Scouting Around For The Truth

| Friendly | October 3, 2014

(I’m a Beavers Scout leader in Canada. Beavers is our youngest section – five-to-seven year old boys and girls. Our programs are, by necessity, not quite as rugged as those of the older sections, especially in the city. A number of our more ‘macho’ fathers have often complained that Scouting was so much more manly when they were youths. We’ve actually lost a few youth from the program because their fathers decided it wasn’t rugged enough. This particular father had attended nearly every meeting with his son all year long.)

Father: “It’s ridiculous how the lawyers have ruined Scouting. It’s not your fault, I know it’s just policy but Beavers was way better when I was a kid. We were camping every month, hikes almost every week. Now you just play games and do stupid crafts.”

Me: “I think that you’re likely misremembering your time. Things have changed a bit, of course, but the program standards are still pretty much the same.”

Father: “No, it’s not. We were always out camping and we used to have campfires in the school parking lot every week and we never did any of these stupid crafts or games or songs!”

Me: “Well, if you could have campfires in the parking lot back then, I think that change is more the result of city bylaws and not anything to do with Scouts Canada. As for the rest, it’s pretty common for people to remember the big stuff they did when they were kids and not really remember the more mundane meetings in between. Crafts, games, and songs have always been a part of Beavers.”

Father: “No way. It used to be way better than this; nowadays you just coddle all the kids.”

Me: “Honestly, the program really hasn’t changed that much, other than in the ways society has.”

Father: “What would you know about it? You’re too young to remember what it was like when I was a Beaver and girls weren’t allowed in back then, anyway! Like I said, I don’t blame you guys; it’s the lawyer’s faults!”

(When he came to the next week’s meeting I was ready. As soon as he sat down I dropped a large, heavy binder on the bench next to him.)

Father: “What the h*** is this?”

Me: “Meeting records for the 1979 [his Elementary] Beaver Colony, including attendance records with your name and meeting plans with craft instructions, game rules, and song lyrics. Would you care to point out all the camps in the schedule?”

Father: “Where the h*** did you get this?”

Me: “Dude, who was your Beaver leader? Do you really think our mother ever threw anything away? When I became a leader she dumped everything on me.”

(For the first time ever I got to win an argument with a parent and my brother doesn’t comment on the program any more!)

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