Transatlantic Scouting.....a challenge and a half!!!!
(no name) ((no email))
Wed, 18 Sep 1991 18:32:00 EDT
Man, have we some talking to do!!!
disclaimer: If you don't want to read seven screensful, go to the end of
this one and I'll summarize. Because of my background as a military
Scouter, this will get involved!!
Okay, now that I pleased my critics, "let's get busy!"
#1: You mentioned about sensitivities with Scouts from different nationalities
(or religions, as in "the Jewish Boy"). One way to QUICKLY get rid of that
is to give each new Scout in your Troop a DIFFERENT neckerchief with one of
those Post-it (tm) lables with the Scout's name on the lable on the back.
We see more of the backs of our Scouts than the fronts...so that would solve
that. At the end of the evening, see how many Scouts can name the "new kid on
the blocK" with the neckerchief off. Make it a Patrol contest!
Our "frame of thoughts" come from the things we are more familiar with. Its
something we ALL have to work on...
#2: You asked about restructuring events for the "non-Christian" member of
your unit. Part of Scouting is adjusting to meet the needs of all members.
You have done much by recognizing the fact that he has special needs. HOWEVER,
DO NOT REARRANGE YOUR TROOP'S PROGRAM TO MEET HIM.....I was taught in a Seabadge
seminar session that "people different from you and me (talking about "disabl
Scouts" but the same thing applies here) dont want special treatment. If there
is something special...a allergy to certain foods, a special diet..they will
tell you. Otherwise, KEEP THINGS THE WAY THEY ARE. Many "special kids" join
Exploring (Scouting) because of the universality of the program...they want
to be treated as "one of the gang", not as "speciality items". So don't make
large scaled changes to accommodate your "special Scout"...he and his parents
will understand the need to miss services once in a while to attend a family
event with other families...and David, isn't that what Scouting is all about??
(By all means, do check the food if he is orthodox, because non-kosher food can
be harmful to his soul! This would be a superior time for you to introduce such
foods to ALL of the members of your unit as well...some actually tastes good!)
#3: You asked if there were "literture" available to guide you in dealing with
Jewish youth in a Scout Troop. Bless my soul, there is....and if you can write
to the Jewish Committee on Scouting @ the National office, BSA, 1325 Walnut Hill
Lane, Irving, TX 75261, and ask them to send you copies of the Jamboree Guide
for Jewish Youth and Scouting and the Jewish Church, they will send you that
and a lot more. Unfortunately, according to Jane at the Religious Relationships
office, there is nothing there or through the Supply Division that addresses
youth to youth interaction. She suggested that you have the Rabbi of the
Seventh Army/USAREUR (which has his office up the road from PHV at Campbell
Barracks) to come and talk with your Scouts about the faith and the reasoning
behind the consuming of Kosher foods. I had a rabbi from Fort Knox to come to
my Troop when we had a similar case....
(and you betcha, there is something there for all faiths...same address, same
place at the address...)
#4: "fundamentally Un-American"...you guys crack me up! You're BRITISH, for
crying out loud!! Scouting is Scouting, I don't care what you are!
One of my dearest friends is Dieter Macklin, the director of the Deutches
Pladfinderen in Baden-Wuttenburg. Dieter, who speaks fluient American English,
and I "palled around" for the latter part of my tour. He has taken my Troop to
several cultural events (including two of our "Historical Trail 50-Milers"
across the southern part of Germany!!) and has translated many "personal
feelings" between American and German Scouts (some of which are female..as you
and I know, but not everyone else, the German Scouting Associations (and there
are three national organizations) have both boys and girls in the same units
with mixed leadership. American boys go nuts when at a international encampment
and are right next to a Troop of German Scouts. Dieter and I become overnight
hits...and that "broken German" ("wo ist der bahnhof") they learn in school
is put to good use here...)
Part of the things that I did as Scoutmaster was to get the Scouts out of the
"American Ghetto" and out into the German countryside. They need the exposure.
They need to see that the German people are like the American people in many
ways. They need to see the hard-working farmers, the construction workers,
the people in the small family-owned shops. Particularily military kids need
to see that because they have been sheltered from "the real world" for so long
(most since birth) and need to see why their fathers and mothers defend their
country and that of Europe. And if you, as a British national, can assist in
that process, than I would say "go for it!" and do it.
(besides, they get really tired of seeing the American flay "waved" in their
#5: Can I get American and German and openly anti American Scout units
together in a spirit of friendship and understanding?? Yes, but it will take
some doing and about two weeks worth of camping and travel. The first step
is to get the youth of the three talking about the trip..it should be done
to avoid problems, in early or late May (right after American school gets
out and during the spring break for German Scouts (In germany, school is
done year round with several breaks for vacations...)
David, what you are doing is very brave and commendable. You bring to Scouting
a different perspective on the way it "should be done" because of your
background, and the background of working alongside of two other nation's
At a time where we are discoursing allowing gay and lesbian members and leaders,
at at time where we are finding ourselves "justifying our existance" as a youth
serving organization, at a time where we are trying to deal with realities in
the 90s, it is great to know that Scouting, as you said, and Scouters like you
are "helping them to develop their own moral standards and become aware of their
Even if the ones you are helping are NOT "americans".
Summary (As promised: National DOES have some literture. You are British,
therefore, you cannot be "un-American" (give me a break!), don't go changing
your entire program for being afraid of "offending"..if there's something
wrong or that he cannot do it (for whatever reason(s), he /his parents will
explain it. Use your resources...there is a Jewish Rabbi at the Command
heaquarters in Campbell. And HAVE FUN...that is what Scouting is all about.
For the kosher youth....for the leavened youth....for their families and
for you, as a Scouter.
Richmond, Kentucky (P.S. Please tell Dick Shel that I used his Council
Advancement stuff in Omaha, NE and they loved it!)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City