Before you read any further please promise not to comment on this post as if I personally made any of the comments below. Promise? Okay, then read on.
The comments listed here are responses to a question posted on an online parents forum:
One of my brothers kids is now a Boy Scout. I remember being in the Boy Scouts when I was a kid and felt it was kind of a Nerdy activity. Most of the kids in Boy Scouts were the social outcasts. Is this still true?
I found the responses an interesting look at the way people perceive Scouting, and that is the sole reason I repeat them here. Some were positive, some negative; some from parents with sons in Scouting, so, some not. Naturally an online forum is not a scientific poll. What these comments do reveal is that people are concerned about discrimination although many seem to turn a blind eye because they value the Scouting experience. Some are concerned with the social standing of Scouts, others see past these misconceptions and value what the program offers their sons.
Open forums like these that touch on sexuality or religion usually end in irresolvable arguments and accusations (as this one did). I post the comments below because they are a look at how Scouting is perceived, they are what they are. I am not interested in defending or condemning any of them.
As long as the discriminate against gay people, I don’t want my kids involved. I don’t think teaching intolerance is good for a youth group to teach. (Stay at home mom to twin 3 year old boys)Both of my boys are Boy Scouts. My oldest (19) is an Eagle Scout, in fact my boys are going to backpack with my 13 yr.old’s group, they will be backpacking 50 miles in the mountains in Utah. The oldest when he was 14 backpacked 100 miles in New Mexico, and decided he would accompany his brother. Neither one of my boys are nerds. They don’t really advertise the fact that they are scouts but they do enjoy the activities.My boys are in cubscouts and LOVE it! They went to camp this summer for a week with cubscouts and I volunteered. I am a strong believer in boyscouts!
I also will not support Boy Scouts as long as they discriminate based on sexuality and also religion. There have been cases of scout leaders and of boys who were discriminated against. My religion (Unitarian Universalism) is specifically targeted by the scouts and they will not recognize or award the “Religion in Life” badge to boys who complete the program in my church. BSA also discriminates against atheists and agnostics. (Mother of 2 year old)
It’s for social misfits here. Whenever a parent says, My son has trouble making friends, the answer is always, Put them in scouts. Lots of boys start out doing it, but most have dropped out by 4th grade except the kids who need it in order to have friends. My son had zero interest (it’s for nerds, he said). I do think there is a place in society for the organization, though, for those who want to participate in it. The anti-gay thing bugs me though.
My son (12) is in it and loves it. Like me when I was a kid, he gets to enjoy so many different experiences that he may not be able to otherwise. Our township in NJ of <9,000 people has 2 thriving Scout Troops. My son’s troop cranks out lots of Eagle scouts which is one heck of an accomplishment for a young man. I’m thankful for the men that devote their free time to these boys.
There was a time when my son felt it was nerdy and wanted to quit (around 12ish). I forced him to stay in scouts telling him that it was the only requirement I asked of him. When you attend the Eagle ceremonies, every single Eagle Scout thanks his parents for forcing them to stick with it when they wanted to quit. It’s truly character building to have to do something one does not want to do. Kids today are too pampered. They need challenges.
I was in the cub scouts as a kid and I really can’t remember anything nerdy about it. I learned the sport of archery in the scouts, which I still love today. I learned how to play guitar in the scouts, which I still love today. We were taught how to camp, fish, it taught social skills for dealing with other kids in groups and 1 on 1. I learned how to swim in the scouts, learned what berries are good to eat in the wild and so on. I really cannot remember a bad thing about it. Things may different today but back then I loved it.
My oldest is a Star scout and I don’t believe the scouts have a “nerdy” connotation here. Of course my son is an honor student and well behaved, so he may be considered “nerdy” by some, but those are the kids I don’t want my son to emulate. I think the scouts teach good life lessons and values. It’s a shame they are even seen as “nerdy” in some areas of the country.
My son is an Eagle Scout at 15. He’s an honors and AP student. He plays football and lacrosse. He’s talented with the violin, drums and guitar. He has many friends from scouts, sports and school. My house is constantly filled with kids—some seemed to spend the entire summer at my house.
I’m truly enjoying this three week break while my husband and son are at Philmont right now. Some of my son’s friends went with us to see him off at the boy scout bus last week. They had slept over the night before. When we loaded into the car for me to drop them off at their houses, they started talking about how they wished they had been involved in the scouts since they were jealous my son was going away on yet another cool trip.