Friday, July 6, 2012

My Kryptonite: Scout Cheers

I have been a scout master for over 6 years for the boys in my neighborhood. Even though I am not a big fan of camping, I still enjoy serving in that position. I think the scouting program can be a very effective program to help boys learn skills, reach goals, achieve personal growth, and serve their community. I also agree with the timeless values that the Boy Scouts of America promote.

That being said, I do have one big gripe with the scouting program: WHAT'S UP WITH THE STUPID CHEERS? I can understand young cub scouts being entertained with silly cheers and songs, but once boys get to the teenage years, it just gets awkward. What really concerns me is when I go to a training meeting with other adult leaders and they still insist on doing cheers, yells, and games that were designed for 10 year olds. Sometimes I want to scream "What are you doing? There are no kids here!".

Maybe I just have a bad attitude, but I can't be the only one who feels this way. It's not that I think I'm too cool to do wait a minute, yes I do! Some personalities like doing stuff like that, but it just makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable and I feel that they were designed to strip away any dignity I might have. I'm a 43 year old guy and I don't enjoy singing about being a teapot, or acting out actions to cute cheers in front of others.

To offset my complaining, I am going to give some practical advice to parents who have boys in scouting. Over the years I have noticed a huge correlation between how involved parents are and how likely a boy is to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. I'd recommend focusing on rank advancements as soon as a boy turns 11 and starts scouting.

With minimal consistent effort, a boy can earn his Eagle by the time he is 13 as long as he stays on top of things. I suggest parents look over their kids scout book with them each week. It only takes 5 minutes but keeps them on track and it makes a huge difference. Once a kid turns 16, it's an uphill battle to finish since they will have so many other priorities competing for their time like dating, driving, school, athletics, etc.


mCat said...

We weren't always a huge proponent of Scouting and in hindsight, we wish we would have done it differently.

And yes, those STUPID scout cheers! GAH!

Anonymous said...

I was assigned once to work on the Scout committee. The first training I went to was to be three days and it started with the cheers. Then I found out that there was going to be a one day training which would accomplish the same thing with one third of the cheers. I left during intermission, intending to come back to the one-day event. Meanwhile, my attitude must have leaked out because I was released from the assignment before the one-day training. I could have handled the camping and the rank advancements, but the cheers ...