Re: Women as Scoutmasters
JOAN E. UPHAM (UPHAMJE@SNYPOTVA.BITNET)
Thu, 23 Dec 1993 14:41:00 EDT
Olan Watkins wrote:
>For some reason it is considered un cool, not hip, a wimp, a do gooder,
>and that sort of thing to be in Scouts at that age. They do not want to
>be seen in a Scout uniform at that age...Both Boy and Girl Scouts need...
>to find some way to change the image that they have with kids.
Yes...it seems to be the opinion of the youth from 7th grade on that
it is "uncool" to be a scout. But...one must also realize and
understand that this is exactly the age that total conformity with
their peers is all important. For kids of this age, it is a sin to
stand out in the crowd...at all costs, one must be part of the crowd
and melt into the woodwork. This is probably due to them maturing
at different rates and feelings of low self-esteem as they progress
through these "changing" years of their lives. So...to be in a
scout uniform (Girls or Boys) makes you really stand out and
that is why they hide it or quit.
At the same time, a group which uses a "uniform" to keep everyone
looking the same should attract them because when one is in a
uniform and all the others are too, then no one stands out as
unique or different. So...why do they proclaim it uncool and
quit...because there are too few that are doing it...the "mass"
of peers are not doing it...it is not on the list of peer approved
(cool) activities which have been defined as "not making one stand
out from the crowd." But...it could be made "cool" (and we'd need
a lot more leaders to take up the masses who would join if it was)
but it would need to be made cool by the kids...not the BSA or
GSUSA...to do it. I offer a little story that actually happened
to prove my point:
When my sister was in high school, my mom bought her a pair of
shoes to start the school year. Mom had to pinch pennies and
she was looking for a good sturdy pair of shoes at a good price
which would last most of the year. She purchased a pair of
Saddle-shoes (those brown and white shoes that lace and are
very practical and clunky and heavy and not at all cool!) for her.
My sister said she'd never wear them...for the "uncool" reason.
She'd rather be seen bare foot or die before the classes for
the year began; than to be seen in such foot attire! My sister
want a pair of whatever was the latest in foot fashion; but my mom
suggested to her certain "fads" with clothes or shoes had to start
somewhere with someone and that fads became fads only as more and
more people "thought" it was the thing to do...the cool thing...
you just weren't anyone until you did it too.
My sister was skeptical so my mother challenged her to try the
theory with two of her closest friends. She wore the shoes and
when her two friends looked in horror at her footwear and started
to tell her how "uncool" they were; she said what my mom had
prompted her to say..."Why...these are the latest fashion...they
are the rage in California (we lived in NY state)...just everybody
who is anybody out there is wearing them...didn't you know that?"
Well...this "Emperor's New Clothes" trick did the trick and her
two friends instantly wanted Saddle-shoes too!
When my mom let my sister's friends in on the "trick" and explained
to them that "fads" were just something that somebody started
somewhere, al 3 girls were inspired to see if they could really
start a fad for Saddle-shoes in the high school. So...the two
friends purchased Saddle-shoes and on the first day of class, they
wore their new shoes to school,.
Did it work???...of course!!!! The 3 girls told everyone who
chided them about their footwear about the "fad" which was sweeping
California. It worked so well that the owner of the shoe store
couldn't figure out why male and female teenagers were rushing
into his store to buy this style of shoe and he made several
orders to restock his supply to keep his customers happy! Of course,
he was a little disappointed the next year when my sister and
her friends started some other fads and he was over-stocked with
this style shoe.
The point is...it CAN become "in" and "cool" but the kids have
to make it so...not the adults/organizations. But that is not
to say that the idea for making it "cool" can't be inspired by
the adults/organizations...it just takes creativity and a
couple of brave teens! ;-)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City