Anyone try scouts?

Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Anyone try scouts?
21
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 1:44pm

My son has lots of fears & is uncoordinated. He's 8 years old and growing out of scout age soon. He's shown interest but I know you're supposed to be Christian to join. My son is too young to know what he believes.

Has anyone ever had their children in scouts. If so does parents' religion really come up? Does it cause a problem?






"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."


~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng



"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2006
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 4:46pm

I have 2 girls, so obviously boy scouts is not an option for me.

Disney Sig
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2006
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 9:09pm
Honestly, I think that just HOW CHRISTIAN a group is depends on local leadership. However, the leadership that I have run into around here has been very very overtly Christian and the kids that I have run into have been so too.
So, while the group and their activities are so great, there is no way I'd put my child there. He has several friends who are in the local Boy Scouts and he told me that they always bring up the religion issue with him...
And too bad too. I would consider it if it weren't so overt.
He's 9.
Karen
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2003
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 12:49am

Actually my wife suggested this morning to see if we could get my 7 year old son interested in Scouting. My son is not much of a joiner, but he might find it interesting if I bring him to a couple of meetings.

I was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout and I did get a lot out of it. I was in 3 different troops (one sponsored by a public school, one by a Catholic Church, and one by a Presbyterian Church) and my lack of religion was not much of an issue until I was up for Eagle (I did get harrassed by some leaders from other troops and some people from other troops (like being put in a headlock and had my face punched several times when some kids from another troop found out I was an atheist)).

When advancing in rank in Boy Scouts, the reviews are done by the troop until one reaches Eagle, where the review is done by the national level and a reference letter from your clergyperson is required. The Presbyterian Minister whose Church sponsored my troop wrote a letter saying what a swell guy I was and I was of good character, but he could not claim that I was of his flock or whatever, so there was no way I could become an Eagle Scout.

My neighbor was a Scoutmaster and had asked me to help out from time to time. My son, who was 2 at the time, and I are listed as helping on his son's Eagle project (my son helped put gravel into the post holes for benches that were put up).

My neighbor was one of those scoutmasters who didn't care about religion. Check out different troops and packs in your area and you might find one that might be suitable, and also remember that very few boys who start Scouting get as far as Eagle.

FWIW, my 5 year daughter, who is a joiner, is looking forward to joining the Daisy Scouts so that she can be a Brownie and then a Girl Scout. Girl Scouts also have no issues (officially) with Gays or atheists (some local leaders may).

Also, there is a group called Pioneers which I have heard is similar to Boys Scouts without the religious nonsense.

Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 12:56pm

Yikes ... that sounds horrific!

We live in a very liberal city. Our scouts is definitely school affiliated though. So much so that this year the school district has contacted the leaders of the chess club & stated we are not a school association & therefore need to pay to use the school. Where as boy & girl scouts are somehow school affiliated & can use the school for free. Our chess club is the longest running in the state, one of the founders of the states chess club federation & other schools know our schools name & fear these students in tournaments.

.... but every child I know who is in scouts are the ones who happen to talk to my DS about God.

Last time I checked around we didn't have any alternatives around here. I know the Secular Family Network here has talked about it, but most end up sending their kids out of state go to a camp. At the secular 'Sunday school' there have not been boys my sons age & he even asked to stop going.

I grew up in Utah, it was church callings to run the scouts & it was so intertwined with the LDS church I grew up believing it belonged to the LDS church.

I'll keep looking. That last story just put a pit into my stomach. It's the whole type of attitude is why I moved from Utah before having children.

Thanks






"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."


~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng



"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2003
Sun, 09-19-2010 - 11:44pm

What was horrific? I had an overall positive experience with Scouting. I got a lot out of it.

I grew up in a suburb of New York City, and there was a lot of diversity. In this area, when religion comes up, it's usually to explore the differences instead of telling others that they are wrong, I did not know anyone in the local scout troops who had that attitude (I saw that attitude only when dealing with the national Scouting big wigs and only after the late 1970's when BSA moved their headquarters from New Brunswick, NJ to Texas). A public school should not be sponsoring anything that pushes religion (BTW, that is kind of messed up with the Chess Club).

My wife escaped from Utah about 20 years ago. (BTW today was our 12th anniversary).

Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Mon, 09-20-2010 - 1:12pm

(like being put in a headlock and had my face punched several times when some kids from another troop found out I was an atheist)
--

That is horrific to me.

It reminds me too much of what I moved from. My H was raised Catholic in Utah & this is too close to home for him too.

I guess that is what I fear, my DS feeling the way non-LDS children feel/felt in Utah. He has quite a few LDS friends here, I have nothing against the religion, but in UT is very different.

We have not been able to figure out why the scouts are able to get the building free. We've been trying to find a loophole (which we may have) maybe that is what they did too? (We're putting the principal on as an advisor.) The dues, already published, barely cover the costs (we have real chess masters come in and teach), the building fee will put the club behind in funds.

I've contacted Camp Fire USA, but have not heard back from them.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

I escaped UT 10 years ago & some parts of me are still adjusting to live outside of it. (At the time UT was rated w/in the top 3 conservative states & OR was rated w/in the top 3 liberal state... LOL, I really ran!)






"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."


~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng



"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-1999
Mon, 09-20-2010 - 2:35pm

I've been a Girl Scout leader for 8 years. Girl Scouts don't "define" god for any member and they don't discriminate against atheists and homosexuals. It's an organization I'm comfortable with.



Boy Scouts, well, I have a son and no way I'd place him in a Boy Scout troop though we have a couple atheist friends with little boys and they do fine. It's not that there aren't some great leaders who wouldn't discriminate despite it breaking code, it's just that if the "wrong" person found out at anytime in their scouting career, they could be kicked out just like that. You don't want to have a son work hard, make it to Eagle scouts and get stripped of everything when it comes out they are atheist or gay. There have been several cases.



I tried Campfire boys and girls for a year. I had a co-ed troop but you can make them all girl or all boy. I really loved them and they don't discriminate against anyone.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2003
Mon, 09-20-2010 - 11:33pm

<<(like being put in a headlock and had my face punched several times when some kids from another troop found out I was an atheist)
--

That is horrific to me.>>

I grew up with a speech impediment, so I was assaulted several times a day in school, in the neighborhood, etc. Even though I was done with speech therapy in 7th grade (to this day I cannot do the "S" sound properly), the reputation carried on until 12th grade when the guys on the track team started looking out for me (I joined cross country and track in my senior year and was the best distance runner in the history of my high school at that time - I had a lot of practice running away from bullies).

Actually, I was assaulted a lot less often when involved in Scouting or Little League than elsewhere, although the most serious assault I experienced for being an atheist was from a Boy Scout troop from a distant state.

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Thanks.

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After 20 years my wife is still adjusting from Utah. I still have to remind her from time to time that individuals have rights. Where I live is pretty relaxed when it comes to religion, although I keep reading that my congressional district is considered a traditionally "red" district, my congressman is a Democrat and was the leader of a rock group in the 1970's. Strangely I have never heard "Still The One" played on his commercials.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2000
Tue, 09-21-2010 - 12:16pm

Have you considered 4h clubs? At least around here, it's not just for farmy type folks (my kids are in a Mad Scientist club, a line dancing club, and I'm taking over an outdoors-type club this year).
Also, I think the Y offers something scout-ish...?

But 4H was the answer for me, love it!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002
Tue, 09-21-2010 - 6:43pm

my son is in scouts. Our pack is sponsored through his school. The leader is Agnostic, and he has delegated religious activities to another den leader and made it optional to participate. He also organized substitute activities for those that don't participate.

Im not sure about the Eagle Scout requirements. DH is an Eagle Scout, and he is Agnostic. Ill ask him about the clergy letter.

4H is available in public schools, but not until 5th Grade. You can participate at the 4th Grade level, but it is limited.

There are also Adventure Scouts, which is a splinter group of Boy Scouts. Both Boys and Girls can join. I dont know if it has a religious affiliation. But I do believe you have to be a certain age to join, sometime in junior high or high school.

ETA: I just asked DH. He did not need a letter from clergy to earn his eagle scout award.






Edited 9/21/2010 6:48 pm ET by izzyandalexsmommy
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