Re: 21 year old Cub Scout leaders?
John Pannell (PANNELLJ@DELPHI.COM)
Wed, 14 May 1997 10:24:53 -0400
James Lade wrote (edited by me):
>This is more pointed towards all of those in Cub Scouting... Considering
>I'm 21 and single and don't have any children, I was wondering if people
>would worry about me helping out a pack. I mean, with all the instances and
>reports of boys being molested, I don't want anyone to think I'm one of
>those types of people. If it's not looked highly upon, I don't mind
>until I have a son of my own to (hopefully) become interested in Scouting.
This subject had come up a couple of years (!) ago on this list and I found
myself quickly embroiled in more of a debate than I had thought. Boy was I
naive of how emotions can become seemingly more heated in email!
I am in a similar boat. I am now 33, never been married and have no
children. I cannot even claim closely related children, ie. nephews or
younger cousins. I became involved in Scouting in '92 after being away for
nearly ten years because it was a program I had believed in.
It is interesting being a leader and not a parent. IMO, you are much more
objective since you have no "vested interest" in a particular boy; you truly
are impartial. I also have noticed that my relative youth - though fast
slipping away - has made it easier for the boys to relate to me and work
Now... will you be accepted in a Pack? Will the other leaders view you as a
potential abuser? Will you be viewed with suspicion and thought to have
sinister ulterior motives for wanting to be a leader lacking children of
your own? I am sorry to report that in many cases the answers to those
questions will be "No", "Yes" and "Yes". This was what sparked the debated
Some units expressly disallow any potential leader who does not (or has not
had) a son (or grandson?) in the unit. Exceptions seemed to be commonly
made for former Scouts of that troop. The assumption was implicitly made
that those types of adults were a higher risk for being child abusers and
were turned away without any further discussion. "After all, we are
protecting our children" was the prevalent line of reasoning for this.
Words can only begin to express how I feel about this.
I was amazed then at this for I had not experienced any such behavior or
reluctance to accept me as a leader, with one exception.
A committee member and wife of the then SM thought I was a new Scout
transferring into the unit and asked me what rank I was. Of course, I
responded, "Eagle" and then clarified that I was 28 and not a youth.
Since then I moved away (and just recently returned). Upon moving to
suburban Chicago, I started looking for a troop again. It was there I
experienced at least one troop who was very reluctant to have me. Part of
it, I am sure was my bachelorhood and age. Even more unfortunate, was that
I had shown up proudly wearing an OA flap, and a universal ribbon with a
Vigil triangle on it and that had marked me as undesireable. It turns out
this troop was a bit of trouble for many in the district and was vehemently
Finally due to long commute, I registered as a UC and later was *very*
briefly an ADC before moving back. Now I have three different troops that
want me to help them as an ASM. For personal reasons, I will indirectly
tell them all no and remain in the Commissioner corps.
So, finally, the answer is... Yes, some packs will likely not accept you as
When dealing with situations such as this I tend to be blunt. I am a
volunteer. I work with Scouts because it is something I enjoy doing. If a
unit does not want me because I am not married and a father, I take a hike
and go to someone who is more willing to accept my help. I will not fight
to volunteer my time for someone who does not want me. I advise you to act
likewise. Keep searching until you find a pack willing to accept you and
utilized your talents.
Someone else had suggested you become a commissioner. Personally, I would
recommend against that unless you already a great deal of experience with
Scouting and are well known in your area. Commissioners are often in a
difficult situation when dealing with problem units. Your youth, and
inexperience would only exacerbate that and possibly render you ineffective,
despite your best efforts, as a Commissioner. Besides, I am told being a
Den Leader or Cubmaster (or ADL or ACM) is much more fun!
Good luck and welcome!
I used to be a buffalo (SR-92) but will always be an Eagle (1981)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City