scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Troop Activities vs. Family Activities
Kim Elmore (KDMcElmore@AOL.COM
Thu Jun 29 2000 - 01:01:01 CDT
A philosophical question for the wisdom of the List. I am not expressing this as well as I want to, but . . .
The father of one of our Webelos crossovers recently indicated that his son would probably drop out, not only because he was too busy with sports, but also because the troop events always seemed to be scheduled the same time as family events (such as summer camp conflicting with the annual family reunion). I think he's telling the truth about the reason; I know their entire family frequently goes camping together. Their son is a great kid who probably doesn't need the BSA program as much as some, but I consider his dropping out a loss to both him and the boys in the troop who could benefit from associating with him.
I have run into a similar explanation before, that "we need more time for family activities." It comes down to a matter of priorities; every family I know has too many things to do, and too little time to do them, and we have to make choices. So some limit their son to one extracurricular activity, and often Scouts loses out to a sports team. Others choose to participate in Scouting, but their boys only attend troop events when it fits into the family's schedule. Other families (like mine) schedule family events for the times when there's nothing going on with Scouts.
So I am seeing a conflict here between time spent with the family and time spent with the troop. I can't really argue with those families who choose to emphasize parent-child activities; the boys are fortunate to have parents who care that much about them. But I am wondering if that is one reason that we lose boys at crossover time.
And, although I know that an 11-year-old boy is at a developmental stage where he is beginning to break away from his family and associate more with his peers, I sometimes wonder whether there isn't too sudden a change from the family-oriented program of Cub Scouts to the patrol-oriented Boy Scout program.
So, is there any way to resolve this conflict by doing more to include the family in Boy Scouts? Is there a way to have a boy-led troop, follow the patrol method, but have some activities that continue to keep the family involved? At a greater level than simply serving on the troop committee? Have your troops scheduled any activities that include the boys' entire families? If so, what? How successful were they? What did the boys get out of the experience?
Please don't respond by flaming me and telling me that this is not Mom scouts. If you believe there should be no family participation in troop activities, then just say so. This is, after all, just my $.02 worth.
Troop Committee Member, etc.