Scout Skills Day
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|Mon, 05-13-2013 - 9:20am|
The 171st Air Refueling Wing hosts a Scout Skills Day each year in May on Saturday and Sunday. In January, reservations open and leaders sit at their computers hitting the refresh button over and over again until the site goes live in hopes of getting spots for their scouts... 275 spots for Saturday "sell out" in about a minute or two. The 275 spots for Sunday "sell out" in about 15 minutes. Each troop is only permitted a maximum of 10 spots total so that as many different troops as possible are able to come. Once leaders have secured spots- only those adults will receive an e-mail about how to sign up kids for the various merit badge classes. It used to be that pretty much for each of the dozen or so classes offered for merit badges that there was an approximate equivelant in the Girl Scout badge program... but since Girl Scouts changed their whole program, only 2 of the classes are not "badge programs" for the girls and the rest of the classes, the 171st offers (for extra money) a fun patch that we can buy for a girl completing that class. Class sign ups and money was due in March. The scouts and parents have been made aware of any pre-requisites that need done, what they must bring, etc. I had drivers lined up and people to stay onsite with me for the kid to adult ratios. All the permission slips were signed.
Now, this Mother's Day weekend is the weekend before the program. I have gotten the following messages:
From adult driver for boys who was supposed to stay onsite with me- "I've gotta go to my daughter's graduation, so I'm not coming."
From girl "I have a dance recital that day"
From another girl "oh, I'm in that same recital so I guess I'm not coming either"
From another girl who was in a class with one of the above "I've got something else going on, so I can't come" which translates to I don't want to be in a class without my friend.
From a boy's parent "I don't know that parent who is driving and I don't know this new person who you got as driver, so my son is not riding with either of them so apparently he is not going" The one parent driver has been with the troop for months and has worked with this same boy at several functions and the boy has no problem with him... the other driver is an uncle of another scout- but registered as a scout adult and with clearances... and willing to help us out!
From the parent of boys who is now going to graduation "oh, there's a soccer game that day and it affects these 5 boys who are going to the 171st... so they will all need to leave early... blah, blah, blah" but they don't realize I'm not going to bother the military personell to be traipsing around the base to round up kids who in turn are likely not going to ever finish the merit badge and then it's just wasting the space for kids who really wanted to be there and earn badges.
From another parent of another soccer boy "I see from the schedule of events that he goes to lunch at this time and then there's nothing scheduled the rest of the day after lunch- so I'm going to pick him up early" well, no, the rest of the day would be the rest of class... and you can't just decide to drive onto a military base without being added to their list by me and without having the correctly signed paper in your windshield as you drive up to the little window at the checkpoint.
UGH- this should not be so hard for parents to understand what I had to do to actually get their kid a spot and that this is not your ordinary program type that you can come and go as you please... if you couldn't make it, then don't take the spot. Other people were on the waiting list for months and I don't know if there's time to switch it around to others (if the contact person at the base wants to even deal with that at this late point). And you won't be getting your money back! And your son will not be leaving early from class... the earliest I can get them to leave is when the classes return the kids to the meeting point which is before they gather for closing flag ceremony.
The scout leader for the boys has been made aware of some of this nonsense, and he told me "no good deed ever goes unpunished" and he, himself is going with the "older boys" and a few who didn't make it into the 171st program including my own son- they are heading to a museum in Pittsburgh for American Heritage Merit Badge- which we were initially told was Citizenship in the Community (eagle required) so I gladly let my son go on that list so he would be closer to the eagle badge being completed... well, this leader is leaving early from there with his son to head back for the soccer game and he's offering to pick up soccer kids from the 171st on his way through, but he's just enabling. At this point, it's very possible that soccer might get pushed back since most of the team will be at scouts.
Next year, I'm going to only sign up for 4 slots... my 2 kids and a friend each...and that's it... never before have I had it this tough. I'll simply say that I wasn't quick enough to get 10 spots because it will be true... I'm not going to try so hard to be sitting there on a Sunday night in January waiting with the refresh button over and over til it goes live. Or at least that's what my heart is telling me now. I'll stick to setting up programs like one with a ranger at the state park where there's not limit on how many attend and who drops out or adds at the last minute is of no consequense because that's what these parents expect is ok to do when it's really not. Every once in a while, scouts needs to trump sports. But when you have the boy scout leader telling the kids that he doesn't want to see them at such and such because he knows theres a basketball game or soccer game and they made a commitment to that coach and team... what message is he giving the kids... that they don't have a commitment to scouts? I do not agree with what he is saying at all. Adn I'm going to tell him. Especially when for example in Basketball there were 17 kids on the team and they would only play the better kids and if you were lucky- your son may be able to play for a whopping 20 seconds at the very end of the game if we were already winning or if we were losing so bad that it wouldn't make a difference... but if he skipped basketball and his 20 seconds of court time and went to scouts that was a bad thing? I don't agree.
Now- I'm going to be e-mailing the contact person at the 171st base and try to have them correct ALL of our last minute changes and hopefully there won't be any more changes, but I think I'm being optimistic about that.