This weekend our family and others showed up at Camp Meriwether that is located within the Cascade Pacific Council on the Oregon Coast.
We had heard about this weekend and came down for the day at the Memorial Day Weekend and knew we were doing it for Labor Day. This was our first time at a Boyscout Camp as a family. We had a lot of fun. Hanging out with the family and friends not worrying about the rowdy party family in the RV next door @ 1pm. So nice.
We looked around the camp to see what stations were where, what was offered. We walked the Rifle, Shotgun & Archery stations along with several Troop campsites.
I had several things happen there that really re-confirmed that the Boy Scouts of America program is a great program on many different levels.
First, it’s just plain fun. It’s not school work and book learning. It’s learning by having fun. Take away the leadership part and you get to have fun doing stuff as boys. Do not get me wrong, leadership is very important, but you need FUN.
Second, having properties like Camp Meriwether allows the council to develop boys into well rounded men. It is the respondsibility of the adults whether a Scouter or Scout Parent to keep this program alive. This is what Friends of Scouting is here for and all about. It allows camps to function. It allows the council to put on programs because there are people in support services that help the Pack,Troop,Crew and Seascouts Committees support the the units in what they want to do. If it was not for FOS and those within Support Services, then I would not have have a great weekend let alone send my son to camp.
Finally, this weekend allowed me to help counsel a friend in how to respond to her Pack Committee. I believe that I have convinced her to go to Wood Badge in 2011. Her Pack Committee needs to go as well. The short story of this pack is: Committee Chair is also Webelos I DL and rules with blinders on. No uniform is worn, tells others that only she goes to Roundtable, like blank checks, cubmaster has a spine like an eclair, wants total pack crossover (all ranks @ Blue & Gold) thought it was funny that my friend bought a Tiger Den Leader Uniform and finally belives that doing stations within den meetings is ok for a den of 14 cubscouts. “It’s what we did”.
My friend has been hearing a lot of advice and is going to act upon it. She actually has the backing of the den parents so she does not get saddled with 16 boys instead of the 7-8 from last year. The only growth in the program as been her den.
The point of all of this is that while there is a lot of training that covers Youth Protection and how to be safe while Scouting, there is not a program for those Den Leaders/Scout Parents that are lost within a Unit and the Unit is lost as well. There are Pack/Troop Trainers, but if a unit has blinders on, they will never be a fully functioning unit. Hence, my belief is that it is the duty of those of us who are dedicated to help steer a unit to the right path.
This goes outside of being a Unit Commissioner (I am not one) or other Council/District type person. Fellow Scouters need to be on the lookout for those who are going a stray in this case. I am not perfect or always correct. However, I know that pointing people to the correct information and people is what is best for a unit.
It bothers me to no end that people with the “It’s the way we always do it” mentality will sink a perfectly good program and the only ones who suffer are the boys/girls who are in it.
So, this weekend affirmed to me that I need all the training that I can find and take. It will allow me to give back to those Den Leaders, Pack Committees and Parents who need to understand what Scouting is all about and how to provide a quality program for the youth. It also affirms that Friends of Scouting helps provide the physical for this training to take hold. Educating the Cubscout parents and unit leaders is vital. By the time parents crossover to a Troop or other unit they understand the operations and logistics of Boyscouts better than Cubscout units. It is that knowledge that needs to get communicated. If someone gets it wrong and it’s generally from the outgoing committee, the trend continues.
“If your not learning something each day, your dead.” ~Adam R. Cox