Scouts-L Mail Archive for November of 1998: Re: Cool Scouts...
Re: Cool Scouts...
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 18:11:04 -0500
Linda Clossen writes:
>The most common thing I have heard from possible
>Scouts is that it is not cool...only dweeby boys
>want to be in Scouts...
My experience has been similar to that of Ed Thompson. Our Scouts
may be more organized than his, however, as they are now in year
three of a 100% boycott of Scout pants. Dweebs and nerds stand
united with their ultra-cool Brother-Scouts in a unanimous refusal
to wear these wonderful creations even when their well-intentioned
parents go out and buy them.
It is a closely guarded secret but SCOUTING IS COOL. Especially
for 10-12 year-olds, most of whom are not yet distracted by girls
and school sports.
Our Troop hit a gold mine when a new local principal allowed us a
have a short assembly for sixth grade boys. It WAS a tough-sell.
As they filed in, six or seven boys made snide comments about
"being forced to hear about Boy Scouts". Their attitude seemed to
change when we told them that Scouting was what we had done in the
last year: white water rafting, canoeing, rappelling off cliffs at
summer camp, camping every month, and spending a week in the
Adirondacks while climbing Mount Marcy (you know, the kind of stuff
in every BSA Handbook).
We clinched the deal when we told them what they HAD TO DO. Scouts
"have to" carry matches and lighters and learn how to start a fire
in the rain. Scouts "have to" carry knives and axes and learn how
to keep them sharp. Scouts "have to" carry a compass and a map and
find their way around in the wilderness. Scouts "have to" decide
where they are going to go camping every month and what Scouting
wide-games they are going to play. Scouts "have to" know how to
save the life of someone they know (we described how one of our
Scouts saved his father). And, of course, Scouts "have to" learn
how to pitch a tent deep in the National Forest where the bears and
the rattlesnakes live.
At that point they were bouncing off their seats. Twenty arms were
straining in the air, all with urgent questions that could not
wait! After the brief presentation we let them look at our tents
and backpacks as we answered questions and pushed sign-up lists on
those who "might be interested in going camping". That night I
called the parents of everyone on these lists to "answer any
questions they might have," with the not-so-hidden agenda of making
sure everyone got to the meeting the next day and into the woods
within two weeks.
We did lose three "dweebs" (out of 21 new boys) who didn't care for
our particular brand of camping, but all of our "cool" Scouts
stayed with the Program. This is a mixed blessing, as some were
initially very cruel to the "nerds" who also stayed. We explained
to everyone how the game of Scouting is played by rules called
"Scout Law" (most 10 and 11 year-old boys don't know what all those
words mean, btw). Our PLC listened to suggestions for Patrol
contests that play to the strengths of these particular "nerds"
which made them more valuable to their Patrol. We also have
unpopular Scouts cook right away. Dutch oven Pizzas and deep-fried
breakfast donuts tend to boost dweeb stature when served in the
Linda, it sounds like you have a great Program, just describe in
detail to these "possible Scouts" how your Troop plays the game of
Scouting. Scouting has always been "cool" to boys who cannot
resist sharp knives, the promise of adventure, and anything that
breaks, burns, or bites.
Yours in Scouting,