David B. O'Donnell (EL407006@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Sat, 15 Sep 1990 16:00:53 EDT
I must say that I find all the concern about our youth which has been
expressed on this list to be encouraging! But I do have a question,
related somewhat to my own upbringing (which I will detail).
As a younger man, I discovered that my interests in life tended toward
the sedentary. Not, mind you, watching the television per se, although
the cinema and VCR were delights. I am referring to reading, artwork,
and computers. I was (and am, with few exceptions) completely uninterested
in sports or other physically oriented activities.
At one point, in an effort to be "helpful", my mother signed me up to
a local scouting program. She oh-so-kindly ignored my protestations,
and proceeded to ensure that I made it to a number of these meetings,
spanning the space of several months.
I was bored, annoyed, insulted by the attitudes of the other young men
(who were none too interested in trying to get me involved, and were
content to stay in their own cliques), and basically detested the time and
the forced involvement. If anything, by the time I was saved from scouting
by a religious function (the lesser of two evils, although not MUCH lesser)
I was even more antisocial, and determined NOT to get involved in anything
which meant having to coexist with my peers.
While I imagine my situation was somewhat unique, based on the typically
bewildering array of environmental circumstances which helped shape who I
am today, I would not be surprised if there were other young people in
basically the same situation: that is, adolescent, uninvolved in any
[physically] healthy activities, and uninterested in becoming social
What can be done to help these youngsters? I was lucky, in that I managed
to adapt (a little) as I grew older, and slowly became more socially
adept. But what about the others? How can we help keep them from becoming
repressed, bitter, unhealthy people? Particularly if they come from a
By virtue of the list's orientation, I can imagine that many of you will
immediately think of Scouting. I'm not opposed to that, in general. I try
not to hold my own terribly-disappointing experience against the organization,
particularly when several of my friends are part of it.
But what can be done [can anything reasonably be done] to help those to whom
Scouting is NOT the answer? I ask here because I sense the concern many of
you have about this issue, and because I don't know of any other forum where
this kind of topic would be viable.
On another tangent (and hopefully not opening a larger can of wyrms) --
what is the "official" policy of the Scouts toward sexuality? In particular
(since it is important to me :) toward /homosexuality/? Are the scouting
directors supposed to help counsel young men (/women?) when they have
questions about sexuality? Is there a set policy the Organization has
toward those who express homo- or bi- sexual leanings?
I don't want to start a flame war here (goddess only knows there are
enough of those on /MY/ list) but I'm intersted in what answers, if any,
can be offered on this forum.
Thanks for your time, and considered replies.
David B. O'Donnell
Owner, Belief-L [Personal Ideologies Discussion List]
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City