It hasn’t been a good week.
And in the spirit of granting a little leeway to those I’m about to bitch about, I know the stress may have something to do with my attitude.
I’m thoroughly pissed off.
For the last three years, I have been working my ass off to help my Cub Scout pack survive the cold winter of this recession. Last year was my first year in a position of responsibility. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve dealt with behind the scenes planning for an overthrow, parental discontent and general bitchiness. Drama is part and parcel of any group dynamic.
Selling popcorn this year, I discovered something.
People out there don’t like us much.
Scouting used to represent the best, emphasizing honesty, integrity, duty and service to others. People understood that a Scout was learning to be helpful and caring. It was a cause most could get behind. We were the representation of those intangible human gifts that produce heroes, presidents, leaders.
Now, we seem to represent…..what?
In a county that is divided by political ideology, where does Scouting fit? Apparently, it doesn’t. And the Powers That Be seem to want to keep it that way. When the only time the public sees our kids in their uniforms is when they have their hand out for money, the community doesn’t give one rat’s ass about us.
So the Redneck and I set out to make a change for our pack. We saw first hand the resentment and hostility the public had for our organization. Perhaps if those Powers That Be had to be on the front lines dealing with those who find the BSA Council’s anti-homosexual stance, their isolationist attitude and their inflexibility intolerable, they would see that change would be beneficial.
And I don’t mean creating some stupid video game badge.
Scouting is about service to others, helping causes that help people. Our pack raised money and pet food for Miranda’s rescue. We started a Relay For Life team to fight cancer since so many of us can name someone we know and love who has died from the disease. We’ve been trying to draw our Scouting community together, believing that a pack cannot exist in a vacuum.
But the Powers That Be seem to have forgotten this. I give you an example. One of the most horrific things I’ve seen is the disintegration of one of the oldest Boy Scout Troops in California. I don’t know the details of the dispute, but it ended up with the END of the Troop and the beginning of two new ones. The thing is that, rather than find some way to resolve the bullshit, the attitude was to say “I won” when the leadership “got their way”.
What about the boys?
Oh, that doesn’t matter, right? Adults go to war and the kids are collateral damage. That is total bullshit. In my opinion, some people have lost the vision. You can’t have “friends of Scouting” if the friendship is all one way. No one out there is going to give us support and money if all we do is have our hand out.
If the Powers that Be want “friends”, then giving friendship is the way to go. Giving. That means we have to be available for Community needs. To remain isolated, to stay closed off from others, to only have one’s hand out is NOT friendship. It’s depressing.
Not that it will stop me. My vision of Scouting was created by my father. He believed that service and community trumped anything. It trumps personalities. It trumps pride. It trumps selfishness. My father was committed to Scouting because it taught boys to be a part of their hometown, a part of their world. He didn’t believe in the idea that it was “us and them”. He taught his kids that the world was a bigger place than just their tiny little Gameboy. He opened doors, respected them so they would respect themselves, and believed in them.
That’s what I want to happen. I want our boys to open their eyes to their world-to see the needs of the elderly, the helpless, the hungry. And not just SEE it, but step in and do something about it. Ultimately, that’s the vision. To teach our kids to stand up and say “I’ll help”.
No matter what.
No matter who resents it or who tries to sabotage it.
“I’ll help.” The idea that the longest distance in the world sometimes is the distance between a hand at one’s side and putting it in the air.
Yeah, I’m pissed off. But I know what to do. Keep on, don’t quit and stay on track. My father taught me never to give up, even when those around me say my dream is foolish. That’s my goal.