Look at us! We’re in boats and not tipping over or rowing into the swimming area! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, stop, go read Row, row, row your boat…, and then come back here to finish reading this post.
This past weekend was our third trip to cub scout summer camp and the first time boat-incident free. Yay us! The boys had a blast (oldest tagged along as Den Chief), the weather turned out much better than the Wednesday afternoon predictions that had me packing all the rain gear, and I walked over 32 miles in four days. It felt great to be in nature, to hang out with friends, and to watch my boys do the things they love.
Some of you may know that starting next month, girls will be allowed to join cub scouts and in February will be able to join boy scouts (which, going forward will be known as BSA) and start on the path toward Eagle. At camp’s closing ceremony, the director mentioned how there will be girls at camp next year, and no matter how we feel about it, we need to accept the changes and support them in their journey.
I was active in girl scouts from first grade through high school. I quit because A) it became uncool to be in scouts and our troop shrank to practically zero members and B) there was no ultimate goal to achieve. (I learned later that you could become a “Lifetime Member” but that did not hold the same weight as earning Eagle.)
As the buzz became a reality in current scouting, I did a bit of research. There are 169 National scout organizations around the world, and only 11 are exclusively for boys. We were number 12 up until this year. When you look at the boys only countries, many of them restrict the behavior of women as well. Why do we need to keep scouts gender segregated? Boys and girls alike can enjoy all elements of scouting. I loved being a girl scout. Would I have joined the BSA if I could have and worked my way to Eagle? Probably. Am I excited about the changes? Yes. Do I think our country should have one scouting organization open to everyone, including transgender youth? YES!
Scouting sometimes gets a bad rep — for being exclusionary, for pushing a particular agenda, for other terrible things I don’t want to discuss on my blog. (Believe me, as someone actively involved in the organization, we do a lot to make sure stuff like that doesn’t happen on our watch.) But at its core it instills solid values, nurtures a child’s strengths and interests, and provides a place to make lifelong friendships. Often for both kids and parents, as is the case in our family.
When I set out to write my YA verse novel (WHICH WILL BE IN THE WORLD IN LESS THAN SIX MONTHS!!), I wanted my main character to be active in scouts. I gave him a moral dilemma and had him use the points of the scout law to figure out how to navigate through it. I’ll be revealing the book’s cover soon, and I’m excited that scouts plays a huge role in the design.
I don’t have a funny/embarrassing story for you this year. But I have a lot of wonderful memories that will never fade and mosquito bites which thankfully will. My boys found the sunglassed lifeguard from last year and invited him to sit at our table for every meal. We played. We laughed. We sang ridiculous songs at the tops of our lungs. We studied toads in mud puddles and celebrated accomplishments. We barely slept. I captured moments like this:
It was awesome.