Each Saturday my family dons the uniform of Boy and Girl Scouts and spends the day at White Rock Baptist Church. Any given day, there is some scout related activity in our home. In the fall it’s recruiting for our Cub pack, in the winter it’s selling Girl Scout cookies, in the summer it’s preparing for camping and traveling.
Scouting wasn't always a way of life for my family. Originally my son was a Cub Scout because he needed something to do with all of his extra energy. When I would visit the pack, I was struck by the young ladies who attended Girl Scouts. The girls had poise and impeccable manners. When my daughter began to go through her teenage angst, signing her up for Girl Scouts was a suggestion to get some structure into her life. Since then, scouting is considered non-negotiable for the entire family.
Unfortunately, the news doesn't highlight all of the positive aspects of scouting. There are too many stories that show the scouts as discriminatory or exclusive. My experience with scouting has been positive all around (with the exception of lugging cases of cookies to sell), and my children have grown in the following ways:
If asked in the past, I would swear the only thing my daughter led was the revolt to drive me crazy. Since she has been in scouts, she has been a part of the Save the Arts movement in Upper Darby, organized an SAT study group, and spoken to other members of the troop about her success in cookie selling.
Both my son and my daughter have become more sensitive to helping others. They will stand up in a group, not allowing peer pressure to shape their decisions, but the difference between right and wrong to guide their decisions. My son has gotten into less trouble in school because he asks himself if his behavior is a reflection of a true scout.
This is one we are still working on as far as chores in the home. However, when both are wearing their uniforms, the two are transformed from couch potatoes to children who are the first to volunteer to help an older member of the church or can be seen assisting at a function in almost any capacity to ensure it runs smoothly.
My passion has always been for a better neighborhood. I passed some of this on to my children, but scouting has helped to define it. As I mentioned earlier, my daughter was part of the Save the Arts in Upper Darby movement. She spoke to the School Board about what the arts meant to her and expressed her displeasure at the loss if this program in the school. My son regularly volunteers to collect food and goods for the needy. It saddens him to know that there are children who don’t have a fraction of what he owns.
Both children have been on trips thanks to the scouts. My daughter has traveled to Wisconsin, California and Europe. I was hesitant to let her go, but her troop leader demanded I let my daughter take advantage of this opportunity. She visited five countries overseas and
is was making plans to go to Japan next this summer. She is also excited about attending college because her major business) allows her to study abroad.
For those who are hesitant because of negative news stories, consider visiting the following sites to learn more about scouting. It’s one of the best decisions my family and I have made.
Raya Fagg is a mom of two from Upper Darby, PA. This post is adapted from her blog And Starring As Herself…MRSRFKJ.