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#1 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i know very little about them. my brother was one... i always wanted to be one (but couldn't : )... and i think it might do my son good.

input?



ETA ~ and for the love of God people, PLEASE don't turn this into a debate thread.
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#2 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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I know enough that none of my boys will be joining. I don't like their stance on homosexuality or non-Christians.
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#3 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 08:44 PM
 
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Cub scouts starts with tigers in first grade, and ends with 2nd year Weblos half way through fifth grade. Boy scouts begins with fifth graders and ends when the scout turns 18. I think your cub scout experience depends entirely on #1 the quality of the pack (entire group) and #2 the quality of your den (small group). Ask around your neighborhood to get the scoop on your group. There are often several packs in an area, so you might shop around for the best one. The best are the most active. They do lots of fun family campouts, meet several times a month, and have plenty of parental support to keep the whole ball rolling.

My oldest is one merit badge and a project away from getting his eagle. He's made lots of friends and discovered he likes climbing, repelling, canoeing, etc. Cubs don't start out that adventurous. They camp with their families and learn how to roast weenies, whittle bars of soap, and make indian walking sticks. Fun stuff!
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#4 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah i knew about their views on homosexuality but that was about it.


RBinTEX thanks for the info!! where would i find out, just ask around?

and, how much involvement is required of the parents themselves? (please don't take this the wrong way ~~ i'd LOVE to do everything with him but i'm a working student single mother and ... well, i don't have a lot of free time!) i remember my parents dropping my brother off a few times a month with his group, and i remember him going on camping trips but my parents never went.

i guess my son would be cub scout age; maybe i should change the title of my post...
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#5 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 09:06 PM
 
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Usually the best time to join would be right after the start of a new school year. The boys come home with flyers advertising info nights. Each pack recruits separately, and usually only one pack recruits at a school, so they are not competing with each other for members. Each pack has a charter organization (usually a church) that provides them with a meeting place. Our town has three cub/boy scout packs/troops in our area, and the one we chose was not the one that recruits at our elemetary school. I found out about the other one through word of mouth. So, I guess asking around would be your best bet. Scouts like to get their pictures in the local papers, so check yours out to see which groups are getting photographed at all the fun places!

They will try to get as many volunteers on board as possible, but there are a lot of single parents just like you who do what they can when they can. There are lots of opportunities to do little things, like bringing snacks or gathering supplies.

Boy scouts do not camp with parents, generally, but cub scouts are required to. For youth protection purposes, scouts are not allowed to sleep in a tent with anyone but a parent or guardian. So, you would have to camp. (And I hate to camp!)
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#6 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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I also know enough that no son of ours would ever be a member. I believe this organization to be shameful.
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#7 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 09:18 PM
 
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My ds is a wolf cub - he's in 2nd grade. He was a tiger last year. For tigers, it was a requirement that a parent be at each meeting with their child. This year, that is not a requirement, though parents often stay, but many carpool, too. Our den meets twice a month. Our pack is very active. There is usually a pack activity going on each month (sometimes more than one), in addition to a monthly pack meeting. We've done some fun stuff with scouts. I agree that it is easiest to join at the beginning of the school year, but our pack also has a policy of not turning anyone away, so they would accept anyone anytime of year.

RBinTEX - congrats to your ds for being close to being an eagle scout! I know how much hard work goes into that.
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#8 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 09:24 PM
 
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I agree that the policy on homosexuality is indeed shameful. That whole thing hit the news when we were already knee-deep in scouts. It would have given me pause if I were joining for the first time. However, I couldn't (or rather decided I wouldn't) pull my son out of an activity he loved over a political issue he didn't understand, and really had no bearing on our actual group.


BSA does not promote Christianity. It does require the boy to have religious beliefs of some sort, and has religious badge programs for every imaginable religion. Prayers are said at each meeting, and the prayer leader is prohibited from using "Jesus" in the prayer, because we have lots of non-Christian boys. I wish scouts were open to atheist boys also. But it is a group founded with "duty to God" as one of its principles. BSA is a private organization, and may set its own rules.
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#9 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 09:30 PM
 
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And this is one aspect of its shamefulness.

It's saddens me when people only jump to fight for a cause when it only directly affects one of their own. So truly sad.

I also would not belong to an elitist organization, this too is shameful. I also could not be associated with a person who supported such organizations.
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#10 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 09:33 PM
 
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I also would not belong to an elitist organization, this too is shameful. I also could not be associated with a person who supported such organizations.
O.K.
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#11 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 09:38 PM
 
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Do you deny they are an elitist organiztion? They include some and exclue others. Even if I wanted my son to be involved and evcen if HE wanted to be involved he couldn't. And because of our religious or lack of religious beliefs? So an atheist can't have morals or be ethical? Make good choices that involve his fellow man?

How could I support such an organization that discriminates against others? How could I support an organization who openly discriminates against gay boys and men? AND how can I support an organization who denies having troop leaders who have molested young boys?! Keep homosexuals out, but let pediphiles in?

I would never feel safe enough to let my son be involved in such an organization. it would be a risk I would not be willing to take.
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#12 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 09:55 PM
 
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I can't argue for the stance on homosexuality and religion except to say being a private organization, they can set their own rules. I don't like the rules of the Ku Klux Klan, so I won't be joining them.

In all fairness on the religion stance, they began as an organization based on duty to God. Therefore, they are a religious organization. I don't think non religious people would be interested in an organization that mentions God at every meeting.

Pedophiles have a creepy way of finding their way into any organization that involves children. They also become baseball coaches and school teachers.

BTW, BSA also excludes girls.
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#13 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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This has been a subject of many passionate and tearful discussions in our house. My DH grew up in the BSA, is an Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow Member as is his father and brother. It's a VERY important organization to him. He is a wonderful, kind, compassionate, giving and loving man. He is a passionate defender of the outdoors and preserving nature. And quite a bit of this has to do with his involvement in BSA. The organization can, and does everyday, have a positive impact on the lives of young boys and men.

My DH is also a passionate defender of gay rights (as am I). For a LOOONG time I could not reconcile the two. And we fought many times whether any future sons of ours would participate in the BSA.

What my DH said makes sense, change isn't going to happen if everyone in the BSA thinks the same way (and they DON'T). My husband doesn't agree with the rules and he believes in the importance of change from within.

He was never aware of the BSA's standpoint on homosexual leaders while in BSA, only becoming aware of the "rule" when he himself became a scoutmaster. He doesn't like it or support it. But should any of his scouts have questions on why, he's there to answer them. I think that's important.

I'm not 100% comfortable with his involvement, but I do understand his point. It's going to take a lot of good leaders, like my DH, to change their viewpoints.

To the OP, I hope your son finds as much enjoyment in the BSA as my husband did! It was a very positive experience for him!
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#14 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 10:13 PM
 
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I can't argue for the stance on homosexuality and religion except to say being a private organization, they can set their own rules. I don't like the rules of the Ku Klux Klan, so I won't be joining them.

In all fairness on the religion stance, they began as an organization based on duty to God. Therefore, they are a religious organization. I don't think non religious people would be interested in an organization that mentions God at every meeting.

Pedophiles have a creepy way of finding their way into any organization that involves children. They also become baseball coaches and school teachers.

BTW, BSA also excludes girls.

Yes pedophiles can be found everywere, even at your next family reunion that is why you should be involved. I don't find this a worth wild arguement for any child hood activity, can't live in fear like that

And BSA does allow girls in their venturing program. GSA totally excludes boys and don't ever have a way to include them. Groups solely of one sex isn't horrible. At different stages and ages it is needed. I have been a BSA den leader and a Girl Scout leader. I don't disagree with the sex segragation at the early ages.

From what I am seeing there is enough BS members disagreeing and challanging and turning there heads to the "rules". If they all jump ship they miss oprutunity to touch and challange the kids. The organization would also loose a valuable resource of knowledge so it would greatly loose something when the change happens...and it will (even though a lot slower than I and most would like).
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#15 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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: My ds has been interested in scouts, I don't know alot about them. I was not aware of the stance on homosexuality or religion. We are pagan and we homeschool. I have been in contact with the local group and they can't seem to get past the homeschool thing, everything is organized by the schools and grades : He was so exited about joining something where he can camp...Anyone know of any alternatives?
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#16 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 10:46 PM
 
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: My ds has been interested in scouts, I don't know alot about them. I was not aware of the stance on homosexuality or religion. We are pagan and we homeschool. I have been in contact with the local group and they can't seem to get past the homeschool thing, everything is organized by the schools and grades : He was so exited about joining something where he can camp...Anyone know of any alternatives?
My husband suggests http://www.campfireusa.org/start.asp. He's just started to look into it. Co-ed and looks pretty good. He's always trying to find programs similar to BSA in case parents/kids are interested in outdoor programs without the religious aspect.
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#17 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 11:13 PM
 
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faerierose - I'll admit to knowing very little about pagan religions. But my DH said don't let the "reverant" aspect of BSA turn you away. By reverant they don't mean Christian, just a god, something greater than yourself. DH has had boys in his troops that have been Christian, Jewish, Muslim and he thinks even pagan.

Some troops are very focused on religion (and by that I mean Christian), but there are plenty of troops that don't stress religion much, or even at all.
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#18 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 11:15 PM
 
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And BSA does allow girls in their venturing program. GSA totally excludes boys and don't ever have a way to include them. Groups solely of one sex isn't horrible. At different stages and ages it is needed. I have been a BSA den leader and a Girl Scout leader. I don't disagree with the sex segragation at the early ages.
there is no such thing as GSA, it is the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and men/boys can be members, although I don't know of any who were actually in troops. I do know many dads and brothers who were members, though.

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#19 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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: My ds has been interested in scouts, I don't know alot about them. I was not aware of the stance on homosexuality or religion. We are pagan and we homeschool. I have been in contact with the local group and they can't seem to get past the homeschool thing, everything is organized by the schools and grades : He was so exited about joining something where he can camp...Anyone know of any alternatives?
Look into Spiral scouts!
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#20 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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With much hesitation and research, we let our son join the cub scouts this year. We are UU (with pagan tendencies).. anyone who knows what a Unitarian Universalist is will understand where our hesitations come from.

That said, the vast majority, and in our case 100% of the activities that our son was going to be participating in were things we approved of. The kids he would be hanging out with were his friends already. There was nothing scary for us.

We agreed that the organization itself needs re-vamping. While that is true, we also believe that change comes best from within and that our son has an awesome spirit that will only grow in this organization. I see him changing them WAY before they change him. He's just that kind of kid.

That said, he has loved every minute of every activity and, in turn, so have we. I'm glad he joined.
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#21 of 49 Old 03-02-2007, 11:39 PM
 
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My husband suggests http://www.campfireusa.org/start.asp. He's just started to look into it. Co-ed and looks pretty good. He's always trying to find programs similar to BSA in case parents/kids are interested in outdoor programs without the religious aspect.
I was in Camp Fire from 3rd grade through high school. It's been co-ed since the 1970s (although people still think "Camp Fire GIRLS"). I am considering looking into it when DS is a bit older (he's in kindergarten now). I loved it when I was growing up -- all the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the neighborhood were jealous because I got a pocket knife before they did. I can still build a fire with just dry wood.

The only thing that gives me pause, and I don't know if/how much it has changed, but when I was in Camp Fire, they did have a good bit of pseudo-Native American symbolism in the programs. If it still goes on (and it was on the way out even in the 1980s when I was a member) I probably won't present DS with the option.
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#22 of 49 Old 03-03-2007, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you everyone for the information!


i distinctly remember they had a table set up on the school grounds at Back To School night (and i distinctly remember snubbing them due to their stance on homosexuality : ) however..... since then i've come to know a few scouts and a LOT of Girl Scouts and they just seem like a fantastic group of kids.

i need to re-read the thread in it's entirety but it seemed like nobody touched on how much parental involvement is required (in terms of time and effort) ... if it's there sorry i missed it. if it's not, please someone answer....?
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#23 of 49 Old 03-03-2007, 12:58 AM
 
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thank you everyone for the information!
i need to re-read the thread in it's entirety but it seemed like nobody touched on how much parental involvement is required (in terms of time and effort) ... if it's there sorry i missed it. if it's not, please someone answer....?
My son is a Tiger Scout this year. My DH is his den leader. It has been a lot of fun. Personally, I think that at the Tiger level especially, it takes a lot of commitment. The boys have to complete activities in 3 different areas in order to advance to the Tiger level. There are home activities such as planning a fire drill & watching the weather. There are den activities that are completed in the den & there are Go Sees. Go Sees are field trips that are required. There are 5 requirements to fulfill in each of the 3 areas. Non of them are particularly difficult, but you do have to commit to getting them done in order for your son to advance. There are also activities called Electives.
This is a good link for info, http://www.boyscouttrail.com/cub-sco...ger-scouts.asp

Also Try googling "Tiger Cub Scout".
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#24 of 49 Old 03-03-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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Ok, changed my mind.

For younger boys I do see how it can be loads of fun and after looking over the website actually want to join myself But the religion thing holds me back. Even overlooking their view on homosexuality and realising that this aspect most likely would not be discussed with the scouts (and even if it were we could discuss as a family how some individuals/groups have opinions about things that are not necessary kind or true) but should affect our views. And most likely a son of ours would be scouts with friends from the same school/grade(as already mentioned).

It just seems that by participating in this organization you are supporting their views, ya know?

I do have a great alternative to scouts though for those like me who are not religious and don't believe in such things as supernatural beings.
Here is the site:
http://www.camp-quest.org/
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#25 of 49 Old 03-03-2007, 04:25 PM
 
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My son has two meetings a month, and about once every other month a big event. We did the pinewood derby where he (and to a large extent, dh) made a little car and all the scouts raced them. It was so cool! The car took some effort, but the meetings are only an hour twice a month, not a big deal. The stuff in the booklet you work on on your own time.

As far as outside activites go, I think its one of the least time consuming that ds has taken part in.
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#26 of 49 Old 03-03-2007, 06:23 PM
 
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It just seems that by participating in this organization you are supporting their views, ya know?[/url]
Yes, you are absolutely correct. This is something my husband struggles with every day. But to him have a voice of reason and understanding within the organization as well as being a positive influence in the lives of boys and young men (which is needed today more than ever) is very important too. He does not take his involvement with the BSA lightly.

I however, will not be willing to get more involved than getting our future son (should he want to participate) to and from meetings and any campouts involving mothers and sons. I just can't.
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#27 of 49 Old 03-03-2007, 06:47 PM
 
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there is no such thing as GSA, it is the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and men/boys can be members, although I don't know of any who were actually in troops. I do know many dads and brothers who were members, though.
I am sorry I did mess up the letters . But I was trying to point out that Girl Scout are gender specific program and the other person wasn't completely correct. You do have male leaders but not a troop for boys. If boys/brothers are members they are registered not as scouts.
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#28 of 49 Old 03-03-2007, 07:11 PM
 
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Aside from the anti-homosexuality aspect which I find sad and despicable, I've heard other bad stories. My dp and a few highschool boyfriends were involved in the scouts. My dp's troop was strongly Mormon. They excluded my dp from certain religious activities because he was not Mormon (for example he had to sit outside while they went on a field trip to the Mormon temple in San Diego). They also refused him food on a weekend backpacking trip because he wanted to set up his tent in a different area. Stories I've heard from other people involve lots of cliqueyness and just plain ganging up and meanness from other boys. The leaders didn't seem to do their part in mediating cruelty between the kids. I even if I didn't care about their homophobic attitude, I would never trust this organization with my ds's safety.
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#29 of 49 Old 03-03-2007, 10:55 PM
 
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however..... since then i've come to know a few scouts and a LOT of Girl Scouts and they just seem like a fantastic group of kids.
Girl Scouts is a completely different organization that is unrelated to Boy Scouts. Girl Scouts only discriminate based on gender, not on sexual orientation or religion.
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#30 of 49 Old 03-04-2007, 02:21 AM
 
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I sturggled long and hard with this one myself. I vaguely say I'm an atheist, but then the atheists around me assume I am one of them, and woo do they bug me sometimes! I have never found anyone with similar beliefs to mine. I deeply respect nature and people, but don't worship anything. If I were to go to church, it would be the UU church 10 miles away. Dh is agnostic. We go to churches for other peoples' weddings and for funerals. We firmly believe to respect the opinions of others.

I spent a lot of time researching cub scout packs in our area. I finally chose the largest close-by one--purposefully avoiding those associated with any particular church. Racially, ethnically, religiously diverse. The religious programs are there for people, most people do not participate. Ds LOVES it, and it has been great for him (he is very shy). Now that he's in, though, I've discovered what bothers me the most is the consumerism and obsession with media and things we don't find appropriate (like sleep-in laser tag--but maybe when he's a webelo I won't care?), and Boys Life is this crazy helter-skelter-can-you-read-it thing it wasn't when my brother got it. Dh disapproves of the rah rah Americanism, but his pack isn't so bad as some of the others we have seen/met.

Now, ds is sure he will be a boy scout. _IF_ he still wants to be one come 5th grade, I will hope for this troop--see their letter:
http://www.troop2bsa.org/position.html . It won't solve my religion issue (BSA does not recogize UU), but we will talk about that when he's 11 and feeling out for himself. If our pack changes in any significant way, we may switch to their related cub pack--though a 10 mil LA drive at 8pm is a bit much for my little guy on a school night

I say do some research in your area. I feel very, very fortunate to have options. We tried for 4H, but the only group here is homeschoolers only, and so self-righteous about it that I wouldn't join even I did homeschool! Campfire is 20-miles plus away and low income only.

We have also signed on to roots and shoots, but haven't officially joined or done anything--maybe this summer. Sounds promising.
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