelings and show understanding but also let him know how much he's gained from Scouting and that I feel it is an integral part of his education. What he gets from Scouting, he can't get from school or church or the sports team. So, good luck to you. Your Scout Spirit will carry him through!

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Stay the course! Scouting will open up adventures that he can't imagine yet. Does your troop push cooking, survival, knots and high adventure?

These will give him confidence that many of his peers will not have. Speaking from experience, two boys now eagles with Canada and Philmont under their belts. Not to mention they can cook up a storm (at least on an open fire). You have to make it exciting, remember, no matter how little you may or may not know about these things you know more than they do or at least have the maturity, age, training to find out where to get it.

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