Showing posts with label scouting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scouting. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Thin Coat of Paint

I wouldn’t say that I’m a “friend” of scouting

I think Hannah is the one who made the announcement that “you are not an acquaintance of scouting, but a “friend” of scouting” 

“No I’m not,” I thought.  I have truly never been a friend.  I’ve actually had regrets about it.

I think the scouting program is a great program for those who truly want to be involved.  I guess the thing that has always bothered me the most about scouting is all the hoopla and fuss that seems to go with it.  It would be fine if there was an equal amount of hoopla given to those not even associated with scouts – if that is what’s desired. (Some of us don’t like hoopla and fuss; my brother Patrick and his oldest son truly loved scouting and were heavily involved.  My brother Corey and nephew Brian appear to have reached a point where they almost loathed it)

The boy scout program was adaptedby the LDS church in 1913 and cub scouts were adopted as a part of the primary in 1952. None of the other Church organizations require a uniform or guidelines from outside of the Church.

My mom had been a den mother to the boys when Patrick was in scouts.  I was involved in many of their activities.  It didn’t seem to be a big deal for non-scout members to participate when their parents were the leaders.  I enjoyed hanging around with them and meeting with them once a week and I especially enjoyed activities such as climbing the trail to the Timpenogous Cave or visiting Pioneer Village (located in Sugarhouse at the time) and stopping off at Snelgroves for an afterward treat.  As a recall, the majority of the boys got double scoop cones with blue bubblegum and black licorice flavored ice creams. 

I don’t remember ever feeling envious that the focus on the boys seemed to outshine the focus on the girls.  I usually always had a better time with boys than girls anyhow.  I suppose I did feel left out at times when cub scouts would earn rewards and there was always a ceremony for their achievements – not that I felt the need for a badge or material satisfaction.  I just remember sometimes wondering why so many thought the boys were so great and allowed the girls to sit on the back burner or barely be mentioned.

We didn’t have activity days – which may have been created to run parallel to the scouting program.  I don’t know.  With the girls – be it Activity Days or Young Women – the leaders focus needs to be on the girls.  Leaders should be without children when serving the girls.  So why can the scouts include non-scouts in their activities but the girls cannot? So perhaps it’s okay that they hold scouts every week while the girls hold Activity Days only twice a week.

When we moved into our current ward, I would have Jenna with me while attending Relief Society.  The scout leader invited her to participate in the activities that were planned the same night as Relief Society.  And so Jenna happily believed she was a scout.

I tried enrolling Jenna into the girl scouts program as she was not of age to participate in Activity Days – but was not successful in finding a good fit.  Oh, she enjoyed the few activities we had gone to, but we have always done things as a Juliette.  I still haven’t been able to find a good troop for her. I don't believe it is ever something I had wanted for myself, but Jenna and I have our differences.

Jenna has since had the opportunity to attend activity days and would love to attend every week.  In her mind it isn’t fair that boys get to meet every week.

We had gone to the Church Museum the day before school started.  There were two exhibits featuring the boy scouts – both of which she refused to attend out of rebellion.  She’s nine years old.  She doesn’t understand that boys (in general) seem to need more structure and may be in scouting  their entire lives and still not “get it”  whereas there’s a compassion or understanding or structure that seem to come more naturally to most girls.  But still . . .

Fund Raisers with the boys scouts happen with or without the church.  The boys go from door to door trying to raise money for their organization.  And certainly the girls will have fund raisers when they get into Young Women, but it’s not going door to door collecting money with only a receipt that may or may not be a tax write-off. 

The girls work hard and may involve others to donate baked goods or other items.  They sell product.  

Recently I read a post in which permission was given to share a post from a closed blog.  The following was brought up:

• meeting frequency- scouts are advised to meet weekly, while activity day girls are directed to meet NO MORE than twice a month

• activity types- scouting is a structured program with a clear directive to have activities of many differing types, activity days has no directive whatsoever other than "work on Faith in God for girls." The boys also have this program, but just happen to have scouting as well.
• recognition and awards- cub scouting is famous for its intricate advancement and award system, AD has no such system
• budgeting- do these programs have equal budgets?
• leaders- would a couple ever be called to lead AD groups? Why do boys have access to leaders of both genders, while girls do not? Also, cub scouts have a much higher ratio of leaders to boys than AD girls do
• formal, parent-attended pack meetings- there is no similar equivalent in the AD program.
• the Church's website- there was tab after tab on the church's primary page devoted to explaining and promoting Cub Scouting, but barely a mention of the AD program. You have to click on 'leader resources' and if you scroll down to the bottom, there's a SINGLE LINK that takes you to the SINGLE PARAGRAPH from Handbook 2 that gives direction on AD programs for leaders, and there's not much in that paragraph either.

I know that boys and girls are different – and my interpretation was not that the opinions are to treat both genders as equals but allow equal time, equal budgeting, equality in organization – not in person.  We’re all individuals who hopefully support and lift one another.  “Scouting” does not “lift” me however – or at least the political aspect and blown out manner that might send the message to some girls that they are lower class and not as important.

It is said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, and yet there are some members of this church who feel discrimination because there seems to be a lack of equality. And not just with our attitude towards scouting. (I've actually mentioned the feelings of discrimination in several posts.)

These are just some of my thoughts.  I have more.  Lots more.  But I had to borrow somebody else’s words to get this post. The ideas I have (or had) are so disjointed still.  I apologize that this entry may not sound polished at all.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jenna Loves Caterpillars

          Jenna has liked caterpillars for as long as I remember.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know when – though I suspect it must have been in the womb.

          There was a week the caterpillar/butterfly cycle was discussed during her first year at preschool.  Twice during the week the focus was on the caterpillar and the other two days were on the butterfly.  She was there for the caterpillar days chiming in her knowledge and sharing with the class more depth than the teacher was actually ready to go into, dropping her mouth in disbelief and then saying, “You are right, Jenna.  How come you know so much about caterpillars?”

          “Oh, I just like caterpillars and so I know all about them.”

          I don’t think Jenna had even seen a real caterpillar before until the summer when she had turned four.   We had gone to a resort with the scouts.  One of the scouts had lovingly taken her under his wing.  And just before we left to return to our cars, he found a small green caterpillar which he allowed her to hold.  Oh, the joys! 

          Both had wanted to take the caterpillar home but the scout leader was talked into leaving it in its natural environment.  Jenna was hoping we could return for it later when no one was looking.  She did, afterall, know how to take care of it.  It would have been her first pet.  Her first responsibility.  But it wasn’t mine to give.  It wasn’t practical to have it in the car for the ride home.  But it was a good memory for her.  We did get some pictures.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Giving Girl Scouts Another Try

          Shortly after we moved, and I could sense that Jenna wouldn’t be going anywhere with her new school (where she finished kindergarten) I decided to enroll her in girl scouts.

          We’d been invited to attend a meeting for an introduction.  The theme was on culture with an added service project for the food bank.  Eleven booths were set up to represent various countries.  We sampled food from United States, China, France, Mexico, India, Scotland, Austrlia, France, England, South Africa and Switzerland

          Jenna enjoyed learning and making crafts such as origami mask and cutting out shapes for the Chinese puzzle.  She also enjoyed decorating boxes for the food bank. By the end of the night she was fired up.  She had earned her first patch and that was awesome!  That alone made her want to join.  A desire for more patches.

          At the end of the night, Roland and I signed her up to be in a troop – I thought it might give her more exposure to finding friends.  Only the leader of the troop we had signed up for had health issues and after only a couple of meetings and six cancellations (not having learned this until I had literally driven out of my way) we dropped our attempts to be included in the troop – which turned out to be okay – as Jenna still wasn’t comfortable with the girls in her assigned troop.  She felt like an outcast.

          I signed her up for activities as a Juliette but still used the troop number. After Tony returned home from his mission, he and Roland helped Jenna plant a tree.  Her second badge.  And it was fun.  She loved meeting new girls and climbing hills with them.

But when it came time to renew her membership, Jenna just didn’t seem interested anymore.  And because I had transferred schools, I was hoping to find a troop near where she goes to school.  But it didn’t work out for us.  So we went an entire year without girl scouts.  And last month she decided she’d like to start back up again.

And so last night we went to our first girl scouts activity for over a year.  Jenna made crafts for St. Patrick’s day: a badge, a hat (visor) a wand and a finger puppet.  She had a great time.  We learned a song and steps to an Irish dance.  In the end Jenna received another patch to add to her collection and a t-shirt advertising 100 years in girl scouts.