Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Older Scouter (WWSersWd) - long
Older Scouter (WWSersWd) - long
Sun, 8 Aug 1999 13:12:17 +0000
Jason Cruse wrote:
> >We have in my district an older scouter who desperately wants to be
> >involved. He is probably between 60-65, though may be older.
Ugh! A knife in the belly ;-) Chronologicly I'm in that age catagory,
yet most of the time I feel like an experienced (but creaky) teenager.
Subscribing to Scouts-L in Digest format can give one 20-20 (or maybe
20-50) vision just like hindsight. One can read several comments before
you add your own thoughts or wisdom, or put you own foot in the mouth.
Scouters (and Scout parents) are much like Scouts - they come in all
flavors, conditions, and abilities. We can gain as much from them as we
can give to them. Its the Ability that counts, not the disAbility.
A year ago when several of us set out to develop the Working With Scouts
With disAbilities website
<http://www.boyscouts-marin.org/wwswd/wwswd.htm> we discussed the site
encompassing adults (who wish to be involved in Scouting) with
disAbilities. This may be a good start to some needed pages on WWSWd.
Many of us have, or acquire, limitations. The aging process is but one
of those paths - illness and trauma being two others. If we enlarge our
view, allow more diversity, we can only gain. Inclusion at the unit,
District, or Council level of parents/mentors/Scouters with disAbilities
brings with it resources and perspective and passion.
So Jason's posting should be viewed as a potentially seminal inquiry.
> >He looks older than he probably is. Has some health (including heart) problems, and
> >his mental state is slipping somewhat. Wife doesn't believe he should be in
> >scouting any more, because he is "losing it" and can't relate to the boys.
I hope that the wife can be dissuaded from that opinion. Passion can be
a valued commodity, irrespective of age. It can keep this "elder"
Scouter as young as he can be so long as his body and mind hold out. It
can be infectious to the youth.
> >He has *volunteered* to assist the council with several things in the past,
> >and has been rebuffed. Most recently he is being somewhat rebuffed by the
> >district, as well (there are many theories for this, some reasonable, most
> >not kind, so we won't go there).
But that is a place someone should go! It's the Sixth Law.
> >He is currently serving as my unit commissioner; but, to be honest, neither
> >of us are really sure what he should be doing. He had been going to focus
> >on things like uniform and quality unit.
He is living history. A record of your unit through three generations.
A record of the uniforms we wore over time. A resource for your unit
> > our lodge has turned down many people who wish to assist,
> >including this man (which doesn't make sense, either...don't go into this
Shame! Scouts go where those they lead have not gone before.
David Gottshall added good thoughts:
> 1. Story Telling .. the "controlled" use of an old-timers stories revolving
> around personal experiences as a scout can be very compelling. Personal
> contacts with "VIP" scouters, experiences at High Adventure camps, adventures
> at Jamborees, or just how far scouting has come in the 50-some years of his
> tenure can be riveting. <snip> ..they should be special.
THEY ARE SPECIAL!
> 2. Registration/Coffee Pot .. <snip>
> They are happy to say hello and reminisce with their former scouts and
> proteges...registration lines will keep things moving. Old-timers love
> coffee almost as much as talking...the saying goes if their not talking they
> are drinking joe. What wiser use of resources ...
> 3. There is an old golf saying..drive for show but putt for dough. Dust off
> your old-timers and bring them out for the big ones...district and council
> dinners and award nights. Give them a small, but highly visible
> parts...opening or closing adult courts of honor...present awards. <snip>
RIGHT ON! Honor your (Scouting's) parents, don't shelve them.
> 4. Make the connection...many old-timers have loads of connections in the
> business and civic group circles...use and maintain them...have them setup
> lunchs and involve them in pitchs for program support.
> 5. Old-timers have paid their dues and have earned the respect of their
> follow scouters. If someone is disrespectful, condescending, or just rude to
> an old-timer just take him aside and tell him that that "old man" has
> forgotten more about scouting than you will ever know and if you can't live
> by the Scout Oath and Law..get lost.
Ans Craig Oakford added:
> Depending on his mental abilities, he may be able to "mentor" Life scouts
> moving, or not moving perhaps, towards Eagle. Sometimes all it takes is someone
> other than a parent or a Scout leader to help motivate a boy to finish a
> required merit badge or think about Eagle Leadership projects.
And,"MAJ Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle)" has added his
> One of these days, Jason, you and I will be that "older Scouter." We had
> better plan out what those "older Scouters" can do or else when WE get that
> old, it will be US that are being turned away kindly by our Scouts ....
> When I was growing up, we had a Mr. Treadwell. Willis Treadwell. Mr.
> Treadwell was already old when I knew him -- in his middle 50s (okay...I'm
> getting close to that age; but remember at the age of 14 or 15, anyone over
> the age of 35 was "old" and anyone over the age of 45 was "really old". Mr.
> Treadwell was "really old."
> Mr. Treadwell was one of the members of my Eagle Scout Board of Review, and
> he offered me some advice afterwards that served me well as I moved onward
> in life. (those comments I'll leave for another posting, because they are also in
> "Patches and Pins" and I'll post those words here later onward).
> I go back to my "hometown" frequently. One time I saw Mr. Treadwell attend
> a Scouting function there. He REALLY looked old, probably in his later 70s,
> but he stood strong and tall in that new version of the Scout uniform (he
> swore he would never wear the new uniform...but there he was..and he looked
> great!!), awards and stuff all over it. He had to be assisted but that was
> beside the point...he made ME, one of "his Scouts", REALLY, REALLY PROUD.
> And that's what I feel you can do with your "Mr. Treadwell" too.
> Here's some suggestions for those "older Scouters":
> *A Fellowship should be named in his honor, with monies going toward
> assisting Scouts to go to summer camp or Junior Leader training in your
> Council. Have
> your "Mr. Treadwell" to present those coupons to the Scouts in your
> District's Troops.
> *An annual dinner (or better, breakfast) should be produced and promoted by
> your Troop or District in honor of "Mr. Treadwell." Monies earned or
> received from this dinner or breakfast goes toward that fellowship for
> outdoor programs participation.
> *Make "Mr. Treadwell" the honorary chair of your School Night for Scouting
> and have him attend, in full uniform, as many School Nights as his ability
> and his willingness can afford. Don't have him to say anything...but don't
> refuse to let him talk, either. Sometimes we want to be guarded toward our
> older folk...assist him and help him to express the fact that Scouting
> doesn't end at a certain age and that there's a place in Scouting for even
> old people like himself!
> *Appoint "Mr. Treadwell" as your Camporee Chief, and have a "Get Back to
> Basics" themed Camporee. Encourage your Troops to do Scout camping the way
> it was done before Coleman(tm) stoves, lanterns and plastic or styroform
> storage containers. Play games that existed back in Scouting's heyday, and
> have "Mr. Treadwell" to share stories (coached by a fellow Scouter) of
> Scouting's earlier days with your Scouts. They will eat it up!!
> *Many Troops have a person called "Scoutmaster Emeritus." This is a title
> given to the most senior Scoutmaster of your Troop and is more honorary than
> anything else. This person would wear the Scoutmaster badge of office,
> participate in those Scoutmaster-type things (to include Roundtable) but
> wouldn't neccessary be present for every Troop meeting or outing. This
> would be ideal for "Mr. Treadwell" because he will continue to receive the
> benefit of participating....especially at events like Courts of Honor and
> Recognition Banquets.