"Luxuries" and Programs
Sat, 8 Apr 1995 01:53:23 -0400
I have been following the uniforming thread with much interest, shaking the
trees and seeing what falls out. Been quite interesting, so far.
Now, a couple of you have commented that, if left to the boys, the program
would take care of itself, re: such "luxuries" as full uniforms and Boys'
Life, if only the adults would quit meddling in it. Seems the most
vociferous opposition to these things come from parental leaders whose
formative years were in the post-Vietnam era (I grew up in that time, but was
not infected as badly).
Some of these same people spend a lot of time sliming the quality of
equipment not being up to the cost (hey, I was in acommitteemeeting when a
new parent said her son wanted to order somegear out of the BSA catalog,and
the troop treasurer not only told her to save bucks by going tothe local
outdoor outfitters store, but went onto say the quality was lousy to boot).
Some of that may have been true in the 70s, but the equipment is comparable
or the same as the outfitters now.
While we may not all agree on the points of uniforming, or equipment, or Boys
Life, or how the national program is funded by the sale of uniforms and
equipment, we must keep in mind that we should not be discussing this in
forums where the boys, or parents of the boys, can hear whatever negative
baggage we may happen to carry. If the boys want to wear full uniforms, then
we should help them get into them, not defeat their enthusiasm. If they want
to get new equipment, then we need to show them how to shop wisely - but
never, NEVER say tothat kid (or his parent) that something the national group
sells is crap - that only throws cold water on the motivation.
When it comes to getting the program to the boys, our opinions about National
are not important. That is the bottom line of what we are there for - if
it's not for the boys, it's for the birds! Bad attitudes from the leaders
make bad attitudes in the boys.
Now, having said that, if you have a beef, then put your complaint in writing
-to your local Council Exec first, and ask him toforward to National, if
necessary (and with uniforms& equipment, it's generally necessary). End the
letter with a question, just like you would anyone you want action from,
say,a politician. If the letter does not get a response in a reasonable
length, say 3 months, then write another. If there are leaders in your unit
with like beefs, then get them on the letter campaign. Enough complaints
will get to the right group eventually.
Then get out your checkbooks & write that large check to Friends of Scouting,
so that the local program will be funded :)
Randy Spradling, P.E.
(and a good ole owl, too!)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City