the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

At the Journal Jar: Extracurricular Organizations (JJQ #39)

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“Did you belong to scouting or 4-H? Tell about your experiences.”

Cimmy wrote about her experience with Camp Fire, which was girls-only at the time. Please. Do me a favor and take a moment to read that account, at the Ex-Vox Journal Jar. I think it will help you make more sense of what I have to say next: recalling what experiences younger sister #1 had with the Girl Scouts, specifically with Brownies, I don’t think Cimmorene missed very much.

Unlike my father-in-law and my uncle (Dad’s older brother), I did not attain the rank of Eagle Scout, although I was fairly involved in Scouting. All of my supports dropped out from under me in high school, and I could not manage on my own.

As a Latter-Day Saint, Scouting is tied very closely still to our church. I did reasonably well in Cub Scouting, but by the time I got to the BSA, problems arose. My first Scoutmaster had boys that got their Eagles very early, one at near eleven years of age. My parents had a general attitude that too many Eagles in the troop had their ranks handed to them by their fathers, or rather, that the boys did not truly earn them on their own.

To make matters worse, the environment was hostile. I will speak more generally and say that our church congregation had many people that were kind and gregarious, but their children were gossips and bullies. Understand, dear reader, that I truly am not bitter now, but there was too much jock attitude in my local Scouts. Then was then… please understand that I realize that they grew up, for the most part. I am not interested in picking apart the pain too much, but know that it did hamper my achievements.

Now I will say that not too long ago, when I was grown, I stood up with the other men in my stake (larger area than the ward/congregation) at a conference. I remember reciting the Scout Law and the Scout Motto. As I recited the lines, I came to realize what lessons they taught. I realized how Scouting was regarded as an institution to teach boys how to become men.

Please. I know that the Boy Scouts of America has controversies that some people are very bitter about today. I do not wish to discuss that, now. I say that in spite of all of that– and I have faced some of that controversy very personally– I still esteem the value of the organization. It has meaning and purpose to me. I have met Eagle Scouts (even those in the Order of the Arrow) that do not seem, to my observation, to have learned these lessons. I think it is possible to go through the organization that way, but I do not think it diminishes its value with me. By contrast, I do not have an Eagle badge to show to the world, but I still say with strength and confidence, that I believe that I have.

Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me- the username is still unique as of the current year. Be aware that the facet you see, is only a small part of the me that is me.

2 thoughts on “At the Journal Jar: Extracurricular Organizations (JJQ #39)

  1. I mentioned on Cimmy’s blog my own experience with Girl Scout camp, which was mostly positive. I don’t think GS carries the heavy baggage Boy Scouts has with the Eagle Scout rank or traditional American masculine values, though we did get “indoctrinated” somewhat with messages about being a good homemaker, childcare provider, helpmate, etc. What I remember mostly, however, was learning outdoor skills like orienteering, camping in the woods, and wildlife tracking. Some of our scout leaders were unusual women for their time (late 1960s): one was an artist who worked with ceramics and taught us about glazing and kilning; another made jewelry and showed us how to use the lost-wax method for metal casting. I think the only time I disliked Scouts was when we had a not-very-bright, conventional woman who taught us how to bowl. (Still not my favorite sport, though I’ve learned over the years to finally relax and enjoy it.) But what I was thankful for was the opportunity to learn things beyond my own family’s culture and experiences. No way would I have learned about camping, ceramics, or bowling from my parents, who were very shy people who lived circumscribed lives. Girl Scouts taught me it was okay to try something new and not be 100% good at it. It also showed me I could be strong when I allowed myself to be. (It took a longer time to realize my parents’ way of life wasn’t the only way to live.) So I’m grateful for that: we had “mean girls” too in Scouts and dumb scout leaders, but I hardly remember those. The happy stuff stands out.

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    • I did actually see that– we jointly run the Journal Jar, so I get notifications of comments, too. It was her idea back at VOX, but we decided to mutually contribute, then and now. I asked her to give it a little more attention, which she has.

      I am not sure what you mean by “traditional American masculine values” being baggage. If the genders can keep from oppressing each other– I think the pendulum has swung the other way, lately– then I don’t think it all has to be bad.

      I sent this to my father-in-law, and he seems to understand my intent. One thing he said was: “I agree that getting the Eagle at 11 is far too young. That is nearly impossible without subverting the system, but I have known boys whose Eagles should have been awarded to their mothers. I had Star scouts in my troop who knew more about scouting than Eagles from other troops.”

      I hope that Cimmy will write more about the Young Women’s program at our church, since she decided to follow the most recent changes, and I have seen some really positive things as she’s worked through it. I’m sure that she’ll be well prepared to help Princess when she’s old enough to participate with the program.

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