“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.