They don’t make them like they used to.
My son and I have been looking for a Cub Scout Troop for a while. I was never in the Boy Scouts so I really didn’t know what to expect. I thought that joining would teach him lots of things that I wish I had learned when I was a kid. But more importantly, I thought it would improve our relationship.
The first thing we did was search for a troop close to the house on the Boy Scout’s Website. There happened to be one right down the street from our house. We went to two meeting and didn’t feel comfortable. It didn’t seem like the troop was well organized and the kids were pretty out of control.
We then contacted the local administrator and she informed us that a brand new troop was forming at the local Elk’s Club. I thought that would be a great opportunity to start a group from the ground up. A group of kids that were well organized and disciplined. This is what I thought Boy Scouts was all about. My son and I attended 6 meetings. We were the only ones who attended the last 2. We informed the administrator that we wanted to look for another troop. My son was really disappointed at this point. I had volunteered to be the troop leader and he thought that was cool.
The new troop that we found was held at a local Catholic school not far from our house. It was toward the end of the year when we started and in the middle of flu season. The first few meeting were pretty uneventful. The first one we attended was with the older kids (Boy Scouts). That meeting was very organized. It probably had something to do with the fact that the Troop Leader was a police officer. Someone that the kids respected. He probably has put the fear of God in them on more than one occasion. Which is a good thing.
Our second meeting was held outside the school because the school was closed that day due to poor air quality (Thomas fire at the end of 2017). Most of the kids were out sick so one of the assistant troop leaders held the meeting.
The last few meeting were well attended but a little unorganized. I understand that the kids are young, but coming from a sports background I don’t think it’s impossible to keep kids focused and on task.
The trick is to set the tone from the beginning. You have to make sure the kids understand who you are and what your role is. You also have to tell the kids what their role is. You have to communicate to the that you aren’t their friend but their leader. You always have to make sure that this understanding is never forgotten.
There are two other observations that I have made that I find odd.
- There are a lot of mothers that take their boys to the meeting. There can be many different reasons for this. But by the way that the kids act its probably because dad isn’t fully in the game. They have no respect for the troop leader. They don’t seem to have any discipline. It seems like they haven’t had the fear of God put in them (they should talk to the Boy scout leader).
- I don’t understand why there aren’t more boys in these troops. The cost for scouts is low compared to other activities for boys. This is probably due to the fact that you can’t become a professional scout. I take my daughter to swim on most nights and during football and baseball season the school is packed with moms and dads camping out in the cold watching their children practice in hopes to strike it rich. They would be better off showing their kids skills that they can use throughout their lives than pretending that their kids are little professional ball players.
I wish I had done a lot of things differently when I was growing up. Joining the scouts is one of them. But only if I had a leader like the police officer that leads the older kids.
When I think of the boy scouts I think of young boys being taught how to be men. I think of leaders that are role models for the boys. Role models that demand respect and in return, show the boys how be great scouts. Seems like groups like this aren’t very popular anymore. Maybe if we make them as popular as they once were, things would be a lot better.