Saturday, July 25, 2009

scout camp

Back from a week of scout camp. And not a day too soon. By day five my patience was wearing thin, which had me just as upset with myself for being impatient as with the boys for being, well, boys.


* Scouting is dumb. In my eagle board of review years ago I was asked why I wanted to get my eagle. I responded that I didn't, but that everyone around me told me I'd regret it if I didn't, so I was doing it on faith. I can't speak to the regret, but the only place having it gives me any traction is in scouting circles, and those aren't circles where I'm aching for legitimacy. Anyway, watching boys (and leaders) march around all week in matching brown shirts with badges sewn on all over left me nauseous. "Timeless values?" Sure...if conformity and hierarchy are values you think praiseworthy.

* The woods are awesome. And so here's the irony: scouting, for all it's pomp and Mary Kay motivation is banal and damaging, but w/o scouting I would have spent a lot less time in the woods as a kid, and a lot less time with rope, axes, knives, tents, trees, canoes, and a whole lot of other things that I think are worthwhile. So what we need is a non-paramilitary alternative to scouting. Ideas?

* Scouts are distinctly more nerdy in Pennsyltucky than in western Idaho. I'm confident of this. The difference? PA's low Mormon quotient. Mormons are scouts because they're Mormon (which provides a broader cross section of types and dispositions). PA scouts are scouts because they want to be scouts. I've learned to be wary of scouters (both youth and *especially* leaders) who want to be scouters.

* Speaking of timeless values, how about physical fitness? The current crew on staff at Hidden Valley are about the most doughy bunch I've ever seen. Yikes. And the scoutmasters? It got me wondering if there was some sort of BSA award for high BMI. These boys need to shed the tan polyester, lace up a sturdy pair of shoes, and get to...something...anything! Unbefreakinglievable. (The camp diet didn't help much either. All very high fat, high calorie crap. Another "timeless value?")

* I can't go as long without a shower as I once could. I can't tell you what a tremendous disappointment this is. Forty-eight hours is about the limit. Then finding a shower becomes my number one priority. This is really more for me than out of consideration of others. But if my neighbors find the stench undesirable, perhaps I could make a deal with some of my overweight scouting friends: I'll shower as often as they go for a jog.


MTN said...

argghhh..... all very very true.... I am the Cubmeister in Oakley. I have political, pedagogical, aesthetic, and philosophical objections to BSA. Is there more integrity in protesting that which offends us, or in heeding a call and serving the boys? Zealous scouters make me uncomfortable in many ways and for many reasons.

Scott said...

Only this week I watched an episode of King of the Hill in which Hank re-establishes the "Order of the Straight Arrow" in Arlen. The episode speaks volumes to your list of complaints. Don't get this one mixed up with the episode in which Bobby nearly kills a Whooping Crane.
I recommend you watch it.

Scott said...

Wematanye, my brother.

Anonymous said...

So I went to my son's scout camp for a few days. As it was an all LDS camp this year (10 stakes from TN and surrounding region) we had Sacrament meeting. I thought it refreshing to see only 3 white shirts, the other dreaded uniform, in the crowd of 500.

But what really struck me as being different from the mountain west scout camps I attended as a boy, and what disturbed me most, was that except for Saturday, the boys ate at a mess hall everyday, instead of cooking their own food and the tents were pre-pitched for them. What is the point of a scout camp if you don't learn to do the fundamentals of outdoor living?

Still, overall, I think the outdoor experience provided by scouting at least in the LDS context outweighs the negatives since its been my experience that most boys really care mostly about the adventure and not the saluting and the hierarchy, which nobody really gets anyway.


Anonymous said...

Brother Goats... I think I will follow the example of the prophet, Thomas S. Monson rather than your poor example in this blog. In 1993 he received the World Scouting Award and following was said about him.... "By virtue of the authority vested in me by the World Scout Committee, I have the honor and the privilege to present the Bronze Wolf Award to Thomas S. Monson. This is the only award given by the World Organization of the Scout Movement. I would like to ask President Monson to please arise.

I shall now read the citation for the award of the Bronze Wolf.

“President Thomas S. Monson, U.S.A., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“Member, National Executive Board, Boy Scouts of America

“President Monson has been active in Scouting throughout his life. As a Scout in his youth, he achieved the rank of Life Scout and later served as Explorer and Institutional Representative.

“Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has directed the activities of Scouting at many levels. He has served as a merit badge counselor and also as a member of the Canadian LDS Scouting Committee and chaplain at a Canadian Jamboree. He was a member of the General Scouting Committee of the Church for ten years. For the past several years, he has been involved in a Scouting for Food drive to aid the poor of the community.

“In 1969, Thomas S. Monson became a member of the National Executive Board of Boy Scouts of America, where he also serves as a member of the International Committee. He is a recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award and has represented Boy Scouts of America as a delegate to the World Conferences in Tokyo, Nairobi and Copenhagen.

“In his assignments throughout the world as a leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Monson has worked tirelessly to bring about the advancement of Scouting in many countries. He has worked closely with the World Organization of the Scout Movement to find ways to strengthen the links between the Church and national Scout associations. He is a committed, solid, hard-working volunteer in the Scout Movement. His Scouting leadership has been exemplary.”

I will now place around the neck of Thomas S. Monson the Bronze Wolf."

I hope the young men in Chambersburg who you have been called to lead as an example follow the prophet and don't see your words.

eeKthiSleadward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eekthisleadward said...

mrbrotherman goates, i respect the right to speak your mind, and i would certainly applaud any effort of man to seek change in something which is presently dissapointing him.
i would appreciate and encourage a discussion in ways to better the scouting community, though surficially it would seem this is not your focus. instead, sir, your thoughts read more like a hastily vented rebuke of the entire scouting organzation; from the tenet that fills the manual, to the bodies that fill the uniforms, it seems you are little less than sickened by something in which you are, at least today, i pray, a willing participant.

while i do agree with literally everything you've stated, i question the manner in which you've stated it.
i would look forward to reading an enchanced edition of this post; one formed with more clarity of the mind and love of the heart.