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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Wednesday, September 28

Scouts

I have recently come to find myself the den mother of a group of young boys. I wasn't so sure about getting my child involved in the organization, but a friend was very persuasive and said that contrary to what I'd heard, there was an unwritten "don't ask, don't tell" policy. She also argued that things can't be changed if people don't get involved. I was skeptical of that argument, but I was also curious.

I bought a used Webelos book some years ago when I was looking for activity ideas for my son. They seemed much better oganized and more interesting than other scouting and outdoor type books I'd seen. I wondered why the stuff for girls wasn't as good. I thought, at the least, I'd learn a bit more about the good things in Scouts.

Well, some things came up such that there was a shortage of parent volunteers and I was asked to be a leader. I said yes before I really had a chance to think about it. It's one thing to benefit from an organization without necessarily condoning all of its policies. I don't want to be someone who helps to perpetuate such policies. On the other hand, after my brief exposure, I began to see a lot of nice things that are being done that aren't duplicated elsewhere, so far as I know. I'd hate to see those things lost.

As part of figuring out where I should stand on this, I've been doing a bit of digging around about the organization and its founders. I'd heard some interesting things about the original founder of scouting - that the man was possibly a repressed homosexual or perhaps even a repressed pedophile. I found lots of dead links to things about his being gay and liking to look at naked boys. I couldn't find much in the way of actual sites about this. I did run across the information that he was married and had three children. I wondered what his wife was like. I soon found an interesting link to some excerpts from her autobiography:

Window on my Heart: The Autobiography of Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, G.B.E. as told to Mary Drewery

I love reading biographies. Not all of them are easy to read, so I will commonly skim them and just pick out the juicy bits...

His wife tells of their secret romance, their huge age difference, their common sense of humor and adventure, war, how sympathetic they were to Girl Scouts, and why they ended up with Girl Guides instead. They come out sounding like very interesting, down-to-earth, unique people.

I want to say a bit more about my experiences so far. It has been a steep learning curve for me. There is a lot to do, and it requires a lot of organization to really get through all the information and get things done. Part of this is because our group is fairly new and doesn't have a huge number of volunteers to get everything going.

I was pretty nervous about being in charge of a group of boys. I didn't have a lot of time to prepare or plan anything, but I had a loose idea of what I wanted to do and made the rest up as I went. Luckily, young children can be as easy to please as they are restless. It turned out to be extremely fun, and I'm excited about the next meeting.

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