Pissed off

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.



Filed under Being Philisophical, Scouting

14 responses to “Pissed off

  1. youre right to be pissed…youre right to vent it here…and youre right not to give up…
    im with you… i believe in scouting (looong family story bout an orphan & an eagle scout) BSA does make it hard for even me to be a supporter sometimes and i REALLLLLLY want to… but… it gives me hope to know the org still has pack moms like you that are working to make the experience one of honor and service to others… and what we learn and get from that…. lessons that demonstrate that giving can be as rewarding as getting are few and far between in our culture these days…
    thanks for fight the good fight…
    youre fighting for good…

    • Jen

      I firmly believe in not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, sometimes Boy Scouts Of America can be shitty about certain things, but they’re valuable.
      I know damn good and well I’m not the only one out there. There’s a bunch of parents out there who don’t want to give up just because it gets tough.

  2. You have every right to be ticked off. You made me think of the local scouts where I live and now that I think about it they’re non-existent. I don’t even know if we have any.

    • Jen

      That’s what I really want to change.
      The Redneck and I were up in Oregon for a football game on the weekend of Columbus day. At about 7am in the morning, we’re driving through Brookings and see Boy Scouts setting up American flags.
      It made an impression.
      They were DOING something. That’s what we want to do.

  3. Dulcey

    You know I support you. You and I both know that Scouting happens with the boys…not the politics of the adults. You also know how I feel about much of what happened with the troop situation. And you know how I feel about supporting the community. And I agree that Scouting needs to get it’s uniform on and get out there and help!

    I wish all the Scouters were as dedicated as you. Let me know what I can do, because I’ll help.

    • Jen

      You’re doing it, my love. You put up with way more bullshit than I have to so I’d say you’re in the right place.
      We’re rolling up our sleeves and getting it done. It may not be pretty, but it’s moving forward.

  4. When did scouting become so crazy. Wasn’t it for the kids to teach them all these good things? It is shocking how much it has changed.

  5. Dulcey

    It’s getting better and better all the time. Honestly, over the next decade, if Scouting wants to survive, some basic changes needs to be made.

    I have hopes that it will come along.

    When that happens, Scouting will EXPLODE with Goodness.

    Until then, we slog along. Doing ‘our best”.

  6. Jen

    I think the real issue is that the world is changing SO FAST and Scouting just didn’t keep up. It’s completely possible in this day and age to keep the whole sexual orientation question out of the argument.
    There’s no reason to “take a stand” on it. The fact is that we have to begin the whole “principles BEFORE personalities”. I may hate, despise and want to murder one of my den leaders, but the BOYS COME FIRST.
    Some adults? They’re just not able to set it aside.
    As Dulcey said. It’s getting better. It’s just slow.

  7. I think if the community saw the boys out in their uniforms doing service projects – picking up trash, or beautifying parks, etc that they would be more generous with the funds when asked. Around here I never see boy scouts at all only see girls scouts during cookie season. Sad really.

    • Jen

      I think it’s sad too, Tricia.
      I know there’s packs and troops out there doing things. Especially in March when Boy Scouts does their national canned food drive. But they seem less visible, less accessible.
      I hope we can change that here, anyway.

  8. Jen,
    Excellent post. As a fundraiser for our school, I know that I believe that the visible things our school does to draw together our community are what makes us worth supporting.

  9. April Morelock

    When I was growing up Scouting (Girl or Boy Scouts) was about becoming a leader in the community — helping others. Yeah, the badgework, survival stuff, and all the camping was fun but it had a higher purpose, to help others and to be there for your peers through team building, community work, and
    helping our friends.

    I just don’t see that anymore. There’s just so much competition between adults and we’ve lost sight of why these things are there… it’s NOT FOR US adults… it’s for the kids and future generations and for our communities.



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