I returned from Scout camp after spending six days with my son and his troop a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say is I’m shocked. I was there with the Scoutmaster, and he never lifted a finger to help the boys.
All he did was sit in his lawn chair and watch them fail, time after time. I’m still so angry I’m ready to pull my son out of Scouts.
This was a “patrol cooking” camp that had no dining hall like I had when I was in Scouts. For the first two days, the boys were late with every meal. They had to figure out how to get the propane stoves lit by themselves; the Scoutmaster just sat there and watched them struggle. Same thing happened with setting up their tents and everything else. They didn’t get themselves organized till sometime around Wednesday of that week, and camp was already almost half over!
When my son was in Cub Scouts, his Den Leaders and Cubmaster helped the boys all the time. They showed the boys how to do things and did all the meals so the boys could enjoy themselves at the day camp. Here, there was no help at all.
It’s not like the Scoutmaster didn’t know; he did all the cooking for him and me, and for the other parents who shared parts of the week. But—and this makes it even worse—he wouldn’t let us help our own sons, either. We had to stand there and watch them fail, time after time!
What’s wrong with Scouts, that adults can’t show the way and make sure their sons succeed instead of fail? (Name & Council Withheld)
Sounds like your son has a pretty savvy Scoutmaster! Boy Scouting isn’t “senior Cub Scouts.” Boy Scouting is all about peer-group relationships, learning by doing (even when the first time doesn’t come out perfectly), and learning from one-another. If you want the BSA to stand for “Baby Sitters of America,” you’re not going to find it in a troop that “gets it.” It only took till mid-week? That’s pretty darned good! So instead of angry, you need to be thankful your son has a Scoutmaster who’s a “safety net” instead of a nursemaid. (Safety nets allow Scouts to figure out for themselves how to build the fire, and just keep them from burning down all the tents!) Keep your son in Scouting, and in this troop. He’s right on the cusp of growing into the kind of young adult you want him to be, thanks to a Scoutmaster who doesn’t do for boys what they can and will do for themselves.