Re: Boys + Lack of Parenting = Increase in crime & decline of BS
Calvin H. Gray (405geezer@IGG-TX.NET)
Wed, 3 Jun 1998 15:11:43 -0500
Bob Taschler wrote:
> It seems to me that nearly every boy who has done well in scouting, either in
> rank or in activity, has done so because he was supported by his parents who see
> scouting as an external support for their personal set of values.
This has also been my general observation after 12 years as a
Scoutmaster. There have been a few exceptions, but generally this is
right on line with what I've observed.
> So how do we reach these uninvolved parents and get them to understand that
> scouting is not an after school form of entertainment, but rather a youth
> development program? Especially for those in poorer neighborhoods where scouting
> seems to be non existent.
Well, it takes time but it is possible to get parents involved. For
about six years, our troop has "required" a parent of each boy to help
in some way in delivering our program. This involvement can be major or
it can merely be helping clean up after an Eagle COH or some other
activity or working at a fund raiser. The point is that everyone helps!
We started out 12 years ago with very little parental help. I remember
a number of campouts where my wife and I were the only adults. But as
the troop grew, we realized we could no longer do this. So we told the
parents they had to get involved. It took a while, but this worked.
For each of the past three years, we've had over 20 adults willing to
spend at least a week of their vacation going to summer camp or taking
part in high adventure.
Quite surprisingly, many single parents have also stepped up and helped
significantly. We also encourage women to go camping, including summer
camp and high adventure trips. We even let siblings attend monthly
campouts if they can't be left with someone else. And we have a
"sibling room" during troop meetings where the younger kids can play or
work on school work. This makes it much easier for single parents to
participate in their son's Scouting activities.
Hasn't this been the real cause of the decline in
> membership? After all, the general population has experienced a general decline
> in many areas: more drugs, more violence and more crime. I believe that it is
> due to a lack of a strong home life where children and teens learn right from
> wrong. Or has our program just become stale and outdated?
I don't think the program is stale and outdated. In fact, other than
church youth programs, I firmly believe that Scouting is the very best
program in which a young person can be involved. But a troop must have
an active camping/outdoor program to keep the boys involved, and parents
have to get involved too or you can't offer this since the boys can't
drive themselves to campouts and other activities.
> The alternative is to sit back and watch as prisons and rehab centers become the
> number one growth industry in the USA. So what are councils doing across America
> to promote Scouting in your community?
I know that the urban councils are working on new programs to promote
Scouting. But I don't know how successful these has been. Maybe
someone can provide more information.
Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City