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higgledypiggledy
02-11-2011, 04:49 PM
Son has been attending a boy scout troop the past two weeks. We are giving it an 8 week trial run. Does anyone else out there think its a little weird that they obsess over the uniforms, are super into conformity etc... I mean, a kind well meaning mom has loaned us a shirt, kerchief and little metal thingy until we buy our own. To me it reminds me a little of the USSR's Pioneer Children program (not sure about the best translation) or the hitler Youth. There is a lot of ceremony, flag raising, pledging stuff. Anyone do scouts, is this typical of all troops? Am I reading too much into the whole, you aren't wearing the approved uniform comment?

Hampchick
02-11-2011, 05:05 PM
Didn't scouting begin in the U.K. as a training program for future soldiers?

MarkInMD
02-11-2011, 05:07 PM
I was in Cub Scouts from 3rd-5th grade. Didn't mind it then, because pretty much all my friends did it.

We tried it with Hurricane last year, but there were so few scouts for one thing, and for another, it was so disorganized. It just wasn't a good fit for us. Plus they have an anti-gay stance that we're not particularly comfortable with.

The Scouts are intended to be proto-military in structure, which can work great for some. However, in this day and age, I have to wonder how long it will last. Judging from participation in our area compared to when I was a kid, it's not long for this world, at least around here.

farrarwilliams
02-11-2011, 05:24 PM
I've heard that different troops are pretty different in their attitudes about that sort of thing. You could look for another troop or you could just accept it if it's otherwise a good fit.

I'm not keen to let my kids do scouting because of the homophobic attitudes of the main organization. Many individual troops have a very different attitude, but it still feels wrong to me that a kid could go up through the program and then suddenly be kicked out before he made Eagle just for being gay. Other people have issues with the fact that atheists are still not welcome either. But, again, lots of people find that the many good things they do (and there are many positive aspects of scouting) outweigh any issues, especially if you find a local troop that fits your personality.

Shoe
02-11-2011, 05:59 PM
It does seem a little weird to me...but, I was in Scouting much of my childhood and adolescence and attribute my independent spirit and non-conformity to the movement, as it fostered leadership and independent thinking skills. It's probably the reason I'm trying to be myself within the system, rather than a radical anarchist, honestly.

Stella M
02-11-2011, 06:06 PM
Not scouts...but my dd was in Girl Guides for a while and is now a monarchist and prays nightly...beware of unintended consequences!

Mrs. Weasley's Wand
02-11-2011, 06:07 PM
We will not participate in the Boy Scouts because of their attitudes towards homosexuality. Even if that were not an issue, we'd not be welcome as athiests. We are involved in Spiral Scouts and there is a uniform requirement. It doesn't particularly bother me but there is a lot less required of our uniform than by the mainstream scouting organizations. Tan bottom, green top, neck chord. Sash on occasion, which was handmade by the a co-leader. There is an opening ceremony that involves a pledge I can completely support, and there is no dealing with pledges to flags or anything like that. There is also very little fundraising (no popcorn/cookies). Individual circles have the ability to run themselves as they see fit. A little bit of conformity with a whole ton of leeway. And really, the little bit of uniforms we have and the like that we've used when we've been out in public has helped attract potential new members to our circle. I am generally opposed to uniforms of any kind, but I can live with this.

hockeymom
02-11-2011, 06:18 PM
We won't do it either, for all the reasons mentioned. Too religious, too close minded, too conformist for our tastes. Which is too bad, because we have limited opportunities for DS here and I'd welcome any reasonable activity for him. To me, though, Scouts just isn't reasonable. Hockey, on the other hand: team building, physical activity, great coaching, supportive teammates and parents, healthy emphasis on growing individual skills, and yes, cute uniforms. A better fit for us (despite those sometimes loud parents!). :)

Shoe
02-11-2011, 06:25 PM
We won't do it either, for all the reasons mentioned. Too religious, too close minded, too conformist for our tastes. Which is too bad, because we have limited opportunities for DS here and I'd welcome any reasonable activity for him. To me, though, Scouts just isn't reasonable. Hockey, on the other hand: team building, physical activity, great coaching, supportive teammates and parents, healthy emphasis on growing individual skills, and yes, cute uniforms. A better fit for us (despite those sometimes loud parents!). :)
Beware though...hockey is more than a sport in Canada...it's the (un)official national religion!

Batgirl
02-11-2011, 06:32 PM
We put Batman into Tiger Cubs this fall and so far have been very pleased. The activities have been varied and fun and he is starting to learn about community service, which is important to me. As he has ASD, it's also a nice way to practice social skills in a supervised environment. Participation is high in our area. My husband is an Eagle Scout and scouting with the boys is important to him. We're not thrilled by their stance toward homosexuality but can live with it for the reasons Farrar mentioned. So far our experience with our den has been positive but DH moved through a few different dens as a boy due to bullying & other things. Finally his dad and a couple of others started a new den. So if you decide you like the activities but not the den, it may be worth it to look around or even start your own! There is actually a den for homeschoolers in our area but they are conservative Christian so we go through the one at ps, where Batman knows many of the other boys.
With regards to the uniform, Batman loves wearing his and receiving the different beads, patches, etc. I guess I wouldn't think of it as overly conformist---I mean, people have dress codes for work and other occasions, so why not scouting? As for Hitler Youth, I don't generally think he's being indoctrinated, particularly. Compared to our den, at least, church and ps involve quite a bit more indoctrination! :)
The ten purposes of cub scouting are: character development, spiritual growth, good citizenship, sportsmanship and fitness, family understanding, respectful relationships, personal achievement, friendly service, fun and adventure, and preparation for boy scouts.

Some things we have done: pool party, camp-out, hiking, crafts, trip to fire station, Christmas tree recycling fundraiser. Upcoming: camp-out at science center, pinewood derby races, trip to museum to learn history of area.

So, it's working out for us, so far!

hockeymom
02-11-2011, 06:34 PM
Beware though...hockey is more than a sport in Canada...it's the (un)official national religion!

Oh yeah, I don't understand that *at all*. DS is at the age now when the parents are starting to go a little crazy with their enthusiasm. Most of the yelling in the stands is still positive but some is really horrendous, and I know it will get worse. He's also at that age where the kids start to get separated out by ability, those that play okay and those who play great mostly because they attend all the extra camps or whose dads are really into it. I don't care how he plays as long as he's having fun and feels proud of himself. The other day he came home from a blowout game where they lost like 17 to 1 but he was beaming and said "We didn't win with points but we won with FUN!". That stuff makes me happy, although I know it would make some other parents shudder! :)

floridamom
02-11-2011, 07:58 PM
We don't do scouts because of their statement that atheists cannot be good citizens.

"The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God."

Hampchick
02-11-2011, 08:09 PM
We won't do boy scouts either. My husband was almost an eagle scout and enjoyed scouting growing up but knowing now what we do about their discriminatory policies we won't let the boys. Fortunately it's never come up even when DS was in PS and the flyers were being sent home.

Shoe
02-11-2011, 09:03 PM
I don't care how he plays as long as he's having fun and feels proud of himself. The other day he came home from a blowout game where they lost like 17 to 1 but he was beaming and said "We didn't win with points but we won with FUN!". That stuff makes me happy, although I know it would make some other parents shudder! :)Just remember that more Canadians recognize the Hockey Night in Canada theme more than O Canada! Still, there seems to be less of a competitive spirit in Canada than baseball evokes in the USA...it is enough if you are participating in hockey in Canada...in the US, you have to win to be accepted. Your son exemplifies the Canadian spirit in hockey...do your best, but don't worry about winning..that will take care of itself...perhaps we Americans can learn something from that?

BrendaE
02-11-2011, 09:22 PM
We don't do scouts because of their statement that atheists cannot be good citizens.

"The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God."

Exactly. Same for us. Period.

mommykicksbutt
02-12-2011, 06:16 AM
We purposely avoid the scouts at all costs! They discriminate against atheists and homosexuals. They fear those that are different from themselves and are happy in their ignorance. They only grow bigoted, homophobic, christian men, not open minded adults. We'll have nothing to do with such an organization. We jokingly refer to then as the "Little Hitler Youth" organization, because their ideology and uniforms kind of scream that.

dottieanna29
02-12-2011, 08:54 AM
Georgie will be old enough for Scouts next year. It seems to be a little active in our area - they post signs every year by the school and municipal building. I'm really undecided. I don't like how Conservative they are (although we aren't all that conservative here in NJ so it may not be as much of an issue at the local level). I like the idea of an activity just for him. I don't have the same problem with Girl Scouts (I was a leader way back) and I guess it would be unfair to let Vicki do Girl Scouts while not allowing Georgie do Boy Scouts.

DH was a Boy Scout but was kicked out when he walked away from a camping trip and hid until they had to call parents/authorities because a Scout Leader hit him. The Leader was obviously dismissed.

bcnlvr
02-12-2011, 11:05 AM
We don't do Scouts, as per what Ms. Weasley's Wand said. DH is a retired Marine Corps infantry officer, so we get plenty of "forest time, land nav, and camping, etc". Also, the Boy Scouts around here require a SoF, and that ain't happening. I don't think were missing a darn thing. Not a thing.

Dutchbabiesx2
02-12-2011, 12:19 PM
we are another vote for the 'no' due to religious and discrimination practices. We've explained that to our kids when they were in PS and Boy Scouts were hunting for converts ;). They seemed to take our reasons and completely dislike the idea.
My husband grew up in The Netherlands and they also have "Scouts" there, it is co-ed and more like a secular youth group with activities, the teens are mostly in-charge of making activities for the younger kids. It is mostly unsupervised by adults, more guided by a scout leader and parents are pretty pleased to let their children participate. They have camping, sailing, trips, cook-outs. I wish it was like this in the US. I am sure it is not perfect, but the issues would be far milder than we have in the US.

All the Eagle Scouts we know here are always very church oriented too. Is it just a family value that is already in place or is the pressure there to fit that mold? Try Lego robotics team or something ;)

dottieanna29
02-13-2011, 07:36 AM
Does anyone know much about Spiral Scouts or Earth Scouts? or any other Scouting that's around the US that is co-ed and non-political?

floridamom
02-13-2011, 10:59 AM
Does anyone know much about Spiral Scouts or Earth Scouts? or any other Scouting that's around the US that is co-ed and non-political?

I can tell you a bit about Camp Fire USA, but right now we're on our way out to go car shopping (not by choice - ours is done for). I'll post later. We were involved for a few years.

dbmamaz
02-13-2011, 11:52 AM
Someone tried to start a spiral scouts here, at the bigger UU church, but the RE director (kids program) didnt want to support it, so they couldnt meet at the church, which I guess set it back. I never heard any more. It seems like a great program, but most places dont seem to have enough numbers to get it consistently happening. there are also sea scouts, I think, in areas near water, which i've heard great things about

Teri
02-13-2011, 12:45 PM
We do cub/boy scouts. Despite our lack of religion. ;)
When there has been a requirement for a "religion" component, we have used the UU materials, which are more about being a good person than anything related to a god.
We have a homeschool den with three boys and belong to a large pack of public schoolers. We do what we want. Including not discriminating against ANYONE.
My stance has been that we will chip away at the bias that BSA has from the bottom up.

My boys seemed to find a certain amount of comfort in the uniforms and the conformity part of it. Although as a den leader, I have refused to buy a uniform. LOL
My husband (who is former military) attends pack meeting with Joseph because I tend to be very uncomfortable with that part of it (for me). The boys really enjoy it though.

I have a bigger hang up with the fact that martial arts are considered "too violent" by the BSA, but there are archery and rifle components to every camp. :p

farrarwilliams
02-13-2011, 12:51 PM
I was thinking of starting a sort of faux Junior Ranger club for my kids and some of their friends where the goal would be to travel around and get our National Parks passports stamped in as many places as possible over the course of the year. As we live in DC, this is obviously much easier than in other places - we could do one or two a month and still not get them all over the course of a year - especially if you include all the places that could be weekend trips like Shenandoah and Harper's Ferry.

hockeymom
02-13-2011, 01:02 PM
Farrar: What an awesome idea! We would totally do that, if we were in your area.

MarkInMD
02-13-2011, 01:16 PM
I was thinking of starting a sort of faux Junior Ranger club for my kids and some of their friends where the goal would be to travel around and get our National Parks passports stamped in as many places as possible over the course of the year. As we live in DC, this is obviously much easier than in other places - we could do one or two a month and still not get them all over the course of a year - especially if you include all the places that could be weekend trips like Shenandoah and Harper's Ferry.

Well, we are sort of in your area, so we'd be up for that, I'm sure.

dbmamaz
02-13-2011, 02:37 PM
i might be in range of some of your field trips?

BrendaE
02-13-2011, 03:36 PM
I am so glad youre doing what youre doing Teri!

I saw a news reel months and months ago about a den leader family that got kicked out completely because they were atheists. Even though they didnt DO anything wrong at all.. I was soooo dang mad. THis world can be crazy. Keep on keeping on Lady!

farrarwilliams
02-13-2011, 08:00 PM
Yeah! If I get it up and running, I'll totally invite all! Sigh. I have *way* too many ideas like this. I'm thinking next year when we do US history, it will be difficult to stop me from trying to cart the kids across two states every other week for field trips.

MarkInMD
02-13-2011, 08:11 PM
There's some French and Indian War stuff out our way (Washington's HQ at Fort Cumberland primary among them). Teeny bit of Revolutionary and Civil War-related history, too. That's if you want a 2 1/2-hour or so trip from DC, that is.

floridamom
02-13-2011, 08:38 PM
Camp Fire USA is inclusive. Their Camp Fire Law, which is kind of like an oath but not an oath, starts out with "Worship God". However, they state that "God" can mean whatever you want it to mean. It can even just mean your conscience.

A friend and I were going to have our boys do Lone Scouts. This is an individual Boy Scout program that doesn't require belonging to a troop. We figured this would be a good way to just hide from the religious aspect. However, as we researched, we found the anti-gay and anti-atheist statements. We are both atheist families, and just didn't feel right teaching our sons to hide who they really are, as if being an atheist is something to be ashamed of.

She did some online research. We looked into Earth Scouts and Spiral Scouts. Both would have accepted us, but didn't have the camping and outdoor aspect we were looking for. She finally found Camp Fire. It used to be Camp Fire Girls, then became Camp Fire Boys and Girls, and is now just Camp Fire USA.

We started a small club that was going well for 3 years. Then people started to get busy and scatter. Our boys are still interested, so they're working on their requirements on their own. Once a month, we take the 2 hour drive to our council office so they can attend one of the meetings with the other kids in the council, and get to know them. They camp twice a year, but we go on our own a few more times in addition to that.

The first time we went on a camping trip sponsored by the council we were taken aback when they had "chapel" on Sunday morning. It was optional, so we kept ourselves busy taking down our tents. We later found out that the name is misleading. It's more like reflection time. What did you learn about teamwork this weekend? What can be improved? What did you like/dislike? Whew! We were very relieved after someone told us this (they asked why we skipped chapel).

You can see if there are others interested and start a club, or just look into the individual aspect, called Fire Tenders.

http://www.campfireusa.org/

dbmamaz
02-13-2011, 08:40 PM
I might not even get to US history next year . . . we'll see

Teri
02-13-2011, 08:49 PM
I have found that the service on Sundays with boy scouts is also more of a "reflection" service. Despite the fact that they want you to have SOME kind of religion, they don't specify Christianity. So there might be Hindus, Budhists, Southern Baptists, Mormons and Catholics in the same pack. It is extremely generic (and ends up coming off as very UU ;)).
There are a lot of Native American references in everything with scouts, so that can come across in the spiritual aspects also.

dottieanna29
02-13-2011, 09:09 PM
I checked out the Campfire website. That looks perfect - both my kids could do it, even dd could start with their pre-k program. The state council is about 2 hours away but hopefully there's a closer group.

floridamom
02-13-2011, 09:48 PM
I have found that the service on Sundays with boy scouts is also more of a "reflection" service. Despite the fact that they want you to have SOME kind of religion, they don't specify Christianity. So there might be Hindus, Budhists, Southern Baptists, Mormons and Catholics in the same pack. It is extremely generic (and ends up coming off as very UU ;)).
There are a lot of Native American references in everything with scouts, so that can come across in the spiritual aspects also.

It probably depends on the troop. Ds did Cub Scouts at a Cathlolic school/church. They were told the "prayers" were supposed to be generic, but they were often quite Christian, and more specifically, Catholic. I don't think they were purposely trying to exclude anyone. In fact, I know that some of the leader meetings involved reminding each other that not everyone shared their beliefs. I just think it was habit for the leaders, who were all parishioners.

At the big state campground here in Florida, the Sunday chapel always felt Christian. It didn't bother us when he was in Cub Scouts, but we knew it would get more religious when he got to Boy Scouts, so he dropped out.